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Griefers versus the Griefed — what motivates them to play Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games?

Abstract

‘Griefing’ is a term used to describe when a player within a multiplayer online environment intentionally disrupts another player’s game experience for his or her own personal enjoyment or gain. Every day a certain percentage of users of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) are experiencing some form of griefing. There have been studies conducted in the past that attempted to ascertain the factors that motivate users to play MMORPGs. A limited number of studies specifically examined the motivations of users who perform griefing (who are also known as ‘griefers’). However, those studies did not examine the motivations of users subjected to griefing. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to examine the factors that motivate the subjects of griefing to play MMORPGs, as well as the factors motivating the griefers.

The authors conducted an online survey with the intention to discover the motivations for playing MMORPGs among those whom identified themselves as (i) those that perform griefing, and (ii) those who have been subjected to griefing. A previously devised motivational model by Nick Yee that incorporated ten factors was used to determine the respondents’ motivational trends. In general, players who identified themselves as griefers were more likely to be motivated by all three ‘achievement’ sub-factors (advancement, game mechanics and competition) at the detriment of all other factors. The subjects of griefing were highly motivated by ‘advancement’ and ‘mechanics’, but they ranked ‘competition’ significantly lower (compared to the griefers). In addition, ‘immersion’ factors were rated highly by the respondents who were subjected to griefing, with a significantly higher rating of the ‘escapism’ factor (compared with rankings by griefers). In comparison to the griefers, the respondents subjected to griefing with many years’ experience in the genre of MMORPGs, also placed a greater emphasis on the ‘socializing’ and ‘relationship’ factors. Overall, the griefers in this survey considered ‘achievement’ to be a prime motivating factor, whereas the griefed players tended to be motivated by all ten factors to a similar degree.

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Correspondence to Leigh Achternbosch.

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Achternbosch, L., Miller, C., Turville, C. et al. Griefers versus the Griefed — what motivates them to play Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games?. Comput Game J 3, 5–18 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03392354

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Keywords

  • MMO
  • MMOG
  • MMORPG
  • griefing
  • griefer
  • online game
  • victim
  • virtual world