The Social and Psychological Rationale for Playing Online Multiplayer Game: League of Legends
Aims and Background
The world is fast experiencing proliferation of mobile technology and the field of ubiquitous computing has become so relevant. Increased availability of cell phones, software and computer resources have prompted a lot of demand for online games. These new technologies and combination of various communication media not only change the mode of communication but also the connectivity itself. According to Forbes, 100 million play League of Legends daily. Therefore, Massively Multiplayer Online Games have emerged as the new type of large-scale games. Palo Alto Research Center conducted a research on the Social Side of Gaming and revealed that playing online video games has become a way of enhancing social experiences of many people in the aspect of existing as an online community. Thus, it presents an existing opportunity for scientists to study social and behavioral models. International progress in multiplayer gaming has been fostered by military and gaming companies who is use these games to train their workforce. Different studies conducted on this field have found that it offers many unique opportunities. Despite a small number of researches in this area, studies have been done on simulations and motivational aspects. This field has risen to almost equal status within the music and film industries in terms of employees, revenues and customers. The biggest influence today has been on the youth. Launching a game normally cost about $10 million with half of the cost being spent on development and the rest for marketing. Multiplayer platforms gives people platforms to compete with other players thus increasing the amount of time spent playing games. Therefore, their social nature has been significant for their design. Designers intend to promote interaction since they believe that encounters are important to success in their virtual worlds.
The aim of this research is to reveal various psychological and social reasons that prompt such a large number of people in the world today to play this game. Most works in the field currently are focusing on ways of enhancing user experience, attracting many other people, player interdependencies, interaction systems and importance of space. This proposal seeks to understand reasons why most people chose to play league of legends over other games especially ones that do not have multiplayer platforms. Findings from this research proposal can be very useful to developers as far as meeting the needs of the users is concerned. Knowing expectations of the consumers is important in marketing. Companies are known to spend heftily on market research and data that would be availed from this proposal would provide a comprehensive view of the mind of the consumers in the gaming industry. This research would also unveil challenges that customers experience while playing this game. Revelation of challenges would provide insight on how to solve problems related to features such as spacing and player interdependence. Besides, the government requires such information in order to establish important measures of regulating activities in the industry and prepare for future advancement in technology in this industry. Additionally, this study would unveil important facts that the industry can employ to stay relevant in the face of technological advancement.
Significance and Innovation
This research targets the most played games in the world, that is, league of Legends. Understanding user experience in terms of interactivity, space, design and interaction system from the users’ point of view is quintessential in mapping the future of gaming industry. Despite the fact that e-sport has existed almost a decade before League of Legends in Riot Games was made, no company has managed to attract gaming with such level of intensity. So far, riots is known to control every aspect of professional league right up to the music composed for the sake of live events. It runs many tournaments across the world with its independent slick broadcasting operation that stream to many other Internet video sites, fully set with highlight reels and commentators. According to a market research firm known as SuperData, League of Legends boasts about having eight times the number of players actively playing Dota 2, its closest competitor in multiplayer online platform. The above information illustrates the intensity and influence of League of Legends in the world today such that a study on one of the most successful gaming platform would fuel future developments in the gaming industry.
The main problem addressed by the study is how gaming, which mostly serves as a leisure activity, can be utilized for educational and training purposes for students and people in different professions who need to learn strategies and concentration. Popularity and availability of gaming tools in developed countries had raised numerous questions regarding the way it influences human life. Through an ethnographic research and survey, American Life Project and Pew Internet, found out that 70% of students in college played online or computer game at least once in a day and 65% are either occasional or regular players. This study aimed at exploring the impact of gaming technology in the lives of students in college. This data reveals the extent of the problem. In response, this study is strategic at this era when many more games would be invented and it’s important that the industry exploit various advantages that a game like League of Legends can bring. By analyzing various aspects of the game such as interactivity, space and interdependence, the study would reveal advancement in simulation through games: a technology that can be used to the advantage of users. In other words, it would illustrate how damaging effects of gaming can be mitigated while enhancing the positive effects of gaming especially among students and professionals. A good example is the United States Army having a tendency of distributing video games freely as a way of recruiting people because simulations can foster strategic thinking among military personnel and sport persons. Therefore, this proposal would solve a common problem in the modern era.
In the course of this project, a new methodology that would be unveiled is amplification of input and probing principles. These principles entails gaining more from gaming experience and engagement in hypothesis building, cycles of action and inquiry respectively. The study would challenge players of League of Legends to analyze features of the game and how it affects parts of their lives.
Approach and Methodology
This study would be a descriptive research. This is because aims at delineating social and psychological factors that propel people to play League of Legends. This study would be a qualitative research to differentiate occurrence of two distinct phenomenons namely; playing League of Legends and psycho-social characteristics of the players. Qualitative research is more suitable for this study over quantitative study because it is more objective thus capable of relating two variables and specifying designs and features that can enhance online user experience. It would assume a particular sample of players to represent the whole population of players involved in competing in League of Legends. Additionally, use of qualitative research in this study would help in examining complex questions that cannot be answered with qualitative methods. For example, does knowledge of programming makes a player more competitive in League of Legends? How does simplification of the game impact both experienced and armature players? How much time do professional players dedicate in practicing their skills for the game?
This study would focus on players in specific cities and centers where League of Legends is played as well as students in the nearest university identified to play this game. It would also gather the views of managers of various companies involved in gaming.
This study design is causality studies. The study, it would demonstrate how adjusting various user experiences would attract more players or generate positive feedback from people. The design would utilize Empirical associations to draw valid conclusion from information received by establishing connection between League of Legends (independent variable) and Psycho-social reasons (dependent variable). Additionally, non spuriousness, which is the relationship between 2 variables that are not influenced by 3rd variable such as age of the player, would be used.
The first action would entail creation of characters in the League of Legends so that research can gain experience of the way the game is played without entirely depending on the views of the respondents. This would be followed by conducting virtual ethnography of in-game activities. In order to balance the view of the game maximally, one person would select a player oriented profession and another chose an entertainer.
Research Plans and Timeline
Researchers would then be logged in at least twice in a span of one week or even more for not less than two hours for more than a period of two months and eventually join community of players. As the character evolved, researchers would join a player city. Data collection and analysis would take four months.
Method of collecting virtual data
A video camera would be used to record all the activities. The camera would be directly connected to PC’s video cards in order to provide rich set of ethnographic data to frame understanding of the game.
Qualitative Observation of the Game
Observing behaviors and activities of the players is useful in understanding their social and psychological intents for playing League of Legends. Thus, researchers would identify important locations in the game where most players regularly congregate. This would be followed by creation of two additional characters then placed in strategic location and constantly connected to the server for a period of one month. Visible activities happening in the two locations would be recorded. For this purpose, “/log” command would be used to capture the contents of chat boxes from players into a text file. This file would harbor all the records of all public gestures and utterances made by visitors in every location. While data would be accumulating, the researchers would continue with ethnographic observation with more attention give to two locations.
Methods of sampling
The most suitable method would be simple random sampling to reduce bias and foster accuracy of data. This method is a probability sampling technique making it possible for any player to be selected.
Data collection instruments
To understand how specific social factors influence people in online gaming, the researcher would administer structured questionnaires to the participants. Few open Questionnaires would also be used use to gather personal reasons for playing League of Legends and the features that excite them the most.
Data collection methods
This would be a qualitative research. Interviews would help gather personalized psycho-social behaviors of players. The researchers will engage in one on one interview with the selected respondents to get immediate honest feedback, observe non-verbal cues and follow up on certain questions for clarity. The interviews would be recorded on a video and would last about fifteen minutes. Participants will only be allowed to talk at their personal comfort as any form of coercion can contribute to incorrectness of data. The process would run for maximum of 3 days. This duration of time is adequate for the researcher to analyze the entire process and perhaps make adjustments.
Data analysis of virtual data
After the study, series of tools would be built to process the logs. The researchers would write small parser to format every line of the logs and also use in extraction of the most important data. The parser would rely in dictionary to identify gestures used by players as well as directionality. After parsing, the researchers would safety store the data in a mySQL database for more analysis in the future. The database would have simply structure that is segmented in each line of the logs into other parts to identify the people interacting, the matter of interaction, chat or gesture, the exact point of interaction, date, time and the content (social command used).
Just like any other research, this study will be conducted by observing key ethical tenets. First, the researchers would have to read and understand all the emerging ethical issues and codes pertaining to research on online gaming.
Consent and Permissions
The researchers would require the consent of respondents before interviewing them and recording the conversation on video or audio. A legal document would be obtained and every respondent would be required to sign and if a respondent refuses, the researchers would not attempt to gather any information from him or her. In universities, the researchers would require an official communication from administration permitting them to access the students for the reasons related to research only. In regard, the leader would visit administration of the respective university and explain the objectives of the research before being allowed. If an administrator refuses, researchers would find a different target population for the study. Also, in the centers where players congregate, they would have to ask authorities for permission to observe and also be involved. In other words, they would have to follow all the rules and regulations stipulated in the gaming industry. For instance, researchers would purchase the gaming software through the right channels and not in the black market or hacked versions of the game that are available online. The receipt would be retained as evidence for purchase.
Because this study would involve players of the game, it is important that their identity is preserved and the researcher not write their true names. If they are not assured that their identity is protected, the researchers may not obtain honest information from them or most of them may desist from participation. Proving tactical information before online competition can be regarded as cheating and a form of external interference. Therefore, the researcher must only interview the responds before competition and only observe their moves and preparations before gaming begins. Since researchers would also be involved in playing league of legends, they would have to consider issues of friendship carefully. It would be easy for forge an online relationship with other players due to lack of facial or vocal expression involved in communication. Therefore, they would have to proceed with high caution and not release secret information pertaining to the research.
Observing the law
Researchers would embody good behavior and desist from activities that are against the law. One the common behaviors the researchers would avoid is cyber bulling. In the context of this research, cyber bulling can entail coercion of another player to forcefully give certain information or hurl insults at a player for refusing to answer questions or interact with the researcher. A research would be mandated not only to desist from such compromising behaviors but also to report to the relevant authority when bullied online especially threat of violence, hate crime or extortion. To ensure that none of the activities that the researchers would engage do cause a conflict, the researcher would consult a lawyer before proceeding with any course of action.