Terra Novan and mediated interaction researcher Nick Yee has posted on the Terra Nova website an announcement that World of Warcraft player data he and a few PARC researchers are collecting is now up for review and discussion on the PlayOn blog.
If you’re like me then World of Warcraft by itself doesn’t mean much other it being an online videogame. However, the information they’re extracting is pretty interesting. I may not know what’s happening at “level 40”, but comments like the following are easy to understand:
Plotting playing time against level by guild involvement shows several interesting trends. Playing time increases dramatically for guilded players right before level 40. Because of the new skills and mount granted at level 40, it makes sense that players may increase their playing time to achieve those goals. Perhaps being in a guild facilitates this because other guild members encourage and help players reach level 40 when they get close to it, thereby increasing playing time.
Sounds like the academic version of how I imagine Massive’s system operates. Interesting (and perhaps a little scary). But if I’m an advertiser, I know where I want my ads placed… right around whatever it is in level 40 that’s making players spend more time online (I’m imagining there’s some location-specific activity or item required for the player to level up).