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The enjoyment of griefing in online games

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This article expands on the use of self-determination theory (SDT) as an explanation for enjoyment in video games. Two different types of players with contrasting gameplay styles were examined and compared using the theory: griefers, who enjoy engaging in activities meant to disrupt other players’ game experience, and more community-focused players. A two-condition experiment (randomly assigning respondents to complete different survey prompts) was used to examine griefers’ satisfaction of SDT needs compared to their levels of enjoyment when griefing others and if their gameplay style hinders their enjoyment or not when compared to community players. Results support the relationship between SDT need satisfaction and enjoyment, and indicate that griefers enjoy their gameplay style as much as community-based players, despite the antisocial nature of the gameplay style resulting in differing levels of need satisfaction. The results show the relationship between the three SDT needs and enjoyment based on an emphasis on the importance players place on individual needs.
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Keywords: MMORPG; SIDE model; World of Warcraft; griefing; online gaming; self-determination theory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: West Virginia University

Publication date: 01 September 2015

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  • The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds focuses on theoretical and applied, empirical, critical, rhetorical, creative, economic and professional approaches to the study of electronic games across platforms and genres as well as ludic and serious online environments.
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