New tool can predict gamers' MMO behaviour

MMOs - predictable?
MMOs - predictable?

A tool developed by researchers from North Carolina State University can now apparently predict the behaviour of players in MMOs, which could mean some startling new developments for gamers.

Apparently the tool can predict with an accuracy of 80 per cent, what players in online games are about to do – and this knowledge could help shape the games of the future.

"We are able to predict what a player in a game will do based on his or her previous behaviour, with up to 80 percent accuracy," said report co-author Brent Harrison.

"In a game like World of Warcraft, which is constantly developing new content, this could help guide content design decisions."

14,000 players

Apparently WoW was used for the research with 14,000 players tracked to work out what people did in various situations.

The more cynical might suggest that for most players in an MMO outside of raids and PVP, 80 per cent of the time is probably spent in a 'see mob, kill mob' grind, which would be fairly predictable, but hey ho.

"A good game stands on its own," said the report's other co-author Dr. David L Roberts.

"If you want to improve it, you have to make sure players will like any changes you make.

"This research can help researchers get it right, because if you have a good idea of what players like, you can make informed decisions about the kind of storylines and mechanics those players would like in the future."

Some of the trends that were spotted make for a really interesting read – and if you are willing to peek behind the curtain in to MMOs then the report may well be worth a look.

We're yet to discover whether it can predict how players respond to endless guild join request you are spammed with, or whether it can predict at which point you sign off in disgust after being griefed by a Rogue.

NCSU news via Slashdot

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.