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Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-191X
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1928



In this article we describe an investigation of player expertise deployed as part of a mixed-methods longitudinal, multi-site study that examined whether and how players’ offline characteristics are recognizable in their online interactions in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs). After detailing our methodology and analytical toolkit, we narrow our focus to a case study that examines three players with previous experience in First-Person Shooter (FPS) games playing Rift (Trion Worlds 2011) (a fantasy-themed MMOG) for the very first time. This case study illuminates how interpretation of data can be inadvertently influenced by the researcher’s choice of technologies and methods employed in their study design. In particular, we demonstrate that initial research assessments of a player’s level of skill may be inaccurate and how the use of multiple data sources acts as a means for triangulating observations and analyses providing a richer – yet more complicated – view of player expertise.


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