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Using the Big 5 to Determine Player-Character Personality Consistencies in Guild Wars 2

Project Dates: 
October 2012
Project Description: 

Cross-situational personality consistency has been of interest in social psychology since the 1960s. With the advent of the Internet, a new range of “situations” has been presented for investigating human behavior in online environments. This research uses online gaming as a site to examine the cross-situational consistency between players and their characters. Guild Wars 2, a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, introduces an in-game personality metric for characters; from three initial personality types (“charming,” “honorable,” and brutish”), characters can develop new personalities based on their players’ in-game actions and decisions with non-player characters (NPCs). Do players choose a personality consistent with their own to assign their avatars, and is this personality consistent with their actions in the game world? This research determines if associations between player and character personalities exist through self-reported Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) measures and character personality as assigned by the player at the time of character creation and personality development after game play. Initial results of this study find several trends in the ways players cultivate their characters’ personality to mirror their own, which suggests cross-situational consistency may be present when shifting from offline to certain online contexts.