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  • 1.
    Larsson, Jonathan
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies.
    Amigo Arias, Alberto
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies.
    Fun with Death and Failure: An exploration of player experiences in a decentralized open world RPG2014Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Many modern single-player role-playing games offer the player a power fantasy where the experience is designed to make the players feel powerful right from the start, with enemies and challenges that scale to the player characters level and abilities. This study explores what happens with play when power fantasy is replaced with decentralization and especially how this decentralization affects the player’s experience of failure and death.

    To explore this, three experienced The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim-players played the game with the modification Requiem - The Roleplaying Overhaul. After the participants had played at home for at least 8 hours they each participated in individual semi-structured interviews about their experiences. The interviews were transcribed and a grounded theory coding was performed. Finally the results were analyzed to find common themes.

    The study found that there was initial frustration due to expecting a power fantasy experience but once players adapted, the increased difficulty of decentralization was enjoyable as long as the player’s agency was not taken away and the world and its difficulty was logical. While the scope of the study is too small to draw generalizable conclusions it nevertheless shows that decentralized, difficult games work well for certain players. Future research is required on how to mitigate the effects of the initial obstacle.

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