Keuter, Lukas (2020).
Why we play whom we play: On the correlation between player personality and choice of avatar [Bachelor of Arts]. Technische Hochschule Köln.
While there have been a lot of studies dealing with the effects that the human personality has on general gameplay or character creation, most prominently in role-playing games, close to none seem to focus on the choice of avatar when players are presented a roster of options. Aiming attention especially on competitive action games, this paper aims to find an answer to the questions of how we choose to put ourselves into digital media and what the decision says about us and our personality. Understanding the player is key to designing good games and getting to know the human psyche can enhance the experience tremendously, therefore the approach was to analyze existing theories, filter out possible explanations concerning the reasons for character choice, work those into a questionnaire and conduct a survey that was then analyzed and evaluated. Example games consisted of League of Legends, Overwatch and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, while Lewis Goldberg’s Big Five model was used as the psychological foundation for determining each participant’s personality traits. The results show that our reasons for choosing a specific avatar are very individual and manifold, while there is indeed a connection to be found between the choice made and the respective psychological profile, which even differs from title to title – most notably the correlation between a player’s neuroticism score and their League of Legends main. With more data to back up the findings, one could potentially predict preferences for future players and use them as a tool for decision guidance or even seek out which kinds of characters are being picked by possibly troubled individuals and rethink their design to allow for a properly helpful handling of all sorts of imaginable issues.