Seeking Fulfillment: Comparing Role-Play in Table-top Gaming and World of Warcraft


  • Jason Pittman
  • Christopher Paul



role-playing game, MMORPG, multi-player massive online role-playing games, tabletop, players, game dynamics, fulfillment


In the midst of the massive growth in the numbers of people participating in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), study of the role-playing within these games is increasingly marginalized, as role-playing servers are developed to segregate player bases and as scholars increasingly focus on the non-role-playing aspects of online game play. We seek to
address that disconnection by studying relative levels of fulfillment and frequency of tabletop and online role-playing for World of Warcraft (WoW) subscribers.

Finally, demographic information taken from the players themselves aids in guiding future research about which type of role-play gamers are more likely to participate in and find fulfilling. By looking at the age, location, and gender of players the relative merits of each type of role-playing is discussed, pointing to strategies to capitalize on the strengths and minimize the failings of each venue for role-playing. This study aids both the online and offline gaming industry in better understanding their target role-playing audiences, while providing a grounded study of avid role-players to support analysis of game dynamics.




How to Cite

Pittman, J., & Paul, C. (2008). Seeking Fulfillment: Comparing Role-Play in Table-top Gaming and World of Warcraft. International Journal of Role-Playing, (1), 53–65.