Motivational Profiling of League of Legends Players

Florian Brühlmann, Philipp Baumgartner, Günter Wallner, Simone Kriglstein, Elisa Mekler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
87 Downloads (Pure)


Player motivation is a key research area within games research, with the aim of understanding how the motivation of players is related to their experience and behavior in the game. We present the results of a cross-sectional study with data from 750 players of League of Legends, a popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game. Based on the motivational regulations posited by Self-Determination Theory and Latent Profile Analysis, we identify four distinct motivational profiles, which differ with regards to player experience and, to a lesser extent, in-game behavior. While the more self-determined profiles "Intrinsic" and "Autonomous" report mainly positive experience-related outcomes, a considerable part of the player base does not. Players of the "Amotivated" and "External" profile derive less enjoyment, experience more negative affect and tension, and score lower on vitality, indicating game engagement that is potentially detrimental to players' well-being. With regards to game metrics, minor differences in the rate of assists in unranked matches and performance indicators were observed between profiles. This strengthens the notion that differences in experiences are not necessarily reflected in differences in behavioral game metrics. Our findings provide insights into the interplay of player motivation, experience, and in-game behavior, contributing to a more nuanced understanding of player-computer interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1307
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • game analytics
  • latent profile analysis
  • MOBA
  • motivation
  • self-determination theory


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