The Proficiency-Congruency Dilemma: Virtual Team Design and Performance in Multiplayer Online Games

Jooyeon Kim, Brian Keegan, Sungjoon Park and Alice Oh. International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2016

Multiplayer online battle arena games provide an excellent opportunity to study team performance. When designing a team, players must negotiate a proficiency-congruency dilemma between selecting roles that best match their experience and roles that best complement the existing roles on the team. We adopt a mixed-methods approach to explore how players negotiate this dilemma. Using data from League of Legends, we define a similarity space to operationalize team design constructs about role proficiency, generality, and congruency. We collect publicly available data from 3.36 million players to test the influence of these constructs on team performance. We also conduct focus groups with novice and elite players to understand how players’ team design practices vary with expertise. We find that the two factors, player proficiency and team congruency, both increase team performance, with the former having a stronger impact. We also find that elite players are better at balancing the two factors than the novice players. These findings have implications for players, designers, and theorists about how to recommend team designs that jointly prioritize individuals’ expertise and teams’ compatibility.

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