Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) can sometimes be
associated with patterns of play that are harmful to health and well-being. Hazardous MMORPG play has been linked to hostility (towards other people). However, little is known about how hostility, as a risk-factor, relates to players' choices within games, or players' experiences of the positive aspects of MMORPGs. Here, we surveyed 5,847 players of Jagex's RuneScape to examine how trait hostility relates to player-roles, prioritising skill acquisition/improvement (Skillers), combat (Killers), or narrative challenges (Questers).
Killers reported slightly higher levels of trait hostility than Skillers and Questers. The most hostile players reported the strongest importance of in-game relative to offline achievements, possibly indicating hazardous involvement. Critically, hostile players also report the strongest cognitive and social benefits. These include (i) skills acquired through MMORPGs that help players to achieve things in their offline lives and (ii) online relationships that benefit offline
relationships. These findings offer a new perspective on the way that a previously reported risk factor for harmful MMORPG play relates to player engagement, possibly by offering a helpful space for hostile individuals to develop problem-solving and social skills. Hence, those individuals who might be vulnerable to developing harmful patterns of MMORPG play
may simultaneously experience stronger tangible benefits.