Jul 01

The future of MMORPGs and Addiction

The problem with MMORPG’s is that like alcohol and drugs, they are a fun outlet for people with addictive personalities to latch unto. The way to avoid getting hooked online is to keep ambition out of your gameplay 100%. Let me elaborate on this premise a bit, while there are realistic goals and ridiculous goals, the fact that you place goals on a game that you play daily with real people, you will risk obsession in attaining them. If your goal is to make level 80 and that’s it then wonderful, but if your goal is to become the most elite warrior on your server at level 80 then you have opened up a new can of worms.

Goals Lead to Addiction (Full Set of Armor)
When you have lofty goals that take grinding to attain ie: a full set of matching armor, pvp prowess or badges, then you will be addicted before long. When you become hooked it will not be immediately apparent to you because you will make excuses for yourself when confronted. You will make statements such as “oh I really don’t play that much” or “I just want to get the last piece to my set of armor”. While this makes sense to you, for the outsiders living regular lives, you will appear to have a problem.

Friday Night – Social or Online
Many MMORPG players are people who have regular happy lives and couples even log in together on an Everquest to run a campaign together but you also have a few single people who have made the game their social outlet. Yes the stereotype of the pale loser nerd in his mom’s basement is played out but the reality is there are many people like this. They may not be in a basement but they are in their single bedroom apartment with black sheets covering the windows. Come Friday night they aren’t heading out to happy hour they are urging you to stay and raid for 6 hours with them. These people will guilt trip you or punish you for not complying, the latter is easily spotted when you read the guild charter.

Guilds Are A Double-Edged Sword
To get ahead in many online games you will have to team up with people in some sort of guild or team. These guilds are organized by “leaders” who draft up a charter and a set of rules to which members are meant to abide to. This construct is usually welcome because believe it or not most people like order and a set of rules to play by. While guilds can be awesome fun for you new players, be sure to read the charter well and look for signs of “hardcore” gaming and avoid signing up as it will lead to marathon grinding. Red flags fly when you see items such as “people who raid MUST be available 8 hrs on Fridays – Sundays” normally followed by some nonsense about this dedication leading to you being the top guild on the server. Who cares? Is impressing a bunch of nerds with your shiny prize for spending 40+ hours of your life in some rendered dungeon worth years of your life?

So choose to play wisely and when you do be sure to sign up for guilds classified as “casual” or just go for the ones who don’t have a book worth of rules. At the end of the day you want to be able to have fun and log out without punishment right? Follow these few tips and your chance of being hooked on an MMORPG will be reduced immensely.

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