MMORPG psychology

What is it that makes people play so much? The list is probably as long as the code for what makes the warriors do what they do, but why do YOU play?

For me, it’s simple. I like to play computer games. Before WoW, my favorite genre was Real-time Strategy (RTS for n00bs out there). The top of my list in order of longetivity is Warcraft 2, Warcraft 3, Age of Empires, and some C&C Red Alert back in the day. I probably have more playing time under my belt than most 30 year-old pilots have in the cockpit, but would not say that I’m a great player at any of them.

I eventually beat nearly every game I get. I love a good First Person Shooter (FPS), beginning with Castle Wolfenstein, then Doom, Doom 2, Quake, Unreal, Quake 2, Quake 3, UT, Half-Life, and the list goes on. I like racing, flying, and yes, even text games. I don’t break any records, but I enjoy them to the fullest.

What has been true with all the games I’ve ever played is that they end. Some even have a “The End” screen.

Sure, there’s multi-player or mods, or custom scenarios that add unlimited replay value. Notice the problem with that sentence though: “replay.” Playing it over and over again.

Let’s contemplate WoW’s setup for a bit. First, you have 60 levels to get to what they call “end game instances.” That entails over 12 24-hour days of play time, many people even more. Gitr is up to about 7 1/2 days for level 43. Once you hit 60, you can play for months before you’re ready to take on the biggest, baddest bosses and use an unlimited number of group compositions to take them down. Let’s say you do all of that. THEN you can try to do it with another class or race. It’s too much work to calculate the combinations now because only certain races can be certain classes, but it comes out to about 30 different combinations of gameplay. Multiply that by an average of 30 days each for beating every boss.

Wait. There’s more. Then you can move to another server, say get some RP/PvP action where you get ganked every 10 minutes. Now we’re talking 50 days per toon.

I also play because I can choose between competing against the computer or human players at any time. I need to work with humans, which adds a huge attraction of uncertainty of the outcome. If I trip my PvP flag, I can suddenly be faced with the danger of encountering a flesh-and-blood adversary 17 levels higher than me.

Since I still live at home, the question has been posed, “Is there a 12-step program for getting off that game?” It really isn’t a matter of addiction for me, but that I’ve always switched to a new game by now because it ends. I would normally be on my third game by now. I haven’t even finished the Age of Empires 3 demo yet, nor Doom 3, and haven’t even gotten around to downloading the Call of Duty 2 demo (although I did ask for it for Christmas). If they really want me to stop playing WoW for a while, it’ll come. LOL

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