I’ve given some thought to the reasons gaming and MMO’s specifically cause such heavy addiction. In this post, I’ll touch on what I believe causes that addiction, and how GW2 may not be targeting it.
Gaming is quickly becoming an incredibly mainstream source of entertainment, and Sony and Microsoft’s dream of having a console in every household is close at hand. Gaming seems to be here to stay. But what makes it so interesting?
As has been stated many times in recent news articles, generation Y looks for instant gratification. They like to see themselves rewarded, and why not? It feels good to cross something off your checklist. It grants a sense of accomplishment, whether deserved or not.
However, its not just Gen Y that seeks this, everyone “would.” It’s only Gen Y that seeks to take advantage of the opportunities out there that gives you that little buzz. Due mainly to the ruination of social norms, like the rampancy of sex in the media contributing to the rise in teenage pregnancy, kids aren’t chastised for looking for the cheap way out. “Don’t worry hunny! You’re not a little dirty slut! We’ll just abort the baby, you look so pretty with your makeup on, remember, dont trust a rubber, take the pill! Bye hunny, im going to work, be home in 8 hours! Dinners in the fridge!”
Rather than seeking to cross out large accomplishments off your list, such as, “getting happily married, raising a successful family, garnering a successful career,” we are instead content with, “getting 3 stars on Angry Birds 8-2.”
As I said before, while not a huge accomplishment, it is roughly the equivalent to taking a big ole sniff of a permanent market. It lasts only briefly and leaves you wanting more. Ever wonder why WoW and Diablo 2 have such horrible communities? Its because the 90% of the players going through withdraw. Either they reached max lvl too fast and have nothing left to do, or an item hasn’t dropped in the last 8 hours of continual play. Their crashing; scratching their necks, eyes red, waiting for their next fix.
Now, this write-up is not about whether this outlook is good or bad for us, the gamer. In the long-term, im almost sure its a bad thing. Either way, this write-up is about how GW2 can benefit with this type of mentality, or seek to change the model by appealing to a broader sense of satisfaction (if thats even possible at this point in time.)
It would be important to discuss what types of gaming accomplishments work the best. To start with, we can look at achievements, since they are essentially the embodiment of a checklist, for gaming.
I tried achievements, and just didn’t get hooked. I was probably too old for it, because when it became mainstream, I immediately felt it was the baby drug. “I’m too old for that, been through too much to start that junk. I didn’t need that stuff when I gamed, I have all my achievements on a 8 mb PS2 memory card!”
Regardless. Its clear achievements have a home for some crowds and work well as a side dish to the main meal. But that’s all it is; potatoes. A game can’t last with just potatoes. Wheres the meat?
In WoW, the proverbial meat became purple items. Epic rarities, whether it was mounts, armors, recipes, or anything else that could be added with 2 lines of code, a piece of art, and require 3 weeks of the players time to earn.
Some may argue that it wasn’t the destination, it was the ride. Grouping up with your friends, learning boss fights and finally downing them. I would say that accomplishment is well founded and well deserved and much more attuned to winning the tri-county softball championship, at least compared to farming a mob for /3 days played until a purple mount drops.
But in the end, the only memento you have of that boss fight is the achievement and the purple item. And while you always remember the first time, all the ones in between start getting a little hazy forcing you to bust out the toys and get into some strange **** that even your perverted Uncle Steve might be embarrassed to talk about. In short, you resort to alternatives…different games, different modes, genres, hell, maybe even PVP.
Bottom line is, no matter how epic the battle, after doing it a few times, it gets stale. I’m looking at you, dynamic events. Players WILL get tired of killing the Shatterer. I hate to say it, because the boss fight looks so damn cool, but it WILL happen. But hey, there’s a very simple solution to this. Just continue to release content at superhuman speed. 3 New dragon fights a week, with completely different mechanics should do it. Sarcasm aside, this is an impossible feat. A developer simply can not pump out content at the speed it takes players to conquer it.
However, Blizzard figured out a trick. “Force the player to replay content to get their items!” Items became the bottleneck and allowed Blizzard to control the length between each expansion.
How is Arena.net going to accomplish this when there is no growth in items? In the PvP side of things, there is no problem. I haven’t even touched on competitive aspect of accomplishment, but its important to note the other side of the coin. Defeating other players offers an unlimited amount of enjoyment and sense of accomplishment and doesn’t need to be touched on in this article. But Arena.net isn’t advertising GW2 as [I]just[/I] a pvp game.
They are severely underestimating players ability to fly through content and severely underestimating players ability to get bored of content. I simply don’t see how PvE can be sustained in a game with no purple items to strive for. Without the need to replay content, people will be satisfied with their first, second, or third kill. Whats going to draw them back for the 4th, 5th, 10th kill? Whats going to keep them around for the expansion?