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Fun, Addiction, People or All of the Above?

What entices up to millions of people to play online games such as MMO’s for example? For me personally I play World of Warcraft, and I find it’s more the people that are addictive rather than the game itself although everyone has their own reasons for playing their chosen game.

Yes I can get into mission mode where I will sit there for hours playing and testing then redesigning my toons stats to suit the new updates and raid content, but when it all boils down to it, half the time I’m logging on to see whose online, and this doesnt seem to matter which game it is. For me personally i find social games alot more enjoyable rather than a solo game where i can only interact with myself or computer.

Research has obviously been conduction and I once watched a video of how online gaming could save the world. This was actually an intriguing theory. Researches have put it down to something like this… we play online games for 4 different main reasons, with other little ones behind them.

  1. Hard fun
  2. Easy Fun
  3. Altered States
  4. People Factor

And I suppose I would tend to agree, but id obviously see it more from the gamers side rather than the research side. The Hard fun being the challenges, effort and thinking required to do some parts of the games, such as raids, hard quest lines or trying to figure out how to best gear/spec your toon.

The easy fun, being more the fun side of things obviously, that we don't pull our hair out over. The things already known, comfortable with, and maybe even challenging to a smaller degree. For some people this might be pvp, going back over old content, doing a simple task, exploring or whatever the game offers to them personally.

The Altered States in less fancy words, our emotions. The feeling of “Finally!!” after downing the boss you’ve been working on all week, or the extreme happiness when you win that epic mount everyone wants or even the extreme disappointment of grinding a dungeon for month and still hasn’t drop the loot you want.

And last but definitely not least, the People Factor. My personal favourite of playing MMO’s. The enjoyment of logging on and playing with friends you know or have met during game play. Even the simple things as the reading through the arguments of trade. Playing a game with real people especially if you are able to vent or Skype with them, always adds a change to each day. People’s moods, conversations etc. I definitely do believe it’s the people not the actual game that makes MMO’s addictive. They change each and everytime you log on.

All in all research aside, I think we all play for fun. Unless your one of the lucky ones who get paid to play games, then of course it would be your job. Games keep boredom at bay, well usually and when boredom kicks in, with large games such as World of Warcraft there is often an upgrade or expansion to the game comes out so your back to square one with your “gaming to do list”..