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cboard_member
06-19-2006, 09:02 AM
I've never gotten into WoW and I don't intend to. Since I'm a novice game developer I've been doing as much research as I can in various places, but one place I haven't researched is "what keeps gamers coming back for more", in a way.

Since it's a truely massive online RPG and there's a good chance that a sizable group of people here play it, I thought I'd use it as my first case.

Whay makes it so damn addictive? I'm hearing of someone dying while (?) playing it because they starved themselves (or something to that effect). What is it the developers are doing to keep gamers coming back for more (or never leaving in some cases) ?

So, anyone who plays it (or not, I guess), shoot your thoughts into this thread. Me needs to do some gameplay research.

<offtopic>
Muse's Supermassive Black Hole is the best song I've heard all week.
</offtopic>

Quantum1024
06-19-2006, 09:10 AM
The reason they want to make it so addictive is because it's pay to play.

It's so addtictive because of the way the game is structured. There's that next level, that better weapon. Playing with other players adds a kind of realism to the game, making these better levels, weapons etc seem to mean more then in a single player rpg.

SlyMaelstrom
06-19-2006, 10:00 AM
Promise major updates that never come. ;)

Thantos
06-19-2006, 10:11 AM
Someone published a paper on why Everquest was addictive. It was probably close to 4 or 5 years ago.

One of the main reason for the addictive property is that it has multiple levels of random rewards. In a case involving mice, it was found that rewards offered up in a random fashion resulted in the mice preforming the same action more often.

I wasn't able to find it during a quick search but if no one links to it by the time I do find it (much later tonight) I'll link it.

As far as those who kill themselves because of the game I can only say thanks to the developers for helping improve the gene pool. Do we really need people like that reproducing?

Mario F.
06-19-2006, 11:32 AM
WoW is not alone. MMPORGs, MUDS and a few multiplayer games (Diablo II comes to mind) are generally very addictive. WoW is not even a phenomena. Everquest and Ultima Online where. As where MUDs before them. WoW just follows on their steps providing the same general formula.

The necessity many players (especially young people) have to feel they are strong/powerful/invincible is what makes these games so rewarding to many. That and the social interaction mostly based on their perceived characters, instead of the real person behind the character.

If a given game provides a progressive rewarding system in which power is the main concern, but also the game is developed around the notion that power establishes an hierarchy in the game, players flock in big numbers. If those rewards are then randomized somehow (Blizzard introduced this old concept to its own games starting with Diablo and made it an art in Diablo II. However MUDs where probably the ones inventing the concept), players stick to the game for much longer than what is probably advisable.

Skill is an element, but not the major one, to achieve a given reward. Persistence is the word. Some objects in Diablo II have "drop rates" so low, they closely match your chances at winning the lottery. And yet that is exactly what drives players to slowly get addicted to the game. The same feeling of... "hope" that makes people play the lottery.

The eyecandy a game may have to offer is not a factor. MUDs are renowned for being text based only and drawing players that dwarf most MMPORGs in numbers. However the game must establish a culture. And this is perhaps the most important reason to addictiveness. If the game is nothing more than rewards, it will fail. But if it is successful in establishing a culture that goes way beyond what the developers can code in any programming language, then you have a winner (for the developers. A nightmare for the parents).

That culture is usually clued in by game elements. It's up to the players to develop it. Programmers can only sit and cross their fingers. Guilds, Clans, certain objects, a layered society, races, allowing the so called "renames" or "alters", providing the skeleton for a in-game economics... all these clue the players to willingly or not create a game culture. Once that is established, the player can definitely become addicted for more (much more) than just a fortnight.

Rewards are fundamental. But without the social mimicking, any game is doomed to failure.

This is just my opinion.

MadCow257
06-19-2006, 11:44 AM
The Paper:
http://web.mit.edu/nhunter/www/wowresearch/wowaddiction.pdf

But don't make it too addictive :):
http://www.joystiq.com/2005/11/18/parents-suing-blizzard-for-world-of-warcraft-addiction/

SniperSAS
06-19-2006, 11:47 AM
I guess I am a freak because I bought it, played it for a few days and then maybe once a week for a month after that and then reformated my computer and never touched it again

I have yet to see an innovative or even well designed MMO but for some reason people keep eating them up

It should also be noted that WoW is no different from any other MMO, you hear about people dying for MMO's all the time, especially in Korea. Did anyone hear about the guy who murdered his friend because he sold a really good sword of his in game?

MadCow257
06-19-2006, 11:51 AM
http://www.firingsquad.com/news/newsarticle.asp?searchid=8201

Love this line

"Attempts to take the dispute to the police failed because there is currently no law in China to protect virtual property."

SniperSAS
06-19-2006, 12:07 PM
Oh he was chinese? My bad, I could've sworn he was korean

BobMcGee123
06-19-2006, 12:12 PM
wow makes your monitor emit pure heroin while you play.

That really happens...true story.

Quantum1024
06-19-2006, 12:41 PM
It does seem to be people living in asian countries who are more susceptible to WOW addiction. I think all of the WOW related deaths were asians. I don't really know why this would be the case.

Mario F.
06-19-2006, 01:16 PM
Many of those so-called deaths are probably the product of urban myths too. I wouldn't give them too much credibility unless the source is strong enough. The only thing convincing me of this particular incident was the link to BBC Online. The firingsquad article, on the other hand didn't remove my skepticism.

psychopath
06-19-2006, 01:26 PM
<offtopic>
@ahluka:
May I recommend "Stockholm Syndrome" and "Hysteria"? Those are my favorite songs by Muse. I haven't heard Supermassive Black Hole yet.
</offtopic>

BobMcGee123
06-19-2006, 07:12 PM
>>Many of those so-called deaths are probably the product of urban myths too. I wouldn't give them too much credibility unless the source is strong enough

*sigh* all right, somebody go to Mario's basement with a laptop and die.

SlyMaelstrom
06-19-2006, 08:05 PM
wow makes your monitor emit pure heroin while you play.

That really happens...true story.
That's not true! If it was, then I'd be addicted to heroin, and I'm not, because I can stop heroin anytime I want to.

Mario F.
06-19-2006, 08:07 PM
*sigh* all right, somebody go to Mario's basement with a laptop and die.

Can I pick?
I pick the Gotti family.

cboard_member
06-20-2006, 06:38 AM
<offtopic>
@psychopath: Okies, I'll have a look for them.
</offtopic>

Thanks guys, lots of little bits of useful info. Keep it coming!
(And I know there are more WoW / MMORPG fans here, show yourselves!)

Welshy
06-20-2006, 03:54 PM
Personally what makes online games addictive for me, is that playing with other people means that it's different every time, whereas playing against AI, the majority of the time they'll play the same.

This is what keeps me interested in counter strike anyway :P

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 04:27 PM
too bad we are talking about WoW where most of the time you are fighting AI mobs :eek:

SlyMaelstrom
06-20-2006, 05:04 PM
too bad we are talking about WoW where most of the time you are fighting AI mobs :eek:

Ewww! This guy doesn't play PvP! Hiss him!

*hiiiiissssssssss*

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 05:18 PM
Ewww! This guy doesn't play PvP! Hiss him!

*hiiiiissssssssss*

edit- let me change this post to a question actually

do you get experience points from fighting pvp? (serious question)

Cheeze-It
06-20-2006, 05:24 PM
WoW rules.

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 05:29 PM
WoW rules.

yeah i love paying a monthly fee to ceasely attack the same enemies over and over again until i finally get enough experience to see the numbers in a database increase slightly

edit- i would also like to personally thank you for that valuable contribution to the discussion

SlyMaelstrom
06-20-2006, 05:38 PM
edit- let me change this post to a question actually

do you get experience points from fighting pvp? (serious question)

No, who wants experience points? Then my twink would gain levels and my fungi wouldn't be as awesome.

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 05:41 PM
No, who wants experience points? Then my twink would gain levels and my fungi wouldn't be as awesome.

what level is your twink, level 1?

oh and what level is the character that got the equipment for your twink?

SlyMaelstrom
06-20-2006, 05:56 PM
I haven't played EQ in ages. My twink was in the 30s. Dwarf Rogue, all the standard twink gear, etc, etc. I got the gear for it myself with one of my level 65s.

No, but I did a lot of PvPing outside of my twink. It's just fun. I could never play on a PvE server. It's so boring.

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 06:00 PM
oh wait you are talking about everquest? nevermind then

Cheeze-It
06-20-2006, 06:10 PM
I was a druid in WoW.

SlyMaelstrom
06-20-2006, 06:34 PM
oh wait you are talking about everquest? nevermind then
There was a fungi in WoW?

XSquared
06-20-2006, 07:01 PM
Teh cyborz keeps me in WoW lawl.

But seriously, it's the social aspect of the game that keeps me there. The challenge of organizing 40 people to achieve the same thing is something that I really enjoy, especially looking back and seeing what we've done.

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 07:29 PM
There was a fungi in WoW?

I had no idea what you were talking about before, I have no idea what you are talking about now

I even had to look up the definition of "twink"


Teh cyborz keeps me in WoW lawl.

But seriously, it's the social aspect of the game that keeps me there. The challenge of organizing 40 people to achieve the same thing is something that I really enjoy, especially looking back and seeing what we've done.

yeah what a social challenge, standing in a city shouting "LFG 20 HUNTER" until someone invites you to a group :rolleyes:

if you consider that social put down the game controller and go outside for a few minutes, please

edit- maybe that is what keeps people playing WoW, the fact that they can waste their life on some bad game and still convince themselves they are doing something social

SlyMaelstrom
06-20-2006, 07:33 PM
I had no idea what you were talking about before, I have no idea what you are talking about now

I even had to look up the definition of "twink"

OMG U R A NUB! LOL!!!!!

XSquared
06-20-2006, 07:38 PM
>yeah what a social challenge, standing in a city shouting "LFG 20 HUNTER" until someone invites you to a group
>if you consider that social put down the game controller and go outside for a few minutes, please

No, it's the fact that my friends from University who are scattered all over the place all play with me, and it's a great way for us to get together and have some fun even though physical distance prevents us from actually getting together in person. I've also gained friends in-game who we've arranged get-togethers with.

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 07:47 PM
OMG U R A NUB! LOL!!!!!

STFU NO U MY 60 ON ANOTHER SERVER WOULD PWN U



No, it's the fact that my friends from University who are scattered all over the place all play with me, and it's a great way for us to get together and have some fun even though physical distance prevents us from actually getting together in person. I've also gained friends in-game who we've arranged get-togethers with.

i change my previous statement to

"yeah what a social challenge, calling your friends and saying "want to play some WoW" :rolleyes: "

here's a novel idea how about instead of paying an extra monthly fee for WoW you just talk to them on the phone like a sane person

Mario F.
06-20-2006, 07:48 PM
No, it's the fact that my friends from University who are scattered all over the place all play with me, and it's a great way for us to get together and have some fun even though physical distance prevents us from actually getting together in person. I've also gained friends in-game who we've arranged get-togethers with.

I's beautiful, isn't it? Making friends, killing virtual characters, paying for all of that.... I know. I'm a softy.

XSquared
06-20-2006, 07:49 PM
I never said it was a social challenge, but it's a good way to keep in touch regularly. We all have fun playing, and we get to harass old friends easily.

XSquared
06-20-2006, 07:50 PM
>I's beautiful, isn't it? Making friends, killing virtual characters, paying for all of that.... I know. I'm a softy.

It's a game, we have fun, we get to chat with friends. It's worth the $15/month to us. If you disagree, nobody's forcing you to do it.

Mario F.
06-20-2006, 07:53 PM
I disagree. Nobody forced me, therefore I am... not!

In the meanwhile don't take comments personally. I just happen to think the game is a waste of time. If you disagree, nobody is forcing you not playing it.

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 07:56 PM
social aspect of the game that keeps me there. The challenge

I never said it was a social challenge



It's a game, we have fun, we get to chat with friends. It's worth the $15/month to us.

like i said before you can have fun talking to friends over the internet or better yet on the phone

and you know there are online games that actually require teamwork, social interaction, and on top of all this don't require a monthly fee?

XSquared
06-20-2006, 08:03 PM
Okay, some clarification on what I said. I consider running raids/leading groups to be an organizational challenge, not a social one.

>like i said before you can have fun talking to friends over the internet or better yet on the phone
Yes, we could talk over the internet if we chose to, or the phone. But we all enjoy playing WoW, which allows us to do something other than just talk.

>and you know there are online games that actually require teamwork, social interaction, and on top of all this don't require a monthly fee?
So far we haven't found any other games that appeal to us more than WoW, and the $15/month is not an issue for us.

SlyMaelstrom
06-20-2006, 08:08 PM
I played EQ for 3 years at $10/month and managed to sell my account for $500, so moneywise it was worth it. I also played with plenty of people I know whom I went out with almost daily. It did a minor dent on my social life, but more so on my schoolwork and health due to lack of sleep.

It's not the worst hobby I've had. I managed to sell all my old Magic: The Gathering cards for just over $1100 and lord knows I spent more than that on those.

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 08:14 PM
well i can't really argue with "it is fun to me" since that really isn't an argument, and the same goes to "i don't care about paying a monthly fee even though there is no logic in that"

XSquared
06-20-2006, 08:16 PM
>i don't care about paying a monthly fee even though there is no logic in that
How is there no logic in it? Blizzard provides me with a service (having their servers available for me to play on the majority of the time). It's merely compensation for the service.

All I came here to do was state my opinion about the OP's question, not start a flame war. I realize that people think it's a waste of money and of time, but again, I personally find it enjoyable, and to each their own.

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 08:21 PM
How is there no logic in it? Blizzard provides me with a service (having their servers available for me to play on the majority of the time). It's merely compensation for the service.

Gee I wonder how guild wars manages to provide the exact same service for no cost, it couldn't possibly be because blizzard is just trying to make more and more profit at the expense of their customers



and to each their own.


I hope you are right, I am just afraid that once game developers realize they can charge people a monthly fee to play a worse version of the games they had before they are going to start doing that instead of making good games for the normal people

edit- I wonder what blizzard would have made if they weren't working on World of Warcraft :(

SlyMaelstrom
06-20-2006, 08:32 PM
What are you joking? Most of the paying MMORPGs are vastly superior because you pay. That money goes to permanent GMs that manage account, bug, and server issues. Everquest had regular updates every few days. No bug lasted more than a week and entire new patches came out regularly. That money was well spent. Trust me, I played plenty of free RPGs and they sucked compared to Everquest. If you have the money and plan on wasting time with RPGs anyway, then the money is well spent.

Guildwars is attempting to make a game that so many MMORPGs have tried before it. A perfectly balanced, fun for all levels multiplayer game. It simply doesn't work. Players find issues and exploit them immediately. There will be weak races and classes and gear and you can't change that. I'm thinking it won't go much further than Shadowbane.

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 08:38 PM
What are you joking? Most of the paying MMORPGs are vastly superior because you pay. That money goes to permanent GMs that manage account, bug, and server issues. Everquest had regular updates every few days. No bug lasted more than a week and entire new patches came out regularly. That money was well spent. Trust me, I played plenty of free RPGs and they sucked compared to Everquest. If you have the money and plan on wasting time with RPGs anyway, then the money is well spent.

Jesus you better not be comparing actual RPGs like Planescape or Fallout to everquest


I'm thinking it won't go much further than Shadowbane.

plan on backing that up at all or can i just ignore that entire paragraph

Mario F.
06-20-2006, 08:42 PM
I hope you are right, I am just afraid that once game developers realize they can charge idiots a monthly fee to play a worse version of the games they had before they are going to start doing that instead of making good games for the normal people

It is starting unfortunately. And Blizzard has been doing that since Diablo II. The bit about paying is just now starting. But with Diablo II they started providing since day 1 service packs which reflect mostly the online gammers community wishes and balance concerns, skewing the single-player version in the process. Considering this online community is just a tiny margin of the total universe of Diablo II players (that is, most are single players enjoying the game offline), the logic of this move eludeed me for some time until WoW arrived. Then it became clear.

What I find fascinating, and somewhat scary, is that people actually are starting considering paying more than $50 to play a game. WoW and a few others are starting to instill the notion that "you have to pay to keep playing". Just as we heard from our friend over there, he accepts that naturally. That is scary... $300 at the end of the year in one game, instead of the usual $50 and yet nothing new is being provided that gamming companies didn't provide before for free.

That is a lot of money. And as you say, game developing companies are probably just realizing the potential and will soon tap into it.

SlyMaelstrom
06-20-2006, 08:44 PM
No, I would never. Singleplayer and multiplayer games are completely different and have their own advantages and disadvantages. I had amazing fun with Planescape Torment, Fallout 1 and 2, Icewind Dale, both Baldur's Gates, the first, second, and each time through after that. But if you add up the hours I spent on all that, it wasn't close to the hours I played EQ. And the gameplay in EQ always changed with each expansion pack.

I can't say singleplayer or online is better or worse. They're just different.

SniperSAS
06-20-2006, 08:47 PM
I can't say singleplayer or online is better or worse. They're just different.

We are talking about MMORPGs here not just single player and multiplayer modes in games

SlyMaelstrom
06-20-2006, 08:50 PM
plan on backing that up at all or can i just ignore that entire paragraph

They have the same idealistic goals about MMORPGs. Things that will never happen because the developers won't pay enough attention to the game. They won't update enough, they're get the same old bugs, and servers will go down constantly. The same thing that happens with all free RPGs. It's the reason capitalism works... income makes people work harder and do more. That's why people put more trust into paying games like EQ and WoW.

Just like single and multiplayer games, you really can't compare billed and free games. They have different lifespans. Guild Wars could be great game. It's beautiful and from what I hear the gameplay is fun, but they're in a whole because they don't have income from their members. The more people play, the laggier the servers get... etc. And they can't start charging now because that will send their fan base away.


We are talking about MMORPGs here not just single player and multiplayer modes in gamesUmmm... we were talking about MMORPGs until you brought Planescape and Fallout out of left field.