MMORPGS as we all know are notorious for their “addictive” game-play. But we as MMORPG gamers know from personal experience that while some games draw us in and never let go, others never seem to interact with us that deeply. In my case it started with my first MMO: Final Fantasy XI. I was a resident Elvaan on the Carbuncle server for four years playing nearly everyday for multiple hours. My Senior year in highschool I finally quit the game, the drama inside had become too much and was beginning to bleed over into real life. I met people in there that are still friends of mine to this day in virtual worlds. My life in Vanadiel was just as important as my real life because of the people I met and the communication I had with people all over the world inside Vanadiel (Boy did that Elvaan like to talk!). But could this be one of the driving factors for what takes a hold of gamers in certain games and not others? Since leaving Final Fantasy XI, I have tried a myriad of different MMO’s and never had that same draw and desire to keep playing as I did with FFXI. There is no desire to grind out to the next level, to get that next tier gear, to make it to that new zone. What I have noticed is that there is less engagement with me personally in these other games with the games and players themselves. While admittedly at first I was a silent solo player in FFXI, Sandoria would not let me be solo for long. I needed help killing sheep and learning how to get better gear, a Red Mage is kind of difficult to solo for a guy not used to spell casting. This is especially with casting being interrupted so easily in that game( at least it was at launch ). But this leads me to my point, how do game development companies try to foster this “addiction” to keep people playing there game, to keep people coming back for more. How is it that they quantify and categorize something that the gamer’s themselves have trouble expressing at times. To this day I am still not exactly sure what kept me wanting to come back to that Samurai/Dark Knight (only when I was goofing around you had to be sub THF in a party). I knew I just wanted to get back online, grind out that next level, get the money for the new piece of equipment or kill that NM. I wanted to chat with my linkshell, and the players in Jueno, and meet new people in parties. But why? Did I want to do that? Or were these actions a justification in themselves? I do not know, but I would like to hear from other people about what kept them coming back to their games of choice and kept them playing day after day. Maybe we can find a common vein something that links all MMO gamers together in their MMO experience that can help Game Developers refine the game making process and make better MMOs, because I have played some poor games. Now in know way am I advocating or promoting gaming addiction, or that developers are looking to cultivate it. I am just looking for common threads that made games appealing to different gamers. Because generally people dont get pulled into something based on the things that they don’t like.
-Good Luck and Good Hunting,