In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide
, Jesse Upchurch, student in the Axia College of the University of Phoenix, presents case studies and points of contention surrounding the debated addictive quality of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.
In his introduction, Upchurch describes the qualities of MMORPG's that can lead to its addictive draw:
"The encompassing nature of these games has led to addiction. MMORPGs feature in-game player driven economies. Players can spend hours looking for deals or trying to buy or sell goods and equipment. WoW also features its own in-game auction house, which is similar to EBAY. In-game currency (Gold, Silver, and Copper) is so valuable in these games that it can be bought off websites for real money and mailed to a character in the game. The going rate is roughly $15 for 100 gold. The real-world market for this gold is so demanding and competitive that other countries where this game is played people are paid to "farm" gold. When players kill a certain type of creature or mob repeatedly to try to get a certain item to drop from them, it is considered farming.
Questing and farming are the major time expenses in MMORPGs. Item drops are based on percentage rolls calculated within the game. Low and mid-level quests can require up to five players and can take varying amounts of time depending on the level of the characters and skill of the players. Usually they can be completed in less than two hours. High-level quests, on the other hand, can take three to five hours to complete.
Gamers must be willing to put in the time required to complete these quests or raids. Players that want to be able to find each other or play together can form guilds within the game. Raids are usually only conducted by individual guilds and can require as few as 10 players or as many as 40, so players are accountable to their guild mates. Voice communication programs such as Teamspeak or Ventrilo are usually required. These programs help players coordinate strategy and build friendships. Guilds have been known to schedule raids as many as four days a week. Often to maintain a good standing in a guild, players will have to sacrifice more time than they might normally expect to participate in raids or high-level quests. The experience of coordinating with others and the stress and excitement of this type of game play has very addicting qualities."
You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature
to read more about addictive games, including case studies of recent and recovered MMO addicts (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).