Friday, August 31, 2007

Good versus Addictive

MMORPGs sell well usually because one of two things; either they're good, and people enjoy playing them, or they're addictive, and people can't bring themselves to stop playing them.

Most people who have played MMORPGs have some insight in the nature of addiction; it's what happens when you see something you don't overly enjoy, but you can't bring yourself to stop doing it. (Technically, an addiction is a "compulsion or overpowering urge to use a substance, regardless of potential or actual harm", but who's counting?) Addictive MMORPGs will offer you a fun and easy start, where everything is smaller than you and gives you great (relatively speaking) rewards. They'll hook you up to leveling, loot and quests so that you have a feeling of accomplishment when those happen, thus insuring that you will WANT to play the game. Then you're hooked.

Good games, however, will present you content that is thoroughly enjoyable all along, and let you decide how to spend your time - thus ensuring that you enjoy the parts you like most while minimizing the tedious ones. Good games don't need to bribe you with levels and big loot, they only need to present you with activities you might find enjoyable, and let you play them. Then you're hooked.

The big difference, in my opinion, stems from the fact that you are better off after a Good game - you've enjoyed yourself, and are happier. Addictive games, however, will try to present you with more goals to reach, with less regard to the actual enjoyability of reaching these goals.

Some of the upcoming games right now seem to have understood the distinction, and seek to give you an enjoyable experience with innovative design and non-repetitive events. They might not be the skill-boasting free-to-explore MMORPG of tomorrow's dreams, but they try their best to entertain the players, rather than hook them, and that is certainly worthy of mention.

1 comment:

Arlianne said...

Yeah, this is how WoW and EQ2 are for me. WoW is the addictive one, while EQ2 is the good one.