World of Warcraft Grinding, Addiction, and You

Published by • August 4th, 2008 RSS News Feed
I spent this afternoon looking over some wired articles from last week and found one in particular that made me smirk a bit.
My experience in MMORPG gaming is pretty extensive and one common annoyance that is a mainstay in modern day gaming is the what I like to call the donkey-carrot element. It is this element that drives addiction and is necessary in order to keep people playing games indefinitely.
Getting into World of Warcraft for the first time means hours of grinding: performing the same tasks over and over to “level up” a character. But far from being boring, grinding is one of the great unsung joys of gaming.

Last week, I finally decided to start playing World of Warcraft again. And you know what that means: Exciting medieval adventures! Chess-like strategizing with guildmates over raid techniques!

And, of course, grinding.

Hours upon hours of mind-numbing grinding.

The article goes on to discuss the psychology behind grinding, and why despite this truly burdensome element, people continue to pay monthly subscriptions. Without going into too much psychology, a subject of which I am a novice and an expert in my own

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mind, let me offer the simplest explanation for the acceptance of grinding.

Essentially, grinding offers users a way to kill time, blow off steam that might be building in real life ventures and simply beat stuff up. From the very first video games until now, there always was and will be a repetitive idea that lives on in virtual worlds. Think about simple, but popular video arcade games like Pac-man, Centipede, and Space Invaders.

Sure, the addiction element may not be anywhere near as sophisticated as that found in World of Warcraft or other MMORPGs, but designers today are paid to make addiction happen. Without addiction, games become yesterday’s news and there is no way they’d last beyond a few months to a year on the replay value scale.

As for my gaming habits, I notice that some of the most fun I have gaming involves

repetitive and violent bludgeoning of pixels that resemble an enemy. In the real world, you might consider how hunters love stalking and destroying their prey. In the virtual world, the feeling is very much the same with the only consequence being that the time I spend hunting or destroying monsters online is time I could have spent doing something more productive.

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1 Comment »

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