All MMORPG gamers know that playing an MMORPG is significantly different than playing an FPS or any other video game. Other video games simply don’t have the same sense of community and progression as MMORPGs or the same sense of accomplishment when leveling up. I’ve been playing MMORPGs ever since I was 11 years old and have grown up playing MMORPGs. I’ve played everything from Everquest to World of Warcraft and while doing so I’ve also been actively engaged in traditional gaming like console games and non MMORPG Pc games.
Throughout my entire gaming career I’ve never looked at the two as equals. I’ve always felt that what happened in MMORPGs “mattered more” than what happened in other games and sometimes more important than what happened in real life. I would get more excited about finding a rare item in say World of Warcraft or finding an amazing deal on a scroll in MapleStory than real live events like acing a test or going to the movies. During my days of playing Everquest, I would at times forget to eat, because I was so hooked on the game. Obviously, at some point I would have to grab something to eat, but even as I got hungry, I couldn’t bring myself to get off my computer and grab a snack, as I felt some sort of need to keep playing as I wanted to continue getting stronger in the game. I also remember that whenever I had to go to the bathroom, I would literally SPRINT to the bathroom and when I finished my business SPRINT back to the computer to continue playing. I’ve always played non MMORPGs, but they were never the same, as I never found myself playing any non MMORPG for more than 5 hours at a time. When I played Everquest, five hours was nothing. From the moment I woke up, I would SPRINT to my PC and start playing until I had to go to bed. I would only play non MMORPGs when I was taking a break from an MMORPGs, as beating a single player game never felt as good as leveling up in an online game.
When I was addicted to MapleStory I would play the game every single day. Every day after school, my brother and my two friends that also played MapleStory would come over to my house and we would all grind together from 3PM to 8:30PM each and every day. At 8:30PM they would go home and play from their own homes. Because I had 8 computers on my network, I could have a lot of people playing MMOs with me. I went through this exact same cycle when I played World of Warcraft, but the only difference was that I had four friends coming over every day to play with me. We would blast music from one of the computers and all grind together for hours on end.
Now that I’m older, I still find myself playing mostly free MMORPGs, but not to the point of playing them the entire day, but that’s partly because I haven’t been super addicted to any one MMORPG lately except for maybe Perfect World and Fly for Fun, as I still play them regularly. When I find another great game, odds are I’ll get hooked and play all day. I’m convinced though, that MMORPGs are addictive. The most addictive component is the sense of progression. MMORPGs make you feel that once you become higher level, you’ll be able to dominate the game and have a lot more fun than you’re having at lower levels. It’s that sense of being awesomely strong in the future that keeps you coming back. The only games that can keep you hooked for 5+ hours at a time are MMORPGs, and if that’s not addiction, I don’t know what is.