WoW Addiction: Game Mechanics Research of World of Warcraft

world of warcraft gamificationWorld of Warcraft Game Mechanics

World of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) created by Blizzard Entertainment. Released in November of 2004, World of Warcraft holds the Guinness Record for most subscribers of any MMORPG.

World of Warcraft’s popularity has seeped into popular culture in many forms, and has been known to be addicting. Some players report losing months, and even years, of their lives planted in front of their computers while questing and leveling their characters. World of Warcraft’s popularity and addicting nature can be traced to the game mechanics design implemented by Blizzard.

Gamification is design that places the most emphasis on the human in the process. It’s Human-Focused Design, as opposed to “function-focused design”. The gamification framework Octalysis, makes it very easy to see how World at Warcraft can be so addicting.

Game Drive #1: Epic Meaning & Calling

Epic meaning and calling refers to the drive players feel when they believe what they are doing is greater than themselves. Whether it is helping fellow players, or contributing to a wiki, players often feel that the good of the community rests on their shoulders.

World of Warcraft relies on epic meaning and calling from the beginning of character creation, and throughout the game as players become more involved. First, players must choose between opposing factions, the Alliance and the Horde. Additionally, players may also join guilds or groups. Much of World of Warcraft’s gameplay is designed so that players can only complete certain quests as a member of a group. Because players must rely on one another, every individual must understands that his role in the game also supports the greater good of the group.

Game Drive #2: Development & Accomplishment

This refers to overcoming challenges, making progress, and developing skills. The challenge aspect of this portion of the framework is essential for players to find meaning in their activity.

Development and accomplishment are probably the most prolific aspects of gamification within World of Warcraft. The majority of players who experienced WoW addiction to the game report the overwhelming need for their characters to level up, gain new skills, or become more powerful. Completing quests allows players this opportunity, and is one of the driving focuses of the game.

Game Drive #3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback

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