Understanding Why You Play World of Warcraft

In October of 2012, WoW players went from 9 up to over 10 million with MoP new expansion. That’s 10,000,000 written in full. That’s like the population of Sao Paolo in Brazil. Or Moscow in Russia.

Needless to say, it’s not a small number.

Over 10 million players can’t be wrong. Or can they?

World of Warcraft relies on psychological phenomena to draw in existing players and to keep new players hooked.

Think about it. People learn to repeat behaviors when they are rewarded.

Consider when you play WoW, you amass items as rewards, for quests, dungeons, mob kills, epic raids or arena points.

Think about the pleasure when you kill a mob and you receive a rare item or even an epic one. This is such an adrenaline rush, right?

game in the brain


You keep farming in order to get fantastic items, but then there is that competition with other players, which is natural in the human being and for other reasons, you do not find in real life.

Think also about PVP. The pleasure while killing other characters, which are real people like you!

Transposing this sense of competition from reality to the online world alter the way of approaching to the other people in real life and causes the dependence.


Ventral Striatum and the Feeling of Pleasure

There is an area of the brain called the ventral striatum, which when activated causes a feeling of pleasure.

Very often, this is activated just when you get a positive competition with another person.

If in real life this comparison may relate to various social factors, in the game it’s just about virtual reality and status that has been achieved online.

Endure over time this type of “unreal” comparison, therefore, activates the ventral striatum in the traditional way, by delivering the same feeling of gratification.
Then you arrive at a state where you lose sight of the basic elements of the game, you do not enjoy anymore the artistic part, but you give space only to competition.

In this sense, World of Warcraft, meeting a need that you can’t have in real life, cause a dependency similar to that of drugs, alcohol or sex.

The game makers often take advantage of the social malaise of some people and then base their strategy on their dependence.

I am not saying you need to have a real life problem, to play this game online. Of course there are several different kind of World of Warcraft users.

But many players just want to take refuge in that online perfect world, which is WoW, for real life disappointments.

It can be a job failure, a mourning family or a partner who leaves them.

Unfortunately we are going in the direction that many multiplayer games, like WoW, are based on the acquisition of experience or gear and the grant of performance or aesthetic distinction to those who have played more.

Most have good benefits that are clearly visible to all players.

A game like World of Warcraft point markedly on this aspect.

Blizzard knows this. They are aware about the power they have on their players, so their customers, whom have to pay a monthly fee, on a subscription model.

Blizzard want their content to last longer than a month, so they keep adding new stuff and quests within the game that can take a lot of time to complete.

They don’t want people to complete everything in a few days. Blizzard is a company, they run a business, they work for money and they want to keep it going!


This is an extract of my eBook “How to Quit World of Warcraft – Take Back Your Life“.

In the eBook I explain you the concept of “sunk cost fallacy” and why, assuming you have been playing for a while, you might hesitate to “waste” all of the time that you have spent so far playing.

Let me ask you few questions.

If you could go back, do you think you would invest all that time playing WoW again or doing other things?

Do you think it is better to achieve the higher level in game or have some satisfactions developing your potentialities in real life?

Can you imagine what you could have done with the money you spent in WoW and with the time you invested in this game?

If your answers point you to TRY to quit Wow, you should give it a shoot with my eBook :

Quit WoW Now with this eBook!

How to Quit World of Warcraft eBook cover - by Erik Emanuelli

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