World of Warcraft has been in business since 2004. The number of people that still play is a testament to how well it’s made, how much content there is and how addictive it can be. Millions of people have played the game over the years, and Blizzard’s WoW has been “a license to print money.”
There is so much replayability, and the amount of content is huge. There have been seven major expansions with each adding a higher level cap, new classes and new zones to explore. There are so many zones and classes to explore and level up, that people can put all of their free time into WoW. The amount of time to get a character to max level can takes weeks or months depending on the commitment of the player. After the max level, the endgame starts where there are even more massive amounts of content where people guild up and spend huge amounts of time getting better gear and making attempts to overcome and defeat the end game dungeons.
Some people have spent years playing in a dedicated manner to this game to max level a character of every class and explore the different zones in WoW. Others come back every time there is a new expansion to try the new classes and explore the new zones. I think what is appealing to players is the range of different zones, each one being unique in its own sense of style and art.
The mass amounts of content ties into the addiction side of the game. A lot of players feel like they are never done. They get so into WoW (whether it’s long-term or signing up for a new expansion) that they procrastinate with exiting the game and going to sleep or taking care of other things in their lives. WoW addiction is a real thing. People have actually died while endlessly binging on WoW. I’ve known people who have stayed up for two or three days at a time, playing. WoW addiction can be really unhealthy. It’s not Blizzard’s fault though: they made a great game that people get excited about. You can’t blame a liquor manufacturer for producing the whiskey that an alcoholic drinks. WoW is good in moderation.
Other elements tie into the addiction of WoW players. One is that people put in so much time into their characters that they feel attached to those characters. Part of this is that those characters are part of a guild. People don’t just get addicted to WoW to play; they get addicted to coming online and chatting with their guildmates. These people could be friends in the area the players live in and also anywhere in North America. People get attached to talking to others that they have never actually met in person. To top it off, the guilds schedule end-game dungeon runs that players have to be committed to. It’s like having a part-time job. I think that introverts just feel safe and accepted in this guild environment without having the discomfort and worry of going out into the real world.
To top everything off, I think the icing on the cake is how much people love the style of the graphics. Playing WoW really feels like you’re going on an adventure. WoW is good fun, but players need to know when to call it quits and deal with real life. It can easily be a way to escape from the outside world. Escaping for a couple hours here and there is all good, but I wouldn’t escape life every chance I get to log on.
Evan McKinley is a 2nd year professional writing student that aspires to be a novel writer in the genre of fantasy. Favorite books and movies include The Lord of The Rings, Neverwhere and The Alchemist.