I've often pondered, why some games seem keep players playing long after the fun runs out.
Of coarse there are many answers to this question. Guilds, raids, PvP, crafting and housing are just a few.
But the thing we should really ask ourselves is, why did we get hooked in the 1st place.
Now I've played a heap load of MMO's in my time. With many being subbed games, with countless more being of free (MT types).
When I 1st thought about this I would of said that it was end game content, that really sparked my interest.
But after a quick think, this can't be true. In the many free games I've played, very few ever reached what we would call end game content.
The time sink kept you buying those MT's, and the longer you spent in-game, the more money the game will tend to leach out of you. So having a long time span getting to max lvl, is very beneficial to the free to play model.
So now I am on the back foot, as I really never thought about why I play some games longer, and why many others only hold me for a few hours.
What could it be, well It was not the fact that the games I hung around for had lots of polish, or outstanding GFX. I played UO and SWG. Both are left wanting on both those levels.
So could it be the crafting or player housing... Which both these games where above and beyond anything that came before.
Well not exactly. They did hold my attention to the game, a lot longer than if they were not there. Again this was not a dominant factor of getting me hooked.
So I started to look at some of the other games I have played for over a year or more. Many had bad crafting, and fewer still had player housing. Then I started to focus on games that I did not like, and played less time than it took me to pick up the CD.
Now I'm going to say I hate WOW to the very core, you may be right in thinking, that WOW has a great end game. But never seeing end game, I really can't comment on that subject.
Sure I've tinkered with WOW, but for me it never stuck me that the game that could ever keep a whisper of interest for me.
Now how could this be, when WOW has around 12 million subs per month ?
Well I may be old fashioned in my thinking here, but surely a game should get the sparks flying from the 1st few moments that you enter the world.
Why do I as a player, have to wade through countless hours, to get to the good stuff ?
Should the game not be good right from the off ?
That's it, thats why I get hooked on games. No matter what some may think of a given game, and they may have played for years. Those 1st few tender moments gets me hooked before I know whats happening.
Games for me have to give you something. It may not be mind blowing, or anything thats outside the norm. I could come in the way of an unexpected skill or 2. That changes the way you look at your class for instance.
Or a small insignificant trinket, that makes you for a time feel empowered, if just for a few levels. The kind of thing you get for completing a quest, a weapon that make you feel like you can take on the world, and his wife at the same time. Of course these trinkets run out of use very quickly, but by the time they do the game has you in its death grip.
The 1st 2-4 hours in a game for me are critical. If by the 4th hour, I see nothing that I would class as good. The game has lost a protental long standing customer. I do not stay around for something to get good.
If a go buy a new car and the dealer says, by the way, it handles like a fright train for the 1st 6 months, but after this, its like the sports cars you see on TV. You would be highly peeved right ?
I see it the same way with a game. Grab me in those 1st few moments, or I'll find a game that does.