Here is a question for you to ponder: Do MMOs make you feel more productive than your main job or school? If so, it might not be an accident.
In an essay over at the Talk Amongst Yourselves Kinja, author @CleonWrites notes how video games have started to fill people’s needs for productivity and world fulfillment when they can’t get it in the real world. And you might be getting a hit of this emotional high when you jump into your favorite MMO.
“Using MMORPG’s as an example, [game designer Jane] McGonigal notes that games can offer a certain satisfaction in doing work,” the essay says. “‘Work’ in games commonly take the form of quests, or objectives, which the player is asked to complete. On completion of these tasks, players can be rewarded through experience points, better armour, and in particular, more quests. This constant repetition of easily completable tasks, and increasingly common rewards, drives home a feeling of productivity in the player.”
It might be a little jarring to honestly examine the way MMOs manipulate our minds and moods (the essay says that game designers are sometimes called “happiness engineers”), but it can also be helpful so that we can establish a balance and make sure we are not substituting the entertainment of games for the real-world tasks that we need to be doing.