Most of the time, creating habituation is enough: making players want to come back to visit your game, whether or not they want to eke out every morsel of performance…(Bogost, 133).
Think back to a time when you first started playing a game that was so difficult, complex, and convoluted that from the second the “Xbox 360” screen went away you felt completely alienated, dazed & confused and never played the game again. It is both the tutorial and the game being designed as “easy to learn and difficult to master” (Bogost 125) that holds the interest of the player long enough to ease them into the “meat” of the game to which they can then become addicted. As Bogost discusses, it is the designer of the game’s job to make the player’s relationship with the game one that is healthy and leaves them wanting to come back for more. This relationship is created through instilling a feeling of habituation.
In World of Warcraft there is a live feed in the bottom left-hand corner of the gamer’s screen that relays chat, updates, and loot pickups among a plethora of other information about what is occurring around the user at all times. As one performs the main objectives of the game, such as going on quests or riding a horse through a forest, this chat window creates a familiar parallel with our current generation’s necessity to have a constant stream of information fed to us that accessible at our fingertips. The news feed window allows every single thing in the World of Warcraft world to make sense in an instant after looking at the feed. A player is able to see and absorb far more information than would be possible with the appearance of mere speech text bubbles, overlaying voice narration, or having the character physically look to observe what is happening on their own. With the news feed/chat window scrolling in the corner one can simultaneously be listening to a spoken narrative story, while reading a quest objective on screen, while steering a horse through a forest with the mouse, and have the luxury of having their attentional capture reflex activated with a bright orange flash in the form of text notification that Leeroy Jenkins picked up thirty silver and you received a twelve silver share of it.
It is this almost subconscious influx of information via live notifications that appeals especially to the mass of World of Warcraft’s target group: young people, who read five Facebook articles, respond to three emails, and send forty text messages during a fifty minute biology class all while taking decent notes on the lecture material. This mass influx of both conscious and subconscious information is what triggers the “addiction center” for the younger crowd of players of World of Warcraft and college students, with access to the internet, alike. Such a relay of information to an individual can increase their ability to multitask or handle a vast load of information in different forms all while completing their main objective. An example of this would be texting while driving. While I do not condone texting and driving think about who would perform better at this illegal act: you or your 82 year old grandmother? Media such as the chat/update box in World of Warcraft aids in the strengthening the minds of players to where they can handle multiple areas of focus at the same time whether it be consciously or not.
The constant update and being “all-knowing” of what is going on around you is where the sense of power is given to the player in the same way that Google or Siri does to someone outside of the virtual world. Power is given to the gamer that they are familiar with from using all of the technology in today’s society to answer any question we may think of at the beck and call of how fast our thumbs can type it into our devices. The plethora of mediums through which information is received by the player is far greater than anything than would be feasibly be able to be accomplished through say a book, movie, or text message alone. This makes being a player in World of Warcraft with the “superpower” of having a window that tells you everything that is happening at all times a very addicting and powerful medium to possess indeed.