Destiny: Addiction by Design (Part 2)

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By: Lynda McDonald

In the previous article, I discussed the use of achievement/reward and social obligation as a means to make video games, (in particular Destiny), addictive (or maybe it’s merely a symptom of good design).

Identity – Old or New

Destiny offers you the chance to create a character and use it as your avatar in the game. Some people may chose to make one that similar in appearance to them and may even chose to use this character as a way to project themselves as they are into the virtual world of destiny. Then there are players who chose to create a character with an identity that is completely separate to their own. This offers them the chance to role play and leads some down the path of escapism. Both of these styles of playing can be addictive in their own right. Playing as yourself can allow you to create real friendships and build a stronger sense of social obligation. Role playing a character can be especially addictive for players with low self esteem or are unhappy with their own life in some way. In both cases it is likely that the player will develop an attachment to their avatar.

Comparison (Keeping Up with the Joneses)

In a virtual setting like Destiny it is even easier to compare yourself to other people than it is in real life. You can literally walk up to a player and look through their inventory and directly compare their armour and equipment to yours. In the real world people get into debt and make other life-changing decisions all in the name of keeping up with the Joneses. Transfer this same concept into a virtual world where all you need to do is spend more time in order to acquire the very best gear and you have a recipe for compulsive playing. Young people have accepted comparing themselves to other through the use of social media as the norm. This leaks into other areas of our lives and makes it the norm there too. When the Taken King came out first I often saw other players rush over to investigate the inventory of players wearing the new raid armour. In an age when we are taught to envy others through social media is it any surprise we envy them in-game?

All of these factors on their own can be addictive enough to cause some players to become hooked. But Destiny caters to multiple factors at the same time. This is likely why are seeing so many players logging on so regularly. Add in the fact that Destiny incorporates a multiplayer similar to Halo’s, a raid system, Prison of Elders and the option to just roam around the map if you want. Suddenly it is obvious why it appeals to such a broad audience. If you get bored of one particular aspect of the game you can switch to doing something with a completely different mechanic rather than play an entirely different game.

The nature of Destiny is that it is constantly evolving in order to keep its player base interested. As the fan base complains about something becoming boring Bungie are ready to start making changes to keep players interested. Destiny addictiveness can easily be put down to good design choices on Bungie’s part.

[symple_button color=”gray” url=”https://elitegamer.comdestiny-addiction-by-design-part-1″ title=”” target=”blank” border_radius=””]Part 1[/symple_button]