By Janine Redstock, Guest Contributor to TechAddiction
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the views of TechAddiction and/or Dr. Conrad.
Blizzard Entertainment is a well-known name across the world for a single reason: it’s the developer that created World of Warcraft – a highly addictive massively multiplayer game that almost everyone has heard of. We’ve all heard of the level of addiction that WoW has created in its millions of subscribers, and now Blizzard have started the ball rolling once more on another potentially addictive franchise: Diablo. It’s similar to WoW in that it tasks players with controlling a character in a fantasy setting; however it is more of a co-operative title that involves ‘hack and slash’ gameplay rather than straight MMORPG questing.
So with the release of Diablo III just weeks ago, are there already players that have been sucked into its world for far too long – and is Diablo III the next big addiction in gaming?
Where it all began
The first Diablo game was released in 1996 and received moderate praise from critics and fans, but it wasn’t until Diablo II in the year 2000 that the franchise really took off. While the original game stayed firmly in single player territory, the second instalment offered players to take part in Battle.net – a system which enabled online multiplayer within the world of Diablo II. This meant that players could team up to battle enemies together, and take on harder dungeons than they could on their own. It’s a formula which you can still see in place in World of Warcraft today, and it’s also integral to the Diablo III experience. In terms of the potential for addiction, it increases exponentially when this online element is added, and Blizzard has taken it to an all-new height with Diablo III.
An online-only single player experience
In the past, almost all games have included a single player option – including the previous Diablo titles. The only games that strayed from this are those that are multiplayer only, like World of Warcraft. But with Diablo III, Blizzard have created a hybrid title that can be played as a single player game, but only if the player is constantly connected to Battle.net. This means that they have the option of allowing other players to drop in and out of their game at will. In terms of video game addiction, this is not a step in the right direction. In fact, anyone who is susceptible to getting hooked on video games may find this online temptation too much to simply stay in single player mode. Generally speaking, once a Diablo III player has found other gamers to join a party with, they will stick with them for a while – this generates further need to play the game and only exacerbates the addiction, if it’s present.
A real-life auction house on the horizon
Another aspect of Diablo III that could be quite worrying is the fact that a ‘real life auction house’ is currently planned by its developers. In essence, this will allow players to use their real money to purchase items that they can then use in the game. We’ve already seen this kind of thing happen with Facebook games and iPhone games, so it’s no surprise to see it on major video games too. On the one hand, this may be a good thing because it stops scammers from being able to take advantage of players, but on the other, it’s just another way that addiction to a title like Diablo III could have a damaging effect on susceptible players’ lives.
Diablo III and video game addiction
It can’t be denied that Blizzard’s new title has the ‘perfect storm’ in terms of game addiction: it offers the same click ‘n’ go gameplay as World of Warcraft, it rewards players handsomely if they team up with others, and some have suggested that the game is simply not worth playing unless it’s as a multiplayer experience. If you, or someone you know, has ever fallen victim to video game addiction – or if you simply have work that needs to get done – buying Diablo III simply can’t be recommended. For those who are able to be moderate with their gameplay, there is a lot of enjoyment to be had from the game – as the positive reviews on various websites will attest – but there is an ever-present risk of overdoing it.
Guest Author Bio
Janine Redstock is a freelance writer and designer who does embrace video games as a creative medium, but find herself frequently wondering if the amount of time spent on them is becoming a public liability that will hurt employment and personal relationships in our culture.
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Is Diablo III the new addiction in video gaming?