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Psychology of Diablo 3 Addiction

Most hard core Diablo fans remember Diablo 2 as being the most addicting game they have ever played. These gamers also realized that Diablo 3 will be just as addicting, if not more. But have you ever wondered why this game is so addicting? This article will break down various psychological aspects that make the game as addicting as it is.

First of all, humans are addicted to progress, whether they realize it or not. Every time human beings make a step towards the right direction, chemicals such as dopamine are released into the brain. Any bit of progress will release these pleasure chemicals. The grander the progress, the more of this chemical is released. So for example, a woman usually feels great after cleaning her house. Why? Its a step forward and so her brain has rewarded her with the pleasure chemicals. On the other hand, if this same woman got a job that pays $150,000 a year, a much larger amount of dopamine is released in tune with the grand step forward she has taken. The rule of thumb is:

Greater victories bring forth more pleasure chemicals in the brain. Of course, these chemicals are used to reward the conscious mind – not to just make it feel good.

Back to Diablo. Now, Diablo is one of the few games were progression is constant. Every mob killed, every item found, and every quest completed is a step forward. Every time a step is made in the right direction (Getting to level 50, finding a unique item, making money in the RMAH), the brain will reward itself with pleasure chemicals. Due to this high octane, non-stop progression, Diablo games are quite possibly the most successful in activated these regions of the brain, thereby making the series, quite possibly, the most addictive games in history.

The 2nd reason why Diablo is very addictive is the factor of novelty. Novelty is a fancy term for “New”. Humans are drawn to novelty as it is exciting to see new sites and ideas. This helps the brain further understand the world, incorporate new ideas, and further its chance for survival. It is arguable that Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 were completely unique and novel games. Diablo one had a level system in place with gear slots and such that had never really been seen before. Diablo 2 also had a similar system but a much larger multiplayer aspect to it that included new characters, new items, new levels, and a new story. This all falls into place with the fact that most gamers, at the time, hadn’t seen anything like it. This novelty, coupled with the other point in this article, improve the game’s addictiveness factor drastically.

The 3rd reason why Diablo is addictive is the mere fact that humans are social beings and like to be surrounded by other humans. Humans are not loners, like most of the creatures in the wild. We depend on one another and operate in groups. The reason for this is that humans have a better chance to improve their physical and emotional well-being while being around others. It boils down to survival. With this being said, one can only imagine the horrors prisoners face in solitary confinement. So, with this being said, Diablo offers a rich environment for socializing, questing, and trading with other people. This fulfills the desire to be amongst others and socialize.

A sub-factor to the 3rd reason above is that humans never unite so closely as they would in critical situations, such as ultra difficult quests, when the full effort of every group member is needed. This is not only exhilarating but also fulfills yet another part of the brain.

In simple terms, excitement, novelty, socializing, and progress are at the root of the Diablo series, thereby making it one of the best games in history. The only down side to this is the occasional school dropout or relationship issues occurring due to hours upon hours of play.

The very positive aspect is that the mind’s desires get fulfilled, thereby recharging and energizing the player to perform better in life as a whole (job, school, ect..). This goes against what media tells us, but only the science of psychology understands this phenomenon.

Here’s a question. Do you think Diablo 3 will reduce stress and help you perform better in other areas of life or do you think Diablo will take up so much of your time that you may fall behind on your responsibilities?

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