However, the obligation factor is a particularly strong one given that many high-level raids in traditional MMOs require certain play-styles and builds (or rather, class builds and skill cycling).
According to Hilgard, these symptoms are about as prevalent and just as detrimental as other forms of addiction, such as drugs or alcohol, especially loot-grind games like Diablo, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing or click-bait like Mafia Wars. He goes on to say that...
“Gamers who are really into getting to the next level or collecting all of the in-game items seem to have unhealthier video-game use,” ... “When people talk about games being ‘so addictive,’ usually they’re referring to games like Farmville or Diablo that give players rewards, such as better equipment or stronger characters, as they play. People who are especially motivated by these rewards can find it hard to stop playing.”
He forgot to mention Borderlands and Dungeon Defenders and League of Legends. While we all know that Diablo is addictive enough that some people have died while binge-playing, there was also a case where a young chap also died while binge-playing League of Legends. While Borderlands is addictive, no one has been reported as dying while playing that game... Gearbox really has their work cut out for them in Borderlands 3 if they want to grab that honor, though.
Anyway, Hilgard finished up by stating that...
“Researchers have suspected that Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) are the most addictive genre of video games,” ... “Our study provides some evidence that supports that claim. The games provide opportunities for players to advance levels, to join teams and to play with others. In addition, the games provide enormous fantasy worlds that gamers can disappear into for hours at a time and forget about their problems. MMORPGs may be triple threats for encouraging pathological game use because they present all three risk factors to gamers.”
I do agree that MMORPGs designed around a grind are the worst kind of addict-bait, especially the kind with cash shop sink holes and social-latch designs so that you need a guild or a raid group or a couple of dedicated friends in order to progress through the game. However, games with such designs are usually free-to-play titles and publishers know that these specific mechanics or design elements are made to bring in and keep the whales playing.
So what did we learn here today boys and girls? Absolutely nothing we didn't already know... but it's good to know that we know this... I guess.