The Mastery Stage
Staying for Friends / Casual Guilds
A variety of things can happen after the initial taste of the treadmill. More often than not, this stage in of game-play provides a comfortable landing spot. Many players start getting tired of the leveling grind but have established stable friendships which become the focus of their game-play. In other words, these players are mainly staying in the game for other players. This was the most common ending point in players' narratives.
I ended up playing WoW for nearly 3 years straight, not because of constant new content, but because I formed relationships with my guild-mates that I valued enough to keep logging on every day. [WoW, F, 17]
However, I realized I was going back for the friends I had made ... As part of an adult casual gamers guild, I found myself in a similar place in life as my guild mates with regard to work, marriage, kids, etc ... and continuing with the game for the social aspects as well. [WoW, M, 31]
I now play because of the social aspect. The guild I ended up in led to these changes, as I play with a couple real life friends. Over time I developed some very close relationships with people in my guild and my motivations for playing have now remained very constant. [WoW, F, 24]
The whole reason I continued to play, even after my good friend went on to other games, was probably the fact that I spent so much time playing it already and also the friendships I made. [Ragnarok Online, F, 16]
High-End Content / Raiding Guilds
Players who love the experience of leveling and progression may find it natural to pursue the next step up via a serious raiding guild. It is typically via the raiding experience that players begin to gain access to more exclusive content or gear. High-end gear is now within reach. Thus, status and prestige elements start becoming more important. And even players in casual guilds may find themselves engaging in more and more complex raiding activities due to the progression of the guild or more serious players in the guild.
I was a fairly casual player for quite some time, until I discovered raiding. I became extremely passionate and competitive about raiding. I would tell myself it was just because I wanted to see the content ... but if I'm going to be honest, it was more for the feeling of importance that I was getting from the game, from being in a leadership position, from being in a top guild. I was addicted to that feeling. [WoW, F, 26]
I would say I'm a fairly hardcore raider (4-6 nights a week) and I'm not sure how I made that huge leap as when I was leveling up for the first time I found the thought of doing the same place more than a couple of times in hope that an item would drop to be absurd. [WoW, M, 18]
WoW's initial appeal was the 'new game', and small groups (with friends). As we have all progressed through WoW, our focus has shifted back to endgame content (and the challenges of organizing larger groups of people for raids, etc). [WoW, M, 32]
Later I was more drawn to instances and having a fun guild. Now I have come to a point where what I want is to be in a 'serious' guild in order to do high end instances and raids. [WoW, M, 25]
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