I recently read this article on Medium. It brought me back to all the research I did on a senior thesis paper back in High School about EverQuest and video game addiction. One of my favorite sources was this: http://www.nickyee.com/eqt/home.html
It was a study on player psychology and using the Skinner Box model to keep people playing. To be fair, I’m not sure the EverQuest devs really intended for their game to be so addictive, but with current MMOs, with WoW the prime offender, I see blatant usage of these models in their games.
I’d also like to point out the guy who did the EQ study over ten years ago now works for Ubisoft and has done a thorough MMO study: http://www.nickyee.com/index-daedalus.html
My question to you is do you ever feel games, WoW in particular, exploit your brain with the RNG Skinner Box model? I feel Garrisons in general are an exact replica of the Skinner Box method with fancy graphics. A lot of systems in WoD are all about RNG, and WoW has more RNG rewards than ever in this expansion. PVP boxes, Salvage Crates, Work Orders, Quest/Follower Upgrades, etc.
If you aren't familiar with the Skinner Box and don't feel like reading all that stuff I linked. Basically its a proven psychological reward structure where animals, including humans, have the most interaction with a system when theres a variable reward structure (RNG). A fixed reward structure like you do this 3 times, get reward, 3 more times, reward doesn't work. However, not knowing how often you get the reward, just knowing you won't get it unless you do X repeatedly, makes you do it more. Even if the reward is given much, much less often.
I see this in other games as well these days and I just think its shitty. But I wonder how many people actually even care. Some people might just be like, well they are exploiting my psychology, but it makes me feel good on some level, so I'm fine with it.