I made the following graphic a few years back to describe how most people play through an MMO experience. It’s been buried until now, but I thought I’d take it back out.
World of Warcraft has been fun, and has defied this cycle to a large extent–but I’m about to check out RIFT and see what all the hoopla is about. Wonder where I’ll be on this chart in a month or two?
(The above chart isn’t intended to seriously suggest that MMORPGs are actually addictive to the majority of people. If anything, I think it illustrates that MMORPGs, as currently designed, have built-in mechanisms that result in player burnout).