Some games are more than just games, but entirely different lifestyles.
Destiny, with its multitude of planets and aliens to shoot, various expansion sets and equally gripping sequel Destiny 2, invites its players to more than an experience, but a new existence.
Shortly after its launch in 2014, Business Insider insisted that it changed video games forever.
Millions of players joined up to play and their passion ran deep becoming a Destiny addiction. Even now, six years later, the game server still hosts hundreds of thousands of concurrent users at any given moment on the various versions.
Why is Destiny Addictive?
In short, it’s the best of Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) and First-Person shooters (FPS).
Like most MMORPGs, it gives players a diverse and vast, playable map and the social connection of social groups online. As the Destiny series has a fairly straightforward Player vs. Environment (PVE) story, there are fewer, non-plot driving activities to engage in.
Like FPS, Destiny delivers a fast-paced, dynamic world that the player experiences from the first-person perspective. However, unlike most other FPS, the emphasis is more on PVE than on combating other players (PVP).
Lastly, Destiny does a great job of providing the allusion of progress and rewarding users with loot. With the variety of expansion packs, users are able to see how completing missions or earning ranks in earlier iterations provides a boost in future installments.
The reward component, in the way of missions and hidden collectibles, is an incentive that’s tied to the human psyche. We like uncovering secrets and getting rewards, especially those that aren’t readily obvious.
Companies know this.
How do they exploit this? Nir Eyal explains how in his book Hooked,
Add some variability to the mix — say a different treat magically appears in your fridge every time you open it — and voila, intrigue is created. Variable rewards are one of the most powerful tools companies implement to hook users.“Hooked” by Nir Eyal
Signs You Have a Destiny Addiction
Too Much Time Playing
According to Forbes, the average gamer plays about an hour a day. But you blow past that. Maybe even clocking the whole weekly average in one day.
A simple gauge is the 20-14 rule. Over 14 days, are you playing for less than 20 hours? How much longer are you playing?
Destiny on the Brain
How often do you think about Destiny when you’re not playing? Do you find it hard to concentrate on school or work because of your connection to Destiny? Have you ever lost sleep based on something that happened in a game?
Buying Cosmetics Just to Flex
Have you spent actual money on cosmetics or custom designs for your guardian? Does your guardian’s appearance matter to you as much as your own, real-life appearance? Or maybe even more?
It’s More Than Just a Game
Have you ever destroyed or damaged any of your possessions based on the outcome of a game? Have you ever spent significant time after you finished playing still being upset about something that happened in the game?
Eating is Essential
Have you ever been so consumed by the game that you forgot to eat or drink? When you do eat, do you take a break or do you consume food while still playing?
Do you play video games to avoid problems? Does your procrastination turn into disregard?
If you recognize or can identify with any/some of these points, it is quite possible you have an unhealthy relationship with Destiny. To fully determine if this is the case, take our self-assessment addiction test.
However, if you recognize that you have a Destiny addiction now. There are simple and effective protocols to follow. But, first and foremost…
Remember, You Are Not Alone
After thousands of people suffering from video game addiction have come forward and countless studies regarding the topic, the World Health Organization recognized video game addiction as an official disorder. It’s no surprise that the WHO has made this change with some games being found to be more addictive than heroin.
Reclaim Your Destiny and End Your Destiny Addiction
Take a Moment of Self-reflection
Are you using the game to escape something or some issue in your life? Have you lost something or someone or been hurt? Avoiding the problem won’t help as Zora Neale Hurston illustrates in Tell My Horse,
A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it.“Tell My Horse” by Zora Neale Hurston
So take time for an honest appraisal of who you are and where you want to go in life.
Understand the Progress is Not Real
While it can be enticing to collect every set or to reach a certain rank or level, it will ultimately not matter. The sun will come up tomorrow whether or not you met your bounty quote. Owning the fact that there’s a real-world with more consequential events is vital to overcoming addiction.
Be Mindful of Your Usage
As I mentioned above, the 20-14 rule is a great place to start. Be strict to adhere and then reduce your playing. It is important to be strict as it isn’t rare for an addict to relapse.
Obviously, quitting cold turkey would ensure that falling back into the habit is less likely.
Get a New Hobby
If you’re no longer exploring worlds and shooting aliens, you need to find some productive avenue to direct that energy and occupy your time. Any new activity you choose should be both relaxing and align with a sincere interest you already have.
Do you love finding all the collectible items? Take up stamp collecting.
Do you love sneaking around and FPS? Join a local, paintball team.
Do you love teamwork in missions? Volunteer at a community center.
Just Delete it
The final and most complete step is to delete the game. You can’t go back to play something that doesn’t exist anymore. Even more drastic, you can get rid of your gaming console.
Making a big life change is never a simplistic matter. Ending an addiction is both a necessary and, in some ways, painful process. You will have to leave behind a former identity to assume a better, more promising future.
Just as it took time and persistence to accumulate your collection and progress through the campaigns and missions of Destiny, so, too, will your recovery from Destiny addiction. But it is worth it. Addiction can control you, but it doesn’t define you. Start today to take back your life.