Why Clash of Clans is too addictive

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

1- Time-limited game-play

In a previous article i said that we humans find whatever that is less available to be more valuable. When resources become scarce we tend to believe that they are more precious. Many games like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush only allows you to do things in the game after a certain amount of time has passed.

In the case of Clash of Clans you can only attack other players when your troops are ready and this takes some time. This kind of artificial lack of availability makes the game very addictive. See Playing hard to get in a relationship & How the available options affect the relationship partner choice

2- Very quick sessions

One element that makes mobile games in general very addictive is the ability to play them for a very short period of time. A person could check the game while waiting for a friend or even while being stuck in the traffic Jam.

The ability to have very quick sessions combined with the ease of access makes many mobile games,including Clash of Clans, highly addictive. See Why mobile games are addictive

3- It forces you to invest a lot of time

According to one psychological theory the more effort and time we invest in something the more we become attached to this thing. As the person does a lot of effort to get something they feel like keeping it.

Clash of Clans is an extremely long game that requires a very large amount of time investment. Once a player invests few months to create a good base they hardly feel like quitting.

4- It helps release aggression

Clash of Clans is a typical male game that allows males to release some of their aggression in a healthy way. The ability to attack others, destroy their bases and seek revenge allows people , and specially males, to release some anger in a proper way. See Why is angry birds so popular.

5- It pleases the Tribal brain

We humans have a very old tribal brain. We always get motivated to join groups and to be a part of a bigger tribe. This is why you see people cheering for football teams and dividing themselves into different kinds of groups.

Clash of Clans allows people to join literal tribes, form alliances and attack other tribes. This type of setup appeals a lot to the tribal brain.

6- Endless objectives

Clash of Clans has almost endless objectives. As soon as you upgrade a building and before you enjoy your victory you realize that there is a another bigger and better upgrade waiting for you.

For goal oriented people this temptation can be hard to resist and so the player finds themselves eager to do the next upgrade.

7- It employs frustration perfectly

Game addiction is all about experiencing certain emotions while playing a game. One of the emotions that leads to addiction of games is frustration. When a player finds that their base was destroyed by a much powerful attacker they get extremely frustrated.

This frustration can motivate competitive people to keep playing until they get their revenge or have a strong base. Also the time limitation factor adds a great deal of frustration to the game and this is in turn leads to the sales of the gems which are the games' primary source of profit. See How frustration can help you find your goals & Why do games affect us emotionally

8- Notifications bring you back

Even when you don't want to play the game you might get a quick notification that brings you back to the game. Notifications trick the brain into believing that some kind of good reward is coming and as a result they make games and social networks highly addictive. See also Facebook addiction Psychology.

9- Humans are social beings

The addition of a social element in any game always makes the game very addictive. When a player loses against AI it doesn't make them as frustrated as when they lose against a real human.

The presence of real human competitors make games extremely additive and frustrating.

10- It starts very simple

The creators of clash of clans did a great job in making the start of the game very simple. Within a minute or too you grasp all the main concepts of the game and so the game feels more familiar. This level of simplicity makes people more likely to stick to the game instead of leaving.

Humans now have very low attention spans and for a game to catch their attention and keep them it must have a very simple start else they will get confused and leave for another game.

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