The point of the article is that the Guild Wars guys have put together a Massively Multiplayer Online Game that you keep coming back to because it's fun, rather than because it's addictive. Now, we've all heard of 'addictive games' -- people talk about Tetris, and Diamond Mine (aka Bejeweled), and Civilization in all its incarnations, as addictive games. But in each of those games, you want to keep playing because you want to keep getting better at it, or because you want to find out what happens next. You're interested in playing the game. With the MMOGs currently on the market, Guild Wars being the notable exception, the addiction has a different character.
With current MMOGs, you want to keep playing not because the game is really fun to play (though it sometimes is), but because
- you're paying a subscription fee for the month, so frugality demands you make maximum usage of the system
- you want to advance in the game, because really it's a race with your peers to the top of the ladder
- you were playing for a good three hours before you finally hooked up with 4 or 5 people you can stand to fight beside, and you want that experience to last as long as possible, sleep be damned.
The thing is, before Guild Wars, there weren't any games out there that let me roleplay a wizard with arcane powers, or kill fantasy creatures in a 3D setting with my real-life friends, that didn't require a subscription. And I like roleplaying a wizard. I like slaughtering relatively realistic orcs and zombies and fairy queens. I just don't like the sucky parts that, up until Guild Wars, came along with that.
I think I'll go buy the game.