Our games are great for providing a false sense of accomplishment. I leveled! I got a badge! We defeated the dragon! It is an accomplishment in some sense, but it does not clean the kitty litter, pay off your mortgage, or provide clean drinking water in Africa. That is fine. It does not need to. We all have our recreation and entertainment, and you just as easily might have been watching a sporting event or cog dancing. I am ecumenical about that.
Part of that sense of accomplishment comes from attachment and achievement. You leveled up. Maybe you said you leveled your warrior, but it is still your warrior. You are connected, you have built something. Even if you are grinding your way along a treadmill, the little number says 56 instead of 54. Advancement! Progress!
Building sand castles is not progress. You get memories, maybe a photograph, and the tide comes in. You have sand again. It might be fun making sand castles, but that fun is more like baking a cake than raising a barn. We know the barn will be gone someday too, but it is less ephemeral.
Is this game The One? Will it last for years rather than months? We build up our characters. We spend hours getting that purple set. We have massive guild drama over loot allocation. And then we move on to the next game. The next The One might be several years away, or maybe you know this next game is just a bagatelle. The flames are barely on the horizon, and already it tastes like ashes.