A behavioral scientist is a type of psychologist who spends a lot of time putting rats through mazes. Sometimes it’s a big maze, sometimes it’s a very small and simple maze. The one thing they all have in common is the cheese at the end.
The rats behave consistently. They move through the maze as fast as they can to get to the cheese. That’s just natural reward seeking behavior. Every rat we test is always going to get to the cheese as fast as they can. At no point do the rats ever slow down and just enjoy the maze.
Yet, our MMOs keep asking us to enjoy our maze. In the case of Lotro’s summer-festival maze, they mean it literally. But I wouldn’t be going through that maze were it not for the reward. I could get a new wall-paper for my house or a new fish-slap emote!
Our video game masters don’t want us reaching the end of the maze and getting full too quickly… so they ask us to slow down. We don’t. So they make the maze longer. They tilt the maze so that we’re struggling to go uphill to get to our cheese. Bastards! Why couldn’t they just make our maze more complicated and puzzle-driven? Then at least I’d feel smart when I beat the other rats there. Feeling smart is an especially nice little piece of cheese.
Really, if they wanted me to slow down, all they have to do is drop little bits of cheese all throughout the maze. Then I’d actually have something to stop and enjoy.