It has been well reported that role-play in psychology has numerous benefits, including as an educational tool for psychologists or to help individuals replace old negative responses with newer and healthier ones, but what are the psychological benefits of online RPGs? And are there any cons?
The Psychological Pros of Online Role-Playing Games
There are many psychological benefits to taking part in role-play online, including the following.
Develop Critical-Thinking Skills
Many of these games revolve around combat and puzzle solving and require players to develop plans and strategies to defeat the in-game characters or even other players, including playing mind games and leveraging psychology to help them win. Players will also need to think quickly to adapt to situations as they arise in the game.
According to the Forbes article, “How To Build Resilience With Video Games,” video games, including online RPGs, can help a person recover from traumatic experiences by keeping their mind off of the negative event. Another study they mentioned also specifically addressed how players could better regulate their feelings compared to non-gamers.
Provides a Space for Players To Engage Socially
As previously discussed, these games give players a space to engage with each other socially. Many players form friendships and even romantic relationships in these online game spaces.
Players Can Grow Their Social Skills
A key part of online RPGs and many other online games is that they encourage social interactions, whether it’s players engaging in trading, forming parties to complete game objects, or even taking part in sillier game events like virtual parties and weddings. For individuals who struggle socially, this can help them grow their social skills.
Help Relieve Stress
Many video games are very good at rewarding the player. Each in-game success can trigger dopamine release, making the player feel good. This can help lower a player’s overall stress levels.
The Psychological Cons of Online Role-Playing Games
In some instances, online RPGs can lead to problematic play with adverse psychological effects.
Can Be Addictive
Any experience that a player feels is more important than their real-life risks becoming an addiction, with players’ prioritizing the game world over the real world. Additionally, some games may feature specific design choices that are intended to keep the player engaged for as long as possible, the same way some casinos are designed to encourage certain behaviors. Unfortunately for some, this may also lead to addiction.
Can Have a Negative Impact on Relationships
Online RPGs feature a strong social element that might have a negative impact on real-world relationships and can even lead to social isolation and depression. For example, a friendship may take strain if one of the friends spends too much time playing online and not talking to their friends. Some players who are already in offline romantic relationships might even find themselves becoming romantically involved with people they meet through online games, which can lead to break-ups and even divorce.
Can Induce Stress
For players who are heavily invested in these games and their worlds, issues such as online bullying, frustration with losing, or other negative experiences can lead to an increase in stress. Just like when you forgot to double-check your hole cards in a poker game, RPGs can bring their own version of tilt.
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