How to Overcome Your Clash Of Clans Addiction
Clash of Clans is a mobile real-time strategy game that first popped up on the scene in 2012. Since then the game has gained quite the following amassing over 150 million monthly average players. The nature of the game makes it a sinkhole for time and money, hence it poses lots of problems for those who are addicted and play excessively.
So those who are looking to quit or cut down keep reading to find out how to overcome your Clash of Clans addiction.
Addictive Features of Clash of Clans
From the addicted gamers perspective, it’s easy to think that you are entirely at fault for not being able to control your impulses to play video games. However, video games often have many features that are designed to be addictive or at the very least make the users want to keep coming back.
When it comes to Clash of Clans it is no exception so here are some of the most addictive qualities of the game.
Low Barrier to Entry
Mobile games are notoriously addictive. When we say that the game has a low barrier to entry, we mean that it is very easy to access and play. For starters, the game is free meaning that so long as you have a smartphone and internet access the game is all yours. Usually, this is the case when it comes to mobile gaming addictions as almost everyone has a smartphone these days. The ease of access to pull it out of our pockets and open the app can happen almost instinctively without any thought or reason.
The gameplay itself is also simple and easy to manage in the early stages of the game. So it does a great job of catering to players of all skill levels. Not to mention the vibrant colours and interesting characters appealing to kids. Meaning that children are susceptible to addiction also.
Measurable Growth & Rewards
Clash of Clans is all about working for that next incremental improvement of your base. The essential premise is to wait in real-time for your mines to harvest enough resources to upgrade various aspects of your base. With every upgrade of the town hall, the clan centrepiece, a whole new wave of content becomes available and thus the cycle continues.
The problem with this game model is that it plays on our innate desire to see measurable growth. We as human beings love to see measurable progress as it makes us feel good. Addiction to this feel-good sensation is a big part of video game addiction as a whole. The problem is that it takes away from our desire to achieve things outside of gaming.
The instant gratification we can get from raiding an enemy base to acquire loot for upgrades is far more fast and frequent than most long term goals in the real world. Hence it shortcuts our motivation for hard work and reward in the real world.
This has been known to pose problems to those who suffer from depression as they become dependent on the rewards they get from gaming. However, when the dust settles and all they have done is invest their time into a mobile game they can begin to feel worse about themselves.
Maintaining Your Account
Ironically the currency that players barter within Clash of Clans is real-world time. Every action within the game requires time to complete. Which at the beginning starts off as little as 1 minute. However, in the later stages of the game players can wait anywhere from 48 hours to 14 days for a single upgrade.
So, how does a player bypass these incredibly long waiting times? With microtransactions of course! Using Gems, a buyable in-game currency players can speed up upgrade times, boost resource harvesting, buy more builders, you name it. Sadly those who are addicted to the game, over time, invest far too much money than they are proud to admit.
As a consequence of these investments, it can often lead to cognitive biases that keep gamers playing even when they don’t really want to. This is known as loss aversion. The players continue to play the game in order to maintain the value of their time and monetary investments. When wanting to quit, they resort to the rationale “If I simply give up the game, all of that time and money would have been for nothing” Thus they continue to play to avoid loss rather than gain progress in other areas of their lives.
Players are also bombarded with notifications constantly letting them know when upgrades are finished, troops ready to attack or if they have been raided. Hence the game does have an element of responsibility to it as the base requires maintenance if they do not want to be raided and suffer a setback.
Symptoms of Clash of Clans Addiction
When players want to break their addiction to Clash of Clans the first step is usually identifying the addiction. An addicted gamer caught up in the midst of their addiction can find it difficult to recognise the signs of their addiction so it’s a common occurrence for loved ones to mention their behaviour before they begin to take it seriously.
So, let’s take a look at the common symptoms of Clash of Clans addiction.
Excess Spending on The Game
As we mentioned previously the game is a sinkhole for peoples cash, however, when you think about it, the game is entirely free to play so long as you’re willing to wait weeks to see progress. Playing the game at this pace is difficult to develop an addiction as it doesn’t really facilitate constant upgrades and monitoring your base.
But, it’s when players can’t stand the wait times and go all in to get their progress. Spending money on the game doesn’t necessarily mean you are addicted but it is when people begin to spend outside of their means then it becomes a problem. For instance, if you are a student setting aside money that should be spent on other important priorities, or a parent that should be responsibly spending but are investing in gems then we might want to reevaluate our expenses.
It’s safe to say that many people are spending money on the game as they racked up over 0.7 billion dollars in revenue in 2019 monetised primarily through microtransactions. So if you find yourself spending too much on the game then it might be time to seek help.
Neglecting Relationships to Play
The clue in the name Clash of Clans means that it is a social game after all, as players join teams from all over to work together and raid rival clans’ bases. You can communicate, send troops and defend each other’s bases adding an element of camaraderie and teamwork to the game. It’s when these gaming friends start to take precedence over our real-life ones is when problems start to arise.
Often players fully immersed in the game will ignore notifications of messages popping up on their screens or angrily decline a phone call that disrupts their raid attempt. Inherently this can start to get in the way of relationships as people who suffer from video game addiction start to fall into habits that cause isolation. All of their social interactions are satisfied through the game of their choice and begin to make little time for anything else.
If you notice that you have been neglecting your real-life friends or loved ones then you might want to consider cutting down.
Other Symptoms of Clash of Clans Addiction
With video game addiction there are a variety of symptoms an individual can experience. There is no one size fits all formula to the signs that addicts show, but being aware of as many as we can will definitely help in cracking down on the addiction.
Here are some more symptoms of Clash of Clans addiction:
- Obsessively thinking about Clash of Clans
- Decline in sleep quality
- Neglecting physical health and hygiene to play
- Lying to conceal gaming habits from others
- Decline in mental health
- Loss of interest in previous hobbies
If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms then it might be time to get the help you deserve.
How To Treat Clash of Clans Addiction
Many of those who struggle with an addiction to Clash of Clans might have tried to quit or cut down in the past, but for one reason or another, were unable to commit to their actions. Here at The Mindful Gamer, we guide our users every step of the way on how to break their gaming addiction. Briefly, here are some of the steps you can take to get moving in the right direction.
Identify Your Addiction
Like we discussed earlier for the person who is addicted to step back and recognise their addiction themselves it is quite difficult. Many gaming addicts are often in denial or ashamed of their addiction so it becomes hard to hold themselves accountable. However, as cliche, as it sounds, admitting that there is a problem is the first step towards recovery as it gives us a place to start.
Take a look at these series of scenarios and see if they apply to you
- When playing, do you find yourself losing track of time and numerous hours passing without realising?
- Is Clash of Clans causing you to ignore family and friends or neglect loved ones to continue gaming?
- Do you find it difficult to concentrate on your work and other obligations during the day?
- Are you playing video games to avoid problems in your life? Stress, negative thoughts or emotions?
- Does your performance in the game dictate how you feel for the day?
If you find that the answer is yes and many of these apply to you then it’s likely that we need to take a detox. Even if you feel like you have your gaming addiction under control but would simply like to cut down to improve other aspects of your life then keep on reading.
Detox From Clash of Clans
So by taking a detox we mean to remove the game and all gaming related content from our lives for 90 days. This means no Clash of Clans, no alternative video games, no videos or live streams. This might sound a bit harsh but it is very important in breaking an addiction to video games. By taking this time away from gaming we give our brains the chance to recover from its desensitisation to dopamine it has caused. Also, it allows us to gain some perspective on life without gaming which some of us might have forgotten.
Obviously, cutting out the video game you love most is going to be difficult but here are some things we can do to make this process easier.
Create a Schedule – Once we cut out our time spent gaming we will open up a lot more free time. When we are unsure of what to do with our time and get bored it often increases the temptation to play video games again. Hence one solution is to create a schedule to follow. Pre-planning what you are going to do at each point in your day doesn’t allow much room for boredom and therefore less temptation to play.
Your schedule doesn’t have to be a strict law and you can adjust it as you go along but the point is to limit the amount of time we spend sitting around doing nothing.
Find Other Hobbies – Alternative activities to gaming are essential. Gaming provided lots of different stimulation for us so in order to satisfy this, we need to try new things. We recommend an activity for each different aspect of gaming that we like. For instance a social activity like joining a dance class to satisfy the social side of gaming. A low energy activity like cooking to satisfy that relaxation we got from gaming and finally a hobby where we can see measurable growth like learning an instrument. Of course, feel free to pick up any old non-gaming hobbies that you used to enjoy.
One of the main reasons people develop video game addiction is rooted in their negative or unrealistic thoughts. These cause us to act in ways such as safety-seeking behaviours that often validate the negative thoughts that we have. Hence CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is all about changing these thoughts for much healthier ones.
CBT is the leading treatment for behavioural addictions, especially video game addiction so you’re in safe hands. CBT is practised through in-person therapy sessions, guided meditations, thought experiments and other exercises. The latter is usually given as a form of homework to develop our cognitive flexibility to better cope with our addiction on our own. CBT encompasses various different treatments such as mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) that all work together to take power away from our cravings and help us find our values beyond gaming.
These treatments are also extremely useful in helping the individual overcome their withdrawal symptoms during their detox. Withdrawal symptoms are a common part of video game addiction recovery but can often result in relapse. Hence, it’s important to have a plan of action to overcome these.
We explain these concepts in further detail in our complete guide to video game addiction article. If you feel like your addiction to Clash of Clans has gotten out of hand or simply want to quit or cut down gaming, The Mindful Gamer is always here to help.