I must admit, when I first read this article, which claims that 40% of World of Warcraft players are addicted, I thought it was pretty silly. Sounded to me like just an attempt at grabbing headlines by Dr. Maressa Orzack by throwing out some exhorbitant number. Perhaps, I thought, she was hoping to scare parents enough to grow her customer base.
Now I'm not so sure. Since then, the good doctor has backed off a bit on that original number, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I exhibited the same type of behavior when playing WoW as when smoking.
Perhaps the biggest indicator was when it began to seem like most people you meet that play this game, as soon as they find out you don't play, start backpedalling about just how much they play. Very few people are willing to be completely truthful about the amount of time they spend playing the game, and that's a little creepy.
I can't blame them, I used to do the exact same thing. It wasn't until I actually used a command in the game to check my total playtime that I realized I had flushed a good chunk of life into this thing... in that amount of time I could've been well along on a novel or a number of other far more constructive activities.
I still disagree with the doctor's claim that games are somehow at fault here.. I think the player is far more culpable. But I also think that the biggest step for folks playing this game would be to look honestly at just how much they play the game. When you look at the sum total of time spent, it's an ugly, ugly figure now matter how you justify it.
I don't think people should stop playing the game... after all, it's a REALLY cool game. I just think they should be honest with themselves about how much time they spend playing it. Most of my WoW-playing friends have found ways to strike a good balance with the game (I think), and I think they could provide some very helpful advice on keeping things in perspective much better than I did during my days in Azeroth.
And now, I present to you the Top 10 most depressing things I saw on WoW Detox, a site where people post reasons to stop playing (these are actual testimonials from the site, I cannot attest to their validity):
10) I grew a cyst the size of a melon on my neck due to little movement for the course of a year and a half. Thanks blizzard.
9) i went broke, i gained 300 lbs, my wife left me and stuck me with the kids. i walk with crutches now because my leg muscles are so deteriorated.
8) There is no way to balance a real life and a WoW life. The game is simply ridiculous. The reason to play is to improve a character as much possible. This means extensive and crippling playtime because of the massive timesinks incorporated in the game... I asked myself why should i care about some purple item in a game i despise but deep down inside still want to cling onto it... Some people may have a strong willpower and can balance and minimize playtime, but the game is so damn addicting those are few and far between.Anything ive had going for me in life has pretty much vanished because of this game and life feels pretty damn dull and pathetic and that is a justified reason to quit. I have encountered and experienced alot of addicting things in my life of all natures, but none as destructive as WoW.
7) My friend came over to my graduation party and left early to go raid Molten Core.
6) I have tried quitting many times, not so many as serious as now, I have had to sign over my account to my friend, make him promise never to let me use it, break my cds, uninstall the game, everything, hopefully I do well in school this year, because I bombed last year because of this piece of shit game.
5) Ever heard of 'thrombosis'? I hadn't, until a couple days ago. I write this from the hospital, friends dropped off my laptop.
Basically, sitting in my chair for hours at a time, 5-gallon Sparkletts pee-jar next to me, I developed a clot in the vein of my leg, which moved to my heart and caused a heart-attack that I barely survived. Doctors orders, no more WOW, much more walking and exercise. I just cancelled my account. I want to live to see 30.
4) If you bought WOW when it was released (Nov 23, 2004 - USA) and played continuously until now (Aug 23, 2006), here's an estimation of how much it has cost you: (21 months x $14.99/month) $49.99 for the game = $364.78. Did you ever think you'd pay almost $400 for 1 game?
3) My brother stopped playing it because i shoved a pen through the screen of his lap top after finding out that the reason for him not taking my dying dog to the vet was because of that dumb game.
2) Because my four year old said When are you gonna be off the game?
1) I lost my wife to WoW.