Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The View From the Top: Redux

First of all, thanks to everyone who came from all over to check out my friend's story. The response was overwhelming. I talked to him last night and he seemed a little embarrassed at the level of response, but was very appreciative of the positive comments from people who shared similar stories and experiences.

Second, I'd like to reinforce a couple of key points:
  • I, Yeager, am not the person who wrote the article. Although I have my own story of picking up and putting down WoW, I can not take credit for the story that attracted (and sometimes angered) so many people yesterday.

  • Although I can not speak directly for my friend, I do not get the impression from reading his story (or talking to him) that he wants to sue/ban/hurt Blizzard in any way. He even makes the point that "WoW did a lot of things right," and that he met some great people in the game. The story for me is about someone admitting they had a problem and doing their best to move on. Obviously others took away different things, and that is their prerogative as free-thinking individuals.

  • I agree that moderation and self-control are the keys here. There are ways to enjoy the game for less than 10 hours a week. But I also think that the amount of time required for the very highest levels of endgame raiding can not be balanced with a healthy lifestyle. Before you crucify me, yes, there are exceptions. There are exceptions to every rule. But you're probably not one of them.


Third, in the interest of getting all sides of the story, I am currently trying to persuade another friend (a councilor in the same guild, still playing the game) to write a counter article: something from the other perspective that highlights the positives of the game with suggestions on how to balance WoW with real life.

Finally, here are some highlights from what I thought were some of the most interesting, surprising, and sometimes baffling comments. I make no apologies for taking some of them out of context and the fact that they are listed here does NOT necessarily mean I agree with them, but here they are:
  • I hear you loud and clear - I damn near lost my degree, and did lose the best girl that ever happened to me, as a result of an MMORPG. I look back now and want to cry at the futility of it all - what the bloody hell was I doing?

  • In my case I suffer from at least the same problems with an obsession with startup software companies.

  • Almost lost my wife and three kids to wow... Amen you found way to "hearthstone" out of the game.

  • Even the most laid back guilds who try to stress a "Real life comes first" attitude end up pushing players into the game deeper and deeper. It is unavoidable.

  • World of Warcrack is not to blame for me almost losing my family. I am.

  • Did you actually take up enchanting and DE all those 30 epics into 30 nexus crystals and give them out to guildies? That rocks.

  • I've wasted away a PhD opportunity, over 10 years did not engage fully with my wife like i should of, let my mental life spiral downwards to the point where my abilities are average, gave up a second degree cause it's more important to play, get angry if I don't have a hit from a game.

  • As the poster has shown, if you are unable to make this distinction, it is probably best for you to give it up all together. However, if you are able to control yourself and your life, then an online game can help you be a better person for it.

  • But the truth is, Blizzard (and the like) are COMPLETELY to blame! For WOW alone, they rake in about $140M/month in revenue. They're not gamers anymore. They're "business men" managing serious money. Just like tobacco companies, they design their products for addiction. What's happened in our lives isn't by accident. It's intended.

  • So what do you all think I should do? play an extremely fun game in my free time? read a Bible? Sleep? Hell I don't know but atm i play WoW and darn proud to say it.

  • Anyone who puts WoW before their family, friends and health deserves the bum deal they get.

  • It sickens me to see this go unnoticed in kids, college students, and especially parents. In my opinion, they might as well be smoking crack everyday.

  • Man I wanna take the time to read all the comments and stuff here in this thread, but I've got a raid in 5 minutes. :(

  • It is not comparable to a drug addiction in any way. It's not physical, it's mental. You had the choice to stop at any time. It's only when people started disrespecting your power that you gave up.

  • He said he quit and he feels great. Its not about you - its about him. The fact that you read his story and see yourself in it (or at least implicated in it) means that you have a problem and you don't want to admit it.

  • Somebody get this guy a Snes, so he can get back to DJ'ing.

  • Your argument is completely flawed its like saying you can't win alchohol. You're not supposed to win it your supposed to play it.

  • I still remember the day i left wow even after all these time. I gave away all my possession, and went into the inn of stormwind to take a long nap. I never woke up from wow. And finally woke up in reality.


Update: The first comment on this post is, in fact, from the real author of the article. I encourage you to read it.

151 comments:

The_Author said...

Heya, everyone,

I'm the guy who wrote the article for Mr. Yeager. It took me a few hours, but I read just about every response to this article. I figure I owed the people who actually read the article or who seemed miffed by it a few explanations.

I was the one who let WoW take a huge toll on my life. I do not blame the game for my lack of control, but if you look at the game design, it's supposed to draw you in and keep you interested for long periods of time. For its intended purpose, it's extremely effective and many people get in way over their head for the reasons I explained above, especially during upper level honor grinds and end-game raiding. That said, I had a lot of fun playing early on and did, in fact, meet some of the best people I know today.

The draw of "succeeding" in the end-game instances or upper level PvP grinding does require a lot of effort, and that is where my (and many, many other's) problem lies. I was not making an ill comment about casual gamers - just pointing out the fact that to a guild who is truly pushing to experience end-game content or PvP accomplishments, playing a level 60 casually for a few hours a day, a few days a week, won't get the job done. As with an employer, most of the time they would rather have "core" raiders who can put in 6+ hours a day and will fully commit to always being there for a raid. I'm actually glad people still enjoy the game at level 60 while playing casually and am extremely happy people find stuff they can do with a few hours of their spare time to relax. A big part of why I left was my changing attitude towards casual gamers – I didn’t think it was fair that they were ridiculed for having other priorities and that I was starting to get frustrated when people had to leave raids because of outside factors (children crying, house on fire, etc…)

I wasn't complaining about how WoW ruined my life. If you read and understand the entirety of the article, I was upset with myself for what I allowed something (which could have been anything) to do to myself, unhappy with what I saw many others let it do to them, and disappointed that even though I saw how it negatively affected those around me, I still catered as an officer.

Oh yeah, speaking of that, I didn't become an officer as a power trip. I did it because my friends asked me and I thought I could help out and handle the job. I really liked the vast majority of the people in my old guild (despite the fact I don't know their real names), and wanted to make sure everyone was having fun and were being treated fairly. I did realize, eventually, that I was letting the game get the best of me and also was acting as a "drug dealer" or enabler for those around me who it was also hurting. I didn't want to do that to myself anymore or to others I considered friends.

I simply removed myself from the situation and returned to the things that made me really happy (yes, like DJing) and gave me a true and tangible sense of accomplishment. I'm not trying to take away from anyone's accomplishments in WoW; personally, however, I wanted to focus on myself and my friends in real life (who include a number of people I met in WoW).

Speaking of accomplishments, I'm not trying to talk up my own with this article. "70 days /played" is not me bragging about the fact I played a game 5 hours a day for a year (only one year - not since the opening, just to clarify the repeated misconception). To those who say "trai /playing 4800 owerz n 201 daiz and c how it fels, u uncommitted nub, I’ll pwn u!!11!!!!!!111!" well, I'll pass, thank you. And yes, I did both farm and play the market. As any accomplished WoWer can tell you, some things you need can not be bought and need to be farmed (dark runes, tubers, jujus, etc...), but I won't bring that up.

Finally, yes, I understand that people can become addicted to anything and it is an individual decision to pick up a joint/oreo/crack pipe/mouse/beer/ball gag. I realized that I was letting the game take over. But it wasn’t just the game or the accomplishment, more importantly it was the people. I felt responsible to the other 150 people in the guild to provide them with a good time, regardless of what affects (good or bad) it had on them. I appreciate everyone’s witticisms about willpower, however it wasn’t the game itself; it was the people. I, like thousands of others, let my personal life and my “character” intertwine too much (which if you break down every negative quality of MMORPGs is the true problem in its basic form). It wasn’t the overwhelming need for loot or rank, it was the fact that my life was, in fact, stuck in a game, exactly where I put it, and the fault of that is no one’s but my own. It hurt more to realize that I let myself slip so far, but hurt worse that I helped others that I called friends to do the same thing (or far worse in many cases).

I appreciate the witticisms about my addiction, my “epeen,” and my megalomania, but if you go back and read it again (I mean the whole thing), you’ll get the idea.

All your wildest dream come true said...

"wow" is a good word for it. I can't believe what I read sometimes.

Taihae said...

I just learned about WoW from a few friends of mine that entered an art competition hosted by Blizzard, and the more I learn about it the more amazed I am how completely some people can submerge themselves in alternate reality. The whole addiction phenomena has entered a new form in the digital age. I really enjoyed the guest article and your other posts. Nice blog!
Taihae

Pluto's Dad said...

I'd like to point out that addictions - even to games - are in fact physical, they involve brain chemistry, and you can do things that don't involve ingesting or injecting anything that will boost your serotonins or beta endorphins, which will cause blockers to keep you from feeling good when the levels of those chemicals aren't artifically boosted.

This is why alcoholics can easily turn to other drugs, even sugar, to get their beta endorphins back up. It's not the physical thing you put in your body, it's the brain chemical balance.

Good for waking up and quitting. But I think this might just be the first step.

Ojava said...

Crediting WOW or any other phenomenon for destroying your life is like the people who used to smoke blaming the tobacco companies for their lung cancer: If it weren't there I wouldn't have had the problem. Wrong!! You just would have found another destructive way to ruin your life.

Charlise B said...

Wow. That's all I can say about the story.

Lord Ben said...

It's not all that new really. I played Ultima Online like 8 years ago (and again today) and some people take it way too hard.

One thing I like about UO though is that it's fairly easy to get to "the top" and the endgame isn't all that big of a deal really. It's just a fun game to play.

Plus I play on a free-shard so that helps the pocketbook.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of saying "I do not blame the game for my lack of control,", you follow it up with "but...".
You are not taking responsiblity for your actions. If it wasn't WoW, you probably would have found another addictive outlet. I'm not trying to flame you or anything, I'm just saying that you need to take responsibility for your actions and not try to make an excuse for them (or anyone else's).

Bartoneus said...

I just wanted to say that I found this whole story great, and I'm glad that it's getting shared and spread so widely. Thank you for posting it and thank you to the author for not only writing it, but taking the huge amount of time to read all those comments.

My friend, and guildie, Abekkus commented on the first part about how he left his end-game raiding guild to re-join us in our small, friend focused guild. We're trying to avoid a lot of the things this talked about, but it's a hard struggle to not get sucked into the game. Hopefully we'll succeed to maintain steady normal lives and still play the game in our spare time!

Anonymous said...

sweet

ANNA-LYS said...

Thank you (both) very much for sharing this problem with the rest of te online communities, wannabies, gamers or not!!!!

//
Anna-Lys
Sweden

Renegade said...

*Stands up*
I am also a MMORPGaholic, and haven't been online in almost 2 weeks! I'm with you, brother.
*sits down to supportive applause*

Check out my blog: http://members.cox.net/renegade_sith/

Oberon said...

......the art of peace is medicine for a sick world......morihei ueshiba.

Mully Nex said...

Honestly, I felt the original article and your post here are very good. Personally it was a difficult thing to do but I finally quit when I realised that there was no way on earth I'd ever be able to keep up.

I was a UK player on a US server, a guildee was kicked for being inactive for 15 days - I was told that if I was inactive for 15 days, even with advance notice, I'd be kicked cos I couldn't be there when the guild needed me.

That was a wake up call, I didn't want to have to schedule my Real Life around that - if I wanted a 3 week vacation, I wanted to be able to take it. I'm already a slave to my employer I didn't want to be a slave to my guildmasters too.

I liked the shiny things and the pretty colours on the items but I was missed for the length of a single heartbeat in game, while like you, in the real world, I'd been sorely missed by family. No I don't have kids, am not married, don't have a partner etc - but they missed me all the same.

ALL MMOG's are designed the same way - EQ was the same too. Watch the South Park Warcraft episode - it highlights the addiction so perfectly.

Susan said...

I think this article and the one below are very good. His whole line of thinking about being able to help everyone is something we can all do irl also. Good luck with rebuilding the life you once had, author.

Big Ben said...

Don't hate the game hate the player. WoW is simply another way for people to spend their free time. I'm a director of a very successful biotech facility, go out with my friends and my wife on the weekends, own a small business and a rental property, and still manage to balance all of that with a generous helping of WoW (69 days played, thank you, full tier 1!)

Here's one for you...You've been doing this blog for over a year... Do you really think your friends are that concerned with your thoughts or meanderings? I did the blog thing. For about a month.

Citizen Deux said...

Thanks. I have been set free.

Frozen Solid said...

The thing with WoW is that you can put as little or as much time into it as you want. You can get just as much gear just as fast as the hardcore top of the ladder guilds that raid 6 hours a night 7 days a week by raiding 3 nights a week, 4 hours a night. You don't need to manage 150+ people that make the high end guilds annoying as hell, you don't need to play 10 hours a day just to keep up with gold to afford to raid, and you don't need to sacrifice your home life.

Early December last year we started raiding three nights a week. Starting in ZG and working our way up to Naxx, we went from a 20 man guild to a 50 man guild. In less than a year we've caught up and passed several guilds on our server that were in 40 man content before we even dreamed of seeing it. We might not be the #1 guild on our server, but for a group of misfits that only play on casual time we're going through instances faster than ANYONE thought was possible.

We were told you couldn't do it without 150+ people to fill raids for when people didn't show up, you couldn't do it without raiding every night for hours, and you couldn't do it with taking off for personal time, but we did. The only time I put in between raids anymore is an hour a day farming the auction house.

I'm sitting on full Tier 2 Epics and just starting Naxxramas and I've yet to lose my job, lose my friends, or screw up my school work because of this game. I've seen a few people ruin their lives, but they just didn't know how to manage their time.

If you handle the game properly it should take up no more time than any other extracurricular activity. Ruining your life is the exception, not the rule.

Frozen Solid said...

PS: Great article from the "I spent too much time playing the game" aspect. I've seen far too many of the same that blame the game and don't take responsibility. Kudos.

Brian said...

The story is great. The massive response is indicative of both the limitations and potential of not just WoW, but online communities in general. I am exploring very similar issues, but from a different perspective.

I maintain a blog at http://www.nurturingbelonging.ca/ that is attempting to address the isolation and loneliness faced by many many people in both the "real world" and online. It seems that being a part of an online community does not guarantee the same sort of social benefits that being an active member of a "real" community - that's debatable, i know.

I also know that online communities are much much better at including people whom look or act "different' than "real world" communities do - also debatable, i know.

I'd love to do a short interview with the_author of the story. Feel free to make contact with me through our website, if you are interested.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

It should maybe be pointed out to the people that say WoW addiction is mental not physical, contrasting this with more normal addictive drugs (bear in mind that this is a gross generalization but true, coming from a neurological perspective): the reason crack is addictive is because it plays on the reward system that's already in place, which makes people feel good when they do productive things (exercise, interact socially, have sex, eat). This is no different from why WoW is addictive--it plays on the same reward system. One uses a chemical mechanism which bypasses the normal sensory/social input; but it's the same system. This is the same system that risk/gambling/shopping addictions work on, as well; addiction to anything invokes this reward system. A chemical delivery system can make the hit that much stronger, but it's not much of a qualitative difference.

fissuresofmen said...

i'd just like to suggest that, as much as it is dispicable that businesses create products with consumer-addiction in mind, we, the consumers, need to stop acting like passive subjects of symbolic violence and do something about this. our lives and our time are in our own hands, and if we become addicted to something, i can't believe it's anyone's but our own fault

Evie said...

Let me add my thanks for writing this guest article. It was certainly an interesting read. It isn't really so surprising to hear that people can and do ruin their lives with dysfunctional behavior (action and inaction that is counter-productive to maintaining the physical existence). I mean, this kind of disconnection from a "real life" that we find uninteresting or unpleasant is a fairly common coping mechanism. It hardly matters if the method involves gaming, watching television, listening to music, or any other hobby. It can be extremely destructive.

A point worth making, to echo one of the other commentors, is that there are many levels of engagement for this game. I don't play in a Guild, for example, so I've never been caught up in raiding or in-game politics. I spend a lot of time playing solo. I also tend to be an episodic player - weeks spent away from the game are followed by many concentrated hours of playing time.

Any time that we choose a focus (solo, pvp, instance raiding, leveling, exploration, crafting, socialization) for our gaming efforts, we limit the content that we interact with, and the goals of our efforts. The effect that the game has on your life is a result how you play it.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the clarity. i feel like you communicated really well the first time, but it seems as though many misunderstood. thanks for you honesty and desire for balance.

Anonymous said...

My friend recently got into WOW earlier in the year. He would spend all night leveling up his character, and not leveling up his wife.
Suffice to say he is not playing WOW because lack of money. I dunno, i just cant get into playing these games (Play the Matrix Online). I just cant commit to those hours, i just dont feel right nor have the desire.

Anonymous said...

I play Eve Online and this story made me stop and think about what i'm doing with my life.

Anonymous said...

I play Eve Online and this story made me stop and think about what i'm doing with my life.

Anonymous said...

I'm hearing more and more WoW addiction stories, and having played the game since inception I empathise with the author.

Fortunately, I have a real life partner who kicked sense into me long before it became a serious issue - but I'm pretty sure that without her I would have been in as deep as the author.

Instead I have found a happy balance playing an odd day a week with RL and online friends, and given up any aspirations of having lots of end-game gear. It also helps that my guild is full of mature gamers who also need to balance the game with life (though some don't).

I reckon the litmus test for WoW addiction is how you respond to when your server is down. If you get annoyed, or feel the need to start a new character on another server - you're addicted and need to realise what that means for your life.

Anonymous said...

You know what I realized from reading this article?

This man beat World of WarCraft!

It can be done.

Anonymous said...

What strikes me as most telling is the pattern in the first post's comment section where the casual/moderate warcraft players were very sympathetic to the article. They seem to get the post, approve of your decision to quit, and realize that you're not attacking them or the game.

Jillian said...

Amazing story. I respect your strength and ability to pull out of WOW. It is like a drug, and it takes a strong person to step back and say enough.

I personally do blame blizzard for many people's addiction to the game. It is THEM who make it take close to 20 minutes to fly from South Gadetzan to Winterspring; it is THEM who force you to grid away hours to become Exaulted with a faction. Any other non-MMORPG you play has an ending, and it normaly will not not you a year to get there. If Blizzard had the right level of respect to the players of their MMORPG, they would chage the game for the better. People MUST have self control and YES, some people are to blame for their own addiction and ignoring their real lives, BUT Blizzard is ulitmately to blame for the design of the game and the addiction it causes.

AFFA said...

I'm glad I'm in a casual raid alliance, which allows me to see engame content occationally, but without the obligations of most raid guilds. Including all my characters, I've played an average of 2.6 hours a day. That sounds close to the average TV viewed per day. That figure also includes about six weeks of unemployment when I did play rather heavily. My main character, which I made shortly after that unemployment, has been played only 1.4 hours a day. I don't believe the game interfered with my employment search, as I have enough money to retire and am generally lazy about getting a new job. Ironically, I ended up getting my current job through people I met in the game...

There have been weeks when I played 30 or more hours. But when I have real life obligations, I only log in for a few minutes a week to check mail and make sure there aren't any crafting requests or guild/alliance issues to resolve (I'm an officer), etc.

Managing a large guild or 40-man raid is a full-time job for more than one person. Our raid alliance has partly avoided that by joining together dozens of smaller low-maintenance guilds, thereby spreading out the leadership tasks. Some of our raids alternate leadership each week to avoid burnout. Others have a regular leader, but there is a great deal of delegation so no one person has to do an extra 10 hours of work for a full clear of MC or BWL (which is only 3-4 hours of game time).

To be fair to Blizzard, I think some of these time requirements will be reduced in the Burning Crusade expansion. The smaller size of raids, more 5-man dungeons, and (from what I've heard) most raids taking less than two hours all reduce the amount of time required. Some people will still play long hours by running these instances back-to-back or as soon as the raid timer is up, but it won't be a requirement anymore.

I don't think Blizzard is deliberately trying to make the game addictive in a wicked conspiracy against the nation's youth. WoW requires less time than most successful MMOs. Any *fun* game will have some potential for addiction. I don't think MMOs are special in their potential for addiction. They're just the latest thing for the previous generation to get worked up about.

Bryan said...

What the hey, I'll comment. I have addictive tendencies toward just about anything that's addictive, and especially video games. The best way to keep addictions in check is to not participate.

For your entertainment: I was addicted to Neopets for an embarrassing two months. I made about 2.5 million neopoints, which is impressive considering I did it in two months. What a bloody waste. I have never played an MMORPG because, frankly, I'm afraid I would go off the deep end.

I have some friends that bought a house and they have a LAN in the basement and play video games instead of having wives. And they are all obese. They weren't in high school. It's a sad deal. It's hard to relate to them because I'm married and have kids, and they have Everquest or whatever they happen to be playing at the moment.

lux said...

You seem addicted to write neverendign posts now. Instead of blaming World of Warcraft, try lo learn to control yourself. At least ever other day.

R2K said...

Great page : )

irish_bloke said...

Theres no doubt that this game is addictive, its certainly the most addictive game ive ever played.

Wow does suck you in the more you play the more your reward, the more your reward the more you play its an endless cycle only if you let it be.

But at the same time you have just balance these things at the end of the real-life is more important.

Bar Bar Butt said...

I lost my soul to Sonic the Hedgehog. I came late to the game, so I had a lot of catching up to do. I bought every version of the game. Soon my life was a mess. It took me four years to complete, during which time I lost my family and my sanity.

I even started to dress up in a blue hedgehog suit when I ventured to the shops (which was very rarely). If, I saw a dead hedgehog on the road, I would break down and cry uncrontollably,like I'd lost a brother.

Anonymous said...

I am also someone who has left WoW, it was beginning to be an issue between my partner and myself. Again it’s the age old issue of spending too much time playing the game and ignoring RL.

The comments made really struck home with me and re-enforced the reasons why I left the game in the first place. I also wonder how many people will be tempted back come the expansion this year. The lure of new content is something that has even tempted me.

Trystero said...

Excellent story and follow-up piece. I am currently a "WoW'er", playing maybe ... 12 hours a week, tops, and although I feel I keep things under control and balance the game and my "real life" commitments, I can see some of myself, and alot of some of my fellow guild members in the article. I don't think I'd ever let things spiral to the levels that the author experienced, but the story is definitely food for thought. Thank you very much for writing it.

Anonymous said...

I've read all over the web about reasons to quit and ways to quit, but the original and follow-up posts by the author are the first time I could totally relate to the reasons and methods. I'm in the same position, and I quite literally just uninstalled the game from my PC. I'm taking the CD's to the trash after I hit submit. I think it'll be a good thing.

paulwhit@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I was an officer in my guild on wow, i put in a lot of time and effort to get us raiding. I stayed while a lot of ppl left for guilds that were already established. THen i reduced my game time because i actually got a full time job. And i couldnt raid as much due to being an aussie and working during raid times. I liked my guild so i stayed even though i couldnt raid. Then one day (public holiday) during a raid, i was demoted. We werent going to do hakkar, i tried to log my BFs pally cause we need a healer, so we could. At that time, my BF had just made me an awesome dinner or steak and mashed potatoes and fresh vegies YUM! so rather than keep playing, i ate dinner. I dont regret my decision. It showed to my BF that he was more important to me than a game and a guild. I was pissed off that afer all the effort i put in my guild wasnt faithful back. Most of the officers and other members were on my side, but then my guild leader complained that "i didnt play enough". I still played a LOT, but just aussie times when no one else was on. It was still a bit of a wake up call for me. I changed guilds to an even better raid guild, but i dont raid. I put my alt in a guild establishing themselves as a raiding guild, because they are nice ppl. My BF and i rolled on another server with some Rl friends. Was actually a really good thing, i enjoy playing the game now, rather than playing it becuase i craved it. ANd now that i am working and will be getting a car soon, i will actually have the CHOICE of wat to do, rather than just having tv/computer/reading.

Sam said...

MMORPG makers need to realize they are creating an addictive product with life altering consquences. That needs to be relayed to consumers so consumers can make informed decisions and be aware that they are dealing with an addictive and potential dangerous product. Parents, families, educators and individuals need to realize that this can be dangerous and be able to point ou the warning signs and have access to help when a problem is identified.
The problem needs to be acknowledged and address while solutions need to be developed for dealing with this problem.
The good thing is that societies around the world are beginning to realize that technological and game addiction is real and does need to be addressed.

Anonymous said...

Interesting read, thanks for taking the time to write.

Guess if your going to play a game maybe one that has a ending will do the trick (E.G. Dungeon Siege) vrs any online one.

I play one called OGame (ogame.org) and see what you mean. In order to get to the top your need to work a lot to advance, and not get your space fleet crashed.

Thanks for sharing and giving us something to think about.

Drako Huscarl aka Joe
Uni 2 - APOC

Anonymous said...

First of all, thanks for the article. The gaming industry it taking us to somewhere we haven't prepared for. Hopefully, we won't see a comment like this in the near future : "I have played WoW too much and it ruin my SecondLife... "

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Anonymous said...

confession is good for the soul, and lots of other souls out there too. I am 42 and am pretty certain that if games like this existed when i was i school/college i would have been totally sucked in. Totally. Fortunately, when games like this appeared, i had earned/learned enough wisdom to CHOOSE TO AVOID ever starting in on one of these games. SO my question is: HOW DO WE TEACH OUR KIDS ABOUT THIS? I suppose awareness and education from mom and dad is a good start?

Anonymous said...

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Joey Maye Faire said...

I honestly haven't the slighest clue what game you are talking about, but...
I am truely shocked that this game could take over and ruin so many lives.
Your friend, the one that you asked to write the article, did the sort of thing that took a lot of courage to do and I applaude both of you for taking the time to talk about a serious issue and so forth...

Anonymous said...

Gratz man. I am slowly in that boat. Thankfully my wife stayed with me throught the "Dark Days". The biggest part I miss is the people. And that was the biggest reason I played endless hours was the people and freinds. Since most live in different states the only way to stay in touch was wow. So that is the hardest part.

And not to drop down to name calling but the learn 2 play post are from tards... I was in one of the biggest guilds on an ally server only to watch it fall apart due to greed. They bisiclly /gkicked everyone from the guild who couldnt raid every night.


I am slowly getting back to things that I once loved and getting rid of the belly that I got from wow and not seeing the light of day. Starting to waste my money on paintball to help get ride of the belly =P

Anonymous said...

Gratz man. I am slowly in that boat. Thankfully my wife stayed with me throught the "Dark Days". The biggest part I miss is the people. And that was the biggest reason I played endless hours was the people and freinds. Since most live in different states the only way to stay in touch was wow. So that is the hardest part.

And not to drop down to name calling but the learn 2 play post are from tards... I was in one of the biggest guilds on an ally server only to watch it fall apart due to greed. They bisiclly /gkicked everyone from the guild who couldnt raid every night.


I am slowly getting back to things that I once loved and getting rid of the belly that I got from wow and not seeing the light of day. Starting to waste my money on paintball to help get ride of the belly =P

Anonymous said...

I would like to commend you on your choice. It is truely unfortunate that such an enjoyable game has had such a negitive effect on so many people. Both in their real lives and on their prospective of your decision to leave WoW.
I too, know the cold vice-grip of videogames and the effects that they can have on a person's real life. I had had lost jobs, friends and my wife of 6 years to videogame addictions before I realized what I had become. I have since recoverd from my hard fall and although I still play, I am in control now not the games.

As for everyone that is berating the author for quiting, I suspect that it is because you see yourself in this article. Before you start ranting your deniel, prove it first. I challenge you to stop playing all videogames (including computer solitare) for one solid month. If you are able to do this then you can say your not addicted. If you can't... Well the writing is on the wall. Either way it will change your life for the better.

Anonymous said...

ahh crap sorry for the double post. blogger errored out. now i feel stupid

Anonymous said...

I would personally like to start of by saying thank you to the author for this article. Just a few monthes ago a close friend of mine also left the game of World of Warcraft after a long and hard addiction to it. he would constantly give up time with us and his other significant others to sit in front of a computer screen and play a a computer game for hours on end with no reward other than a little object made of pixels which he thought was worth bragging about.

Now dont get me wrong I am in no way trying to offend the actual game or those who play it. i was a big fan of the game for a while as many others and was in a top raiding guild as well. However as you sit in these guilds you watch and realize how many poeple truly take this game too far. And this is not just in WoW but in all of the MMO gaming industry.These games are designed to allow poeple to fully immerse themselves into a different reality and become who ever they wish to be. Something which can become truly addicting.

All I wish to do is thank the author for bringing this subject out into the open and allowing peoples eyes to be opened to such a large and growing problem in our new society of ever advancing technology.

Also i would like to help defend and raise a few questions to those who say that his article is wrong or unsubstantial. For those who say that it is only the individuals fault for playing the game and getting addicted ... although it is turly on the players shoulders to make the decision the companies who design these games are not guilty free. They commercialize and create addiction to allow those who are weak to it to be overcome by their methods. Although the player is guilty for succumbing, the company is just as equal for creating and promoting the addiction. It is planned and i know this because within my game design courses which i am currently studing they promote and teach you the addicting charecteristics of games and how to integrate them into your designs.

Finally All I have to say to all you who come on here and bash this author in the first place heres an idea for you. If you dont like the articles subject or dont agree with it then simply dont read it but dont come here and bash someone who is simply trying to help those who need it and those who recieved help from his article

Sean said...

Congratulations on being a weak person and an attention whore.

Kudos.

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Anonymous said...

Yea, that sense of loyalty to your guild/online friends is really what pushed you over the edge.

I would have quit these games long ago if it wasnt for the handful of people that I've played online games with for almost 7 years now. But when online gaming becomes a lifestyle and quitting means "screwing over" your friends, it's a daunting (and dangerous) situation.

xkey said...

anything can be addictive - porn, booze, drugs, sex, games, eating, living :) [i like that last addiction ...oh hell and sex too!

far and few between are those who have not been addicted to something that has had a negative impact on their life at some point

what one does to learn and grow from such an experience is what defines one - it will stay with you for the rest of the life, the situation was merely transitory

enjoy your epiphany and gl with that girl be it as friends or be it more

<< joyfully addicted to the pleasures of watching my 14 month old daughter develop and bring me many smiles along with frustrating moments :) [beats the hell out of 3500 hours of D2 in a year]

Anonymous said...

BOO FUCKING HOO

cheshire said...

Hi,

I would like to say that it was a fantastic article and a great read.

I am looking at your work from the perspective of both a qualified journalist and a former WoW player myself and I have to say that you hit the nail on the head perfectly.

I still have friends lost to the game... one of them has spent almost an entire year in gametime across his different characters.

An. Entire. Year.

You really have to think about that one. He is only 23 years old... and the game has already occupied almost 5% of his total time alive on this planet.

You were spot on with a number of your points and I am glad that you were able to so effectively put your point across.

The game is an addiction. I am just glad I got out after only giving up roughly a solid month of my life on it. (24hrs x 30 days = gametime).

Bravo.

EvilGoodGuy said...

When the game first came out, two RL (real life) friends of mine got me to buy it and play with them. With the addictive personality I have, I immediately became a hardcore gamer. I clocked 19 hours in one sitting, no time spent afk, no food breaks, nothing. I've hit 70+ hrs a week on many many weeks. And after getting a GPA of suck that semester, and not seeing my friends much I realized I was spending too much time in game.

So I made a realization, and a promise to myself, never again will I pass up a chance to hang out with friends so that I can play a game. Whether it be WoW or anything else that comes along the way. And sure some nights I really wanna play, and I will. But when a party comes along, I'm there. When my gf is in town, [we go to school in seperate states :\] I deactivate for a week or so.

I've tried quiting, I've tried playing other games, but I keep comming back. And I feel I finally have it under control, but I understand some people aren't able to find that balance. I know that playing a game I can't stand being a casual gamer. No matter how hard I try, I can't do it. I daydream in class about talent specs. I zone out in a test wondering what the best sequence of spells to do on my lock to beat multiple enimies of varying classes.

It took realizing that it wasn't wow that I was addicted to, but distractions. Not from life, from anything, I love doing stuff that's fun, who doesn't? And a game with no ending that I still find enjoyable will get me every time.

Just gota find those priorities, set em in stone, and only budge occasionally, and when you feel like it wont be a problem. Lastly, sorry for the crappy writting style, I'm a programmer, not an english major :)

LG said...

I definatly agree with everything you have said, and being an ex Guild Master can relate to pretty much everything. I would pay to see this story done as an interview for every major current affairs program in the world.

Sugar said...

hehe, im trying to give up the wowcrack. But you know what I do enjoy it in moderation now. I have changed servers and alliances, and am now enjoying the slow grind up to 60 once again. I play about 5 hours a week now. I would say thats about 1/4 of what most people watch in TV.

Anonymous said...

heh is this a "christian" forum or something cause I see tunnel-vision written all over it. I personally don't think anyone who's never played the game could even possibly begin to understand what they're talking about. The issue to me is not the addiction but the reasons people so easily become attached and enticed by these addictions. This kind of game is new to blizzard so i dont think its fair to portray them as evil guys whose sole intent is to destroy lives and relationships. I picture a bunch waterboy's mommas saying everything is of the devil.

Really, if being with your friends was soo much fun and DJ'ing was such an accomplishment, why would a person get so involved in this game to begin with? I know this game provides an escape and I believe this is a major reason people beecome involved in it. Real Life blows sometimes and your Real Friends and your Real accomplishments don't always suffice. So you look for something to invest time in that is fun and even more of a blast if you have Real life friends you can play with. Sure, this game is designed so you can't really 'finish' for those obssesive compulsive guys.. but I dont think thats the point. Just because a game or some form of entertainment 'ends' does not mean you'll never play another game again or watch another movie, or whatever.

Some of the peeps here don't need to pretend like they know what smoking crack or playing wow is like, much less make any kind of comparison.

Some guys choose to focus on a game as the issue instead of the reasons or roots of the problems people have that lead them to the addiction. I see a much larger problem than a game. I mean what does it tell you when millions of people play this game. Are you going to say that they are all queer and they should know better. To me, the author did not overcome this problem but simply ran away from it. Sure the see no evil, here no evil, say no evil is a kind of solution but I think it's a lame one. The author mentions he left because he didnt want to encourage the addictions. He said he cared. But really, all that seems like bull shit to me. How can WoW be the root of a problem. Is it because it is so effective? When that is taken away, people usually just end up finding something else.

We all would love to make such a generalization and blame one specific thing (a game in this case) just to simplify life it seems but the truth it's much more complicated and every person has their own unique experiences that set them apart from others...

To conclude, i am a current 'WoW addict' and I don't see a reason to stop. Funny thing is, I'm at a Christian school and they all could care less that I sit in my dorm and seclude myself and I could care less for them. "Oh, that dude's weird, he's anti-social" You know what.. go ahead and say whatever shit you want. Weird, Akward, right and wrong, its all relative. When they get out into the 'real' world they might find themselves in a similar situation when not everyone around them is a Christian or understands the things they do. In the end, there's only going to be one judge and if you like the condescending approach to those that play games as a means of escape, let me encourage you to go do something else with your 'valuable' time. o

Anonymous said...

I'm an artist. I'm also extremely interested in video game construction, marketing and design. I play this game and am as addicted as the next guy. What kills me is i research WoW aswell. I keep notes on what psychologically happens to people in this game. I pay close attention to how the work / play / reward ratio works out and in the end, i am always saddened to see my own results. Once i caluclate how much money blizzard makes, i laugh. I laigh because they have done what i am trying to do, as a game developer.

They created a drug. A drug to wash away your sorrow. To fix all of those little things you missed out on in life. Those born ugly, can now be beautiful. Those born male, can now be female. All of them experiences very close to real world interrelationships with each other, but clouded with the premiss that it was all a lie. But you know, ever time, you forget its just a game. You may even catch yourself forgetting that the perfect body female you look at is a person, like you, who looks nothing like what they appear in the game.

Sexual frustration, depression, obsession all for an unreal ego-manipulative system which clouds your vision of life.

I look at WoW, and i read my notes carefully. I look at this perfect formula. I see how exponentially increasing work to reward ratio keeps people playing. Like a frog being boiled to death.

I read my notes now. I almost want to cry. I feel like a cocaine dealer in the making. I see all of my work for the past 10 years as an artist, game developer and so on falling apart. Did i study all i did to destroy lives? Was all this work to create new and amazing universe for people to explore just a horrible curse?

I crumpled up my notes recently. All accept one page. I kept one page where i outline the math involved in creating an endless video game, and an endless universe for people to trade for their real one.

I keep it on my wall. I look at every so often and i think of articles like this. People who suffer like this. I put my focus on designing games that have a "THE END" involved.

The irony though...i found this article from my guild's website, a few minutes after logging out WoW. Can you believe it? over 80 days /played. Some people in my guild bragged of over 130. I want to cry for them, i want to cry for me.

And the final thing for you to chew on. If i had figured it out before blizzard did. If i had the resources and the manpower. If i had the circumstances to create WoW on my own...i would have.

Anonymous said...

I have quit WoW tonight. My fourth time if I recall.

I know that my life is so much richer without WoW (same goes for EQ, et al).

I am an addict. And I will be fighting this addiction my entire life. I just hope I can eventually get to the point where I am no longer consumed by it.

Dashknocker said...

I play Final Fantasy XI (FFXI). Well, played. I stopped about a month and a half ago. I stopped because I knew the game would go no where in the end.

Originally I played because I wanted to explore the game, Learn it's systems, and because I was a fan of the FF universe. I was somewhere between hardcore and casual. Sometimes I would avoid friends, and other times I dropped the game like a sack of rocks to hang out with them.

I still have my account active. I can go back anytime. I balance on an edge, but this story has pushed me in one direction.

When I stopped playing FFXI I could pretty much be given any max level (75) character and know how to play them ranging from good to great. The only 2 jobs (classes) I really dedicated myself to I was phenominal at. I had learned everything I would ever need. Learning was a major fun factor for me. Even though I never actually hit 75 myself in my 2+ years playing (I couldn't tell you my /played).

Note: FFXI can take large amounts of skill. Some people had no idea what they were doing. So, saying you could play any job at least good is a fairly large boast. Though I believe it is an honest one.

I have 6 real friends that play FFXI. I moved away from them to start school, and I stopped playing. Though it was odd. When I was playing I often didn't group or quest with them. I helped them a fair amount (as I was the highest level by far), but I never really did too much with them. Maybe it was because I could always just hang out with them (or that I mostly played in the middle of the night when they slept).

But I can't just go see them anymore. I can't just drop something and go to lunch with them. Your acticle has pushed me to play again, but this time for the right reasons. My friends. I know I can manage my time, and I know my friends will understand if I need to leave. There is no pressure to perform to my peak perfection. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

As the wife of a current WoW guildmaster, who has struggled for years with feeling like she came second fiddle to a bunch of cross-dressing, nocturnal Dwarves, Warriors etc. and who cannot and will never manage to understand the need to own yet another big, shiny "sword of wounding" or whatever is the lastest toy to drop, I have chosen to avoid reading Everquest Widows websites- and similar for WoW, as it just makes me sad. I happened onto this site by accident this morning, and am almost wishing I hadn't... I love my Level 60 Dwarf (soon to be level 70 I am sure, with the latest expansion) who tells me he can give up WoW anytime- but never actually manages it. I understand also why he has the need for this game in his life right now, but at some point something will have to give. We will try and work it out, but in the mean time, fair-play to you sir for actually managing to give it up- I hope something else will happen along for you that provides you with the same kind of buzz World of Warcrack did.

williamw said...

self-reflection is always good: addiction is largely in the mind (the computer offering ampre chemicals for the body) and inherited. You mentioned your environment too, western culture, western couchpotatoes, pressures, social decay. Fascinating. In the 80's they said the same about D&D. In the 50's they probably said the same of R&R. I can hear someone's parent saying 'think what you could achieve by putting that game energy in your work, family, life!'. Why don't we? What is our preferred reality? Whose to say you will be 'happier' in a non virtual world? Lets us know after a few years... By the by, if the drug companies are earning billions on antidepressants, why not game companies? lol wow!

Squinty said...

Personally, I had to "move away" from WoW recently so that I could get back to other more important things in my life. Mind you, these are things I've wanted to do for a long time, but I CHOSE to LET them take a back seat to WoW.

No fault to Blizzard for making a fun, addicting game, one that people just let themselves get pulled deeper and deeper into. You can let go and move on, you just need to make that choice. In my case I moved my characters over to my wife's account, essentially limiting the time I can play. It's helped a lot, and I can still jump in and play one of my two lvl 60 chars when I make time for a WoW fix.

Interestingly enough, since I "stepped away" a month ago I haven't played that much at all, and it feels even better than I thought it would.

Anonymous said...

Wow....You guys all need to get a fucking life! Jesus h, don't any of you work, hang out, watch TV, have sex, or sleep?

Anonymous said...

"If it wasn't WoW, you probably would have found another addictive outlet."

This is one of the most accurate comments I've ever heard. You know why? Because I used to play runescape, and hell I spent nearly as much time on that as I do WoW. It has been the same story for me, every year I have a new obsession, sometimes I get over it (like runescape), sometimes I don't. (WoW, PS2 believe it or not.) I guess the only you can do is take up a "healthy obsession", like an interest in girls, or world peace, or the arts, SOMETHING that is in some way constructive. Too bad I can't follow my own advice. Although I must say one thing, WoW has developed my organization skills incredibly so, not only that but has also shown me that I have great concentration when I'm focused on doing something. All I'm saying is that there's two sides to every story. As for me? I may never quit WoW, because it is such an entertaining game. But one thing is for sure: I most definitely am going to reduce my play time. Quitting WoW is a last resort and should only be an option to people who may not have the self-control to take the game less seriously. I guess the person in the above article could not control himself. -.-

Anonymous said...

I was having the same problems. I was GM for over a year. Last week I had it left my own guild to someone else and joined a raid guild without a "must raid 6 times a week" rule.

Now I log in when I feel like raiding and do just that. Not being responsable for a whole guild satisfied me again and I play with fun again to instead of having the feeling I "must" log in cause my online friends need me.

Anonymous said...

"I honestly haven't the slighest clue what game you are talking about, but...
I am truely shocked that this game could take over and ruin so many lives.
Your friend, the one that you asked to write the article, did the sort of thing that took a lot of courage to do and I applaude both of you for taking the time to talk about a serious issue and so forth..."

Firstly, read what the game is like, THEN post. Second of all, this game is like MSN with a game attached. It's all about socializing, THAT'S why people find it hard to log out. They just wanna chat to friends, or do something with another person for for those few more minutes, before they log out.

Anonymous said...

to be honest, anyone who isn't addicted to an online game, is addicted to myspace or chatting...

i for one would much rather spend my time playing a fun game for 5 hours instead of mindlessly looking at other people's profiles for 5 hours.....

Anonymous said...

Several people have said that WoW is the equivalent of any other addiction, but I think it's a little more subtle than that. Drugs give a very specifc sort of high. Even shooter games have quite a narrow scope. WoW, in contrast, is much more varied. It also has an insidious way of changing in character.

When you start to play Warcraft, the game is about exploring beautiful landscapes and solving interesting, amusing and varied quests. It's about meeting new people. It's (at least on an RP server) about developing a character personality, creating stories with your friends, working as small teams to advance and beat challenges. There's a lot of choice and a lot of freedom.

Once you hit level 60, gradually, it starts to change. For those high-end instances you DO need to put in a lot of time. Yes, you can come along to Naxxramas or AQ without being a person who farms, grinds and repeats the same raid ad nauseam, but if you do, you are effectively leeching off of those who did those things. Other subtle changes creep in, too... the roleplaying seeps away - nobody has time between raiding and farming. Gone are the obscure talent choices that reflected the character's personality or the player's interests - everyone chooses a standard raiding spec. The "ironic" leet-speak becomes so prevalent it's rare to see messages without it. Nobody chooses their outfits for looks, and those who used to shun thottbot, preferring surprises, can be spotted saying things like "I need to farm Buru! Gief my epixx boots plx !!1"

I used to play WoW over 50 hours a week. Now I play around 2 hours a week. Like the author, I'm an officer (although no longer a very active one) in a big, and once high-profile, guild. When I played excssively, I would discuss and pooh-pooh the idea that we all spent too much time in WoW. After all, it provided so much variety. There was social interaction with people in other countries (and I have gained several real-life international friends, for whom I am very grateful). As a guild officer, there was plenty of scope to hone one's organisational and management skills. Working out boss-fights was problem solving. I gave out a lot of counselling to people who were either hiding from real-life problems by taking refuge in Azeroth (I think I did that), or who had problems mainly caused by Azeroth. I felt I had a responsibility to provide a good time for the people in the guild. I had responsibilities to my friends.

And as time goes on, if you don't dedicate enough hours - if you haven't pulled your weight in preparing for the latest raid, or if you aren't there when someone needs you - you don't feel so useful. Raid leaders start to speak of "dedication", "commitment" and conversely of casuals "leeching". Oh no! My friends are part of the "core" and I'm a liability! When you've been playing for long enough, these people really are your friends, and you don't want to let them down, nor to be left out. This is irrespective of whether you actually care about getting epic loot, or whether you enjoy endlessly farming Ragnaros.

I can recognise a lot in what you say. And I don't think that it necessarily takes an addictive personality to be sucked into WoW, because by its varied nature, it doesn't seem like spending a lot of time on one thing. WoW addiction isn't like drug addiction - it's more like putting a lot of time into working for a particular club or society. I don't think the author will get sucked in again.

Rogue said...

Devoting your life to an MMO is a problem?

Gee, really?

Anonymous said...

wow you sound like a loser.

Ash said...

You are going to spend your time alive somehow. What proportion of that time you spend playing WoW, going out dancing, working at a job, eating, sleeping, being a parent, shooting up drugs, watching TV, working out, conspiring against the evil around us, anything. Whatever you do, it is going to be dictated to some extent by your physical and emotional needs and tendencies, and to some extent by your exercise of choice.

I can see no condemnation of WoW as a "worthless" activity that does not equally apply to virtually any other form of recreation. The argument against spending time in WoW devolves to two positions: (1) other-focused: it is the duty of a person to work, largely for the benefit of future people; (2) self-focused: each activity chosen is n-1 activities not chosen, and one of those might be more rewarding.

In the long run you will of course be dead, and it's highly unlikely that anyone will care how you spent your time. Perhaps you could have become a biochemist and discovered a cure for conservatism, thus vastly improving the lives of other people, had you not spent your time living on unemployment and playing WoW; but your failure to discover that cure is equally stark if you instead spent your work time working as a hairdresser and much of your free time doing volunteer care for the aged and for animals. Unless you are going to pursue the best possible life for yourself, you are, tautologically, not living up to your potential.

There are some problems with this. What is best for you to do is usually not visible at all, until well after the choice point is gone. Secondly, your unhappiness, and poor choices, have a knock-on effect on others that is even less predictable. Your decision to stay home from work to play WoW might have saved the life of the cyclist you would otherwise have bisected with your Dodge Viper on your morning commute.

My point is that "potential" is a castle in the clouds. Pursue happiness instead. Honestly ask yourself if you, by spending time in WoW, are actually depriving yourself of opportunity for greater happiness. "Happiness" of course includes the sense of self-worth gained through accomplishment and unselfish deeds. An example of both: being a good parent.

In summary, you ought to ask yourself if WoW is really making you happy, but don't stop there, just because disdaining video games is fashionable. What proportion of all the things you do will make you most happy?

Personally, I find WoW best for filling in time that I would otherwise spend bored. This works out to two to five hours after work two or three weeknights, occasional Saturdays, and most Sundays. That is, time that many people would spend watching TV. WoW for me provides social communication and shared activities at a completely controlled level, which is ideal after having spent nine uncontrolled hours at work dealing with the demands of bosses, co-workers and the public.

Anonymous said...

I do not play the game at all and refuse to try. My spouse plays and it is a constant battle to get him to stop for anything. Sometimes we don't eat until late at night because he loses track of time and forgets. He has asked me to play and offered to help me, but I refuse. It frightens me to think that something so silly as a game could pull him in so completely that he doesn't know 8 hours have passed and that it is now edging on 7 in the morning.

From this experience I honestly think that there is no successful way to balance between life and the game. Even if we go out with our friends they talk about the game. It invades every part of your life. To be good at this game and good at living, is impossible. You have to choose.

And while you cannot blame the game for the problems it has caused, if the game were removed there would be a chance of fixing the situation. Gaming is a CHOICE. You choose to play. You can just as easily choose not to play. Of course people should take responsibility for their own actions, but it should be recognized that the game is extremely addictive. There is no patch to help lower your cravings or gum to chew, I believe it has to be done cold turkey. Remove it from your life completely.

Warcraft ruins lives.

Anonymous said...

Wow...WoW.

I did the same thing. I'm a smart, well-educated, 33-year-old woman who should have known better. I played WoW for 30 days last year (that's 720 hours). Those 30 days coincided with the end of my marriage. I had an online "affair" (OK, cyber-sex) with what turned out to be a 17-year-old boy...then moved on to a real-life love affair with a guildie. WoW offered me the seductive opportunity to be sexy and popular. I quit cold turkey about 10 months ago...and haven't regretted it a bit. WoW is a sad addiction.

Anonymous said...

While everyone needs to take responsibility for their own actions and addictions, it is untrue that media is nuetral.
I've worked in both advertising and gaming, and the best in those industries work psychology pretty hard. We know (or think we know) what will be addicting. The tune that gets stuck in your head, the product you just have to have without knowing why, the game you just can't put down- that's what makes us the big bucks.
Gaming (and other media) is great. I'm not knocking the industry for the product they create. However, media creators cannot deny that they affect people's behaviors. Do they CAUSE them? No. But they do affect them? Absolutely. Coke doesn't spend hundereds of millions on media without believing they can affect behavior, and Blizzard doesn't create games that are easily put down. Does this mean they should stop making/creating? No. But we who create the media have to take some responsibility for how people's behaviors are affected by what we create.
Again, individual responsibility is very important, but that extends to how our individual actions- including media creation- impacts other people.

Anonymous said...

Read thru most of the post, well thought comments even the flaming ones. I played 65 days, and find all the post dead on, what hooked me was not so much addiction to the game, but the feeling of belonging to a group and working together to create the artifical team. 40 people was jsut unmanageable, and over time you feel a false comittment to real people that you do not want to let down and are dragged indefinitally along if you are not logged in during an event your character was missed and often needed. This feeling that there were people depending on you to logg in and the drama that occured when they "didnt have enough hunters" caused me to exit the game. My personal opinion the fun stopped at 39 other people depending on you being there for the completion of the event. Not one to fault Blizzard, but believe that if smaller groups were the cap then part of the misery would go with it and the fun returned. I had always prefered trying to do 5 men instances with 3 people, that made it a game for me. As for the posters that are here flaming the author over the amount of involvemnet he allowed himself to have, you must remember he was an Officer of his guild you were probabally jsut along for the ride. One becomes an officer to help another friend who is over his head managing 100 different personalities and schedules and it evolves into that it is not an over night event then you can find yourself stuck in psudo comittments. This is all my opinion but i believe the most important part to realize is that there is no end with a warm fuzzy Diablo doesnt die and like all good things you must choose your end point on your own terms. Other wise you may be still playing 5 years from now when Blizzard decides to turn off the servers, a choice completely out of your control. How good will one feel then and how will that player react with out the power of choice. Will they go off the deep end?

Nathan Wright said...

To the author: You nailed it, and good for you. I can relate to much of what you wrote. I, too, was an officer in a top-four raiding guild on my server. I risked my relationship, packed on weight, and slacked off at school because I couldn't keep myself from the 6-night-a-week raiding schedule. I quit, but now I'm back, with no raiding. It's amazing how much less addicting this game is if you're not raiding. My play time has decreased from 40-50 hours a week, to maybe 5. I log-in, tool around with my new rogue or mage, then log off 30 minutes later. The game is no where as fun, but my life is far better. Bravo man, bravo.

RadicalDragon(f) said...

Hey Author--
I completely agree with you on this and I think you did a marvelous job writing this article. Part of the reason you are getting so much response (both positive and negative) is because it is so evocative, I think.
I have one observation about the quoted comments at the top of this page--I find it somewhat amusing that mainly the ones agreeing with you--saying they had a similar experience and put WOW away for good--are written clearly, with good punctuation, spelling and word usage. The ones criticizing your article and indicating that they still play WOW in a high level have poor grammar, incorrect capitalizations, spelling, you name it.... Maybe I'm just anal but that seems to just prove your point all the more effectively. Good job, critics! =D
By the way, I still play WOW once or twice a week--it's sort of a pain the way it consumes my Sundays, but I try not to schedule around raiding or cancel events because of it. I just want to include that to indicate people can play casually and still have a good time--it's just a constant battle to not want to play more :) Thanks for your article!
--Rachel

Anonymous said...

I appreciate that the original article and subsequent response by the author to this post are taken from his own point of view and opinions, and I respect his viewpoint on what happened to him as well as what he witnessed with other people firsthand. All I can say is that it seems like the author did what was right for himself, and there's no reason not to applaud that.

Still, it's worth pointing out to those of you reading these posts/comments who haven't played WoW that the experience that the author describes is not everyone's experience. In contrast, my experience in the game is that I'm able to play with my wife, other family members, RL friends that live in other timezones, etc. and that we can limit our playtime through scheduling and still achieve whatever the current pinnacle of success is in the game world. In other words, I can play for a few hours a sitting a few nights a week, still get everything I want to get out of the game, and also be able to go out and have fun in "real life" more often than I'm sitting behind a computer. Is my experience more or less common than the author's? All the people I know play like I do, so my viewpoint is skewed... however, I can tell you that my perspective is just as valid as the author's since I've lived my experience just as he's lived through his.

That's why, as one of the half-dozen leaders of one of a guild with over 250 accounts (i.e. one of the biggest guilds in existence on any server), it's hard not to take offense to the author's implication that being a guild leader is equivalent to being an enabler of some life-destroying habit. Are there people in my guild with addictive personalities who let their game-time with WoW interfere with their real life? Maybe (but if so, then they're hiding it well). However, even if there were, it's extremely unfair to imply that because guild leaders schedule events and promote a social atmosphere that the addicts enjoy, that they're somehow part of the problem. Why would guild leaders stop making the game more fun for the players who do play responsibly in order to avoid making the game too fun for people who can't control themselves?

I think this overestimates the influence a good guild has on a player's personal pathos. If it wasn't your guild, it'd be someone else's. If it wasn't someone else's, it'd be a different MMO. If it wasn't that, then it'd be blogs or something else. If a person wants to throw themselves into something to escape their RL, that doesn't make anyone else who particpates in that "something else" complicit in the person's self-destruction. If we took away everything that could be abused as a way to retreat from RL problems, we'd be banning drugs, alcohol, sports, movies, TV, books, music, the Internet, etc. until we were all sitting in a giant, unoffensive padded room, "saved" from ourselves.

So, other than the pseudo-righteous "I had to stop leading a guild that was helping people do harm to themselves" tangent, it was a good essay, obviously quite personal, and clearly struck a chord with many.

Anonymous said...

First off I totally agree with the orginal poster. Anything that consumes you to the point that you stop paying attention to life around you is not a good thing. Gratz for walking away.

Second, and the thing that bothers me most, is the "That game is evil" mentallity of so many of the other posters. Why is it that if you wanna spend your free time playing a game, especially a fantasy game, that people get so upset? People think it's weird that you spend 10-30 hours a week playing a game and yet the average American spends at least that watching televison. I don't watch tv, I play WoW. People get at least as addicted to tv/movies and sports as they do online games, and yet nobody thinks twice about that. I know guys that can recite sports statistics all day, or others that know who's dating each other in Hollywood, etc. I couldn't care less about movie stars or who won the World Series in '79. I can tell you where to get your teir 2 shoulders. So what. All media is designed to be addictive and entertaining. Ever seen a series finale? They want you to watch more, it's the nature of capitalism. Entertainment is one of the biggest industrys in the U.S. and it comes in all shapes and sizes. If your husband is ignoring you for WoW, it's not the games fault. It doesn't have some dark magic that draws him in. Maybe he has an addictive personality. Maybe he doesn't like you anymore. Maybe if WoW didn't exsist he would be at the bar watching the "big game" with his buddys instead. Would that be better? No, but definatly more socially acceptible. I play WoW because I get off work late, I can either go home and watch tv (mostly moronic), play WoW, or go to the bar with my friends. As much fun as getting wasted 4-5 nights a week is, I think I'm better off playing WoW.

Anonymous said...

PS. For all you concerned spouses out there, try this. What 'till your husband/boyfriend/whatever is in the middle of something "important". Walk up wearing your sexiest little outfit. If he's not offline and all over you in under a minute, you got problems. Any man that passes on sex for a game (or anything really) has much bigger issues going on than that he really wants that epic drop.

collegeguy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
collegeguy said...

Thank you for taking the time out of your RL and posting this. I play WoW almost daily, and raid 3 times a week, I too see some of the things you've talked about in your two posts.

I think is WoW what you let it become, and sometimes I want to quit, but find it more and more difficult, over the past couple days I have had similar feelings to the things you've said and it's good to see someone else who feels the same way as I do.

I think you're a strong individual for quitting, I too can't moderate WoW as much as I'd like to, it's a great game but it's mostly the players I've met that make it a good experience for me; signing in looking forward to talk to certain people, logging on to farm mats to buy something special for someone(an alt or main), farming mats to impress people, providing the "guild bank" with materials to be a "better guildie". I have done some of these things and it's rediculous.

I just want to again thank you for posting and I feel very similar to how you do/did, although I don't have the willpower to cut WoW out of my life. I have a lot of respect for you :).

Sam said...

Loved your article man. Very honest. I think for you it is really quite hilarious that you got so into wow. You actually got really advanced and demonstrated real life leadership qualities in the context of the game. How I feel is this: Life is a game. Different kinds of games, but all games. You showed up at the Wow game for a little while and as far as I'm concerned you did beat the game. You played, had fun, made friends, moved on. Hell, if you're not careful trying to be the best DJ in the world can eat your soul too. In fact, people say this kinda thing all the time about the music industry, acting, politics, the business world. Balance isnt just something to be applied to WOW, it is a concept that needs to be applied to all things. Keep rocking, and post where you are actually DJing so people can come listen man. I bet you're pretty damn intense at that too!

Anonymous said...

Reading this makes me want to play more for some reason. I am probably addicted, but damnit is it a fun ride on the way down. woot!

Anonymous said...

I first ran into the problem way back in 1994 when I first encountered Mushes. For those who do not know, a Mush (or Moo or Mudd) stands for a multi-user dungeon or 'shared hallucination'. They are text based 'games' where you create a character, create and interact with setting features and rooms, and interact with other characters. They are the predescesors for MMORPGs, which are basically the same thing, but with graphics instead of straight text.

At my university, Mushing was becoming very popular with my peers. We started getting people flunking classes and dropping out of school from playing on line so much. I was not immune. I started pouring hours in, especially during periods of depression when I didn't feel like I was accomplishing much in RL. The game made me feel like I was accomplishing something in VL, and because there were other people playing I thought I was pleasing, I felt accomplishment in RL for making these other people happier. Didn't go over the edge...grades were good, got married, went to grad school. But this thing was always there.

After a really bad bout of depression I realized that the false accomplishment of the online game (the Mush) was contributing to the depression, and went into counseling. Then came MMORPGs. I avoided most of them because I didn't want to risk an addiction. I played Dark Ages of Camelot because my husband began to play and some RL friends promised to play. We avoided the trap, but it was very easy to see how PVP play and the raiding and end game required the addicted personalities to lead it. We got to level 50 and quit. The end of levelling was the end of the game...and that's a good thing.

Now we're playing City of Heroes. I have to say it...COH is /finally/ a fun game, with a non addictive model, or a definate step back from the WOW model. Missions are short, super groups can be tiny (like, say, myself and my husband) and there's no loot...and that's a good thing. The goal is to get to 50...and that's it. This may sound bad for some, but I'm glad there is an MMORPG for us recovering addicts.

Anonymous said...

Cheers to the blog owner and to the_author! A lot of truths has been said especially by the article and the Redux sums it all up. I commend you for putting up a very well-written account of your experience. I think the keyword for this whole experience is CONTROL. All of us must learn to know when enough is enough. I'm not referring to just MMOs but any other such addictive activities. Step back once in a while and have a look at the view from the top.

I believe that most people will agree on me with this... that even though WoW took a huge chunk of his life(negatively) I'm sure he can attest that he picked up a few things from WoW that made him a better person.

P.S. Can't wait for the new blog from the raider.

Anonymous said...

Too bad I can't edit my previous comment. A quote from me "Cheers to the blog owner and to the_author! A lot of truths has been said especially by the article and the Redux sums it all up.". I didn't realize the author already posted what I wanted to say. Anyhow...

Now that I think about it... I also quit WoW... not entirely though. I was a raider, raiding 5 times a week, 5 hours a day and farming for two hours everyday. It might not too hardcore but for a college student taking classes 6 hours a day, 6 hours of sleep, and a wide array of other college activities it CAN eat up a lot of your family time. I'm still playing WoW every now and then to PvP, instance run, talk to guildmates and I never thought I can experience it like this. Playing casually takes a lot of steam off of your day and provides me with a sense of accomplishment even though I'm not as well-geared as those Rank14 PvPers.

-bilko™

Anonymous said...

I like the posts from the people who feel the need to defend their gameplay habits. Good article, the subject of too much play is nothing new though. I remember the disclaimers that came out after someone killed themselves over Everquest. Maybe they should add a surgeon generals warning ;)

Anonymous said...

The article and followup here were both good reads. My first comment is, grats on getting the hell out. I just did the same thing. My game was EverQuest, the addictive behavior was just the same though. I raided the end game etc. in the granddaddy of all time-sinks. They call it EverCamp and EverCrack for a reason. But they are all the same formula and the players are all like mice chasing a chunk of cheese held out on a stick just out of reach. People can attack you or what you had to say anyway they like, but it is simply fact today that MMORPGs have become a new form of addiction and with that, comes most of the fallout of addiction for the addicted and those that love them. To deny this simple fact in the face of the endless supply of abundant proof today means you are either ignorant of this, have never played and seen it, are playing and are addicted and therefore very likely in full blown denial of your own very real problem or for some other reason, simply do not have a clue. There's nothing to debate here. MMO's are the new drug, booze, sex, whatever. Those with addiction in there genes have found themselves new virtual homes. You could argue there is a difference since there is no physical component to this addiction but you would be wrong. Psychological addiction is not fully understood but in all likelihood, a genetic link exists there too. Telling someone who is addicted that it is all thier fault and they own thier choices is an ignorant, uneducated thing to say. And that too is simply a matter of fact, not subject to any meaningful debate as such. A bigger issue for MMORPG games however, is that they should not for reasons of addicting people, but simply as smart business practice, be reworked so that sane, normal people without addiction can enjoy fully ALL of the entire game without endless farming, camping, raiding, 1 week instances, etc. which are all deliberate time-sinks that hurt the ones with addictive traits and exasperate the ones without at least as much. It's not rocket science to figure out that the first game that truly caters to the masses by creating a world that has a completely equal playing field whether you play a few hours one night a week or many more, will be a lot bigger than WoW is today. I cannot for the life of me understand how game developers and the suits that own them, don't get this, do it and capitalize on this opportunity. Nobody has made what I would call a good MMO yet, not one, not Blizzard either. Being the market leader does not equal being the best something could be. Cigarettes sell GREAT! They make tons of money. They pay lobbyists salaries who influence legislation that keeps these murderers in business. That does not begin to make cigarettes a good thing. The Best selling cigarettes are not good just because they are the best ones, and neither is WoW a good game, just because it sells best. MMO's today in the hands of people who's weaknesses they deliberately exploit with devastating sociological results really are bad news. I would have to say they are as bad as butts, booze, crack etc. And I see it this way because unless you are hardcore (read - have issues) then the games never allow you to see it all and do it all. You have to be mentally ill basically to get to the top of EQ rankings, WoW, etc. I'm sorry but frankly, that is the bottom line. I knew a mother who twice in one week apologized for leaving raid because two times her small children had to be taken to the hospital for sutures...why? Well I would venture a guess because mom was a better cleric in EverQuest than she was a mom. And that means mom has a real problem and so too then do her children sadly. Is that SOE's fault? Well no, it isn't directly. But knowing what we do today about how people fall into this kind of behavior, I will venture to say that are at least somewhat culpable for deliberately fashioning and selling the EverCrack. A dealer doesn't make John Doe overdose and die. But wouldn't you take issue with him selling the stuff? Are MMORPG developers much better? I think not. Flame on some of you but you know what? The more you do and the harsher your commentary is, the more easily seen you are for who you are. I won't be mad. I will feel sorry for you though.

Star Blue said...

My younger brother (21 at the time) got my husband into Wow and its been a problem ever since. I work over nights some times and I can't even count anymore how many time I have woken up to my husband yelling at the monitor because the priests heal everyone but him. And if he was bad before (which he was and I will get into that) Now that they are introducing the expansion which will wipe out all PVP rankings, he is even worse. I bought the game for him with money I got from my aunt as a wedding gift. He can't work right now because of other reasons so I figured it would be somethine he would enjoy. I also thought it would be a way for him to spend time with my brother and have something to do. Over time it just got worse, his dedication to it is really disgusting. He puts off going shopping or making dinner (honnestly as sad as it is I can't cook for the life of me) and proffesses to buy all junk in the world (ramen included) Sometimes it will be after 10 and dinner won't be made and I get yelled at for it.... All because his honour has to go up? His priorities have become incredibly distorted. He doesn't do anything, there were times when he didn't even come to bed with me and I would come home and he would either be sleeping or in game. Then he would get mad at me for not spending any time with him... There's way more to this story that could take as many ages as the damn game has existed.

Don't get me wrong, I am a gamer myself, I love playing my own MMORPGS as well as other games but at the same time, I couldn't dedicate my life to it.

So the question is how long can one put up with all this until they choose to find someone else? How much far does this have to go before more lives are ruined due to lack of response to this problem? Any mmorpg has no purpose or ending really -_- So then why do people keep doing it? To be a big show off?

I'm just sad that it actually had to come to this and people have to hurt over something that is supposed to create a community and family, but has instead enslaved us all (players and non) to the capitalistic way the world is.

Maybe everyone that plays should ask themselves if they are proud of their accomplishments at all and whether they can so anything with that so called "god item" in the real world?

Just a thought, thanks for reading

Anonymous said...

I dropped WoW in August.

I have some friends whose oldest son is one of those 70 hours a week WoW addicts. He is constantly on his computer. He stopped attending college. He has no job, doing some chores and errands in exchange for his room, board, and pocket change. I don't know the last time he has had a date. He's 20 and so long as his parents tolerate this "lifestyle" his real life is over.

I dropped because I was not willing to commit to more than 15 hours per week to that game. I had reached a point with my level 60 character where 15 hours was insufficient to show any progress for my character.

Blizzard has created a marvelous game which sadly rewards people the more they play, creating an endless circle of needing to play more. This is sad because the goals of any MMORPG (I know, I worked for an online gaming network for five years) is to have people pay their monthly fees for as fee online hours as possible.

I hope Blizzard puts some efforts and creativity towards changing WoW so that hours after the first 10 pay drastically less in rewards so that people have motivations to do something else with their lives. My friends' son's future may depend on it.

Iwo said...

WoW FTL!!!

10 minutes later...

WoW FTW!!!

KeeZ said...

There is no spoon.

Catherine Girardeau said...

I'm a journalist with http://www.podtech.net, PodTech.Net news working on a podcast about Internet addiction, and I'd like to interview someone (by phone, recorded - I'm an audio reporter) who is or has been treated for Internet/gaming addiction. If the author of the article on WoW would do an interview, or anyone else who fits the above, could do an interview Oct 23,24 or 25, please contact me at catherine@podtech.net. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Cry more noob.

WTFPWND.

Anonymous said...

Just about any activity can become addictive.

But to say that a gaming addiction is more distructive than drug addictions is really a diservice.

I have a few drug addict family members and the problems they face make your list of problems seem like a good day.

Cori said...

It's not that WoW destroys lives. It doesn't.

I was in a situation very much like the author, and I quit the game, but for very different reasons.

I didn't quit because the game was destroying my life.

I quit because the raiding game was not fun. It simply was not fun. It was boring, it was tedious, it was frustrating and it was stressful. All in the pursuit of fat loots.

Now, WoW is in fact two games. One of these games was very well made and designed and I can still honestly say is a lot of fun. I wish Blizzard had focused on this game, rather than the other game. I may even start back playing the "good game," since some of my good friends are still playing it.

The "good game," the 1-60 game, is a well-made, fun, socially interactive little dungeon hack that can be a good way to kill an hour or an afternoon, depending on your mood. You can play by yourself or with a small group of friends. You can just goof off or actually go out and accomplish something. It's varied, it's interesting, it's a small time commitment and it's fun. The focus is on playing the game, not on farming loot, grinding reputation or collecting resistamce gear.

The raiding game, however, is nothing but a rigid, elitist-filled swamp of button-mashing (I cannot tell you how tired I am of mashing my "2" button), rep grinding, farming and endlessly spending time to progress through a mishmash of poorly designed dungeons with cliche boss monsters that require such precise, down-to-the-nanosecond timing and positioning that you're almost guaranteed to spend at least a dozen hours failing before you even make the slightest headway. And the raiding guild perpetuates this unfun gameplay by forming "responsibility" and "commitments" and "consistency," making one feel as if she HAS to attend, even if she doesn't like it, or she's not having fun. She doesn't want to let her guild down.

If Blizzard would focus their creative energies on new quests, new zones, new races, new classes, new ways to play the 1-60 (or 1-70) game, then I'd still be playing World of Warcraft. But instead they choose to put every shred of effort into expanding the raiding game.

I only hope that other game companies learn from Blizzard's mistake in this area.

Vosenbergen said...

I was once a casual WoW player. I remember always wanting that fancy equipment the level 60s had, but then I realized what they had given up in order to reach that point. I never became an avid player of the game, though every time I logged on I found it enjoyable. I recently stopped playing when a few of my real life friends (who had started playing at around the same time as me) began to forfeit eating entire meals in order to progress through the next few levels. I never got to that point. I made it to level 20 before I quit, and even then I knew they needed help. It was at its worst when at school they would talk to each other using their screennames in place of their real names.

they could not extricate themselves form the fantasy. I was always taught as a younger child to be able to differentiate betwen fantasy and reality. THere is an important distinction to be made about the people who cannot differentiate between these two worlds. Those who see fantasy and reality as the same are the type of people who play Grand theft auto, and then kill people because of it. I love GTA, it has brought me much enjoyment, but I would never actually consider performing or imitating anything in the game. My friends started to fail at school. THey had once been great students (not straight A, but not retards either) and athletes, and now their lives belonged to WoW.
I wanted to help them, so I administered a form of "punishment" that was well within the bounds of being seen as a practical joke. I used their antivirus/ant-whatever software to turn on parental controls. I put a time limit on their ability to access the internet. I gave them four hours to spend how they wished...though they never knew it was me who changed their settings. about two weeks later I saw them performing better in school, and they came back to a relatively normal lifestyle.
Their restrictions have been removed at this point, and I even told them it was me who changed them. all of them thanked me. THey still play WoW, but they have learned the value of time management. to this day, not one of them has exceeded 4 hours on WoW, or even on the internet for that matter.

either way, I was inspired to write this lengthy comment by the original posts and a need to feel smug self satisfaction by telling you all how awesome of a friend I was.

Anonymous said...

Wow!

Very inspirational. I used to have this problem when I was younger (about 8...?) with almost every Blizzard game that I could get my hands on.

Glad that my dad got me out of that habit.

This article inpires me to NEVER play WoW :)

I agree with all of your points, author, since this generally coincides with all MMORPGs.

VERY well done. I approve.

Brian H said...

There is an extremely pressing issue today for many people who play MMORPG's. The issue is not embedded in a person, for those who say that "said person" would find some “other vice to ruin their life” had it not been for the MMORPG they play, but it is in the mechanics of the game itself.

If you ask any serious end-game raider, I can guarantee that a VAST majority make sacrifices to play. Period. This one point goes against every aspect of playing A GAME. Because it's just that, a game. You should feel no obligation to play. However, to be in the upper echelon of raiding, and to see all the content that World of Warcraft has to offer, which is amazingly structured and dynamic to be sure, it's extremely difficult to do so casually. The sheer amount of time it takes to farm for materials, gold for consumables, do quests, watch boss strategy videos, and research your class is immeasurable, in addition to the standard raid times each guild initiates. To think that a GAME, something other than the main aspects of your life, can consume such a mind-boggling amount of time in each of your days, is mystifying. Even the original blogger, who raided 70 days, was scoffed at for complaining and not having played more. That’s over 4 ½ hours a day playing, not including holidays, SEVENTY 24-HOUR DAYS. Tell someone who has no experience with the game, and they’ll be stunned and mystified.

If you consider the amount of people the above examples affect, you can't in your wildest dreams blame it on them wholly. To those casual people who post and say that they were the makers of their own demise, you are correct. But you are not correct for the reasons you believe, your ignorance sprouts from your unknowing. You ignore the main issue, which is the game's overall impact on people's lives. Yes, people must take the damning step to enter this hardcore, obsessive community, but the fact remains that this community exists and fosters this obsession. People compare it to crack and drugs, and make snide comments about it, but think about it: drugs are illegal. Obviously it’s not on the same level, but to even consider such an analogy should beseech some questioning and criticism towards the nature of these games. The analogy is a disservice to those who actually suffer from drug addiction, but the addiction remains, and the problem is that this kind flies under the radar.

Probably the worst part of the game is that you simply CAN'T WIN. It will forever require the same amount of time to play, if not more. You raid, you get your gear. Good for you, game over? No, now you need to help the other 39/19/soon to be 24 people in your raid to get THEIR gear. By the time this happens, there's a new expansion out. Rinse and repeat.

Addiction to MMORPG’s, like anything else, is real. If you deny it, you don’t understand it. In my real life I’ve experienced everyone from casual to the extremely obsessive (to the point he skipped two full weeks of classes, mid-terms included to finish grinding an alt to 60 and get his PvP set) Tell me what kind of game that is for him. For these people, MMORPG’s are not games, they are jobs. The worst part is, many will admit to the problem and realize themselves that their unhealthy habits have taken over their overall mindset. Yet they persist. This screams addiction. Many, many people know someone, if not himself, who lives with this problem.

So the question lies: Where is their abdication? How do they let go? As long as the game remains readily available, there is a huge chance that they will get back into the rut. If you picture it in your mind, that would be a down-graded relapse. The problem with the conundrum is that it is extremely hard to release yourself from the incessant need to play. There is no “Nicorette Gum” for WoW, no patch, no Alcoholics Anonymous. Sure, different vices, but same principal. Unfortunately, the end of this age will come only when games that cater to addictive personalities are not made, thus exploiting the customers those people that play it. To those now who read this and have the problem? I wish you the best of luck.

Brian H said...

If you're interested in more of my opinion in the above post, or feel like I'm wrong and wanna yell, AIM: FIshtastegood, bholland110@hotmail.com are good to say wut^.

Anonymous said...

As a player that struggles with finding a healthy amount of playtime, I find a few things particularly vexing:

-"Obligations" in a game.

If you're in a guild that raids, you have to start commiting time to get rewards. The raid lockout system and sheer manhours required to complete raid content means that you either schedule around WoW or miss out on any of the novel content.

DKP compounds this. To get a chance at obtaining gear/serotonin you don't just need to set aside X hours, you need to set aside X hours for Y% of your guild's efforts. The alternative is to never be appreciated or never get a reward.

When I get annoyed with WoW, it's often over the feeling that I have to choose between an interesting RL activity or one of my chances at progression in-game.

-Artificial timesinks.

The game is designed around players that spend unhealthy amounts of time in game. That's why flight paths take a dozen or more minutes or why each dungeon has "trash" mobs. Or why raid bosses drop 2 items for 40 players, and why 5-man bosses drop paladin gear for alliance players. I need to put in 4 hours to finish an important quest, because a half-hour quest would be imperceptable to a 70hr/week player.

Anonymous said...

As one playing WOW on a privae server that is down for the last week (TLOTL) i can tell you that acording to what you guys say, playing on a private server is more fun than original WOW. i am 14, WOW doesnt interfere school, im not an addict (i dont play for a week and that isnt so bad) and i dont play WOW 10 hours a day (about 3-4 for 5 months about)
i dont understand why the one you wrote the article for cant just leave guild-leadershiip and be a reglar member, that raids once in a week (more or less) and is enjoying playing WOW when he has some free hours.

lastly i wanna ask if i can get you user name and password. i know it lookes weird cause i said playing a private server is more fun, but i just wanna understand what you talkin about so if you can (and it will be very apprecaeted) you can send it to yonmwar@walla.co.il .

PS. G-R-E-A-T A-R-T-I-C-L-E !!!

Anonymous said...

well written but pathetic....you "reap what you sow".

I'm glad i'm not a n00b like you

Anonymous said...

That's a good article, someone needed to write one to bring attention to this problem. Congratulations for beating the addiction.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure its a business that is my first feeling, but not my opinion really.

First off I work i dunno 60-65 hours a week and am always takin 3-4 classes for my masters/stuff i enjoy. That bein said I still play. I enjoy games. I really do. They provide an out for me. A place where i dont have to pretend to be "insert fake word here" a place where i dont have to cater to the ignorance of most people. Which for me is most people.

You have a great article/blog here and deliver a strong message. But I think about a couple things. They are running a bussiness whose entire mission in life is to stay in business, which is the same as any other subscription or repeat customer industry, and do they have a control audience? No. They have milllions of people that love to get away from reality. Which isnt all bad. But as with anything like you said moderation is key. The people that cant take WoW in moderation will have the same problems just with a different obsession.

Anonymous said...

One other thing. I think blizzard is trying to get rid of some of the very mechanics that cause the problems you are talking about.

Reducing raid sizes and increasing rewards for low number and time gaming.

Recreating Honor system.

And making the game overall more functional for players of all types. Which makes better business sense as well as is concious of social responsibility to the players.

Not saying that they are innocent but I honestly think they are persuing making the game more playable not just addictable.

Ronan said...

Is it Dave who is the operator of this blog? If you could drop me an email that'd be great, my address is....

RonanFitzgeraldatgeemaildotcom

Thanks alot,

Ronan.

Penni said...

I haven't read all the comments sorry, so this might be repetitive. I've never played an online role playing type game, but I was a member of an online forum and I can see huge parallels - you think you're sharing this amazing, signigicant bond and yet its actually very cyclical...nothing really 'sticks' - it's the human factor. Maybe for me (I'm 31, female, a writer) I don't perceive cyberspace as a real space, so in the end it's like I'm just sitting around talking to my computer. Even the women I met, there was a separation between who tehy were online (their 'character') and who they were 'in real life'.

Good on you for facing some hard truths and interesting blog material. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Ya, I'm quitting WoW. I used to play it casually with my IRL friends, and it was so much fun. But recently and over the summer, I noticed that I wasn't playing for fun anyomore, but instead I was constantly grinding towards some unknown goal. It's a digital world, with fraudelent rewards that give you a false sense of achievement. It is comforting to get a new epic, but in the end it means nothing. When I ask my friends why don't they quit WoW, the usual response is "I don't know." They know they are addicted, but just dont want to admit it. I no longer have any desire to play World of Warcraft anymore. After trying to quit time after time, I kept coming back, but I got sucked back into the desire to raid all day. I found myself playing over 20 hours over the weekends, not spending any time with my friends or family. Numbers, digital codes, and false, pixelated accomplishments mean nothing in the long-run. In a few years I wont remember the night when I won Perdition's Blade, but instead remember all the time I wasted playing this game.

Anonymous said...

TO quote the guy who wrote:

It is not comparable to a drug addiction in any way. It's not physical, it's mental. You had the choice to stop at any time. It's only when people started disrespecting your power that you gave up.

All addictions are mental in one way or another, so i see a resemblance between WOW and drugs. The clearest one would be: "You can quite either if YOU want to"

just to add, i do play wow myself, and i did play as serious as the original poster did. But now i have a more laidback attitude to wow, and I only play with my IRL friend who still play it... And that works for me, so i dont want to quit, but when it starts to affect your school/work/social life, you should think it over. I did, but i didnt quit as some might see as the only option if you want to be "free" from it, just take it down a notch. Learn from what youve done..

chornbe said...

yeager said... "I, Yeager, am not the person who wrote the article."

Yeah, I hear ya man. Anyway, I think you were really courageous and strong to print your story and I hope you get your life straightened out and back on track. Way to go, man!

Anonymous said...

I have been heavily involved with World of Warcraft since the game was released 2 or 3 years ago. Much of the experience of the author can be seen in my play time in the game. I was a Guild Master of a large raiding guild 150-200 members.

After leveling 2 characters to 60, one of the other guild leaders and I created a large raiding guild out of our original 4 man group by recruiting and merging with other small guilds. Over time we became successful, eventually conquering end-game content and devoting hours a day to simply dealing with guild drama and answering questions from members. Eventually, the atmosphere provided by our guild could not handle the widely varied level of commitment and playtime in the guild. It split and some hardcore members joined a new, very successful guild.

I fully admit my addiction to WoW, both then and now. However, many positive aspects of this game have not been given proper attention in the article.

First, I do not understand the implication that all people who play World of Warcraft are fat and out of shape. I continued to work out and eat healthfully while leader of the guild. And yes, I often spent 8-14 hours a day playtime.

Second is the idea that WoW destroys the ability to socialize. WoW is a on-line social community. Born a pre-mature baby, I was always behind in physical development at school up until my last 2 years of college. I was beat up, made fun of and told I was worthless. Thanks to the social confidence and leadership abilities gain leading our guild, my confidence level today is much greater then it has ever been. I have taken up extreme sports like longboarding, wakeboarding, skiing and distance running, 3-5 miles, 3-4 times a week. My friends find it easier to relate to me, because I am no longer shy. We got to clubs and bars and socialize well with everyone there. I still play Warcraft 20 hours a week, although no longer involved in hardcore raiding.

The impact of the game on your social life and with loved ones cannot be denied, I missed many opportunities in college to socialize and be involved in the drama associated with dating, having sex and drinking way too much. But this was simply drama experienced face to face rather then virtually in the game.

Today, I have graduated college and will soon be getting my first job making more money then I ever thought possible. The skills to network with employers via e-mail and phone can be attributed directly to my experience managing our guild in Warcraft. In the small town where I attended college, there was little leadership opportunity. The game provided me with what I needed.

I still lust after epic loot, still enjoy talking smack about the Horde and pvping. I still hang out with my real friends made during my play time, as well as friends met in college. But the addiction leaves when I encounter good things that happen in my life. The substitute community holds less appeal when things are going well in my life. The drive to succeed is in everyone. The rewarding aspect of the game draws in those who do not have the opportunity to succeed because of circumstance.

Careful evaluation from your friends and family members will help you decide if the game is having a positive or negative influence on your life, please consult them constantly.

WoW is a positive vent for many aspects of society. Instead of looking at things as a crutch, look for opportunities. My opportunity came from something that I enjoyed.

Others create problems for themselves based on what they enjoy. It is a matter of judgment, opinion and willpower.

Game designers are not at fault.

Dark Cave Productions said...

We are doing a documentary called "Gamer: The Chronicles of Evanor" that has been in production for about a year now. The purpose of the documentary is to capture the phenomena of online gaming through the eyes of real players, not just cold statistics or want-to-be experts.

We are anxious to hear the stories of people who are compassionate about online gaming. Both in its negative and positive attributes.

If you are interested, you can reach us by e-mailing ‘interview@darkcaveproductions.com’

Thank you

Mike

brilliant said...

A fellow ex-WoW player just here to say:

...Yep.

Anonymous said...

I didn't play WoW, but I played FFXI. I was a linkshell officer, very involved and still classifying myself as a "casual" player. We were a LS that often said RL > FFXI.

There's a ton of truth in your experience. I respect you for putting it out there - because I was often on the "you are just attacking the game to feel better about quitting" side when someone would leave.

I am happy to be outside of the game again. I keep in touch with a small handful of people I played with and it's nice to talk about something other than the game. There are those that I'll hear from that only want to talk about gear or the game and I just find myself glazing over and wondering, "is that how I sounded for two years?" I always get the "are you coming back?" question from those contacts - and I can safely say that my character is "dead" due to inactivity. They often mention a few pieces of gear that took me a long time to earn and how "sad" it is that these things are "gone." I remember how much those things once meant to me and laugh a little that those things took up so much time.

There are the little things you let slip away with these games - for two years, I could barely hold a decent conversation with a co-worker on the prior night's TV shows. It may not seem like much, but it's a basic way to build rapport at work. If that wasn't enough, I rarely participated in the "what are you doing this weekend?" conversations as well (at first it wasn't always the game, but the closer one got to 75, the more it was likely to be the game). If pressed, I'd say, "hanging out with friends" because it wasn't entirely a lie.

Yes, we all chose to play an MMO. And we all start with the best of intentions. But you know what they say about the path to hell - it's paved with good intentions. I had enjoyable times, I had tough times. Leadership was an odd combination of things - part shoulder to cry on, part rule maker, part task master, part cheeleader, part philosopher, part court jester and part reference librarian.

In the end, though, I wish there were an end to these games. I know that it's about revenue and development and all that jazz, but there needs to be a point where characters die. And end to the game - something that would signal an end to the endless grind.

Sure, we can all "check" ourselves against some questions, but questions of enjoyment and the like are subjective at best. I enjoy my career most days, but if you catch me on a tough week or after a particularly rough testing cycle, you'd likely get a "I really don't want to be here" answer. It's like the game - you become convinced it's just a drama llama patch or that period before the next expansion or update when everyone wants the new stuff to come out NOW. You'll tell yourself that it's not that the whole thing sucks.

For those that still enjoy, best of luck. But do understand that it's like everything else in life - you cannot have everything. If I decided to become a competitive ballroom dancer, I will have to sacrifice other things. However, if I'm practicing dance, I am face to face with my hobby. I will go into work sore the next day from a hard evening of practice. I will shop for items in stores and interact with clerks that know I am shopping for my new hobby. I will interact with other dancers face to face and have to prove my skills.

In an MMO, I merely have the illusion that all of this is taking place. It's not really happening. None of it. It's pixels. I have nothing but screenshots - which will never be displayed as photos on my desk. I cannot demonstrate my awesome Haste and Regen skils at the company party as readily as a foxtrot. Most of all, no one can call me on anything in an MMO - because it's all fake.

I don't forsee myself ever playing an MMO again. This was a lot of time spent on things that resulted in nothing. We should only sacrifice for those things that can mean something.

Oh - and best of all this year? I finally put off taking a trip with my father. We went to Japan. That beat anyting I did in Sea, Sky, Dynamis or any number of things that I can't remember.

Thank you for wording what many of us realized when we left.

Anonymous said...

I hear you. Some of these comments are pretty... ????!??meh???!? though... have you lot even read the article?????

This is just, i think, the ultimate statement of reality in that alternate reality. Meaning, the story is so real, and can be applied not only in gaming and such but for other cases too. Its reality in a sense that if this article hit me in the head, it would feel more like a brick, than say, a leprechaun.

And a small word for SOME of the commenters: read the freaking article.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure when this was written and I might just be posting a dead comment, but the topic interested me, as did much of what was said. While an addiction can be a physical reaction in your brain as well as centered around a tangible object, it is very much a mental issue with the involved person. Yes it's true that anyone can get addicted to anything, the real addiction lies not within the thing they are addicted with, nor with their obsessoin with said object. It is a cyclical pattern which the person returns to repeatedly for some sort of alleviation. An addiction is an Advil to someone's headache... An Advil taken as often as possible. This is coming from personal experience, as I am only seventeen, but have spent my years from the age of eleven to sixteen in treatment facilities and behavioral programs for the sake of an addiction completely fabricated in my own mind. Oftentimes, as was the case with myself, people will become addicted to things one cannot see, hear or touch. Maybe it's that last word your friend always has to have when they argue with someone. Maybe it's that kid that always get's busted at school for stealing. Or the bum begging for money at the off-ramp. Or the buisinessman, putting in extra overtime. Or the pregnant teenage mom in the abusive relationship. OR maybe it isn't any of those, but rather just your best friend who can't stay in a relatoinship. Is it because he/she can't find the right girl/guy? Is it because he/she acts in a way which repulses others from him/her? Oftentimes we overlook addictions for what they are. They go on around us every day, yet we decline to put a stop for them. Sometimes it really doesn't matter. I mean, honestly, is it really a big deal if someone is a little vain? Or if they are a bit of a control freak? No. You learn to live with it. But at the same time that you neglect this behavior, ignoring these patterns those whom you know revert to repetitively, you also do them a disservice. Entire lines of heritage have dwindled down to abusive homes and children failing out of school, people who consider a job at Taco Bell to be a career. This is not because someone confronted them about their behavior in a nurturing, oppositional or any other manner. It seems our feelings, behaviors and willingness to pry a bit, to put ourselves and others in a situation where they are uncomfortable (namely, that of calling them out and letting them know they are hurting themselves and those around them) takes a back seat to other things. This could just as easily have been an article about someone being addicted to crack for a year and recovering. Or twenty years. OR any length of time. However, because it is about a game, it does not seem so bad. No one would respond to that article (the one about crack which is ficticious at the moment) with, "Well if you buy crack, it keeps a lot of people employed and rich, so it can't be all that bad." But it's a game, so it's no big deal. This is a stance many would take to defend this game. MAny did take this position and chose to defend the game rather than understand the message being revealed. This man was not denouncing a game he quit playing, but rather bluntly addressed that many people (including himself) have many serious problems with this game. Problems which are not going away without effort. This does not imply that the game in any way is flawed, or dissatisfactory in some wya, but rather that he (and everyone, if you think about it) is flawed and that he let a situation get beyond his control. Or at least travel to a place he never intended it to go. This is a cycle anyone who is addicted to anything will experience. You suddenly realize that your pattern of behavior isn't working for you. Everytime you don't turn in your schoolwork, your teacher sends a note home and your parents get mad at you. So you smoke weed to relax a little. You figure it's allright, if you're more relaxed you'll handle the stress better and you'l get your schoolwork done next itme. But you keep not finishing your work. Your parents keep getting mad and you smoke more and more marijuana. Are you smoking because it helps you relax, or are you smoking to escape? An addiction is something someone partakes in to avoid a feeling or a situation. Like if you don't turn in your homework because you were out late with your friends and your parents get mad at you because they get the note from your teacher. Then next time you stay out late, you just skip the class altogether. Then you flunk out for skipping class repeatedly. Is it because you just don't get along with the teacher, or is it because you're afraid of what will happen when that note is written? Oftentimes people with these addictions will make excuses and look at their problems in a different light. In this case, the author convinced himself that he was helping these people. It was a sort of denial. All too often we accomodate these people and allow their excuses. After all, is it my place to tell someone how to live their life? This is an excuse I see made by many to spare the feelings of people they care about. The fact of the matter is, by doing nothing you are hurting anyone involved with this person, including yourself. At the same, these patterns exsist in everyone including yourself. So should you listen to the person screaming "Hypocrite" at you? Or should you look to improve yourself and seeek to encourage others to improve themselves? Th decision to comment on someone's life is a tricky one, as oftentimes you cannot help them in any way simply because too many people are content to kick back and let things happen. In fact, by speaking up you are looked down on and cast out. So you sit back. You pray and hope people will turn their lives around. Or at least ask for some help along the way. Then twenty years later, that friend of yours who smoke pot every other weekend with you and you lost touch with in your senior year of high school writes and article for a local newspaper about their kicking a meth addiction after twenty years and you just sit back and say to yourself, "Holy shit." But too many of us go on living our lives. We say, "Holy shit" for two minutes, think about it for twenty or thisrty minutes, then it leaves our minds. It doesn't matter to us, we're leading healthy normal lives. And see you later, honey, don't bother cooking dinner for me I'll be at the office late tonight. And if the neighbors get loud again, don't be afraid to call the cops, I swear to god they're running a meth lab over there.

But in all seriousness, these things happen. Listen to what this man writes. Take heed his word. Apply it to yourself. Extend your own advice to your friends. Address your own insecurities. Or maybe everything will get better if we don't say anything. After all, things still get done in America and 57% of the population doesn't vote. Think about it, now and later.

Fox Purtill said...

I run a casual players guild and it takes us longer to get to the end game because, well face it, casual players have casual schedules. Currently we are with a cooperative of casual guilds that have completed MC, AQ20, ZG and are starting on BWL and AQ40 soon.

I think it has much to do with how you apply your game time, the players you choose to play with, and how slow you are willing to go. This isn't a race for us, it's a slow, gradual, consistent, successful climb without the 'raid guild' mentality.

For PvP players trying to reach the highest ranks, that is decidedly another story, casual players are not meant for high ranks of PvP.

I disagree that a lvl 60 can't 'get the job done', it just takes a lot of lvl 60s going at the same pace to get it done, and slower.

Anonymous said...

i also was a lead figure in a major raiding guild, looking back on it, the worst part was that only you ever really knew how much time, effort, heart you put into the game, and nobody ever really appreciated it, you can never do anything really right. the only thing you ever get is the occasional pat on the back, and in a year, 5 years, 10 years, you'll look back on wow and have absolutely nothing to show for it, except pixels on a screen.

Anonymous said...

Everything he says in the article is pretty much true. I was a raider and a pvper , I played since launch and i played alot of hours a day.

I finally quit 2 months ago and it was the best decsion ever.

Just take a look around on the wow forums, you can see people making plans on taking a day off or even weeks off using vacation time or skipping classes when the expansion comes out.

Grand Marshal Lavey said...

First off I want to thank you for sharing your story with all of us. I play world of warcraft myself and have been playing for about a year now myself. Your artcile explains the end game content perfectly my friend. I have been in about 3 raiding guilds and after doing the same old instance night after night or week after week i got sick of that grind and left the guilds alone and went to PVP and that bug hit me hard very hard...I think the article was wonderful and very insightful for someone who unlike us havent yet hit 60 or maybe they haven't played world of warcraft at all bottom line as the article says it can be a fun an fullfillng game however one tiny small step too far and you can get sucked into a non ending world of farming grinding and drama. And who knows how bad its going to get now that The Burning Crusade is coming out ouch glad im not in a raiding guild :D

Anonymous said...

your
"I.W.I.N. Button is now Fixed"
press it to Beat the game

Anonymous said...

I agree completely with your article and am so glad to see all the comments...both for and against what was written.

I myself did get in way over my head playing almost endlessly on the weekends and late into the night, or rather early into the morning, on week nights with work only a couple hours way at the time I put my head on the pillow.

WoW actually sent me a reality call and woke me up. One day I went to log into my account and got a message that my account was banned permanently due to exploitation of the Economy of the World of Warcraft. I have sent numerous emails to the Blizzard Admins asking for the details of my infraction, but they do not reply. I do think, was it the 60g I lent to a rl friend in the game and who then a few weeks later sent back to me 110g to repay me.

I may never know why I got banned, but I do know that it did wake me up. The first 2 days I was like a heroin addict going through withdraw as I sent emails to the admins which grew more and more angered as each went unanswered. Now it has been a week and I've for the most part come to the resolve that my account will never be reopened and I will never know why the WoW Gustapo targeted my account thus closing it without warning and without explaining the reason.

I do know that I am now free of the WoW confines and as I'm not willing to buy another copy of BC I will remain free.

Thank you Blizzard for the wake up call...

eyeLikeCarrots said...

I'm out, /cheer for the author

An Impressed Student said...

I am doing an article for a high school newspaper. I myself am a computer technician/webdesigner/movie editor person, but I could never get into the whole MMORPG thing. I played Kings of Chaos for a month but that was three years ago. I know that this game is amazingly popular at my school, and that it was pretty addicting. I have never played it, so I went online to do some research. When this is the first thing that pops up and I see stuff like "I lost my family, job, or degree to WoW," it really scares me. I had no idea how insane this was. I love playing video games but I realized not too long ago that I needed to manage my time as well. I am truly impressed with the author for his courage to step back and say "Hey, I'm messing up my life..." I will not plagiarize anything, but as long as its okay with the author, I will definitely make reference to this story in my article. As for the author: I have a lot of respect for what you have done, and admire the fact that you can take responsibility. If you have any problem with me referencing your article, please let me know.

The student that made a typo in his HTML said...

For the author:

Here's my email correctly linked.

Anonymous said...

I have been playing WOW for aprox. 3-4 months. I am dancing on the border between casual and hardcore gamer, or should I say my character is dancing on that border. My brother and I take turns playing the game. We have different work and school schedules so we can net approx. 10 hours + a day when we're bored or just craving the game. Neither of us has fully committed to the game to the extent of a lot of people but recently we found out that our character is considered a guildie and I find myself constantly in thought about how to make more money in the AH. My brother could be considered the battle expert while i spend 80% of my game time farming and playing the AH. My bro isn't as addicted but me, I see mysel being drawn and completely swallowed by the fact that I am good at making money in this game. I have wondered if maybe i should change my career goal to something business oriented but have yet to make th efinal decission. I guess what i'm trying to say is that perhaps, with the proper intervention from certified Blizzard staff, WOW can help individuals zero in on certain aspects of their lives and even unknown , unpublicized talents and help build on them in RL.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the author ever said Blizzard caused his addiction, I think he just recognized the fact that they're itentionally building and endless game that profits off of the addictive tendencies of the players.
I have seen this same addictive tendency on blog spots, in chat rooms and even self help sites. The truth is that anything that offers an escape from reality and allows you to be annonymous and the creator of your own personality is a trap for the addictive tendencies in all of us. Although all of the online traps have the extra added component of annonimity the same thing also what happens to the workaholic or the jock or the gambler or the politician: your own alter ego becomes more attractive than your real self so you cast off your real self at every opportunity in order to be more attractive. Re-creating yourself as some kind of a hero in a place that is separate from reality has another name in psychology: "grandious delusions". This gaming addiction thing is one very small step away from psychosis. The fact that a person can volunteer to walk away is really the only evidence that it's not a tru mental illness.

Sent said...

Hello I play a Warlock Named Sent on Dragonblight Server,and i ran into your story.I do agree with you it does take alot of time to get into the game, but for some of us it is a way we cope with things like depression, cronic insomnia, make new friends ,and much more. I like many other's look forward to wow but dont let it consume our lifes Well except me, i have few reasons partialy cause im slowly going blind and will soon loose my license. My wife also plays after a yr of trying get her to play. LOL, took here a few days to get into it, but now she loves it... She did get up late a few times but nothing to big. All that u have to do is remember to set a timer or something to restrict your game play and stick with it. Remember to get up least every 30 min to stretch and hour of exercise a day.

VolkHavaar said...

If Blizzard is evil for creating WoW, are book authors evil for writing books?

J.K. Rowling equals crackpusher? How about Frank Herbert? Weismann? Pratchett perchance? I mean, I've spent countless hours reading books (a true form of escapism)...one could even argue I'm addicted to books.

I mean...I stop playing WoW sometimes to go read. If (and when) I neglect real life duties because I'm reading, should I point my finger at the authors, claiming it's their fault for writing such an enticing book.
I mean...I turn one page, and just want to turn another. It's like grinding for a plot really.
(sometimes I even have addictive caffeïne whilst I read...with chocolates on the side!! Oh no, woe is me!!)

Please, WoW is a game, a product, an inanimate thing. You can't blame "it" nor it's creators for what people choose to do with "it". They are game designers, not the "Keepers of Ethics in the Modern World".

Off to go read some, daddy needs his shot :)

Katie said...

I didn't read all the comments, so maybe someone covered this already, but I've noticed some people argue that WoW can't be addictive because it's "mental, not physical". But what about gambling? Many people are very addicted to gambling, even though it's not technically a chemical agent like a drug or alcohol or something. I think escapism through WoW and other games could definitely lead, in some cases, to a form of addiction, possibly similar to gambling. And just because it's not addictive to everyone doesn't mean it isn't addictive to some... some people may be able to only play for a few hours, but I know that my brother plays basically nonstop, for usually least 8 hours a day. Maybe in his case it's more boredom/laziness/escapism, but for some others it could be much more intense than that-- much more of an addiction.

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem with WOW but I can't seem to quit for good. The longest I quit for was during this summer where I took about 2 months off. I thought I was done for good but my brother still plays and I got started up again. I need rehab or for someone to break my arms or something.

BTW - I can't say I've ever really been addicted to anything else besides video games. WOW has been the worst though.

jgoosdh said...

Im an aussie and down here cigarette companies are forced to put extremely graphic images of what happens when you smoke(horrific images of cancercous lungs, etc.) on their cigarette packaging.

I wonder if we'll see similar things in the future with MMORPGs

Helen said...

After 10 years of being with a husband who plays WoW, now with 2 boys 7 and 5, I am sitting here trying to find an answer of how to continue my marriage. I woke up at 3 this morning and my husband of course still on the game. He started around 5pm. He went to bed finally and then I had to get out of the bedroom (the only way to keep calm for me is to not see his face). Unfortunately, I think it is a time bomb to our marriage. If not for my boys, the bomb wound have been exploded long time ago.

FlapJackAndHowler said...

funny how people were so upset 2 years ago when this first went out. As you read the comments you start to see aas time goes by that people are more and more agreeing... funny how things change as time passes. This guy can be considered a prophet practically. or at least a guy who was smart nough to see it early on. Oh, Helen, read your comment. Sit your hubby down and smack him around a little. When my wife told me it did wonders. I have to believe he will quit because I did. He deos sound a little more addicted then I was but still, wake his butt up and he will.

Anonymous said...

this article really made me think. i'd love to say that its not addicting and i'm fine, but i dunno if i am. even if i don't play much, when my cousin chooses to stop paying one day (we actually split an account), i think i'll actually be upset. that just really makes me disappointed in myself.

johnnyjony said...

WoW end game is pretty hard to get to, someone told my druid on reaching 70 that the T6 I wanted was pretty much unattainable. I didn't understand.

Then I joined one raiding guild after another and another, either because I didn't like the raiding times or they can't even kill Moroes.

Maybe 2 months later, I got in a fairly good guild and got my first Tier 4 item. Then I thought, all this hard work for this piece of crap? And I quit wow then, after months of dedicated play.

It seems to me at some point the rewards from wow is not worth the time you put in, and WoW is made to not ever end, all the resources Blizzard put into WoW, how can there be an end? If you want to reach end game, its futile.

Its the people that make WoW extra engaging, its also the people that makes WoW a pain in the ass. Oh the dweebs that think they are better than you because they have more Tier 4s than you, how I'd like to punch them in the face!

Anonymous said...

just found this article... most excellent. I had a predisposition to video games (former nintendo child) when I started playing WoW to partake in an activity that was a big part of my at-the-time boyfriend's life. After two years of not receiving the same courtesy from said bf, I finally decided it was time to leave. He is still playing and hiding away from everybody. One point of interest on the addiction aspect of this article... I also quit smoking (smoked heavily for about 5 years) almost a year ago, WoW almost 2. I get more cravings to play WoW than have a cigarette. There is something to be said for the therapy that escape provides, and the means to abuse it.

Anonymous said...

You people need to play War Craft 2 and 3, it's definitely what playing a video game is all about. When you start to make friends and do these "raids" for the purpose of socializing with online buddies, that is just so very sad. Good for you for quiting, but really... I don't get what you saw in it in the first place. I am an avid video gamer, but that is one game I did not want to play, it does not draw you in, you guys are just silly...

Anonymous said...

What happened to going out to play outside?

Anonymous said...

This worries me, I just started plating WoW last week and for today, my warlock is already level 21. That, with me working a full time job and being a wife.

The worst thing is that I do have obsessive tendencies, but it was my husband who introduced me to the game! Now we play together, so.. it's weird.

I rally, really enjoy the game, so I will have this post in mind and try, as hard as I can, to maintain a balance between my real life and this really fun to play game. Because otherwise, I'll have to let it go... and I'd rather play for a long time in a healthy way.

Anonymous said...

I have a warning of a different kind, especially for those of you who are right now going "OH NO MY SON/BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND ETC'S ADDICTED TO WOW!!!!" - that's what my husband's parents thought when he was ruining his life, up all night raiding. Yes, he was playing WoW. No, he was not addicted to it. Actually, he was addicted to meth (cat in this case) and WoW raiding just happened to be his activity of choice while he was high. It nearly killed him (brain haemorrhage) and slowly and painfully he quit. Now he is as clean as a former drug addict can ever be... but he still plays WoW and is an officer in his guild, is a responsible husband and his life is on track.
This whole "gaming addiction" thing is cute and all, but just make very sure that someone's so-called gaming addiction isn't covering up a real addiction.

TSeph said...

hi

Even reading posts like these can throw ppl to the game (as for a friend of mine who showed me this) bcos now he say he'll try to see if is able to overcome wow, playing and having his 'life on track' at same time. haha



Blizzard just created the rigth tools for so great addiction, built up a game few years ago (im talking about wacraft #1) and evolued the story till .w0W!

So many times i read the background story of warcraft characters (mediev,arthas, etc...) the places in the game (Lordearon, Mount Hijal, etc...) just when i could not play the game.

Its been almost a year i left and bcos i had to make a simple choice: WOW (epics) or RL (work and gf).

Lucky for me i was still as far of the game to safely leave (ths to my lamme network, always laggy and slow), even so, i played almost 3 years, end guilds, etc..etc...

Is now worth it, better go to the beach or drink some beers.



great articles

best regards,

TSeph (Druid, Palla, Rogue, Warrior, Shamam, DK)(n_elf, human, dwarf, undead, tauran, orc, bloodelf, troll)

---
still i would like to play like a werewolf

(garf, if u read this leave wow like vats)

haha

;-)