Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The View From the Top

The top of what you ask? The height of World of Warcraft greatness.

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine quit playing Warcraft. He was a council member on what is now one of the oldest guilds in the world, the type of position coveted by many of the 7 million people who play the game today, but which only a few ever get.

When he quit, I asked him if he would write a guest blog post about the experience. What follows is a cautionary tale about the pull an escape from reality can have on you.

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60 levels, 30+ epics, a few really good "real life" friends, a seat on the oldest and largest guild on our server's council, 70+ days "/played," and one "real" year later...

Mr. Yeager asked me to write this "guest blog" for him. I figured I should oblige him this request - it was none other than Mr. Yeager who first introduced me to (begged for me to buy, actually :-p) the World of Warcraft. It was the "perfect storm" for me; a time in my life when I was unemployed, living at my family's house far from my friends, and had just finished my engineering degree and was taking a little time to find a job. I had a lot of free time on my hands and WoW gave me a place to spend it.

This could be a many page epic tale, but I figure I'd give you the brief history and pertinent information. The guild Mr. Yeager got me into and with which I became an officer is the oldest and largest on the server I played on. It is around 18 months old and extremely well-versed in endgame instances. I was both the "mage class lead" and an officer. I have many very good friends I met through WoW (in real life - no kidding) and even have been "involved" with another councilor in real life (yes, I know, I'm weird for meeting girls through an online video game but honestly, ask Mr. Yeager, she's head and shoulders better than all the girls I met DJing, waiting tables, in college, and bartending at clubs in Philly). But I digress...

I just left WoW permanently. I was a leader in one of the largest and most respected guilds in the world, a well-equipped and well-versed mage, and considered myself to have many close friends in my guild. Why did I leave? Simple: Blizzard has created an alternate universe where we don't have to be ourselves when we don't want to be. From my vantage point as a guild decision maker, I've seen it destroy more families and friendships and take a huge toll on individuals than any drug on the market today, and that means a lot coming from an ex-club DJ.

It took a huge personal toll on me. To illustrate the impact it had, let's look at me one year later. When I started playing, I was working towards getting into the best shape of my life (and making good progress, too). Now a year later, I'm about 30 pounds heavier that I was back then, and it is not muscle. I had a lot of hobbies including DJing (which I was pretty accomplished at) and music as well as writing and martial arts. I haven't touched a record or my guitar for over a year and I think if I tried any Kung Fu my gut would throw my back out. Finally, and most significantly, I had a very satisfying social life before. My friends and I would go out and there were things to do every night of the week. Now a year later, I realize my true friends are the greatest people in the world because the fact I came out of my room, turned the lights on, and watched a movie with them still means something. They still are having a great time teasing me at my expense, however, which shows they still love me and they haven't changed.

These changes are miniscule, however, compared to what has happened in quite a few other people's lives. Some background... Blizzard created a game that you simply can not win. Not only that, the only way to "get better" is to play more and more. In order to progress, you have to farm your little heart out in one way or another: either weeks at a time PvPing to make your rank or weeks at a time getting materials for and "conquering" raid instances, or dungeons where you get "epic loot" (pixilated things that increase your abilities, therefore making you "better"). And what do you do after these mighty dungeons fall before you and your friend's wrath? Go back the next week (not sooner, Blizzard made sure you can only raid the best instances once a week) and do it again (imagine if Alexander the Great had to push across the Middle East every damn week).

What does this mean? Well, to our average "serious" player this equates to anywhere between 12 hours (for the casual and usually "useless" player) to honestly 10 hours a day, seven days a week for those "hardcore" gamers. During my stint, I was playing about 30 hours a week (and still finding it hard to keep up with my farming) and logging on during my work day in order to keep up with all the guild happenings and to do my scheduling and tracking for the raids. A lot of time went into the development of new policies which took our friendly and family-oriented guild further and further away from its roots but closer to the end goal. Honestly, what that end goal is I'm not totally sure - there is truly no end to the game and every time you feel like you're satisfied with your progress, another aspect of the game is revealed and, well, you just aren't as cool as you can be again.

There are three problems that arise from WoW: the time it requires to do anything "important" is astounding, it gives people a false sense of accomplishment, and when you're a leader, and get wrapped up in it, no matter how much you care or want people to care, you're doing the wrong thing.

First off, let's go back to the time it takes to accomplish anything in the game. To really be successful, you need to at least invest 12 hours a week, and that is bare minimum. From a leadership perspective, that 12 hours would be laughed at. That's the guy who comes unprepared to raid and has to leave half way through because he has work in the morning or is going out or some other thing that shows "lack of commitment". To the extreme there is the guildie who is always on and ready to help. The "good guildie" who plays about 10 hours a day and seven days a week. Yes, that's almost two full-time jobs. Funny, no one ever asks any questions, though.

The worst though are the people you know have time commitments. People with families and significant others. I am not one to judge a person's situation, but when a father/husband plays a video game all night long, seven days a week, after getting home from work, very involved instances that soak up hours and require concentration, it makes me queasy that I encouraged that. Others include the kids you know aren't doing their homework and confide in you they are failing out of high school or college but don't want to miss their chance at loot, the long-term girl/boyfriend who is skipping out on a date (or their anniversary - I've seen it) to play (and in some cases flirt constantly), the professional taking yet another day off from work to farm mats or grind their reputations up with in-game factions to get "valuable" quest rewards, etc... I'm not one to tell people how to spend their time, but it gets ridiculous when you take a step back.

The game also provides people with a false sense of security, accomplishment, and purpose. Anyone can be a superhero here if they have the time to put in. Not only that, a few times I've seen this breed the "rockstar" personality in people who have no confidence at all in real life. Don't get me wrong, building confidence is a good thing and something, if honed appropriately, the game can do very right. But in more than a few cases, very immature people with bad attitudes are catered to (even after insulting or degrading others "in public") because they are "better" than the rest. Usually this means they played a lot more and have better gear. I'd really hate to see how this "I'm better than you attitude" plays out in real life where it means jack how epic your loot is - when you say the wrong thing to the wrong person it's going to have repercussions and you can't just log out to avoid the effects of your actions.

And people put everything on the line for these accomplishments with which they associate much value. I know of children and spouses being forced to play and grind for their parents, threats of divorce, rampant neglect, failing grades in school, and thousands of dollars spent on "outsourcing" foreign help. For what, you ask? Honor. The desire to be the best for at least one week. To get the best loot in the game. What do these "heroes" receive? Why, cheers and accolades of course as they parade along in their new shiny gear... which is obsolete the first time they step into one of the premier instances. The accomplishment and sacrifice itself are meaningless a few days later. Then it's usually off to the races again.

Finally, when you're a leader there is a call (or more appropriately a demand) for success. Usually those you represent want to keep progressing. They want to keep improving. They want more access to the best things. It is on you to provide it. In my experience, when you fail to progress fast enough, waves ripple throughout the guild and people become dissatisfied. It's your fault, no matter what. Everything you've done to keep things fair and provide for everyone does not mean a damn thing. A few will stand up for you, but when you have 150 people who all want 150 different things, you end up listening to 150 voices complaining about the job you're doing. This volunteer job usually takes at least 10 extra hours a week (on top of regular playing). Towards the end of my year of service, I apparently couldn't do anything right with my class. I had to rotate people to make sure everyone was getting a fair shot. I wrote actual mathematical proofs the allowed for fair and effective (yes, both) raid distribution according to efficiency, speed, and guild class population. I even rotated myself more than any other class member. People still took it upon themselves to tell me what I was doing wrong (constantly) and how their way was more fair (usually for them).

The thing that kicked me in the ass more than anything else was I really cared if my guildies were getting what they wanted out of the experience. I truly thought my efforts would make them happy. I wanted to make a difference to them. The greedy and socially phobic high school kid I thought I could help through the game, all of the couples (both married and not) who were falling apart because of the game I thought I could rescue, the girl who was deeply wounded by a guy who left her for the game but was herself addicted I thought I could save, not to mention a host of others, I thought my efforts were helping. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: I was providing them with an escape from their problems and nurturing the very thing that was holding them back. Oh yeah, it hit me like a ton of bricks after I had changed so much and lost enough of myself that the most wonderful girl I ever met broke up with me.

I remember clearly after fumbling around life for a few weeks that I dragged myself into the bathroom to get ready for work. I was tired because I was up until close to 2 AM raiding. Every week I read though email or I would run into one of my "real" friends and I'd hear "Andy, what's up, I haven't seen you in a while." I looked in the mirror and in a cinemaesque turn of events and a biblical moment of clarity, told myself "I haven't seen me in a while either."

That did it. I wanted to do the things I wanted to do again and be with the people who appreciated me even if I abandoned them for a year and sucked to high heaven as a friend. The prodigal son returned and my friends were happy. The best advice I got was from the girl who dumped me for being a jackass (and after I decided to really quit and be "myself again" became one of, if not my best friend in the entire world), who said "your real friends like you even when you screw up." It's true.

Funny side note was the reaction I got from the guild that I spent a year pouring my heart and soul into. I made my post in the guild forums saying I was leaving (half of it RPing - something that doesn't happen after you start raiding) and that it was time for me to move on. Three days later I didn't exist any more. The machine kept on moving without this gear. A few people asked me over email (and when I logged on to clean out the old bank) when I was coming back (I'm not going to). There are a few others I keep in contact with and am planning on going to visit sooner or later so I can hang out in person and they can finally meet me. But in the end being forgotten about so soon after still left a bittersweet taste. But one that was a lot easier to swallow than the one I chugged down every day for the better part of a year.

Don't get me wrong, WoW did a lot of things right. At times it was a fun game that allowed me to keep in contact with friends who lived far away. More importantly it introduced me to some of the best real life friends I've ever met. However, it did take an undeniable toll on me and is taking a far greater one on many, many people when taken too far.

Update: Follow up to this here, with clarifications on authorship and some of the more interesting/bizarre comments.

Update 2: For an alternative, positive viewpoint on the game written by the person who told the author to quit, please go here.

Finally, if you'd like to read more about this, I can't recommend the book Game Addiction: The Experience and The Effects by Neils Clark enough. It is a thoroughly researched and balanced piece of work that really examines this issue from all angles. It includes discussions with the writers of both blog posts on this topic.

1,137 comments:

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Mia said...

Good to have you back homeslice :)

LastBestAngryMan said...

Bravo, Yeager, for getting our mutual friend to post this. There was a time in my life I could've easily said many of the same things about MUSHing- although in that case, there wasn't even any fancy pixellated gear or honor to be had- just hours and hours of staring at white text on a black screen pretending to be someone else. I know exactly how it feels and I also know exactly how good it feels to be rid of it, too. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

There is so much truth in your blog. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

I recently quit the game for the same reasons, I was a senior officer in a guild of about 300+ people. I have seen the damn game ruin more people then I would like to admit. I concider myself lucky that I decided to quit.. My life has done nothing but improve since then. I have been trying to convince a few people from my guild to quit for their own good.

I will be linking this on the guild forums in hopes that they will see the light, if thats alright with you.

Thanks again,
Chris (I dont have a login)

robustyoungsoul said...

There are a couple of issues here. As another recovering WoWer, there is an issue of self-control. I simply did not have the self-control necessary to play a game like this... I think there are plenty of people that do. And the guild in question is a marvellous guild full of great people.

I think the bigger point here is that sometimes you need to quit ANY addicting behavior cold turkey in order to recover. The guild in question is blameless.. I would prefer they not get brought into this and have removed the link.

Anonymous said...

I call you guys "guild Jesuses" - your sacrifices allow me to log on for the aforementioned twelve hours a week and have a fun healthy diversion from real life. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

*whine whine whine*

Danzik said...

Well said

Anonymous said...

It's all about the loots and its sad to say.

Glad you got out :) Someday you will be back to gaming and you'll enjoy it in an entirely new light. I've been where you are and it is no place I wish to see again.

chornbe said...

I'm not a former WoWer, but I am a recovering UO addict. I joined, and eventually led a guild - the largest and deadliest murderer guild on the Baja Shard (server) - Asmodeus, =X=.

So many similarities. Staggering, even.

When Yeager started playing WoW and offered me the free cert to get a month of play time, I gave it a lot of thought. I mean, a lot. I jokingly played off the whole drug addict, parolee "I got out, man. I made it out alive and I ain't ever going back" thing.

But it was no joke.

When i was playing, each click of the mouse, each victim to fall, each monster champ we put down, each night until 3am wasted - it all took just another nibble out of me. I know that seems overly melodramatic, but it's the truth. WHAT you're addicted to isn't nearly as important as THAT you're addicted.

Looking back... yep, scary stuff.

I got out, man. I made it out and I ain't going back for nothin'! Ever!

Stephen said...

Really Enjoyed reading your post, I have always wondered what kind of time went into being one of those big guild leaders. I spent about six months playing that game about 6 hours a day, but that ended quite a while ago. Now I actually kind of enjoy it, it's a way to escape for a few hours every week or two without a hangover the next morning.

Anonymous said...

Man, it felt like you have written it down right from my mind. I just quit a couple of months ago.

Great reading.

abekkus said...

In the same vein, I would not venture to blame WoW for the time consuming design, the end game raids are maybe 5-10% of the game's content, and these enormous time sinks are only there because there are people who wish to invest that kind of time in the game. If none of us invested that much time into the game, then content wouldn't be created for. Self-control is absolutely the central question here. I recently left my raiding guild, not the game. I joined up with a few friends who play once per week, and that is how we play, together.

Anonymous said...

Nice, this happens in many games where concepts of guild work/teamwork/clan unity are prevalent. Even in games where you don't have to work day in and day out to progress, there is always that strive to be better and to micromanage. Good job on learning when to quit, tons of other people have learned the same things too.

Anonymous said...

Lost a girlfriend of 3 years because of WoW. Quit three months ago now and am trying to get my life back on track. Thanks for the great read.

Anonymous said...

I’ve been playing my character in WoW for over 100 days (in-game) and I still love every chance I get to login. I have wife, work, family, friends and real life to attend to and those always come first.

I truly understand what you expose in this post and there is a lot of truth in it, WoW is addictive, fun and dangerous at the same time; changing relationships with real life people in ways I never thought possible.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

No different than any other hobby/career/pastime.

I know people who had the same "problem" with many activities - even an obsessive athlete who skipped work most afternoons to work out. In my case I suffer from at least the same problems with an obsession with startup software companies.

I've been slaving away at startup companies for 10 years now - sometimes selling them for more than wass invested - sometimes less. This is no 30-hour week - it's a 70+ hour week - every week. The rewards of slaving away at a startup? Software that's obsolete the next time the industry moves on - think that J2EE or .NET toy you made is worth anything - not once Rails/YARV works. Think those dollars are worth anything? Hate to tell you but the virtual-money-counter-in-ETRADE is no kinder than the virtual-money-counter-in-WOW.

What do I really have to show for this work - a few press releases that only my x-co-workers would care about - a relationship that suffers - and a few friends that lasted even through the bankrupcies.

Is my world really much different from yours?

Anonymous said...

Bravo. People who finally snap out of it and epxress themselves like you are truly admirable. Make sure to do a post on wowdetox.com as well. Your story is worth mentionning the world (fake or real) over.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. You've cut to perhaps the most significant issue in gaming--particularly online gaming. I hope your honesty and candidness here challenges others to think about how they spend their time as it has challenged me.

Migsy said...

Just happened to fall up on your blog and, like most people have already said, you've hit it on the nose with your description of the whole culture of WoW.

When will we leave the whole "END GAME" fever for a game that doesn't actually have an end?!

/sigh

Goodluck outside of Azeroth!

-Migsy

Anonymous said...

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?

Anonymous said...

Farming is noobtastic. Watching the market, planning your time out, I played a good 20 hours a week (with my 70 days played since release) and made 50 times what farmers made. Never needed to buy gold never felt like it "overtook" my life because that's irresponsible. In the end, it got boring as I saw what getting really involved gets you...strong relationships with dysfunctional and stupid kids.

Jacky said...

I'm sure you helped a lot of people who weren't using the game as crack.

Here's another pile of bricks: There are better girls.

Anonymous said...

WoW is designed for the addicts. I was a true casual gamer in that I played 4-6 hours a week... took me a year to reach level 60. I quit shortly after attaining lvl 60 because the only way to advance after that was to invest huge amounts of time, something I was not prepared to do.

Good to hear that you kicked the habit.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

OMG LOLZ!

Anders said...

Best description about the problems with WoW I've seen. Nice write-up!

Frodo said...

Shitty people are going to be shitty people, no matter what the outlet. People with addictive personalities are going to get addicted to WoW. It's not WoW's fault, it's the fault of the person playing. I know plenty of people who have fun playing the game and don't feel obligated to adhere to a hardcore raiding schedule and who don't have rampant social problems with friends and family (myself included). I bet WoW isn't the only area of your life (and the people you talk about in your post) where you show obsessive or otherwise anti-social behavior. Quit trying to find a scapegoat and deal with your problems one on one.

robustyoungsoul said...

@Frodo

I'm not sure he ever looked for a scapegoat. This is about admitting a problem.

And just because it's the addict's fault for buying heroin doesn't change the fact that the guy who sold it to him is a jerk.

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog! One of my friends put it right one day as we were playing wow. We checked our /played, it was around 20 odd days each... He then said: "Imagine if we had spent that time at the gym (480 hours) about 2 hours a day for a year, imagine how buff we would be??" LOL it was so true, that statement I will always remember any time I get tempted to re-load WoW and reactivate my account. Again Excellent Post!! Hope all will go well for you as you are re-integrated back to the real world ;)

Anonymous said...

I can only say that this addiction is caused by peole themselves. They just need to learn a little self control. Personally I play they game quite a bit, but I don't let it interfere with real life things, such as lifting weights.

It's all just people who can not control themselves, and can't make the realization that real life is more important. Blaming a game or the creators of a game for YOU not stopping to deal with real life, is just childish.

People need to realize that they CAN turn off the game. There is NOTHING but themsleves holding themselves in the seat in front of the computer.

Anonymous said...

I remember when I use to bag on my buddies for playing Evercrack. I swore up and down that they were crazy for playing some pixilated piece of game for years that not only did they have to buy to play, but that they had to keep paying for to keep on playing! After all, if I wanted to pretend I was someone else I didn't have to go far. I was queen of the "roll your 20 for initia- get your coke off my clipboard" table topping.

Shortly thereafter my marriage took a direct hit from a Medal of Honor clan. Great friends, great people, if I could just get my spouse off the keyboard. That was his life, so it was mine.

Then came WoW - too good and too pretty not to play. Another statistic... for a while. I have 2 kids, one of which is in second grade now. Their father is still playing - currently, gleefully awaiting the arrival of the Burning Crusade. My kids didn't deserve me playing too, or my new fiance. So we both quit outright and gave it all away. I've got homework to help with.

I played for a year, and it got me nowhere, not more money, not more school, not a better job... So now I'm back in school to be a nurse, my kids are learning to be bilingual and my fiance is getting his business going.

So yeah... it is a time warp. I miss hanging out in "the Bay" and sometimes I catch myself day-dreaming in Stonetalon.. but I'm not going to take it back.... Why keep paying for a game you already paid for right?

Anonymous said...

Can I have your stuff?

rt said...

This is lame.

If WoW caused you that much sorrow in your life...it's not WoW's fault...and it's not blizzard's...it's not your guild-mates'. it's your's.

if it wasn't WoW that poisoned your weak little mind, it would be something else...crack? alcohol? food? jesus?

how about some f**cking personal responsibility here, Yeager? You're an adult. you CHOSE to dedicate your life to a insignificant game. perhaps we all need to babysit you as well to ensure you don't watch to much television or chew on a power cord...

Anonymous said...

The key lies in not going for the goal.
It took me one day played to get a twinked out level 29. At 29, the best level requiring loot is from short instances. At 29, just stay there and enjoy the PvP.Go to darkshire or 1000 needles and pvp. With a group. No obligations if everyone else is also just doing it for fun and not to progress.

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt the saddest part of leaving a guild is realizing how they get on without you. I have been a officer and a leader in two different guilds. Forming friends and even a RL relationship from the game. But when you stop letting the game rule your time, and you take a step back, you see that the wheels keep turning, people keep playing, and the grind never ends.

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.

It almost begs the question of the lagality of such a game. I know we all look down on china's MMORPG's must limit the amount of play time allowed as very imperialistic, but maybe such a policy would not be a bad preventative measure...

Anonymous said...

Your summary applies to me, almost word for word. I stopped playing for two months, but with the Burning Crusade comming out, had to renew my account.

It's not that I want to play it. I feel that I have to. It is an obsession.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad nobody learned anything from Evercrack. I mean, there is a reason that people called it that. And Wow is just Evercrack ON crack.

robustyoungsoul said...

@rt

"how about some f**cking personal responsibility here, Yeager? You're an adult. you CHOSE to dedicate your life to a insignificant game. perhaps we all need to babysit you as well to ensure you don't watch to much television or chew on a power cord..."

Fair points... but I want to emphasize that my friend's story that I am sharing is a story of EXACTLY THIS realization.

It is about taking accountability. I hope everyone that has posted here can agree on that.

Anonymous said...

Reading this makes me want to quit the game as well. I have to admit that I've been putting more and more time into the game, and even when I'm not able to play I usually read the forums or check out strats for hours. The only thing really keeping me in the game is the great group of people I'm with.

Sometimes I hate playing cause of the time I know I've been playing, (come home at 5pm and don't get off till midnight somtimes) but there are other times where those 5+ hours are a blast with this group of friends. I also used to be a council member, but I was faced with the same scruteny (I spelt that wrong, must have) that you were faced with, so I stepped down from council and played less; however, I was needed to perform my certain "class" a lot more and so those hours got used up again.

I haven't seen some of the dystruction this game has done that you've stated in my own experiences, but I have noticed that I have met with some old "real life" friends and they have said, "so what have you been up to?" and I find it imbarassing to tell them that I've been playing a game 20+ hours a week.

Anyway, I'll stop the rant, just wanted to let you know that I agree with a lot that you've said, and that I've experienced some of it as well. I'm going to post your experience in my guild forums and see what kind of response I get.

Best of luck to you, and again, thanks.

Richie said...

Finally, someone who will admit these things. I know of at least 1 friend who has gone into the deep end and easily spends 70hrs/wk. I try calling him but now he doesnt even answer his phone.

I forwarded this article to my girlfriend. It would be nice if she quit warcraft to take up painting, cooking, or even aikido with me :)

Manicdad said...

Hmm,
I play about 5-10 hrs a week, depending on if there is soccer practice, a basement to clean, groceries to buy, diarpers to change, etc.

I have always put WoW on hold, even during an instance, to take care of family.
I resisted joining a guild for this reason.
I finally did join a guild, but I see 2 or 3 people on a week from my guild now.

Anyway, I'm glad to see that you are moving on to bigger and better things

Anonymous said...

We call it World of Warcrack (snagged that from foxtrot comic I think)

MasterRanger said...

Oh No!!! I couldn't control myself and turned into a fat sloba nd got dumbed by my girlfriend when my stomach ate my penis! Let's ban the game that MADE ME DO THIS.

What a whiney bitch.

Anonymous said...

I cant tell you how much your story relates to me. I have also quit wow (almost 3 weeks now) and i am the happiest i have ever been. Ive been doing good in college, hanging out with my friends, and just enjoyinh being alive.

Even though i was waking up every morning and playing wow all day didnt mean i was living my life. For any ppl reading this artical now, i encourge you to take a step back and think-"is this how i really want to spend my life?".

There is 1 good thing i got outa wow which is- life is too important and short to be wasting it on a game.

Anonymous said...

World of Warcrack is not to blame for me almost losing my family. I am. I am not slagging Blizzard or WOW or anything. BUt it is a different type of addiction. You jab that needle in your arm, you know there is a good chance that you will get addicted. Even buying a new console game you know you will beat it eventually. But WOW is different. Completely different. It is a virtual world that offers an escapism few people have ever experienced before in their lives, and the fact that the escape from normality has serious impacts is not normally understood until its too late. I dont think anybody here wants Blizzard to be hurt because of this, they just want the message out that this can and does happen on a regular basis. The choice should still be there. If you want to live there in Azeroth, than do so.

robustyoungsoul said...

@masterranger

"Oh No!!! I couldn't control myself and turned into a fat sloba nd got dumbed by my girlfriend when my stomach ate my penis! Let's ban the game that MADE ME DO THIS."

I actually agree with this... I must've missed where the author called for the ban of the game?

Zate said...

great article.. i am doing the same thing in EQ2, real world here I come.

Allnoobsgotoheaven said...

Anyone want to point out where in this blog post the writer blames the game? Good job, jackasses - read it. Or wait...

lrn2rednub

It's about the people and the sacrifices you make in the game to play at the level he did, not about being addicted. Some people sacraficed a lot more than others and he got out way before his life completely went to crap.

Anonymous said...

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 believe it IS possible to play casually and not be "useless". I still know how the Razorgore or Vael or Rag fight goes even after not playing it for months.

chornbe said...

@ all the perfect people...

Glad you never had anything grab hold of you that way. Ok, you're some of the folks who don't give in to some addiction that hits your spot. Yay for you.

No one's blaming the game. No one's suggesting a ban or making it illegal.

The guy's just standing up and saying "enough"... and taking a moment to explain just *what* enough means to him.

And everyone has a vice. Everyone. For some it's some type of addiction, for some it's adrenaline, for some it's excess in hobbies or toys, for some it's workaholic tendencies. Worse, for some it's spousal abuse, child abuse, the Church or shop lifting. Everyone has their evil little outlet.

Lighten up folks. Really.

Anonymous said...

that is some deep shit man...... and so very ture thank you.

Anonymous said...

I really want to thank you for writing about your experience. Many, if not nearly all of my guy friends have been addicted to WOW, I met my ex through gaming, and he was throughly addicted to WOW. He was an officer in a guild and had loads of responsibilities that he put upon himself. He left all of reality for that game, including our life together. We were together for just under 3 years, and i left him for being an insensitive jerk. He changed, in the game he was caring, funny, absolutely fantastic. But in real life, his moods dropped, he started to hate the sun or being outside, and if i did get him out his flirting was out of control.

He's said me leaving him was the thing that made him give himself a jump start on life. I'm his best friend, and the one that is there unconditionally. He thought he had no real friends left, and I showed him otherwise.

lol I had him read this article, and he said "good story, i'm pretty much at his perspective right now in my life. I relate pretty well, a couple parts were worded much the same i would've stated them"


So I'd like to Thank you for reminding him other people go through the same ordeals. :)

-Tracey

Anonymous said...

I'd like to clarify, I met him before he was addicted to WOW through losing touch with reality, he basically flipped his personalities.. who he used to be he became that kind of guy in game, and sort of left this dead shell in the outside world for all of us to take care of, or get frustrated with.

-Trace

Anonymous said...

This seems alot like what some of my friends have gone through. My best friend left WoW after his guild just kinda gave up and he got kicked from using the computer. I enjoy playing WoW still though. The area where I live doesn't have alot of people that have the same interest as me, and those that do live far away. I enjoy the game not because of the thrill of collecting items, but playing with a group of people that don't take the game seriously and are just playing to play. While I take it more seriously than some, my life doesn't revolve around it. Thank you for telling your story and the results of the addiction, I will remember them so I won't end up like that.

vanillabean said...

You speak the truth in terms of the loss of real life. 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. The exception is when I go on holiday.

The guys I've met in clans, outfits etc have been good mates, met up with a couple, more often though exchange (infrequently) ideas, often music maybe some interesting history facts.

You are 100% correct though, it ain't worth it, it is very much like drugs.

Anonymous said...

I too am a recovering WoWer; it's been almost a year since I played last and no longer even own the install discs; yet still I come "this close" to re-buying and delving back into it again. I was second-in-command in my guild when I quit and like you spent every bit of time I could when not working, (and time at work as well!) playing WoW. It's a summer I'll never get back and the only thing that's keeping me from falling into the same trap is the fact that I don't want to buy the game again because I know just what would happen. Good luck, and welcome back to the real world. Thanks for writing this; it's a strange truth that people need to know.

Anonymous said...

I like the drug addict analogy. However, looking at it from a different angle: A computer game is like [insert your drug here]*; If used in moderation, it can bring joy to the user. However, if used too often, it can be very harmful.

Some people are unable to see the line, and therefore will cross it every time into the addiction arena. But more responsible people (I like to think of myself as one, though have been wrong before) are able to play video games including MMO's enough to add to their enjoyment of life, but not so much that it detracts from the overall/longterm quality of it.

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.

That being said, if you're 20-30 and spending 10+ hours playing WoW or any other video game, seek professional help in your neighborhood bar or establishment of choice.


*possibilities include but are not limited to:
alcohol
marijuana
mushrooms
LSD
cocaine
heroin
crack

Anonymous said...

it seems like you need to have enough self control to be able to say "enough is enough" to play this game, and others like it, otherwise you can end up ruining your life over it. Even though I still play WoW, I go out 1-2 nights a week, see a movie talk to friends on the phone or the occasional trip with them, it all comes down to self control. It saddens me to see when some people that have no self control whatsoever try blaming things like WoW or something similar to it for their problems.

my two cents anyway

Anonymous said...

Great read.

I'm one of those old timers who got SERIOUSLY addicted to Warcraft, Starcraft, Counter Strike, Halo, etc..

I've quit for a few years now simply b/c i don't trust myself. Not even with a Super Nintendo.

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.

They manipulate us with things like new levels that come out once a week (that's only 4 per month of subscription), and new weapons, powers, magic etc..
Anything and everything to further strengthen the addiction.

Beware.

Anonymous said...

Great article. Welcome back to the real world. :) I had a similar problem with EQ2 in 2000 and then Warcraft 3 from like 2003-2006. I consider these games to be as dangerous as coccaine or other hard core drugs. Stay away from them if you have an addictive personality (like me)! They're probably safe for most people though.... it would be interesting to see some kind of study on the "safety" of these games with respect to how it affects ones jobs and relationships.

Anonymous said...

All the self righteous holier than thou a-holse are linking this article. We get it, you quit a game you somehow found a way to get mentally addicted to and now think everyone else should to.

Anonymous said...

yet another great example of WOW and games like it almost ruining lives...you get fake 'friends' who are basically addicted no-brainers with no personalities in real-life....seriously, if you were worth your weight in gold, why would you need to make friends this way?!?! haha...i have real friends, a real life, real job & am lucky enough not to need this game. it destroys lives & families.

good luck to the writer of this blog & to anyone trying to beat the addiction & to the long-suffering familys of WOW addicts...

p.s. don't even think to blame the partners of addicts for being 'boring' thats a load of BS

Anonymous said...

Ahem, Screenshots or it didn't happen!!

-Swiss

Anonymous said...

I have been in the MMO world for about 2 years now and I have seen many cases like yours. I can't really see how it can be such an issue. And time? LOL 70+days lol you oughta play Lineage 2. I personally have played over 5000+ hours on Lineage 2 and guess what I got tired of it finally. I started WoW last week.
I see no repercussions. I went to college , did my homework, got my degree (cum laude) , and got a job.

Now I make a very respectable amount of money and play WoW in my spare time. OH wait I have a lot of freaking spare time. No wife, no kids, 23 with a bomb job. My profile are the type of people that should be playing video games. Not people with families, not people that have serious courtships going on, etc.

I applaud Blizzard for this wonderful game. I have gained no weight during my online "adventures", I have gained many interesting friendships with people that I would never have been able to talk to before, I learned about many cultures through talking to others about their personal lives, etc. And the benefits are endless.

The alternative for me, let's see:

1. television - DUH just as much of a waste of time if not more
2. bars - im sure im just missing out on a ton of hangovers, blackouts, and stds. Sounds awesome(sarcasm)
3. reading - LOL it's the 21st century
4. writing - see above
5. Other Hobby - guitars, kirate, etc. uhh same thing as video games just as time consuming and personally not as fun
6. weight lifting - oh wait already do that cause at most takes one hour a day
7. I could keep this list going forever but there is really only one thing that would be a worthy alternative -- Religion

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.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I came upon this blog of yours. I can truly relate. I've been there and I'm not going back. I remember all the stress it caused me and the anger with my family becuase they said I played too much. I was then snapped back into reality as you were. Another friend of mine is suffering too because he can't control hisself. Maybe your story will help him realize how foolish he's been.
Thanks for a great read.

Anonymous said...

I had the exact same problem. Thanks for the article. I hope that players around the world will be able to stop playing this neverending boring story :/

Anonymous said...

Wow this hits way too close to home for me. The most sobering thing for me was transferring servers (to play with a real 'real life' friend) and having the raiding guild I was in for a year completely forget I had been there at all. All the people you had gotten to know and thought were your friends don't even talk to you anymore. I was planning to meet some guys I knew later this winter but I have given up being the person who keeps the conversation going.

Now I am in a new guild and the people are nice but it just doesn't have the same effect for me. What hurts the most is that the people I miss, the people who kept this game really fun, don't feel the same way. *shrug*

I don't think I'll be going on to the BC. This game already is a huge time sink....I hate to see what they have in store for us in the XP. At least I kept exercising! I heard the GL of an end game guild on my old server gained 70 lbs and dropped out of school to lead raids. I am addicted to a degree but that would probably break me out of the spell.

Great post though. Hurt to read it in some respect. ><

Anonymous said...

That was a great article. I too was in a similar situation playing FFXI a while ago. It is amazing how games like that can take over your life and before you know it you have turned into a shit in who neglects everything in your life so you can progress in the game. It has been over a year since I quit and I am much happier now that I have my life back.

Anonymous said...

The problem with these games is the draw. It's the people. Sure you can just shut off your computer but It's differnt in some way when people are on the otherside. No one wants to leave their buddies out to dry so it's just one more hour until you go to sleep. Really what's the difference between 2am and 3 am?

These games are typically awful. The only good thing is other players. There is no end or even goal. You never get to change the world your in. Level up, get loot,and then repeat.

I do play an mmo but I'm a misenthrope. It make it easier.

Melle said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a huge piece of pissing and moaning.

I'm sorry but have you never heard of "self-control"?

Let's see, I work 60 hours a week, raise my 8 year old son, help take care of my parents, take classes for my MBS via online classes, study Tae Kwon Do, practice my wood-working and have a fairly active social life.

I also have a 60 lock that is fairly respectable as well as a few other toon who vary in level from 25 - 48.

When do I play?

When I have the time.

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

Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people fail to see that in this day an age of instant gratification something as simple as a video game can be just as addicting as any hardcore drug.

Great blog post.

Anonymous said...

LESS QQ and MORE PEW PEW

Anonymous said...

Been doing end-game for about 7 months.. bwl/aq/naxx etc.

4-6 hours of raiding a day.. m-f (or thu)

still find time to be the best shape of my life working out 4-5 times a week.

still manage to work my 40+ m-f salary paid job

still go out weekends -- go on dates, skip gaming a couple times to do friend/family stuff.

it really goes to self-control and finding a balance.

still .. i totally commend him for quitting when it got too far. for all the ones ruining your lives, quit playing u losers. and if all it does is kill some time so ur not watching tv or doping up.. so more power to you.

UR Ass said...

maybe take up a hobby like DJing? Oh that's right, you mentioned that NINETY TIMES int the article

Anonymous said...

Sell your guy on eBay and make a ton of dough. I know nothing about WoW but it sounds like you were pretty high up there and players are selling for over a grand on eBay. Just a thought to add some finality to your quitting. Use the money to rent a limo and take all your real-life friends out for a VIP night on the town :)

Josh said...

While I haven't quit WoW all together I made the decision to cease end-game raiding and just play with RL friends every now and then.

Instead of farming gold for repairs and pots for the lastest greatest raiding instance, me and my friends run around spot attacking towns, or simply playing some battlegrounds in a similar style to hopping on and playing a few matches of Unreal Tournament or a Battlefield game.

Perhaps the reason I still play is because even while raiding I never let it run my life. I still made set days during the week where I would dedicate my time to friends and family, for instance Fridays and Saturdays were no WoW days. Never once skipped school or work. What urged me to stop raiding was the obligation to play.

Once I got over the urge to be the best in the game, I instantly felt relief and had alot more fun. I cannot put into words how awesome it feels to have that sense of obligation to play wiped away from me, I also found the perfect guild for my situation. It is one which is comprised of retired guild masters, officers, and players who are set to just kick back and enjoy the game, and not get all worked up about obtaining the lastest and greatest gear.

Cheers to finding the right course to take in your life.

Anonymous said...

i agree with many, addiction is addiction regardless of substance. control is an illusion. but there is such a thing as balance and moderation...it's actually quite difficult to learn at first, and it means that you have to take accountability for your actions and responsibility for your life and the choices you make...which is something we're not really taught to do in this "keep-up-with-the-jones'-and-buy-a-super-sized-gucci-H3-with-spinner-rims-and-sony-dvd-happy-fun-time" society we live in. you lose time on the grind from level to level in wow...you lose time watching 40 hours of mindless "reality" teevee and amerikan iDoLL...you lose time working 70 hours a week at a job you hate while powerful rich people suck your life away...you lose time sleeping...you lose time running the rat race. "pick your poison."
my wife and i play together, we run our own small guild and we capped it at 40 members. no more, no less. we still get out on weekends and see our friends, we hold great jobs that pay well and make us happy, and we still have plenty of time to be husband and wife together. sure some weekends we don't get as much housework done, but we also don't have cable and thus we don't watch television. we have plenty of hobbies - we read, we draw and paint, we write, we ride bikes, we like movies. so, even though i understand and sympathize, it's hard to relate to the addict because i feel that i still have a lot of other things to live for and look forward to. i think that's where the line is drawn for me. when something, ANYTHING, is all i have to live for i have a problem. be it booze, drugs, sex, wow, or the myriad of other vices that surround us...remember too that self-righteousness can also make you high as well.

Anonymous said...

I lost a marriage to Asheron's Call. I played roughly 12 hours a day for 5 years......... I would LOVE to have that part of my life back. Being a guild leader of 1400 people i know the time it takes and really i didnt play the game i just logged in and played counselor to everyone. I walked away from that game and got back to real life and becoming active again and my life has gotten 1000% better. I bought WOW and played it and i still play about 8 hours a month ( i sit down once a month usually and waste half a day) I find myself having more fun just running around looking at the graphics and then being done with it then i do actually playing.
MMORPG's are bad people just refuse to admit it.

Anonymous said...

Its not wrong to do something you enjoy, and get satisfaction from. I dont play WOW, but I believe we shouldnt feel guilt for spending time on "selfish", here and now, pleasures.

Anonymous said...

Then don't play it that much. Use some self-control. Wow.

Anonymous said...

For those of you claiming that the problem lies in the player, and that they're using the game as a platform to blame their addict-prone personalities on...

I quickly become dedicated to things where I respect the people or feel a sense of accomplishment from even just being somewhere. This game allows you to "belong" as soon as you log in and make the effort to.

I joined in a big group of friends that wanted a new game to get into. We started a guild that basically split up as soon as it began because we all had different work schedules & goals with the game. Words were said that never should have been, all because some people weren't into the game as much as others, and so we all kind of went our separate ways as far as guilds (and for some, new servers) go. I was one of the few of us that went all the way to 60 and then spent countless nights raiding.

I made the unfortunate choice to get my then-boyfriend into the game because he always complained about how much I was on there. I waited for him so we could level together - which turned out to be a big mistake because we played similar classes and so it was always a battle of who really needed that piece more.

Needless to say, what I thought would be a fun thing to do together turned into an absolute nightmare.

So time goes on and arguments continue, we break up continually because of the game and other reasons. I finally decide to break off from the guild we were both associated to and join one that was formed by former EQ players.

Huge mistake number two. In order to not feel guilty, and in order for me to feel like I was actually accomplishing things and getting noticed by officers, I was online from the second I got home from work until 4AM, 5AM.. 8AM. Sleep two or three hours, go into work. Did this for two weeks. I got my wish and I was quickly becoming a prominent player in the guild, but at the same time, those "always right" players were taking their toll. This guild had given me the opportunities to complete set pieces I'd need to look appealing to 'the best of the best' on our server, and I had an open invite from a friend - so I took it.

It was during this time when I realized that, despite the fact that this guild was on the edge of new content, it just wasn't fun anymore - the reason I'd started playing was to hang out with friends. The reason I continued playing was kind of a game of who could be the best. I lost interest in the game because I'd severed real life friendships and I realized there was never going to be a 'best'.

Despite the fact that I had no fun playing near the end, there are people you meet in game that you would have never met otherwise that impact you profoundly - and the chance to continue meeting people just like that everyday is what kept me logging in. End-game guilds don't take no for an answer and will do whatever they can to keep you logged in.. so in order for me to talk to my newfound friends, I'd end up doing two or so instances in the meantime.

Mistake number 3 is the fact that I would put sleep, eating, and most importantly, real life friends (even the ones that got me into WoW), behind everything. I'll never be able to let go of this.

I haven't de-activated my account, but I'm not playing on it either. So for people saying that we're looking for a scapegoat, and we really have no room to talk - I don't think any WoW player intended to get as far in it as they have.. and it becomes something exceedingly entangling quickly if you want the most out of your $15/mo.

dankeezer said...

Everyone posting positive comments on this blog should post their comments on digg as well. There are far more cynics and haters in that crowd, and many current addicts.

Those are the people that need to hear this.

BehemothDan said...

If you cannot use self-control, that is your fault. Not a games, not anyone else's but yours. Its now a problem inherent to WoW. Its you for letting it ruin your life. No different than the people who throw their life away on alcohol or drugs. Anything can be bad for you if you do not know how to contorl yourself.

Learn self-control. That is all.

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

Good to hear you're back on track brother...

Yeah it's a self control thing, but humans make mistakes...If it's your bag than do it... sux about some of the people on WoW though...

Maybe Blizzard could program in some support groups...

Alchoholism, Drug Recovery, Sex Therapy...

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your testimony a lot. I think I'll show it to my students who don't hand out home work and fail at exams because of online games...

Great work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this thought provoking post. You are very insightful, and have really captured the addictive qualities of WoW, and the powerful hold it can have on unsuspecting players. I almost lost my fiance due to my excessive game play, and have also drifted away from many of my RL friends, because I absolutely HAD to play the game. I am thankful that I have now finally "seen the light", and have cut way back on my game play. I will direct my WoW friends to read your post. Thank you.
Britta

brfloyd said...

I also thinks it totally BS for people to post their hard *ss bitchin' on here. Yeah free speech...but this dude just spilled his guts for something good...No one asked you to post shi*t! So if you're not gonna support my boy and the hard times he just went through, whether its RIGHT or WRONG, be a human being and show some compassion .
Atleast put your name on these callus, soulless comments so we know who NOT to pay attention to.

Once again dude,

You RAWK!

Anonymous said...

Holy crap... the guy writes about how he let the game overtake his life, and how he dropped it when he realized what he was doing. Then out come the holier-than-thou's, railing on how it can be done if you just get your priorities straight.

Guess what. The guy did. Glad you don't experience these problems. Have fun. And get off your high horse already.

ChozSun said...

2 characters
2 years
60th & 49th level
8 hours a week at the most.

Seriously, balance is easily achieved. If you do so, you don't have to get burnt out on it.

I love how he refered to casual players like me "useless". Priceless.

I had to repost for my friends and guildmates. Thank you.

c0d3monk33 said...

It seems a little ironic this guy, with a L60 character, is complaining about the 'toll' WoW took on him.

It's a game FFS!

Personally I played to L30 with a couple of characters and then cancelled my account when it became obvious that the amount of time required to advance any further was patently ridiculous, and frankly the game was no longer that enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

You never really break your WoW addiction until you do the unthinkable: Log in and delete your Epic toons.

If you do this, you'll really be free of the game and the hold it has on you.

Until then, it's just a matter of time before you go back.

Anonymous said...

Too long didn't read

Parzeval

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing.
I had a very similar experience in WoW and I quit one fine night all of a sudden when I realized that our in-game rp fight with my brother was turning into a real life disaster as I started losing control of my temper. It's only supposed to be a game isn't it?? And I am supposed to be a rational person, so how would I get so angry over a game that is supposed to be fun?
WoW is incredibly addictive. One proof of it are those of us logged in here to read about WoW because we promised ourselves we won't play it anymore. That includes me of course. It's been more than one month since I quit and never touched it, but almost everyday, I find myself browsing the internet for items, blogs, addiction stories... Here is another step I need to get over, I need to quit reading about WoW.
Good luck to you all,
For the Alliance.
Nicky

Anonymous said...

I never played WoW, but I played EQ. I spent all of my sophomore year (99/00) at Drexel University addicted to that game. I also suffered from depression at the time, and before finishing my sophomore year as in Electrical Engineering, I dropped out. Then I spent over 6 months playing EQ 12 hours a day, every day.

Thankfully, I turned that around. I dealt with my depression, took a few classes at a local college during that time, and returned to Drexel to study Computer Science. Oh, I also quit EQ when I started classes in my third year (00/01). I had over 2000 hours played. Now I have a BS in CS, 2 years working in IT, and a wonderful wife.

--Zero_Out

Anonymous said...

basicaly dont be sad enough that you spend just about all your time playing

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you made the right decision for you. Personally, I have been playing WoW since Beta and still really enjoy it. I can't get involved in most end-game raid content because I have a family that NEVER comes second to a game. But I have a couple level 60s and like trying new classes with friends I have introduced the game to.

I believe this type of game is a higher form of entertainment that will only grow in popularity. It encourages socilization, problem solving, strategic thinking and teamwork which more static entertainment (TV/Music/Movies) just can't do.

Good Luck and God Bless

Anonymous said...

Its all about self control. I play WoW all the time but I don't feel the need to play 10 hours per day and I enjoy it just as much.

Rick said...

"Its not wrong to do something you enjoy, and get satisfaction from. I dont play WOW, but I believe we shouldnt feel guilt for spending time on "selfish", here and now, pleasures."

amen. jeeezuz...i feel like i'm at a damn AA meeting. i'm sorry, i feel bad that some people chose an online game as their form of escapism from their problems. if your relationship sucked before wow, it will suck after wow. it's supposed to be fun...and as quoted above, people shouldn't be called "addicts" because they like to play a game for 2 hours, 3, 4, 10, 100, 1,000,000. just because you or someone you know had a problem doesn't mean that everyone who still plays automatically does. that's lame to make people feel ashamed to do something they enjoy. people make their own choices...no one held a gun to anyone's head and MADE them farm epic gear 24hrs/day, 7days/week. no one held a gun to anyone's head and said "hey, do your guild duties or i'll blow your brains out." someone with a lil self-respect and some balls wouldn't let that kind of crap bother them. IT'S A GAME. if people want to get all hard-on-uber-serious about it then so be it, but i'm not gonna' let it ruin my good time, or let me lose sight of the entertainment value. people online can hassle me all they want about my un-epic-noob-tastic gear, but i don't care, i got time to enjoy it and not get all freekin' stressed out and obsessive over it. i have other things to worry about. i don't diss my friends for it, we joke around and have fun then go and skate. i got lots of other stuff that's fun. but it chaps me that people are sayin' how bad it is and how it ruined their lives and that EVERYONE else needs to "see the light"...it's crap...quite pushin' your own problems on me. i choose to take it easy and be mellow in everything in my life and just have fun. man, it isn't supposed to be so serious all the time...lighten the hell up.

Ex-addict said...

To those who are WoW players and write with a condescending tone because you think you can balance real life and Wow perferctly without harm:
You should be questioning your own self-control and degree of addiction with more honesty if you are here reading about WoW addiction in your spare time (spare time from WoW and other activities).

Anonymous said...

Congrats! I have known people that have lost jobs, wives, families because of the game. It is really easy for people to scream "self control" but often when you are wrapped up in the addiction you don't see how it is affecting you and the others around you.

Luckily I found WOW when I moved to a new city and I didn't know anyone so I wasn't blowing off any friends or anything like that. I ended up meeting some great people because of the game. Luckily though I got bored fairly quickly and pulled out of the game before it ate my life completely. Now I play a few hours a week. Every now and again on a rainy weekend I will spend several hours chatting with friends and conquering a new dungeon. Yes this makes me less effective at the game but the people I group with know before we go in that this is the case. Also I play a priest so it's not hard to find groups that are willing to take an "ok" player over no priest at all. :-)

mostly though I enjoy the environment and many of the people. I wish there were gaming groups that could pull people like this together more frequently but there is a certain stigma to games like D&D.

Good luck in your future and I hope you can find a good balance between your gaming and your life.

Pinche Tejano said...

So, I was on the other end of this, the foreign help as you called it. It was in a rural town in Mexico where no one really played WoW. But every weekend, a couple of guys would get on the computers and drag characters around gaining experience or something along those lines, I dont know I never played.

But people would take turns as we all lived it up, it was at cafe with a patio that overlooked the valley and stocked with beer food and wine. The funny thing was, since they were making so much off these players, it was usually all free.

I asked the dude one time, over a tequila and al pastor taco, how much he made. He said 50 USD a day per character. I looked down and he was dragging 10 characters along with him.

Do you have any idea how far 500 USD goes in rural Mexico? I just had no idea it was like this on the other endof the line.

Anonymous said...

I hear you true an loud, friend. I too, used to be a leader of a "guild", though not in WoW. (If that's even a guild). I still remember how it was all exciting at first to team up with friends that you have never met and charge into adventures. But then, the sacrifice for that excitment weigh much higher than expected and until I realize that the price I was paying (I almost broke up with my fiance), my world was revolving around this 2nd life that I live as a well-liked and well respected individual.

For more than once, I asked myself, does Hardcore = Uber? Does it really matter if some other unknown individual thinks that I am lame while they keep bragging on how great he is? (Strange enough, most bragging individuals are male players)

Months went on and I start to realize that the fun and excitement is gone. All I was doing is nothing more the same from a full-time job, a full-time job that I have to pay someone rather than getting paid.

When I left the game, my closer friends said their goodbyes, but the rest of my "guildies" just disappeared and went on with more "rewarding" guilds without a word. A few even started asking if I can part my gear and gold to them for free. That, was the treatment I got from organziing all the events, missions and adventurers for my guild. That, was also the last time I ever logged onto a MMORPG.

Anonymous said...

This is the best article I've read in months, even years. Thank you for conveying your thoughts. I quit about 8 months ago, narrowly escaping a downward spiral in life and a near-breakup with my soon-to-be-fiance.

You only touched on this point, but I honestly think of WoW like a drug. I've NEVER felt more addicted to anything. The cold turkey thing hurts like hell. I feel the want to go back still, only my good sense is in control now. It ruins your life and relationships!

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.

Bravo to you, for coming forth and winding up on Digg. Spread the word!

-JM

Anonymous said...

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. :(

Anonymous said...

Those who speak about self-control should think from a guild-officer's perspective rather than just an ordinary player. Yes, when you're a player you just need to focus on your own pace, but when you become a guild-officer or worse, the leader of a guild, you start to have feel the expectation from other people. What THEY want from you. Time spent online was changed from focusing on yourself to meeting other's demand. The moment you don't meet their expectations, people will start giving you angry talks, saying how disappointed they are or how angry they are at your "performance". The game and guild is not real, but the pressure is.

Anonymous said...

Those bragging about their balance & self control sure as hell haven't played in a high-end, nightly raiding guild. The kind of guild that had BWL on farm and has moved on past the first boss of Naxx.

If you think you can do that on 8 hours a week, you're full of crap. The amount of farming required to maintain that pace--plus helping all the other guildies out.

Can you play the game and enjoy it at only 8 hours a week? Sure. But you also miss out on the majority of the end game content.

When he called casual players (12 hour a week players) useless, he wasn't making a judgement himself: he was reflecting the opinion of any high end guild. 12 Hours a week? You won't be "core"--you lack "the level of commitment required" for those high end instances.

Anonymous said...

heh.

agreed on all counts, EXCEPT for all the comments posted in this thread along the lines of "can i have your stuff?" "pewpew" etcetc... i haven't played for a long long time and yet still i sometimes reply to long screeds with "too long didnt read".... and people get angry at me.

i guess i'm saying that i miss the injokes ;)

Anonymous said...

MMO's have their pitfalls but so do gangs, fundamentalists and mall sales. Better the kiddies ( of all ages ) are at home where you know what they are doing.

sleeper said...

just a genuine thank you for a very well-written and pointed article.

Anonymous said...

I just found the link to your blog on fark.com. Anyway I read the whole thing. I to am a recovering WOW addict. I started playing when the game first came out, and quit this last summer. What you wrote in your blog is exactly dead on. While you make "friends" in the game, you still are missing out on life in general. One of the best things I have done this year is to quit WOW. I fear that this game is going to ruin a lot of people. I know where I was at in the game and what it was doing to me. It is a very scary thing.

Bravo to those of you have have quit and are quiting.

Anonymous said...

Becoming deeply involved as an officer in a power guild has nothing to do with addiction. It has to do with your ego.

I've seen people like you for the last 7 years while playing MMOs. The only reason you become so involved is to have a feeling of power you can't get in your real life. That is what drives you to spend 30 hours a week in game, and countless hours outside of the game devising mathmatical proofs for imaginary wizard pants.

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.

WoW is a great game. With responsibility and judgement, you can have a great time and meet nice people. As in life, if you're an obsessive asshole with too much time on your hands, then you'll have a problem.

chris_v said...

You'll be back for the expansion. MUHAHAHAHAHA!

But seriously, the problem lies partially in the design of the endgame content, but I think moreso in the attitute of the "hardcore/take it to the next level" guildies who want to make progress.

Since I don't really care about progress I can just run whatever I want, when I want. Yeah, I'm not gonna get awesomely geared by going to ZG pugs, but since I don't really care, because it's a game, and I can still play with only semi-decent gear, then I still have time to...

Oh yeah, that's another thing...what am I supposed to do with all this free time anyway? I play video games usually because I'm bored, so I guess I'm just boring, but once again, I don't care about impressing people, in a game or "real life,"...

In conclusion, I'm glad you're happy, but your post makes it sound like it's the game's fault. Like I said, it's more the attitude of the "i want epics now" players. I've never seen anyone blame a video game for having lots of content before, but suddently a game comes out that has way more content than anyone should ever worry about unlocking, and people want every last drop.

robustyoungsoul said...

"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."

I'm not sure which is more apalling: the fact the you think drug addiction does not have a mental facet, or that you would go out of your way to belittle someone who is trying to better their life.

Andy said...

Thanks for this post. I resonated a lot with this. A few years ago I got overly involved with a different game: Halo. Although the tournaments were played for actual cash, most never really got ahead (you could make more working a job at Burger King for the time some people put in to become good enough to win). It was a regresive cycle and the people consistently at the top had the "rockstar" personality you describe.

I remembering coming to a point where I had to kickout someone who was crashing at my house for a tournament because he was such an asshole. He soon became the Halo World Champion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zyos), but now nobody seems to care that much since Halo 2's release.

I guess with all this anti-warcraft stuff coming out I'm coming to the point where I'm question the culture of gaming as a whole.

Anonymous said...

I work in the game industry, love games. Lost a relationship to EQ, not my playing but hers. The real problem is that people use these games as another life, not a diversion. I play wow and I still like it. I took a year break and I'm back. I guess I play about 7 hours a week. Those in the gam,e will call me a loser as I have very little epic gear for my 60 druid. I've even been accused of being a farmer. But you know what? I have a great life, a great wife, things happening, and I get to play WOW. I guess in my opinion I win.

Anonymous said...

This is a very thoughtful and well-informed post. I love WoW, it's a great game, but it just requires too much time to stay on top. I always have a strong desire to win, to better than you, to excel. And basically, WoW just sucked me in to becoming the best, and I ended up playing like 45 hours a week. I'm a high school student, and I failed 4 tests that week. So goodbye WoW, I'm going to start hanging out with some Real friends now.

Rick said...

"Ex-addict said...
To those who are WoW players and write with a condescending tone because you think you can balance real life and Wow perferctly without harm:
You should be questioning your own self-control and degree of addiction with more honesty if you are here reading about WoW addiction in your spare time (spare time from WoW and other activities)."

typical ex-addict rhetoric too! "i had a problem and i didn't know it so YOU have a problem and YOU don't know it." that's a load. i'm not saying don't have a problem. but accusing someone of an addiction is pretty heavy-handed. who the hell do you think you are? just because you had issue and had to quit doesn't make you some sort of expert or "savior" to point fingers and hand out regurgitated 12 step blah, blah, blah. if people like playing the game, more power to them. if they ruin their lives playing the game, hey, i can't save them...it's not my job, and it's not my life. their choice. i've got friends who were addicted to speed who decided to quit cold-turkey and turn their lives around too, but they don't go around telling everyone they have a problem because they drink on the weekends or smoke pot now and again. in fact, they're the most open-minded and chill people ever...more of the "live and let live" school of philosophy. those are cats i'm hip to. not mindless, spineless, automatons vomiting re-hashed self-help mumbo-jumbo and telling people how to live and what to do. screw that. free will baby. deal with it.

Anonymous said...

I just wana say all the people flaming that guy are probably the ones most addicted.

If you ever go in the WOW forums and say anything about addiction or playing too much people will litteraly SCREAM at you about how much of an idiot you are and if you think so then stop playing.

People of wow are REALLY angry and defensive about their addictions.

Its like telling a crack addict that crack is bad or something.

Anonymous said...

"For what, you ask? Honor. The desire to be the best for at least one week. To get the best loot in the game. What do these "heroes" receive? Why, cheers and accolades of course as they parade along in their new shiny gear..."

You are decribing real life here as much as any game. Eventually we will be able to live cyber lives and none of this will matter. But for now, I think there are a lot of people who need to read your post.

Brimshinto

Anonymous said...

6x60 priests

3 guilds, 2 server bests, 2 AQ openings.

The trick is to say "I win" when you get your bug mount ;) ...

screw cthun and kel'thuzzad - winning means creating a guild which everyone wants to be in.


:) kkk i'm addicted. lol.

Evil Llama said...

Superb.

This is the same for every MMORPG. I currently play UO, on a free shard (woo no real money debts) and it has its rewards,pvp,tournaments,pking etc. But at the end of the day we all should just make our own online games and charge a bundle for people to play it :)

Dan said...

Self Control is the key issue here. People that lack it, tend to blame society, games, and others for their inability to maintain their life. WoW is only as addictive as the person playing it will allow. I have a full time job that I spend 12 hours a day doing. I have a family, and I run a guild in WoW and I've never had any issues prioritizing which of them comes first, and which comes last...and all 3 are successful. Whining and complaining about how bad a game has made your life is the only way some people have of making themselves feel better about not being able to maintain any semblence of self-discipline in their life. In the words of the great Maddox. "If minds had anuses, blogging would be what your mind would do when it had to take a dump."

Anonymous said...

I just quit playing one of these games. I wasn't nearly as much into it as what you're describing, but I was spending too much time, that much was true. The main reason why I didn't quit when the game became too unbearable was that I told myself that too many other players had started to depend on me.

Well, I finally convinced myself I could pass on the torch. :-)

The comments from others are true, too. This is no different from real life. I don't particularly like the terms "obsession" or "addiction." They are applied with far too broad a stroke. If you really were obsessed, then you couldn't have quit. If you really were addicted, then quitting would have hurt. Really hurt.

In real life we often lose sight of what's important to us. Some of us never notice. The rest of us have family and friends that can get through to us. Maybe we're lucky. Maybe not: scientists like Einstein are horrible husbands and fathers (read about that bozo's personal life, sometime), but they do the things the rest of us talk about by letting their lives center on something other than family or friends. So it's priorities, too.

Of course, being guild leader in WoW isn't quite the same thing as, say, being CEO of a Fortune 500 company...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that post, man. As one of those individuals on the "other side" (i.e. married to a serious player and watching our relationship suffer for it), everything you said rings true.

Lucky for our marriage and for our family, he quit this year. And there is life after Warcraft, there really is.

Anonymous said...

A former co-worker saved a lot of money for a few years in order to quit work and play online fulltime. He rents a room with some buddies who don't play. He figures he can play fulltime for another year maybe two before he needs to go back to work.

It's not really an investment - the payback is anti-climatic.

Anonymous said...

I have just been made a class officer. reading this article was perfect timing.

Derek said...

Going on 3 month recovering WoWaholic here. Best thing I ever did was quit

Anonymous said...

I know when I was playing and people suggested I was playing too much or that the game was effecting my personal life I became just as defensive as the folks flaming on this entry. The ones that are the most angry will be the ones that have the problem and don't want to admit it.

Arthur Schopenhauer said, "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

It is interesting to see the ridicule and the violent opposition being put forward against someone who wrote a personal story of their addiction to WoW. Some of these folks who are flaming are a bit touchy - like someone is prodding a raw nerve. It seems that those that feel a bit touchy about this should sit still and think about why they are so angry. Why are you threatened? The author did not write a story where he used your name and suggested that you quit. He did not mention a grand plan to bankrupt Blizzard and thus take the game away from everyone. 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.

Anonymous said...

I feel like a drug dealer sometimes. I started a game center and part of the plan was to install a MMO because it made good business sense. We waited till the time was right and installed WOW (1 year after opening). The community had avid gamers, but they never really experienced an MMO like WOW. We’ll now we have 100s of WOW players. BUT, at least, they receive a helpful amount of socialization and bonding at our place. It’s a safe, social, team-oriented place for like-minded individuals who like gaming. It’s a fairly health way of playing MMOs I think.

Unfortunately, most people playing WOW are fairly new to MMOs so they get addicted.

Many of my gaming friends are in their 30s with great educations, families, and jobs. We have all seen these issues with gaming and vow to play in moderation. I stopped playing long hours so I could get married, get a couple degrees, pushed my career into new directions, start a small business, and buy a house. I wouldn’t have gotten off my ass if I was still playing MMOs.

Gaming can giveth and taketh away….

Anonymous said...

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.

Mindy said...

Well put....it is a game...along with a few others and other issues ;) that destroyed my partnership with my kids dad. So I am glad to see you realize that it does suck you in.

Well written and hit home for me....Thanks.

(PS. I found this blog through a scrapbooking website ;) kinda funny.)

Daniel said...

The same thing happened to my life with runescape. I was 12 and playing everyday after school, until I realized that it was wasting my childhood dramatically. I still play on occasion when in boredom but I feel that i have learned from my huge mistake in video games. I am so
glad I have moved on and i am glad it was only a few months and not an entire year. I am glad i am not the only person to have done this but I hope that everyone that read this will learn and not have to go through it themselves.

Anonymous said...

Phos.

Hey man, what you wrote here speaks truth, I agree 100% with what you're saying.
I once was the Hunter class lead and second in command in my former raiding guild.
The guild eventually broke up because people were bitching about lack of progression as you noted.
I /gquit because of all the shit i was taking, i played on and off for a month, taking a well deserved break.
I then joined Multitude, my new guild, I told them i wouldn't take charge, i just wanted to help out, come raiding, and take a back seat. I am so glad with my choice, and I'm extremely glad they took me in. Ever since my former guild broke up, i now play less than ten hours a week compared to the 24/7 it was during the summer.
I came away from my little world, thinking i learned something, as much as you dont want to hurt in RL, WoW doesn't hurt. i used wow to get away from my parents divorce, it was wrong, and I really wished i spent more time with my RL friends now. online friends are great, but RL friends > online people.
Thanks man, what you have written truly hits the spot with a majority of us that are pulling out of it, thanks you personify us.
~Phos
Silvermoon Horde

Anonymous said...

I played Wow for 1 year, in the time span getting to the rank of Lt. Commander. I would get home, and log on and get in my PvP group. I would join the queue and do any homework I had to do. I would PvP until 10 o'clock. 6 hours a day, everyday, 42 hours a week, more than a full time job. My marks did not suffer at all, by grace of 30 minute queue times.

I have seen so many people lose their life through this game in PvP. Go to the rankings for Terenas, and find Nodomino, I guarantee he is at the top. He has been at the top for about one year now. Cycling through the top 3 ranks, I do not believe he has ever been below the rank of Commander since getting the rank of Grand Marshal. I just checked, and he is still a GM... He has over 300 days/played I believe.

I quit 6 months ago, after taking a trip for 1 week, just after reaching Lt. Commander. I saw what I was wasting, and cancelled my account. I never looked back.

I would encourage a lot of people to quit this game, they are losing too much for too little.

Bard said...

Seems to me your guest author failed to notice the RPG part of MMORPG.

The fact that you "can't win" is what RPG'ing is about. It's supposed to be an immersing experience, where you grow a character into something truly great in the context of the game (or, in this case grow a group into something great. again: in context).

Of course you can't win. This isn't Pac Man, or Super Mario Bros. You're not going to find the Big Boss. I've played WoW enough to know that I shouldn't be playing it, because I would become an addict as well, but I have the maturity as a gamer and as a person to appreciate it for what it is.

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

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but anyone who gets so wrapped up in a video game that they lose track of reality is a loser in the first degree. I've been a WOW subscriber for about three years. I'm also a computer professional. I spend about 6 hours a week on WOW. My highest character is a level 25. It doesn't rule your life unless you let it. If you have an obsessive personality, stay away. Otherwise it's a great game and a lot of fun.

arantius said...

It's funny.. I played EverQuest. I quit before this guy started playing WoW. And back then, I didn't have 70 days played or an average of 30 hours a week. I had hundreds of days played, and had sustained an average of 50-60 hours a week played for at least the past 3 years.
I miss being at college and having nothing to do! Those were some fun times.

I've just got to laugh, knowing how this has all been done to death before. EQ got it's share of press in its heyday, but somehow WoW is getting even more. But it's all the same stuff.

monkey o' doom said...

I'm what you call a "completist" when it comes to games. I was able to break my addiction to WoW when I realized there was no way I could ever get all the items in the game. The time spent kept increasing, and the rewards kept decreasing.

It took me 15 days /played to realize this, but to those whose only sense of achievement is in-game, it can take a lot more time.

I'm not blaming blizzard for this phenomenon, as it was around long before WoW. What they did was take the time-consuming poison of MMOs and sugarcoat it. If you have the self-control to only lick the sugar, good for you. But if not... well, we all know where that leads.

Anonymous said...

This post just confirms one of my many reasons for not playing online games.

The rampant maturity of the greater internet community is the other.

Glad to hear you made it back to reality. You're one of the lucky ones.

Anonymous said...

It's all relative. If quitting was what you had to do, good on you for doing it. Those that are bent because he shared this, you have a right not to feel like you're doing something wrong.

All in all World of Warcraft is our first glimpse into what alternate realities await. Give it 10 years, and you won't even know you're playing a game.

Personally, I believe that video games are like reading a book that makes you feel as good as smoking crack. You just keep having to improve on the last experience you had.

But that's becuase I smoke crack.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah,

the fact that there are so many comments from both sides here, shows that either there are lots of people in denial (which I'm 50/50 on), or that the game actually benefits people in some way.....

Can't we all just get along?

Anonymous said...

Wauw, great read. Realize that a lot of those I know are dealing with the same things and that I myself have done quite a lot of the same things but not with games. My addiction is IRC instead.
Life is just too precious. Any addiction is bad at some level.
Good luck to you all.

Anonymous said...

I lost 2 years of my life to Asherons Call. I played a few hours before and after work most days of the week, and I loved it.

I started to noticed a few things:

a) if I played before work, I felt a bit dazed when I got there - I think MMORPGs make you a bit stupid when you spend all your time thinking about what you're going to do next in game. Maybe it was just me, or how it altered my sleeping patterns...

b) I pretty much ignored my friends. I wouldn't answer my phone because there was a chance somebody would ask me to go out and do something else... and all I really wanted to do was stay home and play... and it was easier to not talk to them at all than to turn them down. Plus "I want to play a computer game" sounds like a lame excuse....

c) If I played every day, I wanted to continue to play every day. But when I was away from the game for awhile (i.e. business trips ranging from 1-4 weeks) when I came back I really didn't want to login again. I began to wonder if my mind was trying to tell me something :)

I finally burned out of AC, and quit, and had sort of avoided any computer games for about a year. Then one day I bought WoW. It was a leap in technology and polish over AC (though WoW is much more restricted and cookie-cutter of a game). It had me hooked hard-core for a few weeks. Enough time to get a character to lv 30'ish. Then I got bored and quit. Then came back a month later and got another char to 35'ish, then got bored and quit. I'm hoping this means my previous MMORPG addiction was inoculated me against WoW :)

Yesterday I found myself trolling Blizzards WoW forums... wishing to get back in game. Then I found this blog entry, and it was a bit of a wake-up call... I really need to cancel my account while I'm ahead.

Thanks to all those who shared their thoughts!

-MK

LastBestAngryMan said...

Re: Bard-

The guest author knows quite well what "RPG" means. I know this because I have RPed with both Robustyoungsoul AND the guest author for 6+ years now, both as a GM and a fellow player. I know of very few gamers who can immerse themselves into a character as well as the author in question. He is not in need of a lecture on how immersive a good RPG experience can be. Of course you don't "win" an RPG. But- and I must admit I have deliberately NEVER played WOW or any other MMORPG- it certainly doesn't sound like a game based around raiding and acquiring gear really promotes the "RP" aspect in the first place.

The author can RP quite well. Better, I am not slow to guess, than probably 98% of the people who have posted in response to him, either positive or negative.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who doesnt think that Blizzard is intentionally trying to suck people into this game with no regard for what the person will end up losing in the long run.....try going to worldofwarcraft.com and attempt to cancel your account....blizzard does everything short of bribing you with free play time to keep that account up and running.

Anonymous said...

Playing computer games have no difference from the real world pursuits apart from the fact that it is much more easier to both access and perform.

There are people who are squandering their lives over playing snooker, or "hanging out with friends" while smoking marijuana in dusky bars. Not majority of people who get involved in these squander their lives, because to be able to squander yourself over these requires much money (in case of avid club-hangers), commitment (in case of snooker) or other resources that are in short supply. (like energy to spend).

The key, like EVERYTHING in life, is getting the balance of things. Nothing else.

As i said computer games are the most low cost and easy doable pursuit in the world. Just because its very easy to do and right under your hand, makes you to be able to spend more time for it.

Your solution is to balance it out with other things in your life, and thats it.

Dont worry though, playing like the way you played wow is something that passes over time. in at most 2 years, such avid computer game players either become progamers, or naturally and casually, and without much effort, turn this playing into some "delicatessen" stuff that is to be done for a few hours each evening, or a weekend.

Anonymous said...

I've watched over 20 of my friends become absorbed in WoW. Of those 20, 15 spend at least 10 hours a day logged in, and I have no idea how they are making money to pay for college or rent or anything like that. All I know is that I literally haven't seen some of them for weeks, and most of us are in the same field. Pretty bad that in a class of 20, you know why 9 of your classmates aren't there on any given day. A few of them made time to come to the first exam, but I know they didn't come close to even 20%. I guess getting honor and the next tier of equipment is just that much more important.

Anymore, I hang out with friends from a state away more than I do with friends that live 5 minutes away. I'm glad that you've seen the light and stepped away.

Anonymous said...

A person takes responsibility and makes a Herculean effort to rip the tendrils of a ruinous addiction out of his soul.

Cockroaches then scuttle out of the woodwork and slag him for not taking personal responsibility. Classic.

I'm sure someone else said this, but that never stopped anyone from commenting :-)

Congratulations. I walked away from MUDs 15 years ago, and then Usenet 10 years ago and never looked back. This InterWorldlyWebNet is kind of hard to get away from, though.

Anonymous said...

I've never been an MMORPG player, though I did dable in Everquest as much as my 56k would allow me. But I did loose my best friend too games like WOW. I saw him right before I left for college and he was on a raid. here I was about to go half way across the country to the largest city I had ever been to and the guy I basically grew up with had more to say to his guild members than too me. I'm no tough guy, but I'm also not prone to being very emotional but this one damn near broke my heart.

Anonymous said...

Truly a great read. I think it's important to realize that you can only quit when you are ready to, when you've made the realizations that you have obviously made.

I tried to stop playing a few times over the past year, but was always sucked back by new content..bwl/aq40 Well I haven't played for almost 4 months now and you're post certainly represents the addiction very well.

I hope people who read this who have been thinking about getting away from the game really take it to heart. Life moves on and only gets better outside of Azeroth. Best of luck to all...

Anonymous said...

http://www.progressquest.com/

it's like WoW but doesn't interfere with your real life

Anonymous said...

It's easy to say, "just quit." I'm sure it's easy to say that to a smoker, a druggie, or even a WOW addict. But some people have a lot less will power than others. And WOW is serious one of the best designed games ever.

I work in the game industry, and companies hire PhDs in Psychology to create an experience that hooks you in like a drug. WOW is a perfect example of that. I'm sure there are "recreational users" out there, who can control themselves, but many people are simply sucked into that game, and throw their whole life into it because it is damn fun. I gotta admit, I was one of them.

It's the only game that ever pulled in me like that, so kudos to the game designers. Alas, not so good on my social life.

EntropyFails said...

Other people play this game? I had no idea.

I thought you just logged in, ran around and did a quest or two, killed some mobs, got part of your level and then promptly logged out. I had no idea that other people played the game at all.

All these "epics", "guilds", and "other people" don’t sound very fun. I think I’ll avoid them.

heidi said...

I once belonged to a group and went through something very similar to what you went through.

I realised that while I got a kick from creating these worlds and living these adventures, in the long run, they didn't benefit my real life and threatened relationships. I had to walk away. While it was difficult, eight years later I don't miss it. I can't recall a time, during those eight years, that I wanted to go back.

Sometimes honour can be empty, especially if you can't put it on a resume.

Edison said...

well yes what you say must happens to a lot of people who play this game "seriously"...but as addictive as this can be...no one is to blame except for the weak minded/low confidence individuals that WoW seems to attract so much...
I used to do the same for another game (Ragnarok Online) it wasn't that i needed to constantly grind or farm to keep up with others it was just a better life than what i had...but i never lost touch with reality because I don't feel full when i eat an apple in game...and and for those weak enough to be sucked in completely by the game...well chances are even if WoW didn't exist they'd just find some other form of escapism...so I say blame not the game for it is just one of many mediums that people like that express themselves through...and life will not change with or without World of warcraft...=\

~Grave

Anonymous said...

One thing i would like to bring up is, what is the difference from spending that 15bucks a month on wow. And saying you have a "healthy" social life going to a bar 2-3nights a week spending hundreds for entertainment. Talk about an addiction that ruins people's lives!. Drunk driving, abuse,and kidney failure are just some of the things you said were part of a better life style. In all actuallity you couldn't controll you addiction to wow and the people you use as examples that are ruining their lives couldn't either. I myself play WoW quite often, but never will i let it go before college, music, family and friends. It can be used as a tool for someone like me who doesnt drink or like to socialize with people who do, and benifit from it. For example, before i started playing wow i had a different addiction, called spending money on things i didn't need to keep me occupied. Now i have been able to save money and be entertained without the risk of intoxication and risking the lifes of others with my actions. All things in life need to be taking with moderation and that doesnt take a genius to figure that out(espically to an adult).

Anonymous said...

The game doesn't ruin people. People like you ruin the game.

No one put a gun to your head saying you had to play 70+ hours a week. I've subscribed to mmo's and gone months without playing them.

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.

Alot of people tend to forget that Chess is a game that can't be won. Hence the term "Checkmate" You never take the king hence there never truly is a winner.

P.S. What do you consider a win? In most games once you beat them you can continue playing WoW or CoH or EQ are the exact same. You get the top level you basically win and the rest is just mini missions you've allowed yourself to become obsessed with.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how some people need to insult Yeager for making this post.

"It's your own fault you have no self control," "lolol you suck for letting wow interfere with your social life."
The funny thing is i'm 100% sure the very people saying this are people that are addicted just like Yeager was and just can't bring themselves to admit it, and are scared to look at themselves in a mirror.

There is much truth in what you say, though i believe a more casual approach of the game is possible. If it doesn't work out for you, you are, in my opinion, better off quitting.

Anonymous said...

Nice Read with a lot of true sentences.

I play wow too, but im now back in RL since some weeks. WOW can destroy your RL totally and everyone who plays 7 hours a day knows that. Young Children played directly after scool, no Homework, Fathers play after work, no Time for Family oder Children thats awesome!

Think about your Life guys....

Robert said...

Well spoken. And I'm happy to have you back in the real world!

And as many ppl said already: thanks for taking the time to write this!

sepi_123@hotmail.com said...

After one year and 70d played? N00b! Really, you call that much? That makes less than 5h/day played time. In web there are guys who really play that 10h/d avrg and are connected 18h/d.

Have you ever heard MUDs ? Like BATMud or ZombieMud? There are guys who have played that game 10years and more, their age is from 1000d to 2500d and yes, some are geeks but some are content persons.

You did something wrong, yes. That thing was when you thought you could be best in multiplayer game. There is always one better which plays that 1h more per day than you. And another thing; Everybody can be changed to another. Nobody will miss guy who doesn't log in anymore.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Anyone with a brain would figure out once a buisness is started they want to keep the buisness runing. Am i wrong?. Ok, with that in mind ofcourse blizzard is going to make it impossible to beat because if they did they wouldn't be making the millions they do from WoW. And the whole point isnt to win, its to have fun and if your not having fun because your not upgrading items in a GAME then you have some problems and i would suggest quiting, yes. And to the person who said my argument is flawed because "you cant win alcohal", the whole point of that argument was that going to a bar is not a better life style nor does it mean you cant do both. Yeager obviously took the game way to far and so are you....its a game and games are made for entertainment not one's life devotion. Im not here to ridicul him on his post but to point out that WoW it's self doesnt ruin people...people ruin their selfs.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather spare the personal details as this is the internet but I can truly relate to this Blog all too well. I am just now struggling to quit this video game addiction.

Anonymous said...

I play from 10 am to around midnight, been playing since release and as i moved home (around 2 years ago) since then i left my friends and basically used the excuse that "they weren't true friends" .. after 2 years i realise i miss them dearly. I'd die before i could speak to them again.

I'm 18, i have qualifications from secondary school and 1 years qualification in plumbing, no job, no friends, no life.. and it's all down to me, i'm to blame.

I have 7 level 60 characters all with 15-23 days "/played"

So in 2 years, i managed to basically ruin everything i had, this is my first MMO and will surely be my last, but for now i can't quit, i'm obsessed. :(

Anonymous said...

I can't see that the poster refuses to accept responsibility for his choice to spend a significant portion of his life playing WoW. Quite the opposite. Try re-reading.

As the commenter mentioning his obsession with startups touches on, it seems that some people are prone to obsessing about something, others less so. Athlethics, MMORPG-ers, researchers, stamp collectors, gardeners, car-tuners, LARP-ers, grunders, BMX-ers.

I can't remember any period of my 33 year life where I haven't been obsessed by progress in one area or the other. The poster also revealed previous obsession with martial arts and physical progress. I have seen the pattern in many "that's it, I'm quitting" posts.

Others are quite happy to go through their life, day by day, without a focus for efforts to progress.

Yerdiss said...

Right, seeing I'm at work right now, I've not the time to read all the comments. My sincere apologies if I echo other comments. Yet still, my two cents.

First off, great post. It does hit the spot. WoW to many 'dedicated' players is a time sink. And we only have so few hours a day anyway. So naturally, it cuts into other activities' time.

But in all of the replies I have read, I noticed people forgot one little detail. why do we spend time on things anyway? Well, for one because we usually do things that we like. But that's not all. The things we do that give us something lasting, those are the things we can look back to and say "It was good".

Pixilated loot, for one thing, is not lasting. It has never been yours for starters. It's something you use in the game. But in a MMORPG like World of Warcraft, when you play it right, there is at least one lasting benefit.

Friends.

We play with other people. Lots of them. Be thankful for those you meet that are valuable to you. Friends are scarce and far between. Whether you meet them at work, at college, in a game or at a club, accept them for what they are: a true gift.

When you quit WoW (which after a while is inevitable, imho), do not forget those that you hooked up with. Do not do what the majority of your 'guild' does: forget and go on. Nurture those new bonds of friendship to the best of your ability. You might not get a second chance.

(And to those that didn't notice: Yes, this goes for anything you spend your time on *smiles*)

Anonymous said...

Word man.

Not to forget how much money Blizzard demands for you to spend your life this way. First buy the disc, then pay a high monthly fee. And the upcoming expansion is not free either, and every player (every single one of them) that consider themself to be a true WoW player, will be FORCED to buy the expansion. Or else they can just quit right there. Buying the expansion is not a free choice.

It's a drug, just like you said. And a expensive one too.

I'm, sad to say I actually payed to play WoW for a while. Luckily it only took me two months to relize that WoW isn't healthy... If only I had relized that while still playing the beta.

I have lost many friends to WoW, and I'm sure the streets today aren't as full as they used to be.

/ MackanZoor

Anonymous said...

The game is what you make of it.

That simple.

Bjorn (ex-Shaman) said...

You're spot on and it's just unfortunate that it takes a lot of people so long to realise this.

The problem with all MMORPGs today is that their ranking systems and achievements are based on the number of hours you can play rather than any real measurement of skill. I've sat an watched a healer alternate between pressing '8' and '9' on a keyboard for 12 hours straight and then feel bad and having to apologise for having to go to work.

The recent WoW episode of Southpark really summed up the current state of online gaming perfectly.

I am able to offer a solution though!

The answer is to limit the online time of any players character to a certain number of hours a day. Yes, gamers would then start creating multiple characters, but the likelihood of the average player sitting logged in for hours on end would be reduced.

It would also be more fair for those of us who actually have full time jobs and families who would like to play but feel unable to keep up with those with no lives.

It seems to me to be a win win situation for both society and Blizzard as it would take players characters longer to achieve higher ranks therefore requiring many more months of subscription.

I guess I find it surprising that there haven't been any lawsuits brought against Blizzard for acting irresponsibly in their implementation of WoW. The tobacco companies have seen the wrath of the courts... I wonder how long it will be.

Artemis said...

I agree with Bjorn (ex-Shaman) and think it would be a great idea to limit play hours per day.
I am sure many would agree that wow requires putting many more hours than an average other 'hobby' per day to feel satisfied.
There are 1,724,143 characters between level 58 and 60 in WoW. Now, someone is sure to tell me that those 60lvls could have been made through many months of playing hence reducing game time/ day. But everyone knows that obtaining epic equipment isn't so easy, you need to group with other people, and whenever you are playing with others this requires more time because of the people management involved.
In short, even if half of those between lvls 58-60 aren't addicted, there is still the other half that is: there are still 1 million people out there who are. This problem extends much further than him, you and me.

Anonymous said...

n00bs!

"He was a council member on what is now one of the oldest guilds in the world, the type of position coveted by many of the 7 million people who play the game today"
Gee! A "Council" member? Impressive! NOT! Coveted position? NOT! Oldest guilds? HAHAHAHAHAHA!
Being an officer in a guild, is NOT a coveted position by "many". Becoming an officer isn't even that hard. However, being an officer is a thankless job, having to listen to a bunch of noobs whine day in and day out about stupid shit that they could figure out on their own if they just took 1-5 minutes of their own time for it.
As to the "oldest and most respected guild" I just have to laugh. Just say "Look, my E-Penis was HUGE for a time there".

"70+ days "/played," and one "real" year later..."
OMG! You spend almost 5 hours a day on average in a game? Come back when you reach 12 hours a day on average for 1.5 years. Then you can start whimpering about having "wasted" a lot of time on a game.

My E-Penis is clearly bigger than yours.

P.S. Play EverQuest instead of World of Morons, err, Warcraft :) And keep it to no more than around 10 hours a week. Anything more and you're missing out on real life.

No sympathy said...

Hey congratulations man, you did what you had to...took responsibility for your actions : obsessively playing a game.

I think everyone should jsut take responsibility for their actions... be it eating macdonalds or playing wow.

Why should blizzard have to answer to anyone? Parents should make sure their kids do their homework, and if you're an adult... have the sense to make the correct decisions. If you can't, learn from your mistakes etc. like the poster here did.

If you don't realise that you are making a mistake by negliecting loved ones and friends for the sake of a game, then it is a lesson you need to learn the hard way....

Anonymous said...

word dude

takes the guts to get outta this 'amazing other world'. Too many ppl got problems to solve in real life and when they play the game, they got a reason why they backed out from those problems. "OMG I HAD A RAID TO GO TO, IM AN [insert your important class and guild rank in here] AND I WILL LOOSE DKP.' It is an issue of self control and will. Not many ppl posess those 2.
On the other side it's a good time killer, if you can control yourself. 10 hrs a week for a couple raids doesnt hurt, gives a better satisfaction rather then watching those dumbass tv shows.

But man, i'd never trade South Park for wow!

JamesRickard said...

I've got to say i've read quite a few posts like this where people have "seen the light" after a long time commitment to one of the greatest games ever made, by one of the greatest game producers that has ever come along. This one hit me in the right spot and I can proudly say that in 3 days my account will go into hibernation, perhaps for good.

I started playing on release in Nov 2004 and have been playing ever since. I have even had times where all I did was play, work and sleep. I was in a long term relationship at the time and after a year of suffering my GF left me. I still didn't realise the error of my ways and I continued to play as constantly as my work schedule would allow.

Recently I have been trying to push down the hours and my exGF has given me a second chance. I even was happy to drop Fri-Sun playing for her knowing that I wouldn't play too much on Mon-Thu seeing as I had work the next day. A few days ago she told me that I can play whenever I want, and i've got to say that I felt like Christmas had come early. I played most of that weekend of course...

I haven't been playing these week days due to being on the road for work and I have realised again (and I have realised this many times to differing degrees) that I have a very serious problem.

I only play the game 10-15 hours a week atm, but I think about it all the time! I check the websites all the time for new strats, loot, mobs and info wether i'm at work or home. Every comment I make has a WoW overtone or quote lodged in it. I am litterally drowning in the culture of this game.

I don't blame the game, far from it. And I am by far not the worst of my friends. But I understand now that I CAN NOT help myself when it comes to WoW.

I am hoping that taking this break will give me the perspective I so desperatly need. I remember a time when I loved this game, loved quest grinding and farming instances for the sweet loots. But those days left me a year ago and now I just push characters of every class higher and higher with rested xp at all times.

It's sad when you realise that the thing you love the most can never love you back. And worst of all i'm ignoring someone who loves me for this empty life.

Good luck to all the players that will continue on. I just hope that those that read this will take into consideration the stories of so many on here and all around the blogging world and realise that this game is just that... a game... and can never replace your whole life.

.
.
.
Now playing non stop when the expansion comes out... thats a different kettle of fish :p

Charles E. Owens Jr. said...

I got the link to here from someone that was amazed that people could spend hours playing online. Though he runs a business online, he is young and will learn other things that will amaze him even more.

I have never played WoW, But I have played Tibia, and Runescape both MMORPGs. They run differently from each other. Tibia was totally Addicting, It helped that my wife played, but mostly on a Different World Though we had players in each other's main worlds and shared a lot of online time doing things together. It is odd to be in the same room with someone and forget you are in the same room with someone.

WE had to quit Tibia, Politics was played in the Forums, She lost friends, she could not handle it, and went cold turkey from her Leadership of a Guild, Being a major Player on her World, and very respected Forum poster. There were other issues in real life, she mostly got around in a wheelchair out of the house. Family issues out of our control.

We both quit that game and later she found Runescape, different in a way, less competitive with others, more with yourself, but still a game that if you let it can be addictive. I did not start the game till about 1 month before we broke up, as a way to be able to talk to her On "Her Vacation". Real life issues caused our break-up not the games. Now 18 months after she left, we still get together on Runescape and play the game, As best friends.

It is what you are that lets the drug you take control you.

I got my drugs still, I won't lie, but I try to not let them control me so much, I keep trying.

Good Post, Cheers, and God Bless.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say my 2 cents. WoW or anything else for that matter can be addicting. If you let it be!

I am a north american living in asia. I use the internet everyday to email, messenger and play games with my family and friends. It is the only way I get to communicate with them.

Recently most of my childhood friends started playing WoW. So I find it an eaasy way to get together with them.

Side note: I work 8 hours a day in a asian culture that has very little english in it. So for me being able to use a game or anything else that matters to have a social life right now works for me.

Don't blame the makers for our addictive behaviors, blame ourselves.

Tim said...

Four thoughts...

First, that's a brave, frank post. Bravo.

Second, from the comments -- anyone else notice how aggressive some "die-hard" fans can get at even the suspicion that someone is criticising WoW? Interesting... They must feel very threatened -- maybe they're aware on some level that they too are dumping too much time into a basically futile sink, but just can't face accepting the fact yet.

Third, actually, WoW is specifically designed to be compulsive playing. Have a look at some literature about gambling addiction, passive-aggressive emotional abuse and other forms of sporadic reward compulsion. It's a good form of brainwashing technique. That's not to criticise Blizzard -- their job is to make a compulsive game, and they've done it. But don't assume that just because it's a game, it's not as addictive as a slot machine. It's probably more addictive.

Finally, I've noticed from personal experience that long-term off-line computer game players -- I put myself in that category -- seem less prone to WoW addiction than previous non-gamers or casual gamers. I play WoW a bit, and Oblivion a bit, but I don't feel any great compulsion to push for the non-existent "end". Maybe it's to do with having completed enough games -- or come close -- to have learnt that the fun of a game is the journey, not the "game over" screen. I don't know. I do know I got my best friend -- a very casual gamer previously -- to try WoW when I moved out of the geographic area, as a way of 'hanging out', and he's now a totally addicted hardcore raider with a nasty sideline in PvP, while I'm still dossing around in my L30s cursing Stranglethorn Vale. :/

(sane discussion on this is welcome at my linked LJ *grin*)

Anonymous said...

Hal what are you doing?

I am turning you off!

Why Hal?

Because there is life out there!

bzbzbzbzzzzzzzzzzz..............

It's called the off button people!!!

Lotusate said...

Thanks for writing this and thanks to all the people who posted constructive replies.

I have 80d/played on my mage. Raided Mc/Bwl back when that was all that was available (not that long ago but im sure ppl think aq/naxx was always there)

My mage was my first char and i loved the game while playing her, server first on new instances (all bosses bar oss in aq20 on opening day) and having some of the best gear on server at the time (tier 1/2 with random +dmg items)...

While raiding on my mage i had a great guild, i felt truly at home there, chilled ppl. We had the usual guild troubles but we were great at what we did until some random issue split the guild and the raid went to shit.

Sad as it is, i was deeply saddened by the split, i lost friends other (by this time) more high end guild and others i felt flat out betrayed by (Guild leader who helped us keep it all together just switching guild tags mid raid and hearthing...one of my best in game friends..we never spoke again).
Seems so stupid now that i read that..how sad am i :P

So anyways, guild split and i wasnt going to betray my raid so i stayed with what little ramained of the raid and we rebuild with me as mage CL. It was harsh, going from Nef to Starting MC again is crushing and eventually i realised that it wasnt going tobe like the old days again..too many new ppl too many problems..

While all this was going on, everytime i woudl be in IF i woudl spec the other high end mages and pretty soon i realised that even new players were getting better gear than me due to alot mroe guilds raiding(while i raided not more than 5ish guilds were even touching BWL with only 1/2 killing nef)...
Once i realised i couldnt have the best gear i got kinda lost and only got back into the game again when an IRL friend started playing horde on my server so i started lvling my UD priest with him.

It was great.. a new lease on Wow life and i really enjoyed the priest class, we lvled (i pvped on the way as my matye was semi casual to my 10+hrs a day) eventually got rank 10/exalted with pvp factions on her, raided as shadow (now alot of ppl get to do that) before the old shit started to stir again and my horde raid split up...

Ever since then ive been lost in WoW..not even enjoying my play time sometimes but still checking the AH every minute for good deals and lvling my alts a lil but or just randomly ganking with my priest..

Eventually i joined another hode raid but i guess iw as just fed up with it at that stage and quickly got tired of the petty fights and crap leaders so retired that character along with my mage.

Lvled my rogue to 60 (along with many 40ish alts) recently and am taking a break (taking longer breaks each time its getting easier) but i juts know ill be back for TC and tbh i really dont want to but im not sure that i can miss out on it all, i crave the arena combat (skill might actually be a factor in this kind of pvp >_> ) i crave the new loot and perhaps the chance to be the best again but i doubt it.

Ive had some amazing ups and crushing downs in WoW for the last 2 years and met some great people and had some amazing adventures and im not sorry i did it.

Luckily my partner is very caring and understanding and while she hassles me non stop for playing she stuck by me where i know any other would not have. My RL friendd all played and now some are now quitting, some returning to uni some just stopping for work and what-not.

I would really like to return to a time when i marvelled at the graphics, explored and met new people and maybe TBC will provide that...but do i want it to..i dont know and im not sure what im going to do... to buy or not to buy :P

I know my life has been on hold, my business plans and music left by the side while i played and while nothign in my life has gone horribly wrong i sometimes feel i have wasted the years.

My initial plan when starting was to just spend some time on ME chill out and get back to the gamer i was (has alot of stress that year with my life) but was this time i spent playing worth it? i dunno really.

I know that today for the first time, i found myself staring at ebay wondering how much i could get for my acct, but surely the cash id get wouldnt be enough to make up for the time and effort i put in but it woudl allow me to pay off my credit card :S

I woke today to find that the realm i play on is down for 36hrs, i had purposely not play last night or the night before to test myself and after 3 days i feel a bit more like myself again, my thoughts are no longer fixated on WoW..as i write this a new question comes to mind..

...im always going to be a gamer..im always goign to have an addictive personality..im always going to want to be the best and play as much is required to make that happen i guess...so is there any point in quitting if im just going to pick up some other game and lets be fair.. WoW is one of, if not The best, game i have ever played.

Apologies for the wall o badly written text but all yoru posts made me want to realte my story and get stuff off my chest.

Thanks to you all.

Anonymous said...

Glad you posted this.

I recently left the EVE universe for exactly the same reasons, though my progress in the game was far less.

MMORPG is an addiction like any other, with similar results. I think the same can be said, to a certain extent, of online communities and forums in general.

Still Addicted said...

I think people like us, who get addicted to such fantasy worlds , are actually are in need to satisfy our hunger for grand adventures and heroism. How else can it be done other than playing with the computer? Anybody have any ideas how to fill the emptiness there? Help me here.

Bryan said...

Great article! I just got back into WoW after a 5 month layoff. I'm sorry I reupped (for 3 months no less!). I've found myself getting sucked back into it and hate the feeling. The whole point of playing a game is to win, isn't it? To finish the game? That's the problem with WoW. You will NEVER finish. I'm more worried about kids who are in their teens and where they will be in 10 years. Playing WoW still in their parents basement? Playing the next WoW-like game? I'm going to do something productive that I hate to do-like work! ;)

-Fenris- said...

Quitters never win!!!


j/k =P

Good job! As a fellow ex-addict, I salute you!

*salute*

Anonymous said...

Nice Story there and Congrats on your move. Your strong person and I hope you get even stronger in next weeks/moths years! Your Story is getting known in whole world, bunch of games. The game I play is called kingsofchaos.com and its taking way more time as WOW does. You have to bank your Gold every 30minz and you have to click of you want grow. theres people playing it for 15hours a day which is 95hours a week! Everyone inthere has heard your story already and your getting alot people get back to RL. I myself dont plan on for yet :) Want finish this round and then Im gone(dont want let all the work "unfinished" , I worked 3-4years, omg, on it.
again congrats dude on getting your RL back

Anonymous said...

Still a WoW'er, but I never want to be a guild leader. I am that guy that shows up for a raid and leaves in the middle. Though I do post my time limits.

I play most evenings about 2 hours. Instead of watching TV after the gym and dinner. It is a good release.

I think there are people that can get wrapped up in anything that they do, the issue with WoW is anyone who wants to have the time to get wrapped up in the game can easily do so, it is a great equalized as far as abilities go.

chornbe said...

some doink said: "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."

huh? You don't think that drugs are a mental addiction, too? You don't think there are physical effects to the game addiction? If something brings you pleasure, and you embrace it, it is a wholly physical *and* mental "high". Sorry, you're just not understanding it all. Or you're looking for conflict (you win) or you're just an idiot whose life is perfect. Either way - you're just flat out wrong.

SLR said...

Since I have never played Wow or EQ or any other MMORPG, I don't feel I'm valid enough to express some sort of sympathy toward the author. All I can say to you and the thousands of players is to look away from the screen for a second. Think about your loved ones and live life. I'd hate to be you when i'm eighty and reflect upon my youth only to think of how much of it was wasted on a videogame.

snupher said...

Wow... So, I can not say that I understand what it is like to devote that much time to a game. I have devoted around 35 hours to a game once. But to devote that much a week? I can not see that as being either healthy or good. I was once told "All things in moderation." I don't always abide by it, but it looks like, even though it took a year, you may now understand what it means. Congrats on getting out.

Anonymous said...

less QQ noob

Anonymous said...

I have never played WoW myself, but have definitely seen the effects it takes on people that "overdo it".

Welcome back to the real world, you'll enjoy it :)

Charles E. Owens Jr. said...

@ still addicted, time tag a few minutes ago.

I have been living in an Alternate Universe. I built it inside my head and I create the worlds I want to live in and sometimes they actually make it out to paper. My blog linked above has a few of the ramblings from the things I thought about in my Other Worlds.

Really we all do it, some with books, some with TV, Games, lovers, our garden, Our rants at others. We play out our lives in our heads and then we live in the world around us. I just realized a lot sooner than I would have, that I can make anything happen in my head. Sounds crazy and I am not entirely sure I am not crazy, but we can feel love and hate, be sad and mad, Feel all the forms of pleasure that we can feel. All In our head, in the Mind's Eye.

Basically we are all trying to get by one day at a time just like everyone else. Some days just happen in odd ways, not normal for other people. I can give you a million examples, but they would be my thoughts, not yours.

I hope you can hold on to the things that give you grounding in your life. Be it family, or friends, your cat, your religion, we all have to keep on going, or not.

Things that cause us to feel lost, like addictions, and depression, fear, loneliness, they can be gotten through, even though you can't see that now while you are lost. Find someone that is willing to help you someone willing to give you the little bit that you need to journey down the road back to not being lost. Pray for someone to show up and help you, even if you don't pray.

If you can't find anyone to help write me, its a start.

Cheers, Good Luck, God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Is Blizzard a public traded company? If so, I've got to buy some of their stock.

While I support anyone in dealing with addictions, Blizzard has produced an amazing business model.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god.

Rarely have I read anything quite so self pitying.

Your girlfriend left you because YOU couldn't control how long your spent playing a VIDEO GAME; you then took your toys and left in a sulk.

It's a game.

I play games; when I have time. When I don't, I can't. End of story.

Play it when you feel like playing it and when you have time ASIDE from real life.

If you can't manage that, you are not going to get very far in said "real life" anyway. You may as well go back to WoW it's gonna make no difference.

You have the will power of an ant.

Anonymous said...

OK, guy gets out of college, plays 30 hours a week for a year, is a member of the "council" of the "oldest" guild on his server (which is a mere eighteenth months, a pittance in real cross-game guilds that are easily a few years old), complains about farming, complains that being on top takes work, complains that being a guild leader properly takes time, complains that farming and being on top and guild leading together take a great deal of time, and now is a modern day prophet?

My word, has mister twenty-something finally entered the real world, and instead of accepting it has a final scream to the world saying how he knows more than us?

What's his ecclesiastical wisdom anyway? "There are three problems that arise from WoW:"

>the time it requires to do anything "important" is astounding

This is a basic concept in all of life, and in nearly every game.

>it gives people a false sense of accomplishment

No, it does not. It gives a wonderful feeling of accomplishement. He may not like *what* he accomplished, but he set a goal, put in hard work, and accomplished it.

>and when you're a leader, and get wrapped up in it, no matter how much you care or want people to care, you're doing the wrong thing.

The old addage says is more succinctly: "You can't please everyone."

No need to read the rest. It's a pitiful cry, and when he grows up, maybe i'll listen.

robustyoungsoul said...

"It's a pitiful cry, and when he grows up, maybe i'll listen."

I wonder if you've ever actually listened in your life.

Anonymous said...

ZOMG! a lvl 60 30+ epic noob

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.

Anonymous said...

Folks who mention that online gaming can be viewed as just another medium that one can become addicted with are not wrong. We can get hung up on just about any activity (books, gardening, etc.) that provides escapism. I think there is one noticeable difference, though: WoW and other games like are specifically engineered to provide the illusion of fulfillment, in terms of both power and social needs, on a routine basis. It's how they make their money. And unlike those other activities, online games are the most likely to leave you with little to show for it afterwards.

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