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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Vorit said...

ya, i have been overdoing it.
recently turned 60 mage, and with a guild that raids nightly. I nearly always try to attend these raids even though i have a 7:30am class.

i have played about 20 days (in-game), rank 8 pvp, etc. and i have been considered for my guilds class officer.

this has shown me that i really need to not take that position bc i need to better invest my time.

my parents are on my back bc i play wow too much, and my grades in college aren't as good as they could be if i didn't play.

Thanks for the insight.

Anonymous said...

I am a mother of two sons addicted to this game. My 22 year old son living on a university campus has wasted 3 years of his life playing WOW. His grades are deplorable and I don't believe he will qualify to graduate. He seems totally obsessed with this game, he has no social life. Now it seems my 18 years old is playing and getting addicted. Aside from toally removing the computer from his access, I can't convince him to quit. I would appreciate any advise anyone may have on getting out of this game and getting on with "REAL" life.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Just keep in mind that people are asshats in real life too. There have been more than a few days where I wanted to Shadowbolt the idiots I encounter on a day to day basis outside of the game.

Everything in moderation, my friend.

Anonymous said...

You played only one year and sunk this low? One year of hard core mmorpg devastation is nothing, but it's quite remarkable to see you having reached this far down in that short time.

Anonymous said...

I played WoW for about a week. I had a friend that was a designer on the game for Blizzard and he got me a beta account. I didn't take to it much, but I was a former UO player at which I was pretty solidly into. I got out of playing it mainly because I had some more important things going on (ladies :)), but a friend of mine was a die-hard player.

He was on a solid gaming binge, three straight days (no joke) he slept during server reboots right in his chair and had an egg timer to wake him up. He missed a deadline for a scholarship he was to be awarded for a full ride at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. All he had to do was sign a paper and send it in.

Now he's in the airforce so he can go to a US school for free when hes done.

Anonymous said...

You know i have to agree with the guy about being leader and spending a year as leader....

I'm also an GM of an aussie/singaporean raid guild, theres many many times which i wanted to quit... but in all due honestly.. its really hard.

Ive tried to quit, -_- zzzzz but i hold alot on shoulders as guild wise. I put in about, 12 hours a day in to my wow character and do the best i can to help out any one that needs it...

But in the end, people get so used to you being there, they become self dependant on them always being at the raid.

I work 8-9 hours a day i wow for 12 hourse a day and eat sleep personal hygine the rest of those hours.

IMO wow is like a drug, i say worse then a drug... as when i want to quit wow, I have alot and i mean alot of people who say dont quit we need u -_- and i get suckered back in. lolz

I have surgery comeing up in a few weeks.. maybe that will be the day i quit wow when i get a true break form wow.

Ive been wow since december 24-2004 and a GM for over an year. and yes i do feel that it has taken over part of my life but i guess it doesnt really matter till my boyfriend comes back home from italy -_-

Just my 2 cents i guess,

Asuncion-GM of Night Eternal
Silvermoon server
Lv 60 disc/holy priest.
days played 134 days 16 hours 23 mins 19 econds ftl :p

Anonymous said...

I have a wife, a child, and a baby on the way.

I play Guild Wars one night a week for about 3 hours. I either group with a good friend or my father... sometimes both. It's always the same time, so they know when to look for me. They live states away. We spend half of our time joking around or talking about stuff going on in our lives (as opposed to doing it over the phone).

Guild Wars is paced enough so that you can spend as much time and progress as fast or as slow as you want to. The story and quests aren't going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Great read. To bad some people don't get it. It seems some people read the article halfways, or not at all. Just looking for the "post comment" button and to stop an "evil blogger" from venting. Perhaps they are the one in denial, riscing their drug get taken away?

Its not about venting, its about sharing an experience. Its great to see all people sure of them self knowing the line.

I don't know which line i might cross and have trouble getting back from. Every people has the possibility to addiction. Its a simple fact of mind.

Great post, forwarding this to a good friend of mine whos son has become addicted to WOW, and we have big big trouble to find a way to reach him (the son).

Many thanks for the read! And I wish you great progress in life!

Thomas!

Anonymous said...

NOOBSAUCE! lol, jk. I truely think that there should be more money and time devoted to researching and counteracting the addictive effects of these types of activities and especially MMORPG games. Lets recount all the other people getting rich off addictions... Tobacco companies... Drug companies.... drug dealers... Blizzard Entertainment... hmm...

Anonymous said...

Here's a rub:

WoW has many elements. There's the battle element, and the quest, and the group-cooperation thing, and the leadership thing. It is beautiful and brilliant and a nearly fully-realized world unto itself - sometimes more than the real world can offer. So you can have almost any kind of experience, depending on who you are, or what you need. Your experience reflects you, though, admittedly, it is a skewed sample, isn't it, since only a subset of humanity is interested in the first place.

Thing is that we live in the real world. Escape shouldn't be our primary goal. But it is, sometimes, because the real world sucks. Drugs. Gaming. Drinking. Rank stupidity.

No matter where it's exhibited, we're all human beings. WoW gives us a chance to do that with different rules, but don't be surprised when you look up, the world still sucks.

Wouldn't it be even better if WoW would help us figure out how to govern ourselves, cooperate, and deal with conflict? Wouldn't it be great if the real world sucked less?

Anonymous said...

It seems like a lot of the addictiveness of these games comes from PvP and the competition involved in it. The thing is, PvP is optional. I play WoW like an old-fashioned CRPG - on a PvE server, just keeping to myself except when I absolutely need help. It works for me.

The time requirement is still a killer, though. I look up and an hour's gone by, then two. That's getting tiresome - it's fun to get the next weapon or learn how to craft something new, but it's not worth all those hours that I could have spent doing something else.

Anonymous said...

Sad. Weak. If you can't control yourself then pull the trigger. So sad... no wonder this country is going to hell in a handbag so quick... weak willed, weak minded, sad individuals who blame anything and everything for their weaknesses. And yes, I am a gamer and in the industry itself but I don't let it rule my life.

James Lyon said...

I'm glad you've found yourself again.

I would recommend searching for a balance though. Right now, you've swung yourself in the opposite direction and maybe you feel some fear of what you became, but it's important to understand that any extreme can be addictive. If you're not ready to try videogames yet, then please don't. But, you must redevelop your personal judgement again because right now, your just as vulnerable to a new addiction as your were while playing the video game.

We take for granted that little voice in our head that tells us not to do something until we feel pulled back and forth to every new experience around us. It'll be difficult, but you _need_ to listen even harder now. Read self-help books, go to seminars, and write in a personal journal. These things are as much to fix your perspective on life, but to help you analyze your mind and person.

These are just a few things that I normally counsel people in your position to do, and I hope they help you just as much.

Anonymous said...

This is a ridiculous post. Like others here, I play an online game (Anarchy Online) which has been online since the late '90s. I belong to a four year old guild, had several characters near end game state, and never once suffered any kind of loss in my life because of a game.
Interstingly, I'm in a unique position to compare addictions since i'm a former cocaine addict.

MMORPGS are an escape from the pressures of everyday life. A pleasant diversion, and nothing more.

Cocaine (you can substitute your drug of choice here) involves a chemically powerful, potentially lifelong addiction that can ruin every aspect of your life.

Game playing (even online) has never disrupted my life, and i can even think of a few times where I would log off (in the middle of a raid!!!) to go enjoy my life (or score dope).

The incompetents who think they can compare addictions between online gaming and hard drugs need to go do some research on pyscho/physiological factors of addiction and come back with some educated (and hopefully interesting) comments.

As for the OP, its good that you got your life back. Now its time to find your spine and develop some self control and mental character. I conquered a coke addiction....you quit playing a game? Honestly, who cares?

Anonymous said...

and there I was thinking of playing this. I might, but I'll just have to play very carefully, and then do what I normally do and get bored after about 2 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Damn it. I quit the game about a month ago and now I just spent 30 minutes of my day reading this blog and comments about the game. Damn you! Excellent post and so real about the whole guild experience.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to point out that the game *can be* addictive -- but being addicted has more to do with a player's personality and potential to become addicted to things (cigarettes, gambling, WoW, whatever) than the actual make-up of the game. Proof positive: all those "casual" players who log on a few hours a week and run a quick 5-man instance. "Useless" to you at one point, but having fun without resorting to extremes or absolutes like ALWAYS playing or NEVER playing.

Anonymous said...

I love all the WoWusses who take great offense to this guy's realization that the game is nothing more than a giant sinkhole of time and money. Gee, folks, hit a nerve there, did he? Realize just how much time you're putting into making numbers increase and "collecting" "loot" that would vanish in a single electromagnetic pulse?

You're putting in dozens, if not hundreds, of hours of effort, and gaining absolutely nothing as a result. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

I never did the 'end' game thing in wow,(i did play it for about 6 months tho) but i did do the 'end' game thing in everquest(played that for 5 years).

theres two modes of play...'fun' mode and 'cog in a machine' mode. to succeed at the end game the later mode is required, and yeah, for the most part people forget you pretty quick.

the people you meet in the former mode tend to last longer. i still have friends from eq, even over a year after quitting. actually, about 6 months after i quit i went to a forum, where somone had posted something about my character. (the server i played on in eq had a forum where people discussed things about that particular server) and responded to it, and was surprised that apparantly alot of people still remembered me. that probably has to do with the timescale tho, everquest is much older, the people have been playing longer, and even casual aquitance dont forget people too easily when they'vebeen seeing them around for 4 or 5 years hehe.

at the end of the day, eh, its a hobby. you make of it what you want. sounds like you had a bad experince, but eh, people whose lives fall apart....they will find an escape from reality. after returning to reality myself, i find that alot of people escape from reality by running from one 'fun' distraction to another. (drugs, alcohol, coffee movie night *every* night)

dunno, i think my time in everquest had apositive effect on my life, but that could just be me. i dont think wow is really much different at the end of the day, hehe. the name of the game in online gaming is making it unbeatable.

Al said...

Great post, and its good to see that kind of attitude and self realization about games. My previous relationship of two and a half years fell apart when I got my ex into EQ2. She wound up playing that game an unbelievable amount of hours, and basically threw everything in her real-life to the wind.

I feel for people that get caught up so much like that, but it happens, and its good to see people can pull themselves out of the socket :)

Anonymous said...

Blizzard did a wonderful job creating a game that is enormously fun. They should be congratulated for the sheer fun and depth of the game that allows so much variety that you can play for 70 days in game time without any boredom.

At the same time, they are the first to tell you that moderation is they key to enjoyment. I have good online friends who are into the end game and they are beyond reasonableness. I am not following them.

And while they are spending a lot of personal time in MC, they aren't bar hopping, taking drugs, courting AIDS, combatting herpes, endlessly chasing sex, or glued to a television set watching Nip and Tuck for cheap thrills.

There is no denying that there are game addicts. You're one. Glad you quit. Not only for your health but your farming has screwed up the prices at the AH.

Peridyd said...

Having played computer games since the '80s, I'm used to expending whatever effort it takes to watch the credits roll and beat the game.

I quit WoW about 6 months ago for nearly all of the reasons that you list. Like you, I came to the conclusion that there's really no way to win.

My one consolation is that despite the fact that I was the main guild healer, I refused to log in to the game on weeknights until my kids were in bed--though they did watch me grind an awful lot on weekends.

Excellent post.

Arianrhod said...

No need to troll here.

I just quit the game myself, it's hard to live through life when you've got different priorities coming up. I decided that becoming awesome at WoW wasn't as important as my friends, school, or my career. And when it came to a head I quit. 35 hours on WoW is 35 hours away from things I needed to be doing. Sure I could have just played less, but then I would still be tempted to compete against everyone else. And progress is slow when Blizzard hates priest drops (damn druids).

Anonymous said...

Good for you that you got out. I am not a wower but i have been the partner of a wower, I have lived the misery this game causes when the person you love spends more time chatting to guild mates and raiding etc then living real life. You stop recognising that person, you feel betrayed and you self esteme takes a nose dive hits the rocks with such force you wonder if you can ever save it. As a member of the wow widows forum I have also read stories of others who's relationships with partners, children and friends have suffered and how some die harder wowers have quit thier jobs just to play this game. Glad you saw the light well done.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, as well as a "once hard-core" player of WoW (I have a lock with 64 days /played), it think
all the comments in the blog and by readers about addiction and comparisons between substance abuse and a video game demonstrate a clear lack of experience and/or understanding of just what an addiction *really* is.

Anonymous said...

I was in the same boat as the poster.

I started off leveling a rogue to 60 at release, and doing MC before other guilds on the server. Then I leveled a dwarf priest to 60 so we had someone with fear ward. I realized once I did that, that I was not happy playing anymore. So I sold off the account and stopped playing.

Then 2 months later I had a friend of mine quit and give me his midlevel hunter. So I leveled up that casually and enjoyed myself. Unfortunately, I joined the top guild on the server and began playing obsessivly. I was living with my girlfriend, and working on my masters degree, while I was also working. I would come home after class/work, and sit down and play until I went to sleep. I was playing every hour that I possibly could, in cluding during work and during class.

I was the class leader for the guild, and I was also responsible for helping to recruit people and sort out guild problems. I neglected my girlfriend, my friends and my job , and my girlfriend eventually gave me an ultimatum. That was when I realized what I had done.

It is quite pathetic actually, and even worse is how she used to confront me about it. My response was "I am not addicted, I just enjoy spending my time playing the game."

So, long story short, I sold the account months ago and haven't logged in since. I am learning to salsa dance, taking 4 grad classes, working on my thesis, and working 40 hours per week. I own an xbox360 that gets use maybe once a week now.

Do I blame WoW? Absolutely not. They merely provided a vessel of enjoyment, I chose to abuse it. I was at fault, and I take full responsibility. I just wish I had realized it before it cost me the greatest girl in the world, and some opportunities I will never have again.

mark said...

It's the same old story from EQ1 and prior games. It's nothing new, and Blizzard didn't do anything that hasn't been done before.

The blame lays in ones own motivation and satisfaction with life. It's just like any other addiction - the addiction isn't the problem, it's the escape. The problem is in your own mind, in ones own life, and that's where the blame belongs.

Welcome back to reality, it's a good place to live ;)

This post isn't intended to be mean. It's just a simple fact that in the end, not matter how addictive a game is, no matter how much fun it is to play, it is the persons choice to face reality or hide in front of a computer.

You get it right in your last sentence, "...when taken too far."

Anonymous said...

QQ more nub!

L2P responsibly

Dave Sag said...

Nice post and some excellent comments here too on both sides of the fence. I was given WoW for my birthday last year - talk about the gift that keeps on taking. I got right into it for a while but my fiance put a stop to it as we had a wedding/honeymoon and a move to the other side of the world to plan and it was just simpler to just stay off the game for a while. 3 months or so in fact. I'm all the way across the world now where the lag-time inhibits my play in groups so i tend to log in every now aand again and solo a quest or two, or farm a little for the mindless prettyness of it all.

I am heading interstate tomorrow and the realms have been down all day today for upgrades, and our house got broken into and my laptop stolen, and I'm moving into a new house with no broadband connection so I guess I'll be offline again for a while.

I have to admit that I am really not that great a gamer. I usually lose at video games. I used to play Age of Empires as if it were a SIM and would always watch with amusement as the beutiful little empires I'd built would get wiped out by other players.

When I did play WoW in groups people would always complain that i wasn't tanking well enough for them - or whatever. So yet another reason to play solo more and team up every now and again with people to help qith the odd quest or two as needed.

I'm in a guild but not for any good reason I'm quite high up in it for some reason but I dunno why, or how. Anyway it's late and my new mac has just finished recovering files from backup.

Anonymous said...

I needed to read this.. I couldn't say it as perfect as this

I am a casual WoW gamer soon to "not" be a casual WoW gamer.

I've had similar experiences and the game is not worth it

Anonymous said...

I identify with a lot of your comments. the game is designed to be addictive and habit-forming in the form of monthly debits to blizzard. Having said that, it's not an issue of blame really... the community has become very much self-sustaining, and the fact that there are other humans out there in the same boat is more of an addictive force than any pixels blizzard decided to place on the screen.

As a lifelong console rpg'er, i wasn't prepared either for the toll of an rpg that never ends: after nearly a year of play, raiding, guild meetings, excessive playing, it nearly cost me my marriage. i don't think getting caught in this trap makes you a "weak-willed" person, the true test is how you react when the realization hits you that the game is, in fact, a negative force in your life.

kudos to you for getting your life back together. as for me, i bought a bike shortly after quitting the game (and then bought my wife one), and our relationship is on the mend. best of luck to you

Colin said...

I can't believe that some of you are decrying his complete show of self-control, rather spinning it that he had none.

We all have addictions, be they material, ephemeral, or virtual. It takes a lot to control one's addiction, but it takes even more to completely discard the addiction altogether.

Sure, most of these comments say, "I can do it, and you're stupid because you can't." Maybe the naysayers can balance it. But then maybe there is something that they're missing: maybe they don't play as much as he did, or they don't have such a high position of responsibility as he did.

I'm not going to say my story, as it is not quite as in-depth and was on a different game (UO). But I have a feeling what he went through, even if my experience was nowhere near as deep as his.

I give this man all the credit in the world for identifying and overcoming his problem. His time came and he made his decision.

Just like him, your time will come and you will have to make a decision.

Go watch Requiem for Dream if you haven't. Your eyes will be opened.

Anonymous said...

I MUSHed for years. It's a win some lose some proposition. I flunked out of college, met the woman who would become my wife, discovered I didn't want to be a programmer after all (which is what I was in college for).

At the end of the day, with 5 years of perspective, do I regret my 40+hrs/wk I spent looking at a text screen? Nope. If I'd not done it I'd not have found my loves, both my wife and my career. I don't know where I'd be, but I can't imagine it being a better place.

Anonymous said...

So true, every word of it. I never got into WoW, but I was in deep with some FPS communities; very "well-known". If I wasn't playing, I was busy on one of three forums, IMing with clan members, or a host of other "responsibilities". I was truly wasting most of my time on pointless things.

Sadly, it took almost being forced to drop out of university for me to see just how useless it all was. It broke my adddiction, and now I can just play for an hour or two, then turn it off without a second thought.

Anyway, great article, and I hope it reaches as many people as possible!

Anonymous said...

waaaaaaaaa i'm addicted to wow waaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Anonymous said...

A person can get addicted to anything including drugs, alcohol, computer games. Its up to an individual personality to admit the problem and cut the addiction.
I want to thank the author for the effort which (I believe) will help many ppl to realise that they are addicts. Blaming Blizzard is a wrong spot to fight the problem.
Thank you for the article, Mr. Yager

spacejunk said...

WoW has destroyed no one. People who have no self-control and let their real-world responsibilities fall by the wayside destroyed their own lives. Stop blaming the game because you ruined your own existence and start fixing your own issues.

Anonymous said...

I am really shocked at the angry hateful comments here. The article is plainly about taking responsibility and quitting an addiction, yet people are incredibly upset and angry. I wonder if they're in denial about their own addiction, for them to react so strongly.

I notice the same thing playing that game. But it's not only regarding the raiding or the end game, it's just the escape it provides, the lack of accountability. Even DnD provided this same sense of escape for people, and certain types of people use this as a crutch to evade the pressure of real life, instead of to learn coping mechanisms and problem solving skills to deal with those pressures.

We can't stop games, books, movies from providing escapes, but we can warn people of the danger of abusing it. Thanks for the article.

Merlin said...

See you next month, in Burning Crusade!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I had this very same problem with EQ. I'm the married-with-kids guy you talked about.

It did nearly ruin my family.

Thankfully, my wife stayed with me and we're leading semi-normal lives. :)

The negative comments here are most likely ex-guildies who are angry at your lack of commitment to a lost cause. Same stuff happened in EQ. All that time and effort spent to get you pixels, wasted!

Who cares.

Anonymous said...

I was in a similar situation on Terenas. Over 90 days I played 30 of them, held down a job and stopped having a social life. Just so I could go raiding those end game instances and work with the guild to be the best on the server. To me now, it was a pointless waste of my time.

Funny thing is, in a couple of years all that work means nothing and those servers will be switched off and characters deleted. All for what? Nothing.

Dr. Ellen said...

Mercy, I guess I was fortunate. I'm of an earlier generation, so we did our RPG over a table - Dungeon, and later, Champions.

And I climbed to the top, also. For a few years, the gamesmaster and I had lived in the same commune, and read each other's libraries, and were very much on the same wavelength. That meant he was unlikely to throw up a challenge I couldn't recognize, and have a decent chance of beating.

It was good for my mind, too. I had all these powerful characters in my head. After a while, I was almost completely impervious to nightmares. I always had somebody in my head that could deal with that nightmare expeditiously. They gave up, and went away.

(Which is probably saying that RPGs helped me untie some kinks in my subconscious. There are many ways of describing the same situation.)

I think the best part, though, was the table, with people around it. That kept the Real World tied to the virtual world. There were people I knew at that table. They brought pop and munchies. We were connected.

I guess I am sitting here, whacking my virtual cane against the floor, crying "Repent, youth of today! Return to the ancient virtues of gaming, lest the modern world seduce your soul clean out of you!"

Harumph! Bah, humbug!

Anonymous said...

Blizzard sure isn't going to be happy about this.

Anonymous said...

Well, I only got half way through the comments and they seem to be a reoccuring theme so, since I don't like to waste time that I could be spending on more interesting things, like wow :), I figured I'd just make a quick comment and be done with it. My appologies if someone else in the bottom half of these responses has already made this point.

Anyone that becomes addicted to this, or any other, and wakes up one day to realize that they've wasted too much time on it should be grateful that it was this game that taught them that they have such an addictive personality and little self control. There are many other addiction out there that are much more physically destructive that can never be repaired. A wow-a-holic is obviously a bad thing, but look for the silver lining, you know that you have an adictive personality and little self control. If you go through this experience you will become a stronger person and will be much more capable of avoiding other, even more destructive, addictions in the future. For those of us that know better than to allow this to happen, the game is still a passtime that enhances our daily lives, not takes it over.

I could tell a long story of my own addiction to Everquest and WoW, but it would not be as interesting as anyone that let it completely take them over. As long as nobody makes the mistake of blaming a game for their own poor choices, or blaming any adictive behaviour for their own actions, (and I don't think that the original author did any such blaming) anyone should be able to know when to say enough is enough for today for any activity.

WoW can provide everyone with a great opportunity to learn how to take all things in life in moderation.

Anonymous said...

Hey great article. I know similar people who just couldn't play casually. It was all or nothing.

I am lucky. So lucky. I am in an end-game guild that is self-touted as "casual." We have had players leave on account of how casual we are, and had good players join for the same reason. We are wrapping up AQ40, and fast approaching Naxx, while still only raiding about 4 nights a week.

I recommend you associate yourself with healthy people in a healthy guild of players that still have lives outside of WoW. Quitting it just makes it so that all of the time spent *was* truly wasted -- and that *is* sad.

Anonymous said...

Posts like this is bullshit, as in with all aspects of life if you don't employ some self moderation you will fail. I can but name a few: Alcohol, work and gambling. If you fail to understand that being addicted to WoW is so pathetic compared to the kind of problems that these other things will give you please get off your primadonna chair and start looking at people with REAL problems.

Anonymous said...

While someone stated that the "guild in question" should not be brought into this and they removed the link... from an outside looking in perspective and a WoW player...It was not meant to belittle the guild he was a part of....his statements ring true across the board and from my epxerience I think he is very accurate. This person sounds a bit defensive. :(

Anonymous said...

I think word "accomplishment" needs some insight here:

If I grind 100 hours in an end-game instance and finally loot an epic drop is that any less notable (any less of an "accomplishment") than grinding 100 hours at the office and making an epic deal with a supplier?

No. No one cares about either. It's up to you to decide what makes you happy and what matters to you.

Anonymous said...

It's good that you got out and are happy again, but this is the same story thats been circulating since mmorpg's came into existance. WoW by no means is anywhere near difficult, and the end game raiding is a joke compared to what games like EQ threw at you, but it all amounts to time spent doing that when you could be elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

+1 for the truth. Excellent post.

Anonymous said...

I certainly know what you're saying, man. I allowed gaming to ruin my life for a span of about 2 years. I lost out on a great many opportunities as a result and turned into something of a hermit... and I'm normally way too sociable to be a hermit.

Granted, you get some good with the bad. I've made a number of RL friends through gaming online. The escape is too real in many ways, though. After starting to feel that I was becoming too addicted to EQ2 again, I had a 5 week hiatus while out of town on business. Part of me is a little worried that if I try to go back at all, I'll just get sucked back in again.

Games are not supposed to involve such choices.

Anonymous said...

If you are done with it, can I have your character?

Baldgit said...

Hey - thanks for writing that. I can relate all too well with what you went through. While I was hooked on DAOC (pre-WoW) days, I too gave up my social life and everything.

I had that 30 lbs epiphany as well, and decided to do something about it. Now, almost 3 years later, I'm up for Lieutenant and my volunteer fire department, I have met the most awesome woman in the world and life is great.

I still keep in touch my old 'friends' and hope to someday meet them, but meanwhile I'm getting on with my life and making a difference in the lives of others.

Welcome back to the real world brother.

Anonymous said...

Wow costed me a 4 years relationship.

After too many night watching movies alone or cooking dinner ending cold on the table because "I'm almost done here!" or "I have a team party tonight at 9pm", I broke up with my boyfriend.

We almost didn't talk to each other anymore because of WoW. He realized some time later that WoW was the problem, but it was too late.

Anonymous said...

Okay gotta admit very good read. I will say this though some ppl get very addicted to games and some of things he's mentioned will occur when playing WOW, but then again there is another side where some players just play and still maintain a normal life. I will admit this when I first started playing I was not that much into then got really into it and did nothing but go to work go home and played WOW and some how found time for the girlfriend. I'm 60 now and still working on complete a dungeon set, but I've cut my time playing dramatically started going to the gym, spending more time with the gf and started hanging out with friends more, but there’s gotta be better ways to play than dedicating so much time we just need someone to find it and share the knowledge. I'll just end saying you have to find a balance and know what really matters.

Rustmeister said...

Hi, I'm Rustmeister and I'm a videoholic.

"Hi Rustmeister"

My game was Everquest (I and II), and I played for years. Did Beta for both, was a Guide in both, did the "Uber Raid Guild" thing. Everything.

I've been offline about a year, and I'm suprised by how much I don't miss it.

There's a life out there, and I'm glad to be back in it.

EvilGuyWhoEatsBrains said...

I know exactly what you went through. It happened to me with Diablo 2. A whole year of my life wasted on a video game. I never want to go though that again.

Emrya said...

Had a similar experience with MUDding- got so involved i had multiple 100 level chars, ran a guild, political infighting, building areas, etc. Flunked out of college, spent way too much time doing what amounted to nothing. Quit once, went back. Quitting took the second time though.

Fortunately I recognized the MMORPG for the danger they were to me and stayed away. Took me a while to even get back into regular video games though and even then I have to watch myself. Too easy to get sucked into, "Just one more level!".

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

My story - I played since beta, before that it was Everquest. I played fairly hardcore until C'thun and was in Afterlife -www.afterlifeguild.org. I went on hiatus owing to work just before BWL shipped coming back in time to kill Nefarian and finally quit playing hardcore (raiding) right before the C'thun kill. I still PVP and putter about in game while waiting for the expansion. I play on average 12 hours a week. At my peak, it would vary on where the guild was in terms of progression. Learning new content meant raiding 4-6 hours a night 5 nights a week. This would go on for a month, if that until the content was down pat at which point we'd do a single night per week per raid instance. (BWL one night in a couple hours, MC + Onyxia another night in 2h or so)

Now the thing is, nothing forced me (or anyone) to join a guild that raids hard enough to enjoy the world first kills that they do. I could have settled for a second or third tier guild that kills content months or even a year after it's released - raiding on a more relaxed pace. Nothing in the game really demands you spend 4 to 8 hours a night throwing yourself at new raid content. In fact, you can pretty much sit back and let others figure out how to beat it, and actually test it so it works. When I quit, what was then the toughest encounter in the game was broken for about a month - costing me a lot of time and effort to farm gold and raid materials trying to beat something that didn't work. Casual raiders won't suffer that problem, as the first tier guilds will find those problems and get them fixed.

My weight was fine, I still went to the gym generally 3-5 times a week. I went out with my friends, and managed to find a girlfriend who I ended up shacking up with. I did better and better at work, to the point where it squeezed the game out of my life at points.

Nothing forces people to play over the top hours. If you don't want to, then find a guild with a similar relaxed attitude and guard against transitioning to the more "hardcore" playstyle. Once the expansion ships I'm looking to doing content at a more relaxed pace with a group of friends.

Anonymous said...

If you think of it, how is this really that different than real life. As a salesman, public servant, or etc...
The article made me think this is not something reflected on but compare it to reality, some jobs your only as good as your next project, or things you can buy, so you keep chugging on.

Anonymous said...

Oh Wahhhh.... Seriously, if you can't (and many don't) balance your life - it's your problem. Many people don't appreciate the hard work you did for your guild.. but get over yourself. The game is going to go on - your welcome aboard, or get off at the next station... I, and many other like me - play the game for a significant amount of time and still balance work, school, and family - worse comes to worse - I lose sleep, but I enjoy what I'm doing. Quit patting yourself on the back!

Aries- said...

i played wow for almost exactly 1 year. started when it came out (even before in the beta) was playing till i hit 60 and got into the biggest guild on my server, was with them for close to 6 months, then one night one of the guild leaders was in a bad mood and took it out on me, removed me from the guild i had worked my hardest to stay with their unholy expectations of what a guildie should be. removed me because i said to him after he pissed all over me for having a harder time than him getting to a spot, i told him "here have a cookie and calm down its a game". after that i stepped back and looked at what i had been doing for the last 6 months, and realized i had done nothing but spend money on a game, luckly my school work didnt suffer i spent enough on that to stay at the top, my friends didnt we chatted online and still went to see movies. what did suffer was my relationship with my GF. while i was in game i would ignore her totaly, if she was over, she would be mad i had to spend 2-4 hours raiding and i ignored her. after i came to my sences i truely realized that all the stuff i had done in game was for naught it meant nothing in real life, none of my friends cared what i had accomplished, my GF surely didnt, and my parents thought i was stupid for spending so much time in a game.

that was a great read, and every word of it was true. good for you for coming to your sences it takes a lot.

Anonymous said...

Good for you man. Games can be incredibly addictive. You think that you can stop whenever you want, but it's much harder than it really is.

Anonymous said...

While everything the ex-WoWer wrote is true, it's all relative to how you value anything.

Why is spending 70 hours a week actually working valued? Because someone will pay you for it which gives you money. You use the money to live, but, let's be honest, American's are WAY past the point where we look for money to survive for the average person.

The average family now has 2 cars, 4 tvs, cable television, 3 cell phones, a computer, etc. There are plenty below these marks and plenty way above. The achievements they make in life are valued by the individuals in a certain way relative to their situation.

If someone becomes a master guitarist, that person probably feels rewarded by the achievement, but also may not, bring one of those people who always need to be "better." The value of that skill is in the value of satisfaction that person feels, the level of pride. Other people may value it as well, but, again, it's relative to that person's environment, family, etc.

Any time spent on something one enjoys in this short existence can be argued to be of equal value, as it holds value to that individual. Working out and being in shape is of value to the individual based on where they value those traits. There is no intrinsic value in anything after the means to survive beyond what the individuals want to assign.

The blogger valued WoW highly at one point in their lives, and then didn't. At some point in the future, I would wager heavily that this person will pick up another game and attack it with the same ferocity because they enjoy the experience. The fact that he stopped bartending and playing guitar is irrelevant; I used to be an artist and have now stopped altogether. I find other things in my life more valuable, or rewarding, at least at this stage of my life, or I'd go back to it by nature.

People will spend time doing things they enjoy more than things they don't. If there are folks out there abandoning their children because they love being the troll shaman, then theyre looking for an escape, and probably have "settled" for their life. Human experience is different for everyone and is completely dynamic. There is no absolute answer, there is no best person you can be from a skill set, knowledge set, etc.

I personally would say that only those with jobs pertaining to improving our existence through medicine or technology even have a job worthwhile, but that's only personal opinion as importance is relative again. No other opinion on this posted page is more valuable than this one, or less.

Anonymous said...

This is true, the trouble is that living in Azeroth is easier and more fulfilling than some peoples lives.

Not mine fortunately. Good going for getting out. Stay clean! :D

Zack said...

Once I hit 60, most of the games meaning left. I was having more fun with leveling than anything.

I wasn't very happy with the "You aren't good enough because you haven't spent your life in this game" attitude. That attitude was what made me leave the game. I couldn't stand that feeling of having to go to the next raid so I could be a little bit "cooler."

Anonymous said...

I beat WoW once. The end guy was hard.

JesusFreak said...

I, too, can relate. EverCrack sucked me in until I finally realized what a waste of time it was. As for your 'biblical' moment, I wonder if this sums it up for you as well as it did for me:

"Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." (Ecc 2:11 [NIV])

May God bless your road to recovery.

Anonymous said...

My name is [insert WoW Player Here] and I am an addict.

Anonymous said...

It blows my mind that in this day and age people still continue to blame things other than themselves for their own problems. If you can't manage some kind of simple time management that a MMO requires, then don't play them. It's as simple as that. If you want a game you can "beat" almost anything in that genre is a "waste of time."

The game isn't a drug. It's not an addiction. It's a game. Any additional "problems" that arise from people playing it are likely ones that were there to begin with and probably were just ignored. If your child is playing the game too much, here's a thought: Take the computer away from them. Stop paying for their account. Be a parent.

As to those saying "Oh the haters are just addicts themselves" -- I'd beg to differ. The "haters" are people who are tired of people who point their finger at others (in this case Blizzard) instead of saying things like, "You know what. I screwed up. I have an addictive personality and I should have realized playing something like this was a bad idea." Personal responsiblity is something very lacking in this day and age and it's really tiring to read yet another person complaining "Oh this thing made me do it! It's not my fault!"

Anonymous said...

Yep, i started grade 12 exams a few days ago myself. And Dota, WoW all just kept me back, Just somtimes Blizzard gets so good at what they do, you would rather live that fantacy life they give you. i Wasted ALOT of my life on this. I didnt get out exactly but i few friends came in and got me under control by playing with me and then made me stop when they did. Now i control when i play, yea i'm not that good anymore but, i found better things in life then walking into Stormwind with full tier 2 and the ashkandi and feeling that honor.

I tell you its way better to have your friends say "when you comin dude" when you are doing something in real life and they have to wait for you to do something REAL and not just becuz you are the best but becuz you are what you are, half of you probably dont get what i'm saying but drugs kill you and it looks worse, no "real" life tortures you without you even knowing and you are left behind

Anonymous said...

Are you guys all serious? It's a game for sh$# sake!! Buck up and turn it off retards. You guys make this sound so serious. Go get hooked on Heroin and try and quit that, then come back and talk about addictions and runied lives

Anonymous said...

Ok seriously this is like saying McDonalds makes people fat. YES, They provide you with a product but YOU are the person who OVER indulges in it. Yes, the product is made to be a delicious, addictive treat, but ultimately you have a brain and should be able to decide when to stop.

I have played WoW for over a year now... I'm in a raiding guild....but we're a mature guild with people 18+ and we raid 3-4 hours a night; splitting up larger instances across two days.
We let our RL decide our game playing time and not the other way around.
It's a choice that you make.

I've played computer/video games since I was a kid and now as a professional woman I like the escape into fantasy for a couple of hours a day (often 10+ hours). But I don't let the game dictate my life.
When I see guildies getting too involved I tell them to take a break, to go and enjoy RL.

Yes there are definitely times when I skip out on some RL things to play, but then I skip out on playing for RL...I try to keep a balance. But that's the choices I make. I'm a gamer and I love it. WoW FTW!

/roar

NSC said...

I'm a WoW player - one of those 12 hour a week guys (okay, maybe more like 20 max) - and I have enjoyed the game very much. I started playing it because my sons wanted to play and while one has quit the other one still enjoys playing it with me. However, I have always managed to keep it at a distance, making sure I don't get too caught up in the game and, more importantly, that my son doesn't either.

In fact, I just quit my long-time guild because they were turning what was a fun experience into a job. It was all about end-game raiding and when not raiding, farming to be ready for raiding. Hell, they even split the guild members into two groups - raiders and members - raiders getting all the best raid slots and extra dkp. And while I could stand that, what I couldn't take was the "you are second class guildies" attitude of those guys who could play 40 hours a week over us guys who could not (or would not in my case). Once that happened it was easy for me to quit the guild and move on to one that is very real-life oriented. Raids are optional and there is no pressure to play all the time. Yeah, we aren't as cool a guild or progressing as fast as some, but 100 bucks says we are happier.

The simple fact is some people become addicted to things more easily than others. You can feel sorry for them, but in the end it is up to them to control themseleves. If you want to play WoW without becoming addicted it is very possible. It's not the games fault.

Anonymous said...

WoW is only a game. It doesn't force you to play it for countless hours on end. You play it because you choose too. I'm sorry that some of you have lost someone in a relationship because of a game.

I play WoW for maybe 4-6 hours in a week. Sometimes not at all. So for someone to tell me that it ruined their life, that person obviously is looking for an excuse to blame a game for the lack of control they have.

This may have sounded cruel, but i don't feel anything for people who blame games for their own judgement.

Gizmosan

Anonymous said...

Welcome to my life. I too am an officer in a long standing guild. High Warlord, first 8/8 T2.. yadda yadda yadda. I love wow, It's helped me with allot of things. But two days ago, my Fiance (been engaged for almost a year, togather for 3) moved out of the house. Since wow came out, I've slowly lost so many important things in my life, and didn't even notice. If you are reading this, make sure you heed the warnings.
Cheers to you. If only I had made the same decision sooner.

Anonymous said...

Those of you talking about how people need to take responsibility obviously have no idea what addiction is about. It is not about having self control - there are fundamental differences in the brain of an addict & someone who is not that can actually be seen on an MRI.

I have dealt with addiction all of my life - whether it was pot, booze, WOW, food or anything else. My brain is wired differently & I need to always be aware of that. My father was an addict & so am I.

You can't tell someone to just act responsibly - thats a naive response to a complex problem. What makes it worse with something like WOW is that it really sneaks up on you; it is very easy to know when you are drunk or stoned. Knowing you are addicted a video game is more difficult.

Anonymous said...

I think many of the comments are are the final proof I needed that no one actually reads articles. They read the title, the first few sentences, then post an angry comment. Bloggers do that a lot too when writing newspaper articles, and I've seen journalists do that when writing about speeches.

Maybe we're all addicted to giving out our opinions? heh.

Anonymous said...

"I don't feel full when i eat an apple in game"

Speak for yourself. And you don't even want to know what I get up to when I indulge in some Green Gordok Ale....

Actually, on second thoughts...

/ebayaccount

Anonymous said...

Funny how everyone with a sad story include a lover in it...

Most people have addictive personalities and will latch onto something in this world. Who are we to judge which is good for them or bad? The mountain climber that spends all weekend out climbing and every penny he has on equipment and travel expenses enjoys what he does so he does it. He could be neglecting his family and friends just as well as a WoW player. I have seen this for many different things, mountain climbing, drinking, madden, halo, drugs, Sport cars, etc.. the list goes for ever.

The key is knowing how to take things in moderation. I play WoW 20 hours a week currently. When I get hom from work I spend time with my wife and do housework, wash my car, etc. I go to raid late evening and in bed by midnight to get up at 5 am. This isn't neccesarily how to play, this is just how I do play as I don't require a lot of sleep.

The author found how this addiction affected him and quit and if he is happy good for him. But quiting isn't escaping an addictive personality. It is just another means of letting something control you if you can't take it in moderation. So my guess it is only a matter of time before he finds something else that will totally engross him again. I hope he doesn't mind you, just an educated guess.

What I'm saying is if you aren't enjoying the game and feel in anyway you are neglecting yourself or your life, take a step back and evaluate what might be best for yourself. One rule I live my life by, "If you not having fun, is it worth doing?"

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, it's a CHOICE that ADULTS make to continue playing this game to enjoy its rewards. Just as people make a choice to WATCH TV rather than do the chores or take a walk outside. To READ A BOOK rather than play with one's child. How many times have we heard, "Wow, that was a book I couldn't put down." Of course, we don't have people walking around saying, "Well, the BOOK made me lose touch with reality and my friends and family." It would be a ridiculous statement.

It is just as ridiculous to suggest that a GAME or its publisher is responsible for adults who CHOOSE to make bad decisions about their life. We all have free-will and the ability to stop doing something we find harmful in our lives.

Trust me, if I see something that is wrecking my life, whether it's a bad job, watching 4 hours of TV straight, or a friend who is trying to manipulate me, I will disengage from that activity or person. I don't care if the friend is Brad Pitt, the TV is the Superbowl, or the job is being CEO of Google.

If you CHOOSE to continue playing a game that you KNOW and REALIZE takes enormous amounts of time to advance in, that is YOUR CHOICE. It's not like you get into it and after progressing only 1 level in 8 hours say, "Wow, this is easy and I'll get ot Level 60 in no time!" It's obvious from the start or from reading any article about WoW that it is a HUGE TIME-SUCK.

WoW people, stop your whining... We're tired of hearing "The game made me do it!" That's just as ridiculous as saying, "Quake made me go on a killing rampage!" or "GTA turned me into a criminal and a life of crime!"

Take some responsibility for the choices you're making in your life.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that WoW represents the first or the last new way for people to express destructive behavior.

You could take many parts or your post and cross out WoW and write in things like gambling, drinking, womanizing etc. They would all still read just fine.

In rl, accomplishments are generally harder if not impossible than the grinding aspect of MMORPGs. I think this is one of the key attractions to MMORPGs. You can achieve anything if you invest enough time. This is very different than RL where I have given up running 40 in anything close to Vince Young time, no matter how much I practice at it, lol.

You missed a major point in your blog. WoW represents a vehicle for the destruction. WoW is not the motiviation for the destruction. Somthing else in the players life causes them to be predisposed to the destructive behavior. Many of them would just find some other outlet if WoW did not exist.

By quiting WoW you are attempting to escape (IMO) your responsiblities. WoW did not make you lose control, you lost control. I suggest you look a little deeper into what happened and take appropriate steps. Otherwise, history is likely to repeat itself!

GL

Anonymous said...

i used to be hard core raider in wow but a couple of months ago i just didnt log on to raid one day that day became 2 and suddenly i realised that i didnt miss the game anymore, i did however miss the social side of it and now i just play an hour here or there to chat with some ingame mates and have fun you dont have to spend 12 hours a day to grinf for flasks and repair bill money blizzard didnt make it that way instances take a week to reset not 2 days so spent a week clearing mc theres no rule that says it must be done in 3 hours forcing people to miss homework,family time, work, its onlyl because everyone else this attitude that the game has become a race with no finishing line noone will ever beable to say i have all the equips that i need and i dont need to raid anymore theres always that elusive item that never drops that you must spend all night trying to get, but i could go on for pges like this so im ging to stop

Benrenicus said...

Thanks for the great article - you really hit a lot of the points that us end game raiders can relate to. Still lots of people are attacking the self-control aspect and obviously they have never had the same experience you are relating to. You strive for excellence in everything you do, even if it is some 'stupid game.' Obviously they strive for mediocrity.

No one starts off playing WOW to get addicted. Its just a fun game at first that you get more and more involved with. You start to justify playing a bit longer: "I'll stay up til 2 tonight but go to bed early tommorow to make up for it," but you never do. Entering a guild is even harder because you are not only wokring with your guildmates, but competing with them for phat lewt. If you want to be competitive in the game, you have to devote more time than them. Finally, you make these friends and feel like you're letting the guild down by not being there, raiding.

Its a perfect storm: You pay Blizzard to play a game where you make friends who you compete with for the same items who then pressure you to play, and guilt you for not playing. It's a self control issue, yes, but it's also a huge social addiction cycle that perpetuates itself. Don't believe me? Get Tier 3 epics and say it didn't happen to you.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for writing this.

There are a lot things I really enjoyed about Warcraft: the great in-game mood, interesting plot, and the friendly social dynamic were top-notch. However, the game play was poor and the time investment was unacceptable.

Blizzard seemed to have a poor attitude about the game and seemed to design the game to try and maximize every dollar off it. I am most concerned about how many teenage kids were playing it and how many of those lives might have been messed up.

I was playing only about 20 hours a week for a year. I never neglected anything else in my life because of it, but it did affect my relationship with my wife. Warcraft was not the single cause of my divorce, but I believe it did contribute.

Anonymous said...

The problem is yoru a power gamer. You have to "win". You don't play games becasue the game itself is fun, you play it to "win" the game. You might want to consider, like almost everything else in life, the problem is you. Wether it's WoW, monopoly, work, school, or your other hobies, doing any one thing to the exclusion of all else is going to result in a loss of self.

Anonymous said...

honestly all you guys talking about world of warcraft, its like a cult...i hear more sane conversation come out of people with LSD psychosis...

Anonymous said...

it's fine. lrn2play noob

cj_in_dc said...

Dude it's a F-ING Game. Just because you would rather raid then deal with real life don't blame blizzard. It sounds like you have a self control problem, who are you going to blame in ten years when you're a 400 pound coke addicted drunk? Hostess, Miller or Columbia? I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm being a jerk..it's because I am and the truth hurts. There are people on this planet with REAL problems, kids are dieing of AIDS in Africa at a staggering rate and you sit here and tell us how you are addicted to epic drops off of Onxyia? Your "problem" would be considered heaven in 80% of the world.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the problem. I see the same, but the solution is obvious. Do what you can do, if it is not good enough, let someone take it over. Do not quit because you can't be the best. The game must have been about fun at some point, play it the way you played it when it was fun.

I find if you are in a guild with a critical mass of sane people, those who play unhealthy hours or EXPECT it will filter out. You have 3 days to clear an instance, my very casual guild can clear MC in 2-2hour sessions with people still in greens. Progress will be slower, but is it important? Is it competition with other guilds or PvP, or is it enjoying the boss fight, learning the strategies and learning how to coordinate? To me the latter is the fun part.

Blizzard will nerf the farming eventually. They put it in to slow down the guilds who race to the end content and play too much. As they introduce more content and can create a spread of players, it'll fade away. All we as players need is patience and commitment to playing the game for fun, not for sport. Play BWL even when it's marginal, play Naxx even when the loot is no good...just to enjoy the challenge.

S said...

Well said.

I think the part that really hit me though was the end: when you quit, you don't exist anymore. Having recently quit myself, I know how true this is. I can't say it's a good feeling but at the same time I don't know why I care anymore.

And, might I add another repercussion: it drains you. I feel absolutely hollow because I don't have anything to talk about with the "normal" people in real life at school and such. It's just not something you can discuss. That eventually equates to boring with nothing to say. Maybe that's just my personal experience though as a girl who's quit.

Anonymous said...

Hmm - if you let yourself get to the point you did, you can't blame the game - you can only blame yourself.

I've been married 15 years....playing MMOs for the last 5 of them, I have 2 younger-teenage kids. We do family stuff. They make good grades. All the stuff a normal family does.

I'm also an officer in my servers best guild (biggest in WoW is meaningless - who cares if you have 300 members - it's overkill and useless for the most part), and have been the better part of those 5 years (we played EQ before WoW).

You could change everythign you wrote to the following, and it would mean more:

"I fucked up my life because I chose to play a game instead of do real life stuff. Now I regret it. I have finally quit my "addiction" and am trying to get back to real life. However, it wasn't the game's fault - it was nothing but my own."

John Lynch said...

Good post. I avoid WoW like the plague- I did MUDs too much back in the day. I did too much EVE online for a couple moths. I turened it into a job. When I realized I was neglecting my family I quit.

I am becoming soured on all MMOs- anything without a pause button and a save option is suspicious.

MMOs are pernicious for all the reasons you wrote. I had to drag one friend away from WoW to get him to do anything, and my circle of RL friends lost someone completely to it.

I honestly can't see much social value to the game, and I wonder about the economic impact of pulling so many hard working people away from productive activity into a game. The best players could do pretty well in RL with all that energy.

Prophet Tenebrae said...

Yawn...

Drug addiction ruined my life, alcohol addiction ruined my life, sex addiction ruined my life, junk food addiction ruined my life, lip balm addiction ruined my life, WoW addiction ruined my life,...

It seems with each generation the excuses become more insubstantial and laughable.

They say that depression is the most prevalent mental illness but I'm starting to think that an inability to take responsibility or exercise self-control probably has that topped... or would if it was actually a mental illness and not a cop out.

Anonymous said...

This was an eye-opening blog post for me. I never thought of my WoW play time as an endorsement of the crappy lifestyle choices being productive in the game encourages--and that's not the type of example I want to set.

As an officer in an end-game guild I've learned to live with the personal time sink, lost social opportunities, distancing relationship with my family and friends, and dwindling health. It's easy for me to rationalize these facts of my life with WoW. I'm single, I live by myself, I have a decent job, and am finishing up my college education by taking night/online courses. I happen to mix in 40-50 hours of World of Warcraft each week. However excessive that may seem, it's my life and this is better than some of the alternatives.

I think it all comes down to lost opportunity. If I'm considering myself only, that's not enough to make me want to quit (which is sad). But if I look at the dozens of folks who know about my play time, and are impacted (and harmed) by my dedication, I'm inclined to quit (again).

I'm encouraged by the author's note that the machine keeps on going without him. I feel in incredible sense of duty that comes along with being an integral part of a team--but it's all a farse. Even though I'm seeing a light at the end (our guild is nearly catching up with the end of the end-game content), with an expansion pack being released in a few months, the cycle will surely continue until I quit.

So, I'm out. I've quit before, and been drawn back in. Does somebody have some advice for making it stick? Is there any way to retain my WoW friends as friends, without the game?

Anonymous said...

This blog inspired me to cancel my account. It's a good decision.

TallDave said...

All things in moderation.

I've never understood the fascination with endgame stuff. Comps are so predictable and easy to beat. It's much more fun to twink an X9 and pwn in the BGs -- and there's no massive time commitment, because they usually only last 10-30 minutes (except for the occasional WSG turtles, which are annoying enough to /afk out of).

Anonymous said...

I think it shows a real lack of commitment by quitting.

Anonymous said...

This is why you play Dungeons and Dragons and NOT WOW. Dungeons and Dragons requires more organisation than simply logging on and having everything set up for you 24/7. You can't do that in D&D, you have to schedule your game around your life and not the other way around.
You'll have a better gaming experience too, without the repetetiveness of pointless pixels with a good DM.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Article, just needed to say that

TallDave said...

Oh, and in defense of WoW -- I think people can learn valuable skills (not least the "moderation" adage above) from the game. WoW does teach social skills, math skills, competition, and is very achievement-oriented. And it's fun!

You can ruin your life by obsessing over anything. And there are lots of worse things you could be doing than WoW.

Wakko Rage said...

Blah, this is old news. All the old Battletech MUSEs/MUSHes cost me a year of college. Every hour you spend in a game is an hour that could be spent otherwise. It just like TV in that regard, except far more addictive and engrossing.

Now I get my fix in shooters like DoD, as there is no minimum time investment required.

Anonymous said...

HAH NOOB

over 250 days /played

how can you compair this as being worse than drugs, see what your body does after quitting heroin and try saying that again.

this is a game, its great fun, and thus people will play it alot. if you fuck up your own life because of it your an ididot, if you mess up your job , you probably would have messed it up from something else anyways.

Anonymous said...

It is the game's fault, and it isn't the game's fault. The creators of WoW designed the game specifically so it would be potentially addictive. This is where the HUGE revenue rolls through...you've got something people will keep paying for because many don't have the self-control necessary to stop. To those who do have this control: Bravo. To the author: Bravo. I've been there, and it hurts looking back at the time wasted. I've still got friends in WoW, and also in EverQuest...I call to have them hang out, and typically get the "No, I've got a raid tonight" response.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has actually been addicted to drugs... and has traded that addiction to City of Heroes and Villains...I would like to make a comment.
Escaping to a fantasy world is effortless. When you think of all the energy and effort we all expend to maintain a job, our relationships with family and friends, continuing education and keeping a car running... It's not surprising that participating in a world void of those demands is so attractive.
There is an attribute of being "in the moment", where there are no worries or concerns other then what is just in front of you. Its a kind of mindlessness, yet involved, balanced place.
It's the same place as the fifth Long Island Tea, the big hit off the crack pipe, that 2nd piece of chocolate cheesecake.
Then the real world yanks you back. A bill to be paid, another day at work, another conversation about "where we are in the relationship" with the one you love (or like). More effort, more of your attention, more of your time.
And you find a cycle. You can go to a place that takes no effort to be in, but you can't stay there forever, so you go back to real life and do what you have to do, just so you can return as fast as you possibly can to the effortless world. Just long enough to do what needs to be done so that you can go back to the place that takes no effort to be in.
We as human beings don't REALLY like difficulty.. oh, we'll do it... for just as long as we have to, to get what we want. But if are offered an easier, softer way.. we'll take it. And if the easier, softer way costs us relationships, money, future opportunities, etc... well, we didn't really want to put the effort in anyway, and there lies the trap.
I applaud everyone that sees addictive behavior for what it is: Avoidance. Avoidance of the fact that life takes work and effort and tears and even when we do our best... we can still fail and not get what we want. I chose years ago that there was nothing in life I wanted so badly that I was willing to stay and work for it. It was the wrong decision. 6 years wasted on a drug that gave me nothing in return but a desire for more of the same. Be thankful that you found the same answer after 18 months, that REAL LIFE and REAL HAPPINESS IS MADE, not FOUND.
sunmagus@kc.rr.com

Anonymous said...

I have been playing a lot of wow too, I also quitted for some reasons mentioned before.

I have total controll of my life and I am a university student, i have friends etc. But I allways want to compete, and wow is all about competing with other ppl. Sure you can play 4 hours a week, but you won't be in a raiding guild, and missing a lot of the action going on in the game.

You also miss out on items and you get owned badly vs better geared players. If that's how you like to play the game; so be it; but I can't like the game than, I want to be in top of it.

Anonymous said...

OK you can be in charge be the best and still live a full life. I raid 3 times a week. I have 3 kids, wonderful wife 127 days played. Now I am gultiy of using my vaction to hit exhalted with a faction, but I also did alot of that week yard work, kids to zoo and a couple of diners with the wife. It is a time sink, but my family would rather have me at home infront of the computer instead of playing pool withe the guys.

Anonymous said...

Congrats is the best thing I have to say to you man. You made the right decision and I hope to God you stick with it. It is time I took that step myself - certain events have inspired me this past weekend to see things in the light, and I can only call it fate that a friend e-mailed me the link to your blog a day after a cathartic fever that showed me the fire in me that WoW had taken away. Just one piece of advice - don't let your experience of WoW take away your love of fantasy and otherwordlinesss, if you had any. Escapism can be a lovely thing, and by the looks of your post you understand that. But good luck to you, and also thanks for a great blog: it was extremely nice to see what I had been thinking over the weekend put in words.

Anonymous said...

Just soulstone yourself and keep playing. *It's all good*

Anonymous said...

Here I am the Guildmaster of the largest guild on our server. Our guild is over a year old now and doing extremely well. I put in an extreme amount of hours playing the game, more then most of the people who play World Of Warcraft due to the GM spot I am in.

So for all of you all reading the above doom and gloom stuff I only have to say the following:

I still have more friends now then before I starting playing World of Warcraft and have not lost any of my real life friends. I gained a huge number of new on-line friends in addition to my real life ones.

I still go out and date, see movies, eat in nice restaurants, play ball, spend time with my family. I still take my telescope out at night, read books and stay in great physical shape (Better than I was when I started playing actually). Work is going great (Better then when I started playing wow as well as I received a promotion and 2 raises for my efforts).


So don't go and blame WoW or your misfortune on anything other then you. If your life is screwed up, go and fix it but it has nothing to do with the game.

Sorry to post anonymously but don't have an account here. You can find me on the Staghelm server as VABeachDave. GM of the Knights Who Say Ni guild.

Anonymous said...

Very nice post.

I had some problems with the game as well. My wife was in school and working so I played more and more when I was bored and had a hard time shaking the addiction. (Which is my fault for liking the game and wasting too much time on it.) I now raid with my guild a couple nights a week and actually play an alt with my wife for fun sometimes cuz it is a cool game. However the difference now is that I totally ditch the game for my wife and I to hang out, to hang out with friends, and to take care of stuff I need to do.

If I kept slipping back into playing too much, I would quit the game and uninstall it. I am lucky enough to be able to just play for fun and not be too addicted to it.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad things are moving up for you. Having spent probably 2x the amount of /played you did, I only recently came to the same realization you did about WOW. And having been a GM for a year ( just recently gave it to another officer ) I feel like I could have wrote exactly what you said word for word. I thought I was just being bitter. I don't raid anymore ( a little more than a month now ) and now if I sign on its to say hello to a few friends. But I won't be falling back into the horrible raiding trap that held me for a little over a year.

Take care and best of luck to you.

Rayveniael aka Carolyn in RL :)

Anonymous said...

I dunno why everybody is blaming meth! Meth isn't the problem. It's the people who can't control their meth usage! I use meth and my family/wife/kids/gf/bf/dog/cat/fish are all fine.

Stop blaming meth for your lack of self-control!


...Oh, this is about WoW... Uh...

*cough* *cough* *cough*

Anonymous said...

I was a senior officer in a naxxramas guild.
I was at a crossroad and made a choice: My life was standing in the way of the game or The game was standing in the way of my life. I choose the 2nd option and i play 3 hours a week instead of 3 hours a day.

I enjoy my time away from the game. I took my life back and i wont ever play mmos again. WoW was my 1st, i played it since release.

Good luck to you all.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... I used to play games. There was a moment in my life, however, when I realized that all games are the same. I saw that I was spending hours doing the pointless bidding of a mediochre piece of software, and suddenly the games lost my attention and interest - immediately, completely, and irrevocably.

Now I find gamers' psychosis to be far more interesting than the games. Thanks for the post, as it illuminates that psychology a bit.

I watched an office-mate squander his career over the course of a year due to poor performance caused by sleep lost to a game. Smart guy. Dumb move. Interesting pathology and psychosis.

pretty much a loser's game, though.

Anonymous said...

Gaming wrecked my marriage. Absolutely. It wasn't WoW, but it was Star Wars Online, which is just as bad. My husband played day and night when he was home. Some days, he didn't even get dressed. I was left to run the errands on weekends plus take care of our baby, even though I was employed 40+ hours a week. He was playing a game. After all, what harm could that do?

Well, the biggest instance of harm came in the first year of our son's life. My husband was out of work and we opted to make him a stay at home dad. I thought it wold be great. Not so much. Instead of interacting with our child, he met our son's basic needs and spent the rest of his time, holed up in his office with the baby in a bouncer next to him, gaming while I was at work. I'd come home to find very little done around the house and my child desperate for human interaction.

The worst part of this? Due to Dad's gaming radio silence, our son's speech was delayed. Seriously, had we shelled out the cash to put him in daycare, he would have had more interaction on an hourly basis than leaving his father to care for him.

Three years later, the boy's just about caught up in lingustic development and I call my husband "ex." The crazy thing is since getting out, I've heard other spouses say they went through the same thing as I did.
There seems to be an epidemic.

The ironic part of this all? I have recently begun to play D&D online--the first online game I've ever played. I've been playing for about 2 months now and I'll tell you, I've had to draw hard lines for myself already. Since I'm now a single parent, the child comes first, gaming only at certain times and only for so long. Real people in my house mean more than the game, nights out at least twice a week, errands run. But even after being burned by what compulsive gaming can do, the fact I have to set these goals in the first place has been astonishing. I guess it's just the matter of finding the crack that's right for you. D&D is it.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great game. I love my raiding party and the people in it; they've become my friends and I look forward to talking with them. I like the actual game. It's just the lack of balance these games promote that gets me. Even knowing what too much gaming can do, it's still hard for me to turn things off. I do--but there are days its hard.

I think the long and short of it is gaming is as much of an addiction as a chemical in some people. It does wreck lives and families, just as you said, with its siren call of being mighty in a created, controlled world. The question is: what will society do about it? For the sake of spouses, families, kids and general health, it's apparent we're going to have to do something.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... I used to play games. There was a moment in my life, however, when I realized that all games are the same. I saw that I was spending hours doing the pointless bidding of a mediochre piece of software, and suddenly the games lost my attention and interest - immediately, completely, and irrevocably.

Now I find gamers' psychosis to be far more interesting than the games. Thanks for the post, as it illuminates that psychology a bit.

I watched an office-mate squander his career over the course of a year due to poor performance caused by sleep lost to a game. Smart guy. Dumb move. Interesting pathology and psychosis.

pretty much a loser's game, though.

Anonymous said...

2 words...

Self Control
(well maybe a few more)

blaming the game for your lack of the ability to juggle real life and WoW is pretty pathetic, I maintain, a 40+ hr a week job, exercise down the gym on an almost daily basis, socialise (playing team sports or drinking down the pub, clubbing or otherwise) on a weekly basis, reading at least 1 books every couple of weeks. WoW is not chemically addictive, like nicotine, or alcohol, its just a game and your 'addiction' is just a label you attribute to your lack of control, like numerous people in modern society you are unwilling to take the blame for your actions...
I'm glad leaving the game allowed you to get over your 'problem' though -gz m8!

Anonymous said...

you are a HUGE nerd.

Thr3at said...

I used to play MUDs I started playing got to the level cap then decided I wanted something more, so I left the guilds and started building, then I realized there was still more you could do with this game so I got into computer security and coding. After running my own game for 2 years I got offered a job making 50 grand a year with home and car played for coding a mud, I did not take this job since I was still in Jr. high but it was quite an offer.

I think that MMORPGing can be constructive even if you spend allot of time in the game, look at Second Life, in this game you can make real money, and the IT skills you learn coding for the game can make you real money when you finally begin that real job or that new second job. A computer engineer can start at 150 grand a year if they know the right stuff and the right companies to apply to.

Any way not to belittle your struggle but I think the problem is that Blizzard has killed the real end game, that is the part after the game where you help manage and develop the game, this was common on many of the community run muds and moos and now in second life you can do this on a corporate run visual moo (multi user object oriented game.) Perhaps if Blizzard would re evaluate their end game and their business plan there would be allot of good coders on the market today with Blizzard on their resume.

Paulo Pires said...

this reminds me of someone i used to be. glad u woke up.

greeting from the sunny portugal :-)

Aarroneous said...

And this is different from the real world in exactly what way? You've just left a microcosmic rat race; welcome to the real one. People can/will ruin their lives, just give them half a chance. It doesn't have to be WoW.

Anonymous said...

have any of you ever been laid? I can't believe some of you are comparing yourselves to drug addicts. I've never heard of more self-absorbed nerdy people. Oh, I'm SO happy that you "recovering addicts" are learning the "errors of your ways"... you know what I have learned? That people who play WoW are idiots. Wake up people, it's an F-ing VIDEO GAME. Get a hooker or something you zit-faced freaks.

Anonymous said...

I too play WoW and I'm in sort of a raiding guild but it's much different from the normal ones. Raid atendance does not count against you and you're basically free to play when you want to. There is nothing "required" of the guild members, even the officers, other than find more people to have fun with us. I am however one of these addicts I've addmitted it to everyone and now I think it's time to streighten a few things out. I don't think I need to quit WoW but I do need to cut down on my play time, which is entirely possible to do since the guild only raids on weekends and only for about 4-6 hours. I think it is possible to play even being addicted without sacrificing much. But in the end it's up to you and no one else.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I'm a stay at home mom with a four month old daughter. I could be playing WoW all day, but I don't. I play with my little girl, take care of my girl, clean my home and everything else I need to be doing. I put three years into EQ, also had no huge emo loss of social life.

I play with my husband, 2 or 3 hours a night AFTER my girl is in bed, then I sleep. I still find time to do what I want in the game and when people whine at me on it I tell them to STFU. It's not hard. Maybe you need to look at yourself and try to figure out what you thought you were getting out of the silly game in the first place. That's where the problem really lies. I suggest it for all of you. Why is it so damned important to raid and hit 60? Or to 'win' or 'beat' it? In the end, having a 60th level orc warrior decked out in the best of the best with the highest honor scores on your server, 700 teenagers and confused adults under you and the mount of your choosing is just that. Personally, I think alot higher of the person who works hard at McDonalds to take care of his wife and kids or to make it in school than your twinked out god-like toon. Reevaluate your priorities, it shouldn't be this guy helping you all realize what you're doing to yourselves, you know you all know it's happening, do something about it. Do something healthy and productive, like accepting that you yourself are to blame, work through it and move past it.

I post anonymously because I don't need another account on some other blogsite. Glad you got out of it, more power to you, but it sucks it took so long. You had to have seen it long before the end.

Anonymous said...

Dude, I'm glad you got a life. I play wow and I have one. You are a weak individual. Not sorry to say either.

Jales said...

The game is not addicting at all, just some people can't get off. I personally play when most people would be watching tv. I however, do not watch tv, so I don't see the difference between my screen and yours, especially since I'm interacting with real people. Some people play video games, some people stick their nose in the tv, but we all have our off time, and as long as it stays in offtime, then do what you like. But calling the game itself addicting is wrong.

I don't understand people who get addicted to this point in video games. At least heroin modifies your body chemistry to need it...what's your excuse?

Gwendylyyn said...

It all has to do with your level of will power, and self control.
When I played EQ, my mother got addicted to it...as did her husband of the time. It ruined their marriage, and left me as the parent in the household. I was 11 when this started, 12 when it really kicked in. I was 14...maybe 15 when their marriage crashed, and the game was left behind, for a while.
My mother would block out everything else while she was playing. I cried more then than I've ever cried before, or since.
She picked it up again for a while, but gave it up once more, after meeting her current husband. They have a baby girl.
Now, we all play WoW...me, my stepfather, my mother, and my 13 year old sister (when someone is gone and she can get a computer). I'm 17, I've been playing for over a year. I got the game in March of '05, and I loved playing. I had been playing CoH before this, after having quit EQ and wanting to do something with my father who lives in another State.
My mother and stepfather had already started playing, and bought me a copy of the game. I was nowhere near addicted at first, and I'm still not addicted to the game, though I do play more than I used to.
I play a 60 Rogue, in an end-game Guild. We raid almost every night, but I still have a life.
For instance, tonight they will be going to BWL...but I will be going out with my ex.

It all has to do with self-control, will-power...and those other things which many WoW players lack.
It also helps to have people around who can help to drag you away from the game.

Morti said...

I have no problems playing WoW about 2 hours a day.

EQ and EQ2 on the other hand do cause family time to be missed because they take so long to start.

Anonymous said...

Noobs Some peeps hae good rl and still can raid 3-4 hours 3-4 days at the week in good guild instead of going to smoke and get drugs and drinking...
When you stop wow every night you will wach tv! so stfu
/moo

Anonymous said...

I just spent my WOW time reading this whole post ...BLAH!!!!! :)

Best wishes man and be well

Anonymous said...

It's really good to hear someone who was so wrapped up into the game come forward and tell your story. My brother is a WoW addict and I've seen him degenerate into this loner, anti-social, out of shape over weight, shell of a person he used to be. I know that sounds like the typical stereo type computer game nerd, but it's the truth with my brother. The sad thing is that my brother wasn't the nerdy kid growing up, he wasn't the kid with no friends, he wasn't the weird guy. My brother was popular, an athlete, very intelligent, a happy out going guy and he was a total ladies man. He had a social life that most people dream of having. I myself more than once found myself very envious of his social situation and way with women.

Now he's a shell of himself. He's depressed, though he won't admit it. He's overweight, doesn't take care of himself, has lost all his confidence and has developed an unhealthy attitude towards people in general, but especially towards women. This is because he's lost his confidence and looks like a slob and places his frustration with not having the same success with women he once did on the "stupid bitches". His friends don't even bother to call or come over anymore, because for the last year he's continually ignored their calls, never calls back and has even ignored them continuing to play WoW even though they made a trip over to see him. People laugh and joke about it, the addiction to WoW, they don't take it serious cause "it's just a game", but it's real people.

Now you can sit there and say it's a self control issue, and it most definitely is, but there are other factors involved, like any other addiction that lay at a deeper psychological level. The people at Blizzard who develop WoW know how to appeal to that instant gratification, reward driven, goal oriented psyche of the brain. They purposefully develop the game this way, they know exactly what they're doing and how to keep gamers hooked and coming back for more. Conspiracy, hardly, just good marketing and development. It's all about money folks. There are 7 million people playing this game, each paying $15 a month to play, that's a total income to Blizzard of $105 million dollars a month!!! Why do you think there are so many companies pushing for the development of the next great Massively Online Multiplayer RPG!? These games are cash cows, and if you honestly think that Blizzard and other game companies haven't and don't purposefully engineer these games to appeal and addict players at a deep psychological level, then you're kidding yourself. They have a financial interest in keeping you coming back for more. You yourself may be an addict and using the same old excuses that all addicts use "it's not a problem" "I can stop anytime I want" "I don't need it, I just want it".

I played Wow for many months myself and I left for those exact reasons. I saw the person that my brother was becoming, I saw the way other people in my guild were becoming. Suddenly it wasn't about having fun or getting together with friends who moved away, it was about getting gear, about grinding, about leveling and specing. I to have seen long time friendships destroyed, relationships destroyed, all for a game. I am a gamer and have been my whole life, but I think it's a sad sad day when a game becomes your life, your only means of social interaction outside of work or school. I just hope that people put down their defenses for a moment and consider stories like these and look at their lives. No one is saying don't play WoW, just don't make it your life, don't ditch the people who knew you and were there for you before WoW, the friends and family that care about you for who you really are and not cause you a level 60 shadow spec dwarf priest with "epic" gear.

Anonymous said...

thanks for posting this, cleared a lot of things to me, and made me clarify some things I was thinking over the last few weeks of this game, and how boring it got, and then all those feelings that you just want to go out again.
thanks mate good luck

Anonymous said...

One word: Nethack.

Heh. Newbs. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I personally feel in a similar fashion...

however i feel that events like this will drastically shorten blizzards hopeful lifespan of their game...

causing a massive gravitation away from the game

Anonymous said...

qq more noob wow>life, course i live in utah so there is no living here

Anonymous said...

I have not played WoW because I know myself too well - it would have sucked the life out of life. Understanding you have a game addiction problem is the first line of defense. Next, try weening yourself away from a PC! Next to impossible.

Anonymous said...

I just made my quiting post on my guild forums. I havent actually played in a week or two but last night i did and i hated being there.

I just want to mention that the post in qutoes below made a lot of sense:

"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...

QQ

Anonymous said...

ridiculous..Its a game...I feel sad for people that are not mature enough or that don't have the basic life skills needed to be able to play a game as a form of enjoyment. Been playing since the beta, and has not affected me in a negative way whatsoever, in fact just the opposite. has taught me to be more social, met "real life" friends that have been great influence on me, and has led me to a very succesful job I would not have known about had I not met some people. More power to you though- at least you realized your limitations.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the comments are pretty telling. I played since the beta test and quit the game about four months ago; I'd become involved in raiding and really liked it. It wasn't just loot, which was nice...and you definitely do get gear envy in this game, once you hit 60. But it was also the feeling that you were really accomlishing something big in the game. They put those raid dungeons on such a pedestal that it's impossible not to want to go participate in that. But in order to accomodate so many people, no schedule is going to work perfectly for everyone. A lot of people (including me) would have to reshuffle life to go on raids. That sometimes included not spending enough quality time with my wife.

Eventually, I realized there was a slowly growing disconnect with reality - which is when I knew I had to quit. I had to get back to "parity" basically.

Reading the changes they're making for the expansion, with smaller raid sizes, I decided to play again. This time, though, I know what NOT to do.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, man. Glad to see someone deciding what the right thing is - and then acting on it.

Oh, and BTW...Instalanche!

Anonymous said...

If this is anywhere near the top of the post read no further. The content following this is very twisted and contrived. The goal of this blog was to inform not to suggest, and the following comments suggest ignorance and a misunderstanding of purpose. Save your time and stop after the initial thread. You won't regret it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting your thoughts in earnest. Having been a RPG fan since it was all tabletop and MU*es, I've seen more than my fair share of people who allow games to become lifestyles.

However, I believe WoW succeeded in creating something far beyond the "nerd circle" games of the past. To their credit, it's a great business model that I'm sure the stockholders and investors appreciate. The administration of the game constantly "evens the scales" which often leaves the latest accomplishments of the die-hards rather useless.

But you must remember that it's the fault of the players that create this phenomenon. In a game that's labeled as an RPG, but where 99% of the sense of accomplishment comes from hack/slash gameplay... the player will never win.

Atleast the games of yesteryear actually had you thinking behind the mind of the character, and even defeat had a certain value in the storyline that could be appreciated. After all, in the end it was all about writing an interesting story.

In all, the only thing WoW can be blamed for is the absolute lack of creative and productive methods they offer their players. If you can't take any satisfaction in what you've accomplished before today, nothing you do today is going to make it better.

Working out is so much more productive. Good to hear you quit the e-crack, try and resist the urge to go buy whatever expansion they try and pull you in with next.

Sincerely,
Allen
jebusfreak@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

It scared me a bit how simliar this is to where I am. I started playing WoW a few weeks before I graduated from college with an engineering degree. I didn't have a job, so played probably 80+ hours a week for months.

When I finally found a job, I quit WoW. I could not function at work if I was online for hours and hours every night. About one year later, one of my real life friends convinced me to come back. I'm at it again, playing too much, raiding every night, showing up late for work, thinking about warcraft instead of things I have to do. My housework is always behind, I don't go out much, and I honestly don't entirely like where I am.

Grand Puba said...

Didn't spend as much time on it as you but still felt like it was too much.

On another note: the chemical reward stucture of our brains can act as a stimulent when you accomplish tasks which, at the time, seem meaningful. Drugs like ectasy's effect don't come from adding chemicals to our brain, it comes from forcing the brain to secrete the naturally created serotonin as well as dopamine and norepinephrine. If a game can cause similar reactions in our brain reward system then it doesn't seem so far fetched that your can become, in a more chemcially imbalanced way, addicted to a game.
Granted, I am not by in any way well educated scientifically speaking. However, I think if we can easily overlook the most important things in life; our wifes, girlfriends, health, children, and friends, then maybe a game can effect our bodies in the same way that drugs do. Maybe video games really will be the first non-chemical drug out there. Remember that the effects we feel from a drug are not a direct implementation of the chemicals from that drug but are a natural chemical response by the brain to the chemical 'directions' the drug has provided.
If our brains chemical makeup can be influenced by being happy or becoming scared, the former being a majority of seratonin and the latter being mostly adrenaline, then a video games manipulation of the mind can also do this.
Personally, though, I would prefer to have a much smarter person test and explain such theories as I am, myself, quite stupid. Well the potato is anyways.

segarn said...

unmoderated anything is bad. the only difference between WoW and drugs is that (until recently) no one warned us about the potential for addiction. but just look around, people can get addicited to just about anything. the key is understanding and learning to deal with it.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say that while I've been a casual gamer on Wow (stopped playing quite some time ago) I think that everything the original poster said is true. The similarities to any kind of addiction are very disturbing.

I'm also a Therapist in background. There's currently quite a lot of discussion about the nature of immersion games and the ramifications on our daily lives in academic circles.

First let me state that if you think you have a real problem, please seek help from those around you, or possibly professionally.

For others who may be concerned with the amount of time you're putting into a given game, or who feel that they may be slipping down this path, I recommend that people you try a couple of things:

1.) If you have local friends (or friends in the same timezone) who play, try and schedule a time to play with them, and ONLY with them. This has a similar effect as the comment about D&D; you must schedule your gaming around real life, not the other way around. Make a commitment to only play when they are playing. If more than one player can't make it, put it off.

2.) Try a headset with the friends from above. Stay in contact.

3.) Addiction theory states that elements of addiction come in waves - e.g., the ebb and flow of real life will eventually "pull" you from your addiction, as least for a time. Try to recognize these times as opportunities to branch out from the game.

4.) Find another activity outside of the game you also enjoy. Make a commitment to try it for a week.

5.) Ask yourself: what have I put off to play? To do lists, work, dinners, movies, time with friends, anything. Make a list of the things you put off to play for one week. See how many of them you regret missing.

There are many things you can try. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

haha - the amount of comments here prove that something was nailed on the head. As well as obviously millions of people are playing this game.

I applaud everyone who does the /qgame and for those having trouble KEEP TRYING. Start but reducing your play time and doing things with your friends and you will find as the more and more time you spend away from the game the harder it is to get back into its INSANELY LONG grinds.

Anonymous said...

does anyone actually read all this crap? and what about all these comments? you people are as bad as the WOW players.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on breaking the habit. Best of luck on everything else!

Anonymous said...

bye bye emo dude. go cry at your lame djing gigs.

The Purple Pixie said...

Thanks Yeager,

You are bright enough to realise that there is a life outside of WOW, I originally posted a site called Widows of World of Warcrack, which commented on how disruptive WOW can be and how detremental to a relationship it can be, I have no desire to involve myself in this game as I have a mind and soul that i do not wish to atrofy, my partner made me take the blog down (petulant child that he is)

Enjoy your life and thanks again

Anonymous said...

Very good article, lots of truths in it. I haven't suffer that much myself but even, I decided to quit. WoW game does not worth it if don't have 12 hours a week to spend.

Just because lower game levels are crappy. Kill walm Kill walk Kill walk... for 20x24h and you are lvl 60. Yeeha. Nothing that funny.

Anonymous said...

But WoW has the potential to really help some people who have certain ... proclivities ...

Personally, it was a godsend. It helped channel that dark part of me, that side that would go out into the night searching for helpless strangers to kill. At one point I even moved to Maryland, the easiest hunting grounds nearby ... everyone is almost guaranteed to be unarmed ... but I digress.

You can't imagine how relieved I am to be able to escape into another world ... you think soulless, random killing is easy, but the cleanup and disposal requires planning, and is still stressful and time-consuming. Instead, my extracurricular activities have been pared down to about one or two a month. I'm also beginning to develop social skills from my interaction with other players, people I might normally have stalked and killed not long ago.

So to each his own. WoW is preferable - in terms of staying out of prison - to staring at my bloodstained hands twice a week and wondering if this is the time I'll leave behind some crucial piece of evidence, like a splinter from my wooden leg. You ought to be thankful that I'm not waiting in the back seat of your car or in your garage or around the corner of your front door or in your basement or ... well, you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

shit man.. try smoking crack for a year and quit.. then see if you are whining about a video game addiction..

Josh D. said...

I don't believe a word of this melodramatic shit. If you piss on your life, you piss on it. Don't use video games as your scapegoat.

Anonymous said...

Nothing satisfies like real relationships, but even real relationships with one another have their fair share of hurt, harm, pretending, etc.

Only one relationship I know of that offers a constant sense of triumph, honor, and accomplishment & is never predictable or shallow or fake: relationship with Jesus Christ.

John 10:10-11 "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

Anonymous said...

To everybody going "OMGZ0R IT IZNT TEH GAEM'S FAULT ITS URZ QUIT BITCIN", the point of this article wasn't to bitch and moan. It was just a guy posting about the lessons he learned from his deep involvement in a World of Warcraft guild. He's an exceptional case, BECAUSE of his particularly intensive involvement.

And it's not even about the addiction to the game itself. As others have pointed out, it's having loyalty to your guildmates. Doesn't matter if it's WoW or another MMORPG. If you're in a large team of people, and ESPECIALLY if you're the one in charge of that team, you'll have to invest a hell of a lot of time into maintaining that guild.

Normal WoW players won't have the same problem, because they'll have made fewer obligations.

Naturally self-control and being able to say "no" are both important when it comes to things like this, but obligations and wanting to be involved with the rest of your guildmates is hard to resist for *anybody*. The best precaution is to not get in that deep in the first place, not if it's going to negatively impact your life.

Take this post for what it is: a warning, a piece of advice to WoW players starting out (like me). Or a testimonial, a lesson learned from somebody who was previously addicted. If you have nothing decent to say, why comment? >_>

Anonymous said...

First of all, I will confess to having a bad habit of starting something (usually a book) and ignoring everything until I'm done said project. Introducing me to WoW is like sticking a ferret in a sugar bin. Disasterous. However, as a total noob, I'm loving it. That said, I do agree as to the negative impacts of it. My boyfriend is not exactly thrilled about my vested interest in WoW. In fact, he flat out hates it. And I can understand why. (See book comment). But as my highschool band teacher said: everything in moderation except moderation.

Oh, and let me say somthing about the following:

"Anonymous said...

have any of you ever been laid? I can't believe some of you are comparing yourselves to drug addicts. I've never heard of more self-absorbed nerdy people. Oh, I'm SO happy that you "recovering addicts" are learning the "errors of your ways"... you know what I have learned? That people who play WoW are idiots. Wake up people, it's an F-ing VIDEO GAME. Get a hooker or something you zit-faced freaks."

Get over yourself. These people deserve respect for getting out of and over a terrible addiction. I dare you to walk into an AA meeting and say what you've said here, because, essentially it's the same thing. And if these "zit-faced freaks" should get hookers, then go back to your corner and get to work. You're obviously starving for business.

Dra said...

Good story, especially the part about how the game simply moves on. The sad part is that the people who really, really play WoW have over 250 days played and play 14+ hours a day. I'm not one of them, but I've had my share of 50-hour binges. When I quit, I thought my guild would be all disappointed in me, but really, I might have gotten a sincere reaction from maybe 3 people at most.

Everything you said about the reasons involved with play the game are correct as well. I've had a bad day only to find myself using WoW as an escape. After a while, WoW becomes a life in itself and when your friends realize that you're a complete addict, most of them aren't your friends anymore.

I only hope you did the smart thing and completely deleted your account for good. I've seen too many people including myself fall back into WoW for one reason or another.

Anonymous said...

World Of Warcraft is a game I always shied away from for some reason, and after reading your guest blog I now know why. I have an addictive personality and although I never tried heroin I new that if I ever did it would end up killing me (after seeing "stronger" people than me die from it I know that to be true) and I'm guessing if I'd gotten into WoW it would have killed a part of me too. I've been fascinated by virtual reality ever since watching Tron as a kid, later reading William Gibson's cyberspace romps and also spending countless hours during the 80's staying up all night on my own playing Ports Of Call on an Amiga at my friends house, and staggering home in a daze at 7:00AM (I was in a rock band at the time so I could do that :-) and in the nineties running around on space stations with my fellow IT team members capping the asses of the folks down in Production. But these were all quick fixes, and nothing you could really spend that much time playing - you'd get too dizzy - but then Sim City and The Sims comes along and rwally strarts sucking up the hours. I don't know where this is going, and I really don't have the time to get into these things anymore because I'm running my own company now and really don't have the time. It was fun while it lasted but I'm soooo glad I never got into WoW, and I also made sure to trash Second Life after being in there for several hours on my first and final visit.

Iconoclast said...

I love the morons who either don't read or comprehend the content. He takes complete responsibility and points out the effects. I saw nothing about blaming Blizzard or wanting the game banned. Most of the flamers also seem to have a limited understanding addiction. I will be the second person to recommend "Requiem for a Dream". It's obvious by the defensiveness and anger who should take a look inside.

Anonymous said...

Good to see you got out.

I spent 4 years doing much the same thing in EQ. The demands on your time if you play a class that the "end game" demands is tremendous.

I followed the original EQ devlopment team over to Sigil and their new MMO. I'd love to give it a try but I just can't bring myself to start another MMO.

Anonymous said...

This was a really good article!

A friend of mine had over 1 year ingame time in AO before he quit.. That means several years real time. One of my friends who at that time criticized him has since started playing WoW. Though not a hardcore player he schedules his week according to the game.

Sad how these games blinds the people once addicted. Because its a true addicition.

sgtbenc said...

I left the game after about 5 months of it. I realized the same thing as you. I'm just glad I quit before I got too screwed up.
(I had actually started a successful guild at LVL 15.)

Anonymous said...

I've always played games, and dont think I will ever stop, I love games. I do see however that the future in gaming is going to be fantastically addictive, you will be in the game seeing the monsters just like you are seeing the text on this screen, and at that point the world as we know it is going to change dramatically. When you can create your own world to escape to who is going to want to spend time in the real world? Think of all the things you would be able to do that you couldnt do in this world. But the world of port will be the driving force to turn everything into something sick and perverted, where you have whatever ill fantasy you want fullfilled, or worse, commit rape and murders "because you really didnt do it, its just a game". Bah were screwed, I give it 15 years for the graphics to be good enough to fool our sight and cheap enough to buy. "WOW" advice, if you truly are and addict, get another account and get WOWGLIDER to get you up to 60, then you can just go to the raids once or twice a week and not wreck your Family,friends. I chose not to do the endgame because of time constraints, I only play twinked characters in WSG1 because 1) there is a limit to the gear you can get, 2) it doesnt take 30days played to get to a competitive level. A gamer for life with a life!!!!

Anonymous said...

Amen! To all you who claim he's calling for banning the game, take another close look at the article.

When I first moved to a big, anonymous city, I used WoW to stay in touch with old hometown friends and fill the empty time. I didn't see at the time that WoW was creating the empty time that I had and separating me from potential new friends.

Now that I'm down to about 2 hours a week and am close to quitting, I've:

-had my first girlfriend
-made a lot of good friends
-improved my social skills
-found a research track for my PhD (which oddly may have something to do with WoW)
-started making money as a web designer

One friend's life was ruined by WoW and another's by foreign films. Sure, it's the person and not the medium, but some things are dangerous, and now I see that. WoW shouldn't be banned, but this article has given me the courage to tell my friends that I'm quitting. Next month's membership fee is buying drinks for girls at bars.

Anonymous said...

These (MMO) games are in the unusual position of being partially addicting - not a chemical addiction like nicotine or other drugs but a psychological addiction - and this addiction only affects a certain subset of the population.

Certainly there are counterexamples: the guild I am still in is a casual guild (and this is easier to do on an RP or PvE server). We're not the best guild on the server by any stretch of the imagination, but we're not the worse, either - we're somewhere in between. The guild philosophy is to play around the real life commitments of the people in the guild; if we have to have 100 people in the guild to get 40 people to run a raid instance on a weekly basis, that's fine; that means that we spend more time learning/training members but have the privilege of taking time off without giving advance notice or feeling guilty about it. Raiding occurs on specific nights in 2-3 hour chunks, and I usually make two or three nights (out of 7) tops. But this is only half of the equation. The other half is common sense and prioritization. I happen to be married (yes, she plays the game right along with me) and have two kids and both of us have full-time jobs. My kids rate above WoW - so if there's a raid before bedtime for the kids, we either skip it or only one of us attends. What about when the raid time gets past 11PM? I have a clock in-game that I can refer to in order to make sure I get plenty of sleep before work the next day. From what I've observed, most of the other guild members have similar habits and priorities. The result is positive feedback on "real life over game world" and makes it easier to maintain the separation between reality and fantasy.

If your guild leadership follows the "hardcore" path, then it's much more difficult. There's peer pressure to abandon everything else in order to excel in the virtual world and keep pace with your virtual peers. It's a hard thing to make that decision to leave a guild because you're not "hardcore" enough when in the back of your mind you know that the peers you just left are thinking that you're some sort of bad player since you can't keep up with the pace. You have to be a pretty rugged individualist to not care what those peers thought about you and do what is best for you and/or makes you happy.

I think the biggest thing that the people that get addicted to these games miss is that the rate that you progress through the game makes no difference whatsoever, and it's the experience you should be enjoying, not the rewards from the experience. Yeah, I might get that Sword of a Thousand Truths by playing 80 hours a week, but do I really want to be the type of person that does that? I'd rather do a successful DM North Tribute run with a bunch of friends - we don't necessarily need any of the gear that will drop but it's a lot of fun to skip the normal dungeon crawl and do the unusual tricks that the Tribute run requires. Maybe do some unusual things along the way ("have the rogue tank this boss!") and then laugh about it later regardless of whether it fails or succeeds. Again, this is easier on the RP and PvE servers since you can voluntarily avoid any sort of competitive environment with other players and make your own reasonable goals ("This Friday night I want to do one Tribute run and get a shot at Kromcrush's Chestplate").

Igor said...

I m with you mate. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Italy, Milan here...
Just one year ago I was going to ruin my life.
Then I had a bright thing in my mind: always do other things than WoW.
I started playing again but with this rule in mind.
WoW is after all.

I told myself:
"Get rank 11 then if you want go instancing with guildies".
Done.
Made a PvP movie with my rogue.
Funny. Exciting.

But now, that we 'farm' ZG, MC...one thing is happening to me: the more i go instancing the lower my will to play is.

I usually play 4 evenings per week. But if I have to do other I will do that other.
Tbh I'll try to reduce it.

Today, my server, Defias Brotherhodd in Europe, is down.
And I'm f**king HAPPY!
I have no to instance tonight. I can rest!
Yes, the more I play the less I like to play!

I think I'm detoxin', slower, but I think this irreversible process has started...

Yeahhhhhh!

Anonymous said...

I know how it is. One year and eight days of WoW with 120 days played on my char, raiding instances every day, being class lead and officer...

I finally managed to quit. It still calls me back somewhere deep in my mind, not the game, but people... I really do miss playing with some of the people in my guild but there is no going back. Ever.

Anonymous said...

ditto Iconoclast.

Great post. Same thing (ish) happened to me.

Anonymous said...

Did I just see a reference to 'Requiem for a Dream'? Haha, for a video game? Thats good, so your weak mind and obviously unimportant social life are a comparison to heron? Thats good. We should lump porn and junk food in there also, they are just as addictive as a video game..

Last time I looked there is a power button on a computer which causes no physical withdrawl symptoms..

Anonymous said...

Good for you for doing what you needed to.

I got into somewhat the same situation, and had to take a step back. I think for less-addictive personalities there comes a point where your emotions go "meh, I don't want to go back to BWL again tonight, I'd rather fill-in-the-blank" and your brain goes "then why should you?" Admittedly I was probably in the addicted stage for too long just from a wasting time perspective, but not long enough to do any permanent damage that I've noticed.

So, I quit for a while. My husband reactivated our accounts after a couple of months, but now it's more a quick "let's kill a few things together and chill out", not the "I MUST log in four nights a week for raids." As such, it's not much different from the "let's watch TV" (and in fact, it's probably a little better than watching TV because at least we're interacting. Besides, the alternative game is Chess and he always creams me, I prefer being on the same side. ;) ) There's no commitment there, if a friend calls we can shut down and go.

I guess the real question you have to ask yourself is "What am I playing WoW instead of?" If the answer is "watching the Friends marathon", "playing Neverwinter Nights through for the 50th time", or "reading a fantasy novel", then WoW probably isn't hurting you. If the answer is "getting enough sleep to function", "passing my classes", "going to my job", or "not neglecting my friends/family/sig other", then you should probably reconsider your schedule. I've found that I can choose working on my house over Warsong, spending time with friends over Scholomance, and sleep over Stratholme.

You have to decide what "successful" means for your gaming strategy. For me, it now means spending some time with my husband and reducing some stress that comes with work, house renovations, and being 5 months pregnant. ;) Frankly I'm a lot happier with that definition than I ever was with dungeon crawling for ye olde phat lewtz.

Anonymous said...

To all those who talk about detoxing: I know what you mean. But it happens.

It takes awhile, yeah, but eventually you come back to the game -- if you don't cancel your membership immediately -- and you wonder "WTF is all this stuff?"

Seriously, after you've been out of the game for a few weeks, you forget why it was ever interesting in the first place. It seems like a lot of effort, and you don't want to put in that much time anymore when you could be doing something more fun in your real life. Suddenly, all the rewards seem empty and silly. You just need that perspective, and that takes time and exposure to other things.

Anonymous said...

Ain't got time to read all this, got me some WoW to play!

Anonymous said...

Good Article.

Can I have your stuff?

Anonymous said...

I am the same way with the internet, I am addicted, help me, I haven't left my house in like 2 months, fuck !

Anonymous said...

You took the words right out my mouth.

I ended up selling my account for a ridiculously underpriced deal to get rid of this curse of a game.

Spending your free time doing things that I'd actually be proud of telling other people, feels alot better then spending hours in front of a computer screen in a virtual world.

Gaining experience and epicz IRL > gaining exerience and epicz in WoW.

Mully Nex said...

I quit in March 2006 - I'm with you ALL the way. Welcome back to the real world, breathe some air and have some fun =D

Anonymous said...

You sound bitter about playing the game.

Like it made you sink all those hours. If you can't take anything away from your experiances there then you will likely find this a repeating trend.

Finding yourself in a situation that you perfectly well got yourself into. Abandoning it, and looking everywhere but inward for a enemy or reason you have gotton there.

Anonymous said...

oh please wow isn't addictive and if it takes you that long to do stuff on a daily basis 10 to 12 hrs then well you just suck at the game.

if you let it ruin your life then its your fault not the games.

i've got multiple 60's In 3 guilds, have played all the end game raids/instances and help out the lowbies in my guilds. I don't spend more than 2 hrs if that a night when playing and i don't play every night.

if you know what your doing then the game is a cake walk.

I'm just waiting for the expansion to actually go out and do something cool again.

btw: Stop Dots.

Anonymous said...

It's like I've just read a description of my WoW experience, and what would have happened had I not just quit after 8 months.

Anonymous said...

I quit this game twice now. I just need to be active doing something in IRL or in game. Idle time is very sparce(sp). I was a guild leader on Cenarion Circle for 1yr it was crazy the amount of pressure your under to appease everyone with your time. Everyone needs their hand held.

~Unknownwarrior

Anonymous said...

Not to be a hater, and yes you can lump me into what I am about to say but.....

Yeah- thats great that you all jumped on the bandwagon and virtually ruined a great social expose on human bahavior in MMORPG's.

That "me too" syndrome really makes me choke up a tear or two.

But the reality is that here you are reading and posting despite the fact that your comments are buried deep into the piece, with no chance of actually being read.

So here therefore- you havent gotten out because you are still talking to yourselves in this ether we call the internet.

Kinda makes you go "hmmm".

Anonymous said...

Very much the same stuff happened when I played Everquest and the toll being in a raiding has on people. Raiding up towards to 12 hours in one day. Being on 30 plus hours a week. Sony paved the way for companies like Blizzard to get their customers to pay and pay, and the only way they can do that is to make a game that they play and play. During my EQ carerr, because that's what is was, I figured a played around 300 days. Yes that's 300 days in a 3 and half year period. When I finally quit, it took me 2 to 3 months to recover. Now I do people WoW and have invested about 43 days into the game in the last year. I'll go through play spurts but really consider my a casual player. Trying to balance gaming and real, and it can be hard. I think Andy's piece really sums up the gist of the MMO worlds. How it destroys lifes to make a profit. The pressures that other plays put on other is huge. And Like an addict trying to find the next hit to make the game fun and exciting. I still don't think playing games is a bad thing but you need to find a balance between games and real life. I wish you all good luck on that

Anonymous said...

An excellent post, and very true. I have a friend who is a Guild Wars player, who must put in 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, to the detriment of everything else. I've not seen him for 12 months. He doesn't work, doesn't date, doesn't do anything, just trapped in the virtual Skinner Box that is an MMORPG. :(

Evil blog Monkey said...

I can't believe that I am the first one to ask, "pics"?

Let's see Tubbo and his hot ex-gf.

Anonymous said...

I was a EQ addict myself. I played 183 days worth of play time in my first year(356 days). The accomplishments I made in game have no bearing anymore. I however nearly failed out of H.S. and i quit the sports i was in. The sports are something i can never get back or make up. I tried to play WoW about 8 months ago at my friends urging, but when my 5-10 hours a week that i actually had available wasn't enough. I left rather than give in to the call for more time. In truth i think the problem is having it in you to rationally decide what is important. Normatter how much you like something the ability to sit back and see things for just what they are. I also keep the same background on all my computers. Moderation brings Happiness. Moderation in everything in life, will make you a better person with a better life.

Anonymous said...

I'm losing my wife to this game. After the kids are in bed she logs into WoW for the rest of the evening.

Anonymous said...

you're pathetic. I'm an chemical engineering STUDENT right now and I manage to pull a very high GPA while raiding high-end instances on my level 60. stop blaming blizzard for creating a really good game. blame yourself for being so foolish and immature that you cannot balance a life of responsibilities with occasional fun.

Anonymous said...

(to the OP)

While I can sympathize with you on many points, let me also say that your guild experience seems to have been a really bad one.

First of all, with a roster of 150, you will always run into problems that you mentioned. People being immature, greedy, and simply ungrateful.

I've played WoW since the day it came out. No, actually, since about 8 months before it came out because I had access to the beta test. My main character has 100 days played on him, and I have two other lvl 60 characters. I am single, have a full time job, and all my friends are in the same guild as I (some even transferred to this server to play). This is the only way I meet my friends, whom I would never meet otherwise. And I still go clubbing on the weekends to hit on the honeys.

Our guild, also the oldest on the server, has 70 active members is mostly comprised of individuals between the ages 18-30. The leadership is also very mature, and we raid 30 hours a week (that's 5hr raids, 6 times a week). Sure, we have some of the same drama as other guilds, but none that you described in here.

We've also had important members leave us for real-life issues and whatnot, and they've remained very close friends even after leaving. They continue to post on our boards and tell us about their lives and whatnot, and we always bug them to come back (and some do occasionally join our raids).

I still love this guild, and I've already committed my next TWO YEARS to this guild. The reason is simple. This game provides an experience that no other videogame has been capable of providing (I'm a gamer of 25+ years), and working toward a long-term goal, together with other gamers of equal caliber, is an exhilarating experience.

So why is my experience so different from yours? It's your guild management. And I am sorry if this sounds like I'm accusing you of anything (because I'm not), but guilds in WoW are just like companies in real life. The experience, reward and satisfaction that the members receive are ALL directly related to the management.

For example, the membership of 150 people... this is a HUGE red flag. Your raid only needs 40 people, so this means that only 25% of the membership is allowed to raid at any point. This brings down the EFFICIENCY of the guild, and eventually leads to implosions.

While you are absolutely right that there are many disrespectful indivduals in the game, and that the game is very time-consuming, I also want you to know that the experience could have been better, MUCH better, if things had been a little different.

Here I am, two years later, still in the same shape I was two years ago (140lb), and still happily playing this game every night, and looking forward to the next two years.

Not everybody has bad experiences.

Anonymous said...

Ok, a friend of a friend of mine 'Pete' from Novascotia dropped out of university. One of the main contributers? Well, an obvious topic: He was so involved in WoW.

And I would like to note "your real friends like you even when you screw up." It's true. "

This statement is completely and supremely contextual! Yea sure it applies to him in this instance. But friends can do a hell of a lot to you, whereby they prove that they are not your friend. You drop them like a bad habit and then have them use this piece of gospel? I don't *thinkso*.

Nice post overall. I spent many years in total playing video games to no avail as well. I can whip your ass in Quake arena tho? Thanks iD!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you need two slices of bread and some The Master of Brown spread. I'm as cold as ice.

Shadus said...

70+ days played... heh. You weren't around for everquest apparently. WoW is *nothing* but a short little jaunt in the park while fiddling around.

I racked up over 180 days played in ONE year, playing eq1. While working a fulltime job (40hrs) & going to school fulltime (eh... 2-3 days a week & about 4-6 hours at a shot.) I don't think I slept more than 2-3 hours most days. Sometimes during a long camp or raids or whatever I would stay up 2-4 days straight and then crash for 12 hours or so then get up and do it all again... I don't honestly remember much during that period of my life. If my S.O. wasn't sitting in the same room beside me doing the same thing I'm sure it would have ended that relationship.

I eventually got sick of it and moved on, I still play mmo games, although at a much healthier level (~10-20 hours a week prob depending on my free time.) Most MMOs (atitd excluded) don't have a finish and that really isn't what I find draws most people to them and gets them addicted, I've seen people just as addicted to RTS games and FPS games. What draws most people is the social interactions, you become friends, as good as real life with some of the people you meet online... I know for me once my buddy who was a cleric quit and my warrior friend talked about quitting (I was a chanter), I really had zero trouble leaving. We keep in touch every now and again still, and I don't look back at those times as a waste... It was a good learning experience. It taught me a lot about myself and what is really important in life. People. It doesn't matter if those people are standing with you in real life or if those people are 1000 miles away. *waves to N & K*.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear lord. Boodie-hoo. The game is mean. There is no way to win in it. I'm an addictive personality and I can't handle the fact that I was addicted to a glorified database. There is sand up in there and I can't get it out.

Know what? I play the game about 6 hours a week. I'm only at lvl 48 and I've been playing since it was released. And I know how to have fun just PLAYING it. Not every game has to have a big finish.

Anonymous said...

I played EQ for over 5 years with the same type addiction so getting off with only 1 year is very lucky. The pull for me was more the friendships I made online, it was hard to let go of all of those. And some I haven't. I still aim some friends.

I did move on to WoW (with some friends) and CoX but with a different level of playing. Now, I log or don't log on if I am not in the mood to look at pixels for hours or if there is something else to do. I don't feel like I need to be online or that folks are depending on me. Of course, that is why I swore to never be a guild officer again, that is a whole level of pain no one needs for the reasons the guy posted originally. If you are a good officer, then you run into what he did.

The original poster was very open and honest. I saw all of it in my time. Guys having maritial issues as a result, losing girlfriends, almost ending up in divorce due to the game and relationships built in game. On the more positive, I know of several couples that met online and are not only happily married but started families and moved on (or still play together). There's good and bad in everything, it's the striking a balance that is healthy for you (if possible) that's important.

Good luck to all of you and especially the original poster.

Anonymous said...

I totally identified with a lot of what you say about the efforts you made for your guild and the players you tried to help and the motivation behind it.

Most just won't get it unless they have been in that situation and despite the things you say you lost, you have probably gained some important experiences from it to.

Thankfully I've not lost a partner to WoW and I've had both bad but good RL experiences with people from the game that I'll be able to look fondly back on in years to come. Formed and concluded a very close relationship with somone through the game and it's also taught me a lot about people and their motivations.

I'm still playing and still do a lot of work for my guild but I also have a good social life and have just started dating the most fantastic woman.

I've learnt when to log off and so I know that I won't let it interfere with my real life.

The sad thing is, most of the morons posting nasty rude replies have probably worse social skills than somone who has become socially stunted by WoW (the moron who suggests getting a hooker to get laid is a prime example of this).

It was hardly for your own benefit that you wrote this so I commend you for saying a lot of what is very true.

Personally I'd just laugh let them make themselves feel big as they clearly have issues they are not addressing by being so offensive towards somone who's sharing their experiences with others.

Anonymous said...

Nice article. I agree with most of it, but I think the one thing people need to remember with these games is "moderation". If anything is going to cause a big effect on your real life, then don't do it. If raiding is going to require to you to spend hours every night and to neglect other things, don't do it.

Find a guild that has people with similar schedules and are understanding when you have to put RL first. This means avoid all the so called "top end guilds". Those guilds are filled with school dropouts, social rejects, and the unemployed and I'm not exaggerating one bit.

All of this crazy addiction comes down to one thing and that is GREED. Everything for these top end guilds is about getting loot. I am highly sceptical with an so called "friendship" in any of these guilds because I've seen these friends take loot over friends more times than I wish to remember. The funny thing is that the game amplifies people's bad points IRL. Greedy people IRL are 10x worse in game.

Also people need to remember that getting another epic is hardly an upgrade. If you do the math on most armor pieces you will find that the upgrade is so slight it is hardly noticeable. While my hunter is rank 14 and decked out in the best pvp gear possible sub Naxx, my warrior is only decked out in blues with a few pieces from ZG and AQ20. The funny thing is that all the loot on my hunter doesn't really matter. I haven't noticed hardly any difference in my damage output or in how little I died since I filled out what I got from straight pvp. It's all a big waste of time, which is why I quit raiding all together except doing ZG and AQ20 once a week at most.

So to sum it up my recommendation is to take the game in moderation, get rid of any loot greed you have, only join a guild that fits your IRL schedule and doesn't pressure you to do more, and avoid the high end guilds unless you want to end up a complete loser like them.

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