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.


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.


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Anonymous said...

Wow....thats what has been running my life these last few months...in no time flat, I lost my g/f my Job and I lost about 20 pounds...160 isnt a healthy weight for some one 6'2...
Im 19 years old, I just Graduated....and I was introduced to Wow by some Co-workers...
But i dont know how to Stop...i mean, just one more lvl...I have a lvl 67 Ne hunter....i mean, I guess im not as bad as some of the lvl 70's already, but still....Ive cut my self off from the out side world. I find my self up till all ends Sleeping all day.....Im not even sure what makes me happy any more....this game is running my life, and I want it back....does any one have any Suggestions..?

Chad Lemon said...

I hope your reading this but if not that's fine, but anyways... I find myself doing shitty in college now and finding myself on warcraft for hours on end and neglecting my friends just because I want to "level up". I even try to find excuses to why I'm alloud to do this and I try not to but it always gets the best of me. The game itself isn't addictive, it's the point your making in the game that gets ahold of you. Seeing that you quited this game, I think I'll try and stop playing for awhile and if that works, just cancel my account.

Anonymous said...

Hardest thing I had to do

Thanks for the great post. I was a guild officer and the warlock class officer of an up and coming guild on our server. But after watching the infamous South Park WOW episode, I realized all my "achievements" were meaningless and came at the sacrifice of my real life. It was an escape from a life that sucked. (Unemployed, girlfriend moved away, tons of debt, etc.)

The only way for me to quit was to delete my main character and my many, many alts. I guess I was too proud to ebay my character or to pass it on to someone perhaps even ruining their life.

I posted the video of my "suicide" to my guild and was called a fool. It's pretty sad to see that life still goes on for them. Now about 3-4 months after breaking the addiction and with the release of Burning Crusades, I still get people asking for me to return.

But... I don't intend on ever going back. My life is pretty good without WOW and I need to grind RL for a bit.

Anonymous said...

I have played up to level 35 since I started 24 days ago. Now I am having dreams about this freaking game. I do know I have an addicting personality and do know that I will be spending more time as I level up, so thanks all for your comments, I think I am quitting while I am ahead!

Anonymous said...

I am a WOW player as is about 7 million other people on this rock. Anything can become addicting if you lack the will power. I have been playing this game since release date. I have 2 main characters and about 14 other alternate characters spread across two servers. I play quite regularly. It is the only game I have installed on my system. At the same time, I am maintaining a steady 2 year relationship, a job I have had for nearly 10 years, and going to college and doing just fine with my studies. The point I am trying to get at is, sure... you had a problem because you allowed it to become a problem. You must take everything in moderation and if something becomes an addiction, the only person you can blame is yourself. For all the threads and postings I have come across with girlfriends complaining about boyfriend's addictions to gaming and vice versa, maybe you should question what the person's will power rather than questioning the substance or material involved.

Anonymous said...

As someone who played almost since Warcraft's inception, I can vouch for the addictive side of the game. The game is set up to create that addiction or at least play off of addictive personalities - through reward methods that are consistent ( if I kill this mob I get X amount of experience) and random (Oh Boy - a purple sword of Idiocy dropped!). Other role-playing games use a similar technique. The problem with Warcraft ( as many others have pointed out) is that the game never ends.

I lost a job in part due to playing too much. I recognized the drain on me (time, motivation, etc.) and quit and inactivated my account, going back to school and getting my MCSD. After getting it and waiting on getting a job, I drifted back into playing WOW again. I got the job but realized I am wasting my potential - for what? Twinking another character to 60? The only thing that worked for me was actually deleting all my characters ( I had a stash of over 1,000 gold and several level 60 players, too much temptation to get back in and play again ).

A final word - for those of you who can play in moderation and enjoy the game - do so. For those of us that can't - find a positive addiction and go with that. Some of the greatest achievements in the REAL world have been made by people with addictive personalties.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the honest blog about your relationship with WoW. My husband and I have been playing it for a year now and it's all he talks about to me. He's always "tired' from playing all night, has a night job anyway so this isn't helping him get back to normal sleep hours when he can see me. I played it b/c he was into it. He's addicted to it and I'm finally bored to tears with it and would rather read a book, go to grad school, see friends, family etc. and he would rather stay at home and pretend he's a damn dwarf. And yes, it's an un-winnable game, there are teens who are failing HS due to this game, thankfully some of their parents realize this and kill their accounts, and it's a diversion to dealing with real life. Some people watch a 2 hour movie to escape the hassles of life while others devote 8 hours or 10 a day to it and wonder why they're spouse is filing for divorce, why their kids are getting a character to play with their dads online since they never hang with them and so on. It's a video game and if you're playing that long on it you're probably depressed to begin with and don't neglect your spouse/kids/family/friends over a game. If you can ocassionally play it do so. If you're losing sleep from it, give it up.
The game doesn't kill relationships. Most are probably gone or in trouble to begin with before someone gets consumed by it, but it sure doesn't help.

Heather said...

I never played WoW myself. I couldn't. My husband and I both had bad addictions to other online games, and we completely and totally neglected our 3 yr old daughter. (Thank god we lived with his parents so she was still being cared for properly) When we finally broke down and gave up the game we were playing, it was like a breath of fresh air. We had so much free time, and then...the guilt hit us. We had missed so much. We swore off of online games then. Well,in the last few months, my husband has been bitten by the WoW bug. He's been wanting to play-like he suddenly forgot everything from before.

The thought of us/him going back to it literally makes me sick. There is such a fear there, because I sincerely doubt he can control his want to play. He's already expressed to friends that he's the type of person who would HAVE to get that rare sword (generically speaking)...be the strongest, and so on and so forth.

I really don't know where I am going with this. I guess, it is just glad to see that someone else sees that these games can be insanely addictive to those of us with that sort of personality. The reference I keep using with my husband is, "You don't give a recovering alcoholic a can of beer and tell him to enjoy--but only have the one."

It really is an addiction--

Anonymous said...

The crux of the issue seems to be with attaining the TOP TIER. I have to be level 70 with all the cool gear .


Play to where it stops being fun, then take a break. Maybe start over with a different class or race. Switch from Alliance to Horde or vice versa. or don't play.

Heck I rarely even play my top guy anymore, just to grind out some gold to finance my latest "experiment".

I play to unwind. And unwinding doesn't include pimple-faced Johnny's constant keeping up with the Joneses and popping a duel invite to every person who happens to be three or four levels below him and has the misfortune of being in his vicinity.

It's not about being the top dog, or "pwning noobs", have fun, relax, work out, take the significant other out to dinner and a movie...Azeroth will be there if you want to crush some murlocs (I hate me some murlocs)

Anonymous said...

Alot of the things you say in the blog are true.. I quitted playing WoW about 5-6 months ago and now I want to play it more then ever..

I might buy it again but, I made a promise to myself not to get addicted, and I wasnt that addicted the time I played wow since it took ages for me to grow up to 60 ;P, But thanks for telling people how wow can affect them :)

Home equity loan said...

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

Anonymous said...

Very good read, i understand you completely. I now spend my nights and weekends around all of my friends and not some fake alter reality. Besides, i would way rather be drunk and with my friends then play this game anyday

Anonymous said...

Not sure if being drunk with your friend is better than with your online friend from wow... :)

Anonymous said...

WOW is a joke and I commend the gentleman who wrote this article. I have an ex who is continuing to be part of this fantasy world to escape real life. It preys on the weak, he is a real life coc addict, and has just enhanced his addictions to a game. It's all for a sense of belonging, that they cannot seem to find for themselves in the real world..because they are failures themselves to some degree. This may not represent all players of the game, but most of us "real world" people know exactly what this game is about, and how pathetic it is.

Anonymous said...

like so many other people, i feel the same way. I have been playing wow for so long that when i'm not playing i don't know what to do anymore.

Anonymous said...

Moost of the things are treu,
im a Shaman Class leader,
bud the thing about leading youre class and getting the crap of it, is not completely treu....

i have been a CL for about 1 year now and i din´t get much crap only something like o youre doing well and stuff like that, so its the people that are playing not wow it self...

the rest about farming and play alot a week is rather treu, some time´s even sick,
bud lots of me frends are gamers to so we farm togetter and communicate over ventrilo or whatever, so farming is not always boring....

the raiding is rather long sometime bud its just whit the other players you play whit,
the long raiding is hard sometime bud with some good frends ad other nice and relax gamers/guildies its cool to do..

al togetter:
WOW is al about playing quite much bud the best way to be happy playing is to play whit nice lets etc etc....
that realy ceaps me going for like olmost 2 years now xD

so good luck reintrading you irl...

greet ..

Anonymous said...

Lol the guy at the bottem needs to l2spell.

Anonymous said...

I'm physically deformed - chest cracking - from playing 10-15 hours daily for a year. Just quick and hope to get better.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you. I showed my friend who is an addict to WoW and he turn off his computer and quit :) brought tears to my eyes how quickly he realized the truth.

Firehawk said...

I was actually playing WOW, trying to find the best place to farm netherweave, when i stumbled upon this article. I've been playing for 3 months now, and I was reading through the comments and someone mentioned a 30 hour week.

I realized thats about 4 hours a day...i play around 7 a day, not to mention weekends. 55+ hours a week. On a never ending game!! It blew my mind. Trying to hit 70 and continue through high school was actually starting to become a challenge. I would play during classes, during my frees, during studyhall (boarding school). It took over my life.

The problem is not with the game. The game is designed with the idea of a capitalist economy. The more fun the product, the more people will buy it. Much like EVERY product, it is constantly changing in order to become bigger and better. Let them make better gear and bigger end-game raids, its their right to do so in order to make a better product.

The problem is, just like everyone has already posted, self control. But its also the goals you set for yourself. I wanted a lv 70 so bad, and i fought for that. Leveling was the most fun i could have, and that took up a gross amount of my time. Some people want to have fun by running the occasional instance. They obviously didn't choose to spend hours running raids, because they didn't find it fun.

WOW is fun as hell. But there are more active, better ways to spend your time. Have fun in different places, doing different, more social things than sitting on a computer for hours on end. A great article, Yeager, and i hope to get off this game soon.

As fun as it is...it ends lives


Steve Harold said...

Like anything, if you pay attention to it, it will grow and can become all encompassing. I do think a gaming addiction is a form of escape. Also if it gets the adrenalyn flowing and you enjoy success in the game, it can provide a substitute for a possible lack stimuli in life.

Anonymous said...

I just want to point out that WoW addiction, and drug addiction are not even comparable. Drugs arent about consuming time, they are all about living in that moment. Also, an intensity that drug addiction carries is that your life could end as a result of such a lifestyle.
I've also played WoW religiously at times, but never played past, or even up to lvl 60. (i've had experience in both of these areas) I agree that WoW is a waste of time, but is not entirely evil. It all depends on how you want to play it. Some douche-bag nerd who gets satisfaction from getting gear, or a sane person who enjoys simply kicking the shit out of enemy players alongside friends.

Anonymous said...

gimmie a break....it's an ADDICTION! Drugs, games or whatever...it's an ADDICTION for many. So, yes they are comparable. One who hurts themselves, those around them and cannot make reasonable judgment calls on how much time they spend on the game, all says ADDICTION. Can you spell A-D-D-I-C-T-I-O-N?

Anonymous said...

well done!!!

Ordog said...

Wow, it just amazes me how many idiots there are in this world. I have two jobs, a wife, and a kid, and an athletically active social life. When I get home from my 15hr day, and my wife & kid are sleeping, there is absolutely nothing wrong with me sitting at my computer to cool down for 1-2 hours with my WoW toons. Yet, there are still pathetic imbeciles out there who will classify me as an addict to justify their inability to control their lives. All you people quitting and complaining about the "addiction" that ruined your lives need to take a cue from real addiction counseling:

Q:Who made you do it? A:You.
Q:Who is really to blame? A:You.

When you get past the denial stage, and through the hate/anger stage, perhaps you will realize that your own inability to control yourself led you to that addiction. The fact that Blizzard filled that void in your life is just coincidence. It could have easily been alcohol, porn, drugs, Jesus, etc. that filled that void.

Pick your pathetic lives off the floor, take some control, and learn to enjoy a life that you are in control of. Blaming other people or a company that creates a GAME, is just a lame, pathetic, piteous, disturbing and sad excuse. Grow the hell up.

Anonymous said...

Methinks Ordog ( previous poster ) should seek anger management counseling. 2 hours a day of playing is NOTHING compared to what others put in. Of course maybe he would play more if he wasn't working 2 jobs. :~)

Anonymous said...

I can really relate to the OP. Sure, WoW may be fun, but in the end, is it really worth it? Is it really worth sacrificing the time, effort and relationships to play it constantly? It is something that took me years to come to terms with. Some people can handle it, but many of us cannot, which I think is something that we need to accept.

Anyway, I run a site designed to help people with WoW addictions. You can find it at http://www.WoWRecovery.com

jaek said...

I'm happy for your moment of clarity. I'm also pleased that you posted this, because individuals in the same situation need to hear your words.

Excess of any kind, in any medium, almost certainly leads to negative results. It's not limited to video games.

It's all about self-control and priorities. If you don't have the former, you can't adhere to the latter.

Just a thought.


PS—I'm guild leader for a 230-account community that's well over two years old, so I'm well aware of the pitfalls.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, especially the insight on the leadership portion of your experiences.

Half the people that read this have no clue what kind of work, sacrifice and energy go into leading a successful guild. When you are dedicated and devoted to being the best at what you do, you sometimes lose track of yourself. That applies to everything we do, be it real world or virtual world. That's a problem in MMOs and I think even more so when you're placed in a leadership capacity when playing MMOs.

I see these posts from people who want to make judgements. These are the same people that cry for attention, gear, and assistance in life and in game. This guy came into the game and made his mark, sacrificing everything to achieve it. The beauty of this post is his epiphany. He realized the importance of real life, something most of you do not or will never realize because of the pull of the game.

Be happy for the guy for having fun, achieving some e-props, enjoying the game to the fullest, and making a clean break at the end.

Not once did he dog your beloved game. He dogged the people addicted to it. I don't see any point in the attacks on him or his personal character. He never blamed Blizz for his "addiction". So come off it.

I quit my last MMO too after nearly sacrificing more than I should have. I logged the hours, I played the game, I took my shit to the next level. I was succesful in game. I was respected in game. Shit, I was feared by my enemies and loved by my guild, or so I thought. It took the birth of my daughter to make me realize that I was placing priorities on worthless pixels and virtual data. That shit doesn't mean jack. The instant I realized that I was quitting, my guild changed, the people changed. In their eyes, I was a traitor and a loser. After everything we had been through as a guild, the memories and victories were gone in an instant. They were looking for new guild before I had officially left the game. They were onto the next fix as soon as they all realized I wasn't going to organize their raids, pvp, distribute epics, or even kick it anymore. Don't get me wrong most supported my decision and I chat with them now, but you'd be surprised how quickly your efforts mean to people when you decide to quit.

I feel sad for the people who play any MMO. If they're casual players, I laugh at them for wasting their time. If they're hardcore, they ain't living life in the real world. It's a catch 22, and proof positive why playing that game is a worthless endeavor. Living life to the fullest will always beat the hell out of wasting your time playing a stupid ass game.

Grats bro. Good luck with life man.

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog post, and one in which I can relate to heavily.

I played and became obsessed with it from the day it was released until late last year, so almost 2 years of total dedication.

If you allow it to be, it is incredibly destructive to your life; its difficult to ignore.

I lost my wife to the game and many sleepless nights.

I forced myself to quit and I will never play the game again, but I do have some great memories from the early days when it was new.

But I also have a ton more bad & negative ones.

Anonymous said...

I just recently quit all the games I was addicted to. It was so hard. I had been playing world of warcraft for 2 years, and runescape for 4 years. I tried for a whole year to quit, but I just kept saying to myself "eh ill just go back to the game real quick to see how everyone is (all my online friends in my clan/guild) I ended up addicted for another 6 months, and now I finally quit.

This is what I found helpful. Give a very trusted real life friend your password for your account on any MMORPG's and other addicting games you play. Then when you want to quit, just have that friend change your password for you. Then you will never be able to play again.

Addicting games are like drugs. Once you've had someone help you take the "drug" away, you will probably become angry, and will NEED it back. You will literally suffer withdrawl, and will be very angry with your frined for a short period of time. Then you will slowly realize that your life is now free, and you will thank him alot.

Anonymous said...

To all the people that say "with responsibility you can play this game and have a great time" thats true.
I will now go and tell all the alcoholics that with responsibility they too can enjoy alcohol. It's not the brewers fault they are addicted and shit, if I can handle it, then so should they!

After speaking to developers that admit that they have psychologists on the payroll to define what would help to make people "keep coming back" I truly believe that the corporations have a responsibility as well. This is BIG business. They want you hooked and for those that are vulnerable, then they will be sucked in. However, if you are one of the lucky ones do not berate the ones that aren't.
However, I also believe that there is a choice. If people have told you to cut back, if your loved ones have told you that you are neglecting them and yet you choose to stay addicted, then it is your fault. If you choose instead like many people to get back to RL then that's great.

Anonymous said...

Like so many others, your words captured exactly how I felt when I quit.

While it is true that WoW itself can't really be blamed, I can certainly say it's a catalyst for much of the addiction and the consequences of such. It is also a catalyst that isn't as readily visible as such, unlike alcohol, drugs, and the like; such addictions are relatively documented, unlike game addiction. As an addict myself, thank you for posting something like this up.

Hopefully others who are in danger of it can wake up too.

Ivora said...

Thanks for the post. I also have been thinking of quiting playing my MMORPG, however, I like playing it. I've tried to quitting and had successflly quit for months only to fall in the same trap. So, from there I know total quitting is not the answer. Only balance and discipline.

Anonymous said...

good read... i am on the verge of buying this game and now am starting to think maybe i should stick to counter-strike. but i think i am one person that doesnt get addicted. i have to much going for me socially like footy and school and friends. so that might be a reason to have a quick go at it but am still abit worried.....
also the 15 US$ a month is shocking... they could make it that to create an account and everyworker for blizzard would be a millionaire but they are greedy.....

thanks alot -taYz._^

Anonymous said...

It's really quite demoralising. WoW offers an escape from reality which alot of people say 'sucks', but there are alot of points from reality that apply to wow. If you leave noone will care, world keeps turning. You can never win, you can never be great and if you get into a position that holds even a little powere peopl still will not notice til you point it out. infact wow sucks just as much as real life XD. i've given it up now, and i'm missed only by one person who i'll probably never meet. sad ain't it?

Anonymous said...

grats on beating the game bro

Anonymous said...

I read the "original" posts of this blog and a lot of the responses ( they were way too many to read them all :P )

The fact is that i still believe after reading all this what i said once and a m8 playing atm WoW too was making laugh out of me, and this is that everyone has his own perspective of the game. What this means? That it doesn't matter how "addicted" you are in the game for the rest, but how u feel about ur time spended in it personally.

WoW is like most of the hobbies an "i like to get addicted to my hobbies" person can have. Though it has a rly big difference and this is the real human relationships, so it gets a bit more complicated than reading, making models or other kind of hobbies. As for the time spended on it needed from the game "end-raiding" concept, i agree that it requires a lot time, but still no-one rly obliges any1 to spend all this time. It is up to everyone in person to choose how to spend his time. I have said many times that RL>WoW, but the main reason for me is that RL's "drama" is more interesting most of the times than the one in WoW ( so more addictive too imo )!!!

And yes atm i have some free time at work, and that's why i am siting and write all these bshit! Yea i am "bored" from my RL now so i "prefer" to spend my time writing about WoW and how addictive it can be ;) It sounds ironic and it is after all. Someone that tend to get addicted in his|her hobbies won't find any kind of salvation with quiting WoW. The only thing he|she can find out is that can have a far more mass variety of addictions! This can be good only if time spent in WoW isnt enjoyable any more, but if it is then why quit?

Ofc someone can say; "Hey, what about all the interesting things u might miss, cuz of playing WoW, as travels, meeting friends, having a gf, etc, etc". But the thing comes to its real point then imo. We are talking about how everyone manages his personal "free" time. And whether we like it or not WoW is by far , from what i experienced till now at least, the cheapest way to spend ur free time and enjoy it enough in same time. That's why it is so addictive imo, cuz anyone can have a rly enjoying time like 25 hours out of 35 spend per week for WoW with 12 euros per month. Do the calculations how much money u will need to actually "enjoy" 100 hours per month trying to do something else :P

I might sound now wierd with my last comment, but heck this is my own perspective about the game, and i rly believe that in the capitalistic system we live atm, we don't have much options of enjoying our free time without being fucking rich at the same time. They are really few and we should all go for them, in the extend we can afford them ;) So trying to figure out why WoW is addictive, why it ruins ppls life, why it "requires" so much of ourselves, why we should quit, why we should start playing it in first place it is kinda meaningless. The real question is as Clint said : "Do u feel lucky punk?" If u do, enjoy the time given to u, if not go wank. :F

Thats my 2cents


SpamBot said...

good article, found it from a nasty rebuttal on a WoW site.
Don't let the people who say it was your fault get you down. Well written.
Good luck with the rest of your life.

Anonymous said...

Holy fucking shit dude, you're complaining that something is to fun? What the fuck is the matter with you dumbass?

Emil Vissing said...

Thanks for writing such an awesome article.

Much love <3

Anonymous said...

Some people have addictive and obsessive personalities. Some do not.

The same goes for lots of things. You see all those skinny people out there? They don't have a problem with overeating, or they overcame one they had. See all the chunky or obese people? They have a problem that is ingrained into their personality. Its something they have to fight. There's a lot of them.

I personally have an addictive personality with everything I lay my hands on. Not until WoW have I actually gotten involved in something truly addictive. Plastic models, exercise, reading, all those things aren't psychologically addicting. But when you combine WoW with and additcive and obsessive personality, as MANY people have, watch out.

I feel your pain man. This article has really made me think about trying to sell my Paladin.

Anonymous said...

WOW... a game i thought i would hate, being a hardcore HALO 2 lan party throwing maniac. Now after playing for about 8 months i realize that i dont even consider WOW to be a game at all. WOW is simply a way to challenge myself, and my dedication to something most would say is a waste of life. People say you are addicted to the game. Well if they want to put it that way then i could say that i am also addicted to brushing my teeth is that a bad thing? Most would say no. So Y is WOW the enemy to so many people. Simply because others who are not capable of experiencing self gradification at the level that most WOW players recieve it, cant understand the reason people become so engrosed in a stupid illusion. What i have to say about WOW is simply this. The game is awesome in so many ways. It is not for the undedicated, or unintelligent. It is for that someone who understands that the people who love them are far more important than some GAME. So if you arent this someone then then i strongly advise to never play this game. Before u can master this game u must first master yourself and that my friend is a quest with far better loot than wow can ever give you. So yes this guy is that someone.:)

Amber said...

When I went home for the holidays around christmas (no internet on the farm...) It dawned on me, why was I doing the hardcore raiding guild? I wasn't having fun anymore and the work going in because I was an officer was a major problem that I just never realized.

I joined the fun family guild my bf and RL friends were in (WHY had i ditched them for raiding ...) And now I'm completely relaxed, I go out again, and am having a lot more fun and health(ier) social life.

All the worst situation posts on here seem to come from officers, GL's, or those in the high end guilds. I would advise to avoid them in general.

Anonymous said...

Awesome story, not exactly same deal with me. I used to be like that, but instead of quiting, i just play less. Usually about 3-5 hours a week, and I never play on weekends.

Adding this page to my fav's

Anonymous said...

Hi, just look at the responses... It happened to me like this: my wife started playing. I was angry at her at first, because i really hate the idea of paying for the game EVERY freakin month. Then i tried it. Became addicted. And i mean.... i never reached lvl 60. I made it to 15! And i know when i am addicted. Simple facts. You play 12 hours in row during weekends, you play until 4am in the morning during workdays. You install the game on your work laptop! OMG... And then it happened! A saving Glitch! Blizzard has made a crappy game that has some mny glitches in it that i just ran out of patience. You see, one moment i could not collect any quest items. I have no idea why. And if i asked other players, what do they know about this glitch it was all "who cares, your problem". The other thing that pissed me off was RUNNING AROUND. OMG how much time was spent on just RUNNING AROUND in the game. it was horrible. WHY can't they do it like Oblivion or smth? Anyway, I quit. First I thought i'm gonna check out rival games to Blizzards (there should be some). Found this website and.... oh, well. I see it so well. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

So far everyone here has made a good point or two...except for the damn jack asses that want to do nothing but log on here and beat down people that are doing no more than being rational...but w/e, here are my 2cents...

I've been an on and off player for Wow for a couple years now. I have quit twice and resumed playing before the third. Personally, I like the game because it kills time and yeah, its fun to be apart of a world far different than your own...WoW is definitely a nice escape from the trouble of the real world. I personally use it and have had guild mates in my guild that use it just for that. But, as many have pointed out; that is not completely rational. People are so desperate to find a better world they forget they can make their world better. Presently I am 17 years old stuck in a cubicle at an internship that has very little work for me to do. I don’t have the opportunities or the freedom many of ya'll do; though, I do have the rational that still many that are 20x’s as old as me have yet to acquire. I play video games cuz they r a nice escape and nice way to have fun. But I haven’t forgotten about the real world. Personally, I like video games so much that I want to bring an aspect of them to the real world, I have made it my life goal to build an airship (like what you see in Final Fantasy and/or what not). The way I figure it, the most fun way to live in this world would be to fly around and hardly ever having to touch the ground; something that is not entirely impossible...a place of freedom and where hardly anyone could lay a hand on you or bring you down.; that is how I want to make my life better, and hopefully many other people’s lives after me.

And of course, not everything needs to be on that large of scale to make one’s life more entertaining. I have many years ahead of me and have the fortune of still having a college career to get the education I need to pull off such stuff.. But everything can be changed, anything can be altered. All of you that use games like WoW to run away should play the game in small doses to give yourselves a good break. But don’t forget, you can make your real life better. Think of everything you can do, set your mind to it and it can be done...people don't think that is true, but take it from a kid who's been dealt many heavy blows in his life…it really is….

I am a guild leader, and I have run into someone who has kids and a wife but yet plays what seems to be 24/7...I dont know where his kids and wife are...I dont know when he plans to spend time with him...but I dont think he has yet. And yeah, that blog of yours, it is true. That hit me a couple months after...that when y helping people in game your practically killing them out of game...when a little girl (about 12) complained to me about her parents not letting her play, not even during the summer...I played it off like her parents were being semi reasonable (while yeah the lil girl could be doing something better over her summer it never hurts to let her play a video game everyone once in awhile) ..but I can’t help but to think of how I should’ve done the same for the guy despite knowing what I and another guildie had figured out. While I didn’t encourage him to play as often as he did..I didn’t dare tell him not to. I should of though.

It’s a simple solution I believe…just do not forget that you have the ability to make anything you want better, take the break you need and for however long you need to to get back on your feet. Just get on your feet and do not forget, that WoW (and what other escape you have) is just a break. For those who play WoW to run away…remember its only a break, there is always something better waiting for you in the real world…and you are not going to find it sitting on the computer never seeing the light.

For those of you that play just to play…have fun…enjoy it. If you’re an adult…knock yourself out, that’s pretty cool that you play video games. Just don’t forget about your families. There have been a few stories of infants dieing because of neglect from parent due to WoW….that is ridiculous. It is hard to see people that I am supposed to look up to turn something that should be innocent and fun into something as low as a drug. And if your playing it to get away from a job that sucks…go find a better job or work to make your job easier/ better before resorting to WoWing it off all day and all night. An hell, don’t lose sleep over WoW if you cant afford it.

If you’re a kid, don’t play WoW as a main source of entertainment. There are better things to do, even if you have few friends. Go make more, go pick up a sport and make more friends there or something. Teach yourself something new when you can. Hell, go take walks in mall or shopping center that is nice and just think about life or try to meet people. I regret not doing half the things I didn’t do because I played WoW. It’s addicting to make your character better and the time and effort put into it seems worth it…but try it on yourself. Make yourself better.

Now, one more thing, I am not going to be na├»ve and say everyone that plays WoW has issues or should be doing something else. The issue is about self-control. WoW is a video game like every other one, some people like them, some people don’t. But just be sure to play it like all the other video games (assuming you paly all non mmorpgs pretty healthily). Play it in some of your free time, stay up late some nights if want to have fun. After all, most of it is all in good fun. There are such things as healthy addictions. And WoW can be one of them, it can be ok to play for a lot of time, just make sure your life can afford it, make sure you are not missing out on anything, and make sure your WoW life is not your real life…

Look this all seems corny, and many of my teen colleagues would call me a over dramatic for this stuff…but w/e….I am a varsity soccer player and I have many friends from several different kinds of groups of people and have the high goals in mind for my life. I’ll let no one bring me down….and to any of you fools that dare to try to make comments after mine that resort to bringing down anyone that posted rational comments or attempts to be helpful, just go outside an enjoy w/e the heck is going on out there. Really, you want to insult and bring down people for “not having a life” or being over emotional on a forum and accusing them of having too much time on their hands? Look at yourself; you sit on a computer everyday to surf a forum, not to receive help or advice about your real life or to try to be a help to others, but to cut down people. That’s just sick. Get a Life…..

-D.M.G (for those that care to be in a casual guild that just doesn’t prioritize WoW, message Finirynth on Maelstrom…happy to help any that need it)

annerose said...

These comments have been invaluable to me as is this whole site. I thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Its not the game that wrecks lifes, its how far people take it and how much time you choose yourself's to spend on it.

Games dont wreck lifes - People wreck their own lifes :o

Anonymous said...

WoW is ridiculous, I Played it for 3 years throughout every damn instance except for black temple now, its gettin worse and worse as the more dungeons come out and the game progresses. It's sad now that you have to do soo much to get the littlest thing.

Anonymous said...

I am losing my boyfriend to the game now. When we first starting dating he kept it pretty well under wraps, now it is all out in the open. I feel neglected and I am almost ready to get out. This game is addictive even to the most highly intelligent person, as he is. I still can't believe the hours he spends behind the computer playing this awful game. He communicates more efficently with his guild than me. The hardest part is understanding that it isn't me, it is the game. Thanks for blogs such as this one to help us (that don't game) understand...

Anonymous said...

You should consider forwarding your story on a psychological website or magazine.It is a great write-up that I would like to see used someday. There is so few research outlets for WoW addiction at this point in time, and therefore few people can get the help they need. Being an Ex-WoW Addict myself, your story was inspiring. :)

Anonymous said...


All the thoughts you've had while quitting are nearly exact or atleast 90% the same as mine!
I've also quitted now, or well its about 3 months ago.

And again, youre friends dont care if you screw it up, they still like you for who you are and not for what you do :)

Goodluck in the future.

Deejai - 70 Paladin - Gilneas - Raid Leader said...

Theres more to it than that though...

sure... you say all the bad things that have happened, and will happen to other people... but what about all the good things still to it? There are friends (which you says once), and the feeling of success isnt a false feeling. In the end its a game, sure, but hell, so is baseball. Are you going to tell me the people who win a baseball game are going to "feel a false sense of success"? ... no. If you put them side by side, you will see:
1. They are both games
2. There are great friends you work with on a team to accomplish things
3. You feel good when you do good, and it isnt a false feeling of success.

Dont get me wrong, i agree with some of what you say, but you have a very straight-forward way of thinking, and dont really open your eyes more than you want to.

Deejai, 70 paladin, Raid Leader of "The Bane"

CreditGal said...

People are getting obsessed with WarCraft. Seriously. All my brother talks about is WarCraft. And he is almost twenty. I think he is old enough to get a life.

JaredW said...

I totally agree and I played to be "the best". I found this out, when after having fights with someone love, that I could no longer play this game with them. It sucks though, because they've been playing for 2 years and I asked them to stop with me. The happiest moment, was when I saw him click the cancel account button on the god forsaken webpage. Even though IRL, I have life advantages over him, I was jealous of him in game because he has seniority and experience in the game that I wouldn't have. I essentially told my guild (whom I love) "It's been nice, but WoW is ruining my life. I'm tired of being someone I'm not." I hope they come with me.

Anonymous said...

Finally you saw the light....

(a loud applause noise, as well as myself standing up out of my chair claping 26 or 27 times for individuals such as myself)

hopefully this will echo to many of my addicted friends....

Thank you

Anonymous said...

From my experience, some of the people who are drawn in the most, (who have the hardest time with controlling their play time), are the ones who have the mentality of doing what it takes to be the best.

They compare their characters to others and realize there is room for improvement, realize someone else is better than them, and they want to be as good as they are.

Many of them also come from games that have endings, where putting in enough long hours will make you the best and that's it. It's over and you may have the choice to play again at a harder level of difficulty...

It's a hard lesson to learn for some that WoW (any MMORPG in general) isn't like that. The games are designed to not have concise endings. The games are designed to have a myriad of activities to pursue.

It is up to the individual to set their own goals to persue and realize that it will take time.

So if you want to participate, like any long-distance race, you must pace yourself, or you will burn out.

-Gorefiend Server

Anonymous said...

Another detrimental element of MMO's (WoW and EQ in particular) is that of guild commitment.

It is a pyschological thing ... being a member of a guild that does group activities. You feel responsible to them and especially as an officer/co-leader, it is not uncommon to feel important and also responsible for the guilds success and the overall happiness of it's members.

Members are often needy, and though they may be adults, members often look up to officers for advice on any topic under the sun, not just game related. Officers are responsible for resolving disputes between guild members, and end up taking on the role of a boss, etc.

Often while pursuing this social commitment, one forgets this is only a game. In my opinion, it is these people who lose themselves the most to the game, and sacrifice the most, because they feel they have created real bonds with people, to later realize the bonds were not there, and that really the guild and it's members were in a way using them.

Many guild members join a guild to help themselves see more of the game once they have exhausted the single-player aspect. They are there for the ride, but are not putting in the commitment the officers are.

It is about perspective. IMO, the people who end up neglecting too much of their life are doing it because they are letting themselves get too wrapped up in their guild.

Officers have to deal with so much bullshit... people constantly complaining, or wanting to back seat drive while not really contributing anything else but their thoughts.

Yes you need to work together to accomplish team-oriented activities, but one must constantly be aware that in doing so, and especially in becoming an organizer (taking on responsibility for other people) they are turning this into more than a game for themselves.

They want to be reliable. They want to do the right thing. They think they can't back out because people really depend on them.

But it is just a game. Go into it with your eyes wide open. No player should have these feelings, or bring these feelings and responsibilities upon themselves.

That is where they go wrong.

Perhaps, the real problem and warning that should raised in this discussion is the dangers of getting socially involved with people in these games.

Without it, there is no "addiction".

-Gorefiend Server

Chris said...

Fantastic blog entry. Well-written, hard-hitting, and extremely engaging. I found it interesting to see the author's perspective...I have never played WoW, but I had heard horror stories about the effects of the game on the quality of life of people all over the place.

WarMage said...

Well said all, I started playing another MMO game over a year ago, and then moved onto WoW in February, with some others in the guild from the other MMO, at first I was spending at least 4.5 hours a day during the week and more at weekends to try to get my chars upto 70. The guildwe joined was excelent but the people I moved over with started to change in subtle ways, why, I hope I never find out and good luck to them, I had to go away for 4 weeks for work and I realised during that time what you were talking about, I am trying to get a social life again outside of the game, I have gotten a new job and am glad of it because it is forcing me to stop looking at the forums etc for 2 - 4hours a day during work hours.
I really pity those who have stayed in and look at the forums from work let alone play them at work! I hope they do not get the sack for it, though they probably think they are in the right for doing it! as well as those who had there screaming kids in the background when on voice chat??? (how to bring up your kids to respect society 101)
I enjoyed my time in MMO'2 but I do not think that I will be coming back to them anytime soon because I prefer a game that has an ending and if it hasn't then I prefer to play where there is not so much backstabing as there can be in some realms and in some mMO's.

Any how everyone have fun in whatever you want to do.

Anonymous said...

I have a few (former?) friends who've been playing WoW since the beta days. I'm astonished they're still at it. Problem is they have no self-control either, and they're playing for hours on end every day. Some of them have girlfriends, but they've talked them into playing it as well. Whether that's a good or a bad thing I'm not sure. At least they won't lose their girlfriend over it. But I've lost a few friends. As I can't engage myself in playing MMORPGs, I feel I don't have anything in common with them any more. Before we used to do all sorts of things togehter, now nothing. I can only hope they snap out of it, I can see it hasn't been healthy for them.

Anonymous said...

Your right on the nail,

WoW ended my 6 year relastionship in 4 months. My girlfriend became and still is totally addicted to the game she started staying on the game till 3-4am everyday and going opn it every time she could, All she does on the game is RP with other people (fliting). She left me and two kids she says for someone that she meet on the game and says she loves him even though she has never meet him. And she RP (FLRITING) with 4 or more other people. Since we have split though things hav gotting worse with her and this game addiction. She has not been in work for 6 weeks just so she can play on the game and she does 24/7. She on it the moment she weaks up, doesn't eat or go out does come to see her kids or pick them up from school. And u think she would want to as the kids don't live with her. Shes on it all day till about 5-6 am goes a sleep for 3-4 hours and then is right back on the game. She has truely lost it but u can not tell her that. It gottin so bad that when a new kitchen was getting fitted the workmen had to turn the electric of she Kicked off on them calling them alkinds.

I thank time restriction should be placed on the game to help stop people getting so addicted.

Ur Blog is great glad u got out.

Anonymous said...

I had been with my girlfriend for almost 4 years we were getting on great with plans for marrage, we played wow together to pass time, moved to cyprus from the UK everything was fine, until we started playing more and more. Last week she left me without even talking to me and sent me a text message that she had moved to sweden with an epic shadow priest. This game has ruined my life :( The priest had come to cyprus helped her pack her clothes and PC and paid for her ticket to sweden where she now plans to live.

Anonymous said...

Ah this brings back memories.

Vertclychlgd lvl 60 mage. Born January 2005. Played 6-8 hours a week during senior year of high school. Then college started. Vert dinged 60 in November 2005. By this time I was playing 6-7 hours a day. I came back to the dorms after class and log on. My first year friends intervened with me, I lost opportunities with girls, and ruined the one relationship I had in the bag. I almost left college to go back home and play. On winter break I took a bit of a hiatus. But as soon as school started in January, I played everyday, more vigorously going up to 10 hours a day. I remember being in one of those AV games that lasted 2 days. I was in it for almost 10 hours. My next door neighbor dropped out of school. He had a general rogue and a 60 warlock.

From February 2006 -> October 2006, I joined a guild, eventually became mage captain and got to BWL. In October I left and joined a higher raiding guild to see Naxx.

I met amazing people who i still talk to. But I lost out on freshman year of college. My time to break out from my shell, I stayed in. I role played with a female, lost some good friends and
learned alot about myself. I remember some Saturday's I would wake up at 9:00am and I'd look up at the time and it was 11p.m.

I lost 15 lbs due to not eating and playing wow. I went to parties seldomly, and one time, a girl wanted me to take her back to her room, and I decided to head back to my room and play.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Think about this:

Making paper airplanes can ruin your life if you let it. Don't be a dumbass and play games in moderation. I'm glad you finally came to a realization a YEAR LATER, but if you'd been smart about it in the first place it wouldn't matter. I have played World of Warcraft and I personally don't think it's that fun.

Just keep your head on. Blame yourself instead of a game.

Acceptance is the first step.


Anonymous said...

Your blog was wonderful! I can totally relate, i was hooked on - believe it or not- MapleStory for 2 and a half years! I spent countless hours on it and it was murder keeping my grades up. I had to give it up this year and I feel so free now, and I'm glad I get to be with my friends again.

Thanks for sharing your story!


Anonymous said...

I wish my bf would read this but he won't pay enough attention to read it, feels like I'm yelling if I try to share your experience

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, and by looking at most peoples comments, i can see that they are still addicted to some form of online fantasy game.

I feel sorry for the gentleman that stated that he plays EQ and raids 5 nights a week while still fitting in his childrens events. I really dont think he understands.

Childen rely on new experiances to learn and to be socially active , especially when they reach adult hood.

By Raiding 5 nights a week, i very much doubt that you are taking your kids to places that challenge their perception of the world they live in, or to enrich their childhood with memories that they will cherish for many years to come.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, been there, 2 years rl, 8 level 70 characters, epic mounts, 6 guilds, 3 officer positions....

The first time I read this it didn't even make a dent...

Thank you.

-Your Mirror Image

Anonymous said...

May I give you another point of view? I am so sorry for the people who have lost friends or loved ones to games. However, those friends or loved ones would probably have left anyway due to another catalyst if it is in their heart to do so. These online games make it way easier to meet people and change relationships, thats all.

I met my current husband on an MMO. He saved my life from an abusive situation in which I would have died if I had stayed. That is a positive meeting that couldnt have happened without this venue.

I also want to tell you that my life is not very good even now. Things which I will not detail have happened which are extremely traumatic for me. I spend my days in WoW playing my beautiful BE mage. All day from the moment I get up to the moment my husband comes home to be with me. Then we play together. This is our hobby.

This game makes me forget the tragedy that is my life, it makes me forget my pain and my disappointment. It lets me be a healthy and beautiful creature that can never die, and can accomplish great things if she spends a bit of time on it. There is no "CANT" in WoW. There is only "DO". Unlike the real world that beats you down to a pulp no matter how hard you try to "DO".

A different perspective to consider. If I didnt have this game, I would most likely have commited suicide by now but my ingame friends and adventures give me something to look forward to daily.

Anonymous said...

To the poster above me:
So you hide on an MMORPG and make it your reason to live? What a sad life, I suggest you go commit suicide now.

Did you read what you typed? It's exactly the same thing drug addicts say! Stop being such a self piteous weakling and get outside and do something about your life. By life, I don't mean your wow character.

Looks like you've got enough money to buy a computer and pay for your wow subscription, OH HOW TERRIBLE YOUR LIFE IS O_O

To robustyoungsoul:

I'm glad you quit, I was in your exact same situation 3 years ago, back when the best endgame instance was BWL.

My friends said I looked cancerous and that I'd completed wasted away. /80 days played within a mere 6 months will do that to you.

I don't think wow's a bad game though, I think it's one of the most AMAZING games ever created, it's just that some people like us are prone to getting addicted to games like these that have no end.

You just gotta recognise that it's a weakness that you have and deal with it by staying away from these sort of games.

Anonymous said...

I've played for over 3 years and I think I might have 100 days combined on all my characters together. I spend more time sleeping in one year than all the time I've played wow. I don't think it is time wasted at all. I had a lot of fun playing with some great people and I never neglected my family (mostly on the account of me being away from them for the past 3 years).

I learned early on that raiding sucked. I would never be able to have the super uber gear. Then I discovered PVP. That is where it is at. There is this sort of high you get from killing another player and knowing that on the other end of the ones and zeros someone is pounding their keyboard in anger.

Sadly though, it is losing its luster. I'm not as good as I used to be, now the fist pounding is reaching my end. Now I'll just play until my wife gets here to live with me (then it will be another kind of pounding).

Anonymous said...

I think that people who are playing just don't know what else they can do. They don't have their own way. It's much easier to live in the game, but not in a real life. I think they need to find their motivation for living. They need to know that they can be useful in the real world...

Raider said...

Some people who play WoW 'can' turn out like this fellow, BUT it is likely due to his/her own deficiencies, rather than the game itself.

I am part of a top 50 world guild and we raid 3 to 4 days a week. I pvp-grind and farm for fun, and we have been farming T6 content for the sake of challenging ourselves to improve from the previous week. We push the limits and try to get a higher DPS total on WWS, and we also enjoy chatting w/each other during raid nights. It is a stable guild with very rare turn-over. Everything said and done, I thoroughly enjoy this game.

I also am a full-time physician, am married, and have an active social life. We do not raid on weekends, and I do not raid all night. End game be done at the highest level without one hurting their profession, social life, and basic self. It takes balance, as do many things in life.

This is a game that I enjoy, and I fit it into my schedule. I do not let others peer-pressure me into doing more than I can/want to do, and, in game, I have enjoyed the challenges and friendships that have been created.

I do not believe the OP speaks for us all. If one is able to set goals and restrictions for themselves (as they should do w/anything in life), WoW can be enjoyed at any level. It does not take close to 10 hours/day at all, at least in my experience.

Anonymous said...

I wish my ex-boyfriend had read this blog when it was first written. I finally was forced to break things off a few days ago because I was tired of being hurt by his preference for another life—in Warcraft. We had other issues as well, but this was the major reason. All these stories I’ve been reading are so frigging sad. I actually played WoW with him for a period of 10 months a few years back, but pulled myself out because I was so ashamed of alienating my family. I know at one point he wanted to come with me, but he was claimed all over again... and now it’s over. We were together for over 5 years. What a waste. I wish it had been another woman—then it wouldn’t be so humiliating when friends ask me what happened. Just another story to add to the hundreds, probably thousands out there that are in the same vein.

Makey Gibraltar said...

Im a 14 year old boy (13 whilst I played and quit WoW) Look, we all know about WoW. You can't beat it etc etc .. at such a young and tender age it had such a detrimental effect on my school life it was unimaginable. I moved down groups, failed tests and was averaging 15%. It eats you up. I have tears in my eyes reading this. Yet still, I imagine myself killing mobs over the coast of Tanaris, and Chatting with friends whilst im in a dungeon. Don't get me wrong its a great game, I met great friends (one which mother has has died and im killing to speak to !! ) But look at all the bad things. Some people say its like Everquest. In 5-6 years theirs gona be no one on WoW like Everquest. But thats not the case, never gona happen, with the Lich King coming out, you have no chance. WoW made me violent when I was branded a ' geek ' .. I hit my sisters and pretended I was my hunter (Gargoid) Using my Arcane Shot .. On my way to STV My PC crashed and what happend to me was unimaginable, I went balistic. There are much more stories about WoW eating you up, your poor helpless heart, I'm glad i quit. I got addicted. Yes, its a fact. People have had their marriages ruined because of WoW, they have been arrested because of WoW, they have killed people because of WoW. One solution. One answer. Quit Now Before WoW quits you.

James Makey (Gibraltar)

Anonymous said...

I am glad to know that someone took a step back and looked at all the time worked on for a "virtual" goal. What is really left to show after all that time? I too plan to just walk away and find other things to do in life after playing WoW for 2 years. It is a fun game but not fulfilling. I think about getting "face time" which means hanging with my real friends in personal real space.
I have enjoyed playing but I am now thinking of all the things I promised myself I would do "when I had the time". I need to make the time. I can use the 20 hours a week doing something productive like making money and taking those trips to other countries I have dreamed of. I met nice people in the game but the poster is correct in saying that when you leave, who remembers or cares? That is not a friend folks, just someone you are playing a game with.
For those who keep calling others "losers" I can bet what you must look like and all those things you claim you accomplish are probably made up as much as your virtual hero/heroine is. Ya I got a degree and help destitute mothers and children and found the answer to some incurable disease and I STILL played 40 hours a week on WOW! Maybe the people who are leaving the game just figured out that it is "just a game" and not a substitute for "actually" climbing a real hill to see a real mountain and breath real air and maybe see a real animal in the wild.
Your low level comments sound like all the teen wannabe's in the game that like to type U SUCK so often. How about you get a perspective? Oh wait if you can't see it on your computer it isn't there right?
Bravo for those who decide it is time to do something more productive. If you spent as much time investing your money and monitoring and reading about your companies you might actually be rich someday! Thanks for the post.

Simone said...

I know this entry was written ages ago, but I am so happy I found it. Anyone who says that gaming isn't addictive has their head up their ass and can't grasp that what might not be a problem for one person can be hugely problematic for someone else. I'm currently trying to quit WoW - my 5th time - and I don't know if I can do it. Most people think that video game addiction is in the realm of males - think again. I'm a 34 year old (female) flight attendant and, sadly, a former writer (playing WoW has sapped me of all motivation and ambition), and I sometimes think that I'm going to die in this game. My health has gone to shit due to my one-meal-a-day diet of starchy/fatty foods and (gasp!) low fat milk, I'm obese, I seldom leave the house, and I have been known to play up to 17 hours in a day. The Burning Crusade expansion has made it necessary to grind endlessly for rep, and it's more like a full time job than it is a game. I wish there were more resources out there to help coax those of us who are hopelessly lost in a fantasy world back out into the real world.

dear prudence said...

Like the previous post (this year!) 2008, I am also so grateful to have found this mediation on World of Warcraft. I am also in the process of my 4th or 5th "quit" but I feel like after reading "The View From the Top" it gave me so many more ways to see why I should stick to it.

My husband and I had always avoided guilds, mostly because my husband despised them--I always believed I would enjoy the camaraderie, the help, the atmosphere of excitement--team spirit if you will--of what the guild appears to provide. Thankfully, I guess I should say, it was finally joining the guild that may help me quit this addiction forever for many of the reasons the author of the article discussed. I am a stay at home mom--and by definition I am a person that does not get to "leave" my house often--I felt that by getting to "go" to Azeroth I was fulfilling my longing to be out in the social world. Or maybe this is a justification I developed over the years--regardless, the straw that broke me was being unceremoniously dumped (with my hubby) from a raid with my "guild" because we were deemed the most "ineffective" and the GL needed us to wait outside while he brought in "stronger players" to finish the job. I cried real tears. I logged off immediately, froze my account (it happened to be expiring that hour) and left for good.

It looks and feels ridiculous as I type it out here. The whole thing does. Through Yeager's friend I realize the GL was probably trying to just appease the people that were most likely whispering him relentlessly about the few players that were not wearing the *right* gear (perceived as weak) or however it can be described. It was humiliating. And we have 3 kids so we would qualify as "casual" players, I suppose...permanently in the much maligned "PUG" (pick-up-group) groups, but we managed to play enough to have fun.

I agree wholeheartedly with the author that the game should end--that the "end game" style of play only fosters superiority complexes and ceaseless pressure to put more hours into farming, raiding, heroic dungeon daily questing...it is thankless. I'm shocked that people are going to be willing to keep up the grind until the next expansion comes out...I can only hope I will not be called back to WoW's siren song when I am faced with in 10-12 months from now.

Anyway, thanks again for the perspective. It helped.

Anonymous said...

I started playing WoW Dec. 1st 2006...played for a few months, took a break until summer of 2007, picked it back up just a week ago. I'll summarize the feelings/emotions of the significance of caution in my getting back into WoW...

Most people that get involved with MMORPG's want an escape from reality. It's an outlet, a break from the norm, something they can just melt into for a few hours and unwind. An incredible game such as WoW does several things to provide you with exactly what the author mentioned earlier...a sense of accomplishment.

Imagine the down-and-outer...job-hopping, living check to check, some real friends, no girlfriend, shaky relationship with family, no real career, etc. Now imagine when he has a few lvl 70 characters, epic mounts, serious gold/items in his guild bank, is relied heavily upon for raiding, recruiting, organization and daily maintenance of the guild, helping level the new people, and he also scrounges up what he can to pay for a 25-person vent server's monthly fee. Would you ever think this person would leave WoW altogether and pursue his "life" outside the game? Probably not.

WoW provides a sense of accomplishment, importance, significance, even co-dependency tendencies of friendships, both platonic and even romantic. Once asked of my friend who re-appeared on vent one day after quitting Knight Online for 3 weeks, as to why he was back....he said "my wife said she'd take the kids and divorce me if I didn't quit this game completely....I said 'no'...so she's gone, let's PvP'".

WoW is not to blame whatsoever. The game is simply an engine of several parts; 768 Meg video card, processing graphics, images, colors and full-motion OPEN-GL source coded effects to a CRT/LCD/Plasma screen, receiving audio signals from the software engine...piped in via 10Meg cable connection to a dynamic game server. It's all just electronics. The twist is....there are millions of REAL people that you're interacting with, not just the bits and bytes of the software.

The mental capacity, strength of character, discipline and control of the level of complete immersement into this kind of game is absolutely specific to the individual. But, when their real life outside the game is uneventful, slow, below-average with no hopes of a real future or shimmering light on the horizon? WoW provides this for them with the click of a button.

My recent return to WoW has been interesting. I'm only a level 41 gnome mage, I don't have near the gear/equipment/status/epics/gold etc that hundreds of thousands of players do. I do, however, have an amazing wife, beautiful little girl that is my entire world (wife included), and anytime, any place that she would simply say "honey I need you"....I'm there in an instant. If she were to ask me to quit the game for oh...say a month or 4...without question I'd be gone.

This post sheds an amazing light on the delicate tendencies that affect each of us individually when it comes to addictions, and not just to an online game. These addictions are doing something drastic: they are filling a hole in their life, replacing that emptiness with self-worth, dulling the pain they feel or the loss of SOMETHING in their real life that won't go away for the moment, unless they're running through stormwind on their new mount with a few new items they plan on buying from the auction house, their friends are all logging into vent...and before they themselves know it, all their problems seem to melt away to the music and scenery of World of Warcraft.

I applaud the honesty and vulnerability expressed in this blog of those who don't put blame on the game itself, but have the self-awareness to recognize the deeper issue that is dangerously unnoticed or ingored:

WoW is simply a cancerous band-aid to their emotional wounds. The emptiness in their lives is replaced by this alternative lifestyle of cyberspace mixed with relationships and interaction with others, bringing both a possibly healthy and unhealthy side-effect to various individuals regardless of their stability of their own emotional, physical and spiritual state.

For some, WoW is amazing, fun, a brief outlet, builds friendships and relationships that last a lifetime. For others, they lose themselves, the people around them, even their own lives.

Respect the game, respect the power and control it could have over you, and you will respect yourself.

Anonymous said...

Well WoW is a great game and i play it too but i dont spend hours on the computer 24 /7 like people with no lives.. i have a life .. and a girlfriend but i think its a bit stupid as mostly adults play that game i am currently 16 but the stupid thing is dont adults have work to do? because one time i was talking with this girl and she says " oh wait i brb my sons crying i gotta out him to be " and im like :0 wtf how old r u and she says 43 =o wtf !!!!!!

makez said...

Guys the guy above, the level 41 gnome. Incredible speech man, really incredible. Well anyway as I have said i'm a 14 year old who quit wow on the 9th of June and I still can't get over it. I bought the PS3,that didnt help... You look around, people speak WoW..Internet? people speak WoW. Playgrounds? People speak WoW. I currently live in Gibraltar, great place and all but my friends are WoW addicts and has been playing for ages. 98 days played guys, a 14 year old that was only born 1 day before me has spent / wasted 98 days of his life on WoW. And the scary thing is he's 14! Imagine people thrics his age. If ever one day my mother was to die ( the only person alive keeping me from playin WoW ) I would start again... If ever I won the lottery, f**k school and education, Play WoW. It's an addiction, and i've realized the only cure is more gaming. I'm currently waiting for Warhammer online to come out, hopefully It will satisfy me and even if I dont get addicted, help me get over WoW. World of Warcraft, is more addictive than crack... is no exaggeration ;)

Kserijaro said...

I am a game player.I like video games
anime,movies,and music.Whenever I have spare time I use it to do some of the things written above.Or i even paint either on PC or a paper.I like composing poetry too.I went a few years back to see what kind of game it is,since I have a small part job in game reviewing for a magazine. Anyway I started playing with my friend,I went up to lvl 30.And then my nature hits me UP!
I have a problem when I am bored,or simply when doing something pointless.I literary get dizzy and wanna puke.Like poisoning.Have you ever heard of bore poisoning?
That is why i quit WoW,and disclosed to never play MMO again.
At free time I play single games,they last short but are good fun.Considering the friend I started playing with,he still does.He never went to University for that game.And even worse he didn't have time to see me after it.I am telling people to stop playing it,but there is something there I haven't saw,the same thing that made me reluctant to play it,made them addictive.Thank you God!
Similar puke effect went up on me while testing some single player games.I had to trow them in garbage.That is all.

Anonymous said...

I still play but I do my homework to I mean not to brag but i now i wouldn't have all a's if i didn't and even though i am in middle school it still means something. I really don't have any friends anymore becuase they moved away.

Muna wa Wanjiru said...

I found your blog via Google blog search while searching for World of Warcraft Downloads and your post regarding “The View From the Top” looks very interesting to me and it is also very creative. I have a world of warcraft website of my own and I must say that your blog is really good. Keep up the great work on a really high class resource.

Whatever takes your fancy you will find that you have what amounts to an unlimited number of characters in the ridiculously high number of 50 characters. Think about it, 50 characters? Now go even further with the thought that you will also be unable to play with more than one character at a time. It seems unlimited now doesn’t it? Most people will in fact play with more than one character though. This means that they will create a handful of characters, (some people will take full advantage of the complete 50 character allowance). To someone who has not played Warcraft before it might be bewildering to see so many grown men and women immersed in a fantasy where they have to go around looting, plundering and fighting.

Muna wa Wanjiru is a Web Administrator and has been Researching and Reporting on World Of Warcraft for years. For more information on World Of Warcraft, visit his site at World Of Warcraft

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this me and my husband both play wow. He comes home and heads for the computer and is up till time for him to go to bed on weekend s he is on from the time he get up till the time he goes to morning. me i play a few hours a day but there have been times i go weeks with out playing. my husband has it bad though he only talks about wow and plays with our kids when he is on a long flight or waiting for a party member to get back on. he pays me no attention some times. so i know how additive it can be.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line. Blizzard IS partly to blame for this guys. They set a trap. It is impossible to be successful in WOW without playing massive amounts of hours grinding for gear,professions, levels and what ever else they come up with next! Did you catch that? Let me say it again. You CANNOT be successful in that game without playing it for hours. The game moves at a pace that is fast, real time, not causal.

So for you folks that say simply oh this guy got out of hand, Beware, because the first step to addiction is denial. It can happen to you.

Anonymous said...

I have allowed World of Warcraft to ruin my life completely. I am not going to blame Blizzard, or the game. I'm simply going to give my testimony as a warning, like that Ancient Mariner Coleridge wrote about.

I started playing WoW and it was amazing, fun. It was sheer eye candy. The story line was fun, and I liked the tongue-in-cheek cultural references, leveling, figuring it all out- farming.

I became the leader of a guild on a Normal server. I had about 100 people in a small, "laid-back" guild. There were 2 level 70s, mine, and another pally. But soon, we recruited some other people, also adults with seemingly no lives, or lives that were not nearly as interesting as this game.

My time continued to be sucked into a hole because I felt I had to please people, make them feel like everything was fun and happy. I kept trying to come up with new ways to make it fun for people.

But all this time, my wife was being ignored. I kept playing because I thought she was ignoring me, choosing instead to work on home improvements I saw as drudgery.

I am looking around now at the room in my home. It won't be for long. I'm going to go to counseling with her to see if we can save our marriage, but my heart tells me that she's so hurt that there will be no putting things back together. The remorse I feel for having hurt her (because it's all coming tumbling out now) sickens me. I cannot keep food down. I'm going to lose this wonderful person, this home that she tried to build with me, our two dogs who I love like children, and the sense that I've not only let her down, but her family, and my family- people I won't be able to look in the eye because I let a stupid game run me.

I have been a fool. I feel like an idiot. I don't want anyone to ever have to feel as I do- to lose so much for so little.

There is an addictive quality to this game. If you are a type-A personality and like hitting little goals, you're particularly vulnerable, I think. Someone else here wrote that, as your guild grows and you reach towards "end game" you become more and more involved. It is so true. It's inevitable that this game will suck more and more of your time, and that you will disappear entirely.

I've deleted WoW from my machines. I've tossed the install disks. I'm never going back, but I'm also going to be without the one I love dearly. It was not worth this, and I am solely to blame. Yes, I'm a loser, but look beyond that to my story. There are other games out there predicated on "leveling" for better items and powers that will get you an illusory sense of self. Get away from those games if you see the signs. Life is too short, and I've wasted mine. Don't waste yours.

Anonymous said...

ive been playing wow for about 4-5hrs a night for around a year now. I do still enjoy the game but keep gettin urges to quit. I still go out at weekends and have a decent social life but get the feeling i would be better off without WoW. Anyone got any advice cause im not sure if im playing the game a suitable amount etc. cheers.

Mygland said...

I am 15 years old, I've been playing like 2 years. it started with about 4 hours per day, but now i play all the time, i play whenever i can. and if i'm not home i'm thinking of how much honor or what level i could have got of i were home playing. atm i have four level 70, a night elf priest, a draenei shaman, a dwarf warrior, a draenei hunter and a bunch of around level 40 chars. All on the same realm.
Actually i feel kinda bored when i play, but i totally lost my fantasy to do something else.
i know if i delete all my characters i am going to start after a 1 month time again at level 1.
my grades a school are bad. but the was good before i got addicted.
If my mum and dad wont let me play or cut hte power or something i use violence.
It's terrible cause we never stop fighting.
I know i should do some homework for my feauture but i never do it cause i just drawn into the game.
and without wow i loose alot of ingame friends and people i know at school playing wow, without wow i feel like nothing.
Please help me!! btw, i'm from Norway

Anonymous said...

Mygland--I posted here in January and I am 2 months Wow-free. It is worth it to quit. The urgency to run to the computer is gone, and it is a relief. It is hard, too, somedays, when life proves to be ultra ordinary--but it is still better than being a slave to the thankless game. Don't you feel like everyone you play with in-game is burned out too? If I am honest with myself I knew I was bored with the game by the time I completed my second level 70. My suggestion for quitting: uninstall it after a particularly bad evening--burned out players, rude comments--after you quit, try to remember how bored you were--how there was nothing left to accomplish except endless rep gains--I don't know about you, but fire-bombing the bird eggs quest gets so old....definitely made me ask myself what I was doing/what satisfaction I was getting from doing activities like that.

Please quit. I promise your life will improve.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

i used to play and i quit at level 44 cos i saw how drawn in i was getting and soon id be one of those addicts who plays 16 hours a day gd for u ;)

Anonymous said...

i had been an SWG addict ( Alliance ace pilot, lv 90 medic, guild officeR and web site administrator of -FA|TH- (From ashes into heroes), GL of -X- (Exiled Force)...but i quit (actually on cause i ran out of cash, or i never would have stopped) and now play world of warcraft. as long as one uses self control, the game can be a healthy escape from life. and it helped me actually correct some things i was doing wrong or was to afraid to try in RL too.

although it can be addictive. i just got it and was up playing till 4am last nite. but i think i have more self control now...as u can see, im not playing atm

Anonymous said...

I share a story very similar however different in a few small ways. I had with my guild mandated a Tuesday of rest once a week to get people outside and interacting with the family ect. Well soon I noticed that people were using this simple suggestion as a basis for all out mutany. I disbanded the guild I had worked on for a year like your friends only to find it back next week grinding away, its insidious.

Anonymous said...

well mates im also addicted and in past year i had over 2k hrs playtime. the wow complitly apsorbed my social life life to that lvl that i have no social life. my girlfriend have left me, i hardly see my family, hell, i even forgot on my brothers birthday...yea im an addict..
i have just erased all my chars (had 4 70s full epic) and i must say im releaved. hopefully my life will get to normal as it was a year aggo. ty for this posts they rly helped me to make a decision of not playing ww anymore. gl to all who wants to get rid of this nasty habbit

Anonymous said...

I thought WoW was the best thing that happened ever. While currently in college, I have quite a bit of downtime on my hands. This game is pure evil. It makes me sick that a company can ruin people lives and get them to pay real dollars to do so. I currently play WoW but I think it's finally time.... time to unplug myself from this horrid Matrix called World of Warcraft. Hopefully others will awaken from their nightmare as well and do the same.
*Im sorry WoW, we can't be friends anymore.*

Spider63 said...

Pretty amazing story, and I thought it was very well written and very real. I think that for a long time I was addicted to the internet. Newsgroups, Yahoogroups, ebay, etc., and it was amazing how many hours of my life were tossed. As a moderator of groups, I spent many hours trying to provide quality entertainment for people. Even though I was a volunteer, there was zero appreciation and I was usually treated like a waiter or caddy. Very illuminating to read your story!!

Anonymous said...

Hmm... I wonder what this makes me - 2 1/2 years, 7 days a week, 12-16 hours a day. I'm quite scared that one day I will have this epiphany, but it hasn't happened yet.

Freddiestyle said...

Interesting read, just confirms my fear. I played WoW just three times only, but those were three 48 hour sessions (!)
I knew I had to quit early on, thank god for that.

Good luck for all the "addicts" looking to quit. It's going to be hard but you're better off without these all-consuming games.

Anonymous said...

From a person that has been a guild leader, an officer, and a new recruit... this article is such a great read to remind me of all the things I am trying to get away from.

Also, I completely agree with the comments about "how everyone that plays is not a WoW addict" and that "it's an issue of self control"

This article completely entices everything that I have felt during my play. It makes me soooo sad to hear 13-17 year old kids talk about "how I have experienced real life... and it's boring...so I play this game 24/7". If you are not even legal to gamble, drink, or even stay out past midnight... how in the **** can you seriously be THAT BORED OF LIFE!?!

I, as of April 30th, 2008... have been 1 year sober of WoW. I quit smoking weed, cigarettes, and WoW at the same time. The WORST THING that has happened since then is I gained 15 lbs... simply because I still love eating...

Since then, I have met the love of my life... I have been to 7 concerts that I have desired to go too forever, and I have finally gotten stronger by benching 275lbs (my previous high was 230).

I miss WoW so much, only because there is no single experience in gaming that compares to this game... but that is the ONLY thing I miss. When you play a RPG, online of offline... being able to work with others to accomplish a common goal is an amazing feeling.

With that being said... every single day... I miss the game. However, I have now helped 20 people quit the game. It's not easy, it's not great, but seriously... it's the best thing I have ever done. Just like the author said, those friends that you have in real life are REAL friends.

Every time I contact the "in game friends", I get asked when I'm coming back. The fact is, I'm not coming back. The SAD part, is that I have 3 real life friends that have not stopped playing this... and I have not heard from them after 25 phone calls and numerous visits to their job.

If there is any advice I can give after reading this... is to HEED THE ADVICE. Right now, I'm the happiest I have ever been. I also, have lost a couple of amazing women... because I could not give up the game. Since I have quit, life has been so much sweeter. I don't have purples, I don't get to kite 13 dragonkin around in a circle to progress through BWL... and I sure don't get to be top DPS through Twin Emps... but I get laid, I get to see amazing bands... and my friends that I make are real... not just people that are happy because my dps is higher then the pugs they have been in previously.

That was the most amazing blog I have read.... thank you SO much for your post. I'm sending this to everyone I know.

Anonymous said...

Although i didn't play wow, it's still half as addictive: RuneScape. I played 3-4 years and really played A LOT.

I quit together with my brother at the same time so we could "really" quit.

What kept me playing was the fact that you had invested time in it. And if you quit, you will loose your achievements.

But the reality is that you are wasting just more time by still playing it...

Anonymous said...

This is amazing. Great job Yeager, I'm proud of you. I myself just quit playing WoW after a year of intense play. It was frustrating because I wanted to be the best, and I can't be the best without raid gear. The problem was that I had no time to raid. It was frustrating to know that when I would sign on every day, there would always be someone better than me, no matter how much time I put into my character.

Then, I had a realization.
I realized that I had wasted 30 days of the past year doing absoloutley NOTHING! I got nothing positive out of WoW, just isolation and loneliness. I was lucky that I didn't really lose any friends, but I missed some very important moments that I will never get the chance to relive. I hope that my friends will forgive me for being such an ass the past year.

Anyways, I encourage all of you who haven't yet quit WoW to do so, or at least take a break and see how beautiful the world is outside of your bedroom.

With much respect,
The former Hydroxide of Shattered Halls.
Now, just Zack =D

Markus said...

Good Job! :)

Anonymous said...

A little late to this, but the same thing happened to a friend of him. Pretty sad. He spent his entire day playing the game/changing his sleeping patterns so he would be up to be with his group. Thank god he quit playing.

Anonymous said...

Oops, friend of mine* Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. It has probably saved me from a few thousand hours of wasted life. I played another online game called Runescape for three years once. These games are worse than drugs. I'm not upgrading my WoW demo account thanks to this. I have taken your advice and will never play an online game. They are simply too addicting

Sure I could say to myself that I will limit myself, But- I won't. I'll end up playing 25 hours a week(average?) Now I'm going to get on with my life and maybe ill do some good with it instead of wearing out this computer chair

Anonymous said...

Thanks alot for posting this . I lost my fiance and 5 year boyfriend because of this stupid game as he couldn't stop playing. He didn't have time to be with me & that was a real loss. I can't believe that a game has such a power to change peoples' lives.

Anonymous said...

Well done for writing this article. It is accurate and insightful - truly an achievement.

One point you made seemed to be written directly from my mind; that people spend inordinate periods of time working to ''succeed'' at gaining reputation, experience etc. when the actual ''success'' is short-lived, hollow and meaningless.

I myself enjoy playing WoW, but very casually. I don't chase fallacious notions of progress when playing the game. I hope more and more people will learn to achieve a balance in their life when integrating WoW into their schedule.

melvin said...

The view from the top is a height of world of warcraft greatness. Creative thinking space with our superb view of the city.
Crack Cocaine

Anonymous said...

I started playing WoW because a close friend was addicted to it. After years of trying to get his attention, I gave up and figured I'd see what all the fuss was about. I played for 2 years - 7 days a week, sometimes for 16 hours a day. Yet I was still considered a "casual" raider in certain circles. I was also a forum celebrity and quite well known on my server. Toward the end there, I became the target of some vicious forum bashing, and hateful emails. It was constant and extremely hurtful. It was done as a deliberate attempt to drag my reputation to the ground. I spent much of my time online going into damage control, or crying over my keyboard at the injustice of it.

In a way I'm glad it happened. It allowed me to wake up and take my head out of the sand. I took a step back from it and realised I had 23 unanswered messages on my answering machine. I had friends and family I hadn't spoken to in months. I had no food in the house. I hadn't exercised in over a year. I had become a shadow of the girl I used to be.

I have finally quit WoW and I feel like I just woke up from a coma. The last 2 years are a blur. Slowly the fog is lifting and I'm seeing the world with new eyes. Life is too short and far too precious to live by pixels. There are way too many important things in the real world that need to be done. I enjoyed my time as a blood elf, but I'm glad to feel human again. I'm glad to feel like I belong in this world, and not merely exist in it. I go outdoors and the wind feels good on my face.

There are days I miss my online friends, and occasionally I worry about the loose ends I left in the game. But I know I will never go back. I was a true addict, and it nearly destroyed my life.

Thanks so much for sharing this.

mousami said...

Great Experience... really good

wow gold

Anonymous said...

life sucks, then you die.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to me that all of these people saying, 'It's your fault that you are/were addicted, not the game's fault,' are themselves people who play the game quite a bit and are quick to rationalize how they still have meaningful, rich personal lives. It smacks of a certain defensiveness, doesn't it?

Even if your life is fantastic and you play twenty or more hours of this game a week, the fact remains that the game itself (and other MMOs like it) is designed to string you along. It preys, in this sense, upon people who have addictive personalities, and you're simply playing the game without having as many problems as your in-game comrades are.

Deepak said...

i was an alcoholic but now i am sober.But this post really good for all who plays online games and addicted of thatwa

STEPHEN717 said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog.I felt that you have written it down from my mind.People who finally get out of it and express themselves like you are truly admirable.Thank you for posting this blog.
Drug Rehab

Anonymous said...

Hi there

I was reading with interest your posts regarding World of Warcraft gaming addiction. I am a post-graduate student doing empirical research into World of Warcraft gaming addiction and wondered if you would be prepared to post a story or a link to a survey that I am posting online. The questionnaire will only take about ten minutes for any of your readers to complete and I would be extremely grateful if you could do this. I could make the results available to you next year for a news post too if you are interested and would obviously credit you with your help.

Best regards


Anonymous said...

Its November 13th and the Wrath of the Lich King expansion just came out.

I was addicted for 4 months in 2007. I spent countless nights doing everyhting in my power to advance.

My computer crashed (unrelated to WoW), and I learned to live without. I found out how truly addicted I was. I had survived the beasts onslaught.

But I went back, after 6 months out I went back. This time though, I was ready. I came armed with an egg timer by my computer, set to go off after 2 hours. And the most important thing I learned, never group. If you group you feel obligation, no group no obligation.

After 2 months and my second character almost to 70, school started. With that I just let it go.

Its been 3 months since I've played. School is a hard, but I couldn't imagine trying to do that and WoW. Now Winter break is coming up and I'm not sure if I should go back for a month, just to hit that 70 marker again. When now I've got to face 80!

Its possible to play in moderation, I made it easy for me. Now I'm struggling... Should I go Back?

Deepak and addict said...

I was an alcoholic for years and now i am sober and visited a good site for people how are addicted.

free mmorpg said...

Thanks for the post!
fortunately, not all WoW players aren't addicts. I play wow and i play other mmorpg´s and i´m not addicted.

Markco said...

I too am preparing to quit wow. The only thing stopping me from doing so are real life friends that play and a blog I write to daily:
On the blog I have free world of warcraft guides for playing the auction house. Having a full time job really hurts both wow and my blog, and god how can some of these people play 7 HOURS A DAY!?

Jordan said...

Thank you for writing this article. It's helped me quit WoW and stay away for a few months. I realized what's still true back then is still true about WoW, even in 2009 with the Wrath of the Lich King. Again, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow is not to blame. Anyone can become a gym nerd/sport nerd/model train nerds/Civil War nerd/math nerd/car nerd. Today, anyone more than mildly interested in anything is labeled a "nerd". It doesn't matter whether you play Wow or hockey. Try maintaining a conversation about Wow on a first date--then try maintaining a discussion about Antietam on a first date, or about carburetors, or dietary supplements. Zzzzzzz. People obsessed with ANYthing make me nervous, and I am not alone. "Moderation" is a fantastic word.

IMO, Wow is a fun hobby for youth with lots of free time. Younger people gain more enjoyment from Wow anyway--fewer Real Life commitments nagging their brains, fewer "Must-Do" tasks to complete. Older folks neglecting responsibilities in favor of Warcraft have their priorities backward, and well, deserve what they get. Or do not get. To be honest, I'm unsure how anyone can choose annoying, larcenous teenagers over actual human contact, especially with someone of the opposite sex, but...

Besides, players too involved with Wow leech its fun. When that laughable, baseless elitism emerges, and when those swear-laden insults appear, that is when I disappear. End of story. My girlfriend, Dana, needs me more than any night elf needs me. No phat lootz shall never change that.

Work out. Fix cars. Shoot trap. Punch a bag, write a poem, tend a garden, read a novel, hook a fish, bore your kids with tales of Woodstock glories, make your wife scream...at the electric bill. But don't be a Wow addict. We must accept responsibility in mature years. We must work hard for those things we want, indeed; yet some folks work so hard to avoid responsibility. And have you ever noticed how many "good things" they seem to want?

I'm not attempting cuteness, but I happen to find this adage flawed:

"Good things come to those who wait."

Instead, it should run:

"Good things come to those who sweat."

Despite the negativity and QQing from some other readers, I admire Yeager's strength of character and applaud him for overcoming his addiction. Discussing personal life history is always difficult, especially when strangers (and often judgmental ones at that) are one's audience. But in our modern world, where new possibilities arise each day, new challenges arise too. Tech addiction is one of those challenges we face, and it is a very real problem. Stories like Yeager's may urge other troubled people to aid, or may encourage them to help themselves. But tech addiction is a real problem, to be certain. My eyes have seen the sadness of people like Yeager's former troubled self. I have witnessed that fervent desperation.


Anonymous said...

Whooaaaa big time necro oops 0.o


love said...

From all the comments I read and even the blog I think an important fact left unstated is simply this...

The game changes gradually. Gameplay at lv5 is nothing like when you're at lv50. You barely see it coming, especially if you are playing side-by-side with your spouse.

For a few hours a week you stroll around killing a few murlocs as everyone flys by on their mounts...
eventually you get your own mount, so now you move faster to get more quests completed yet, you find yourself spending more time than before.
Then you find yourself in groups so that when you're ready to log off its, "I need your help" and "just 10 more minutes"...
Next thing you know months later you get promoted in the guild and are attending scheduled raids.
For some of us we gradually find ourselves as GM and spending as much time offline as we do online towards the game. That was never the goal but you get attached... the real time, real players, the very real committment.

My spouse and I felt we had balance. We never missed hanging out with family and friends, occassionaly took breaks for a week or two, enjoyed our vacation, etc. We both worked and our jobs never suffered. Yet... we missed out on doing something- anything- different than the same game over and over.

The one lasting effect is gaining weight. Exercising while in flight doesn't even things out, especially when you get drawn more into it and use that time to multi-task in-game.

Anonymous said...

LOL AT EVERY COMMENT HERE. i was ina hardcore raiding guild who in bc has sunwelll cleared. all it takes to play this game is maybe 12hours a weeks. With the current amount of dailey quest's you can make way more than enough to cover your repiars, if your a pvp player LOL, you dont need to play 50 hours a weeks to do anything in this game "end game" is the easiest part of this game, no levling, no making gold, if your raiding you are makin gold every raid, if your pvp, your not getting durabilty on your gear so fuck off everyone who cant play this game and not go off with friedns inbetween there guids riads or the pvp team

MildCorma said...

This is very true but at the same time it takes a strong person to play WoW. It eats people that dont understand when they play too much,and it grinds people down that can't stop themselves from getting their priorites wrong.

It's all about self control. The majority of wow players dont but I thank goodness do. I know when my mates call and ask if im coming out that my answer is always yes. I know that for the expansion I had no commitments or plans for a few weeks so completely blitzed it. Its how you control your gameplay that matters.

Anonymous said...

That was really interesting...I used to be into that game..when I was in 4th grade. I would go one my brother's account when they weren't on, and when they were on I'd sit and watch them go on.
When they quit, I too was forced to quit.
They got it back a year ago but I only went on sometimes--mostly to enjoy the scenery and architectural beauty of the game. My bro quit (again) a couple of months ago, and now time I would be spending on wow I'm now spending hanging out with friends, reading, enjoying (real life) scenery and architectural beauty, and more. Pretty cool.

John Lynch said...

I read this post 3 years ago, and I still link people to it because of its continuing relevance. It's amazing how little has changed.

Anonymous said...

wow this story i can tell came from the heart i have not wuit yet but i am on a slow proccess because this game is one of the only thing that keeps me active and happy during the day

i failed my college tests
i have lost half my freinds
in wow i have great friends

i feel if i leave i will be letting alot of people down who mean alot to me.

i wanna quit soo bad but theres that erg telling me if u quit what is next in life?? but one day i will hopefully quit and be as proud as u are but what a great story im glad u did somthing i couldnt do nice one!!

Anonymous said...

Right on i lost my girl friend of 12 years to some one in her guild . she was sending him naked pics of her self he gave her like 36k o ya 36 thousand in one mouth this went on for about a year behind my back . the worst part is me and her had a 9 year old boy and a 6 year old .i played wow to just not as much as her when i found out . what was going on my life changed for ever some how in court she got a way with lies and won sole of the kids . she is going to move them from canada to taxes to be with this guy eric c reichley from dell pc. and the dude is still living with his ex wife and his 3 kids. think i should make this crap i call a life in to a book i lost the kids my home . well 2 homes ya. all my pets and stuff. and when i had the upper hand in court . i broke her cell phone in a moment of anger after she slaped me for calling her a ho. she called the cops . and took me away. and thats how i lost my life i had of 12 years eat that who ever thinks they got it bad.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading this and first off I would like to say congrats on waking up and realizing that you were wasting your life away. My bf has been playing wow for the past like 5 yrs or so and just got promoted to an officer (sighs). We started dating 3 and a half years ago and it has caused more problems in both our lives then I can possibly say. I agree that its not necessarily the game that deserves the blame but the people who dont know how to control they’re addiction. My bf lost a scholarship opportunity, he didnt get to graduate on time, didn’t go to prom or grad nite, and many times lied to me about what he was doing and where he was just so he could stay home and play the game. It changed his entire personality he went from being the sweetest guy I ever knew to a guy that told me straight in my face that he would not choose between me or the game and that he wouldn’t stop playing just because it was causing us to almost break up. Now things are kind of getting better we are working the problems out and hes making more time for me and less for the game but we still have a lot to work on. I want to eventually get to the point were we dont have to work our schedules around a game. Its ridiculous how much control a game can have over someone’s life. To those who are addicted please dont ruin your relationships or lives over this remember it is fantasy not reality and in the end it wont matter what level you are or how much equipment you have what matters is taking time to enjoy life and the people who love you because unfortunately we dont live forever. Stop wasting precious time.

Anonymous said...

nice post, i used to play wow quite a bit also but cut that shit out about a year ago.

i do have a bit of trouble beliving the authenticity of some of the comments made by the auther as some of the hours and achivements he got dont make sense, mind you i belive this post was made before BC came out and the game became shit.

good on people who get to caught up in the game then wake up and cut it out/quit it.

RolroakofKujataFFXI said...

i'm glad that game is easy it keeps all the crappy players on that game in stead of FFXI where the real players are. IF you think WoW takes dedication and your life away from you, you should try FFXI for a couple months. You just have to know when to quit how to optimize your playtime, and set aside a social life. I can play my game for 30 hours a week, i also go to college fulltime and have a 27 hour per week job, While managing to keep up with the joneses and my social life.

Anonymous said...

To OP: Less QQ more Pew Pew.

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