MMORPG Addiction

I had never played a single MMORPG before World of Warcraft.

I was playing a lot of games before that, but game time was significantly less. I’m not sure how it works, but I’m the power gamer kind of guy who once hooked on a game wants to see it through to the end. Most games aren’t that long, so I’ll probably finish a game and take a break for a bit before starting up a new one, or I’d take frequent breaks from the game because I know it’s going to end soon. Basically there’s less of the carrot-enticing thing going on in a single-player FPS. You’ll progress through the levels, get better weapons with a cool wow factor that you won’t use so often because they’re not a viable alternative to your standard game weapon, and eventually you’ll end up beating the game by killing that one final boss. Then null. Game over. Most of the time there’s no compelling reason to go through the game again unless you want to master it for some bizarre reason.

Problem is, World of Warcraft does not work that way. There’s always going to be that extra bit of armor that you want, always that epic axe that drops off this elusive boss only 1% of the time. Always that little extra thing to keep you going, to distinguish you, and later you can pose in Ironforge or Orgrimmar and get whispers asking you where you got it and congratulating you on an epic job well done.

But everything has a price. What did you give up to get that awesome shield off the final boss in Zul’Gurub? How many hours did you spend organizing loot runs of 15 man or 20 man raid instances, let alone actually do them? The shield didn’t drop the first time. Or the 10th time. One time it dropped and you were outrolled. Another time you went with guildies who had a higher DKP and got the shield. Eventually you got it. You had an obsessive need to get it, and eventually you got it. Are you addicted to World of Warcraft?

The game is still fun at the high end. I love being level 60. I enjoy the loot runs and tanking bosses even when the specific loot I wanted doesn’t drop. But I’m obsessed with running through Scholomance as many times as it takes to get the Helm of Valor.

So basically now I’d rather go to UBRS to kill Drakkisath hoping for a valor drop, rather than spending the day at the beach with friends. Or I’d rather kill Baron Rivendare than watch TV with the family. And I don’t feel an inkling of sadness about it because I have more fun playing WoW than I have going out with friends or watching TV. But it isn’t an excuse to go home after college and think maybe I’ll go on a raid for a couple hours then get some work done, but end up waiting for a raid for an hour, spend an hour loitering around IF after the raid is done, chat with guildies, then log off and go look up the stats on the next set item you’re looking for.

Can playing an MMO turn into an addiction like drugs and alcohol? Is it wrong that I look for a daily fix of WoW that gets me through the day? Is it bad that I prefer to hang out in a made up world that will expire in a few years rather than the current one we live in which you’re just another “nice guy” rather than an actual hero, even if it’s a made up, fake hero?

Sorry about the loooong rant, but I really feel like I’m playing this game obsessively, and I feel guilty about it, but I don’t know why.

MMOGs operate on that most addictive of triggers, the irregular reward. Considering the (anectdotal) number of people willing to engage in poopsocking, peeing in coke bottles, and other catassing behaviours, yes. MMOGs can be addictive.

Anything that you do to the exclusion of other things in your life can be considered addiction. In polite society we refer to the non-drug related things as “hobbies.”

Meh, I wouldn’t worry about it. When you start stealing your mom’s jewelry to buy the WoW expansion, then you can start comparing it to drug addiction. Before that point, it’s not even in the same league.

“Poopsocking?” Is that as descriptive as I think it is (but hope that it isn’t)?

how often do you find yourself lying to friends and family about your playtime?

Oooh good one. Another warning sign: hiding your WoW icons, especially if it’s in a folder marked “porn.”

A LOT.

Expect school to take a year or two longer than planned.

A LOT.[/quote]

But you know… that’s not necessarily anything to worry about. I mean, you know you don’t really have a problem, and you only lie to them because you don’t want them to worry, and you know they wouldn’t understand. It’s a generational thing. You’re just trying to do the right thing and give them peace of mind. It’s admirable.

A LOT.[/quote]

But you know… that’s not necessarily anything to worry about. I mean, you know you don’t really have a problem, and you only lie to them because you don’t want them to worry, and you know they wouldn’t understand. It’s a generational thing. You’re just trying to do the right thing and give them peace of mind. It’s admirable.[/quote]

:lol:

I lost count of the number of times someone criticized how much I was playing this particular game.

A LOT.[/quote]

But you know… that’s not necessarily anything to worry about. I mean, you know you don’t really have a problem, and you only lie to them because you don’t want them to worry, and you know they wouldn’t understand. It’s a generational thing. You’re just trying to do the right thing and give them peace of mind. It’s admirable.[/quote]

:lol:

I lost count of the number of times someone criticized how much I was playing this particular game.[/quote]

It’s only because they don’t understand. Seriously, I’ve had people berate me for saying I play games maybe one hour a day. There’s a certain retarded stigma that games carry for people who don’t play them, as though, unlike every other leisure activity in which one might partake, they’re going to just bore a whole in your leg and suck out your soul.

Out of curiousity, and tell the truth now, how much WoW do you play?

I stopped playing WoW the day I realised I was actually stressed afterwork because I had to be online in time to meet my guild. One job is enough. I really loved the trip to Azeroth, but I feared it would be to much for me to handle.

I have 1 level 60 warrior which I play most of the time, and a few other alts which I dabble with from time to time, highest are a lvl 14 warlock and a lvl 14 rogue.

The stats for the warrior (keep in mind I’ve had the game since some time in early August):

26 days 14 hours
6 days 6 hours at level 60

So I played 26 days out of approximately a 4 month period.

To be honest, this is mainly due to marathon sessions in weekends. Although I do play semi-regularly during the week, it’s those long weekend sessions that start in late morning and end late at night.

So that’s 25% of your life, subtract out say 6 hours a night for sleep and you get 1/3 of your waking life playing WoW.

That’s sort of an exaggeration. It’s about 21% of the time, so 5 hours a day, add 6 hours for sleep, and that’s 11 hours a day, with 13 hours to do other stuff, most of which is spent in college.

Meh, that doesn’t bother me that much. I know how those marathon weekends are: awesome.

heh, i touched a nerve.

Regardless though, it’s certainly a different routine entirely to life. I don’t check game websites often (if at all), I don’t buy other games unless I’ve got money to waste. I never play other games because the time is always better spent playing WoW than another less fun game, I don’t check my e-mail often, the backlog has grown insurmountable.

Just little things I notice and I wonder how different it would be without WoW.

My friend had this issue with DAOC.

I totalled up his /played time and did some math.

At the time I did it, he would have earned roughly $40,000 if he had spent that time working at 7-11 instead.

I got over FFXI very easily when I realised I could either:

  1. play FFXI for the 6 hours required to get anywhere at that time
  2. Talk to my Fiance that evening.

Realising that some things are more important than games I quit there and then. Doesn’t mean I don’t get hooked now and then but when a game requires me to behave in ways I feel bad about… then I do tend to move towards quiting.

Cal