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On things that aren't fun, and fun that is bad…

Last Friday – around ten in the evening – Pentheus, my main character in World of Warcraft, hit level sixty. Thinking back, I’m now not entirely sure where he was when this happened, although I believe it was in the wastes of Silithus. I waited until I’d got to the Altar of Storms to start my quests for my Dreadsteed before I took the above picture.

I honestly don’t know how I feel about the whole thing. It was – frankly – sort of an anti-climax. Nothing happened, I just remained being level sixty. There was no sense of a threshold being reached. My character – the same character I’ve been playing on and off since November – was just slightly more powerful than he was before. And a whole range of long extended new quests wandered off before him. There would be no new spells, no new pets, no real development – except in sets of armour and property. Each quest, each raid will now be longer and more involved than they were before – a dungeon taking two or three evenings to explore properly and requiring a group of people to play with that I’ve struggled to collect along the way. The whole game now feels very laborious and slow – the simple pleasures of earlier in the game, where you were picking up new abilities and developing quickly have just disappeared, to be replaced with something more drudgelike, robotic and … as the people in game describe it … grinding.

Now the interesting thing about this is you’d think that was a very good reason to stop playing the game immediately – but somehow no. My relationship with World of Warcraft is a lot more complicated than that – so complicated that it’s forced me to reconsider a lot of my assumptions about gaming. These assumptions have been further challenged by reading Raph Koster’s book and weblog, A Theory of Fun for Game Design. The two experiences – reading and playing – have not pushed in the same direction however – they’ve not led me to the same conclusions – and this has resulted in me spending a lot of time wondering about the relationship between entertainment and productivity, fun and work, drudgery and compulsion. I’ve started wondering whether a game could still be considered good if you want to play it a lot but at the same time resent the time that it takes from you. What if you find it boring but still somehow can’t put it down. Can you love and hate a game at the same time and still call it ‘fun’? Can a game be a narcotic, or a guilty secret or an addiction? Can it be a fruitless activity without value that still feels good

Raph’s book includes a really interesting analysis on what games are, and what fun is and is not which is far too long to quote in full here, but which includes this summary:

Games aren’t stories. Games aren’t about beauty or delight. Games aren’t about jockeying for social status. They stand, in their own right, as something incredibly valuable. Fun is about learning in a context where there is no pressure, and that is why games matter.

This sort of fascinates me because it contains a weird twist of logic – that fun is learning without pressure, and that therefore games matter – presumably because learning is de facto a good thing. But what if you’re learning a system or a landscape with no transferable value – what if a specific game presents you with a structure designed to purely generate the sensation of perpetual fun by short-circuiting the learning impulse and misdirecting it into valueless territories? There would be a memetic advantage in being a game that could be intoxicating in that way without requiring that people learn skills that were transferable elsewhere. For a start, real-world skills are harder to develop and perhaps less short-term satisfying. Secondly, a process that teaches you real-world skills would result in you evolving and changing. A game that could short-circuit your learning instinct wouldn’t have to do that. There would be no reason for you to leave.

There’s another quote in Raph’s book which is about what happens when you get older and why people stop playing games. He says, “We don’t actually put away the notion of ‘having fun’ as far as I can tell. We migrate it into other contexts. Many claim that work is fun, for example (me included). Just getting together with friends can be enough to give us the little burst of endophins we crave.”

I think this is really interesting, because it hits on a few more weird contradictions – working can be a learning exercise, it’s true, but there’s normally some risk involved. if you do bad things in a job, you can be fired. There are consequences. So that seems rather at odds with his earlier sense of fun. And a work environment has no formal ruleset, has no structure that you’d recognise as game-like. And of course it can have real-world rewards. If work can be fun, then I’d argue that’s not because it’s like games – an environment in which you can learnwithout risk, but precisely because it’s not like games, the productive element generates a satisfaction that is totally missing in World of Warcraft. The creative and generative element is also absent. Perhaps the reason we think of games as a childish activity is because play in our youth is supposed to inform work in our adulthood. Perhaps then, a game that feeds on our desire to learn and our childlike instincts but cannot give us the satisfactions of creation or real dangers, is a con, a short-cut, a parasite. Perhaps adult gaming is nothing more than an opiate, designed to provide satisfactions and a sense of development or progress that the real world is unable to provide for most people, or that people are too nervous to fight for.

Apparently you can get a character on World of Warcraft to level sixty in about three months of consistent after-work play. Personally, my experience has taken me three times that length of time, and has been squeezed around long hours on work projects and more travelling than I’ve ever done before. Given that it hasn’t massively compromised these parts of my life, I’m guessing that the level of compulsion I’ve felt to play has not been massively excessive – but it’s still felt like a time sink that somehow claims me for my out of work creative time. That really worries me.

Let me put it this way – while I feel no massive compromise to my life is occurring now, while my relationship with the game is merely grudging at the moment, I can imagine coming to hate the game and yet still wanting to play it. Is that an extraordinary statement? Is that a piece of self-insight there, or is it something about the game? I can’t tell where the fault lies if there is a fault? Can you build something that is too addictive simply in the way it presents challenges and rewards, to the extent that it becomes psychologically addictive. Can something with no pharmaceutical components be a drug? Or is this simply a matter of self-discipline and self-control? How tempting does an alternative world filled with mechanisms for alleviating status anxiety have to be before the space between fun and craving gets crossed? Is television any different? Am I just coming to some weird form of Protestant neurosis in my mid-thirties?

One of my older posts is currently full of people talking about their problems with World of Warcraft in particular – wives saying that her husband ignores his children to play, men who say they would rather play WOW than have sex with their wives, teenagers who say that they’re failing school so they can play, and it’s led me to this weird point. Are they all making excuses? Is the game a scapegoat? Are they weak-willed and to be pitied? Or are we as a culture starting to construct toys that are too effective and end up hurting people? I know it sounds alarmist, but I really want people’s opinions. What do you think?

74 replies on “On things that aren't fun, and fun that is bad…”

I’ve been playing a few months and will be hitting 60 this week at some point. Anti-climax? From what I’ve heard, almost certainly. And yes, it has become repetitive, but is still as addictive as ever.
I suppose with a game like that, a lot of it is down to personal competition – a desire to be better than other people at something. Perhaps part of me is hoping that the game will some day be as much fun as it has, at points, been so far.
Is it an opiate, or a substitute for real personal development? Probably both, in part. Personally, I’m enjoying the social side of it at the moment. Group activities are a lot of fun, and often interesting challenges.
I think what’s missing from Warcraft is personalisation. Sure, you can change your character slightly with talents and gear, but that’s about it. Look at City of Heroes, or the upcoming Warhammer game – customisation and personalisation of your character is integral. People want to have a character who looks different to everyone else. They want to be able to do different things and have control, and WoW fails on that front.
Add in more personalisation, and I’d probably be enjoying it now as much as ever.
I’d agree with the too-effective toys idea. Games have always been popular. Add in a social aspect – the massively multiplayer angle on the role-play game – and it’s bound to be addictive.

I don’t think we’re constructing toys that are any more effective than they’ve always been, but they are more immersive due to increases in raw processing power, and as the population of gamers ages, the themes in games are becoming more adult-focused. So while a child could easily lose himself in blowing bubbles, we’re just now developing the toys in which an adult could lose himself.

The thing about WoW – and in this, it’s fairly unique amongst MMORPGs – is that hitting the top level is only the beginning of the game. There’s SO much to do after you hit level 60, from exploring all the instances to making the first steps in serious raiding. There’s reputation grinding, a whole load of new quests… and much more.

I can imagine coming to hate the game and yet still wanting to play it.
Many middle aged smokers express their feeling towards their their smoking habit (or nicotine addiction) using the exact same apparent contradiction. And there is still considerable debate, even after all these years, over whether smoking is a psyiological or psychological addiction.
Gambling is another “addictive activity” that you might infer results from. Online gaming isn’t that far removed – it is a competitive, social activity after all…

Some of my friends are playing WoW, and they have described to me the sort of things they and other characters get up to. To be honest, I’ve never felt like I’m missing anything.
I had a similar experience on game-playing as an addiction as you explain, but with two much simpler non-social games: Minesweeper and Quake. I ended up playing them far beyond actually enjoying them . . .
I’ve played a few MMORPGs, but they never hit the mark with me. I still run and play “old fashioned” D&D round a table with my friends. What’s missing in the computer versions for me? I think it’s the story/plot – I expect RPG to have the emphasis on Role-playing, with involved, believable plots, and character progression in the storyline sense (not just +x levels). Most MMORPGs have too much emphasis on number-crunching and repetitive behaviour. There’s nothing compelling in the story.

I actually find the social perspective of the game the most addicting. I don’t want to disappoint my online friends by not showing up for a raid. I want to know what they’ve been doing all day and how they are. I love chatting both in game and using TeamSpeak/Ventrilo.
I know studies have been done on chatroom addiction, and I’m sure that is a major contributor to both the success and longevity one can play a character on WoW. I know I’d be bored stupid w/o it, and jumping around orgrimmar for hours wouldn’t happen with out it either.

The other Ian has it right. There’s a whole other game at 60, and it’s a true multi-player game. You can get to level 60 without ever playing with another soul; but you can not do the content designed for 60s without at least 4 friends.
I hit 60 back in March and my concept of the game changed completely. It switched from a “Go gather X of Y” game to a game of organization, small-group dynamics and problem solving. Thankfully, I have a great guild that I can play with. We’re all about the same level, so we’re all experiencing this stuff for the first time. That keeps it fresh and invigorating.
Ever since I hit 60, a pattern has repeated itself. We take on a new challenge, get beaten senseless, regroup, learn, practice and – eventually – succeed.
First it was the Baron. Then it was on to LBRS. Then UBRS. Then ZG. Next up is AQ20. We’ve gone from playing in groups of 5 to groups of 20. Next we’ll make the change to a group of 40. Each evolution bring challenges, opportunites to learn (w/o major consequences for failures), and the time to hang out with like-minded folks. It’s fun for me.

Hmmm, was thinking of starting WoW. this article caused me to pause. after quiting fags an grass, not sure i wanna go thru the rollercoaster again soon 😉
40 Percent of World of Warcraft Players Addicted
“Orzack believes that game addiction is a true mental disorder. As a result, she has worked with numerous gamers over the years to help them break the hold that games have on them.
Having treated all types of addictions for more than 15 years, Orzack says there’s little difference between drug use, excessive gambling and heavy game playing.”
ps u worked at time out just after i left. we met once.

Are games really fun to begin with? Aren’t they just sets of rules, or hoops to jump through? For many games the rewards are external. The mechanics of playing tack-tack-toe (crosses and knots?) is damn dry and stupid stuff. But for some reason people playing it will have a whole range of emotional responses. Do you think that the game developer designed the game to provoke these responses? Why should we assume that the game developers for World of Warcraft designed their game to be fun? Maybe it was just meant to be reasonably distracting. Maybe that is good enough?

are we as a culture starting to construct toys that are too effective and end up hurting people
Fascinating thought. You may be onto something. That sounds analogous to the difference between coca leaves and cocaine or coffee and shooting up straight caffeine. The same active ingredient, games, in this case, could have very different effects if it triggers neural circuitry in addictive ways. Time to look at functional magnetic resonance imaging of fantasizers’ brains under different conditions: reading the perfect novel, taking LSD, playing solitaire with cards, playing it on a computer, playing WOW, and so on and on. I’d be very curious how much depends on the personality of the player and how much on the game.

An interesting article.
This idea of a game that commands the participant’s attention but doesn’t transfer any real world training is why I love “The Movies” so much. What it lacks in in-game multi-player capability (not taking into account the existing online community) I think the skills gained from learning the basics of visual communication and narrative structure are definitely ones that are transferable.

“The thing about WoW – and in this, it’s fairly unique amongst MMORPGs – is that hitting the top level is only the beginning of the game.”
Hardly unique; this is commonly termed “the elder game.” In WoW, as in EverQuest, it’s actually much delayed; in other games, such as Ultima Online, the “end” comes much much more quickly — sometimes on the order of days, and the “end part” is played for months to years.
In WoW, as in EQ, raiding is a major part of the endgame. In other worlds, it’s been world administration, politics, economics, or PvP.
Tom, the phenomenon of hating a game you are addicted to is also quite familiar and recognizable from years worth of experience with virtual worlds. I would diagnose it as “you should have moved on already.” The goalpost was illusory; the real reasons to advance are internal ones within the player. You learned what you needed to learn; everything since has been repetition. Often, the reason people hang around is guilt over abandoning friends.

You are right in you comment/theme, though I wouldn’t just confine it to games. I think many factors of modern technology present similar issues. They appeal strongly and are, in a sense that I agree is hard to, currently, accurately define, addictive to our brains/psychology.
Having walked further along the path you are on in multiple massive online role playing games, I will tell you that it is highly common for players do develop a love/hate relationship with MMORPGs, exactly as you describe. In fact I would say nearly everyone who quits does so exactly for those reasons.
Ralph accurately defines that one of the most common things that prolongs this relationship are social commitments. I would also add there is more these social commitments than just friendships (though the friendships can be intense). Players are hesitant to abandon their shared commitments (loosely their society).
What I mean by this is that latter game (“elder game” or “end game”) MMORPG advancement is a massive social enterprise. You depend on your group (20-80 though sometimes more) other players to get you further. There is often strong self guilt in breaking these bonds because you weaken others opportunities to advance by leaving. You face the proposition of abandoning those helped you. You also face completely loosing what your brain associates as a valuable social network. I think a similar idea would be “leaving home” in a small town never to return.
I don’t point these elements out to be pedantic but to say that you are right and that if you were to play further you would only be more right if that makes any sense. The latter game psychologically addictive properties of the “toy” are much stronger and in a way nefarious.

I cannot believe you chose a human. What a loser *wink* Just kidding.
Great article.

thank you for posting your insight Tom. I’ve been a WoW’r for about a 1.3 years, beginning when the game came out nov of 2004. after getting two entirely separate characters to 60 and finally getting fed up with “drama” – I was able to quit…. for 6 months. I went back last month when a couple real-life friends con’d me into it. I was resistent at first but have been enjoying “the grind” all over again. but even in spite of enjoyment, I disdain it – I relate strongly to the terms “time sink” and ‘stolen creative time’ … I feel hopeless to change this at present.
I’m worried about it and constantly feel as if I do not have enough time in my day… do I call for help or make yet another run for that shiney blue plate chest piece?
OT– you probably know this already, but your footer that contains copyright year needs updating 🙂

The 40-man raid game is even more strange. You have to show up at a certain time on x, y, and z days, and you can’t be late or you might lose your spot. It becomes a much more social game, but there’s often a large bit of group drama and clique-forming. And you do the exact same dungeons every single time for months on end, over and over until you can do it right. Eventually, what you realize is that raiding is like being in an orchestra. Each night is a rehearsal, and the dungeon is the piece you’re learning. The challenge isn’t that you have to learn your part of the music, it’s that you all have to figure out how to play as one unit.

I’m a woman in her 40s who was hooked on Dark Age of Camelot a couple of years ago. I still managed to shower and go to work, but I stopped answering the phone and lost 10 pounds because I was always too busy in Camelot to eat. My virtual life was more ‘real’ and meaningful to me than my so-called real life.
Eventually – to my utter disappointment – it started to feel like drudgery. Two of my characters had hit the highest level (and I agree, it was anticlimatic). The start-up music as the game was booting up started to feel ominous and depressing. I kept playing, hoping it would start to feel good again.
Finally I quit cold turkey. It was a huge relief, and I’ve never missed it. Interestingly, a real-life friend who was also hooked, was furious with me for quitting. I gave him all my gold and gear, but he wouldn’t talk to me for months afterwards. He has since quit DAOC himself, but is now playing WoW.
I believe absolutely that it’s addictive for some people, and I’m one of them. Maybe addiction is kind of like the manic phase of manic-depression?

I can’t say World of Warcraft has evr been something good for me. I never played the game but my boyfriend is addicted to it and it is pulling us apart. I wish he would admit he is addicted to it. He can’t talk to me on the phone anymore, hang out with me or so anything for that matter. He goes to work barely goes one the game invites me over i sit on the couch he plays the game and life goes on. I don’t think i can take it much longer someone help him….. please

Very impressive, not only the article but the thoughtful commentary that follows. Why can’t the rest of the internet be as educated and flame-free as this site appears to be, from this one thread?

The thing about addiction is that it’s not simply a relationship between the addict and his vice, there is an underlying psychological reason for the addiction. A person who has these underlying issues can be addicted to anything; a drug, alcohol, television, sex, baking pies, or playing a computer game. The addiction fills a need within that person and therefore they continue the addictive process.
Now specifically to World of Warcraft; it is a game. It is no different then any other game you might participate in. Just because you play it on a computer does not mean it is any different then any other game like chess, basketball, or, as someone else has mentioned, tic tac toe. All these games have their logical “ending”, one side winning over the other, but wow is no different then them in that, just because you have won, it doesn’t mean you never play a the game again. WoW, like a lot of MMORPG, is open ended and if you think about it, it is really a device by which you can connect with other players to complete a series of “games” each with their logical ending; Killing enough mobs to reach a pre-designated point cap (leveling through xp), completing assigned tasks (quests), kill other players (pvp), or complete an adventure with other players (instance). We can collectively refer to these “minigames” as content.
Most activities can have their up and down days. Like any television show, we might tune in each week to find out what happens next or to share in some small story which we can relate to. This content is similar to the content you might find in WoW; some of it is good and we don’t mind watching the same episode more then once, some bad and we curse the box for wasting our precious time. Or, to switch analogies, sometimes we might go to the beach with our friends but it’s cloudy, drizzly and cold, but because of their company they make what would otherwise be a crappy day into something more special and enjoyable.
Productivity? What does that mean? Cleaning one’s car can be productive. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s enjoyable. Does one have to always be producing some end product in life? Has our culture poisoned us into thinking that if we do not constantly provide output that we have somehow devalued our lives and that of society as a whole? I don’t think so. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to accomplish nothing on occassion. Go ahead and vegetate. Discover the bliss of absolute nothingness. Discover your “Tao” maybe? Some days it’s okay to not be the rat.
What about creativity? Does WoW eat into what would otherwise be your creative time? I worry that some people might confuse creativity with productivity. They want to create a product, and that’s perfectly fine and it requires time but I can sit in front of my stack of synthesizers and create music all day long with no end product at the end to prove I’ve done so. Creativity is in the eye of the beholder and it can be just as addictive and non-productive as any other activity.
Entertainment is subjective. What’s terribly boring for one person could be Nirvana for another. Anyway, I think it’s time to end this long rant. It’s not terribly enlightening and poorly written but it’s my thoughts on the subject in a rather messy nutshell. I’m not a writer, either by profession or hobby, and it’s creation has already taken way to much time out of my day (thank the great coder for spellcheckers or I’d be here all day proofreading). Time that could have been spent elsewhere doing other things, like getting my troll rogue to level 60. 😉 Still it felt good getting some of that out to others who might be able to appreciate it.
See you in Stonemaul. 😀

I went cold turkey about 1 year ago after getting 2 characters to level 60 in 8 months or so of addictive play (sometimes 5 hours in a stretch). I was quite lonely at the time, having moved home and struggling to make new friends in a very cliquey environment. I realised that I was logging on out of habit. I wasn’t interested in the huge raids everyone else seemed to be into at lv60, and the it felt a little empty to me. I’d maxed out various professions and skills, but it took weeks for me to even consider the idea of quitting. Any other computer game that I was playing out of habit instead of fun with moments of delight would have gone on eBay in a heartbeat. I was actually nervous when I deleted my characters, wrote a few goodbye notes and sent money and item gifts. The next day it was like I’d never heard of WoW – I didn’t miss it in the slightest and haven’t done for about a year. There’s definately a fine line between fun gaming and unpaid labour. I don’t think a lot of us realise when the line is crossed. Talking to fellow WoW players, a lot of them admitted to staying on for the chat and social aspects, so WoW for them was a glorified chat room.

Get out.
While you can.
You’ll never regret it.
Once the magic is gone, it never comes back.

Productivity? What does that mean? Cleaning one’s car can be productive. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s enjoyable.
And here comes the magic of the PvE progression in this kind of games. It’s so addictive, because if the game is good, it gives feedback on a regular basis, congratulating the player for its achievements. It’s like getting a paycheck on a daily basis. It’s a cheap trick but short intervals of achievements are more motivating then long ones. Good PvE centric MMOs show the player how virtually productive he is in any second. WoW does a really good job at this up to level 60. After that the intervals for congratulations get longer and longer, while the ingame productivity so to speak decreases, that is what’s called the grind: things that are
Or are we as a culture starting to construct toys that are too effective and end up hurting people? I know it sounds alarmist, but I really want people’s opinions. What do you think?
I think it’s not damaging in the long run. I play this kind of games for about 6 years now and even i got my times, where the game damaged real life in some ways. Right now? I spend up to 10 hours a week playing videogames and yes even still WoW. Everyone who gets really hooked into this, will experience the bad factors of MMO gaming, more then traditional genres, that’s for sure. But those hurting times will end, and with a bang i might say.
Everyone got excited when they got the long awaited christmas gift as a child. The joy of something completely new and fun. Most of the WoW players are like children still discovering a really new and original toy. But they will get used to it and throw it away to the others. This gaming genre loses its magic just as fast as it hooks you. Those who really get lost in the game, would get lost elsewhere too. I do not think, that this new MMO toy is any more damaging then other toys, its just too fresh and original for many people to resist yet.
There’s more. I do think that the majority of the players discovering this genre with WoW, will certainly not touch any MMO after WoW for a long time. I even think of if as something healthy, cause all the tricks this genre has up its sleeves, are used all around us elsewhere.
Can you build something that is too addictive simply in the way it presents challenges and rewards, to the extent that it becomes psychologically addictive…
Yes you can, but WoW is not it, cause its patterns are to repetitive for a long run. I may repeat myself here, but again. The ingredients for WoW, for its addiction are hidden rather well and with time played, will show through to everyone. Any player will come to a point, where the game can not hide its grind to progress further. It’s when you start running those big 40 player instances. All the efforts to be able to do just this, are way too much for the average player, to have fun doing it. But Blizzard will aim at this flaw, lowering the efforts in the upcoming expansion.

It is an anti-climax, at least for me, just a doorway into months and months of raids to gain epic items/armour i.e. further goals to keep you in there and playing or feed the addiction, whichever way you want to look at it.
I know from other MMOs that this is always the way. You set yourself goals within the framework of the game design, maybe getting a mount at 40, then reaching 60 and where these goals were achievable on your own terms as it were, by questing solo and grouping for fun or to complete key quests in a chain, fun which wouldn’t take more than a couple of hours or so for instances, this is no longer the case for the end-game. 20-40 man raids are now compulsary if you want to get yet more gear and that’s pretty much all there is at the end, gear and a choice of ways to obtain it. I find it’s still fun to help lower-level players in my guild and PvP will keep me going for a while but having to grind out tens of thousands of reputation points and finding 3-6 hours of time to tackle a few bosses or complete one end-game instance, with 39 other players isn’t going to happen too often.
My own competitive urges might keep me in there for a bit longer at the same level of play I sustained for 3 months when going from 1-60 but I’m aware of time I used to be creative which is no longer there (being abused?) due to obsessive playing. As I’m in a guild where there are a good number of other, equally obsessive players, all going for their sets of armour and epic weapons, there’s a false sense of justification, as I’m not alone but the day is almost there where it’s no longer ‘fun’.
The game’s over for me at 60. Now it’s a wind-down with occasional gear raids and the odd session of grinding rep points until, of course, the new expansion arrives.
Everything in moderation.

First of all, sorry in advance for my English, it isn’t perfect, I am russian 😉
I am a girl, 20 years old, and I started to play WoW about 1,5y ago, accidently, was curious what is the thing that makes my good friend sitting and staring at the screen for countless hours, the thing was WoW.
What I have today is level 60 char, “epixxed”, done in BWL, AQ and such.
It was very fun first. Newbie fun, getting new skills, new weapons, exploring new things every day, making new friends. From the very beginning, I got in the just-starting guild, we were not doing mindless grinding, but had a lot of fun. Then I hit 60. It wasnt like the author said – nothing – nooo, it was Something, maybe cause of the guild atmosphere, every new Ding was always a thing to congratulate with, to shout about, at this time the guild was young, but consisting of more than 150 members, making first steps into MC, so my 60th Ding was breath-stoping, imagining all the new fun that awaits me beyond this point.
And there indeed was lots of fun, as we, the big friendly Family, were exploring things that only raids can explore, there was kind of eyphoria when some Big Bosses were finally killed after trying different tactics and after hours, days, weeks spent in getting to know them, in getting equipment needed to survive in high-end
At the same time, I completely forgot about Real Life. At first levels game was just a fun for the freetime. Then it started to eat all my freetime. Then I started to steal my own time, to make more freetime. I was spending less and less time with my family or friends, started to lie at work to get home earlier. And lots of tiny things I just refused to do for the sake of WoW. When I wasnt playing I was plannin what I have to do in WoW. Save gold for that, raid in the evening, grind before raiding, etc etc etc…All thoughts, all ideas, all future aspirations – all about WoW.
Some really good friends and family started to worry, they were trying to explain me, that I look same as if I was doing drugs, my behaviour, my eyes, when I am playing and someone comes to me with a question, my indifference to everythin apart from WoW.
Then I started to feel more stress than satisfaction. Fun became mindless grinding and competition for epic items. Nerves and tears when someone else in raid gets the rare epic thing I so wanted. But more mindless grinding, more nights spent in raids. So here it comes, I started to hate the game, but at the same time I was terrified of the idea to stop playing. To forget the character which I had put so much effort, so much time and nerves in. Its like I was working hard for more than a year, limiting myself in some simple funs and satisfactions for the sake of work, and then just quit my job and thrown the salary away. It seemed absolutely impossible, ridiculous. I could never understand those guildies who said “Thats it, I cant take it anymore, I quit, d/e all stuff, was fun, good luck, I wanna take care of real life”
Back to point, when after another raid, not very satisfying, I dont remember, whether someone got the item I wanted, or something else unpleasant happened, but it was another portion of tears and bad mood, I made a post on guild forums, that I am goin on holiday, I need a rest and such. Thats a normal practice in our guild, if you are away for some reason, you just have to warn friends and officers. I thought I will play again after a week.
I couldnt make myself log to game after a week, as I hated it.
I filled my freetime with movies, books, TV, going out. As it normally was before WoW.
I popped now and then on the guild site, to say hello to my friends, as I really loved and love all the people in the guild. As I said before, it was very friendly and fun guild.
I saw their new kills, new achievements, but I couldn make myself log to game. Everytime I remembered all those nerves and tears it gave me. On the other hand I wanted to come see those new bosses, mess around with my old mates and get new epix, epix, epix.
So it was a choice, between two lifes. Between two families, between two systems, whatever.
After spending SO many time in Azeroth, countless hours and nights with people THERE, I can say it IS another life, another reality, where everything is more simple, but slightly different.
What I want to say, in my opinion:
ONE person CANT live in two realities. It is either one reality, with work, studies, family, difficulties and problems of course, or it is Azeroth reality with grinding, raiding, guild mates, AND difficulties problems and nerves too.
Getting deep in one reality, makes another a bleak reflection, which is just something you dont really need, but it exists, and you have something to do with that.
Gettin far in game makes real life such a bleak unneeded reflection. And imo thats not very good.
I lost 1,5 years. I am girl, i am 20, im not quite grown up and chilled out, maybe thats why its so painful, emotional for me, maybe ye, but then I am terrified to imagine what happens to those 12-13 year olds, with unstable nerves yet.
I am sorry for such a long text, but today I quit WoW, I made a choice between two realities and I just typed “WoW addiction” in Google to see if I am not alone, if there are stories and articles that can help me and support me.
Maybe I am weak or whatever, but even making such a definite decision, wavin farewell to ex-guildies, I still feel strange. I cant delete my character and throw away WoW CD’s. I dont play for a while, and I dont feel like playing at all, but I cant throw it away completely.
Prolly its like when you play WoW, you cant throw away real life, with no matter you want it or not, real life just is, and you cant throw it away, same here, but vice versa.
Whatever your opinion after reading this is, thank you for reading, as it was quite a long text 🙂

I’m actually glad to hear that you have reached this strange stage of gaming watershed Tom. I suspect that many people writing about MMOGs have never actually played the games enough to reach this stage and are as such commenting from a limited viewpoint. The switch from 0-59 to 60+ is can be a sombre revelation, where the 2 sides of typical MMO gameplay switch.
I think that in many cases this change of pace and play is due mainly to the developers need to tread water in the endgame content. its impossible to build an endless world of quests withouth allowing the community to build and become those adventures themselves (something I see as a potential solution to MMOG endgame issues). So as content runs out, players are forced into more exponential curve and the grind becomes the main aspect of play.
Of course it can still maintain its players as months of investment in levelling and socialising are not easy to throw away. But players often end up making the choice between hardcore and casual, rerolling or raiding etc. In my opinion Blizzard have made a finely crafted MMOG in a traditional style, its success based on the craftsmanship of its design and implementation. However there is little new in the conceptual structure. Certainly nothing that attempts to break out of the now predictable endgame problem. But perhaps a playtime of 3-6 months for 1-60 levels is enough for most people and enough for Blizzard (as long as the newbies keep coming). The lack of decent competition in the MMOG world at the moment only strengthens the glue that keeps even bored players in azeroth.

This is very interesting insight into the addictive nature of WoW. I’m also interested in knowing Blizzard’s responsibility in all this, seeing as how there has been news recently about a child in China dying due to the neglect of his/her WoW-obsessed parents. This is bad, so very bad.
Yet I can’t stop myself from getting the best epic gear for my level 60 Paladin, and then leveling my 41 Warlock. At the moment, WoW is just a substitute for TV….though when I play for 6 hours straight on one of my day’s off, I have to ask myself what all of this is costing me in the long run. I do realize I tend not to answer my phone…or I avoid housework…but as of yet I never called out of work or seriously sacrificed my relationships (although my live-in boyfriend is just as addicted to the game).
I fear that I will not be able to stop. There’s always rep to grind, or better gear to shoot for….and even if you do get to your best, there’s always other characters you can create! After reading this article, I’m really concerned for my “life”.
Does anyone know of any books/articles published recently about MMORPG or specifically WoW addiction?

This game is addicting and the sad thing is that the people cant even see that they are. My son claims to not be addicted but he fluncked out of college. Can’t hold down a job and stays up all night and rolls out of bed in the am and starts playing it. The game people should limit the time people can be logged into if they cared about their players. Oh yeah they don’t since they pay a monthly fee to play. I have seen first hand it destroy a marriage, cause other players to become like hermits in their bedrooms. I shut off my cable modem to stop it but he just goes somewhere else with his laptop and plays. We are not just talking little kids here we are talkign adult men. Any suggestiosns on how to shut this game down would be great

Gamers, especially succesful ones who reach high levels, need an exit strategy from the game. Humans aren’t immortal but gaming creates a kind of depressing and dreadful immortality, especially for successful players. Even if you character gets killed, you can always start over. If your character(s) is/are successful, then you can reach a methuselian emotional state pretty quickly. Once you reach that point you are faced with dreading but playing, or just walking away, which isn’t great either.
Game players who reach a certain level (say, 60) need an option to start a kind of “Autumn of the Patriarch” mode, where the game play might start to reflect a kind of winding down that would allow them to either neutralize their character into one with minimal activity or even a “good” death (not suicide–anybody can do that just by quitting the game flat out). If you play an evil character, and you choose and “End me” option, your game play might start to reflect experiencing negative consequences for your past actions. To play that way would really take some cajones, and it would give the player an emotionally real, satisfying end.

kat, i still play, but my god i feel the same way.
thank you for that long essay. and i am much deeper in the game. 4 horsemen.

all wow players out there have fun with the game because i had some real laughs on that game but for the people who hate it dont be gay to people who do play it for no reason what so ever and everyone says o.0 well there are assholes and pricks in the game well look around you its not in the game it is in the world where there are pricks…… PEACE homes

I am very impressed with the quality of response seen on this page. Clearly thought out points and valid arguments as to the danger of addiction WOW creates.
I have only lvld two characters to 35ish but feel no desire to stop at the moment and have been constantly worrying about how this will impact on my family.
I have two children and a wife and the promise i made to myself is that the game can never cut into my time with my family, and so far it hasnt. But in a hidden way it probably has. I could start the game for example at 10pm when all have gone to bed and then finish at 3am to get up for work at 6.30am and then repeat. Of course i then started getting to work late and then even worse started playing at work.
I like to think that I am mature enough to stop and i have limited myself to three nights a week. However, I do not think that this looks at the root problem.
Some earlier poster referred to the possibility of there being a weakness but I disagree.
My wife criticises the amount I play and thinks it is immature and pointless. But in the meantime will sit in front of the TV watching mindless programs that she has no input in. I have had enough of being dictated to by TV or Radio and living up to other peoples dreams and this is where MMORPG games come into play and what a danger they are.
I personally believe that WOW is the least of our worries as there are some intergral flaws in the design. My concern is that a game will come out that will address these flaws and then we will really be in trouble.
For example the removal of static quests and the introduction of aims eg build a platoon and raid a human controlled village, having shops connected to your real bank account or even being able to loot human players.
I have too much more to type so I will leave it there

The idea of virtual worlds contained in a computer has been explored in science fiction for decades but its only recently that its turned into reality. Now admittedly the more realistic and entertaining such worlds become the more their inhabitants will want to stay. MMORPGs are especially entertaining since they offer rewards and recognition for their players when they meet milestones. However, most people are not addicted to these rewards and can understand that they hold little or no validity in the real world.
In my experience the few people that become addicted to these virtual worlds are those who do not receive enough recognition or reward in real life. Its not that these people begin to become mentally ill and think the virtual world is real life. Its that they know it’s much easier for them to gain rewards, recognition, and even friendship in the virtual world. Its these people that tend to keep playing even though they have long gotten bored or even begun to hate the game. The best way for you to help someone in that situation is to make them feel appreciated and wanted in the real world.
Girlfriends and Boyfriends: the fact that your significant other plays two hours a day does not make them addicted. Older people watch television for 4 hours a day, some younger people play video games instead. Get over yourself and learn to have interest in his or her hobbies.

I’ve been playing WOW for 6 months now and I have one level 60 rogue. When I hit 60, many of my guild mates said grats; many said I’m sorry. I wasn’t sure what they were talking about at the time, but I realize now that they said sorry because for them, the game was all about getting new skills and going to new areas; much like what your article referred to as fun. For me, video games have never been about conquering the game, or acquiring the best gear, it’s been about having fun. For me, grinding believe it or not, is fun. I don’t mind killing the same mobs for 4 hours on end if it actually points to something. Right now I am grinding timbermaw faction in Felwood to become exalted which has taken up probably 60 hours thus far of my time. Many rare weapons have dropped over the course of my goal, and in the end, I will end up with one of the best trinkets in the game for my class, so I don’t really care that it has taken this long as I find it rewarding overall, and I don’t have to depend on others. I enjoy raiding, but what I don’t enjoy is hearing others blame the priest, blame the tank, ect for why the raid went bad. Times like that are what made me start alts and never tell the guild about them. Bottom line is that me personally, I just like playing the game in general: I have an online “store” with one of my characters that I work on my sales pitches for, and I enjoy helping people kill hogger in areas like Elwynn Forest, despite me being a level 60. When WOW ceases to be fun for me, I will quit the game and find another game that feels fun, and when I am no longer having fun with that game, I will quit it as well. I think that the addiction factor of anything new is high providing that it is interesting to you-I have just as hard of a time putting down a book I am into as I do WOW- but I would say that WOW or a good book is much healthier than smoking or heroin.

After a while at level 60, I found myself bored, even at times disliking (not yet hating) the game. So I decided that either I would find a way to enjoy it, or stop playing. I ended up changing my play style from the one that I leveled up with. Instead of doing the same thing over and over (which I got tired of very fast), I explored the entire world, and looked for interesting and unusual things to do.
These activities did not advance my character – but they were fun. I would try to sneak into areas that a single player wasn’t normally supposed to be able to sneak into. Or I would try to defeat monsters that a single person couldn’t usually defeat with normal tactics. All of this took much more creativity than the normal activities the game expects you to do, which is perhaps why they were so fun.
It takes a very different mindset to generate your own content, so to speak. But believe it or not, the game actually has room for some creativity, it just doesn’t require it. And in my opinion, many people would complain if they were forced to put the energy into being creative.

Finally, after one night realising that: shit dude, u’ve been sitting here for 19 hours straight!!!! I have quit Wow. Sold my epix (damn it was hard to see them sold for 3-4g at the vendor). And given my gold to n00bs outside Deadmines. All thanks to this the greatest ever thread. Especially thanks to the Russian girl Kat. U really got under my skin. Now im gonna focus on my studies (which I have badly neglected the past 6 months). Im thinking: There must be a way to transfer the effort and devotion I put into WoW to real life matters. If I can do that im destined to
succeed!!!!! GL to all of u still playing but knowing its too much. KILL THE HOOORDE

My 15 year old son has been playing WoW for sometime. He’s also heavy into FPS games (Halo3, Half-life, Counter-strike, etc.).
It seems at times that he is locked away into his room or in the family room playing for days. No TV, no playing outside, just a lot of games.
We’ve often had talks about being balanced in our life and our activities. I’ve tried to explain that everything is enjoyed best in moderation and in moderation our enjoyment with things will last longer.
Two interesting things about this post:
First, games as learning without pressure. This is a fascinating concept and one that I don’t think most people take advantage of. Pressure, in and of itself is a mindset. Ask anyone who is trying to level up, and I assure you that some of the words they use to describe their motivation will approximate words we associate with pressure.
But, I think if you’re able to adjust your mindset accordingly – most things we associate with work – could be considered a game. I have a B.S. degree but I continue to take classes at a local college – for fun. Some people associate school to a burden. For me, it is a game.
My second point is specific to online gaming, and not games in general. I think the best games, by their nature, games have always been a social activity first, and a learning experience second.
My son is a well-groomed, somewhat well behaved teen and while he won’t be crowned homecoming king anytime soon – he’s always been fairly popular wherever he has lived. He’s known some of the kids in our neighborhood for half of his life and he’s spend countless hours with them playing, hanging out, etc.
However, he remarked to me a few months back that he actually feels closer to his online friends. A core group of 5 guys – all met individually in one gaming scenario or another (Xbox live, WoW, Halflife, etc). Listening to the conversations they have and watching the things they do online – it is obvious that socializing is a bigger deal to him than any actual gaming.
Over the last year or so I’ve created a few characters on his account. Played around a little killing the local critters, doing the small quests. It was fun for me. A diversion. I never felt the need to level up or to take it further.
But over the weekend, I wanted to get more in touch with this phenomenon, so I created my own WoW account with my own character. I spent probably 6 or 7 hours leveling up. I’m not addicted in the sense that when I’m not playing, I feel the need to be playing. But I can see where you can lost in the game you’re playing and that time can get away with you.
If down the road I get addicted, I’ll be sure to check back in.

Hi, really nice post, i do think that wow is designed to be adicted, i dont think anyone have think on this: Much of real life as we know it by now sucks!, i mean im a very leftish guy and i can go on and on telling what im not happy with the way we live nowadays: a word that worships more material achievements than spiritual and intelectual growth, i do think its a fertil area for games such as WOW. No wonder why industrial and developed countries such as japan or germany have such high suicidal rate. Anyway the biggest health problems for the new century will be mental problems, mainly depresion.
As the current system will keep going, the real life will be less apealing to humans, and new more fun, deep and sofisticated virtual words might come to fullfith human emptiness, we can just expect this issues to growth in a masive scale. I know it sounds like a really negative thoug, and it might be wrong but i do think is part of the problem.
sry if my english isnt that sharp, im from Mexico.
peace everyone.

Wow… about all i can say i recently started playing and have kinda found its diverting my attention from other things in my life, Namely loved ones and studies, increasing stress and leaving me unable to sleep, i never ahd this issue with other games, but i use games as my unwinding time not as an addiction. I mean where to next is the scary thing? i dont blame blizzard at all, i blame the direction life seems to take us, blizzard is just meeting demands and creating games that get progressively better and more immersive. But the cost to society really outweighs the benefits.
Hence after what i’ve read here i wont be topping up my account.
( thanks to Kat whose post really made me think )

I played WoW for over a year and for the last 6 months it was a love hate “relationship”. The last 5 lvls where the end of the fun for me as I felt it was becoming a job, especialy lvl60 and raid guilds. But I couldn’t just drop the game. I hated logging in and being bored but I loved being there for some reason.
My personal thoughts on it are that 3 things make WoW what it is and why it’s addictive…
1: The game is so safe in that nothing “bad” can happen in game, there’s no accountability within the game, you screw up, so what. Blizz have created a kind of comfortable cocoon in which people can experience total freedom from consequence.
2: People use the Comfortable world to escape reality of life i.e. Bad relationships, Boring/ dead marriages, crap/ stressful job etc.
3: The relationships built up in WoW. I always found people who were very much casual gamers found it easier to let go than those that spent large amounts of time playing. friends made, relationships are formed, some people meet cyber partners in WoW, others meet up with rl friends i.e. schoolkids, students. For people who play WoW for long periods I can imagine it’s extremley hard to just quit as some of those friends/ relationships will be lost.

I was a pretty regular player at one point, I had alot of fun in the game for a while, even somewhat through level 60. I got a few of my freinds(co workers) into the game, and now I feel responsible for turning them into zombies who care of nothing else, they never go out anymore, only caring to get more and more better gear for their virtual selves. One of my freinds puppies died of parvo because he was too wrapped in the game to take the dog to get its shots and he was going to let the dog die, I had to step in and take the dog myself and pay for it to be put to sleep becasue it was so advanced. This was the first of many reasons why I have backed off the game. One thing that really hit me was a woman with whom I was guilded with was neglecting her 5 month old baby(whom I could hear crying on teamspeak) because she wanted to play more than take care of her child stating “he is crying because he likes to be held, he need to learn to be on his own”. I could not beleive what I have heard, I was angry, so angry I stopped playing for a while. I always took WoW as just a game, but now I see different. I always joked about the game calling it “warcrack”, but I really had no idea how true that is. When I started to try raids I was floored by how it was treated like an obligation,a career even, like it was mandatory to your very existence to be there. Like many others I started to hate this game, it got to the point where I am wasting my 15 dollars a month just keeping the account open because I played so little. I voiced my concerns to other players, but it seems to just fall on deaf ears. I guess that epic gear just means so much to them. What started as fun between me and a few freinds turned into a loss of respect, trust, and freindship with alot of them and myself because of a damn game, a game! Never again will I ever come near another mmo.

Ive played WOW alot. Looking back i realize how much time I wasted. Weeks Of my life I can never get back. Life is too beautiful & short to stare at a screen all day. Its not worth it. I had to break my addiction by deleting my characters, cancelling my accout and swearing to myslef id never pick it up again. Because I cant control it. Its too powerful and addictive.

Here‚Äôs a few of my thoughts on mmorpgs, having been an addict to Anarchy Online, a having just tried WoW for the first time. I have to say I’m finding it hard to get back into a mmorpg. I think it’s because I see all of the tricks WoW is trying to pull, the little addictive tendencies it has, yet it releases no satisfaction for me.
WoW by design is a mix of great elements from pre existing mmorpgs it’s not bringing much new to the genera, it’s more like the mc Donald‚Äôs of mmorpgs. Come here a get a quick fix of success!
It’s a very clever mechanism, Level 1 – 60 in a very safe very spoon fed environment, very clearly mapped for you, so you as the player put little effort in and almost no punishment for bad actions. It’s almost like a Hardcore Gaming Trainer designed to take the casual gamer and turn them into a lean mean money spending machine.
By making it all so achievable with little to no effort (Time is not effort) this gives them a hock, by putting quests everywhere you get a small sense of “ahhh” each time you complete a quest/mission an then a big “AHHHH” each time you level.
Ok maybe you quit at 60 because they “duped” you and there isn’t much after that thing you have worked so “hard” for. But here‚Äôs the best trick of all, The EXSPANSION!!!!!!!!
“woooo it will be like playing the game all over again I’ll have so much fun, oh I will reactivate my account just for a short while”
Don’t do it, same shit different name, I have rarely seen an expansion that has been made that adds that feeling back, the game is dead an expansion will only lead to a let down in most cases but it can re hock you to the game, an this is why they chuck them out, After paying 15 dollars a month for 2 or 3 years shouldn’t the “Expansion” have been yours to have for free? Oh no they charge you again for the expansion with the lure…. without the expansion your character will be half as effective as everyone who has bought it, go on… oh go on buy our expansion it will make the game fun again and you will be competitive.
I believe mmorpgs can be very detrimental to your health I have seen it happen to me an quite a few other people, Of course not everyone is going to be a mmorpg crack head a lot of people will be able to play in moderation, and keep it under wraps but a lot of people can’t they get hocked it wrecks lives and I believe there should be more awareness of what these games can lead to, Educate people about what can happen, In fact a portion of mmorpg subs should go to a support group designed to help people who get in a bad way mentally on a mmorpg. Oh no what was I thinking…. that’s not profitable silly me.
“Oh just quit the game it’s only a game what’s all the fuss about?”
Easier said than done mmorpgs offer a space where people who may have a tendency for escapism can really let go, couple that with depression low motivation and you have a mmorpg crack cocktail ready to blow.
Meh I don’t even know what my point is, I’ve not been able to express what I wanted with this note,
All I can say is take it from me be careful with mmorpgs just like with drinking, smoking etc… keep an eye on it and regulate yourself don’t get yourself too addicted to virtual worlds as reality although harder to deal with is actually better than a fabricated reality, rather than going from 1 to 60 why not get the real satisfaction of learning something new an contributing to the world in some way other than lining the pockets of game companys.

Don’t be silly, just because you hear a baby crying doesn’t mean it’s being neglected.
Babies happen to cry. It’s too easy to connect the two without any factual information to back it up.
Typical quacks like a duck, so it must be one reasoning.

This is a personal story on how WOW has affected my life:
I didn’t purchase the game when it first came out as my friend and I started playing coop RPG games at work (of all places) starting way back with Baldurs Gate, IceWind Dale, and Neverwinter Nights. We had a blast at playing these games.
Well we then moved on to GuildWars for a while, but got bored with that for whatever reason, and finally tried the 10 day demo of both WOW and EQ2. We had a tough time deciding on which to prurchase and decided on WOW, not because of the experience itself but because Gamespot was having a weekend sale for $29.99 on WOW and after reading various online-reviews of the game.
Nov 2005… we were addicts but mainly played with just the 2 of us in a group after work and and never really explored the other aspects of the game (like PVP and instances). Kept to ourselves for the most part, helping each other with quests and so forth… (didn’t even join a guild until we were something like lvl 35s.) I feel we missed out on some enjoyable grouping experiences.
Anyway, March 2006, my son was born and had a real rough tme with him and had to put the game on hold. Cancelled my account in May but my friend kept playing. Since them he has 2 moved his 2 desktops together in the same room and has to accounts so himslf and his wife (both 60s) can play together and his 2 kids (age 6 and 8 I think) play together. I just don’t get it. Now they have some alt characters but they never want to play with me anymore, totally engrossed with their 60s doing raids and whatnot. I’m insignificant.
Anyway, I got an urge to start up my account again in October (my son has settled down again) 8 months old now. I can play the game very casually at night for a few hours at a tme when my kids go to bed. I’ve ran an instance (Deadmines) and got ridiculed for trying to do things like collect the armor set at level 24. “Why are you trying to collect that?! That’s like a level 19 set.” Made me feel stupid.
You know, I don’t spend countless meaningless hours learning all the nuances of the game. I HAVE A LIFE. A wife and 2 young kids that I DON”T NEGLECT by playing WOW. I like to experience the social aspect of the game and dont care about having ALL THE BEST STUFF!! The game has been around for years now and I feel like an outcast, a NOOB if you will. Makes the game now almost unenjoyable because everyone I have encounted on there has been playing since it came out. What a bunch of asses! Whatever happened to a FUN environment? Maybe I just need to go back to playing Oblivion and give up the MMORPG stuff.

My boyfriend plays warcraft for 8-10 hours a day and gets so mad at me when i speak to him during games. He even turns down sex for this game. I feel like I have been replaced. am I over reacting?

Greetings my fellow players. I am amazed by the depth and intelligence of this tread in most of the posts, and I’ll be happy to add to it. However I am ashamed at the stupidity in some of them, those that have no idea what they are talking about or flame eachother or the game itself based on their own very limited experience.
My addiction to this game carried over from my admiration of previously released Blizzard titles. I was shown this game by a rommie of mine during closed beta in fall 2004 when I was in the military. I had played off and on since then being in and out of the military and gone through life changes etc, to settle down with a full time job and my own place after being released from the military. This is when I decided to reactivate my account, and start a new character, stick with it alone and leave all my old characters behind. I was single, living alone, and unoccupied, what did I have to lose?
It all started then, mid July. I would come home from work, fix a meal, and log on. Everyday I would play until I had to go to sleep to get up for work the next day. Since I already knew what I was doing, it felt like I was racing myself. I would level and level and level blowing through all of the content. I hit sixty on my new guy within 3 weeks, but it didnt stop there. I wanted to experience the vast social, economical, player versus player, and end-game aspects of WoW. This was an adventure that would take time multiplicative of my adventure from 1-60.
After five months of playing 5-7 hours a day, 7 days a week, I am left with a powerful character with highly specialized equipment and great skill to match. My character has completed a lot of long reputation grinds, been through dozens upon dozens of raids with hundreds of different people, both leading and following and the like. Upon my time and experience on this character I have achieved position of our Guild Master, in which I hold responsability for the direction and health of the guild.
Am I addicted to WoW? I have invested a lot of time and energy into my community and my character and don’t really wish to give it all up, stop playing. I can stop whenever I want, but why would I want to? I want to make more friends, experience more content, and gain more rewards than I have to this day. Until I have reached the end of that line where time invested does not yield any reward wether it be material or social, I dont believe I will ever get bored of this game. I may slow down and find other things to do alongside of WoW when my goals are reached, however.
I think for each individual player there is a satisfaction level or ‘goal’ that they have. The game is very fun and exciting when you are reaching and almost acheiving these goals. Once these milestones become more and more difficult and time consuming to acheive, that is where people lose interest. Theere are things integrated into the social aspect of the game, such as guilds, circles of friends, etc. that do HELP you in acheiving these goals and making them seem less unattainable. Yes, people get in bad guilds where the leadership is corrupt and there is drama and bad things left and right. But not every group has problems.
Does WoW interfere with my ‘real’ life? Depends on what you define as real and interference. Yes I do admit, it does occupy most if not all my free time, I don’t have a lot of local friends because of the game and I dont go out much if ever. But in effect, all of this is majoratively contained within WoW’s social universe.
Can my experience here apply to the ‘real’ world? Well after all this is said and done and I finally put this game down, we’ll see. Lots of different people skills and group management skills come to mind. Yes I will have lost a good portion of my time on this earth to WoW and I have to postpone my dreams and aspirations IRL but I can accept that for now, I am just having too much fun. Fun is a part of life too.
If you have read down to my thread, you have read a lot of viewpoints, but you must do what your own heart says.

Fascinating and slightly scary thread for a WoW newbie. I can really appreciate the difficulty WoW can cause. It breaks my heart to read some of your stories. I really hope that those of you who are still feeling a compulsion to keep playing when you long since should have walked will find the strength to do so.
Nonetheless I think we would all concede that WoW is a breathtaking acheivement in terms of an entertainment product. I’ve played a load of the FPS games on line, but nothing has felt as exhilerating and absorbing as WoW. And yes, addictive.
However, perhaps where my story is different is that WoW has become, in our household, our major social activity. Not socialising with the others online, but with each other.
It’s a bit like TV. Me, my wife, my eight year old daughter and six year old son sit down altogether and play. We take turns on the controls, and talk to each other about what we will do next, what spell to cast when, whether we will wear the green shirt or the red one, who we should team up with, should Daddy do the hard bit, or Mummy? And so on. Of course we are still all staring at a screen but the huge difference between this experience and television is that we are talking to each other as well, sharing an experience.
No doubt that we are in the “honeymoon” period, as we’ve only been playing a few weeks, but so far WoW has been abundantly positive. It’s fun, family time. We probably spend as long playing the game as some people do watching TV – maybe 2 or 3 hours a night after dinner, washing up and homework. At the weekends sometimes a little more.
We all love the game, and myself and my wife so far have had the discipline to moderate our childrens (and our own!) playtime. We still see our family, do well at work, read stories at bedtime (although at the moment this does mean Eragon, which, if you swap “Urgals” for Orcs…)
I have to say I do think the game is producing “real life” benefits for us. Not only is it bringing us closer together as a family, sharing a wonderful fun experience, but it’s also bring up lots of very interesting issues and learning opportunities for the kids, and consquently learning opportunities for us as parents.
Much of our time in WoW is spent thinking about how we should behave towards the other players in the game – should we be nice or nasty? How can we maintain the neccessary alliances with our friends? Should we play again with that character who uses bad language? How should we decide what guild to join? Should we save up our money or just go ahead and buy that shiny new axe right now? How about that sense of accomplishment when we’ve worked really hard to achieve something and done it? Is there not some learning there? How could we apply this lesson outside of the game?
These are real life issues and WoW has supplied a really interesting and comparatively safe environment for us explore all of them with our kids. Not to mention giving them an insight into what we used to call “netiquette” and building their keyboard and mouse skills to an unprecendented level (no one types faster than a WoW player in need! And often with just a left hand too!)
I expect we’ll keep playing for a few weeks yet, and then have a break – probably when the new series of 24 comes along which we find equally addictive but unfortunately cannot share with the kids! I think when summer returns to our damp little island home we’ll be back in the park, and our WoW characters will gather a little dust. But maybe next Winter, as this one, all those dark and miserable rainy evenings will be brightened by the glow of a double handed fire-axe causing 100 damage per second to a Murloc, Fleshripper or Defias Overlord!
Whilst I can see that addiction is a danger I do think there is some learning and some value, in MMORPG games, if you share the game with your friends and loved ones rather than excluding yourself from them, have the discipline to keep playing time reasonable, and keep an open mind to the learning experiences that are there.
Oh and of course, as long as you don’t care whether you’re level 60 or level 6. It’s supposed to be fun after all – and it is just a game. Maybe that’s the real lesson.

I am about to delete my chars, and I know I wont regret it. When I step into my bed, I plan about what I will put in tha AH when I wake up.
Things in the WoW universe never end, there is always somehting you must do, should do or want to do.
Therefore, WoW is a timesink. It starts innocent, running with a lvl 3 gnome through Dun Morogh, or shooting you only spell, a fireball at wolves in Elwynns Forest.
But when the game progresses it is starting to replace the real world in more then one aspect. Virtual friends, virtual appointments…virtual everything.
Things will get more and more timeconsuming. If you are the kind of player who isnt affected by this principle, good for you. But I doubt the game would appeal to you anyway for long, after you hit 60.
If however you are a person that is affected by this, that is skipping birthday parties because you want your tier 3 headset, then you need to ask yourself: why?
Answer: addcition
Solution: delete account
Result: freedom

My brother plays WOW. Once he showed me how to use it and I played for about an hour before getting bored so I never really got into it. Besides that I was too busy with work, study and many other social commitments to ever find the time to play. He and I used to be best friends, would talk about everything. He started playing WOW I think about 3yrs ago, at first it was ok, my parents had time restraints on him so he could only play an hour a day. He began hiding the computer under a blanket so late at night they couldn’t see the light under the bedroom door.
This morning I woke at 8am. It is now 1pm and I haven’t seen him at all – I know he’s up because I can hear him typing, this is how it is every day.
I don’t like my brother anymore, we’re not friends. He only shows his face to go to the kitchen or the bathroom. He has a lot of other friends still – because he has LAN parties and they spread out all over our house to play WOW. They drink coke. They have bad bo, terrible posture and you can see bags under their eyes.
The other night we went to dinner and came home at 11.30pm, as i was brushing my teeth preparing for bed, I heard him turn the computer on. My friend told me her brother is the same.. except that he is 25. I asked my brother if he thinks he is addicted and he says no, I just can’t disappoint my guild.

well now they’ve bought out the burning crusade so everyone who got bored of it can jump right back in. Me, im still heavily addicted to C&C red alert 2

So For those that don’t know, Here are the methods WoW uses to keep you paying.
1. No skill, creativity, or other thought required. It’s very easy and the clases can not be played incorrectly because they are so specialized. All that is required is a time commitment.
2. Random rewards. ‘Good’ drops are random and can be goal orientated. This is designed to fulfil an instinctual urge for further gratification through persistance. This is the psychological element that causes gambling addiction.
3. Diminishing returns. Animals look for more food when less is found. The more you look the more you will find, but a diminishing return based on playtime (as wow uses) is a hook to keep players playing longer than the last login, and feeling an urge to plan more play if they can not.
4. Peer pressure. Even if you are not in a guild there is a level and qeuipment system designed to foster a ‘keep up with the joneses’ mentality. Blizzard cultists adopt this mentality and perpetuate it to other player.
Now here is a question for you. If you are to take advantage of these well developed methods of human and animal psychology, use them to exploit others for their money, are you a bad person?

Well…I had been playing for about 1 year or so…Just deleted my characters – 60 Orc warrior – 45 Orc Shaman – 41 Human Paladin..etc. etc…
ƒ∞nteresting feeling, but a nice sensation also…I had a lot of fun, but one has to know where to stop, enough is enough.
And the worst part is, that this game has nothing to do with fantasy at all, it’s just pixels-pictures…Places like azeroth live in the heart, in the minds of the dreamers…Yeah I know that I am a lost soul, but WoW didn’t help me achieving my kingdom…

This game was very cleverly designed. I feel that it plays on the human desire to become important, somebody that can make an impact and wield some clout over others. From personal experience (I have played this game for 2 years and just recently quit) it translated my desire to be somebody into something that was attainable, in the game. Even the tiniest upgrade made me feel good. Strutting that new piece of armor in a major city to have people come along to inspect my character was a good feeling, and ultimately pointless.
The designers of this game had many precedents to research before creating this game. It really isn’t anything groundbreaking in the big scheme of things. It’s the little improvements over games like Everquest, DOAC, etc that make the whole of WoW much more addicting. And I feel that that is the business model that Blizzard has been shooting for. To create a game that never ends, and has a hold on each player so that they continue their subscription and in turn create a huge profit for the company.

Blizzard has designed a game that never ends, and I believe that this is the root of the problem.
As humans, most of us were taught from early on to finish anything you start. This is ingrained into all of us and continues into adulthood. From the start as a child, finishing homework, chores and not to do a half hearted job was a virtue. People are praised for being diligent and focused and hardworking. This game feeds on that and gives people the sense that they can’t leave because the job isn’t done. They haven’t completed what they have set out to do, and in the end forget that there is not even an ending. This isn’t a conscious feeling as you play the game. It’s there in the background and that little nag when we stop playing. Like a twitch that indicates something doesn’t feel right.
I think Blizzard should have created a real ending to the game to give the players a sense of closure. But they can’t and will not since they will not make as much money as they are right now. It’s pretty ironic that the only way you can “beat” the game is to simply walk away. Basically giving up.

Great thread,
Many good points in both camps so far. I especially enjoyed the post about the family of four that plays together on the same PC. I think that is a brilliant way to introduce this product to children. That may be the most creative way to enjoy WoW that I have ever heard of. Hats off to the parents in that post! Teach me!
Most parents today are no good. They simply hand a video game off the game to a kid, no restrictions and no strings attached. Then for a while the parents are happy when it holds the childs attention. Eventually the parents become concerned that ‘lil Billy’ is spending too much time online. Now World of Warcraft is to blame. Bull.
Unlike crack cocaine or heroin where a person can be hooked on one ‘dose’, a WoW addiction takes time to develop. All the boo-hooing parents whose kids have gone off the deep end over this game need to ask themselves where they were when this problem developed. Ask them what they knew about the product when they purchased it. Ask them if they ever played it, tried to use the parental controls to monitor and limit their son or daughters gameplay. Those tools exist to protect the children from overuse. Don’t you want to know what your child is exposed to, what they are playing with? Do some homework, and engage your offspring in other enjoyable activities. They’ll thank you one day.
Bottom line, as an active account holder and player, I can tell you with no reservations that this game has addictive properties. It is most definitly not for younger children to play unsupervised. Basically, behind every WoW adict below the age of maturity stands 1 or 2 overly permissive parent/s or guardian/s. I can remember wasting portions of my own childhood in front of the ole television, and my mother and father forcing me outside to play. I had many more enriching experiences outdoors than in front of the TV learning life lessons from ‘Full Houses’ Danny Tanner (Bob Saget).
For adults addicted to the game, I can relate. I used to play obsessively for a period of several months before I stepped back, took stock of things, and realized some important truths about the nature of the beast. I suppose the turning point came when I began to research boss fights and guild strategies duing work. I played over 20 hours per week for a period of 4 months while this occured. At 20 hours a week you no longer have a hobby but a part time job. When you already have a 40 hour a week office gig, there isn’t a lotta time left over. So join a guild, you make some online friends, and for a while a person truly beleives that they are a valuable part of a fun community.
Gradually the fun fades, replaced by a sense of obligation. No more is the mindset, “I want to play, I have fun playing, it’s my free time to do with as I please, here I go. Wheee!” The new mindset is, “I have to log on, I have to be in raid, if not I lose my spot or let down the ‘team’. Here we go again.” If you get to this point like I did, and start to realize the things you are missing out on, you may change your attitude towards the game as well. Here is a good example, I decided to play WoW, and I have a Dwarf Priest with Naxramis epics. I the time it took me to acheive that, my girlfriend took night classes and learned to speak German fluently. So um, I can like, heal real well and stuff in a totally fake online world. She can speak to real people in a real language that sounds like obscene grunting to me. Ultimatly it’s a presonal choice, how would you rather spend your time?
One final thought,
A while back on this thread I saw a mother who described her son as having threatened to ‘hurt himself’ if she deprived him of WoW. Suicude threats are serious business. If I were in your shoes I’d go with 72 hour involentary committment. Your son needs a psyche elavuation ASAP. Show him you love him and get him the help that he needs. That is truly a tragic situation.

got too levle 62 on my troll hunter in 10 days stayed up about 10 in morning just playing the game am male and am 15 years old and i got 6 levle 60s

I heard world of warcraft was an addiction. But i play to and it’s really fun when you get bored and a chinese boy jumped off a 24 story building and died because i guess he played world of warcraft to much.

The comments above posted by Ben about playing with his family are likely the first comments I’ve read with that much of a positive spin.
Congrats Ben for finding a way to teach your children so much (should we save money before we make large purchases, should we guild up with people that curse, should we be good or evil etc.) and incorporating it into something both yourself and your wife can enjoy. I’m sure those type of lessons will transfer,and in a way, you all doing this together is no different than a family board games night in past years.
Much of what I’ve read has been tales of unhappy men/women in relationships with people who spend too much time stroking themselves over their latest armour drop or BDSM dungeon (that in these other articles led to child neglect, lack of intercourse, marriage/relationship breakups and general unappiness).
Recently, a group of my friends started playing WoW more and more, and this is what prompted my searching on the topic in efforts to try and comprehend the allure. It’s something that’s comsumed these people (and they don’t even play together), but from what I’ve been reading it’s not just them and the reasons are all the same (trying to get a drop, being there to help guild mates, being afraid to fall behind, being someone that others rely on, feeling needed, personal satisfaction from having something that’s so important to you, having something that only the people that play would understand, having something that’s there to never let you down no matter what, etc.).
I’m in agreement with many other posters in that how much it takes over your life all depends on the person, but others can influence you as well. Keeping in mind that people can be peer pressured even when they don’t realize it’s happening (“Dude you gotta do that dungeon with us tonight we really need your help!”).
In the perfect world people would see with eyes wide open that time is something you can never get back.
My interesting conversation sparking question for everyone is – can you have better relationships with online friends and guild mates than the people in your real life, if so…are your relationships with these people an escape from the ones that are horrible in real life?
If you start to become heavily invested in these relationships (friend context or other)what effect will that have on all the people who exist in your real life?
If online people are real people behind their characters (although because it’s an online game they could be playing a part or acting a way entirely different than they’d act in real life)-who should take precedence….real life friends or online ones? My opinion of this is sure..they can chat to you when something goes wrong, but your real friends are the ones that hae the shoulders you’ll need to cry on. Personally, I have trouble with keeping lasting online friendships if you have never previously in real life, the idea of them is intangible; so it doesn’t feel real.
In the game, people can cater to each other, it’s easy to make friends when you can say and have said to you everything the other party wants to hear. This is the probable main driver in many players’ additions.
How we live now and the way personal entertainment is drastically changing, it’s interesting to see all this unfold and both fortunate and unfortunate to see how something as simple as a multi player online video game is changing peoples’ lives.

Wow can definitely be a great learning tool for the family. Just the other day I was playing with my son, we were fighting humans and night elves (we are orcs) and my son turned to me and said ‘dad, I can’t wait till my skills in this game can come of use in the real world’. I smiled and said, ‘yes, wow is a wonderful tool for learning the ins and outs of racial elimination, exterminating enemies, and creating bonds with sociopaths while growing rich and powerful’. I don’t know if I conveyed to him quite fully my joy at helping my son better prepare himself for the long task of killing and stealing our way to lordhood. I hope he learns to be proud and exhibit his pride while doing the necesary deed of killing as many people as possible. As it is often said, all is well that ends well! My hopes are that he will be the greatest genocidalist this century can be proud of.

This is an excellent post. It has addressed some questions that I’ve had about gaming in general. What is wrong with putting ‘levels’ in a game? Why does it seem to offer us nothing but numbers on a screen? There are no new insights, no cool graphics, no story development when you reach a new level.
The same goes for gear that only offers an aesthetic and numerical reward that will be quickly forgotten after you have the piece of armor.
I guess my main concern is that we are so busy blaming the victim’s in this scenario. The game makers have intentionally made the game require a massive time investment and have implemented unreacheable goals. There are thousands of PvE raiding guilds that have nothing to do but cope with the boredom of fighting monsters while being cussed at by frustrated officers over ventrilo.
This game design was intentional. Chances are, the game makers themselves don’t play the game to nearly the extent that a large ammount of their playerbase does. I believe that Blizzard must be called on their sin, and that there should be some sort of penalty suffered by them financially – in the same way that casinos face penalties.
One indicator of Blizzard’s conscience knowledge of their actions is the way the old honor system was designed. A player is not even eligible for ‘High Warlord’ rank, despite the size of the server, unless they have accumulated over (and i’m not sure on the ammount, check wowwiki) 700,000 honor, which would require constant playtime, around 120 hours a week.
The part that baffles me is that Blizzard doesn’t recieve money based on the frequency of your playing, but on the time subscribed. So why do they design the game to require massive volumes of playtime? I don’t know the answer.

I read the begging thread. I wanted to post this as a small testimnt to my world of warcraft life. i worked at a lan cafe in bakersfield WOW came along and got into it shortly after beta. in short the biggest break i took from the game was a 7th month leave of play. I just turned 22 years old and have a girlfriend that l live with. i have a 70 troll mage on darkspear and a few other random 31’s 36 ect. the game has destroyed every ones life that i have known. all of my friends that i knew back at the lan cafe have all lost jobs live with there paretns and have gone thru seriouse depresion resluting in moving away to diffrent states just to come back some months later. i introduced the game to my brother he started a priest lvl 60 then a druid lvl 64atm and then a pally who he got to lvl 70 first he has a handfull of 29twinks and he out of every one i know has felt the wrath of world of warcraft. he was a 4.0student and bodybulder. he had 5percent body fat and could bench more than my weight wich is 185lbs he had a girlfriend for 2years her name is annie. a year later he has all of thoes charchters mentioned above he is addicted to vicadien oxy methadone any kind of pain pill because he has chronic migrans from staring into a computer screen for so long. he has gaind 40lbs his girlfriend jsut broke up with him and he is jobless b/c he cant work with bad headaches and lives at home with mom. a year ago i had jsut started playing again and thats when i got him into it. i met a girl her name is katie she is painting at the moment and were listening to bayside. she hated wow for ever we fought countlessly and finally she made a char i got her an account as soon as the burrning crusade came out she has a 34 blood elf mage and tonight we have both been seriously depresed. we dont feel like going out any more we would rather stay home and play wow. it feels as our happyness has been drained that the game is the cause. i googled world of warcraft depresion. and i found this so here i am putting in my 2 cents and if any one ever does read this whole post or finds it in the countless number of posts above it i just want to say… world of warcraft is a hell of a game and taken in moderation keep on playing but put boundries up

Hi!This is intresting to hear about all your toughts
and thinkings. I’m 18 and comes from swden I am doing a school work and i disadided to take addiction as my subject. And I am also playing wow sense 7 months back. And thats why it is fun to see what all have to say about this addiction to the game. I am just wondering if it is ok withj you to use this material in my school work. There is really
big toughts behind all this comments. And this is real addicts that wright here right?? Not to make you sad I am feeling that wow is a part of my life now days. I play a minimum of 2 hours per day if i don’t i feels something missing. Like i sad i have playd for 7 months and my highest char is 46 but after all this time i still love the game and don’t fel that i need to stop playing. I can call me an adict but i still got somthing that evryone is talking about a so called “life” but if i had a chance to stop school and start work and play more ive think i would. Buit anyways i just want your acceptence to take some comments and ad it to my school project if it is okej with you guys. ;D and btw WoW rules but don’t forget that there is something called “real life” to ;D
if i spelled anything wrong then keep in mind i am
from Sweden ;D

This site is really cool, in my opinion there needs to be more sites that deal with WOW addiction.
Lets see how can I sum up the last year and 3 months I played WOW. My story is like many others. I started playing casually maybe every other day for a couple hours. It wasn’t long before I was playing 30+ hours a week. Once I hit 60 my addiction went into overdrive. I would avoid friends and family just to get home to play wow. I remember leaving work early a few times to get home as well as taking off the whole day when BC came out. I remember several times getting upset about something this did I knew and losing a whole night’s sleep over it. I would work 8 hours a day and then come home and jump on wow first thing. I think I averaged about 4-5 hours of sleep during this time. I would be tired at work constantly and sometimes driving home on the freeway I would almost nod off.
I look back at this time and wonder what was going through my head. Why did I put myself through all of that. I think it boils down to a compulsion to play, even when most of the time I wasnt having fun. The guys at Bliz are evil geniuses if they can make a game people will play even though they dislike it! A lot of this compulsion was fueled by greed and fear. Greed for wanting the epics, fear that some other member would get said epic if I wasn’t there with my dkp.
I think Bliz knows exactly what they are doing and they should pay for it. Everyone wants to say “Oh you can’t blame Bliz”. I say absolutely you can, they understand full well the psychology behind the game and have created it with deliberate effect.
By the time BC came out I was completely burned out with end game content and raiding. Shortly after I hit 70 I quit. Anyone reading this thinking about playing WOW please believe me when I say you are not missing anything, but trial and tribulation and wasted time. I could go on and on but please just believe me.

Addiction?? I think I am a prime candidate. Initially, I am a little different than the normal player. I am female, between 30 and 40, and currently hold a lucrative job. However, my life is falling apart, and I would like to blame this game.
How so, you may ask. I play every day sometimes (if not most days) 6 – 8 hours. I have lost over 30 pounds because I will not eat, I only sleep about 4 hours a night, my marriage is falling apart, and I frequently miss whole days of work to play the game. My closest friends now are guildmates that I have never really met. Wow…seeing this on paper looks and feels overwhelming. Please don’t queue the violins as yet.
Quit? Can’t do it right now even though my mind says it would be a good thing. I will ponder this further, see how I can sink deeper into the abyss, and keep you posted.

My real life is going worse… but my char is growing strong… Im becomig weak and im wasting a lot of time so – REAL SATISFACTION = + WOW and +WOW decrease REAL SATISFACTION… there is it.. we found the point. People who feel alone and need to chat or share an experience, old harcore gammers which have decided to spend 15 euros monthly than purchase many games every time… those who like RP.. and many more.. What a paradox this is not a game for normal guys, but they are the only ones who can resist the consecuences. IF YOU DONT HAVE A STABLE LIFE DONT PLAY THIS GAME IF YOU DONT WANT TO START A NEW LIFE IN ANOTHER PLACE. I love it.. I need it, and emptiness apear when I leave it. WOW RULES…aganist your will.
(Im not from UK, US… sorry if you cant understand me)

I wasted 8 months of my life playing this game. It sucks you in people…. If you have aspirations to succeed in life… get a good job…. finish college….. stay in shape…. Don’t play this game. If you are a competitive person like me… moderation is non-existent-you will sink more and more time into the game period.
My wife helped me realize somethings…. probably the only time we argued-was over that dumb game, and she played too! Both of us had like 600 hours of play time each, and we both regret that very much. It was all such a waste. You have to make decisions in life that are healthy; sitting in front of a pc monitor as a second job-just to play a game is not healthy. I would rather go running and lift weights… spend time with real people. Being physically fit was my passion and I let myself move away from that. My point is people don’t let anything consume who you are…. don’t let something like a game consume all your waking thoughts and time. Playing WOW is silly and in the end worth nothing. How as a person are you being improved by playing WOW? Honestly, their are people out there reading this that don’t care about growing personally…. You should though…. You only have one shot at life guys! Use every bit of it you can-constructively….

WOW is for the people too stupid to realise that they’re being mugged for 15 euro’s a month for a poorly moderated game filled with sociopathic sadacts, and will keep playing just so they don’t have to admit that they made a mistake, and that they should be playing Guild Wars, which is free, these are probably the same type of people that also have Members accounts on RuneScape.
They spend their money on this 3rd rate game because none of them can get involved in a relationship in real-life and spend their money on jewelry and wine for their partners.

I don’t think its that bad of a game, i play it about 1nce every… maybe 4 days? take it in moderation, and you’ll have more fun

When you’re old and infirm you’ll have plenty of time to play wow in the nursing home (provided you can remember your password). Experience the sounds, tastes, smells, touches and colours of the real world.

Gambling is considered an addiction, and when you boil it down, aren’t Blackjack and WoW both games???? Just because a game that has the same addictive power exists in a computer, does that make it any less potentially harmful?
I happen to have a degree in Psychology, and even knowing the negative effects of the game and why it was so alluring, I still played. If you would have confronted me about WoW being unhealthy and effecting my life, I would have made up every excuse in the book why you where wrong. I would have made those same excuses to myself and I would have believed all of it.
I have moved on from WoW, but no one can deny the power this game can have over even functional adults is alarming.
I would say the first problem is not many people are willing to think of a
videogame as addictive, so few people find the support they need to quit,
but WoW addiction is REAL! Blizzard is a very cleaver company. Of course
gamers play it obsessively. Video-gamers all have this in common: we all
love our fantasy. But unlike a console game with a clear start and finish,
WoW is an endless game. You feel like you want to be the “best” at a game,
and beat it…but WoW has not “beating it”…just another level, just one
more epic. At lower levels of WoW, the rewards come quickly. This is how they suck you in. But as you level, it takes longer and longer to get the reward! The social environment keeps you hooked, as you start to need others to complete tasks. WoW Endgame has a variable reward system, which is the strongest addictive reward system possible..much like gambling.
It is the same reason gamblers will pull that little crank for hours and
hours: the reward is not everytime, but just enough to give you a quick rush
when the little bell goes off and coins drop (or the Epic Item you want
drops)..Everyone cheers for you! But the reward and rush is short lived, and
you are back to the mind-numbing grind. But WoW is even worse: instead of a
quick pull of a crank, you spend hours and hours wiping on a boss and
several runs before you get a reward. It takes endless hours to get even one reward. If WoW started off like this, no one would have stuck with it, but you feel like you have to justify the time you have already sunk into it. It is an endless downward spiral.
Add to all this, a social environment of like-minded people (chat, vent, TS,
forums) and players feel like they are not socially isolating themselves, and you have got a full environment of quick rewards and a group of supportive ‘friends’ who ‘understand you’. The more you play WoW, the more these people seem to understand you and other ‘outsiders’ don’t. Of course they understand you more if you have just spent hours and hours online with them and neglecting anyone else. It plays on the best and worst of our human nature. Also, millions of people have crappy jobs, bad families, lame relationships, lives that kinda suck …so WoW will always have millions of faithful players. It is easier to zone out in a game where you can be God-like then to face having to make hard choices or deal with the emotional speedbumps of life. And the more you play obsessively, the more these other areas of your life suffer. Good game Blizz, you figured out how to keep people logging on for hours and hours forever and ever.

Something fun to do when your bored on W.o.W. is to go to Darnasus, go to the very back of town where you will find a waterfall. Step over the waterfall(yes this will kill you and actually if done my way you will have to die about 2-3 times for the true fun) you will be instantly killed on impact with the ledge below. Do this twice, more but be very careful not to go to far as a ghost or you will have to walk all the way around to Rut’ Theran, after a few deaths you will be on a branch of the Teldrassil tree walk all the way to the end and jump off. If done correctly you will survive hitting the water and will be able to hearth to your home inn. All same and sound and a suicidal, ski diving, deap sea diver. (: 🙂 P.S. to all add me as a friend if your in server AZGALOR my name is Animaster. T.y. all and happy exploring.

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