Dangers Of The Internet Part III: World Of Warcraft Addictions

This article is part of the meta-post 4169 Words Mostly Mine or How George Allen Is A Racist Biggot. This article is part of a series of articles entitled Dangers of The Internet. See the bottom of this article to see the first articles, consult the articles section or simply click here.

Another relevant post to our explorations of internet addiction and psychosis, Dr Orzack advances the evidence that 40% of World of Warcraft players are addicted to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true. The only thing that I wonder is, what about Second Life, what are the statistics for addiction for that “game”?

I am not surprised by these findings, because any type of game or simulation that is so immersive that users can find replacement for their everyday lives, are dangerous. Especially to borderline or addictive personalities.

From twitchguru:

If you’re suffering from dry eyes, headaches, back aches, erratic sleep patterns, it may be more than just your average hangover: according to Dr. Maressa Orzack, you could be suffering from video and computer game addiction. A clinical psychologist, Orzack is founder and coordinator of Computer Addiction Services at McLean Hospital in Newton, Mass., and is also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. Computer Addiction Services is one of the few outpatient clinics in the U.S. that provides specific treatment for game addiction.

While many people dispute the notion, 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.

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Relevant Posts

This post is part of a series on the Dangers of The Internet.

  1. The Problem With Second Life
  2. Blog and Internet Psychosis
  3. How to Manage MMORG Addictions, Testimonials, Tips and tricks
  4. Information Addiction

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It is also part of the meta-post 4169 Words Mostly Mine or How George Allen Is A Racist Biggot.

Previous: Vanished TV Premiere Review (Fox)

Next: Architecture Of Pain, Part II: Aches and Pains

57 Responses to “Dangers Of The Internet Part III: World Of Warcraft Addictions”


  1. 1 Chiwaw August 18, 2006 at 04:55

    World of Warcraft addiction. It’s all over the place. As a big geek, computer gamer and RPG lover, I *should* be addicted, but somewhat I don’t, and I can’t. Even when I actually tried to be addicted to it. I realized that my short attention span tendancies actually spare me in getting addicted. I can get crazy on one activity for few days to a month, but past that, my mind is crying for something different.

    Pretty funny to realize that, in our techno-orgiac world, short attention span is actually a GOOD self-defense against life destructive behavior.

  2. 2 range August 18, 2006 at 05:30

    For myself, gaming comes in waves, mostly during the winter. I barely play during the summer. I play an XBOX360 most of the time. I enjoy RPG games, but ones that are not online and that do not involve interactions with other people online. I don’t know, I just like it that way.

    I have never played MMORPG’s and I never plan to. I have other things that need my time. Have you experimented with stopping internet usage. I did so for about 2 weeks. It was quite the challenge, because I had to use it sporadically for work, but I did not have it at home. You find that you are less of a scatterbrain and more concentrated on your knowledge based queries.

  3. 3 Frank September 10, 2006 at 01:28

    Listen Frank,
    When we meet with the preacher, please come “clean”, take responsibility,and seek God’s healing. Do it for your own soul’s sake and that of your children.

    Love,
    Patricia

  4. 4 Kathleen Pennell October 2, 2006 at 02:43

    Game addict is serious as death. I have met others like me in pain.

    My husband aka Skahtpin has an addiction to World of Warcraft. He left the east coast and loving family, wife, children, & job to be with his online “wife” she was his mule in the game. This woman worked on him in the game and this game suck the soul out of my husband and my marriage.
    When he would come home from work he went straight to the game every night he even did it at work. If I asked him to be away from the game he became enraged. If he had to leave WOW for real life he became abusive.
    It became creepy…he would say “we” thought this would be good ida… this woman pfy ruined my happy married for 17 years. I am totally crushed. The worst part the forums are all private so I can see them sending love notes and blowing kisses but there is no way I can tell the Refugees of Chaos that Skahtpin left his kids and wife for this game “wife” Pfeil or Pfy. She thinks she is miss perfect. Sending him love notes for years in this game. The other players were sick of her and her retarded childest bossy manner so she was thrown off. They moved to another game.

    • 5 dave December 3, 2009 at 13:33

      I feel your pain. My wife of 18 years also met her “freind” on World of the Warcraft. Left her home and 2 kids and moved 4 states away with her friend she met on WOW.

      Im trying to understand the game. Please write me back.

      • 6 range December 3, 2009 at 17:50

        I don’t play it and I stay away from Persistent Online RPGs, but my guess is the escapism that is available to the players.

        It’s an addiction, just like a lot of addictions. Once you realize it, you can start to understand the reasons behind them.

  5. 7 krazykhan October 24, 2006 at 10:19

    Gah, i am totally addicted to WoW, It is so fun. I find it strange that people consider it self-destructive behavior though. Constantly society has been changing and people have been changing to fit in with it. WoW is just another way to experience life in our society. I have not met anyone yet who plays as much as people have been talking about. Sure, there probaly are people out there who play as a lifestyle but just because you can find a few people who have surrendered their life to WoW doesn’t mean it’s an epidemic or some addictive illness. Now online gaming in general, i believe, is where Dr. Orzach may have a point. People do find it hard to stop playing big online games. But don’t blame it all on WoW. And i don’t think your going to stop it either Blizzard has always made addictive games from Diablo through Starcraft and WoW. It’s just our society now. As long as you play online games as a form of enjoyment and not a lifestyle it’s fine.
    P.S. pardon my sporadic thoughts i never keep them organized lol =/

  6. 8 range November 2, 2006 at 03:43

    No worries.

    Right now, I have barely any time to blog these days. I can’t even imagine how people can find the time to play 2-5 hours a day on a game and work full time. I work about 55-60 hours a week.

    But before, I guess that I could have had the time. Anyways, right now I am working full time as a teacher in Taiwan and I am enjoying this a whole lot.

  7. 9 night elf druid November 30, 2006 at 23:23

    To the lady that lost her husband to WoW…..all I have to say is…….PWNED!!! lol

  8. 10 nigel December 10, 2006 at 16:23

    My 18 year old son has left school and is avoiding getting a job. He plays on World of Warcraft everyday for a minimum of 12 hours a day getting him out to even go shopping is a struggle. He says the only career he wants is the Army so he can carry a gun.He is an intelligent articulate good looking teenager.But he won´t get a life Is this because his WOW addiction makes him agressive. I have read that the Army Psycholgists won´t take Game players as they think the fantasy aspect makes them a weak personality and easily influenced. Should I throw out the computer? Nigel

  9. 11 range December 11, 2006 at 00:32

    Thank you Nigel for you real life testimony.

    For sure, you should consider getting rid of all computers and internet connections at your home. The only good thing of your son being home is that you can keep an eye on him.

    Your son needs a reality check. At 18, I was enrolled in Computer Science in an university, living for the 1st time by myself in a new city with other students in the same situation. My parents paid for my 1st semester and then I paid my own way because my program was a coop program, real work experience mixed in with studies at the campus.

    You should also definitely consider either counseling or therapy for your son. Also, does he have a car that you got him? Take his keys away and sell it. Are there any other freedoms that he takes for granted? Restrict them. Also, I suggest you get rid of the TV in his room, as well as all of his video games. Watching TV is relaxing for adults after a long hard day of work, but teens should do something more constructive, like reading a book.

    In my opinion, restricting his internet access could be the first easy step. Secondly, if your son is playing 12 hours of WoW every day, is he fit? Try reasoning with him that if he wants to join the army, he needs to be very fit. Try making him start exercising at a local gym with you.

    At 18, your son is nearly an adult. I admit that your influence on him might be limited. I remember that I normally did the opposite of what my parents told me to do.

    Would military school be something you would consider for him? In Canada, after military school, you normally become an officer. If he wants a career in the army, you could reason with him about this. From what I have read, getting into military colleges is quite demanding, try using this as leverage or influence on him. If he really enjoys guns as much as you say, you might join a local shooting range, where he could try his hand at real shooting. I suggest this even if you dislike guns because it has the benefit of making him leave the house. However, make sure that he can not take the firearms home. Keep them under lock and key at the shooting range.

    You could also take him to paintball games. Most teenagers who like guns really enjoy this activity. It is physically demanding, you are outside in the woods in the fresh air. You could also try go-carting. Normally those type of kids enjoy carting as well.

    Try getting him interested in military strategies and tactics with books and wargames. Though I suggest, you keep the games as board games like Risk and Axis And Allies or other strategy games.

    Remember to always play your son’s strengths. It will make him feel good to be really good at something. You know your son and you know at what he is good at. Try working on these.

    The best way to go in my opinion is cold turkey. Getting rid of the internet connection, getting rid of his computer, severely limiting his freedoms until he has earned them back. One thing is for sure, he needs to finish school first. Try motivating him by rewarding him with things that he wants if he succeeds, excluding computers and the internet.

    Teenagers need clearly defined boundries. If they see that they can get away with things, they will always try it. They will always probe and push and try to do things their way, but you have to stand firm and let him know it is your way.

    You could also take him camping. Even if you do not enjoy this, it gets him away from computers and the comfortable reality that he has established for himself. Make him do a lot of chores at home. An idle mind is a bored mind.

    I do not think you should consider the ‘brat camps’. However, if your son is no longer thinks that he has to do what you say, you might have a problem, especially in cases when the children are physically stronger than their parents.

    You should also immediately hire a private tutor to get him back on track in his school work. Private teachers can establish a curriculum fit for your son so that he can continue learning and growing.

  10. 12 maniacide December 12, 2006 at 08:26

    Handy tips for parents of WoW addicted teenagers. I should point out that I’m a Warcraft player, but even I could not stomach playing for 12 hours a day….so. Here’s some insider tips from a hardened gamer…

    Strategy 1. Throw the switch. 12 hours is ludicrous. Suggest switching off the power supply at the mains randomly to cause him to reboot. If you do this enough, he will “DC” (disconnect in WoW speak) so often that he will lost the respect of his guild and fellow gamers. Best times to throw the switch…

    a) about 1900 local time on Wednesday. This is when Molten Core resets. If he is a hardened WoW addict, this wil piss him off. Also try to get the Instance reset times for your region from http://www.wow.com – killing the power when he is trying to get into a big raid helps a lot.

    b) About mid-morning and mid-evening – this will surely annoy his buddies and they will throw him out of a group.

    Strategy 2. Start playing yourself. Find out which server he is on and follow him around, announcing that you are his mom/dad. Be generally “parent embarassing”. This works really well.

    Strategy 3. Kill his income. WoW costs money – no money, no game. The dude aint got no job, so this should be easy enough.

    Strategy 4. timelock your home broadband. Get a router that restricts port access to certain times of day. This works a treat, especially when you lock him out with a strong admin password.

    If none of that works, try this…

    Get rid of your broadband connection,
    Face up to the fact that he is an addict,
    Get him some professional help (counselling),
    Enforce your authority, if not as parents then as landords,
    Be prepared for a fight…..

    Maniac.

  11. 13 range December 12, 2006 at 12:21

    Thanks Maniac, those are some great suggestions from someone who is actually played the game!

    I hope this will help Nigel.

    Oh, and Welcome to The Memoirs!

  12. 14 Chris December 16, 2006 at 08:23

    Ok, I just started playing about four days ago. Yes, this is a fun game, and I can see spending a lot of time. I will admit, sadly the first day I spent 12 hours playing it. But since then I have made sure I only spend a max of 2 hours a day. Also, I have started myself a Gym membership so I have to go workout before I can go home and play.

    If you have the kids password for his account, change it!! And then, you can go into WoW account on their webpage and they have a section for parental monitoring where you can restrict the amount of time aloud on the server.

  13. 15 no one December 28, 2006 at 09:25

    ok wow is fun for teens and for kides all over it is a game parints need to rember that it is a game no more i think all that stuff that peple are saying is very stupid it is a game and my parants think im addicted wich is very very wong i think it is a game i play a lot 2 hours a day at most but i can go days with out addicsons are you can live with out but if i can go days months thim it is not a addicshons you can live with out so this is gitting whay out of poprshon i think

  14. 16 Chris December 29, 2006 at 00:13

    You know, people will take what you say more seriously if you learn how to spell half the words you type correctly.

  15. 17 no one December 29, 2006 at 01:24

    ok your right u no what im tring to say

  16. 18 Helper January 4, 2007 at 08:18

    I also play World Of Warcraft but I actually limit my time. Try to threaten him but not the abusive way. Somewhat like “If you don’t stop playing I am going to be forced to cut the monthly payment on this game” Therefore if he does not earn his money he will not be allowed to play. If he continues to find his own way into playing, you will be forced to do whatever you can as in turning off the internet, Locking the computer up. And if he likes guns soo much why not give him some toy guns?

    Oh and I almost forgot. There are things called “BB Guns/Pellet guns” Im sure your son would like to handle those considering the fact that he is 18. Only allow him to use BB Guns/Pellet guns if he is entering a tournament. BB Gun tournaments are fun and require alot of skill. Your son will be safe considering the fact they give you safety armor and things like that.

    I hope your son learns how to get a life!

    -Simon

  17. 19 Jakob January 4, 2007 at 14:58

    well pardon my bad english, its not my native tongue. When you son is that addicted to world of warcraft – 12 hours a day is alot, way too much. I would suggest you as a parent just not to give him the money for the game, he needs to pay a mounthly fee. That would make him get a job, and then spent less time on world of warcraft.
    I don’t think your son is aware of the downsides of his gaming addiction, when taking in mind he is 18 years old. Try that parent control feature that there are at the account menu ( where you can restrict how many hours he can play the game a day ).
    Or simply destroy his cd install disks, and uninstall the game.
    12 hours gaming a day could indicate that he maybe is depressed, the online world can work as a way to flee from real world. Maybe he need counseling.

    - Jakob

  18. 20 spiritbull - garithos January 6, 2007 at 20:12

    I am an active wow player and for thoes of you who don’t know the first thing in my name is my wow name and the second thing is my sever. i know everyone is in a huff about the amount of time spent on wow by some people. My advice is not to worrie about it, nothing lasts forever not even wow. to the woman who is having trouble with her son playing exessivly on wow, don’t worrie yourself about it, eventually he will stop, there does get to be a point in this game weres theres not a whole lot left to do. also if this is in canada, he is now 18 and legaly an adult, meaning he needs to make his own life chicies, u can’t be his mommy forever.

  19. 21 Lovedrug January 11, 2007 at 00:54

    I have played WoW for 2 years now, before that i had a like 6 month break from MMORPGs, where i played Anarchy Online which lasted for about 3 years.

    When looking on the way i feel about life, how I relate to my friends and family, i can see how bad Online gaming is. I’ve been depressed, thinking that life is not worth living, I dont see much to many of my friends, personally because I feel they went another way than me. They think alot about going out in the weekends and get completely smashed, acting crazy.
    I’ve always been somewhat shy, where my friends like to get comepletely smashed, i like to hang out with a few ppl getting stoned. I like my personality in that way, i dont see the fun, going out pretending to be a superstar, not having control of myself. Getting stoned having some philosphic conversation, perhaps about a weird subject suits me better.
    Before playing alot of computer back in my teens, i remember me feeling left out, not good enough for other ppl, hell, even online i feel that way… which probably led me into MMO’s im sure that MMO’s havnt done much to me, besides of letting time pass by quickly. So im not really sure whether its the games, or my personality.. if the egg came first, or the chicken.

    I kinda quitted Gaming by new year, as a New Year resolution, a few weeks before i quitted smoking Hash, its easier for me to stop smoking Hash than it is to stop playing WoW, after quitting WoW i feel empty, and restless.. but i do get to bed earlier, and its really nice to get a full night’s sleep. But its hard to find out something to replace gaming with. I dont feel like playing really, but lack of stuff to do, really gets my mood into just logging on WoW and play, just a little bit. which i did yesterday, played an hour, logged off did something else, mostly home duties, then logged back in the evening playing 2 hours, then went to bed.

    Sorry for a long, abit messy post :)

  20. 22 hatewow January 11, 2007 at 10:30

    I just wanted to say it helped to read all the comments on this site concerning World of Warcraft. I never felt like anyone but a person with a child playing this game existed. My husband plays after about 6 months (maybe) of having it, more than 8 hours/day. He had been playing online poker for 2 years or so but at least we still conversed then. Now, we rarely do. He is tied to the game; unable to assist with normal child care and household chores. We went to FL for Christmas with his family and most nights he was playing WOW. It was noticed and commented on by every person in his family. He is incredibly loyal to them but became angry and insolent when they confronted him with this issue. I was happy because he was not playing it every day/ night- whenever he was NOT working. Thank God he has no internet access at work.
    I am pissed and unhappy. I love my husband and want HIM back but he will not listen when I ask him to cut it down. To go to the park, play a board game, or watch a movie with me and the kids. And by the way, his sex drive is almost obsolete. This from a wonderful and attentive lover during our almost 9 year marraige.
    He just bought some expanded version of WOW. He told me the game never ended and my stomach dropped. I wonder if we will last this. I wonder if I stop accepting if we are already over.
    Hurts like hell to not be able to compete with a stupid game.
    Thanks for letting me vent,
    Heidi

  21. 23 Desiree January 15, 2007 at 05:49

    I am a current WOW player myself and have been an online gammer for about 5 years or so. I’m about to turn 22, have a boyfriend, am going to school and still plan on playing when i have time. My brother introduced me to the world of online gaming, starting out with starcraft, then diablo and now World of Warcraft. He also infuenced my mom about a yr ago, and now she plays with my brother and I. My brother use to be really addicted, but he grew out of it. Like someone said before, there’s not much else to do once you hit a point. Anyway, as for me; when High school came around i had a REALLY tough time getting through my first year. To top that off I fell into clinical depression as some of my family members became terminally ill. When i started playing Starcraft I felt a sense of security. No one could see me while i played and i could get away from my brother and parents when i needed to. All my friends were really smart, got all A’s and B’s, played 2 or more sports, and always seemed to be happy with their lifes. It was hard to count on any of them to help me, by hanging out with them or just talking to them about it. I felt like a burden and didn’t want to take them down with me. I zoned out by playing online. It was great, I could calm down or get something off my mind at the moment. I goined guilds and had ‘friends’ i could talk to without worrying about any of that real life burden stuff. Over all, i don’t think i would have been able to get through any of my high school years without having a “get away game”. My parents were ok with it because it was a type of therapy for me. Hope this helps for some people. =)

  22. 24 ERIN O BERRY January 20, 2007 at 03:55

    I AM OVER 50 YEARS OF AGE, AND HAVE BEEN PLAYING ON WOW ABOUT 2 MONTHS. ADDICTION HAS TO DO WITH THE PERSON, NOT THE GAME. I WORK 50 HOURS A WEEK. I GET UP AT 4AM TO PLAY, GO TO WORK, COME HOME, AND SPEND TIME WITH MY FAMILY TIL BEDTIME. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPENDING ALL YOUR TIME WATCHING TV, VERSUS ON THE COMPUTER PLAYING. I WAS MORE ADDICTED TO SIMS, AND SIMS 2 THAN THIS. BUT IT ALL GETS OLD AFTER A WHILE. AS FOR AN 18 YR OLD WHO DOESNT WORK, SHAME ON THE MOTHER OR FATHER WHO DOESNT SAY “IN MY HOUSE YOU WORK OR YOU FIND YOUR OWN PLACE” AND STILL HAVE TO WORK TO KEEP IT. IT KILLS ME WHEN PARENTS DON’T ACT LIKE PARENTS, AND DON’T TEACH THEIR KIDS RESPONSIBILITY, DICIPLINE AND CONTROL. A CHILD CAN’T STAY ON A COMPUTER 12 HOURS A DAY UNLESS HIS PARENTS LET HIM. AS FAR AS A PERSON WHO LOSES THEIR PARTNER TO THE GAME, YOUR PARTNER WAS LOST LONG BEFORE THE GAME. THE GAME WAS JUST AN AVENUE TO MAKE A CHANGE, AND BREAK UP THE OLD BORING SIUATION.

  23. 25 Dohfast January 20, 2007 at 15:36

    I play world of warcraft about 3-6 hours a day. I think that you people thinking that he game is so evil is not true. There is probably a reason why people are so obsessed with the game(lek its fun, lol.). Why are you n00bs discussing how evil this game is? Play the game and see for yourself why the game is so fun. You too will want to stop everything that you are doing,and play the game, like me. Trust me, these games make you want to stop wanting to be in rl (real life) and play WoW all day, because it truely is better than real life. Also, who cares if he is having a good time. That is the addict’s DECISION, and you shouldn’t be a b—- and nag addicts about his PERSONAL decision. To be fully honest, please by all means, try this, please, go to the KKK website, and you will see that they talk about this sort of stuff in the same way. World of Warcraft is the greatest game, and it totally is MUCH better than RL. Get a life, make a character in world of warcraft, and forget anything that you dont like in rl, because you can live in Warcraft. So for you nags, complainers, b—-es, n00bs, and most of all Parents, remember, that it is the person’s Personal decision that they want to play this game. You arent helping them at all if you just be an a55hole about it, lek all of these articles above. Please just give the game a chance:)

  24. 26 adam sparks January 24, 2007 at 10:56

    just bought game a week ago im already hooked ive been on about 13 hours a day i quit my job cut myself off from world my view is NEVER EVER let your children even start to play this game.

  25. 27 adam sparks January 24, 2007 at 10:58

    the only reason i had time to write this thread is because the wow server is down

  26. 28 unasanul February 14, 2007 at 03:43

    In an attempt to get to better understand my husbands interests I have created a character and played a few times, however I have grown to hate the game before i have had a chance to like it. My husband is on all the time we come home from work and he logs in about 730pm plays until 1230am, while i cook, clean, put the kids to bed, do the bills the laundry each day. Weekends are way worse he logs in all weekend long playing from sun up to sun down and drinks beer the entire time he is playing. I am tired of sharing my life with a computer, he is on teamspeak with his friends all night long, all weekend long I rarely know whom he is talking to becuase he is talking so much. He ignores me and our children becuase he is to busy doing an instance or headed to the battle grounds. Even when he gets spoken to about it it just goes in one ear and out the other he claims he has no problems and that its just for enjoyment and downtime. The only time he goe AFK is when he needs another beer or needs to smoke, unless i have guilted him into quitting which rarely happens. I am a roommate in my own home, i am a single mother with a Wow playing husband that doesnt get it. enough is enough grow the heck up and let this stupid game go its not worth your family or your loved ones. Obsessive personalities all over the WOW community will shun this message i dont care, this is my reality and life is not a game and its not fair i never once thought my competition would be a role playing game, how do you fight against an invisibile companion that has so many followers?

  27. 29 gamer February 16, 2007 at 12:19

    Just wanted to say that I was given a free trial a few days and loved the game so much that I went out and bought the game and the expansion pack. This game is so much fun, and I actually feel like I have a purpose in life and something interesting to do to pass up the time. Everything about the game is beautiful. I go to school in the morning, come home at about 1 PM and get on for 6 hours, eat dinner, and then play for another 4 hours. It’s just great. I’ve always been a gamer my whole life, starting with Age of Empires, then Anarchy Online, and now this. World of Warcraft is a great way to pass the time because it gets your mind working, unlike TV where you just sit there like a slug. Try it, you will like it.

  28. 30 anonymous February 17, 2007 at 04:11

    its pathetic and sad that people play this often and ruin relationships, there is more then life than leveling up or getting a good item.. there are mountains to see, oceans to swim, and many other things that life has to offer.. i think adults should be adults and whether they feel older or not they are.. and there is a big responsibility to being a adult, games are for kids.. so it might sound cocky but GET A LIFE everyone who plays EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THEIR LIFE for hours.. look at yourself in the mirror and see what you are becoming

  29. 31 Edseverripit February 20, 2007 at 08:19

    You call that a purpose, Gamer? My God… The real world is a lot better than a gaming world, no matter how much the developers try to make a game “real” through the use of RAM and a graphics card. I’d like to thank my friends for making me a lot more aware of this.

  30. 32 Maeve February 21, 2007 at 12:13

    I’m currently a lvl 32 Priest (I’ve been playing for almost 2 months now). I think the game is great; lots of fun — I’m 31 in real life and always find it’s a hoot when talking to people “in-game” and finding out that they’re 13 years old, etc!

    The interactive-ness of the game is very addictive and, for me, much more satisfying than watching TV, because at the end of an evening of questing I feel like I’ve actually “accomplished” something.

    Then again, I frequently go to bed and have after-images of the game stamped into my brain. I’ll have trouble falling asleep or, worse, I’ll have WoW dreams that are really stressful (my character is being attacked by Horde and I can’t hit the right key, that kind of stuff). And I’m convinced that the game is starting to trigger signs of depression: for instance, I used to be interested in going out with my boyfriend on weekends, cooking, traveling, etc. Now he and I spend hours on Saturday and Sunday gaming (he’s a lvl 34 Druid). And since we live in adjacent states, the weekends are the only time we really ever get to see one another, so it’s doubly depressing when we realize it’s Sunday night and we’ve frittered away the whole weekend on our computers!

    I’d never been a gamer before WoW, but I’ve definitely seen signs of addiction since I started playing. Fortunately for me, I’m a bit of a dilettante and will probably stop playing once the newness wears off. Unfortunately, I know many others haven’t been so lucky. This is such a well-designed game, and it’s so easy to get caught up in it. People should definitely approach it with caution! :-)

  31. 33 Gergely Kun February 23, 2007 at 19:41

    I’m so shocked how some people talking about the game…both sides.
    1.Everyone who plays WOW (or any other MMORPG)like it’s the meaning of their life, you all have a serious mental problem…You are no gamers…i’m a gamer i played and i’m going to play games as long as i live becouse console and PC games are FUN…but please, even if i can call myself a HC Gamer i have my own life friends, job, girlfriend, family,..other kinde of hobbies like music composing, kenjutsu..ect and yes i have time for all this! No question WOW is a great game far the BEST MMO i ever played…but you must know the limits.

    2.You all who saying everyone how plays more then 3-6 hours a day are sick mental addicts…i really thint you don’t even played a videogame exept solitare and minesweeper. We are living in the XXI. century videogames are fantastic…you can experience things you never even dreamed about…like WOW you can live the life of a fantasy character…in an epic sorty of Warcraft…it’s almoas like if you could play in one of Tolkiens stories…far more fun then reading…you can’t change the story in a good MMO you are a part of the story…All of you don’t be so negative…not every gamer is an agressive zombie…this is discriminatio!
    Amd one more thing…don’t talk about something you don’t even know…
    THX and both side 1 and 2 think about it not everythig is black or white there is gray too ;)

  32. 34 Chris lvl 70 March 3, 2007 at 04:30

    World of warcraft… funny all the players defend it as the significant others want to destroy it, I on the other hand agree with both sides. Im twenty one years old, attend a state college, and have been “on and off” playing world of warcraft since the day it came out in 2004 i believe.
    ~Try this~ You can actually test the exact amount of time put into that game, So for you parents, or angy wives, Ask You children or husbands “Type /played” they will recognize you know what your talking about, and most people will cry when they realized they have spent over 130 days ( and i mean Full days not a few hours a day, full 24hour days)on achieving technically nothing.
    Ill admit I have spent around 119 days into this game, some of the time which is calculated “afk” being away from the computer but that fraction is miniscule compared to the time actually spent playing the game.
    I feel like im at a alcoholics Anon. class haha, But Through the flux of playing and not playing I will admit I enjoyed being with my girlfriend, friends, and family more when I didnt have the thought of the things im Not achieving in warcraft. About a year back (sorry for the jumping around, im in class at the moment) I spent a good ten hours a day on warcraft, forgetting about physical awareness and eating well, or even hanging with good friends. So now March second 07 I have been playing warcraft again for about 2 months(due to the expansion) after a good 5 month break, and the break was nice, I got back in shape and regained relationships with friends, family, WORK, and my girlfriend.
    But even during the break I tended to start playing games alot similar to world of warcraft, The reason people become addicted to this game is because you Cant Ever Win it. The entire purpose of video games to me as a child was Not to give up until you have finished it. I do also agree with the post above me, yes you create a virtual depiction of what you would want to be if you were a character from good ol Jr Tolky but you cant succeed in both real life and virtual, at times you have to pick. Like in posts above Wives couldnt get the husband out to watch a movie with the family, IVE BEEN THERE, and you really cant imagine all the details envolved with that, So i will try to enlighten you who are struggling understanding. First of all, you take 40 Real life players, and set a date and time in which they all will set fourth in a dungeon persay, Depending on skill the “raid” could last up to 7 hours, during these raids, certain classes/races must be presant to obtain the Prize(and by prize i mean Weapons/armor for certain players) in these dungeons, alot of the times people become frusterated if they have to leave early expecially when they do not recieve the loot they intended on getting when thay have been sittting there for hours.The loot doenst only make your appearance greater but your stature for all players around you. With better gear comes more respect from other players, Higher rankings in player vs player also results in more respect, and with the gear it also gives the player the better abilities to “kill things faster, Survive longer ect” The details could go on for years, and i feel as if im rambling a tad..which I am. But if there are any questions about warcraft or the addictions induced by it, Plz feel free to ask me, ive been there.

    oh something to think about, Blizzard depends on its 8 million+ monthly paying members. Dont you think they have part in making the game last a long as possible, Its all just a marketing ploy for us gamer pawns, makes me sad that i actually really enjoy the game.

  33. 35 range March 3, 2007 at 12:34

    Hm, I actually dislike any form of online RPG. I enjoy RPGs, but not online. I enjoyed playing Elder Scrolls IV and look forward to Mass Effect. I understand what you mean, but when you work a lot, time is precious, and wasting it in front of a MMORGs is ludicrous for me.

    I’ve used my Xbox 360 twice this year. I usually like using it when it is cold, but since I moved to Taiwan, this is a problem, since it doesn’t really get cold.

    But this isn’t true for all people.

  34. 36 Bailey March 6, 2007 at 02:52

    As a former WoW player I’ve been on both sides. I’ve also played other MMORPGs like Anarchy Online, and still play console/computer games on occasion.

    If you’re a parent and your kid is playing WoW, treat it like anything else kids enjoy. Your kid might like eating chocolate, but if you let him eat it all day every day until he’s obese, then guess what — you’ve failed him as a parent. Do your job and guide your kids in the right direction. If you feel something is detrimental to their health in ANY way shape or form then PROTECT YOUR KIDS FROM IT.

    I’ve many other WoW players in real life and have watched them — without fail — perform worse in school, stop exercising, sacrifice friends in real life (instead choosing to virtually interact with ‘friends’ online… albeit friends who can’t help you out in a bind, friends who don’t care for you personally, and friends who will vanish into thin air when WoW is not running), accept a nonexistent love life, and in one case with a good friend of mine, totally quit college and decide to move back home. WoW is designed to keep you playing and keep you paying; unfortunately, this also results in your slipping into being a quitter and a loser.

    No one can stop a self-supporting adult from doing whatever he/she feels like doing, but parents are OBLIGATED to guide their children to lead happy, successful lives. This does not mean cowering when your child throws tantrums over having privileges taken away — it means being an adult and maintaining control until that child is capable of making responsible decisions for him/herself.

    Take it from me — I’ve been there and have come back to the REAL WORLD and am much happier for it. For many of my friends, however, this isn’t so. I’ve honestly seen lives ruined because of this game and so ignore any nonsense I hear about its virtues, just like I ignore pro-tobacco testimonials. Make no mistake about WoW. It is a vice, not a ‘recreational activity’. Treat it accordingly.

  35. 37 Jujube March 27, 2007 at 03:26

    I have been playing WOW for about 2 months and I have noticed such a change in my behavior..it scares me.

    I have a marriage with 2 step children and a great job.. but lately all I want to do is spend time in WOW. When I’m able to sleep..I fall sleep playing WOW on my laptop.. and lately I dream only in the land of WOW..

    My relationships I have formed in WOW have become more important to me than my marriage…

    I am hurting all the time and I find no joy in RL anymore…I don’t know what came first my depression or the game..but it has gotten steadily worse.

    I recently “broke” up with someone on the game and even though we have never met or touched each other..I feel my heart is broken beyond repair..

    I need to know if I am not alone in this…I want to reach out to family… but I can’t get away from the game…I am not eating right and I’m definitly not sleeping..

    I’m hopeless and I wish I could talk to someone who understands..
    I am suspicious and paranoid…I feel like I have a target on my back all the time…

    Please help me..

  36. 38 Zenobia March 28, 2007 at 17:34

    Having read all the above articles I have come to the conclusion that this game is a real personality killer.I`m lucky enough to be in a great job in the sun as a Scuba Instructor living on the island of Cyprus. The season is about to start soon and I for one cannot wait. Addiction is something that I have first hand experience with (crack cocaine) and let me assure you that Blizzard have created a monster that needs to be fed. I have total control over former drug habits and now have the option to say enough is enough. I have played now solidly for a month and a half for up to 15 hrs a day and also have bought another PC so i can play with my girlfriend. I`m pulling the plug today and I hope you all see the light at the end of the tunnel. Life has no rule book, we muddle along at the cards we were dealt and get on with it. Life also has an end chapter called death. Blizzard have seen to it that even death can be safe and fun?.In a weeks time i`ll be in the silent blue world and watching my students faces as they discover the oceans for themselves and how wonderful an experience it is.Take care guys you have decision to make. Make it Now!!

  37. 39 cookieknits May 11, 2007 at 01:34

    I have an addicted husband. I joined him for a year, just so I could spend time with him, but I developed Simulator sickness, fortunately, and got my life back. I have so many interests. He has one. It is like living with a cardboard cutout of a person.
    When he is at work, he works hard. I have no complaints there, but the bills are often paid late, and the checking account is a mess, so I can’t take it over. Fortunately we have plenty of money, so when we get a disconnection notice or letter from a collection agency, we can pay, but it is embarrassing. Thank God, he pays the big bills, at least. It is the little ones, under $100 he lets slide.
    If I have something important I need to tell him, I either email him at his office, or I stick a note to his computer monitor at home.
    I have a friend who also has an addicted husband. She gave me the “Dear Abby” talk. Is my life better with him, or without him? So far, with him, but when he retires in 10 years, all bets are off. If I can’t get him to travel with me, I am off to see the world, and he can stay home with his electronic mistress.
    Now his health is suffering. He is getting severe headaches. He thinks he has a brain tumor. I just laughed. He went to see the doctor, but he didn’t bother to tell him about spending ALL his spare time playing WoW! And that his sleep pattern on weekdays is, come home from work, sleep two hours, play WoW for 6, sleep for 5. Get up the next day, play Wow for two or three hours, then go to work. So they are going to do an MRI. Poor hubby thinks he is going to die. I am not worried. I know what is causing the headaches.

    Cookie, who has made a full life for herself around her invisible husband. (Cookie is my old WoW guild nickname)

  38. 40 alshandra May 23, 2007 at 12:28

    Hi there, just wanted to share my experiences and thoughts regarding this issue.

    I would like to start by noting that I had been addicted to World of Warcraft for some time..lived it, breathed it, tasted it…

    I was living on instant packaged food, caffeinated beverages and little sleep (about 5 hours a day).

    I was suffering from eye stress, muscle crampings and failing health due to poor diet – all because I /chose/ to play WoW as much as possible. (Yes, it is a choice!).

    I am now a reformed addict…

    Thre was no monumental epiphany that altered my views on what I was subjecting myself to – no ‘easy wow addiction un-doing guide’ (much to my dismay)…

    I was spending, on average, 14-16 hours a day on the game.

    There was a voice in my head (AKA my conscience) becoming more insistant and more terrified as I got deeper and deeper into the game but I ignored it, for the most part.

    It was when I started noticing the exterior effects (mainly relationship with humanity effects) that I realised I needed to sort this out…

    I noticed:
    * Visitors were becoming less common – friends had given up on visiting and competing with a game.
    * Phone calls to my mobile phone had dried out unless it was reminders of missed appointments.
    * Family were becoming increasingly stressed when in my presence.
    * I noticed that I was becoming obnoxious, snappy and cold-hearted to those that were trying to help.

    Other effects included:
    * Missing important events such as appointments and the like.
    * Obvious medical issues related to lack of self-awareness and poor dietary habits.

    Here’s how I turned my life around…

    To begin with, I gradually weaned the time I spent on wow off by self-imposing times of non-play.

    I dropped roughly 12 hours from the first week.

    I left the raiding guild I was with and joined a guild of family-oriented people (in the same timezone). I also asked them to assist me by keeping a casual eye on how much I was online.

    The next few weeks I plunged right into it and I dropped usage down a lot more by not playing on weekdays at all..only playing for a couple of hours a night and a raid on a saturday and sunday afternoon.

    I now play for approx 15 hours a week total (not including the occasional 10 minutes here or there to check mail etc).

    I am immensely proud of my victory and recommend that everyone who spends ridiculous amounts of time on any MMO need to reevaluate things…

    Life > Gaming…

  39. 41 alshandra May 23, 2007 at 12:57

    Just found a really profound quoute on ThinkExist…

    “I wanted to write about the moment when your addictions no longer hide the truth from you. When your whole life breaks down. That’s the moment when you have to somehow choose what your life is going to be about.”

    Such a profound statement, if I have ever heard one.

    That is precisely what the WoW addiction (or MMO addiction, as World of Warcraft is not the only culprit) does…It conceals itself subtly and it only becomes obvious when drastic changes occur to you or your surroundings.

    MMO”s are specifically aimed at the younger and more impressionable age groups, and is it no wonder that Blizzard make a phenomenal amount of cash from game sales, game card sales and subscriptions?

    The very nature of the game is to accrue experience, upgrade skillsets and gear – with more content added all of the time..

    The instance/raid system is set up to ensure that only the most die-hard and dedicated players recieve that special weapon or legendary armor piece…

    Hey, Blizzard, if you are reading this, you need to take a couple steps back and revert the game to what it was probably intended to be like – a casual game that you don’t need to devote our life to existing in. 7 to 8 hours for one raid where you are not even guaranteed to get the drop you want? bahh…

    You have surely made enough cash now to relax a little and let casual players (10 or so hours a week) enjoy the game without the pressure to be the best of the best.

    More to come later when I organise my thoughts

  40. 42 thismomwatches July 26, 2007 at 04:32

    I need to respond to all that are being affected by WOW. My family became involved in WOW 2 years ago. No biggie, or so we thought. Our 3 teenagers wanted WOW for Christmas. We got it for them and 2 of them lost interest in about 2 weeks but my one son got so addicted that we turned on the parental controls to reduce the hours he played. Well come to find out, after about a year of playing he meet a “friend” that set up another account for him so he could play whenever he wanted. Turns out that this “friend” also started sending porn to his email and also his cell phone, HUGE WARNING… Turns out this “friend” is a online preditor. We no longer have WOW on our computer nor do we have the internet other than for homework which needs mom or dads password to login. I believe that WOW is just about as bad when it comes to online preditors as MySpace… I am sure it is a fun game but as in real life all your actions, good or bad, have a reation, good or bad… My son has gone through his WOW withdrawls and is now having to find real flesh and blood companions to hang out with. I am sure the real world can be just as scary but at least as parents we have a bit more information on his real life buddies…

  41. 43 jonnili September 23, 2007 at 01:58

    I too was an addict of WoW, for 2 years since the first launch of the game. I had played hours on end, some days I even stayed up for two nights playing. I suffered from bad malnutrition and I hardly ever left my flat, being a university student it was really hard to stay away from playing because of all the free time I had. This game resulted me in failing a year at my university…

    Before I was introduced to this game, I was really sociable, was really active break dancer, went to gym alot, had alot of friends and went out alot to parties and was always called out to join my fellow peers. As I started playing I began declining the invitations and before I knew it the phone calls to me by my friends had disappeared, the joy in going out with friends and making new friends had been replaced by getting items in the game. At this time my girlfriend was fed up with my addiction and decided to leave me, I was kicked out of my dance crew and safe to say I lost contact with alot of my friends.

    My daily routine would be: Wake up cook, log in, play till I can’t stay awake anymore, eat then sleep. The cycle is just a repeat. Endlessly.

    One day, my “guild” had a day off raiding, so I decided to chat on msn for a bit. My friend was telling me about this party happening and he insisted I went. So having nothing to do, I decided that I would go out and face up to all those friends that I had ignored for these 2 years. As soon as I got there everyone was so happy to see me, asking me where I have been and that they worried about me. This really made me see how much they cared about me and it almost brought a tear to my eye. The night ended up with us being drunk and sitting in my friends house telling their stories of whats been happening, safe to say I had missed out on alot and wished that I was there when these stories happened.

    I had decided to delete all my 2 years of characters, re-activated my gym membership, finished off my degree and now go out ALOT more. My life is back to normal, Im much happier than I was before and had reconnected with all my friends.

    Having this experience has made me realize how lucky I actually am.

  42. 44 range September 29, 2007 at 19:30

    Thanks for all your testimonials, it’s really appreciated. I hope you visit the hosted version of this blog to continue the discussion, http://www.thememoirs.org.

  43. 45 Wakkos October 28, 2007 at 19:58

    OMG LOL I made a Blog just because I didn’t have WOW for a week =( THAT’S EVIL!

    Now, seriously, You need personality for this life, and that includes Online Games. If you let the game absorb you, then is not the game, anything could absrob you, do not Blame World Of Warcraft. I have friend who spend time playing PS2 different games, even more time than me playing WOW and I pley it A LOT! as you can see in my blog xD I work at home a couple of hours at day, I just have to make a 3 days trip once a month. Rest of the time? WOW and a 2 hours coffe break with friends.

  44. 46 contend February 4, 2008 at 23:18

    Okay – so how much time do I have to spend on WOW to reach level 70?

    Contendi

  45. 47 wowwidow March 11, 2008 at 08:01

    Hello!!

    My husband started planning WOW last year! He plays at least 5-6 hours a day and sometimes more. I am to my last nerve on what to do! Is there any other wives out there with the same problem??

    I’ve tried EVERYTHING…HELP!!!

    I am tired of being ALONE. He talks more to his “guild” than me! So…I’ve labeled myself a WOW widow!!

    Thanks for any help and sugguestions!

  46. 48 Will Petillo May 26, 2008 at 13:14

    For all those out there suffering from WoW addiction, I propose a solution…

    An Open Letter to World of Warcraft

    Summary of Proposal: add a “sleep deprivation” function to the game as a flexible and organic means of limiting playing time to healthy levels without hurting (possibly even benefitting) the financial interests of Blizzard. In writing this proposal, I have been deliberately vague in describing time constraints because deciding such specifics effectively would require access to data that I don’t have.

    The Problem: I write this letter as a former gamer. I managed to play in moderation, but could easily have become addicted if it were not for the vigilance of my parents. Video games can be a fun and engaging form of entertainment but, if they are not played with a sense of moderation, can also become sources of addiction, thus causing players’ work, relationships, and even health to suffer. According to the American Medical Association, video game overuse affects “anywhere from a small minority to as much as 10% to 15% of players.” Considering that WoW has 4 million subscribers, this is a substantial number of addicts—and blaming these addicts or their parents for their problem does nothing to solve it. On the other hand, it does no good to blame cases of MMORPG addiction on game developers for they are simply trying to run a successful business by providing an entirely legal entertainment service.

    Past Solutions and Why They Have Failed: I am not the first to recognize the potential harm of excessive gaming and others have attempted to impose limits, generally implemented in one of the following two basic models.
    1. The Nudge model involves sending automated notices to players reminding them how long they have been playing and asking if they are sure that they wish to continue. When immersed in a game, however, these messages are all too easy to ignore and are generally nothing more than a minor nuisance.
    2. The Time Limit model involves setting a precise time limit for playing time, cutting off gaming access after the limit has been reached. Although this model is effective in getting people to stop playing, it can lead to high levels of player frustration when they are kicked out of the gaming world when they are not at a suitable stopping-point, such as in the middle of a quest. Furthermore, the Time Limit model (and, to a lesser extent, the Nudge model) create an intrusive presence in the game that can lower player satisfaction. This is an important consideration because decreased player satisfaction can lead to decreased profitability of the game and it would be absurd to ask game designers to go out of their way to hurt their business when they have no legal obligation to do so.
    3. The Parental Controls model, where parents set time limits for an account, has been implemented by Blizzard. This model has all the problems of the Time Limit model and also has the weakness of doing nothing to affect addicted college students, adults, and children with parents who are unaware of or unwilling to use the parental controls feature.

    The Sleep Deprivation Proposal and Why it is Different: I propose that game designers add a Sleep Deprivation function that causes characters to suffer gradually increasing movement speed and stat reductions after exceeding a specified time limit–greatly exceeding this limit will lead to more severe penalties like garbled chat, hit point damage, and eventual character death. Sleep Deprivation can only be removed by spending time off-line, allowing the character (and the player) to become well-rested. This time limit would provide sufficient playing time that the vast majority of gamers will never feel the effects. This proposal is different from past attempts to impose limits in two ways. First, it is organic. That is, it makes sense within the fantasy world of a game like WoW for characters to get tired over time because that is what happens to humans in Real Life and thus will not feel like a total meta-nuisance. Second, it is flexible. Because “Sleep Deprivation” imposes gradually increasing penalties, players do not have to worry too much if a raid lasts a little longer than expected. On the other hand, they still cannot avoid logging off eventually as they become increasingly ineffective and a drain on their fellow party members.

    Suiting the Various Demands of Players: implementing Sleep Deprivation effectively will not be a simple task because of the widely varying playing habits of gamers. Therefore, this feature should be adaptable to suit different player needs. The following are some examples of packages that gamers may choose when signing up. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, it is only intended to illustrate some of the variables that game designers can test and tweak as they see fit.
    1. The Standard package: allows a specified number of hours a day.
    2. The Weekend package: allows a specified number of hours a week, thus allowing for greater concentrations of playing time than the Standard package–but slightly less total playing time. This package is aimed at students (or adults with jobs) who have lots of time on weekends but are busy during the weekdays.
    3. The Seasonal package: allows for even greater concentrations of playing time, though still with some limits regarding consecutive hours of playing time and slightly less total playing time allowed than either the Standard or Weekly packages. This package is aimed at students who are busy throughout the school year, but have absolutely nothing better to do during the summer than play video games all day, every day.

    Why this Proposal Makes Sense from a Business Perspective: if the Sleep Deprivation proposal is implemented in such a way that does not restrict healthy levels of game-play, WoW will not lose any business in its implementation since customers pay by the month, not by the number of hours that they play. Indeed, it is my belief that implementing this proposal will actually improve WoW’s profitability. Addicted gamers take up more bandwidth than other players and also get through the game’s content faster, thus costing Blizzard more while paying less in monthly fees. Furthermore, with reports of gaming addiction becoming increasingly widespread, a stigma is starting to be attached to WoW’s reputation. This may discourage parents from purchasing the game for their children for fear that it will interfere with their schoolwork. And, with more media attention to the negative impacts on gamers—such as the 13-year old Chinese student who killed himself after playing Warcraft for 36 hours straight—, it is a matter of “when” not “if” a class-action lawsuit is filed. In addition, nearly every former gamer I have known has quit playing WoW and similar games, not because they became bored of the game, but because they felt like it was eating up too much of their lives. If these concerns are addressed, customers may become less reluctant to purchase WoW and less likely to feel the need to quit. Thus, unlike any other existing proposal intended to limit game-play, the implementation of Sleep Deprivation will balance the needs of business and the health of customers and therefore serve to everyone’s benefit.

    Some Answers to Questions I have Received Thus Far:
    Q: Why direct this proposal specifically towards World of Warcraft? Why not include other MMORPGs like EverQuest?
    A: I would like to see other games implement this proposal, but this letter has to be directed at someone and Warcraft happens to be the most popular game of its kind at present and so it comes most readily to mind.
    Q: But if Warcraft implements this proposal while other games do not, won’t that take away from Blizzard’s competitive edge?
    A: If, as I have argued above, this proposal makes sense from a business perspective, it makes just as much sense from a competitive perspective.
    Q: What about people going AFK, will they have to log off to avoid losing playing time?
    A: The timer that leads to sleep debt may, if Blizzard so chooses, pause when a character is AFK (or move at 1/x speed). If this course is taken, however, it will be imperative for AFK status to be removed as soon as the character does anything, including sending chat messages.
    Q: What about people who hold multiple accounts, won’t they be able to get around the Sleep Deprivation restriction?
    A: Yes, but if someone is so committed towards spending all of their time playing WoW that they are willing to pay 2 subscription costs (which would be beneficial to Blizzard), there is not much that can be done about them.
    Q: What about those poor Chinese gold farmers, will this proposal put them out of business?
    A: As it stands, yes. Unless, of course, Blizzard makes special provisions to protect their interests–but given the fact that they seem to be trying to discourage bots, this is not likely to happen.

  47. 49 Taegan October 1, 2008 at 03:38

    Ok so I realize that this reply comes in a little late but I stumbled across this blog today and felt the urge to reply.

    I am a WoW player. I have been a recreational player for about 4 years now and I love it. I will be one of those people that waits patiently in line at the local gaming store at midnight on release day for WoTL. For those of you who don’t know the lingo, that’s Wrath of the Lich King, the newest expansion in the ever evolving World of Warcraft.

    Now, having said that and before being publicly ostracized, I also have a 98 hour work week (I am an industrial medic, working in the Northern AB/BC Oilpatch)(This also means I have alot of free time at work to play between patients), a loving, attentive boyfriend (who, incidentally, I met during online play), a social life (as much as anyone can have working 14 hours a day for a 16 on/5 off shift), a wonderful family, and a happy relationship with myself.

    I am also currently studying to be an Addictions Counselor. I say this in hopes that you will hear me out instead of dismissing me as “just another random ‘WoW’ junkie” trying to make excuses for what you perceive to be my ‘addiction’”.

    Not everyone who plays World of Warcraft is an addict!! I can’t stress this enough. You wouldn’t call someone who drinks occasionally and alcoholic, and you certainly wouldn’t call you’re own experimentation with drugs in college a narcotics addiction. I am not saying that a person can not become addicted to the wonders of online gaming, I’m just stating that not everyone who does play is addicted.

    I would just like everyone to realize that while online gaming can be addictive, (just as narcotics, smoking, gambling, shopping, sex, sugar, food and my personal favorite, the one I have found most interesting because it is socially acceptable and often admired, the workaholic) there is a predisposed addictive personality in play. If not WoW, it could be almost anything else.

    Addiction involves:
    1. compulsive engagement with the behavior, a preoccupation with it;
    2.impaired control over the behavior;
    3. persistence or relapse, despite evidence of harm; and
    4. dissatisfaction, irritability or intense craving when the object–be it a drug, activity or other goal–is not immediately available.

    Take a look into your own life, you may see that you have a few addictions yourself. I hope it’s needless to say that I am not condoning an addiction, whatever it may be, I’m just attempting (haphazardly maybe) to impart some knowledge on people who may not have had experiences with it and aren’t quite sure how to handle it.

    In too many of the above posts I see spouses, families and friends blaming the addiction on Blizzard and on the game itself. This is comparable to blaming a liquor store for an addiction to alcohol. That isn’t the way it works. It’s shooting the messenger without understanding the message. In the majority of addictions there are underlying causes, reasons that the addicts brain is wired the way it is.

    Addiction is an illness, and the best way to cure it is to find the cause. Figure out why your children would rather live in an online world instead of going to school and socializing with his/her peers outside the education system. Take time to learn the issues behind your spouses unwillingness to deal with “real life” stresses. Most importantly, realize that addicts (whatever the addiction) need to be accepted for who they are. With patience and knowledge, the healing can begin. Keep in mind however, that although you can put the tools they need to help themselves in their hands, whether it’s seeking counseling, 12-Step programs, gradual weening of or complete cut off of the stimulus, you can’t force the addict to use them.

    One more thing, remember that you can’t change them. They can only change themselves, but they are people. They need to be treated with respect and understanding. You have the right to decide that their behavior is not acceptable in your home, your life or the lives of your children but that does not make an addict less of a person.

    *I apologize if my thoughts and ideas aren’t expressed as clearly as they could be, and, after reading it over, I’m aware my little ‘rant’ seems to be more geared towards hard core drug addicts but it really does work the same no matter what the addiction. I whole heatedly recommend doing you’re own research on the subject to figure out where you’re loved one fits in.*

    • 50 Will Petillo May 13, 2010 at 06:10

      I don’t recall ever seeing anyone claim that anyone who ever plays WOW is automatically an “addict.” In fact, I would guess the majority of Blizzard subscribers play the game in some degree of moderation–even Orzack’s grim estimations would say that 60% of gamers fit this description. That is healthy, fun, and no one in their right mind would have an objection to such an activity (at least not for reasons related to addiction). Comments about the “danger of game addiction” only apply to those others who, because of their playing habits, suffer greatly in their health, social life, work, and so on. Some may even know that they have a problem, but just can’t make themselves stop.

      As for who is to blame, yeah it is a bit irrational to focus entirely on the game and ignore underlying causes such as problems in the addicts’ outside lives, the way their brains are wired, and so on. On the other hand, if you look closely at how WOW is designed, you may notice little things about it that seem specifically designed to encourage addiction. Like how it is almost impossible to complete all of the quests in your quest log because the quest-givers keep giving you new ones. Or how the honor system (it has been a while since I have played, so I don’t know if it is still there) encourages players to be online as much as possible so they can outcompete the rest. Or how some of the instance dungeons are ridiculously long so that you have to play 8-14 hours straight to get to the end boss. Or how there are no features like the one I outlined in my “Open Letter” that would incentivise people to log off once and a while–in a way that would only affect addicts and go unnoticed by the rest of the gaming community. Thus, in the words of your analogy, Blizzard is less like a liquor store and more like a tobacco company (yes, I know that statement is hyperbolic).

      But blame is only a means to an end. The important question, of course, is what should be done. Finding causes in the lives of the affected is one thing. Continuing to see “addicts” as people is also important (who ever said otherwise?). But stopping the behavior directly, holding the distributors to some degree of accountability, and raising public awareness is just as important.

  48. 51 Redshift June 6, 2009 at 21:22

    WoW addiction is the definition of fun! Less qq… more pew pew!

  49. 52 Richard Ang October 10, 2010 at 11:00

    its not just the warcraft people are addicted….more are addicted to facebook….that includes me.

  50. 53 happy ex wower April 17, 2011 at 17:51

    HI, I have just quitted platying WOW after 4 years.

    It has taken me out of jobs and compromised my relationships, as well as putting me out od a healthy life.

    If it can help; my way to get out the game has been quite strange but it worked.

    As I became more and more concerned about my addiction, and seeking for a solution, it was clear to me that it takes a more powerful input to quit the addiction, so I decided purchasing Starcraft II, which has taken me out of WOW universe in a very addicting way.

    The trick is, Starcraft has a very intense playline for the “campaign” mode, but, differently from WOW, it HAS AN END! so, after living the intense action and adventures, after roughly 12 hours of game, suddenly it stops, it’s over, and then the game suggests you to start the PvP mode where the strategy reigns. This is absolutely different from the WOW environment, since you have to be really a strategist type, and there is no emotional link to the game. Boring for a WOW player type.

    SO here am I now, looking at WOW news forums and wondering how could I become so addicted to a such a childish game, and in the other side, getting bored of playing Starcraft.

    The result is, I am restarting my physical activity, I play a lot more with my kids, and rediscovering real life.

    HOpe this helps or hints anyone with these kind of MMORPG addictions


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ranjitwithkinginbehand.jpgI'm Range, your host. On the menu, photos, art, stories, entertainment and reviews. Links, maths, education and social issues. I'm in Quebec (Canada) or Taiwan (R.O.C.). Follow me on Twitter.

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