Thursday, August 13, 2009

Just Pixels

WoW. It is just a bunch of pixels. There, I said it. The upgrades you get have no bearing on real life. The gold you make does not make you richer. Defeating the top bosses does not go on your job application. Ultimately, nothing we do in WoW really matters in the grand scheme of things.

The funny thing about WoW and other MMOs is that while they cant really enchance your life in any way (besides being a fun little hobby), they can take much away from it. Unfortunatley there are far too many people out there that have lost something real and tangible. This is obviously not always the case. Most of these scenarios come with the albatross known as addiction.

How many people have lost a loved one over this game (or EQ, UO, etc.)? How many people have lost careers. How many have lost everything over a game? I bet there are more out there than we know about.

MMOs are neverending. That is one of the ways they suck you in. The never ending gear treadmill. The dailies. The grinds.

I can't imagine what it would be like to lose the things that are actually important over a game. I can however see the way it could happen.

1) You stay up way too late doing a raid, pvping etc. You get a few hours of sleep. This becomes a habit. Your productions starts dropping at work, but you dont care to break the trend. This leads to more mistakes and less productivity and eventually being let go.

2) You get home from work and without so much as saying hello, you log on. Your wife/husband and kids are sitting in the other room. You play for hours on end until it is time for bed. On weekend, you play all night and sleep all day further neglecting your real life relationships. They end up leaving you, taking half, with a nice chunk of alimony and child support as well. You are alone.

Looking at these is extremly sad. This can and does happen every day. The thing is.....the games arent really to blame. It is the people. Sure the games can have addictive qualities....so does caffeine, television, cigaretttes, alcohol etc. Not everyone becomes addicted to these other things. It is a certain person with either

a) certain things going on in their life and the game helps the cope with whatever that is.

b) an addictive personality.

Obviously, this is case by case, but in general I think this is what you would run into when dealing with people who spend way too much time in game.

I have a fiancee who plays with me. She actually has a love hate relationship with the game. She likes to play with me, but hates me playing because it makes her feel less important.

I play mostly on weekends with maybe a few hours spread out here and there during the week. Imagine if you play every day, several hours a day and the kind of stress it can put on your family life.

Just like the Blizzard loading screen says, make sure you take everything in moderation (even WoW).

Also remember that if you are losing things in your life, it is not because of the game. It is because of you.

P.S: Sorry for the lack of updates recently. Every once in a while my site get blocked by the work firewall and there is something wonky going on with my internet at home which should be fixed today when the tech comes out.

3 comments:

Mikata said...

I completely agree that some people have a tendency to let the game rule thier lives and spin out of control. I knew a friend who did just that. Lost his job, got kicked out of college, lost his girlfriend, and got kicked out of his parents home over the game. (All very true and serious, no exaggerations.)

But there are also people who find good in the game. I know many people I've met in the game that I'm eternally greatful for meeting. Friends that I trust to where I'm actually moving 16 hours across the country to live with, and my boyfriend that I don't know what I would've done without. I know so many people who've met best friends, boy/girlfriends, spouses, significant others, etc. over the game.

While WoW does have it's serious downfalls, there is the occational upside to the game in some aspects for people.

Dorgol said...

I'm one of those people who got sucked in too deep. For a LONG while during Vanilla WoW I was playing 5 nights a week (maybe more) and the weekends started at noon Saturday and ended well after midnight.

My wife took the brunt of it (our daughter was in the early infant stage of life, so while I did neglect her, she never noticed).

I broke the cycle. I don't know what triggered it, but I did. I changed raiding to an every-other week affair - and then totally dropped it. I closed my account for a few months to help me focus on things. When I reactivated the account I was set on making sure "the game" didn't become *more than* a game.

I backslid a few times, but my wife and I talked it out.

I'm raiding again, though it's only 3 nights out of every 14. I get a solid hour of gametime every morning before the rest of the family is awake, but otherwise I spend very little time online unless the kids are asleep AND my wife is at work. If she's home, she's where I focus my time.

Tamarind said...

I don't know, maybe I'm not taking this kind of thing seriously enough but I genuinely believe that playing WoW to deteriment of other aspects of your life is primarily symptomiac. Correlation is not causation etc. etc. Yes, some people may have "addictive" personalities (my father was an alcoholic) but ultimately I think if you're pouring too much time in a game, it's a response to other, deeper problems in your life.

I remember the only game I could ever claim "addiction" to was Morrowind - I was ignoring my partner, the rest of my life, playing through the night until I fell asleep but it wasn't the game (I'm sure if I hadn't played Morrowind I would have found something else, maybe something even more harmful), it was my life at the time. Not long after, I got out of the extremely destructive relationship and everything else began to come together again.

Sorry this is rather personal. But I very much dislike the presentation of so-called "video-game addiction" in that, unlike other substance abuse, it's blamed on the game rather than the substance.