Online Gaming Addiction Part 2 – Signs and Symptoms

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This is a guest post by Professor Beej. Part 2 of 3.

In my last post, I chronicled my ongoing experiences with Online Gaming Addiction that have led me to the point where I am now—I’ve realized I am addicted, and I am trying to rid myself of the problem.  Today, I intend to go through the signs that initially helped me realize that I was (and still am, but to a lesser extent) addicted to the hobby in which I have to this point invested eleven years of my life.

If you think that you or someone you know might be addicted to online gaming, then ask the following questions. These are the four points that predominantly signaled that I had a problem.

Has your personality changed?

It’s a given that over the course of our lives, we all change, and sometimes that change is for the worse.  Online gaming addicts, however, change for the worse in a very dramatic way, albeit one that might be gradual enough that it goes unnoticed by the addicts themselves.  The personality change will probably appear stress-related or just mild crankiness for the first little while, but it might actually stem from a “withdrawal” from the game world.  If the personality change persists and grows steadier while the person is away from their game, yet appears perfectly normal while logged on, then it could be a sign of online gaming addiction.

As I grew more engrossed in World of Warcraft’s world, I became more of a jerk to those around me.  I was more snide, more sarcastic, and I had very few pleasant things to say about anything or anyone that was not directly related to my success or enjoyment in WoW.  It was really like the nice guy I had been all my life had been transplanted with a completely different personality.  The more time I spent away from my virtual life in Azeroth, the less amenable to reality I became.  As soon as I was logged in again, however, I was chipper and happy and joking all night long.  I would ignore friends during the day, yet I would pester them for instance runs later that evening.

Those around me every day never really noticed this behavior.  I just seemed occasionally grumpy to them.  It was my parents who noticed it growing worse and worse on my visits home from college.  It took my mother saying “I don’t like who you’ve become since you’ve gone to college.  You’ve really become a smartass” to really make me look at my life and realize that I was going in a direction that I hadn’t even noticed, nor had anyone else.  My personality was worsening too gradually for friends who saw me on an everyday basis to really see, but when my parents only saw me every three weeks or so, they would notice that I was getting surlier with each visit.  My time away from WoW was becoming less and less pleasant, and my demeanor showed it.

Do you interact with your family and friends in a different, more negative way?

Online gaming addiction not only affects the addicts themselves, but also the people with whom they interact and how they interact with them.  If a person becomes addicted to an online game, real life can begin to seem like a distraction, and he or she can begin avoiding or cutting short responsibilities and engagements just to get a little extra time in the virtual world. In addition to my being cranky with my friends and family, I would also interact with them differently than I ever had before I became so engulfed by the game.  Gaming addicts’ interactions with others are often limited to online chats and channels without their realizing it.  If you or someone you know has stopped most offline socialization and typically only communicates through the game, then there is a good chance that person might be experiencing some level of addiction.  I’ve been in this situation before. 

In college, friends would rent or buy DVDs and bring them over to my house to watch as a group; I would be in the back room alone playing WoW while they occupied my living room, laughing and having a good time.  If my friends wanted to go eat dinner, I had to make sure it didn’t conflict with raid times or something else I had scheduled in game, otherwise I would not go.  I figured I could get all the socialization I needed in-game.  I would miss birthday parties, barbeques, and weekend road trips because I had a raid scheduled or just would have rather been playing my game than doing something that wasn’t WoW.  When I went home to visit my parents, I would set my laptop up on their coffee table and raid, barely paying attention to them (even as my dad recovered from heart surgery), because I could not stand to be offline and miss a raid for any reason.

The culminating incident occurred after I graduated college.  The girl I was dating at the time moved back in with her family who lived over three hours away from our college town.  I decided to spend one last summer at college instead of moving home.  She wanted to come visit me and stay with me a lot over the summer, but I told her no.  I told her I wanted to “spend time with friends and just play my game.”  She would ask over and over again, but I would still refuse to see her.  That summer, I would spend on average 15 hours a day on WoW, really only leaving the house for food.  I never even realized until afterward what was going on and that I was alienating my closest friends.

When I said I wanted to “spend time with my friends,” I meant I wanted to instance and raid with them.  My real-life interaction with friends and family dropped to nearly non-existent, and when I did see other people, I was unfriendly and always thinking about being back online.  Combined with my sour mood that had been slowly developing over time, some friends got fed up with me, and we still do not talk that often.  Other friends stuck with me, and I eventually was able to patch up relations when I realized how badly I was affected by this addiction. 

Have other hobbies been tossed to the side and forgotten?

I mentioned this briefly in my previous post, but it has always been one of the prime symptoms that made me realize I was addicted to online gaming rather than simply mismanaging my time.

One of the primary qualifiers of an addiction is the physical or psychological need to place it over other aspects of one’s life, no matter the consequences.  In the case of online gaming addiction, this “hobby” can entirely overshadow other hobbies and interests to the point where the addicted person simply has no other life.  While not as damning as impacting one’s base personality or social skills, online gaming addiction can lead to tunnel vision where the gamer thinks that nothing else is worthy of his or her attention.

In my case, I stopped reading any books for pleasure or, really, for school.  I would Sparknotes anything I had an assignment for in order to make as much time as I could for gaming.  Not only was my school reading impacted, but I see gaps in my journal of books I read for entertainment where there are months on end where no new entries are made, and I feel bad about that because I was an English literature major in college.  Reading has always been one of the things I do for fun.  When I became addicted to WoW, no book could even hold a candle to the entertainment I thought I was getting.  I claim to be a huge Harry Potter fan, even wanting to dedicate part of my doctoral research to the series, but when books 5 and 6 were released, it took me a good week to two weeks to finish them instead of the hours or days it took most of my friends.  I just couldn’t stand the thought of doing anything but being on WoW.

It wasn’t just books, either.  I mentioned earlier how I would avoid watching movies on DVD my friends would rent because I couldn’t justify not being in-game for those two hours.  TV was no different.  I could not justify the time to actually sit down and watch any shows.  I thought a DVR would fix that once I left college, but my DVR is filled even today with TV shows I refuse to set the time aside to watch because I spend so much time on various MMOs.

Even though this aspect of gaming addiction only directly affects the addicted players themselves, it can have far reaching consequences that can impact others when the addict’s habits and interests are shared with friends and family, as in my previous example.

Is it hard to concentrate on anything not involving the game?

Online gaming addiction is a mental addiction rather than physical, obviously.  There are no drugs being ingested and no body chemistry alterations, but the mental pull that online games have on the addicted is just as powerful.  A surefire sign of gaming addiction is when a person is participating in an activity entirely unrelated to the game, yet constantly draws parallels and references to it.  This symptom can also lead to diminished performance in other aspects of the addicted person’s life because he or she simply cannot (or will not) put forth the effort required to excel at anything but gaming.  Since no other aspect of life is as fulfilling to the addicted, why exert the energy required to concentrate? 

Sometimes, it’s not an active lack of concentration, though.  When I was in my worst stages of it, I could not help where my thoughts led.  I could have been in the middle of class, and I would be writing out gear lists or talent specs I wanted to try out.  I might have been at dinner and interrupted the conversation with yet another WoW related train of thought, even when the discussion was nowhere around it.  I could not concentrate on other aspects of my life, even when I tried.  When I did try, I was trying to relate them to the game so I could increase my enjoyment.  If I could not relate them in any way, I would consistently have my mind drawn back to the game because that was where I would have preferred to be.

Just like an addict’s social life, academic and professional lives are also at risk from being too engrossed in an online game.  Productivity and GPAs can severely drop as a person falls unchecked into an MMO.  I was always a student at the top of my class, with more A’s than B’s and never anything lower than that.  When I was at my worst, however, for the first time in my life, I began making C’s.  I just didn’t care that I hadn’t studied for that German vocabulary quiz because I had finally been on top of DKP and earned my Tier 2 shoulders.  I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate anyway even if I had studied because I would be thinking about having to farm consumables or which alt to level or any of a hundred other things that made WoW more appealing than homework (or any other part of my life).

Jobs are just as easily lost from lack of attention as grades; being too engrossed in writing out specs, checking forums, and reading MMO blogs are easy ways to waste time at work that could jeopardize one’s position.  If those aren’t available, then simply having one’s mind elsewhere, concentrating on the game and what “needs” to be done there when the working day is done, can severely limit productivity.  In the worst case scenario, lack of concentration at work can cause one’s job to be lost because the work being paid for is not being done.

If you or someone you know constantly references an online life more than their real one or is consistently distracted when outside of the game only to rush to log in whenever the day is done, that person might be addicted to a game.

Conclusion

These are only a few of the ways that Online Gaming Addiction can affect a person’s life and those around them.  These are the four most prominent in my case.  This is, by far, not an all-inclusive list, but the ones where I have experience recognizing that something is wrong.  I have personal experience with each of these four symptoms, and through the help of my friends and family and a good bit of willpower, I started to figure out that there is a wide world outside of my computer that really is more fulfilling on every level than the “life” I had thought I was building for myself online. 

And therein lays the problem.  Recognizing that I had a problem was not the same as actually doing something about it.  No matter how much I knew I was addicted, I was still addicted and had to do something about it.  So the next and final post in this series sorts through a few methods of reaching a sustainable balance between gaming addiction and a functional life.

Image courtesy of sundstrom.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. I don’t agree that this kind of addiction doesn’t bring chemistry alterations.
    I’m sure it does. I bet that there are articles around showing changes in serotonin levels and other hormones, very similar to other kind of addictions – if indeed any researcher actually looked into the matter.
    I can relate to all these signs you mentioned, and I’ve been through something similar before, but I managed to tone my gaming down a bit and break the addiction cycle.
    I still play a lot, but it’s been a lot more controlled and I was happy enough to find a guild that allowed me to have the freedom to play more casually if I wanted.
    .-= Wangari´s last blog ..Where have you been? Part 02 =-.

  2. I’m an English teacher, not a psychologist, so there very well could be chemical changes in the brain based around such a dependency (thanks to @Abletron for the correction in term) that I’m not aware of. I simply meant that it’s not like I’m shooting up heroin and getting my body physically dependent on having a foreign substance. As far as dopamine and serotonin levels being altered, I’m no judge.

    My main problem is that anytime I find a guild that allowed for such “freedom,” I would still be in a guild with responsibilities in a game, and that’s where my main problem came from. I think it’s great that you’re breaking the addiction cycle like that; I just know how I play and act, and that wouldn’t work for me. Heh, right now, all my characters in WoW are guildless for just that reason. I don’t want to feel responsibility to anyone in game but me, but I yearn for social interaction (thank you Friends list!)
    .-= Beej´s last blog ..Parallels in LOST and Stephen King’s "The Dark Tower" – Part 3 – Course Correction and Ka =-.

  3. And sorry, this is just for me to get the email updates on comments. I misclicked on the last one.
    .-= Beej´s last blog ..Parallels in LOST and Stephen King’s "The Dark Tower" – Part 3 – Course Correction and Ka =-.

  4. Hey Prof Beej,

    I think I know what you’re talking about. Are you perhaps writing a dissertation? I had some of the same issues in my life while I was working on mine. It’s not necessarily gaming per se with me, but I’d say I have a tendency to avoid my responsibilities and pursue leisure activities. (I’m a Spanish professor, by the way). For the two years I was writing my dissertation, I scheduled my life around 3 days/week of raiding plus about 3 movies per week (I used to see everything that came out, believe it or not), 3 exercise sessions, a couple of fantasy/sci fi novels per week, and about 5 dinners out. That didn’t leave me a lot of time to work, and as a result, my dissertation needs a lot of fixing as I edit it into a book.

    The appeal of gaming, to me anyway, was the imaginative quality of the world. It was, at the best of times, like living inside a (bad) fantasy novel. I like bad forms of art just as well as good, after all (I actually work on the chivalric romance from 16th c Spain, a popular genre that is famous now only because the Quijote mocks it). Even though I’d say I enjoyed novels more, WoW never ran out of pages, and thus got a lot of my time every week. In the process of playing so much, I actually learned a bit about how to game, which led to raiding. Really, though, it’s never been about winning to me–and reading your narrative, I doubt that’s really what it’s about for you either. It seems like you’re after an absorbing experience–losing yourself, using your imagination. As a literature major, these benefits should be available to you as you read also–if not, you’re not reading the right stuff for your personal tastes.

    Grad school enables some bad behaviors, but even with a few obsessions to conquer, there is light on the other end of it.

    My life is much less disordered now that I have an actual job. When I applied for my job, I had half a dissertation after two years of work. Once I got an offer, I was able to finish the rest in three months. It’s amazing what lighting a fire under one’s ass can do for the work ethic. At present, I’m an assistant prof. at a liberal arts college. I find that my teaching schedule feels like daily quests–I am actually quite happy to do all of my tasks, and some extra ones. I’ve taken on a double load of advisees and some admin work for my department, and you know what? As long as I have something defined to do, I’m not all that lazy. Research is easier than it once was because I feel like I’m getting paid for it. I still have my troubles–and I still blog from work once in a while, because there’s no rules against it. I would say, though, that my time in WoW went from about 30 hours/week to 15. My guildies complain that I just log on to raid, but really, it’s healthier for my life. I raid and I sell flasks on the AH–I reduced to just the things in game that I like the most.

    The problem with dissertation writing and grad school in general is unstructured time. I’m terrible at setting schedules for myself. I’ll do fine one day, and the next I’ll decide I’m suddenly interested in, say, Civil War history and spend all day at Barnes and Noble reading stuff that doesn’t benefit my research in the least. I struggle now to put myself on a research schedule for summer–unstructured time is back for two months, and it inevitably leads to lots of distraction.

    I do suggest getting back to reading. I’ll tell you that I regret some of the time spent in game while I was writing my dissertation, but I don’t regret a single one of the books I read. They inform and inspire my imagination. If nothing else, all that fiction reading–from Dickens to trashy romance–has given me much more creative nightmares than other human beings could expect. In fact, all the reading I did over two years of “dissertation writing” has inspired me to start my own novel. Even if I never publish it, working on it is a great pleasure and never feels like time wasted.

    In short–be moderate in everything you do. My fiance sometimes wants to throttle me when I insist on reading before bed. Four hours pass, and it will hit 3 am, and I’ll want to read just one more chapter, because for some reason, I just have to know more about 19th c funeral customs. Whatever I’m into at that moment seems terribly urgent. We’ve managed to come to a truce on this point–Friday and Saturday, he doesn’t hurry me to bed, and all other days, I try to be on a rational schedule. I’m glad I was never into substance abuse, because I’m pretty sure I have an addictive personality!

    I think that you can turn your natural obsessiveness into an asset. Can you stand to turn that fire towards your work? What’s your area of research by the way? (and if you don’t know, a little “light” reading could help you figure that out). One of the few good things I did for myself during the dissertation time was to read every piece of Arthurian literature I could get my paws on. I’m able to use it now (I work on Spanish chivalry) and I’m pretty sure I don’t have the time right now to read every word of Chretien and Malory. It’s nice to have a mental library of things to reference.

  5. smeedsc says:

    great series.

    might just ” format /C:” myself.

  6. Until just recently, Sydera, I was either working on a Master’s thesis or directed readings/comprehensive exams, and I was feeling the strain from WoW and my gaming interfering with that. When my thesis got canned by my department for being “too big” (they said it was a Ph.D. dissertation level project that could not be done within the confines of my Master’s), I started on my DR/comps rather than redo the last 6 months worth of research and writing on a more limited scale. About the time I started that, WLK came out, and instead of using Christmas break to really make a dent in my reading list, I chose to level a Death Knight and only got 1 of my 26 books and respective annotations finished.

    The appeal to me in many ways is the social aspect. I keep up with friends who live a distance away, and I get to interact with people and “adventure” so that I don’t feel as closed off as I do with novels or single-player games.

    Now that I’m teaching at a small Christian college, I find that my playing has slacked off, but the desire is still there (as noted in yesterday’s post about my starting so many new games over the interim). In the Fall, my job effectively doubles, so we’ll see how much time and energy I can dedicate to any playing at all, but even 10-15 hours feels excessive these days, given how much stuff I have going on in my personal life. I am working on making myself play less and less, and it’s working pretty well.

    I am also thinking of starting my Ph.D. in a year or so (I have to take a break), once the university I am looking at stabilizes more and I make sure that the program I really want stays viable as a specialization to even have a dissertation committee.

    I have been getting back to reading, just not as much as I’d like. I agree with you that having a mental library is exceptional, and my specialty is contemporary lit and pop culture, so even TV fits into my specialty. My problem lately has been finding the time for everything I want to do, and unfortunately, the interactivity of WoW really makes it so that other things pale in comparison, even single player games thanks to the social aspect.

    I do think my natural obssessiveness is an asset in my academics; my problem comes from being unable to will my obsessions into a productive medium rather than an MMO. I would have no problem spending 15+ hours a week ingesting LOST or X-Files or Harry Potter and working on scholarship regarding them (heck, I’ve spent more than that on the Lost/Dark Tower series I’ve posted on my blog this week), but there’s something in my brain that tells me it’s not as fun, even when I am FAR happier doing research and nerding out than I am PvPing and pwning.

    You’ve got a good point, Syd. I am on the same track you are/were, so let’s hope the same “step it down” kind of playstyle works for me as it has you.
    .-= Beej´s last blog ..Online Gaming Addiction – Series of Guest Posts at World of Matticus =-.

  7. All of the research I have done into this matter strongly suggest that online gaming is an obsession and not an addiction.

    While similar, they are very different and require very different approaches to treatment.
    .-= Nomasun´s last blog ..Gem Faqts. Part Deux =-.

  8. Obsession vs addiction. That’s a very interesting point. I don’t really know the difference – is it to do with physical addiction vs mental addiction?

    Reading your article, Beej (my hat off to you for being so open and candid), it does sound like you were certainly in the thrawls of addiction. I’ve often worried about it myself and, to me, the determining factor has always been if I prize the game over my friends and family. There have definitely been times were I’ve cancelled an activity or a meeting with a friend just to stay and play a game… and that’s always worried me.

    Still, even if I’m not an ‘addict’, I’m still concerned because I freak out when I don’t have access to a computer to play a MMORPG. It’s scary for me and I’m considering trying to find ways of breaking that thought process now. I don’t want to be dependant on anything.
    .-= We Fly Spitfires – MMORPG Blog´s last blog ..How To Rob A Bank In EVE Online =-.

  9. I think that’s a very worthwhile thing to be worried about. There’s not a thing in the world wrong with enjoying your time with a game; we wouldn’t even be reading this site if there were, but it comes down to our own willpower and personalities as far as how we keep up with playing.

    I think there is a connection in how we become dependent on MMOs, and that’s what I am trying to figure out about myself right now. Why is it that I want to keep playing? If it’s PvP, then maybe a good FPS on XBL will do for me, or if it’s narrative (then WoW is definitely the wrong game for me), I might need to invest in some lengthy SPRPGs on a console. If it’s socialization, maybe I just need to visit friends more often. I don’t know.
    .-= Beej´s last blog ..Online Gaming Addiction – Series of Guest Posts at World of Matticus =-.

  10. To be an addiction, it has to be something you can’t stop and that something has to cause problems in your life. You can spend a lot of time playing the game, but it really has to be disruptive to your other normal activities before it qualifies as an addiction.

    For example, I spend a lot of time playing WoW, but I’ve still managed to make all my academic deadlines and I’m not having problems in any of my relationships with my family, friends, or otherwise. Also, when I went on vacation for a week, while I checked the forums, blogs, and WoW.com periodically, I didn’t log into the actual game much at all.

  11. “A surefire sign of gaming addiction is when a person is participating in an activity entirely unrelated to the game, yet constantly draws parallels and references to it.”

    So there are a lot of sports addicts in the world, then…

    One of the signs that I look at in my field is giving up and/or reducing important activities. I thought you were headed towards that direction, but then you focused it on ignoring other hobbies, which isn’t quite the same thing.

    I’d have to say I’m more in agreement with Nomasun. While I appreciate the fact that there are people that struggle with their obsession and need help with getting it under control, I still do not see it affecting anyone the way drugs and alcohol affect my clients on a daily basis.

    While you are on the right track with needing to first recognize the problem before something can be done… if you truly want to “be free” of an addiction or obsession, then you need to let go of the idea that you can control it.

    Addiction controls you, not the other way around.
    .-= Syrana´s last blog ..Sims Saturday: Syrana Glows…in the dark? =-.

  12. I have to say, Beej, that the Dark Tower series was one of the things I loved most that I read during grad school. I read the first one before I started my first dissertation chapter and finished the last right before I took my job. The parallels to LOST are really really obvious…I’ll go check out your post series.

    My advice on the PhD: don’t do a literature PhD for the wrong reasons. I am a Spanish Lit PhD with a CompLit background so I know the English market a bit…it’s not something to do lightly or frivolously. Feel free to email me (use the comment form on the blog) and we can talk shop. Your area in particular (hint: call yourself a New Media specialist, include WoW in your dissertation and you’ll be more marketable) can be difficult to place. Heck, I’m a medieval/Renaissance scholar, so I know all about not getting jobs because my work isn’t “relevant.”

    Anyway, luck to you, and get in touch with me if you want some horrible stories about your chosen profession 🙂

  13. @Syrana: Actually, I do think there are quite a few sports addicts in the world who fit that criteria. I think that there comes a time when any hobby that breaks into the real world and out of being relegated to just being a pastime can be seen as an obsession/addiction. I know a guy who purposefully held his daughter from starting school on time because he wanted her to be a year bigger for sports. Why is behavior like that not considered abusive and addictive when his love for a game begins to impact his family? Why is it that it is “just being a man” when “the game” is more important than quality time with the wife, but it’s a problem when a raid does the same thing? There seems to be a double-standard based on culturally accepted and mainstream hobbies.

    I did focus in on it affecting other hobbies because I later comment on it affecting things like productivity and grades. I admit that I probably should have made that clearer. I just feel that if one hobby is detrimentally affecting one’s preferred hobbies, that “important issues” and real life concerns are a given. I did outline those in my first post, too, as well as the personality change section of this one.

    And as for it not affecting people the way that drugs and alcohol do, I completely disagree. I saw friends in college who were alcoholics and drug abusers (and even one guy who had to have liver surgery before he was 22 because of his alcohol abuse) who had less trouble with their families and significant others than I did with this. Just because they were putting a foreign substance in their body does not mean that their behavioral problems and relationship strain was any more valid than mine. I was losing my relationship with everyone around me because I would have rather have been in a game and it adversely affected my behavior, making me act like someone else, someone who was the exact opposite of who I was prior to my MMO binges. That’s exactly what substance abuse does, except with situations like this there are no tests able to be given to determine whether someone is abusing, and fewer resources available to help cope.

    @Lisanna: Then your playtime never got to the levels mine did. Your self-control might have been better. I don’t know. Either way, I do know that one of the reasons I realized I have this problem is because I was unable to balance academics, my personal life, and WoW. It did entirely disrupt the way I lived. When push came to shove, I would chose the game. My grades plummeted. My friends would no longer want to be around me because I would ignore them when they tried. I couldn’t go on a vacation or even a road trip because I would take my laptop and game while I was away, even raiding on my parents’ coffee table while I would go visit from college. I could not leave it behind at will. I couldn’t take the breaks you talk about. That’s how I know I was addicted. It was causing major problems with the structure of my life, and had it not been for my family’s perseverance in letting me know what was happening (I was too close to see that it was anything but having fun in a game), I might have gone even farther in before I realized I had a problem.
    .-= Beej´s last blog ..Online Gaming Addiction – Series of Guest Posts at World of Matticus =-.

  14. Sydera:

    Oh, I’m not going into it lightly or frivolously. I’ve always been a book nerd, and I can’t see myself doing anything else. Reading and then writing about it is one of the most marketable skills I have. 😉 I’m in a good place professionally right now as I am getting my foot in the door administratively. They want me to get a Ph.D. eventually, but it’s not required for my employment, so I can take my time and weigh my options and get into the program I really want to.

    I would love to include WoW somehow in my dissertation or at least in some of my papers, but I still prefer to work on books and TV academically than games. Most of my attention will likely be on Stephen King since there’s a wealth of research that isn’t even being tapped into. I went to this year’s PCA conference and found that I have never been happier academically than I was when in a group of other professors discussing how to properly implement SK’s stuff into the classroom. If I can just find the time and energy to get the Ph.D. I am looking at that lets me focus on him and other contemporary fiction (or television and film), I’ll be dandy.

    I’ll shoot you an email over the form.
    .-= Beej´s last blog ..Online Gaming Addiction – Series of Guest Posts at World of Matticus =-.

  15. I know a lot of people with varying levels of commitment to WoW, and the only ‘addiction’ (or obsession) was a frighteningly extreme case. Neglecting everything outside of the absolute essentials to life (food and job to pay for WoW and food and rent), including personal hygene.

    I prefer to look at it in a more common frame of reference- I play much less WoW than most people watch TV. I also don’t watch TV. Most people watch 2-3 hours of TV every day- does this qualify them as TV addicts? Every kid I know under 20 will happily ignore almost all outside factors to watch TV.

    When I think of a WoW addict, I think of a reeking, scurvy-ridden poopsocker. Not somebody who plays 4-5 hours a day. Rather like the difference between an alcoholic and your average 1st year undergrad.

  16. Whatsagnome says:

    I’ve actually played WoW off and on (Mostly on) since it came out and can honestly say that I’ve never felt I was addicted. My attitude has taken a change for the worse but I attribute that to first the encouragement of my significant other and then the loss of them. Though they did play more WoW than I did.

    I haven’t played WoW in about 15 days now, account canceled due to impending vacation – Why pay for 2 months when you’re not going to be able to play most days – and while I still enjoy the game just as much as I did in my hardcore vanilla raiding days, I haven’t had any “OMG MUST PLAY WOW!” moments. I have thought that I would like to be playing my main or tinkering with my interface though. Not like a “Oh my I must do that. Immediately” thing but more of a “That would be fun. I’ll have to do that when I get back.” – I wouldn’t class that as addiction but I’m sure some people would.

    The local news here ran a story about video game addiction and concluded that if you think about gaming when doing other things, prefer to play games rather than do other things, or play for more than 12 hours a week, you’re a video game addict. I highly disagree with one and three. Two needs clarification. If they prefer to game in place of everything else, even the important things, well then that’s probably bad. If you would rather play video games than do chores, well, who wouldn’t? The important question is, like it or not, do you do the chores anyway or do you put them off? If you do them anyway, but would rather not, no harm no foul?

Trackbacks

  1. […] two part series about MMO gaming addiction, particularly World of Warcraft. The post is entitled, "Online Gaming Addiction Part 2 – Signs and Symptoms". The story was written by guest poster Professor Beej, who happens to actually be a College […]

  2. […] I’ll be honest, I haven’t been as attentive to all things WoW over the past few days.  The long weekend and holiday combined with some unexpected good weather was enough to draw me away from the computer and make me treat all things WoW with a good deal of “I’m sure it will be there when we get back”, which is probably the best attitude to have if you don’t want to be accused of being addicted to the game. […]

  3. […] for his site. You can find them here: Part 1: Online Gaming Addiction – My Experience Part 2: Online Gaming Addiction – Signs and Symptoms Part 3: Online Gaming Addiction – Coping Strategies — Like what you just read? Why […]

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