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General: MMOWTF: MMO-holic

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

Dan Fortier returns this week to talk about his take on the idea of MMO addiction.

I'd like to welcome you all back to my little corner of MMORPG.com for the first real column of the new year. As always, there is no shortage of MMO related news to throw into the grinder and this week's topic should get the ball rolling nicely. Today, I decided to put my cross-hairs on one of the granddads of virtual plagues: MMO addiction. Is this a real addiction and who does it affect? Take a quick swig of some Pepto-Bismol and read on to find out!

There are plenty enough things in life to worry about killing you or ruining your life without inventing new problems. Even health nuts admit every breath you take brings a lung full of cancer causing material into your body and fun activities like skiing can be dangerous if you happen to be a former Mayor of Palm Springs or the Governator of California. All kinds of drugs, prescription and otherwise, can create more medical problems than they solve. As if all this isn't bad enough, some people can find unhealthy fixation with the games that make us forget all the crap I just mentioned.

You can read the whole column here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • AnofalyeAnofalye Quebec, QCPosts: 7,433Member

    Haha, the only persons that have a nicer life than peoples "addicted" to MMOs, are peoples considering this addiction seriously. 

     

    I can stop playing MMOs, talking about MMOs (and leaving this site) for months without any drawback.  However, I like to allow myself to be drawn into a MMO, or if none manage to satisfied me, I will come here.

     

    The best proof that we are not really addicted...it is MMORPG.com.  If someone would be addicted, he would indulge in the addiction.  If the peoples are here, talking about how the games could be better and ever more addictive, are they really addicted?  I don't think someone could stop taking pot and than talkin about pot for 3 months, nor someone drinking beer.  This addiction to MMOs is like everything else in the MMOs...it is FANTASY!

     

    Some peoples have serious life issues and they find a shelter in the MMO, of course, their life issues aren't going to magically solve themselves, in fact, they may aggravated since nothing is done to correct them.  However, a MMO is merely a means of escaping life, and it is not really addictive.  Yes I want to play more.  But I don't have to and I can stop at any time.  I often stop for family reasons...or simply because I am bored of my mind with some raiding-trash games.  So no, addiction is not real...it is...a FANTASY!

     

    Again, someone must have a "blessed" life in a way or another to be considering a MMO an addiction...and to be debating it, ROFL, that is like the old greeks debating philosophies...haha. 

    - "If I understand you well, you are telling me until next time. " - Ren

  • hotwuhotwu Minneapolis, MNPosts: 16Member
    Denial is the first sign of addiction. And I would say your post count is the second.
  • GinjaTWGinjaTW MiddlesexPosts: 7Member
    Originally posted by Anofalye



     
    The best proof that we are not really addicted...it is MMORPG.com.  If someone would be addicted, he would indulge in the addiction.  If the peoples are here, talking about how the games could be better and ever more addictive, are they really addicted?  I don't think someone could stop taking pot and than talkin about pot for 3 months, nor someone drinking beer.  This addiction to MMOs is like everything else in the MMOs...it is FANTASY!
     
    Some peoples have serious life issues and they find a shelter in the MMO, of course, their life issues aren't going to magically solve themselves, in fact, they may aggravated since nothing is done to correct them.  However, a MMO is merely a means of escaping life, and it is not really addictive.  Yes I want to play more.  But I don't have to and I can stop at any time.  I often stop for family reasons...or simply because I am bored of my mind with some raiding-trash games.  So no, addiction is not real...it is...a FANTASY!


    You have a very good point but your just looking slightly off target. Addiction is there and is to do with everything like you said, but it's how you control it. Addiction is something in humans which we cannot evade and some people are just mentally weak to be able to deal with it, I've been looking into this topic for a while but more towards games.



    You see people say MMO's are addictive but all games are addictive because it's just escapism and that applys to even board games, the only difference is board games and even console games are seen more as a time waster and to help stop boredom, thats also the same for MMO's but they just require more time to play.



    This topic is starting to eat away at the games industry and the sooner people realise that MMO's are only addictive because they are mainly built on there social aspect the sooner people will realise that they are not that bad at all.



    I'm a MMO player and also study Games Design and i see the good and bad aspects, it's just that i also have a strong mental mind to say NO.

    TrueWhipsnade
    --I'm the True Whipsnade--
    image

  • japojapo Sedona, AZPosts: 306Member
    Originally posted by hotwu

    Denial is the first sign of addiction. And I would say your post count is the second.
    LMAO...





    /agree
  • krispydemonkrispydemon Hellam, PAPosts: 13Member
    Originally posted by hotwu

    Denial is the first sign of addiction. And I would say your post count is the second.
    Awesome.



    I think it's pretty messed up how normal people can so simply disreguard anything they deam as silly and inconsequential.  I think that that MMO addictiveness is probably blown out of proportion the same way that violent video games and TV are blown out of proportion, but I think that it's still there.  I mean, people can get addicted to anything.  I mean, MMOs are no more addicting than gambling, but there are centers and tv shows and all kinds of other things dedicated to gambling addiction.  I see no difference between the need to pull a lever 800 times a day on a slot machine in hopes of getting the jackpot, or killing 800 red tidal crabs a day to get the next level.  Yet, we take one seriously, and not the other?  I think it just comes down to the fact that video games, especially MMOs, are still not considered a mainstream media presence and therefor the problems associated with them must be "kid problems" or fake problems or something.



    Anyone with not only an addictive personality but also with some kind of obsessive compulsive disorder may put the game before the rest of their life, to the point where they're using money to buy in game items or gold instead of paying their gas bill (of course they'll pay the electric bill, they need that to play).  Hell, someone with the right mental illness could put alphabitizing their underwear drawer before doing other things that are far more important, like putting out a fire in the sock drawer.  Sometimes I wonder if maybe some of the cases of people who let MMO gaming get the better of them may not already have the problem before hand, but the MMO gives the other people in their life, the ones blaming the MMO, a focal point on what is causing this persons life to be so messed up, instead of actually looking at what may be the actual cause.



    Though I don't think that MMO addictive type behavior is necessarily something that should be taken lightly, I also think that there is a lot more problems being blamed on MMOs and their addictive nature than is perhaps fair.  To me, it all seems to come from parents who would rather blame someone else or give their kids drugs rather than just deal with their kids on the kids' level.  Instead of telling Johnny he's got to shut up in class or at the dinner table, and punishing him when he misbehaves, they want to say he's got a chemical imbalance and give him some drugs to shut him up.  It's the same thing in a lot of these MMO cases also, bad parenting is ignored and instead the focus of a problem is on who we can sue to make our problems not be of our own doing, but lay the blame squarely in someone else's lap.
  • godpuppetgodpuppet NottinghamPosts: 1,416Member
    Once you start MMO's, addiction is unavoidable. There will come a time in every players life when he/she realises a choice has to be made. Leave Gaming permanently or learn to be disciplined.



    I cant live without games, so I chose the latter.

    ---
    image

  • TsiyaTsiya My chairPosts: 32Member Uncommon
    /agree. MMO addiction is a symptom of a deeper problem. I play, a lot. But my lowest grade in college is 99.16%. Playing against bots just doesn't cut it once you've grouped up with someone from Australia and Netherlands and had a good chat. I can't really play single player games anymore, despite the kids and jerks you see in MMO's.



    Yes, there's a few dirty dishes in the sink. But, my fiance and pets are fed, and we're not ankle deep in dirt. The bills are paid. Not everyone can manage that. If they can't, they need to do something about it.

    image
  • _Jord__Jord_ Toronto, ONPosts: 228Member


    This column did not do justice to this issue.



    The fact that a substantial percentage of players play MMORPGs 30+ hours a week (and some as high as 90+ hours) is indicative of many lower level problems in both the people and the products.



    The column was a pile of wit and rhetoric without even a drop of tangible content.



    2/10

    - marks for effort, but 0/8 for content.

    ------
    Played - UO, FFXI, WAR, WoW, EVE
    Currently - Bored.

  • fansedefansede Raleigh, NCPosts: 960Member
    Originally posted by _Jord_



    This column did not do justice to this issue.



    The fact that a substantial percentage of players play MMORPGs 30+ hours a week (and some as high as 90+ hours) is indicative of many lower level problems in both the people and the products.



    The column was a pile of wit and rhetoric without even a drop of tangible content.



    2/10

    - marks for effort, but 0/8 for content.



    Unfortunately,  he offers no solutions to the problem either. While the responsibility is ultimately the player, it would be a reasonable gesture for developers to show us they care.

    Was it DAOC or WoW that sent out a little alert "You have been playing for x hours."?

    People have died playing MMORPGs, that is crazy. If they can sue McDonalds for spilling your own coffee, you can bet there can be a lawyer ready to take your calls to shred any developer EULA to bits...

  • Brehon35Brehon35 Mason, OHPosts: 5Member
    Originally posted by fansede 


    If they can sue McDonalds for spilling your own coffee, you can bet there can be a lawyer ready to take your calls to shred any developer EULA to bits...



    McDonalds was not sued because a woman spilled coffee in her lap.  They were sued because their coffee was so hot it melted her skin on contact.  Fast food coffee was tested and McDonalds was found to keep their coffee at least 20 F hotter than the next hottest coffee.  The woman had to have multiple plastic surgeries performed in order to return her genitalia to normal function.  Additionally, the 2 million dollar award was only barely enough to cover her medical and legal bills, so she didn't end up rich either.  While I agree that there are many, many frivolous lawsuits being brought to the courts today, this wasn't one of them.

    As for game addiction, sure, it's absolutely real.  But the people who succumb to this addiction are the people who already had a mental predisposition to addictive behavior patterns anyway.  The games do not create the addiction, the addicted people create the addiction.  That doesn't make it less of a problem, just a different sort of problem.  Like any other addiction you need to treat it at the source, the person who's addicted.  The real problem is in identifying who those people are.  Drunks and drug users are easy tp spot.  Gambling addicts are generally in public places gambling (although that is changing as more and more on-line gambling franchises open up allowing the addicts to feed their addiction semi-anonymously).  Gaming addicts operate out of the own houses.  Their neighbors don't see them displaying odd behavior, apart from maybe staying up late each night.  Sure some in-game folks might notice that Hieronymus the Blade always seems to be logged in, but it's possible that people are sharing the account and playing at different times.  Gaming addicts are hard to spot, but apart from game companies monitoring their clients' usage (the logistics of which makes me shudder), I don't see any easy solutions.

  • _Jord__Jord_ Toronto, ONPosts: 228Member
    Originally posted by Anofalye


    Haha, the only persons that have a nicer life than peoples "addicted" to MMOs, are peoples considering this addiction seriously. 
     
    I can stop playing MMOs, talking about MMOs (and leaving this site) for months without any drawback.  However, I like to allow myself to be drawn into a MMO, or if none manage to satisfied me, I will come here.
     
    The best proof that we are not really addicted...it is MMORPG.com.  If someone would be addicted, he would indulge in the addiction.  If the peoples are here, talking about how the games could be better and ever more addictive, are they really addicted?  I don't think someone could stop taking pot and than talkin about pot for 3 months, nor someone drinking beer.  This addiction to MMOs is like everything else in the MMOs...it is FANTASY!
     
    Some peoples have serious life issues and they find a shelter in the MMO, of course, their life issues aren't going to magically solve themselves, in fact, they may aggravated since nothing is done to correct them.  However, a MMO is merely a means of escaping life, and it is not really addictive.  Yes I want to play more.  But I don't have to and I can stop at any time.  I often stop for family reasons...or simply because I am bored of my mind with some raiding-trash games.  So no, addiction is not real...it is...a FANTASY!
     
    Again, someone must have a "blessed" life in a way or another to be considering a MMO an addiction...and to be debating it, ROFL, that is like the old greeks debating philosophies...haha. 
    You're missing a lot.



    First of all, video games in general have been proven over and over to stimulate the same parts of the brain as other major sources of pleasure, and that they do in fact have addictive properties. In the MMORPG genre, you have the persistence and the social aspects added to that.



    I'm not saying that they ARE addictive - I'm saying that they certainly might be. It might be more serious for some than others. It might be more addictive to those who are generally prone to addictions ... but so is gambling and non-physically-addictive drugs, and the fact that you need to have a certain type of personality to become addicted does not take away from the serious nature of the addiction.



    EVERYONE says they could quit tomorrow. Most probably could. You won't get the shakes or start vomiting due to MMO withdrawal. However - The DSM IV (the leading system by which psychological disorders are defined and classified) defines an addiction as and 3 of the following taking place over a 12 month period (note- it's talking about substances, but the adaptations have allowed for just about anything to be included in the place of "chemicals"):


    • Preoccupation with use of the chemical between periods of use.

    • Using more of the chemical than had been anticipated.

    • The development of tolerance to the chemical in question.

    • A characteristic withdrawal syndrome from the chemical.

    • Use of the chemical to avoid or control withdrawal symptoms.

    • Repeated efforts to cut back or stop the drug use.

    • Intoxication at inappropriate times (such as at work), or when withdrawal interferes with daily functioning (such as when hangover makes person too sick to go to work).

    • A reduction in social, occupational or recreational activities in favor of further substance use.

    • Continued substance use in spite of the individual having suffered social, emotional, or physical problems related to drug use.

    Think about people sacrificing school, work, social engagements, etc to play MMOs. Think about how many times YOU stayed home on a Friday or Saturday night to raid Blackwing Lair (or your choice of poison) rather than hang out with your friends/family? Do you ever browse forums while at school/work? Feeling the need to read about and discuss MMOs while you are not playing them is encompassed in the same addicion.



    I'm not talking about the super-extreme cases that we hear about (that usually take place in Asia) where people die. I'm talking about a much more subtle yet equally important trend by which people spend 20-120 hours a week sitting in front of their computer, pursuing a "hobby" at the expense of everything else that they could/should be doing.



    Think about it.



    This is a very serious topic, and the author of this article does no justice to it. I am guessing that the author is not a college grad because the level of insight screams "UNEDUCATED."

    ------
    Played - UO, FFXI, WAR, WoW, EVE
    Currently - Bored.

  • _Jord__Jord_ Toronto, ONPosts: 228Member
    Originally posted by Brehon35

    Originally posted by fansede 


    If they can sue McDonalds for spilling your own coffee, you can bet there can be a lawyer ready to take your calls to shred any developer EULA to bits...



    McDonalds was not sued because a woman spilled coffee in her lap.  They were sued because their coffee was so hot it melted her skin on contact.  Fast food coffee was tested and McDonalds was found to keep their coffee at least 20 F hotter than the next hottest coffee.  The woman had to have multiple plastic surgeries performed in order to return her genitalia to normal function.  Additionally, the 2 million dollar award was only barely enough to cover her medical and legal bills, so she didn't end up rich either.  While I agree that there are many, many frivolous lawsuits being brought to the courts today, this wasn't one of them.

    As for game addiction, sure, it's absolutely real.  But the people who succumb to this addiction are the people who already had a mental predisposition to addictive behavior patterns anyway.  The games do not create the addiction, the addicted people create the addiction.  That doesn't make it less of a problem, just a different sort of problem.  Like any other addiction you need to treat it at the source, the person who's addicted.  The real problem is in identifying who those people are.  Drunks and drug users are easy tp spot.  Gambling addicts are generally in public places gambling (although that is changing as more and more on-line gambling franchises open up allowing the addicts to feed their addiction semi-anonymously).  Gaming addicts operate out of the own houses.  Their neighbors don't see them displaying odd behavior, apart from maybe staying up late each night.  Sure some in-game folks might notice that Hieronymus the Blade always seems to be logged in, but it's possible that people are sharing the account and playing at different times.  Gaming addicts are hard to spot, but apart from game companies monitoring their clients' usage (the logistics of which makes me shudder), I don't see any easy solutions.



    Dont' make up facts.



    Upon appeal, the settlement ended up at a mere $400,000 - a lot less than the original $2.7m which was never paid.

    ------
    Played - UO, FFXI, WAR, WoW, EVE
    Currently - Bored.

  • MenawaMenawa Someplace, MIPosts: 22Member
    I played WoW but I only did 2 raids and got to rank 2 before I quit. There was simply no way I was going to bring myself to go through such insanity to obtain useless pretty pixels as a lot of WoW players will actually alienate friends and family just to get t3 and rank 14 items.. I wondered how so many people could torture themselves with such drudgery and repetitivenss found in WoW ungodly time sinks. So I think there is an addiction and it could be comparable to gambling. People pull levers on a slot machine for hours and hours despite it be boring and repetitive because they are expecting "the big drop" in the form of real money. In MMO's the "the big drop" players are hoping for are epic gear. Both can be equally addicting IMO because addictions can lead to alienation of friends and family and other effects of addiction. I hope the current MMO game structure isn't the future of the gaming industry and hopefully AoC and WAR and other games to be released will bring the dynamic fun and challenge back to games instead of the current static,  time sinked, gear hungry games. 
  • HeDgEHeDgE Grand Island, NYPosts: 15Member
    Originally posted by Tsiya

    /agree. MMO addiction is a symptom of a deeper problem. I play, a lot. But my lowest grade in college is 99.16%. Playing against bots just doesn't cut it once you've grouped up with someone from Australia and Netherlands and had a good chat. I can't really play single player games anymore, despite the kids and jerks you see in MMO's.



    Yes, there's a few dirty dishes in the sink. But, my fiance and pets are fed, and we're not ankle deep in dirt. The bills are paid. Not everyone can manage that. If they can't, they need to do something about it.


    You are the model MMO player.   /bow
  • PoldanoPoldano Livermore, CAPosts: 244Member

    I think the problem is with real life. If only someone could make real life addictive, we wouldn't have all these secondary addiction problems. Sure, it's full of complexity and terror and pleasure and all that, but the arrangement of it is such that it's more often boring than not. Only real life offers the paradoxical experience of being terrified and bored simultaneously. Any game that did that would not be around for very long.

  • MorvMorv Royal Oak, MIPosts: 331Member
    Perception is the benchmark of all reality.



    You choose to be addicted... the irony...



    Morv
  • suskesuske louisville, KYPosts: 714Member
    soe  and net devil have made shure i will never be addicted to mmos. thanks guys!
  • SprolSprol Roanoke, VAPosts: 2Member
    Be proud, you could be addicted to work! And don't freaking lose sight of the important things like your dungeon raid. And, for the drinkers, beware of urination addiction, signs of which are:



        *  Preoccupation with use of the toilet between encounters.

        *  Using more of the toilet than had been anticipated.

        * The development of a hose to the toilet in question.

        * A character's withdrawal from the fight for the toilet.

        * Use of the toilet to avoid or control leakage.

        * Repeated efforts to cut back or stop the toilet use.

        * Urination at inappropriate times (such as when ganked), or when "/afk bio" interferes with daily grouping (such as when lagging makes character too slow to auto-follow).

        * A reduction in emotes, chained combat commands or dancing in favor of further afk-ness.

        * Continued toilet use in spite of the individual missing a roll on epic gear, hearing the tell-tale sounds of the graveyard, or skipping the last zep to Orgi.
  • BelsamethBelsameth MaarssenPosts: 193Member
    Originally posted by _Jord_



    This is a very serious topic, and the author of this article does no justice to it. I am guessing that the author is not a college grad because the level of insight screams "UNEDUCATED."

    While I don't encourage the flame toward the writer at the end of the post this part does sum it up for me.

    I also think that it's not so much a problem for the developer as for the one who's addicted. We're (mostly) mature people and can take responsibility for our actions. That includes all forms of addictions.

    Blaming others is even more a sign of weakness then the addiction is in the first place.

    (Don't worry, I got quite a few rather bad addictions as well so I'm passing judgement on myself as well :) )
  • _Shadowmage_Shadowmage MelbournePosts: 1,459Member

    What I laugh at are the parents who wine that there kids are addicted to playing games, yet all they do is complain about the games.

    For heavens sake people - grow a spine and pull the plug on your childs computer if they are spending too much time playing games instead of studying.

  • IAMTHEGAMEIAMTHEGAME schenectady, NYPosts: 99Member
    Originally posted by hotwu

    Denial is the first sign of addiction. And I would say your post count is the second.
    Busts Out Laughing......Heh.







    Yup....................









    The Game.

  • BelsamethBelsameth MaarssenPosts: 193Member
    I doubt the majority of the mmo players are kinds. Talking to people left and right since god knows when in MMO's taught me a few important things. The majority of the players are adult, and the majority of the immature [curse word] are adults as well.
  • GinjaTWGinjaTW MiddlesexPosts: 7Member
    Well most comments above are right, addiction has many aspects and points. Here's a link to a Howard Rheingold's research on early MMO's, MUD's.



    http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/5.html



    He also raises the points people have above and also looks at other virtual communites as MMO's biggest thing is community :)

    TrueWhipsnade
    --I'm the True Whipsnade--
    image

  • necrotherionnecrotherion Toronto, ONPosts: 130Member
    I think this addiction does exist, and not only for "troubled people" or "abnormal people."



    I'll use myself as an example: I'm 16, pretty normal guy, marks in the mid 80s, slightly athletic, have a normal amount of friends. No matter how many times I have tried it, I am simply not addicted to shrooms, weed, cocaine, cigarettes, or alchohol. There was a period of about 3 weeks where I smoked, but I found it surprisingly easy to NOT smoke when my money ran out one day. And so I stopped. And haven't started since.



    WoW? Different story. I remember pleading with my mom to do anything to let me play. I was freakin' teaching my brother piano for 2 hours and garden work for 3 hours a day (in addition to all normal chores) during the summer just to let me play. I literally meant, I'd do just about anything that wasn't way over the top.



    Having moved from Ottawa to Toronto recently, I was ... distanced ... from my two best friends and from the girl I loved. WoW was the only way we could all have fun as a group, though we couldn't be with each other, save for a few happy times a year, and when they pulled the plug (something about "authority issues"), I lost WoW, I lost my gf shortly afterwards because it was my fault (I was in shock), and was even more distanced from my friends. Losing WoW felt like losing everything....8 hours of my life a day, gone, no social interaction, save for petty talk at school. It was an extremely heavy blow, and had I not made quick friends quickly in TO, I didn't know if I'd make it.



    To summarize: I believe suicides over video games can happen. I don't think someone has to have problems to be addicted. I don't think anyone "wants" to be addicted, they just want to play but at the same time have everything else in their life go right. Out of all the drugs I did (not tried), nothing hooked me so much as WoW. You can say that nothing hooked me at all, except for WoW.



    Just my story.
  • TharcideTharcide South Jordan, UTPosts: 97Member
    "I have no doubt that are there are probably"



    Even without mistakes like this...

    A teenager could have done much better on this topic.



    I'm guessing Dan Fortier is saying that it is addictive.

    But he believes it doesn't matter, unless you are mentally unstable.



    Great, I'll keep that in mind.

    image

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