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Why We Quit


Many players complained about persistent bugs and game-balancing issues that the game developers never seemed to get right.

Mythic did not address bugs and balance issues in a timely manner. When they tried to fix something, they did so in a way that didn't really fix the problem and caused several additional problems. I've since tried a free month of AO and AC2 (and briefly re-subscribed for Shrouded Isles), and I think DAoC is still the best game out there. It's just not quite good enough for me to give them money every month. [DAOC, m, 28]

Although the addition of new content via monthly patches was fun, it also caused a number of problems due to Turbine's constantly rolling over for the loudest players. They nerfed their own game balance and then completely destroyed the in-game economy at which point I left. Additionally, Turbine's attitude towards exploiters was unbelievably irresponsible to their larger player base -- people who are utilizing in-game exploits should be removed from the game to avoid incumbent issues (server crashes among them). Overall, I felt that Turbine was incredibly disrespectful to the largest part of their community while catering to the vocal few. [AC, f, 39]

The developers' actions and attitudes towards the game encouraged me to quit, because they keep messing around with stats, spells, skills, classes, nerfing this group of players or that group, but never finding the holy grail of a happy medium and sticking with it. [DAOC, m, 28]

Anarchy Online was a great premise handled horribly by a company who wanted to get their product out before it was finished. The lag and bugs that I experienced in the game made it unplayable. I gave it 4 months of my time that I wish I had back. I have heard that it has solved all of its lag and bug issues and even was given some awards, but I have refused to return because of the initial bad experience. That is one company whom I will never play another game by strictly because of its handling of the release of Anarchy Online. [AO, m, 31]

Game balance was pathetic. Developer had no idea what the issues were and was making changing that had little or no impact. Often made changes that made stronger classes stronger and weaker classes weaker. [DAOC, m, 37]


Other players became frustrated with the customer support or the company’s attitude towards the player base.

The first reason I stopped playing was terrible customer support. Should something happen regarding your account, in-game, or other reasons there was virtually no assistance. The phone support was quite poor, slow, and unhelpful. The second reason I quit UO was tremendous lag problems. They spent all of their time and effort creating a new version of the game no one wanted to play because the old version was faster and more manageable. These people ruined an extremely fun game by allowing their bow-tie management to dictate what the customers wanted. They have no clue what their game is, what makes it tick, and what the customers wanted out of a game. My conclusion was that the people making the decisions had never even played the game before. [UO, m, 31]

Grew tired of the repetitiveness of the activities and annoyed by the way they were self sustaining. (kill something to gain skill and items so you can kill something stronger to get more skill and better items so you can kill something stronger .....) Also Verant / Sony's downright antagonistic attitude toward their customers really pissed me off. The atmosphere of the game became such that it was as if they were doing you an enormous favor just by allowing you to pay and play, a privilege they would rescind at their slightest whim without any justification or chance of defense. [EQ, m, 34]


And finally, some players left because they felt they were becoming addicted to the game, and needed to get away from it.

I didn't like the direction it was taking my life. I didn't like the feeling that I needed to be playing. After spending just a few weeks constantly on EverQuest, I decided that that was no way to live. [EQ, m, 24]

I found it was an escapist mechanism; a growing addiction; a way to keep me irresponsible & childish; a way to get away from my bad relationship. I didn't give away any avatar items because I cancelled on a 1-minute realization.... it still feels good. [AO, m, 29]


After the recent slew of media paranoia about MMORPGs as incredibly fun and addictively entertaining environments, it’s refreshing and jarringly humorous to hear ex-players talking about how what was supposed to be an entertainment turned out to be a frustrating, boring, and repetitive job. The “danger” of MMORPGs is exaggerated if only because the media never cares to interview players who have quit.


 

Posted on February 11, 2003 | Comments (39) | TrackBack (0)


Comments

RE: Everquest (M, 32)
I quit the game after playing for 2 years. I got my main character to level 53, and I found that in order to advance any further it was necessary to get into not just one group, but go on serious raids with 'groups of groups'. It was just too time consuming and I am a casual player and don't have the hours of time it takes to go on such raids. EQ is not for the casual gamer. You must be in a fairly large to huge guild in order to advance past 50+ in a reasonable amount of time. I also grew bored of the hack and slash, level, and hack and slash more powerful monsters to level more. it seemed so pointless after a while. The monsters at level 50 don't drop anything more valuable than a skeleton in the newbie zones at level 1-5. a few Platinum pieces were the norm. In the case of EQ, they need to make the loot coincide with the level of the monster killed. I solo'd alot and gained levels albeit very slowly and were it not for the rediculous loot when I soloed a level 45 mob and had to sit to recouperate for about 5 to 10 real minutes each kill, I may not have quit. Basically I got bored with the game because at higher levels you MUST group, there is no other option. A level 50 monster is much more powerful than you at level 50. There is a balance issue there. I could go on and on but to what purpose? The game wears itself out. Unless you are filthy rich and have 24 hours a day to play and/or have many online friends or are in a huge guild of high level players, don't count on ever getting past level 55. It became an excercise in futility. So I quit. I did not give any items away nor keep my account active. I just cancelled my account one day and never looked back. I don't miss it either, and I realize now how much real life I missed out on while I played. If these games were more like online versions of some of the RPG's out there that you can play without being online in terms of fairness and moonster level vs. your level, I may consider online gaming again. I played and finished Morrowind and its expansion, all by myself and without cheating. It would have been more fun if I could have played online with other people instead of the NPC's being AI, but I did it in less than 120 hours total, and I can keep playing after the "main" quest is done. For me, I will continue to play RPG's but not online.

Posted by: Exoramm (EQ) on February 14, 2003 10:16 PM

RE: Everquest (Post-Script)

There was one other major issue... I had to upgrade my computer to a P4 2.0 Ghz with 1GB of ram and a 60GB Hard Drive, as well as add a GeForce 4 just to keep up with the game expansions... and I STILL get lag sometimes!

My nephew can't even play with Luclin or PoP because his computer can't handle it. It's a P3 with a decent ATI AGP 4x card but it does about 3 frames per second even with the old crappy graphics with the expansions loaded.. They should have put more thought into the computing power needed to play the game. I think the average person doesn't have the computing power to handle the game anymore. The graphics are rich and realistic, but it takes a top of the line machine to play it without lag, and as I said before some machines still considered modern can't even load it. Lots of work needed in the RPG world IMO before I will ever consider online gaming again.

Posted by: Exoramm (EQ) on February 14, 2003 10:28 PM

I quit because the players had given up on roleplaying and adventure. No one cared for the journey any more. The pervasive attitude in the game changed over time from one of a magical world to have a good time in to getting to x level so you could get X gear.

EQ Was a great game that I certainly played far longer than any other (44 months). There was and isn't anything wrong with the game itself, its the quality of players that changed over time.

Its no longer an RPG, fantasy tactictal combat simulator. It wasn't always that way.

Ezrick (EQ, m, 40)

Posted by: Ezrick on February 15, 2003 10:47 PM

"After the recent slew of media paranoia about MMORPGs as incredibly fun and addictively entertaining environments, it’s refreshing and jarringly humorous to hear ex-players talking about how what was supposed to be an entertainment turned out to be a frustrating, boring, and repetitive job. The “danger” of MMORPGs is exaggerated if only because the media never cares to interview players who have quit."

This sounds great, and is good propaganda too, but it's somewhat irresponsible. From what I can see, MMORPG's are addictive exactly because they are not non-stop fun, but instead, are intermittently fun and then long stretches of boredom, work, and striving. Things that are non-stop fun and excitement are not addictive; take rollercoasters for example. You do it and get it out of your system. Your "fun" meter caps out and you look for other needs (like in the Sims ;) )The addictiveness of an MMORPG is because the fun lasts pretty briefly, is doled out unpredictably, and takes a lot of trying and failing to find it again. In fact this is the exact reason some people quit. The wonder is that _everyone_ who gets frustrated and feels like they're on a treadmill doesn't quit -- they don't, you hear that a LOT in the game -- and the reason is that this sort of environment is addictive. It's not as addictive as some alarmists claim, and most who claim don't comprehend *why*, but it is.

Posted by: Merigold on February 16, 2003 6:58 PM

You know, I've had this "addictive" discussion with a few people. The game is not addictive because it's boring, or because it's too much work. I think Merigold's on the right track, but is identifying symptoms, not the cause.

I believe, from observation, that the game is addictive because it offers a system of reward, and in an adult world, there are few true systems like that in place. Rewards in EQ are proportional to the amount of time and effort you put into it. It can be experience, items, upping a tradeskill, whatever floats your boat. THIS is what becomes addictive, because as we grow older, so much less of our "real lives" gives us back anything measurable (and I stress the term "measurable" as in "quantitative"). "Working" and "being bored" in EQ are byproducts of our pursuit of goals for which we KNOW we will receive measureable awards.

Our entire young lives, our existence is "graded". We live our lives for the report card, for sports teams, girl scouts, boy scouts, theatre groups, and other social groups where we are encouraged to achieve a measurable amount of success (for report cards you get grades, for sports - letters, for scouts - badges, for theatre - reviews in papers or awards in competitions, etc). We are taught that we are largely defined as "good kids" or "bad kids" by our performance and achieving measureable rewards. "You wont' get into a good college if you don't have a 3.6 GPA and are class-president, have a letter in senior sports, and have at least a 1200 on your SAT".

As we work and age in the "real world", these "measureable" achievments are far less common. You can argue that getting a job, a raise, a promotion, or running your own business successfully are all measureable achievments, and yes they are. But how often do they happen? Are they always propotional to the amount of time and energy you put into the efforts? From nursery school through college we are part of an active reward system that motivates you to strive and achieve on a constant basis -- you get report cards 4x a year, you get grades on weekly tests and quizzes, your performance with sports or other activities is constantly analyzed and fed back to you. You have a constant influx of praise for doing good things. After you graduate, that "third party reward system" mostly disintegrates and you are left as your own judge, without much of an objective reward system by which to "grade" your life performance.

In some cases a career might be an exception, but I think most people will agree that you don't always get out what you put in. You can work your ass off at a job and educate and train yourself to be better at what you do, but that doesn't guarantee you a promotion, becuase the company might need to cut the budget and you get laid off, or the president's neice is eyeing the position you want. The reward system is not the same as before, when quantity and quality of effort was in line with the reward.

EQ offers that to people. It is an objective playground where measurable rewards are given out when you work to achieve a certain result. People LIKE being rewarded. They LIKE being able to achieve. In a world that doesn't offer much in the way of an objective, defined reward system, EQ is a way to enjoy the success of a hard-won struggle. In EQ, working your ass off means you WILL get the promotion. It's reward system allows you to control your own self worth. I think this is the reason a lot of people get addicted to the game and would be interested in other people's opinions.

Posted by: sasha on February 16, 2003 9:40 PM

***NOTE - - All names have been changed to protect my frends***

Cherished Guild & FriendsÖ.

7/1/02 The past year it has been my privilege to wear our guild tag. But now I need to take this time to say good-bye. Everquest has always been a source of relaxation for me, but somewhere along the line it became an addiction too. One that I thought I could live with on a limited basis but itís just not happening. I find that playing once a week is enough of a teaser to keep the addiction burning strong even thou it was meant to help rid me of the addiction and just be left with an enjoyable hobby. What Iíll miss the most is the friendships that have bonded. I donít play any other online games so thereís no chance to say see ya online anymore. I recently came across the following web page that just frightened me once I had a cold shower and realized it wasnít meant as a joke.
http://www.geocities.com/dafranks/

7/9 10am Iím going on two an a half weeks without playing, and I gotta tell you itís ruff riding. The past 2 days especially, Iíve had urges to play at the worst times. Sandy tells me Iíve been tossing and turning a LOT in my sleep lately and I wonder if itís from this withdrawal. Iím trying to stay away from the eq boards to see if it helps, but it doesnít. I donít know how to explain it, its kinda like im leaving a circle of friends on purpose when I donít want to, but I have to or this thing will take over my life. I have to constantly remind myself that I have a life outside of eq, with real life friends who are just as eager to hang with me as the folks online. Sometimes thou I like the online friends better. Oh thereís still drama and fighting, but itís easier to get away from it. I feel like im going to breakdown sometimes, between breaking my EQ addiction and trying to finally let go of my monotheistic ways Iím confused because Iím not sure what I want. But I do realize how lucky I am to have a lover and friends soooooo freaking patient with me. I have a ton more thoughts to spill out, but I need to get ready for work. Till next time. I guess this is kinda good, itís somehow turned into a place to throw out my thoughts and release a little stress I guess.

7/9 8pm Iíve come to realize, on my walk home, that although Iím nowhere near over my addiction I am doing better. Two months ago I would think of quests to do, raids to run, people to hang with 40+ times throughout the day. Recently eq has only been passing thru my head 5-15 times a day depending on my boredom level. What Iím confused about now is weather that means Iím better because I have other things to keep me busy, or if Iím actually losing my taste for eq. Actually I guess Iíll always like eq therefore always have the chance to be addicted again. Man I feel like Iím at an AA meeting.

7/12 930am Gods I really really have the itch to play for some reasonÖeven reading over the Guild board isnít getting rid of it. Tomorrow will be 3 weeks without playtime, and iv asked Sandy to continue keeping me locked out for now. I feel like im falling deeper into depression, or am I confusing depression with withdrawal symptoms. I used to always think drug addicts and alcoholics were pussys if they couldnít break the addictionÖwell Iím getting a taste of it myself now and I think I have a better understanding now. It makes me understand Sandyís pride about getting out and staying out of drugs one thousand times more. All thou I need to think that drug/alcohol addiction is worse, because it isnít ONLY mental issues at hand. Harry and Jeff are coming over tonight to hang out, sadly before I got involved with everquest this would make me happy but now im kinda neutral. I feel that Harry and I have grown apart since we donít hang out anymore, and itís hard to find new common ground because of my neutral feelings and I hate it. I shunned everyone to play everquest for a long time, I guess it was foolish of me to expect the world to wait for me to stop. Still waiting to see the light at the end of the tunnelÖÖÖ

8/5 245am Well, I let myself play eq today. And while I was online it felt nice. Relaxing game, not a total rush anymore. Harry was on most of the day with me, we hunted with some guildies. Had a blast. Now what I need to do is keep myself from touching the eq icon at all for at least two weeks. I think im doing ok now, but I know I need to give it some time to see if my Ďhungerí to play comes back. TiredÖ. SleepÖ.no more sorting papers!

8/14 1030pm Getting ready for bed, got hit with the eq bug all of a sudden. Sandyís in the bathroom, and all I wanna do is say lets go to bed now I donít want this eq craving to get worse. Time has slowed down for me to a loooooong dragÖ. Tick tock tick tock. It surprised me when this past Sunday Joe admitted heís got a bit of the eq bug back, Denis is selling his account, and Joeís now considering buying it. I kid jon all the time, maybe to help me feel better about not playing, partly to see if heíll come back to it. Either reason leaves me feeling rotten a few moments later cause Joe had the eq bug just as bad if not worse than I ever did. I think Iíve talked my err typed my way thru this eq craving, still waiting for SandyÖ.. good night

8/23 9am Getting up this morning was a drag. I woke up around 815 and wanted to install EQ for an hour of play before work. See I uninstalled EQ a couple days ago. Iím still trying to find that middle ground of feeling satisfied with my amount of playtime, and not letting it rule my daily activities. Sandy is pushing for me to give EQ up and sell my account. Heck Jeff offered to take it over indefinitely. Harry said it best when he was over a few days ago ďout of sight, out of mindĒ. The problem is that I donít want to quit EQ, I enjoy it tremendously. And recently Iíve been able to pull myself out of it a lot easier than ever before, heck Iím even watching the time. I want to reinstall EQ on the computer again right this minute, but Iím not going to do that until I have a talk with Sandy first.

9/11 930pm Thereís days like yesterday where I have to remind myself constantly ďitís just a gameĒ. An then thereís days like today where I could care less. These mood swings are horrid, Sandyís knoticed a change recently. Not sure if itís good or bad hehe. Went out for some pinball this past Saturday with Joe and Amanda down at the local coffee shop. It was a blast, however I find myself frustrated. Weather with my friends or myself I havenít figured out yet. But everyone seems to be avoiding me or more rather I feel like Iím on thin ice with everyone. I do my best to absolutely avoid geeking on EQ anymore, sometimes its ruff an all I wanna chat about. Then thereís times like ealier this summer when someone else is geeking and all I can think is ďdam find something else to talk aboutĒ I find myself reading the ezboards and researching quest and mob info sometimes and recently Iím beginning to bore with it all. Iím gonna play for a few hours this Saturday, guess weíll see how it goes.

9/16 1150pm ITíS JUST A FRIGGIN GAME, I DONíT HAVE TO PLAY IT. ITS JUST A GAME. ITS JUST A FRIGGIN GAME. God dam I wanna log in right freakin now. Sandyís in bed, Iíve already tucked her in, I took out the trash and loaded the dishwasher. I still have 2-3 HOURS before I have to go to bed. I wanna log in ITíS JUST A GAME!!!!! Damit
;lakjfdsbg;lqkfbpokqenrbonqefokna;lvcm,qpewronpqokenvbkqnv;lvf;koqmnerokvnqrwponqer that helped a little. Sandy left the game unlocked even after I reminded her and I could log in right this freakin second. But im NOT going to lose her over something this stupid. I really really wanna go upstairs an say ďIím gonna play for a little bitĒ but that would freak her out. She needs me to stick to this Saturday thing, and if I have to work to bad then I go without playing for the week so even thou we agreed to once / week itís really once / 2 weeks which SUCKS I know im gonna be freakin out on the odd weeks like today. I donít get to play this Saturday, gotta work

9/19 1155pm Iím tired. Tired of fighting, tired of sneaking, tired of working for 11Ĺ hours, coming home to hang out for 15-20mins before Sandy passes out only to be awake for the next 3-4 hours and NOT be able to relax on everquest. I recognize and acknoledge that Iíll most likely never be able to play on a daily basis without falling back into old patterns of addiction. I sometimes wonder if I make a big deal about EQ because Sandyís fighting me so much about it. I realize how EASY it is / would be to fall into playing again and as much as that appeals to me I donít want to loose Sandy so I donít play. Iím feeling very very depressed right now, I think Iíll go lay down and try to make it thru this batch of shakes. I CAN PLAY EVERQUEST RIGHT NOW IF I CHOOSE TO RESET THE PASSWORD!!! I choose not to and it sucksÖ by last thought before I go to the other room -- I wonder how she rationalizes the situation. I get frustrated with her because Iím playing dungeon keeper till 2 or 3 am when I would MUCH rather play EQ and wonder if I should really be frustrated with myself.

11/4/02 1am -- Sandy and I had a quarrel right before SHE went to bed. And Iíve been fighting with myself since then for 2 hours NOT to reset the password. GEEEZZZ I feel alone right now and I donít know if I (paused here a few minutes got stuck and couldnít finish thought) Oh well Ö Iíve found myself feeling pangs of jelosy towards Sandy when shes on the computer doing what she does. Maybe thatís mostly the EQ withdrawl probably, I donít know Iíve never had an addiction before that I didnít move away from/get bored with on my own. I am soo wanting to ďadjustĒ the agreement I have with Sandy for more playtime but at the same time I donít want to go overboard as I know I can. Maybe if we find a nice medium like I get to play the Saturdays as usual and maybe adding in a Tuesday or Wednesday so I could hang with Jeff some time. I think mostly that Iím buggin out at night is because the 2 of us are NOT going to bed at the same time. I snore big-time keeping her awake unless she takes a sleeping pill or something. Wasnít always like this. Tired now think Iíll go to bed now

11/26/02 1130pm -- Times are changing, actually Iím not sure if itís time changing or myself anymore. Sandyís gone to bed already, I finished watching spiderman for the N^th time and thereís nothing interesting on the tv. Waiting for the dishes to dry before I put another load in. Kinda bored but not tired yet and Iím toying with the idea of playing EQ for 2 hours. ďchuckleĒ maybe if I keep toying with the idea long enough Iíll get tired or something interesting will come up on tv. Right now I think Iím just as tempted to watch Fellowship of the Ring as I am to play EQ. HAAAA only Iíve promised Sandy I wouldnít do either yet. Well we agreed to watch the extended version of FotR this Friday, cant wait to see how the storyís been effected (especially since I STILL havenít read thru the whole book) Joeís playing eq again, some guy Austin knew was giving it up and somehow joe got the account . And I see Joe falling quickly back into the old habbits as heís already put 12 levels on in about 1 Ĺ - 2 months time.Iíve recently begun to wonder Ė if my longing for the batchler life I see them leading is something I miss because of the freedom Ėoróif , as Sandy put it ďIíve found someone I want to bug for the rest of my lifeĒ. Well Iím gonna go see if anything good is on tv since Iíve already surfed the boards. Goodnight ----- an extra lightbulb-------I always used eq as a way to relax at the end of the day -- I should probably try harder to find something else to relax with Ė sadly tv has grown unimportant or more rather not relaxing as it used to be.

Posted by: StrugglingAddict on February 17, 2003 12:45 AM

sounds about right i have quit this game twice now, for about three months at a time, I used to regularily have 5 hours sleep every night, which isnt enough. I have just gone back to it again , but I am determined to play less often. Or is tha t I will not be allowed to play as often:)

Posted by: on February 17, 2003 3:46 AM

StrugglingAddict,

Your journal touched me (as the personal struggles of others often do) and I found the page at http://www.geocities.com/dafranks/ a very enlightening piece comparing EQ use to alcohol abuse. I would preface my comments with two pieces of important information: 1) I am an avid gamer who spends a great deal of time playing EQ to the exclusion of most all other activities, and 2) I am a college graduate employed in the field of mental health. Given these two things coincide in this particular article, I decided to post my thoughts here as I too have often wondered if I have an addiction to EverQuest. In my studies I took a hard look at addiction and I came very close to becoming an alcohol and drug counselor, though I eventually took the path to a more general degree in psychology.
EverQuest, like alcohol can be recreationally used on a habitual basis without a person necessarily being deemed an ďaddict.Ē I would like to illustrate here why I feel I am not an addict based on the adapted criteria of alcohol abuse found on the geocities page and why I feel that it is perfectly fine and healthy for me to spend as much time as I please engaged in playing EQ. The following is a point by point analysis based on the warnings of potential EQ abuse found on the above cited page.


1. Loss of Control - attempts to cut down or control playing fail. Repeated promises to "be more careful" or to "cut down on playing." Gets online when intending to stay offline.

I play everyday. I play constantly. I sometimes spend 24 hours straight playing when I have nothing else to do and I love every minute of it. When I get bored or tired I log off. As such I have not played when I intended to stay offline since I have made no attempts to regulate my play time based on arbitrary constraints. I play when I want, as often as I want, and I find no need to regulate my play based on an arbitrary schedule. Likewise when there is something more important such as work, family or social obligations I am always where I need to be when I need to be. I limit my non-EQ activities because I do not wish to engage in much else as a recreation, but when I have obligations I meet them.
Unlike alcohol, there is no valid physical reason reason NOT to play EQ if you feel like doing so. EQ does not damage the brain or liver like alcohol, so extended time spent playing causes no long term health problems. The exception to this is probably my personal battle with weight gain. I have gained a lot of weight since beginning to play EQ. Simply put I do not get enough exercise. However, I was overweight before EQ. EQ is not the reason I gained weight... hating exercise and loving cheeseburgers is why I gained weight. Before EQ I read books, watched movies and TV, played my guitar. I still do all of these things but to a slightly lesser degree now. I enjoy sedentary activities and I would chose not to be physically active even if EQ was not an option for recreation.


2. Black Outs - unable to recall all or part of a playing episode. Doesn't remember what was said or done when online (blacking out is different than passing out).

Admittedly there are times when I play EQ and the events of the passing hours become a bit of a blur. However, I am no more likely to be able to recall what I had for breakfast in the morning after 8 hours of work than I am able to recall where I was hunting in the morning after 8 hours of EQ. I do not consider this a blackout. Some things are not as memorable as that failed dragon raid I went on last week. That one will stick in my memory for a long time. Hours of monotonous leveling tend to slip from my mind quite easily.


3. Increased Tolerance - needs more EQ than before to get the same effects. For anyone, tolerance increases with regular playing, but being able to out play others is an early sign of problem playing.

This is a poorly translatable criteria as playing EQ does not physically alter the bodyís chemistry creating a physical need for a higher dose in order to create the feeling of a buzz or high. However, there is the possibility that, after achieving higher levels in the game, playing for short periods would not result in as much satisfaction form gameplay due to the need to engage in raids that last hours at a time in order to get the satisfaction of acquiring a new item. In my own personal experience, as previously stated, I can play for hours and hours, sometimes 24 straight. In the very beginning, when EQ was new and Norrath was even more amazing and immersive, I could spend up to 36 hours immersed in that virtual world. Not anymore. If anything my habits have become more moderate over time. Usually I am logged in for a mere hour or two at a time on a daily basis since RL obligations keep me moving (work particularly). While it may seem excessive to play for 24 hours straight I should note here that my personal sleep rhythms tend towards a 24 up 12 down cycle (24 hours awake 12 hours sleeping). Again this is a personal idiosyncrasy and not the norm, however, for me this is perfectly normal.


4. Playing Causes Problems - continues playing even though it causes academic, legal, health, financial, or relationship problems.

Playing EQ has never caused me any academic, legal, financial or relationship problems. I began playing EQ while in college and I graduated just fine. I have the financial means to support my habit and I have never found myself short of money to finance this hobby. I have never missed paying a bill, rent or returning money on a loan or credit card due to EQ. I have never engaged in an illegal act because of my habit of playing EQ. As far as relationships go I am a loner by choice. I have multiple acquaintances, but only one person I truly consider a friend. In my life I chose to live alone and be alone most of the time. I do not desire nor seek out relationships (friendships or romances). I am, by nature, a goal oriented socializer. I spend time with people based on common interest and for the purpose of attaining some specific goal. My one true friend and I play music together. We donít spend much time together when we are not playing music. I get along fine with the people at my work, we laugh and joke and enjoy ourselves as much s possible and I consider them all good people, but I do not call them up on the weekends to hang out. This is by choice and unrelated to EQ. As fas as health concerns, I stated earlier that I have gained weight during the time since I started EQ but several other factors have also played a part in that (most notably a regular overight shift at work and a strong desire to avoid exercise in the first place). I do not blame my health concerns on EQ. I was overweight long before EQ ever existed and I have no strong desire to live a more active or physical lifestyle.


5. Personality Changes When Playing - a normally nice person, becomes mean or abusive when playing.

If anything, when online, I am able to be more of the person I truly want to be. I am a healer in the Real World, helping people to bring peace and happiness to their lives through the medium of psychology. In EverQuest, my main character is a cleric who also spreads healing and good will wherever he goes. In EQ as with in RL I dedicate my life to spreading love through random acts of kindness, sage advice and a level head in times of conflict. This is perhaps a strong draw for me. Having the ability to push a button and immediately solve a problem (click a spell gem and heal a wounded person) is very rewarding and gives not only immediate gratification but also a sense of accomplishment. I do not refrain from these activities in RL, nor do I turn solely to EQ to satisfy this need. My play-style reflects my genuine personality in such a way that I would not fear having my online acquaintances know me in RL.


6. Neglects Responsibilities - absent or late for classes, meetings, appointments, or work due to raids or camping.

This is a key component of addiction. A classic addict screws up their life because they can't keep their priorities straight. They drink (or "play") instead of attending to real life responsibilities that maintain their lifestyle so that they are able to continue to drink/play safely at a better time. Having said this let me now say again that I play EQ a LOT. I play before work. I play after work. I play on vacation. Sometimes at work I research spells, maps and quests. Bottom line? I go to work. I am on time. I get my job done. Basically, I meet my responsibilities, earn my pay, pay my bills and I can afford to spend my leisure time however I chose. If I make an appointment I keep it. I play ever quest in almost every waking moment available because I prefer it as an entertainment medium, but when I have something more important to do you can be damn sure I get it done first and THEN play EQ when I have met my obligations.


7. Preoccupation with Playing - frequently thinks about playing. Gives up activities which don't involve playing. Avoids socializing with friends who don't play.

I do think about EQ a lot during a given day. However, when I am not working or sleeping I am usually playing so this time is mostly spent thinking about the game while I am actually playing the game. In terms of giving up other activities I can say that I am a movie fan, watch TV, read and play music as primary hobbies. I do also play other offline home PC games as recreation but far less often than I play EQ. These activities have decreased since I got into EQ but I do not miss them nor has the lack of these other activities caused me any hardship. Many times throughout my life my hobbies and recreational activities have changed and doubtless will continue to change long after EQ has fallen by the wayside (yes, I do see a time in my life when I will no longer play EQ).
As I mentioned previously I do not socialize much at all. This, for me, is completely normal. I was not a social person who became suddenly anti-social after beginning EQ. I am a normally reclusive person who chooses to rarely socialize based on a shared goal or activity. In EQ I have found a medium through which I have the ability to log in and seek people who have similar goals and then socialize, or to spend time alone doing quests or tradeskills or whatever strikes my fancy. Since joining EQ I can honestly say the number of people who know me (ie who know my character) and chose to socialize with me based on my personality and companionship has increased, though in EQ I have also found a means to regulating how often I make myself available for such contact and socialization. This is also a strong draw for me; the ability to choose when, how often and with whom I socialize by simply being online or not. When I desire company I go get it, when I desire solitude I stay offline. Its just like refusing to answer the phone on RL. Sometimes I am ďhomeĒ sometimes Iím not, even when I am there.


8. Pre-Partying - plays EQ before going to a party where EQ will be played. Also, "gulps" hours to get online as quickly as possible. May also sneak hours so others don't know how much he/she is really playing.

This is another criteria that does not translate well in terms of EQ use. One cannot ďgulpĒ EQ to get more EQ into oneís system prior to playing EQ. This is an item specific to drinking or other drugs. However, the second piece about sneaking time can indeed be a factor in potential addiction, especially if a person has attempted to cut down (from item #1) and failed due to sneaking play-time. Personally, I make no excuses for my play habits and I make no attempts to play less to satisfy anyone else so this is a non-issue for me. For StrugglingAddict, it appeared to me that arbitrary limits were imposed upon him by his significant other (who appears to be convinced her alcohol abuse model fits him as an EQ player). He documented successfully avoiding sneaking hours of play though with great difficulty and mental anquish. I can say that if arbitrary limits were imposed upon me I would likely have a similarly difficult time not ďsneakingĒ playtime. I am a strongly independent person and I do not allow others, significant or not, to dictate my time and activities. Whatever my chosen hobby I would rather say good-bye to a girlfriend than allow her to dictate when, where and how often I was allowed to engage in my hobby. I am not recommending this as a course of action for StrugglingAddict. I am merely stating my preference for independence in matters such as these.
However, let me say that I do not have a difficult time refraining from playing when there is some duty or obligation to perform. No I do NOT want to go to work, yes I would far prefer to be home playing EQ or doing ANYTHING but being at workÖ none-the-less I go to work and it does not cause me significant grief in terms of missing EQ time. I log on before work and log off with plenty of time to get to work. I get home and log on, then log off with plenty of time to get a decent amount of rest before my next scheduled time for work. I do not go to work ďhung overĒ nor do I suffer any serious side effects from this playtime. So again, there is no reason not to play this way if I so chose and I would tend to react very badly to anyone attempting to regulate or dictate how often or when I am allowed to participate in any hobby of my choosing.


9. Denial and Minimizing - claims not to play excessively, despite evidence to the contrary. Minimizes the amount of playing ("I only had a couple of hours"). Avoids talking about his/her own playing. Justifies playing and tries to characterize it as normal, despite problems.

A consistent theme throughout this response essay has been my steadfast assertion that I play when I want as often as I want, and that ďas often as I wantĒ is quite a lot. I do not deny or minimize my playtime. I do not avoid talking a bout how often I play. Most specifically, I do not attempt to minimize any potential harm as a result of playing EQ. I am honest about my lack of exercise. This is the only true potential harm from sitting at a computer screen for hours on end. I used to sit at a television screen for hours but now I do something more interactive and social so one could say that EQ has somewhat improved my chosen recreational style. I do wholeheartedly characterize my play-style as ďnormalĒ for me, and as I have demonstrated previously EQ does not have a profound (or even generally minimal) negative impact on my life.


10. Susceptible to Accidents, Injuries, or Illnesses - more likely to be hurt in falls, in fights, or by "bumping" into things.

This is more or less a non-issue in terms of potential EQ addiction. However, a case could be made that my lack of general physical fitness makes me more prone to certain illnesses (heart trouble, bad back/knees, etc). As I stated earlier I am not inclined to be an active person. With or without EQ I would seek sedentary, non-physical activities. My health status cannot be attributed to EQ or any single chosen hobby.

11. Playing to Feel Normal - plays to cope, to escape from problems, to solve a problem, or to feel like everyone else.

The argument can be made here that ANY hobby or recreation is a means of coping or escape from day to day troubles. Some folks fish or hunt, some folks play sports, some folks go camping, some folks play EQ. Then, when its time to face reality again you go do it, but in the back of your mind you are looking forward to the next opportunity to return to that favored activity, the fun time that makes dealing with the day to day drudgery of life more bearable. Playing EQ does not solve anyoneís problems and I do not believe that anyone playing the game believes that EQ is a means to solving and RL problem. The idea of playing EQ to ďfeel like someone elseĒ is more tricky to respond to since the very nature of a ďrole-paying gameĒ is to become someone else for a short time, specifically to escape reality and get away from day to day problems. My honest response is that online I play myself. As I stated earlier I am more, not less, of who I really am in real life, in the sense that there is a more immediate system of gratification built in to the gameplay. I can enter a situation where there are very simple problems that can be solved with some critical thinking and perseverance. This differs markedly from the real world where there are very complicated problems that have plagued mankind since the dawn of time and which have no solution (war, famine, poverty, greed, petty cruelty, the list is endless). I absolutely play EQ as an escape from these problems but I know full well that these RL problems cannot be solved by me and thus it does no good to dwell on them. Having said this, I do NOT play EQ as an escape from my personal problems. If there is an issue that must be deal with I deal with it... then and only then do I go play EQ.


12. Playing to Start the Day - plays in the morning to control tremors or shakes after playing the night before.

This is yet another criteria that does not exactly translate well. Unless a person has sacrificed hours of sleep in order to play then there should be no long term physical effects from playing for an extended amount of time the previous evening. Myself, I make sure to get the amount of sleep I need in order to function well at work.


Summary:
Based upon the 12 criteria adapted from the symptoms of alcohol abuse, I believe I have shown that I am indeed a habitual player, and yet not a problem player. I do not suffer a loss of control over my playing habits. I do not blackout, nor have I developed an increased tolerance for the game. Playing the game has not caused me any academic, legal, health, financial, or relationship problems nor does my personality change fundamentally when I log on. I do not neglect my responsibilities due to the game. I do spend a lot of time playing the game and thinking about the game, but this has not resulted in any great change in my normal social habits. I do not sneak playtime, nor do I minimize the impact of the game on my life. Indeed I have justified my time playtime but specifically because of the lack of problems associated with it. I am no more prone to accident or injury due to the game. I use the game as a coping device in a manner that serves as a recreational activity and not in such a manner that it masks real problems that may arise in day to day living. And finally, while I do play to start the day and most often to start the day, this aspect of the alcohol abuse criteria does not translate well given the lack of continuing physical symptoms once play is ended (no hangover potential).

I hope this point by point analysis of my own habitual gameplay serves to enlighten some folks who may be starting to fear they are becoming addicts. Look at the facts in your own life and draw your own conclusions. Primarily, remember that drinking or playing has only become a problem when the act of drinking or playing is actually CAUSING problems. Also, if you have a significant other in your life who objects to the amount of time you spend engaged in hobbies of your choosing then take a critical look at your relationship and look for other areas where they may appear to have control issues. If you are OK with your habits and you are not screwing up your life in practical and measurable ways, then donít let other people talk you into thinking you have a problem.

Benjamin

Posted by: Benjamin on February 18, 2003 6:58 AM

Struggling Addict - what happened to your your journal ended in Nov. Did you just quit and everytihng is good now? How are things for you know?

Posted by: Eric on February 19, 2003 6:20 AM

Hmm...

One year EQ account...

12 months...
In that time, I spent 1 month online...
And by that, I mean that I spent over 720 hours online in that year. That's. God. Damn. Retarded.

So uh... I quit...


Then I got DAOC! One week... played... 72 hours... someone want to come to my house and hit me with like a shovel or something? Please?

Posted by: Arradine on February 8, 2004 10:48 PM

I quit Ultima Online or "UO" after being active on and off for 8 months. I know this is extremely short compared to your average MMORPGer, but I believe I have a different insight to the POV's given here.

I spent hours upon hours playing UO, and never got that far in character progression. In an actual Role Playing environment I was very disappointed to see that the economy on almost all servers is completely out of whack. This is due to the popular "uber loot", and eBay styled sales of gold, characters, spell components, and rare items.

UO is immersive to a point, where you can change clothing, style, and skills. From a warrior who becomes a paladin, to a wizard who becomes a greedy thief... Possibilities are many.

However, the Role Playing part of UO is almost comical on most servers (called Shards after Ultima Mythos). I played on the Atlantic server. Which is one of the more popular servers. I figured by playing on a larger server I would be able to get the total exposure to UO. I did get the exposure I so wanted... However, it left a foul taste in my mouth. Horribly broken economy, Lack of actual Role Playing, Most of the NPC quests are lacking to say the least, and extreme amounts of errors/glitches causing loss of gold, items, and even character life.

The only people that get full Role Playing sessions are usually Role Playing specific guilds, and dealing with them is like becoming a cheerleader. Hard work, and sacrifice doesn't pay off... it's who you know, or how much you spent to make your MEGA - Character. This isn't the case with all Role Play guilds... just most of them. Most of these guilds are elitist, only taking high power characters, or forcing the applicant to fill out a form on the internet, that will take many weeks, or even months to get a reply (if one is given at all). Many people would like to say that UO is the last bastion of Role Playing in MMORPGs, but I'd like to heavily disagree. While it's true that graphically speaking games like EverQuest don't let you change clothes, or wear funny hats that allow for some trivial feelings of immersion... there is more of an immersion in the EverQuest game than UO. I just started playing EverQuest myself, and have experienced an enormous amount of fun, and Role Playing compared to UO. I'd say within a month more enjoyment, and actual Role Playing han my total 8 months on Ultima Online.

Even if others aren't Role Playing, if you are, and talk to these people in game... Chances are that they will get "into character" to talk to you.

That is something truely precious in an MMORPG in my eyes.

Although games like Horizons: Empires of Istaria have Role Playing Enforced plans... poor customer support, lack of game balance, and software failures make these games more hassle, than what they're worth.

Just my two cents on this subject. I think Ultima Online role Playing is awful, and since they recently cancelled a new Ultima Online based game which was going to be more immersive for Role Playing... I doubt "The Oldest MMORPG" is going to stay popular for very much longer.

Posted by: Zero on July 14, 2004 4:52 PM

I quit playing MMORPGS because I found single player offline RPGS and other online games (shooters) to give me more entertainment (per minute?) than the MMORPGs did. I suppose I am more of an explorer and achiever than I am a socializer or griefer so the interaction with other players (which is the only thing MMORPG's do better) was not a big enough draw for me. I found I wasnt happy playing MMORPGs unless I put in over 20 hours a week to keep up with other friends in the game, and frankly I don't have that much time to spend playing them.

Posted by: on September 9, 2004 4:52 PM

I played Ultima Online for 3 years. When Electronic Arts took over the game from OSI the game just went to crap. the items got changed and other skills which took me months if not years to develop got nerfed. the economy went to shambles, as a result of "uber" items coming into the game. I ended up quitting my fisherman business over this.(I was a grandmaster fisher and had a vendor right outside of town). Overnite as result of a patch changing the game all items changed in value. It was horrible. and in additon to that each house could now hold only a certain number of vendors, which was a disaster for the online malls in UO. And NO ONE wanted the changes and they happened anyway. tons of ppl complained but only a few quit because they had put to much time into it. Well i did and havent regretted it one bit. the new guys that took over didnt know anything about the game and just ruined it.

Posted by: David on September 19, 2004 5:21 PM

Ok this is really annoying. I have read every single word on this page and every single person sounds like they don't have any prioritys(sorry for spelling) I play everquest every moment when I am not doing somthing, and I'm not ashamed to say i am addicted. But It's very rude with you people saying "the people in everquest are just damn rude and only go for the best items". This is totally wrong. Seriously if that was the case, Everyone in everquest would quit. Still today, i meet lots of fun, respectable, reliable,adventurous,role-played based people. So DON'T blame your communication problems and life problems on a game that people enjoy. You have quit and you're no longer a horrible person? YOU ARE! you're insulting everyone that plays everquest just because of your misfortune of controlling yourself. Seriously GROW UP. 2 more things, 1. Kids are playing everquest insted of commiting sexual acts,drugs other stuff that a OVER-excited teen would think of doing 2. This can be done by any hobby. Let's use HUNTING as a example. You could take up hunting and risk getting killed or more importantly KILLING innocent animals. SEE!? there is a con to every thing in life. Making a big page about your online addictions is just childish and unwitty.

Thank you for reading and i hope you get it in your head.

Daniel kirk.

Posted by: Daniel on November 22, 2004 11:27 AM

Just my 2cp, think that Sasha makes a very good argument, I hadn't thought about the game that way, but it definitely strikes a chord.

Posted by: Chris on January 19, 2005 12:40 PM

I left Final Fantasy XI when I realised it was more like work than play. At first if was fun and adventurous, as I set off into the big wide world. Unfortunately it doesn't last, and I ended up on the level treadmill like everyone else.

What ultimately stopped me playing was the thought of trying to progress through the highest levels. From what I heard the experience would be like everything I had gone through before, only it would take exponentially longer for each level. As much as I loved the character I was, I could not continue knowing that with each level the enjoyment would decrease and the frustration would grow.

Role playing games for me are about epic experiences and exploration. FFXI was about staying in one place for hours on end, killing the same type of monster over and over to get experience. Not really the stuff legends are made of, eh?

Posted by: Caradg on March 31, 2005 3:57 AM

About the guy who talked about alcoholism vs. MMORPGism: There are physical symptoms to too much video-game playing. Red eyes, dry eyes, headaches result in the short term and vision problems may occur in the long term. An LCD screen helps, but that's like smoking "clean" or "light" cigarettes. I'm sure many video-game players have noticed these symptoms, but few people realize that alcohol creates comparable symptoms, at least in the short-term.

Changes in Mood are also common, since gamers, espectally MMORPGers, don't want anything to interupt their "immersion". This casues them to be less aware of the outside world, and increasingly hostile towards it's intrusion into the game world. Lashing out at "annoying" friends and relatives also creates feelings of guilt after the gaming session is over. I have also had the feeling that the time I spent gaming was somehow "cut out" of my day. It felt like time travel or amnesia. The past four hours just simply didn't exist in the Real World. They only existed in the World of Warcraft and if I wanted them back I would have to return. Plus, what was so important in real life that I had to stop playing? There's nothing to do. Might as well play again.

This is just me, though, just my experience.

Posted by: Capt_Poco on April 11, 2005 11:52 AM

I agree about the addictive quality of these games: by their very nature, you can't simply stop playing on short notice to take care of things in the RL world. Doing so would ruin the experience for those with whom you are grouped in whatever you are doing. Also, the proliferation of professional players with advanced scripts--the so called "gil sellers" in FFXI--is what killed the experience for me. Getting into the adventure is so much harder when you realize that you have wasted hours and hours of you time camping a monster that you had no chance at all of ever getting: human beings cannot beat advanced scripts except with advanced scrips. And, imho, I have better things to do with my life than develop a script to compete against other scripts so that I can "play" a game. If I wanted to write a advanced computer program, I'd rather get a degree for it than a Peacock Charm.

Posted by: Basset on June 11, 2005 9:00 PM

DAoC was my first MMORPG, although I'd heard of the genre I didn't think I would be interested in it. I thought it was all roleplaying. I was in my late 30's when I started DAoC, with a full time management job over approximately 100 subordinates and a family of five. Three years later I had three DAoC accounts and three computers running at once while playing, plus online houses and trade skills. I took my family on a 30-day vacation to the World Cup 2002, hoping to break myself of the DAoC habit. Instead I spent the whole time in the apartment playing DAoC on the high speed Internet. I read the game forums every day, and although the immature and abusive attitudes of the other players frustrated me it didn't make me quit. One day, out of the blue, I realized I'd lost 3 years of my life and quit cold turkey without a word or post about it. That was nearly a year ago, I've since completed nearly 20 semester hours of college classes and am in better shape at 40 than I was at 30. I consider my MMORPG years some of the lowest of my life, similar to being lost in a drug addiction.

Posted by: Vivarakus on July 23, 2005 8:21 PM

Much like a "marijuana addiction", a "gaming addiction" is nothing more than mental. I know pleanty of functioning MMORPGers (including myself) that work 5 days a week go out on the weekends with friends and have several lvl 50+ characters in various online games. I also know people that spend all their time and other peoples money "in-game" trying to be the top dog... my stepdad was one of them, but it's really based on the person behind the game. My stepdad for example has a very addictive personality and gaming was just another for the list. On the other hand, my childhood friend had never been addicted to anything in his life but was unhappy with his surroundings, gaming was an escape for him, a way to shut out everything and everyone that didn't respect him and become a lvl 59 Shillien Elder that people relied on to keep them alive. So the addictive side of gaming is all in the hands of the player... which also ties into the "frustrating" or "repetitive" side of any mmorpg. If your someone who strives to be at the top then MMORPG's are not for you. If you enjoy breathtaking views and discovering hidden caves and rare monsters tucked away in the middle of an 80mile forest and meeting new people from every race/background/country you can imagine. Then your in the right place. Most anyone that can enjoy a chatroom of goofballs with common intrests can enjoy a longterm MMO seeing as how it's basically just a big chatroom with interactive elements thrown into it. There's nothing like throwing on some headphones after a nice family dinner, turning on Teamspeak and talking to your clan/linkshell/house members while running off to... wherever. Also, although it was an explosion of emotion, Daniel kirk makes a very good point. If your child spends his/her freetime playing an online game... be greatful. I suggest you have a look around MySpace.com and see what your 16 and 17 yr. old kids could be doing... being sluts. Personally, I'd rather my kid choose games.

Posted by: Talulah|L2Utopia on August 9, 2005 10:08 AM

A comment in regard to Talulah. I agree, I would rather kids be playing those games rather then off doing other things like that... however, I would draw the line if their attitudes were getting bad, or if they werent doing their homework or grades were dropping due to less studying etc. But yes overall I definitely would prefer the games over some alternatives. I think its alot better then even simply sitting in front of the tv for hrs on end. Just my personal opinion :)

Posted by: icy on August 10, 2005 2:28 PM

I've played Ultima Online for a little over 2 years now. For the first six months, I have almost no memory of rl at all. And after that, only a little. I played 24 hours a day sometimes, and slept like every couple of days. I don't do that anymore, of course, but I do spend a couple hours a day playing.

I loved the accomplishments in UO, training up my characters and pets. Then the punks began coming in, everything became all about uber rares, uber weps and uber armour. There was no honor to be found anywhere, and barely any role playing at all - it's become just a bunch of punk, trash-talking, sarcastic, monster-stealing kids who constantly get people and even their pets killed.

To this day, this is not considered to be harrassment by UO management, but on the other hand, "leading" is considered harrassment -- this is when usually some idiot has acted like I described above, on a shard with no PVP where the only recourse to try to get these idiots away from your monster and stop getting you killed, is to go find other monsters and "lead" them into the area hopefully to kill the idiots.

And THAT is considered harrassment by the UO management. Oh, and we are supposed to make an attempt to leave, as well. Excuse me? This idiot jumps MY monster, gets me and my pet killed, and I am supposed to LEAVE and if I don't, or if I bring in other monsters to try to get him killed to stop his harrassing me, then *I* am the one guilty of harrassment?

This is beyond stupid, and UO would do well to take the thousands of complaints it's received about this type of thing and put some kind of control on the monster once it's been targeted and hit by a person, no one else should be able to touch it without being granted permission.

Neither should anyone be able to peace another person's pet. I was training two of my pets a while back, in the stables there, fighting them against each other and keeping them healed, and some idiot comes along and peaced them, telling me that I was a f***ing a**hole, that I should be shot, that I'm a f***ing b*tch for doing that to my pets, and she just went on and on and on.
When I called a GM the GM refused to believe me, and said that "maybe she was just practicing her peacing". When I pointed out what she had said to me, he still didn't act like he even cared, but only said "Well, it's against TOS to curse like that so I will tell her that." Big freaking deal. And in the meantime, my pets, which ARE my weapons, are sitting there peaced and unable to train up their skills. Are people allowed to take the swords and bows out of other people's hands? Not hardly. Well, my pets ARE my weapons, and nobody should have the right to touch them except to heal them if I invite it.

So many people are quitting UO because of the idiot punk kids in there now, and there are just sooooo many examples of this kind of 8th grade behaviour crap it's not even funny. I'm 46 years old, and I played originally to relax and have fun, not to have to deal with idiots like this. I don't hang around with people like that in rl, why on earth should I PAY to be around people like that in UO?? Nope, I don't think so. And neither do many, many other people who are quitting the game in droves.

And yet UO just keeps coming out with new editions hoping that will stem the bleeding of quitting subscribers! They have their heads totally up their asses, and it's pretty much the end of the game soon, I think.

Anyway, I've quit three times, once for four months last summer, but then went back because I do enjoy hunting solo mostly, with my pets, but trying to stay out of the way of all the idiots in there gets ridiculous. Nobody has any respect, any honor, any honesty.

I've seen so many people who have been gone for a while and come back, and they are like "What on earth has happened to this game? You're like the first decent person I've met since I've come back!"

I just say "ahuh." and nod my head, and tell them that they had better get used to it if they plan on staying and playing UO, because idiots are about all there are left in there, and the game managers don't give a crap.

Posted by: Julie on October 19, 2005 7:00 PM

The key to having a good time in the MMORPG world is MODERATION. You don't play 12 hours a day 365 days a year. That's just insane. I dont care how well you balance everything else into your life. I gurantee you if you cut back your playing time to 5 or 6 days a week and only 2-3 hours a day you will not only enjoy the game alot more than if you were to play it "hardcore" but you would also feel better about your life and accomplish more things.

I recommend that you don't replace the time you normally spent playing a MMORPG with watching tv or something else that is bascially just for fun. It's all about being productive in your life. Do you have any talents or dreams? There are many ways you can spend your time productivly just don't let play, in any form, be it MMORPG or not stop you from being all you can be in life.

Posted by: Lance on November 14, 2005 9:50 AM

I agree with Julie very very much. Ive been playing FFXI for over two years now and Im finally able to control how much I acutally play. Ive gone from playing 50+hours a week to only 1-4hours a week. I did a test three weeks ago and didnt log on at all that week, instead i went to bed at the right time, hung out with a friend I havnt seen in months, and got all my school pappers completed. The sense of satisfaction I got from having real life accomplishments couldnt top anything ive done in FFXI. Now im trying to build those bridges FFXI has burned.

Posted by: Bryan on November 14, 2005 3:27 PM

I just quit WoW, and the reason is the drain on life. Playing that game 30+ hours a week didn't seem so bad while I was doing it, but now I've just freed up THIRTY HOURS every week to live my life. Quit as soon as possible

Posted by: Ben on April 24, 2006 7:08 PM

I play WOW, and until marrying recently I played A LOT. At first I played all the time, then I played a little less but still would play before work, at lunch for a half hour or so to check game auctions or hunt a few Alliance players. The thrills of pvp are great. But there are trade-offs in life, and being in a relationship where you live together is one of them. I traded time playing for time with my wife, and I LOVE every moment of that time I spend with her. But like some people go golfing, or engage in other activities, I play WOW. I reject having anyone dictate what I do and don't see why I can't play when I am not doing anything else anyways. At first, when she tried to restrict me it made me want to play more and I got really frustrated. Now she doesn't try to restrict me and I end up playing less because I do other things with her and don't feel pressure over it. That's the way I think it should be.

I'm not suffering any negative physical side effects from this game, i'm an active person for the most part (job requirement). I would research quests and items at work if it the security system at work would allow me to access game sites - so long as I don't have other work to do ;-p (today is one of those down days where there isn't much to do)

I am well aware of my wife's needs and love to spend time with her. A person should and will do as they please, so long as it doesn't detract from the things that are important to them. The problem seems to be that some people lose sight of what is important in RL rather than GL. But i've seen countless "friends" lose touch with other friends the moment and for the duration of a relationship with a new girlfriend or boyfriend. Any activity can detract from attention and focus on other activities or priorities. My priority is family.

I loved the post about reward psychology, I think that is very insightful, and I think also quite true. I needed something to do after university, the game became my avenue. (although I still like the rewards and pride I get from finishing a training course with the forces - that's the best) but in the down time...WOW is a great game to play.

Cheers and good luck to those who need it

Posted by: Zeiben on April 26, 2006 11:11 AM

I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm addicted to FFXI. I'm ashamed to believe it.

Posted by: JF on June 4, 2006 11:06 PM

Just curious about why WoW wasn't mentioned a single time in any of the listed accounts. It's a very large game, but is there some reason why it wasn't included in the study...

Posted by: Orthopterai on June 26, 2006 5:24 PM

The Daedalus Project is an ongoing study that began 6 years ago. When this article was written (February of 2003), WoW was not out yet. Yes - there was a time when WoW did not exist :)

Posted by: Nick Yee on June 26, 2006 5:37 PM

I finally kicked my WoW habit of 2 years. I've been playing WoW compulsively since it's release in November 2004. I'd average playing 30 hours per week for several months in a row. Granted, 30 hours per week is minimal when compared to some of the horror stories you hear of people playing 16 hours per day, seven days per week. However, spending 30 hours of your life every week to play a videogame is well enough to make a dent on your life. That's six hours a day for five days per week - almost equivalent to having a second full time job.

I quit WoW because I had a sudden moment of realization. An epiphany if you will. After several months of doing the same old grind once you hit the level cap (60), it just seemed so pointless. Leveling from 0 to 59 was an absolute blast. It was quite possibly the most fun I've ever had with a game, and I've been playing since the 8-bit days of Nintendo. However, once you reach level 60, you are placed on the proverbial "hampster wheel" and the game rears it's ugly head. Gone is the excitement of watching your character grow and advance. Gone are the days of adventuring with friends on a managable level. Let's just say "casual endgamer" is an oxymoron. In order to "succeed" in the endgame, you must sell your soul to the game. It becomes a neverending treasure hunt for the next best gear or next best item. The endgame raids (the only place to get the aforementioned gear) can take between 5 to 8 hours a piece. That's at least 5 hours taken out of your day in a single sitting.

Now you might ask, why do you need the best gear? Well, WoW (and all MMORPGs) place an enormous emphasis on gear. Your character's power is hugely dependent on what he has equipped. I'd say most MMORPGs are 20% skill and 80% gear. The reason for this is that game designers *want* you to keep grinding for that godly gear because that means you'll be sticking around longer which means more money for them. If MMORPGs were based purely on skill, and factors such as equipment didn't exist, players would not be motivated to advance because there would be "nothing" to advance towards. In order words, the carrot at the end of the stick would not exist.

When a lot of players reach level 60 and get sick of the grind it becomes, they creates "alts," or new characters so they can enjoy the 0 to 59 game experience all over again. I see this as an effort in futility. It's similar to putting a bandaid over a gaping wound. Sure leveling a new character again will be fun for a while, but how long will it last? Anyway, I'm so bored with this game that I don't even want to start a new character. MMORPGs are so simplistic. They don't require much thought nor skills. Success in MMORPGs is solely dependent on the amount of time you put into it. Just the thought of that concept should turn people away from them. MMORPGs are a timesink and money pit by design. This website helped me realize that. I always had my suspicions of the dangers of MMORPGs, but the data from this website in addition to the several personal testimonies from players solidified my decision to quit this scam of a game.

Now that I am MMORPG free, I feel like I've been reborn. The amount of free time I have is incredible. Instead of grinding my life away in front of the computer, I've picked up more practical and tangible hobbies that I actually benefit from. The "digital accomplishments" achieved in MMORPGs means *nothing* in the real world. Nothing. It dawned on me that I was wasting my life away for absolutely nothing. Many people (mostly insecure addicts) justify their time playing MMORPGs by claiming it's no different from other people doing their own thing, such as watching TV or playing basketball or whatever. This logic is insane. As I stated before, playing MMORPGs for 20+ hours per week has no practical use for your real life. It is detrimental to your life; not beneficial. Hobbies are supposed to help spend your free time *and* make you a better, more rounded person in the process. If you play a sport in your free time, you get excercise. If you sew, cook or paint, you're learning trade skills. If you read in your spare time, you exercise your brain and become more of an erudite. If you play MMORPGs you become...worse off than you were before. MMORPGs just suck you in and milk you dry.

Now that I have 30 more hours of my life back every week, my relationship of 5 years is just as fresh as when we first met. My job performance is noticably better. I feel healthier. I feel happier. I feel as though a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I will never touch another MMORPG for the rest of my life, you can be sure of that. I feel like the last 2 years of my life were spent in a coma.

Posted by: Matthew on June 27, 2006 8:00 AM

got bored of wow i had wasted 200 hours doing the same thing and quit

Posted by: Butcer on July 23, 2006 11:11 AM

strangnly ive used computers since 98 excely still i dont seem to get addicted to any game that are suppsoed to be addiecting they all wear out always less then a month : counter strike got bored of it in 2 weeks and started rampart cheating for laughs and got bored of it and quit. played wow and got bored it. played action quake and got bored of it. played battlefield and got bored of it. played teamfortees etc etc

Posted by: Butcer on July 23, 2006 11:21 AM

I had just recently quit World Of Warcraft. Or at least the raiding aspect of it.

It all started when I messed up my computer mixing and erasing files randomly (trying new program a friend gave me). It basically made me erase the hard drive and, because it was that terrible, I had to re-download it using an old Windows XP CD.

Now, what you read had nothing to do with WoW itself, but here is the thing: For some reason, my sound did not work, so basically I could not listen to Ventrilo raid strategies.

What was worse, is that I was the best paladin healer (and best healer, period) of the raid. I felt horrible since now I would play WoW on a computer with no sound and thus no use for Vent (which my guild makes us use).

I was agonized the whole day, my raid of great friends would suddenly lose their best healer, and that made me feel like CRAP. I thought about it though. Why am I feeling so bad over a game? It IS just a game no? I bought it to have fun, not make it my life.

That's when I realised it was time to call it. I went to the website and posted my problem, quit my browser and never came back.

It's only been a week, and in my first days of quitting I felt bad for just giving a notice out of the sudden and then just turning around and never see my friends again. Although as time goes by, you just forget about and feel happy for your decision.

Keep in mind, I was one of the most hardcore players, as I played over 15 hours a day.

I keep playing the game, on a different server and different character, now only 6 hours which is not much better but still. No raiding content for me now though. Been there done that, I'm just here to have fun, so I am either PvPing (because to tell you the truth, having to go on a spec which makes you unable to PvP but viable on the raids sucks).

So bottom line, play the game for fun. Don't be forced to do content that takes your life everyday just because you are the best at it.

Posted by: Rumble360 on July 23, 2006 6:52 PM

I just recently quit WoW because no matter how many characters i made, i always found myself stuck in a leveling rut and was no longer having fun with the game. I did not expect this type of game coming from blizzard. They created my favorite game of all time, diablo, i am going back to diablo because i can be a casual gamer on diablo and still make loads of progress, and quit playing any time i want, the freedom is great. I won't miss WoW, not even when the expansion comes out.

Posted by: Josh M. on August 4, 2006 4:40 PM

Just wanted to say, StrugglingAddict, I hope it got easier for you over time. Reading your journal entries was like reading my own thoughts.

Posted by: Iari on August 8, 2006 12:20 AM

There seems to be a whole lot of "when you put it on paper and really see it for what it is, it's scary" in this forum. I don't find that to be true.
When I graduated from college recently I started keeping a journal of my online game time and what I spent it doing and what else I could have done and do when I'm not playing and honestly... it didn't bother me a bit. When I'm ingame I use my time efficiently even if it is 15 hours that day. What else would I do on a sunday? Go to a movie with a friend, surf the internet, and watch tv? Doesn't sound much better... additionally, I watch tv as I play oftentimes anyway.

However, I am a good player and a female. I can make friends fast, get in good guilds easily, and generally do not have the normal times wasters that MMOs are full of. I refuse to have them. I don't spend 1 hour looking for a priest to run a dungeon... I make a priest.

If a lot of front-end devotion and planning is put into a game being one of the first to hit max level and get good armor and automatically get in a cutting edge guild, the rest always falls into place- no matter what the game. It is best if you do this with other friends also so inclined to play games- you come as a clique and trust each other to commit time and do new things. Additionally, I have made real life friends from games so I can stop playing for 2-6 months at a time when it's hard in my life, *cough* thesis paper, and come right back to my normal way of play. Sometimes I'll even let them play the account. And because I was so far ahead, I don't fall behind. I play in spurts. The biggest cause of a stop in play for me is nothing new to do... my main character is as good as it can be. Great. I win. Break time (yes, sometimes like a job). Should this be called a controlled addiction? I don't know. It seems like such a term is an anomaly. Either way, this is what is true for me.

Posted by: on August 9, 2006 10:30 PM

Many interesting comments here.

Inherently, any activity that takes one away from the real world for a time can be susceptible to becoming an "addiction" in the mental sense of being a habitual form of escape from reality. This is the same for non-physically dependent alcohol, marijuana, gambling, shopping, etc. It's a sense of distraction from dealing with what may be unpleasant or at the very least routine and unglamorous aspects of reality that can make these escapes from reality habit-forming.

However, there are other activities that are habit forming as well, but which our society does not react as shrilly towards as MMOs. Reading, for example. And I'm not referring to reading the latest books on theoretical physics, I'm talking about novels, and in particular popular novels like science fiction and fantasy novels. Plenty of people escape habitually into the worlds formed by these novels, religiously spend hours reading them voraciously (and they are churned out to meet the demand) at the expense of real world tasks and social engagement, yet this engenders no outcry because we see reading as being socially and personally beneficial, whereas we see gaming, as a society, as being wasteful and self-indulgent. I would submit that a voracious reader of fantasy fiction is pursuing an activity that is just as socially and personally useful as playing an MMO ... it does not make them more "erudite", but simply provides a textual escape from reality for them.

As a result, I tend to think that the way our society views all of these things in large degree reflects our overall societally conditioned attitude towards the utility of the activity in question. On the one end are drugs, which are viewed in the US at least as having no social utility (whereas in other societies such as the Netherlands, are more tolerated). Then comes alcohol, which is known to cause social problems, but is tolerated subject to some regulations because it is a traditional drug in this culture, and therefore has a greater degree of social acceptance ... whereas in Islamic countries it isn't tolerated at all, socially, even when allowed legally. Gambling is tolerated to a lesser degree, but despite the dangers is not seen as worthwhile of outlawing. And it goes on and on. Each society, each culture, applies a certain cultural value ot intrinsic value to certain kinds of activities .. and in our Protestant Work Ethic culture the idea of spending time playing MMO games is seen as intrinsically worthless, and therefore much more culturally subversive and threatening than the person who spends time reading fantasy novels because the latter at least enjoys the patina of social acceptability due to the involvement of reading, which is a socially encouraged activity (never mind the fact that MMOs also involve a lot of reading....).

So while I think that MMOs certainly can be used addictively, I do not think that the widespread paranoia about them is related to this possibility. There is not the same widespread paranoia directed towards alcohol, for example. We all know that a certain % of people who drink alcohol will use it addictively, and although we legally once tried to forbid it, deeper social norms prevented that from being effective due to the widespread social acceptance of the "risk" as a society of alcohol addiction. So instead of cautioning people not to drink, we caution them to drink responsibly ... because society acccepts alcohol if not as an inherently useful activity, as a socially acceptable escape mechanism or social lubricant. MMOs, by contrast, are seen as a waste because they have neither societally recognized intrinsic value nor a long track record of social acceptance like alcohol ... and in light of the larger Protestant work ethic which is dominant if subliminal in our culture, it's natural that potentially addictive "games" would be singled out as being particularly harmful.

Posted by: Brendan on August 22, 2006 12:34 PM

I've been playing MMOs since late 2002. And, at one time stopped playing them because I realized I was in a place that was not helping me in real life. I had the opportunity to step up and fight for something, and instead descided to sit back and spend time in game.

I got married about 1 1/2 years ago, when I got married, I was not playing. And somewhere along the way, I got involved in it again. I started talking to old friends that played, and got sucked in. I used to play for hours, sacrificing sleep, and showing affection to my darling wife. I would play until the sun rose, my wife would be just waking up, and I would be just going to sleep. I was blind, I didn't see the writing. I wish I had. My wife recently snapped me out of all this, said that things needed to change or we would end up divorced...

So I searched online, I had no idea people had the same reasons, and the same thoughts about MMOs as I. I didn't think it was me... I found the article on www.nickyee.com about 4 weeks ago, and realized it was me. It took me almost a week to muster up the strength, but I quit. I flat out uninstalled my current MMO, snapped the DVDs, the CDs, threw away anything I could find regarding them game and any others, and deleted all my bookmarks regarding any of them.

Problem is, I may have been too late... I am going through a really rough time right now. I've brought everything out, and stopped hiding from my wife, but I truly do not know where we will be. I hope that everything will be okay, but reality is that I caused this damage by this addition. I was oblivions to everything and everyone around me for almost a year and a half of my life. What the hell do I do now?

In the last week, I think I've gone a long way. But I am not sure if I will be married a month from now, but here is to hoping.

Good luck out there, at least I can bring solice to the fact there are others out there, maybe not at the same point, but maybe close.

StrugglingAddict, even those quite a few years ago, wish I knew how you made out. Hope I have the strength to not go out and buy a new copy, or a digital download.

Posted by: Z on October 19, 2007 11:52 AM

Man, I had no idea people could get so addicted. I would be the first to admit that I could not go without gaming in general, but stuck on any one game seems almost impossible to me, and letting it overrun my life seems equally impossible.

This is really good info for a budding developer, though.

Posted by: Auspice on October 14, 2008 3:53 AM
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