It is clear that an MMORPG is great for escapism – a fantastical land where the everyday clerk or secretary can be part of a group that slays dragons instead of shuffling paperwork. The following set of narratives explores how different players have used the MMORPG space as both evasion and therapy, and how the MMORPG space is both sheltering and cathartic.
We begin with players who use the MMORPG space to destress after a day of work.
I constantly use the game as an escape from work. Right now work sucks, but the market is so depressed I have been unable to locate anything else. So, I go home every Monday night to meet with the Undead Slayers(tm). We pick a nice undead zone and just beat them up (though sometimes they beat us up as well!). It is a great release and helps me make it through the rest of the work week. [EQ, M, 43]
In hindsight, I definitely used the game as an escape from my job as a medical resident. I spent all day dealing with things that, more often than not, got me depressed, and the last thing I wanted to do when I came home was to watch TV or sit around. The game was a good way to obliterate any thoughts about the day of work. However, I'm not sure it really helped me out. I guess it's hard to say. That time of my life was definitely the worst, and I didn't have much of a life outside of my job and playing EQ. On the bright side, that time passed quickly. However, when I started enjoying my other life again, I generally lost interest in the time investment that these games require, possibly because the escape part of it was not as necessary anymore. [EQ, M, 30]
I use online gaming as an escape from worklife. I work as a security guard and at times the annoyances that I have to put up with can sometimes be very bad. Since I have to spent the whole time being polite even though I want to reach across the desk and strangle someone who just can't understand that they are not the center of existence or worse yet when someone is on the phone and continues to tie up the lines even after they have gotten information or the information they have in not available. Thus going home and playing some game where I can run around and bash/fry creatures which I give pet names to while getting some reward (ie experience or gold) makes me feel a lot better. [DAOC, M , 33]
To speed up load-times on multi-page articles, comments are now only loaded on the last page of an article.