start page


Recently, the suicide of a 21 year old male player of EverQuest has led individuals to accuse EverQuest of causing this tragedy. Some people even want to claim that EverQuest can cause players to commit suicide in general. The following stories pose a very thought-provoking counter-argument.

         Perhaps a most memorable experience for me is when a friend of mine was able to talk me out of suicide online/over the phone at once. I had known this user quite some time and she and I can talk about most anything. Recently I had a bad experience with my fiancé (no longer my fiancé or even friend). Instead of facing me personally or at the very least calling me, he had told me it was over and that I was basically a waste of time and space, over the game and e-mail. Though this friend was merely a guild-mate who I could talk to, it was her caring enough to spend time and talk me out of something I may have regret. To me, nothing could make a game more memorable, than to know that someone I barely knew saved my life. [m, 17, EQ]

         A player in my guild and I once began to talk about personal matters because he was depressed. After much talking, it turns out he was on the verge of suicide, and was also very much like me (same interests, figure, etc). After talking he decided it would be better to continue living. [m, 14, EQ]

         I remember a time when I was feeling exceptionally depressed. I was having thoughts of suicide and logged onto EQ. A friend I had known for some time in the game was on, and she could tell something was wrong. Her husband (also a friend) logged on and we talked for some time, which really helped me through a tough time. [anon, 34, EQ]

If MMORPGs allow players to be closer to their real selves and allow them to form close relationships with other players, then it's not surprising why they turn to online friends when they need someone to talk to. This is also because it is usually the real life peer group or family situation that is causing the stress. Instead of causing suicides, what if MMORPGs actually help prevent suicides in general by providing this safe space?

Copyright, July 2002, by Nicholas Yee.
mmorpg study, online research, nicholas yee, psychology of mmorpg players, psychology of mmorpgs, understanding virtual worlds, psychology of everquest players, understanding everquest players, stories of mmorpg players, stories of everquest players, EverQuest, EQ, Dark Age of Camelot, DAOC, Ultima Online, UO, Acheron's Call, Anarchy Online, AC, AO, personal experiences of mmorpg players, adolescent identity, virtual worlds, virtual society, virtual identities, virtual lives, how do virtual worlds affect the real world, how do virtual lives affect real lives, real self, real selves, playing an mmorpg with a partner, husband and wife, growing and learning from everquest, growth from mmorpgs, addiction to mmorpgs, addiction to everquest, positive things from mmorpgs, how mmorpgs change people, headline suicide, does everquest cause suicide, mmorpg stories, tried to quit everquest, try to quit mmorpg, addicted to everquest, addicted to daoc, online friends are better, tell secrets to online friends, virtual worlds, virtual community, virtual communities, virtual constructs, virtual societies, virtual relationships, virtual social networks, online community, online communities, online societies, cyberculture, cyber-culture, relationships in cyberculture, online communication