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Help for an MMORPG Addict? 559

Posted by Cliff
from the time-for-an-intervention dept.
A worried comrade asks: "A friend of mine has had what many of us (his peers) are starting to consider a serious problem that we are becoming very worried about. He is addicted to World of Warcraft, and not in the same way the rest of us are. While most of us are able to disconnect from the game to take care of our own affairs, he plays to the exclusion of his friends, his job (he calls in sick a lot, it is starting to get noticed) and his life. How do you help someone who is actively throwing their whole life away to play a game?"
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Help for an MMORPG Addict?

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  • I've been there (Score:5, Informative)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @06:37PM (#15021951) Journal
    I was addicted to a MUD my freshman year of college. My parents were the ones who rescued me. And I do mean rescued. This is a heartbreaking situation. You cannot help those who are not willing to help themselves, and that is the first step: getting your friend to realize he needs to help himself. Next step: getting him to realize you can help him, too.

    Think traditional addiction programs - interventions, counseling. Contact a drug addiction counselor or psychologist who specializes in addiction in your area; many of the techniques involved in breaking addiction are universal. Avoid AA-type pseudoreligious programs. They have been proven not to work (no flames, please, go google the study yourself).

    Keep in mind that this is not an easy process. It took me two solid years to bring my social life back to where it once was; now, another four years later, I'm "addicted" to wow in that playfully, not clinically, addicted way. But stand by your friend. Understand that your friendship means less to him than the game does. Addiction is powerful, and ugly, and hard to understand and overcome. But he's got guys (girls maybe?) like you to help him. He's better off than many.


    Good luck.
    • Couldn't say better. That, or you can wait for the addiction to wear off (that's what happened to me with Everquest), but it's much riskier as it may not wear off for a long time, may not wear off at all, and may fuck up his whole life.

      • Re:I've been there (Score:2, Insightful)

        by coolgeek (140561)
        I don't think you were truly addicted to EQ if it simply "wore off". Perhaps a bit obsessed with it, yes. Unless of course, you've substituted something else in place of EQ that similarly destroys your life.

        I really have a lot to say to Southpaw018 above. I totally call bullshit. Any "traditional addiction program" will include attendance of a 12-step fellowship as part of their program, so I believe he's never actually experienced a "traditional addiction program". Or perhaps the clinicians at the pro
        • Re:I've been there (Score:5, Insightful)

          by smallfries (601545) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @04:55AM (#15024896) Homepage
          You've responded quite harshly to an insightful post on the subject. The OP made a comment that 12-step programs are psuedo-religious and cultish, but in defending them you've acted in the dogmatic way that those criticisms suggest. Purely out of interest, and not to start a flamewar here, what are the 12 steps of your program?
    • "Avoid AA-type pseudoreligious programs. They have been proven not to work (no flames, please, go google the study yourself). "

      Can you give me the terms to search for? I searched under "aa study" and got no such study [google.com].
      • Re:I've been there (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tansey (238786) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:13PM (#15022230) Journal
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholics_Anonymous# AA.27s_Critics [wikipedia.org]

        From the wiki:

        "Specific criticisms sometimes put forth by AA's critics (some of whom go so far as to call AA a cult) include:

                * There have been at least three randomized clinical trials that studied the effectiveness of AA. Specifically: Ditman et al. 1967; Brandsma et al. 1980; Walsh et al. 1991.
                            o Dr. Ditman found that participation in A.A. increased the alcoholics' rate of rearrest for public drunkenness.[1]
                            o Dr. Brandsma found that A.A. increased the rate of binge drinking. After several months of indoctrination with A.A. 12-Step dogma, the alcoholics in A.A. were doing five times as much binge drinking as a control group that got no treatment at all, and nine times as much binge drinking as another group that got Rational Behavior Therapy. Brandsma alleges that teaching people that they are alcoholics who are powerless over alcohol yields very bad results and that it becomes a self-fulfilling prediction -- they relapse and binge drink as if they really were powerless over alcohol.[2]
                            o And Dr. Walsh found that the so-called "free" A.A. program was actually very expensive -- it messed up patients so that they required longer periods of costly hospitalization later on.[3]"
        • THe entire basis of the 12 step problems can be found right at step 1-3. From Wikipedia

          1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol; that our lives had become unmanageable.
          2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
          3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

          The problem is that they're still copping out. Yes, they lost control. Y
          • Re:I've been there (Score:3, Interesting)

            by coolgeek (140561)
            Nice FUD there. The reason you don't see that in the first 3 steps is because those processes of identifying problems, taking responsibility form them and making amends for them are embodied in steps 4 through 9. Anyone who is in a 12-step program, who is serious about staying clean, knows full well they have many wrongs to try to set right if they want to stay clean. You should know better than to take Wikipedia as an absolute quotable source.
          • Re:I've been there (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30, 2006 @07:59AM (#15025359)
            If the 12 Steps were about personal responsibility, they'd read something like this:
            1. We admitted that our use of alcohol had made our lives had become unmanageable.
            2. Came to believe that we could restore ourselves to sanity.
            3. Made a decision to make that happen.
            4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
            5. Admitted to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
            6. Were entirely ready to have get rid of all these defects of character.
            7. Made a decision to make that happen as well.
            8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
            9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
            10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
            11. Sought the support of friends and family to continue this indefinitely.
            12. We tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

            Which would also make them non-religious.
    • Re:I've been there (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Baby Duck (176251) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:05PM (#15022175) Homepage
      I had to:
      • Give away all the items I could
      • Drop a tradeskill
      • Learn enchanting (1)
      • DE whatever I could
      • Give away the disenchanted mats
      • Sell what I couldn't DE
      • Destroy what I couldn't sell
      • Delete my character
      • Cancel my account
      • Uninstall
      • Throw away all CDs, manuals, and shred handwritten WoW notes

      I was half-way sold to even cancelling the credit card my account used to be on. I had to make it as difficult as reasonably possible to become recidivist.

      As cheesy as it sounds, the "death ritual" described above was cathartic and a way to say goodbye to my character. A way to realize none of these items truly mattered for a meaningful life. That it doesn't hurt to peel away like this.

      • by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai.gmail@com> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:10PM (#15022216) Homepage
        You forgot an important step in the death ritual: emailing all your gold to my character.
      • by robogun (466062) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @09:43PM (#15023059)
        I Had To:
        * Give away all the items I could
        * Drop a tradeskill
        * Learn enchanting (1)
        * DE whatever I could
        * Give away the disenchanted mats
        * Sell what I couldn't DE
        * Destroy what I couldn't sell
        * Delete my character
        * Cancel my account
        * Uninstall
        * Throw away all CDs, manuals, and shred handwritten WoW notes

        That's only 11 Steps, you need one more, so include:

        * Cancelling the card

        Seriously, if these games are this addictive, the next thing that's got to happen is a massive tobacco style lawsuit and cash settlement.
      • by Lanoitarus (732808) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @10:10PM (#15023191)
        ...just let the Sirens kick you out.

        My friend had a better approach than deleting his stuff. He download a out-of-date version of WOWglider (a blatant hack), knowing that blizzards hack detection system would catch it immediately, and left it running overnight. Came back in the morning to find his account permanantly banned by blizzard.

        Why strap yourself to the pole when you can get the
        • by IntergalacticWalrus (720648) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @02:43AM (#15024479)
          Why strap yourself to the pole when you can get the

          Oops, looks like your /. account was banned before you could end that post. Hey, I told you running SLASHglider was a bad idea...
      • Just curious, ... in that list of steps - where does 4) Profit?? come in?

      • by eh2o (471262) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @12:23AM (#15023926)
        I'm still trying to figure out how to delete slashdot from the internet.
    • Re:I've been there (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vertinox (846076) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:08PM (#15022206)
      I hate to be the Devil's advocate (and I know about the strong desire to play MMOGs because I think I dropped out the first try of college because of Ultima Online), but I have to put a bit of a realism to what you are saying.

      Addiction to MMOGs is not different than being addicted to TV, Books, or any other form of entertainment. People get addicted to porn, chatting, and surfing boring web sites.

      Why? Because life really blows most of the time and usually we hate our jobs and hate our girlfirends and lives... Some of us deal better than others. Some get by with a crutch.

      Peronsally, I can't go a week without drinking some type of alcoholic beverage and I get pretty bitter and hateful to people when I go any longer than that... It was either give up drinking or cigarettes and I figure drinking makes me a more socialble person and I don't smell like burnt fire all the time.

      Secondly, MMOGs are not chemical addictions and should not be treated as such. Alcohol... Well it can ruin people, but unless you drive drunk all the time its not going to kill you like meth, crack, or heroine (and being from a club scene I've seen first hand people's lives being shot up pretty bad or just being dead ... yes i've been unlucky enough to witness an fatal OD in my life)

      Those kind of things you need to try to go cold turkey ASAP, but MMOGs and non-chemical addictions you need to simply attempt moderation or complement with something else that is more interesting.

      You should probaly point out that he might not be able to play online games so much if he looses his job and that you should maybe setup something fun for him. Like movies... Bar hopping... Maybe a concert. Some place where he can maybe meet a girl or other people with same interests. Don't make him do it if he doesn't want to, but maybe ask if there is anything he wants to do other than play online.

      Heck... Why don't you encourage a person with an MMOG addiction to meet more players like him at game conventions (like dragon con or penny arcade con) so that maybe he can meet other people that also have the same problem and he can go "Geez.. That guy is really addicted to that game... Oh wait..."

      Simply saying... "Hey! You play this game too much! You should be more socialble!" without providing an alternative really makes for a bleak life. He should turn his addiction into something into something acceptable past time and perhaps gain from it.

      Either way... I feel his pain and understand your MUD story from college. I think the only reason I quit Ultima Online is when OSI changed the game so much that it was no longer fun... *grumbles* Til this day I am so tempted to go back.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "People get addicted to... ...surfing boring web sites."

        Well, that explains /. :-)

        Now, if you'll excuse me, the withdrawl symptoms are kicking in. I need to go read another dull story, or the trolls will start appearing on the ceiling again.
      • Re:I've been there (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AuMatar (183847)

        Why? Because life really blows most of the time and usually we hate our jobs and hate our girlfirends and lives... Some of us deal better than others. Some get by with a crutch.

        If your life is that bad, change it. Look for a new job. If you have to take a pay cut, its probably worth it. If your girlfriend isn't a positive thing in your life (if you don't enjoy most of the time you spend with her), dump her. Its better to be single than miserable.

        Secondly, MMOGs are not chemical addictions and should not

      • if you think that drunk driving is the only way to hurt yourself or die with alcohol addiction.

        You're also kidding yourself if you think the repetitive but spontaneous release of dopamine and endorphine isn't a chemical addiction. These games are designed to create that kind of response, and the symptoms of withdrawal show up in these cases on a very regular basis.
        • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @02:04AM (#15024325) Journal
          Ah, I never get enough of the drug-scare where anything that's a chemical -- even normal brain mediators -- is suddenly scary and to be avoided.

          Get this: dopamine is just a non-specific "I'm happy" signal in your brain. No more, no less. It's not some dope hit as a reward, or whatever bullshit you may have heard from ignorant scare mongers. It's _the_ natural "I'm happy" signal that the brain uses. (Some drugs immitate its effects, yes, which is why they also make one happy. But that's the correct relationship: drugs are a substitute for the brain's normal chemicals, not the other way around.)

          It's also non-specific. It doesn't fire just for MMOs, it fires every time you're glad about something. When the village gossip-monger found a good listener, or when the amateur photograph finds a cool thing to photograph, or when the Slashdot karma-whore sees that he's been moderated +5 Insightful... guess what? The exact same kind of dopamine response is involved. And not just in humans. When your cat is glad that she found a nice comfy place to sleep in, or when your dog is glad that the pack leader (i.e., you) gives him attention, yep, it's dopamine again.

          And yes, you're sorta pre-addicted to it from even before you were born. Everyone seeks to do the things they find pleasant, as opposed to the things they dislike. And yes, the dopamine levels immediately start to decay so you'll have to find the next fun thing to do, instead of being happy for your whole life that you once played a game. Go figure.

          Natural selection used that kind of stimulus to keep one doing the "good" things, as opposed to randomly doing dumb things. E.g., wolves have to feel glad about getting back near the pack, so they don't get spread.

          So the only way to not feed that scary dopamine addiction would be to avoid having any fun in your life.

          There is no such thing as being "addicted to MMOs" strictly, as is the case with other drugs. When you're addicted to, say, Alcohol or cigarettes, there is only one substance that can satisfy the addiction. In the "dopamine addiction" anything fun will work just as well.

          Again, it's just that humans (and all other animals) are pre-"addicted" to doing fun stuff, and to avoid non-fun stuff. _Any_ fun stuff will do. Sure, some get in a rut about how they get their fun, but then non-gamers find their own ruts too. (E.g., the village gossip-monger can get stuck on looking for the next listener, or the Slashdot karma whore can get stuck on refreshing the page.) But from the dopamine point of view, _anything_ fun will trigger it just the same anyway. That's all.

          And saying that "These games are designed to create that kind of response" is just a pretentious way of saying: games are designed to be fun. That's all.

          It's not just computer games, and it's not just humans. Most animals have their own games, tailored around what natural selection pre-programmed them to find fun.

          E.g., cats are predators, so the natural selection advantage was to be pre-programmed along the lines of "go chase something that moves and, if needed, fight it." So that's what they get, surprise, a dopamine hit for. So they have their own games where they wrestle each other. (When it looks like your cats are beating the living snot out of each other, chances are good that that's their idea of a game, not actual fighting.) Or everyone has played with their cat by making her chase something, be it a piece of paper on a string or a spot of light or whatever. Yep, that's dopamine for your cat. Somewhere in her feline brain there'll be a "yay, I chased it and caught it! I'm happy!" response, which means dopamine.

          E.g., rabbits are prey and their fun stuff is along the lines of "yay, I successfully ran away from some menace". So if you observe them, you'll see that they actually play games along those lines. They actually chase each other, effectively playing the role of a "menace" for each other.

          Etc.

          So, yes, humans are pre-addicted to fun (_all_ humans, including non-gamers), and games are designed to be great fun. It doesn't sound as pretentious and pseudo-scientiffic as the "addiction to dopamine" bullshit, but that's really all there is to it. Big whopping surprise there.
          • by Illserve (56215) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @06:13AM (#15025073)
            Excellent post.

            However, there are other factors that make getting off an MMOG addiction harder then just finding something "more fun". The brain uses dopamine to indicate fun yes, but it also learns which things are fun making it all the more likely to do those things, and all the harder to stop. It takes time to learn a new fun activity because you have to beat not just the dopamine released by warcraft, but all the learning as well.

            And there's another factor: quitting WOW also means coming to realization that you just flushed away the last 2 years of your youth is a soul crushing and therefun distinctly unfun experience. The new fun activity has to be more fun than WOW plus the unfun of coming to this epiphany.

            Some players have this epiphany while still playing WOW, and at that point the game becomes not just fun, but an escape mechanism as well.

            So nothing you've said is wrong, but there are a few additional wrinkles. Evolution has tacked a great deal of learning on top of our "fun detector" and WOW pushes all the right buttons.

            • I agree that when you're truly obsessed with the game and it takes all your time, you may be hesitant to admit that you've been wasting your life. When you start calling in sick to work to spend more time playing WoW, you have a problem.

              But it is entirely possible to play WoW, stop, look back, and think "Well, that was a fun way to spend my leisure time, what's next?" It doesn't always involve regret. Though I've since quit, I had fun in SWG and, aside from the grinding, I don't think my time was wasted
        • Having addressed what dopamine really is, let's move on to the actual topic of addiction.

          If someone ends up retreating into a game, or into any other kind of compulsively seeking one kind of fun instead of dealing with RL, blaming it on the dopamine is addressing the symptom instead of the cause. The real cause there is the sharp contrast in how much fun that is in contrast to their RL problems. The real problem there is that basically they find that the rest of their life sucks and doesn't give them much r
      • What I found worked pretty well was to set a goal for the evening up front and then switch off when I got there. I would deliberately set a very moderate goal. Everyone is different, but what I found drove me the most was reaching a "stopping point" where I felt I had accomplished something. WoW is pretty awful for that because quests go on and on. The most dreaded goal is "clear this area's quests". *chuckle* Back in the good old days, I remember when the goal was "Do all the Ashenvale quests." Ugh.

        L

      • > Secondly, MMOGs are not chemical addictions and should not be treated as such.

        Wrong.

        Gambling isn't a chemical addiction either, but it's just as damaging as alcohol and drugs, and needs to be treated the same.
      • Re:I've been there (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lysergic.acid (845423) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @04:40AM (#15024858) Homepage

        While I agree with you that most addictions can only be treated by changing one's lifestyle (introducing new hobbies, finding new interests, setting goals for yourself, meeting new people, etc.) I disagree with you on the difference between a chemical addiction and a non-chemical one.

        Most chemical addictions are rooted in the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphines, serotonin, dopamine, etc. which control the pleasure pathways in your brain. These things are responsible for emotions of happiness and general feelings of euphoria (physical and psychological). Ultimately, one becomes addicted to sex, videogames, TV, internet, reading, working out, and all other addictions because of similar biochemical processes that these activities cause. The only difference is that with drugs like meth and heroin, the effect is more dramatic, and the reward is more instantaneous.

        I'm probably going to get a lot of flak from people, and I know that most people reading this will probably pass a lot of unfounded judgements about my character by my revealing this, but I do think I'm more knowledgeable about addiction than a lot of people because of my first-hand experience, and I appreciate how serious a problem an addiction can be, so I'm gonna share a little of my personal experiences.

        When I was in junior high, and high school, I used to be really addicted to counter-strike. I mean, I would spend 6+ hours a night playing CS, often neglecting to do my homework till 3 or 4 AM. I had other interests such as programming and reading, but around 9th and 10th grade videogames began really consuming my life. So I understand the overpowering grip of a videogame addiction. Luckily, I was able to kick that addiction before I left high school, so while I saw my roommates in college cripple their social life, and ultimately dropping out of school because they became so utterly unhappy with their day-to-day life, I did not suffer from the same pitfalls.

        However, at some point in the past 2 years I became addicted to heroin and opiates. I used to "chip"--as they call it--meaning, shooting up once a week or once a month only. I had no physical dependence to the drug, and in fact it played a very small role in my life. I was actually chipping for quite a while before I actually descended into full-blown addiction. Nowadays, I can't stay clean for more than a week at a time. I have to go through withdrawal to even get that far, but even after I fully detox and lose my physical dependence, I still relapse.

        Now, a lot of people think that heroin is poisonous to your body, or that most heroin users inevitably OD and die. That's not true. Heroin, like morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone(vicodin, percocet, etc.), codeine, etc. are actually rarely ever physically harmful unless combined with alcohol or other respiratory depressants. Even at high doses, they don't really exhibit any toxic effects on your body. They actually lower your heart-rate and blood pressure, and are arguably healthier for you in the physical sense than alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine even. It is unlikely that I will ever die from using heroin, or that I'll loose my arm like in Requiem for a Dream; I have pretty good hygene and adhere to safe injection techniques. Heck, I'm probably better at administering an IV injection than most trained nurses. So long as I continue to use sterile saline solutions, don't re-use or share needles, and avoid doing stupid things like injecting pills, I'm unlikely to suffer any physical consequences from my heroin habit other than perhaps I'll age a little slower than other people (a side effect of chronic heroin use).

        But the reason why this is an addiction, and not just a habit, is because it has consumed my life. It takes up all of my energy (constantly trying to acquire drugs, support my habit, get new needles, avoiding withdrawal), and when I'm not on heroin, I'm thinking about it. Even before I started doing heroin I abused other drugs such as weed and alcohol, and my social life has been negatively af

    • Tried googling "AA-type pseudoreligious programs" and got zero results. Were you referring to a specific study. My interest is in the fact that I haven't seen them work except when people replace their addiction with a fervor for the "program."
    • Re:I've been there (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gribflex (177733)
      A friend of a friend recently went through this.
      In their situation, the online gaming had started as a way for friends and family to get together and socialize across long distances. After a little while it became apparent that one of the people had developed an unhealthy addiction to the game - to the point that the parent post describes.

      While I'm not familiar with the entire recovery process that they use, I know that a portion of the process was that everyone involved cancelled their accounts. i.e. if Ka
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @06:38PM (#15021954)
    > How do you help someone who is actively throwing their whole life away to play a game?

    You buy 'em a better video card, another stick of RAM, you order a pizza, and you say "yes" whenever he asks if you wanna go on a raid.

    Or did you mean to help him do something else? :)

  • Seriously.
  • Sex... Drugs... Alcohol... Maybe all of the above.

    Maybe he should take up smoking while he is at it?
    • Re:The usual... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rtb61 (674572)
      Actually should work, anyone busy doing the first three will be incapable of playing any computer game, a week or two should be enough. Those online games are made to hook people and fill a void in their life, just fill that void with something else, drag them out, hit the nitespots, get friends and family to visit i.e. actively disrupt their gaming oppurtunities. of course being an introvert nethead my opinion my be worthless in this regard ;).
  • Solution. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Volanin (935080)
    Get him a Girlfriend!

    Ok... sorry, sorry... couldn't resist. =)
    • That doesn't always work. For example, my girlfriend can't get enough of Heroes of Might and Magic 3, I barely get time for anything else!

      Anyone know any other good games with hot-seat type of play?

  • How not to... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @06:41PM (#15021991) Homepage Journal
    Do *not* try to hook him up with a girl. Friends of friends tried this tact on an addicted co-worker and his failure to relate to the poor girl just drove him back to the game. My personal preference is to convince him to ask the game masters for a temporary ban. Then take care of him for the withdrawl period.
    • Re:How not to... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thelost (808451)
      it's not unusual for people who are addicted to WoW to simply create a new account - i.e. fork out for a new game - if their old one gets banned. Plus a GM wouldn't ban him on the basis of an anonymous request - by anonymous i mean that there is no way to prove that you are his friend trying to help him. GM's in WoW are hard enough to deal with as it is, this would be impossible.

      In my experience people becoming addicted to things like MMOs/games as a displacement activity. There's probably something else in
      • Wrong and wrong. First of all, MMOs ban people using identity check information. That's why 99% of them require a credit card. Unless the player goes out and gets a new identity or steals someone elses he aint signing back up. Second, I said that the Ask Slashdotter should encourage his addicted friend to ask for a temporary ban. MMOs do that. They should be required by law to do that, like casinos are, but they're not.
        • They ban a credit card. They can't ban all his cards, as there's no way for them to know what other cards he has.

          Also, you can play via gamecards. You buy 90 days worth of time at Frys and get an id code to prove it.
          • Maybe you don't really understand the concept of identity check. They ask the credit card company for the name on the card. They then match it against the name the user has supplied. If they don't match they don't accept the card. They then look up the name in the list of banned players. If you're on the list, you can't play. I don't think I can make this any simpler.
  • Good luck on that. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rob1980 (941751) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @06:45PM (#15022020)
    Don't just make them quit - find something to replace the MMORPG with. Doesn't have to be a girlfriend, doesn't have to be an offline game that you only play for an hour at a time, maybe it could be a previous hobby or forcing them out of the house every night to visit with friends. Just something that'll keep their mind off of the game.
  • by springbox (853816) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @06:48PM (#15022041)
    If he is able to realize how much of his time is being wasted waiting around in an online game where all of his "accomplishments" are ultimately meaningless. I play online games myself, but I'm nowhere near addicted to them. I doubt he's thinking about much else other than the game, which is a serious problem. You should try to talk some sense into him; either that or he will just have to figure it out the hard way. In any case, hopefully he will discover that having entertainment dominate his life was not a smart choice.

    I also see people who are online in games constantly and I don't understand how anyone could possibly put up with the game for extended periods of time without taking any real breaks. (Going to the bathroom doesn't count.)

    • "game where all of his 'accomplishments' are ultimately meaningless" Don't make me get nihilist on your ass. If your life is just as filled with ultimately meaningless accomplishments-- which, if you're suitably nihilist, yours is-- it doesn't really matter which particular meaningless things you do, does it?
    • If he is able to realize how much of his time is being wasted waiting around in an online game where all of his "accomplishments" are ultimately meaningless.

      I've been saying that to myself for five years now, but I haven't stopped posting stupid crap to Internet forums yet.

      Maybe tomorrow I'll finally give up.
  • Any way you can (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shashi (56458) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @06:56PM (#15022103) Homepage
    Whatever you do, do something. Don't just stand by and watch. MMORPG addiction can be every bit as destructive as other types of addiction, like alcoholism. Unfortunately, since it's "just a game" too many people turn a blind eye and believe that this merely anti-social behavior will work it self out. I know, because I've been there. I did the same things when EverQuest first hit the market... I played 60+ hours a week, and I often called in sick to work just to keep playing, which was how I lost my job. Luckily I wasn't married at the time, or I probably would have lost that too. In my case, it actually wasn't the MMORPG that was the problem though. Like any addiction, it was a method to fill a void in my life. I was suffering from depression due to some undesirable situations in my personal life, and I turned to the game as a substitute for real life. It became addicting because I had much more power over my life in the game than I did in my real life. You may want to make sure your friend is doing okay in other arenas; there may be a secondary reason why he spends so much time in the game.
    • by airos4 (82561) * <changer4@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:03PM (#15022163) Homepage
      Do something, especially if you can think of something constructive that may help. But please, do NOT tie yourself into this so much that it takes you down as well. Many times I have seen people fighting addictions - drugs, alcohol, compulsive gambling, and yes religious cults and video games. I've also seen many cases where the people who care about the addict go through a hell almost as bad as the addict themselves, running on a combination of guilt and disappointment and a lot of other factors when the "treatments" don't work immediately or at all. Yes, he has a problem. Make sure it stays as HIS problem, and doesn't become your crusade.
    • Re:Any way you can (Score:2, Insightful)

      by darga (953093)
      "In my case, it actually wasn't the MMORPG that was the problem though. Like any addiction, it was a method to fill a void in my life. I was suffering from depression due to some undesirable situations in my personal life, and I turned to the game as a substitute for real life."

      I think that's a very important point that people very often overlook. I've got an addictive personality myself, and had problems with games (Team Fortress) a few years back. Eventually I cut back and started working out a lot. What

  • intervention (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blackcoot (124938) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @06:58PM (#15022123)
    step 1, like other posters have mentioned, is to get him to understand that he has a problem (ideally before he gets fired). this involves some sort of intervention. you'll want to plan it before hand for two reasons. firstly, you want to make sure that you've got the right mix of people talking to him; secondly, you as the interveners are going to need some practice. expect that you might get any reaction from "shit, you're right." to "you're just jealous" to overt hostility.

    there are several tactics you can use to get your point across. if your friend doesn't let challenges go unanswered, challenge him to put himself in a situation where he can't play the game for a month or two. tell your friend how his addiction is affecting your relations with him (this is particularly relevant if his family or significant other is at the intervention). you need to be careful that when you do this, you're making "i" statements --- "i feel like _____ when you ditch me" rather than "you ditched me, jackass". you know your friend a lot better than i do, so you've got a better feel for what may or may not work well for him. while you're having the intervention, it's really important that you all make it clear that a) you're there for him, b) you're not judging him, c) you're going to help him pull through when he asks for your help, d) this is not something that will be discussed outside of the people in the room. your goal is to make the room a safe space (much easier said than done).

    good luck -- you're about to go through a really rough patch.
  • Addiction (Score:2, Interesting)

    by StithJim (943396)
    Well my roommate is seriously addicted to World of Warcraft (I refuse to call it "WOW") He does had a girlfriend...which he justified his obsession by getting her addicted. My friend recommended whipping my genitalia out and pissing on something he loves. Not wanting a direct conflict, I obviously refrained from that course. After he caught some computer virus, he reformatted his hard drive. I happened to..."hide" his lovely installation CD's. To cope with the void...we play AA (America's Army) and fri
  • Get a life (Score:5, Interesting)

    by merreborn (853723) * on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:00PM (#15022140) Journal
    I know, it's harsh, cliche, and flamebait, but honestly, it worked for me.

    I played Asheron's Vall obsessively for 4 years. I spent one entire summer doing nothing but. By the time I quit, I'd accumulated well over 6 months of online time. I dropped out of all my college classes... Two quarters in a row.

    My parents did me a huge favor and kicked me out of their home on my 21st birthday. I found an appartment, got a job I enjoyed, and got engaged. Between the job and the fiance, I didn't have _time_ to play for months. By the time I had time again, I'd lost interest. I played about a total of 40 hours of WoW over the course of a month and a half this year, but rapidly got bored, and haven't logged in a single time in months.
  • What worked for me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LearningHard (612455) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:10PM (#15022217) Journal
    I was majorly addicted not just to mmorpg but to games as a whole. This period lasted for several years of my life during which I ignored my school responsibilities (I was in college). I also managed to lose a decent job at this time. Thankfully my girlfriend helped me. We started dating before the addiction started. During the addiction nothing mattered and finally she told me that if I didn't straighten up she was gone. I loved her enough that I managed to control my addiction and while I still play a good bit I still leave time for school, gf, friends, etc. I have also recovered in school and after this semester will be 12 hours from graduating with a dual major in both Finance and Economics.

    It takes different things for different people. Lots of things were tried on me but the feelings I had for my girlfriend (now fiance we are getting married this summer) are what won the day for me.
  • Jeesh, get real.

    Will he just curl up and die at some point ?

    Or will he end up raggedy shoed with a paper cup saying "spare some change for an hour of computer time ?"

    leave him alone, it could be the last fun he ever has !

     
  • It's funny how addiction is often times equated with just drugs and alcohol. Best of luck to you and your friend.

    And half jokingly, how about those of us addicted to their jobs. Sounds stupid but I think it happens an awful lot in today's world.
  • by jeezus84 (866723) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:28PM (#15022341)
    if this friend lives in Canada i suggest investing in some marijuana, a backpack, a canoe, and outdoor cookware. if this friend lives in the States i suggest tequila, a couple friends, and a pickup truck.
  • How I quit (Score:5, Funny)

    by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:51PM (#15022468) Homepage
    YMMV

    It is a simple question of economics. The person can spend 8 hours grinding levels for alts at World of Warcraft to get 2% better stats. Or they can spend 8 hours with their primary character grinding date quests, with a 20% chance of success and a 5% chance of critical hit.

    At the end of a week, player 1 has just 15% higher stats. But player 2 has a pretty good chance of getting (or becoming) an ultra rare pet, with only a base level 18 requirement. Depending on which server and region you are in, group quests are also a possibility.

    There can be complications with item drops, but anything you don't want can be sold at the auction house.
    • by Spades_ (175131)
      But WoW cost $15/month! I think if you tried to spend $15/month on Date quest, you'll be grinding a lot more then 8 hours a night...not on the date... You could go for the sure fire 100% crit rate but that would probably be at least a half a year's worth of WoW!

      • by balthan (130165)
        Not to mention the curses you can pick up on a date quest. Some are curable through the local apothecary, but some are permanent!
    • by carlivar (119811)
      You forgot that you can't learn a Cure Disease spell in the real world though.
  • If you really wanna help this guy you should consult a therapist or a 12-step group. Not a website that bills itself as "News for nerds".
  • Everquest recovery (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jiilik Oiolosse (717106) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @08:42PM (#15022741)
    I've dealt with this myself. I started playing while I was working in order to pass the evening, and because some of the people in the office played. When layoffs hit, I (and several other players) were canned - lower productivity - we stood around and talked about where to get good loot. Spent 15 months unemployed, collecting insurance for being subject to layoffs, playing 14 hours a day. One day I stopped dreaming of people and only dreamed of avatars. I woke up, logged in, and gave away my account, cancelling the future payments. Then the depression hit, I was totally alone with nothing in my life. I'd lost touch with all of my friends, hadn't spoken to any of my family in 6 months. My insurance was running out and I'd be evicted if I didn't find a source of income. More than a year of my life had just gone. I eventually got evicted in my last month of the lease, coming home from a restaurant (alone) to find the locks changed. I'd managed to pack up one vehicle load of possessions before the rest was seized. I realize now that my friends had at first tried to invite me out, but I would decline more and more in favour of the raids, and eventually, I'd just decline and wouldn't even raid. They stopped calling after a while and it was my fault alone that I'd lost them. Sometimes I get the old feeling that I got when I was playing that game and shudder mildly at the thought of returning. Then it passes as I go give my girlfriend a hug and we go see a movie or something. Never again. This person needs help, and the worst thing you can do is stop trying.
  • Live and let live (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hannah E. Davis (870669) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @08:55PM (#15022806) Journal
    It always irks me when I read about poor real life friends being abandoned in favour of an online game, but not for the reasons you might expect. See, I've abandoned plenty of real life "friends" and made friends online too, but although I met plenty of my online friends via various games (especially MUDs), the games were not the reason why my real life friendships began to suffer. If anything, it was because the people who I had previously hung out with just didn't click with me anymore, and playing a game was a way to distance myself from them. If any of them had attempted an "intervention," I would have been pretty damn pissed -- meeting me in real life does NOT give anyone the right to try and pry me away from my chosen form of entertainment. It's my life, and I get to choose who I want to be friends with and what I want to do in my spare time.

    Incidentally, my life has never particularly suffered as a result of the small amount of game addiction that I have experienced. Maybe my marks would have been a bit higher (I usually get low to mid A's and high B's, with the odd A+ for flavour) if I'd spent less time gaming and more time doing homework, but realistically, if I hadn't been gaming or wasting time doing other hardcore nerd stuff, I would have been out dancing, getting drunk, and having random unprotected sex like the average university student -- not exactly my cup of tea.

    Quite honestly, having a chance to play a game, interact with people all over the world, roleplay, and gank the hell out of a bunch of noobs is a LOT more important to me than getting laid or frying a bunch of brain cells, even though the latter activities might be more "normal" or even "healthy." If gaming makes me happy and sex/drinking doesn't, my former friends don't need to intervene... if they truly care, they need to let me be happy on my own terms.

    There are certainly people who do need help breaking a game addiction, specifically the ones who are actually depressed by the prospect of losing aspects of their real lives, but the point I'm trying to make is that not all game addicts either want or need help. I'd rather let people be happy doing what they love than force them to take part in more socially-accepted activities that I know they're going to hate. Maybe they will lose their jobs, marriages, and friends, but if they're still happy, why does it matter? Isn't it better to be unemployed, alone and happy than rich, married, and depressed?

    (Sorry for being so incoherent, but I hope you'll get the idea -- I'm at work, and I'm sleepy from skating during my lunch break and spending the rest of the day coding, so my brain isn't exactly working at full capacity.)
    • ..your post is the first one that's made any sense. We live in a world of increasing crime, decreasing civil liberties, unending cultural conflict, really awful culture (music, etc) with no viable alternatives, on the news there's nothing but crime and violence, work by definition sucks, financial security is an illousion, family is, by definition, a burden and relationships turn bitter more often than not.

      If someone can find solace or-god-forbid joy in this hell of unending stress then I say more power to
    • Amen. I feel exactly the same way. Counterarguments seem to be "that isn't normal" or "that isn't healthy." There's tons of crap that everyone does every day that's not healthy, and we didn't need MMOs to trigger our obesity epidemic. Normality, meh, I think everyone on this website can appreciate how much normality matters. A full and healthy life does not have to involve all the trappings we've associated it with throughout history.
    • by Valdrax (32670) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @08:28AM (#15025472)
      Maybe they will lose their jobs, marriages, and friends, but if they're still happy, why does it matter? Isn't it better to be unemployed, alone and happy than rich, married, and depressed?

      It matters because that contentment is temporary. Ten years later, when they've failed out of college and can't get anything other than a dead end job due to no qualifications and a string of firings due to not showing up at work, their future is going to look incredibly miserable. I have little sympathy for people who ruined their lives by having only looked at their immediate happiness instead of their long-term happiness and success.

      Money won't make you happy, but poverty will make you miserable. People who can be happy while alone and penniless are rare in this world, and they're never people who are so wrapped up in some material trapping (like a game or booze or drugs) that they can't function in the real world.

      Interventions always make the people involved angry and upset, but it's worth it to keep someone you care about from ruining their lives.

      Quite honestly, having a chance to play a game, interact with people all over the world, roleplay, and gank the hell out of a bunch of noobs is a LOT more important to me...

      I already didn't like you for suggesting that people be left to rot for their short-term happiness, but you're also a griefer who gets off on making the game miserable for new players too? What a prick.
  • by moochfish (822730) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @08:56PM (#15022809)
    I really can't relate to your friend's problem. Why would anybody prioritize some stupid online hobby over real life??

    On a more serious note, for the love of God, mod me up! I've been posting and posting trying to gain karma, and it's starting to effect my work ethic!!
  • by SWG_Eddie (760714) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @09:50PM (#15023088)
    One week with the NGE is enough to drive even the most hardcore MMO player to quit for good....
  • There isn't really that many things to do in WoW.

    If the friend is skipping work may be he's trying to get the PvP rank.
    Or may be his raid group runs at a time that collides with his work.

  • Feel free to tell him he's being stupid- that he won't be playing this game in 5 years because it will be obsolete- or any other facts you want to tell him as long as he will listen.

    BUT

    It is his life.

    If he wants to get a tattoo (and risk hep) he can.
    If he wants to rock-climb (and risk dying) he can.
    If he wants to bungie jump he can.
    If he wants to join the french foriegn legion he can.
    If he wants to quit his job he can.

    If he wants to play WOW then -he can-.

    It's also -his responsibility-.

    That means- you don't
  • by wanax (46819) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @10:18PM (#15023236)
    Having been an addict level Everquest player twice, who eventually lost interest twice when I realized it was taking me away from other things I enjoy in life, I have one point to make..

    Especially now that most MMORPG'ing is accompanied by Teamspeak etc, chances are your friend has quite good friends in the game, that he chats with, spends a lot of time with (more time probably than with any real life friend). Don't short the importance of these friendships, if he were to stop playing the game, he might feel like he was betraying friends, or walking away from people who counted on him. I know I definitely felt like that, possibly because I played an enchanter, and the guilds I was in often couldn't run certain raids unless I was on.

    If you're going to get him to quit the game, you have to make sure he feels like he's not walking out on the people he's spent literally weeks or months of his time interacting with. I know I still keep in touch with a fair number of my EQ friends, and have since met several of them IRL and turned game friendships into more tangible ones. Giving him support in that process, not belittling the time he spends with his online friends, and making sure he doesn't feel like he's leaving them in a lurch is probably the most important support you can give him.
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @10:57PM (#15023464)
    Playing WOW costs money. I don't know if there is a fee to actually /play/ WOW, but certainly you have to have pay to have a place to stay, pay for electricity, and pay for internet access.

    If WOW becomes a problem so that you lose your job, and income, eventually you will lose the means to play WOW. Self-solving problem.

    Harsh way to solve an addiction, but in the end, it will solve itself. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can start back up.

    Steve
  • Distractions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phlod (8194) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @12:53AM (#15024066)
    You can beat this. Stop playing. Get a WizBan, or something similar, for at *least* a month. So you have no way to get back on, cuz you're going to try. Then, get out of your house. Distractions abound outside your computer room.
    If you have the option, and you have to use a computer, get a low-powered one that can't play the game. If yer a MUD addict, then get rid of your client. You'd be surprised how much more tedious playing MUDs can be without a client. If that still doesn't work, maybe an abacus is more your speed for the time being...
    When I say get out of your house, I don't mean exercise, or any of that crap, (unless you wanna, then go for it), but just leave your house. Go hang out with friends. They should be supportive. Go to the bar, take in a movie, whatever, but leave the computer alone, entirely. You need to find new distractions to replace the game, and no single distraction will do the job, if it did, you'd just be transferring your addiction onto another, possibly worse, activity.

    When I played EQ, my hard and fast rule was simple. I played the game, ruthlessly, for dozens of hours at a time. But, if someone called, or came over, or just generally wanted to do something, I quit the group, or raid, or whatever and went out. No ifs ands or buts. If there was *anything* else to do (involving contact with other humans), the game got shut off. I suggest the same rule for anyone who is worried that they are heading down the ol' addiction road. Sometimes I'd just go out with friends, just to talk about EQ for 5 or 6 hours. But we weren't playing the game, and we were out of the house.

    You play the game because it relieves boredom. Get bored again, and you'll figure out things to do.
  • by Ka D'Argo (857749) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @02:29AM (#15024428) Homepage
    Ok so the guy has called in sick to work to play his MMO some. Let's say he stops doing that, and goes about his day to day routine of work.

    That aside, long as the guy eats, does his laundry etc why can't he sit on his ass playing his MMO 8+ hours every day?

    Many have pointed out it's not the addiction to the game, it's how fucking boring real life can be. How tedious and monotonous it can be to get up every morning at the fucking crack of dawn before the sun is even up, to go to work where you'd more than likely be charged with doing some menial task. Often constricted with many rules such as no personal phone calls (you'll see what I mean in a moment) or radio or anything to take your mind off how fucking boring it is to slave away at whatever you are doing. And this is even assuming you have a nice deskjob. Think about the poor bastards doing the manual labor.

    So you do your job for 8 hours every day, usually 5 maybe 6 days a week, year round. With no obligations to a personal family or children you are bound only to yourself. Why can't the guy sit at home and play his MMO? Sure, in some similarities, WoW (or other games) can be just as tedious as a real job. But in an MMO, you can chat with friends without being scolded by an employer, you can use any program you want such as Winamp or a voice comm to talk to people. Then there's the actual fun in the game, the tradeskilling/farming aside, I'm sure they find their real fun doing the PvP or end game PvE stuff with guildmates and friends to be the bread & butter of the game.

    Let him play. Long as guy understands he needs to go to work, pay his bills, get a decent amount of sleep each day/night then he's good to go. Don't force him to "go out with friends" in real life. Ever consider some of us don't like fucking going out? I personally can't stand bars or bar hopping, or clubs etc And around here thats all there is for people in their mid 20's to do. Sure a girlfriend could benefit him but don't try to force him into something, thats something he and only he will choose to do at some point if he ever does.

  • by dm0 (964673) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @06:05AM (#15025053)
    The solution for this is simple. I had a friend of mine who was addicted to EQ (I was too) -- As I realized what an incredible timesink this was, I planned on quit playing. I knew my friend never would, however. What I did may be considered "evil" by some. Here is the story: Me and a friend both had level 60 characters on EQ. We always played together - officers in the same guild, we raided and quested together (and played alts together). I knew that when I quit, he never would. I had a girlfriend, and more interest in going to do stuff in the real world. My friend had no interest in anything at all except EQ. Here is what I did. 1. I installed a physical keylogging device on his keyboard at his house. 2. I got his EQ password. 3. I deleted all his characters. He called me up the next day and said all his characters were deleted. I feigned suprise: "No kidding? Wow. Well, I was thinking about quitting anyway." He responded with: "Don't quit man -- I'll get my characters back!" So I said ok. He spent about 3 days with the Verant tech support getting his characters reinstated. He changed his passwords and virus scanned his box (I think he even formatted it). He got his characters back, called me up, and we started playing again. (A side note: those three days he was more social than in the last 6 months) I felt bad, but I did it again. I had his new password (it was like 32 chars long, heh). I deleted all of his characters again. He called me up and said it happened again. I felt bad. I knew he was hurt. I knew it would help him, in the long run. What followed was a month of the same thing happening. Verant got pissed off because they thought he was messing with them. He got pissed off because he know he didn't delete his characters. In this time where he could not play, I decided to quit completely. He said it was his fault, that his account was messed up, but I said it was probably for the best anyway. Over this month we spent a lot of time out, went on a weekend hiking trip, ate dinner out, etc. He finally gave up his quest to play EQ again. I told him it was fate or something. To this day, he doesn't know it's me. We've drifted apart since then (We were stationed in the same place in the military) -- I'm sure he's playing WOW or whatever else now, but I am happy that I helped him at least a little bit. Maybe I'll call him someday and tell him the truth... ;)
  • UO addiction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Restil (31903) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @06:47AM (#15025173) Homepage
    I was addicted to Ultima Online for a 6 month period starting a couple weeks after it was released. For that period of time, I would spend a minimum of 8 hours a day playing the game. The rest of my waking hours were spent thinking and scheming about the game, and most of my time at work I spent reading and contributing to various UO related websites. I wouldn't even say it was a positive experience, with all the grief and the lag and the server crashes, I found myself frustrated 24/7. Well, maybe 20/7, since I did sleep a LITTLE bit.

    And one day, I just decided to quit. I've been unable to find it, but I was writing an article somewhere about the life of a UO player and by the time I had finished it I realized what a mess my life had become as a result of that game and decided to end it. I quit and didn't look back. It seemed to be an addiction, but not a dependancy. I didn't miss it once I'd quit, but I don't think it was something I could have handled in moderation, and for that reason I refuse to touch any MMORPGS no matter how much fun someone tells me one might be.

    Ultimately, the decision was entirely mine, and certainly not suggested or motivated by anyone else. In fact, most of my friends at the time played the game and tried to discourage me from quitting. I really wouldn't know how to get someone else to quit, other than to find an activity that is enjoyable enough that it draws them away from the game, but you have to get them away from the game in both body and mind long enough for a competing interest to take hold. It's quite possible he realizes there's a problem and is just unsure about how to deal with it. You might have a tough sell recommending quitting, but it can be done.

    -Restil
  • Step one (Score:3, Funny)

    by Oligonicella (659917) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @09:14AM (#15025706)
    Take hammer. Smash his display device. Engage in discussion of why.

    If smashing device does not yield any response (ie: subject continues to play game, perhaps by closing eyes and "visualizing" himself as his character), hit his head with same hammer. Take care to not do as much damage as you did to the display device. Then engage in physical discussion of why.

    At least he'll be involved in a real struggle.
  • My experience (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scarblac (122480) <slashdot@gerlich.nl> on Thursday March 30, 2006 @09:47AM (#15025909) Homepage

    My history is something like this: enter university, do great. Find out about MUDs. Stop studying. Mistake: lie to parents about study results. Play MUD for three years, while the RL problems and the lies pile up. Stop playing. Finally confess to parents a year later. Spend next three years in a bad depression. Find a good psychologist. Spend next three years rebuilding some self confidence. Eventually, actually find a job and actually finish study. End result: 10 years mostly lost to MUD.

    Could anyone have helped, early on? No way, I ignored those people. Besides, all my friends played too, and we were having tremendous fun (really! and it's where I learned how to code well). When not thinking about real life, and the pile of two years worth of mail I didn't dare to open.

    If he's like me, he's feeling guilty about missing work and escaping from the guilt by playing more WoW. It's a death spiral. Almost everybody eventually gets out, but it can take years.

    But, there is still hope. Are you people (his RL friends) also friends with him in game, ie on Teamspeak together? Then step 1 is to stop playing. All of you. He won't stop to visit you and see you playing; nor can you send him back to a RL where his friends aren't available much because they're playing a game he can't play. And if you don't quit, you'll just be talking about the game when he's around... So stop playing yourself, first. It's only a game to you, right? So that shouldn't be a problem.

    Second, be very blunt to him. He needs to quit. At this point, he may choose to ignore you and avoid you from here on. If so, it's out of your hands.

    Third, give him a good alternative - fun in real life. I prefer getting board games, booze and a bunch of people around a table regularly. Some girls too (mostly to improve the atmosphere, mixed company is more fun). Or do some outdoors stuff, or whatever... I volunteered for a student bar. Just make it seem worthwhile for him to give up his in game social relations.

    And hey, at least it's not heroin. It's slightly cheaper and usually doesn't leave him dead at the end of the ride. It could be worse...

  • by GWBasic (900357) <`slashdot' `at' `andrewrondeau.com'> on Thursday March 30, 2006 @12:38PM (#15027371) Homepage
    When I was in college, someone in my fraternity managed to get the school's IT department to block Evercrack's port for our fraternity house's network. (Back then we recieved high-speed internet from our school.)

    Needless to say, when the port was turned back on, the Evercrack addictions came back in full force.

    Personally, from seeing where the Evercrack addicts ended up after they quit, I think the addiction is really a symptom of problems that only trained medical professionals can help.

    Perhaps the best thing you can do for your friend is guide him to a professional. (And accidentally cut his cable connection an hour before each appointment!)

  • It's simple... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by paul_esk (908046) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @01:44PM (#15028100)
    I was addicted to WoW a few months ago and here's how I quit. I was picking up a few things at a store when I walked past Quake 4. Having played Quake1 religiously and enjoyed Quake3 casually, I picked Quake 4 up. One night when I was unable to log into WoW I fired up Quake 4 multiplayer. The next thing I knew it was last and I had to walk my dog before going to bed. Getting out of my computer chair I felt like fire was pumping through my veins. When I got outside I found myself running and jumping around like a wild man. For once I was actually able to keep up with my dog. Then I realized what had happened. Normally at this time I'd be finishing a very long WoW raid. My back and legs would ache and I'd feel tired. I realized the truth - WoW is boring as hell. I'd normally spend hours and hours in WoW, most of it waiting for something to happen. Waiting for the raid to fight the next group of mobs. Waiting for people to reconnect. Waiting for people to get back from being AFK. Waiting for my flight to land. Waiting for the zepplin to pick me up. Waiting for my horse to get somewhere. Waiting for a game of battlegrounds to start. In Quake 4 I wasn't waiting for anything. I didn't have time to wait for anything. It was...FUN!
  • by wormbin (537051) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @02:19PM (#15028545)

    I've been waiting to tell this story and this seems to be an appropriate venue.

    I'm friends with a married couple. I'll call them Jack and Jill because one of them reads slashdot and I don't want to give the secret away.

    Jack is a WoW addict. He works part time, plays 50+ hours per week. Is a member of a raiding guild and is always coveting that next purple, orange or whatever colored item.

    Jill, his wife, is frustrated over his addiction. She bought an account just so she could spend a little more time with him. She leveled a character to 60 and occasionally raids but she enjoys RL more than the game and so resents having to play the game in order to spend time with her husband.

    This is the part I thought was pretty cool.

    Jill is the techie of the household and uses a linux based router/firewall/webserver/etc for local networking. As Jacks addiction grew worse she started checking out the ports used by WoW. Inititally she just started monitoring them in order to find out how much time he actually plays but later she realized she could throttle the connection (introduce lag) or block it completely (gee, the WoW servers are down again). The result is that when Jack has been playing WoW all day and Jill wants to go to dinner she either severely throttles the connection or cuts it completely. Jack thinks the blizzard servers are fscked up, wastes some time trying to log in and eventually gives up and joins Jill for dinner. Now Jill gets to occasionally go to dinner with Jack, to the movies, to a party. I kind of like it because I'm good friends with Jack and I get to see him occasionally now and then.

    I'm not blind to the deception of this act. Yes it's kind of creepy, but so is not showering, playing wow for 20 hours straight with quick toilet breaks. While it doesn't get rid of the root problem of the addiction, it has prevented jack from completely losing all RL socialization.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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