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40 Percent of World of Warcraft Players Addicted 525

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-probably-a--bit-generous dept.
Heartless Gamer writes "MMORPGs and game addiction. If you're suffering from dry eyes, headaches, back aches, erratic sleep patterns, it may be more than just your average hangover: according to Dr. Maressa Orzack, you could be suffering from video and computer game addiction. A clinical psychologist, Orzack is founder and coordinator of Computer Addiction Services at McLean Hospital in Newton, Mass., and is also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. Computer Addiction Services is one of the few outpatient clinics in the U.S. that provides specific treatment for game addiction." but I'm feelings much better now.
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40 Percent of World of Warcraft Players Addicted

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  • by BlackCobra43 (596714) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:36AM (#15873594)
    now excuse me while I go on my first of 5 weekly, 3hr long raids
    • Luxury!

      I have to farm flowers for 3 hours, to produce my potions used for the 5 hour raids that I attend to gain better equipment so that I can farm flower more quickly =)
  • The actual % varies but I think it floats at about 99.40%.

    This is purely speculation mind you.
  • And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy@nOspaM.tpno-co.org> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:37AM (#15873607) Homepage
    This is news...why? We all know it's addictive, that's kinda the point to these games; To make them as addictive as possible.

    So the real story here is that only 40% of the people playing are addicted. This indicates to me that

    1) Blizz isn't doing their job correctly if they are capturing under half the population in this way
    2) These docs need a new yaht
    3) The study is bogus and was carried out incorrectly, invalidating the results.

    Guess which one I'm a fan of? ( that's right, all three, for those of you keeping score at home )
    • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrxak (727974) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:51AM (#15873749)
      Actually, from a business perspective, Blizzard would be better off if their players were not addicts, merely enthusiasts (yes, there's a difference).

      With addicts, they're going to be playing all the time. ALL the time. They'll get through the content very quickly, and complain loudly about not having more of it pumped out in each new patch. They'll also use a lot of bandwidth and server time, which Blizzard has to pay for. Chances are these addictive personalities will eventually cause them to jump ship to another MMO to get addicted to, which means less monthly fees. I've seen this happen with people who were definitely addicts, who have eventually quit to play another MMO.

      On the other hand, enthusiasts will play when they have free time, rather than quitting their jobs or skipping classes. They'll get through the content slower, probably enjoy more time roleplaying and whatnot, and this means Blizzard can count on their monthly fees for a longer period of time. Blizzard can also take more time to develop new content, since their audience can wait. And that audience, the players who genuinely enjoy the game and haven't gotten through everything yet, will most likely stick around until they have. So long as Blizzard is relatively quick about adding content, they can extend this audience out for a long time.

      Blizzard makes more money the less time you spend in their game each month. It's like Netflix, they want you to keep that one DVD on your coffee table for years at a time.
    • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by venicebeach (702856) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:05AM (#15873891) Homepage Journal
      So the real story here is that only 40% of the people playing are addicted
      No, not really. That was just a speculation on the part of the clinical psychologist interviewed in the article. She does not appear to have any data to support that figure. The headline of the slashdot story is, as usual, provocatice but misleading. It should read 'clinical psychologist who makes a living treating gaming addiction believes 40% of WoW players are addicted'.
    • Re:And? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Denial93 (773403)
      So the real story here is that only 40% of the people playing are addicted. This indicates to me that

      1) Blizz isn't doing their job correctly if they are capturing under half the population in this way
      2) These docs need a new yaht
      3) The study is bogus and was carried out incorrectly, invalidating the results.

      4) Your definition of addiction is less strict than the medical one.

      A "proper" addiction means you get physiological signs of stress during withdrawal (nausea, loss of cognitive functions, sweatin
    • Re:And? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:35AM (#15874165)
      I thought the point of MMPORGs was for people to have fun, not to spend every waking hour performing menial, repetitive tasks over and over again to nudge an exp bar a few pixels. That is what WOW & EQ do. The locations might change but the game is ultra repetitive slog. It starts off easy, but then begins to take, hours, days and then weeks to progress. The only way to progress is to play for longer and longer periods. Why do people put up with it? Because the game conditions them to expect random rewards from persistent play. And the longer they play, the more they invest emotionally in the game and the harder it is to stop. That's not fun, that's an addiction.

      I went through all this shit with EQ. I wouldn't say I was hardcore, but I did feel like I had to play 2 hours a day just to feel like I was making any progress. Once you got beyond level 18 or so, the game was almost impossible to play without extensive periods of camping in groups. Fortunately Verant snapped me out of it during the Shadows of Luclin launch debacle when the game crashed on an almost nightly basis. Thanks to their own ineptitude I canceled my account and I'm so glad I did.

      I've played MMPORGs since and I enjoy some. But in general I think for anyone thinking of playing an MMPORG, they should play the free trial period or the initial 30 days included with the retail box and realise that that's as good as it's probably going to get. Give me something like Oblivion any day.

  • I'm not surprised. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jawtheshark (198669) * <(moc.krahsehtwaj) (ta) (todhsals)> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:38AM (#15873611) Homepage Journal

    Personally I refuse to play games like World Of Warcraft, because I know I would be sucked up in them in no time. It's too risky for me

    When I found out that my brother in law bought the game I warned him about the game. He shrugged it off. He's only 14 (my wife is 11 years older) and he clearly has no control. He lives alone with his mother, has done allnighters, has already skipped school because of the game but his grades seem still to be unaffected. His mother has no idea what to do because she has absolutely no idea about anything related to computers. When I suggested she'd take away the DSL router, hell broke loose. I think she gave it back after a mere 2 days because his behaviour became unmanagable. He didn't come to the last BBQ we organized. He spends all his days (and nights, I guess) behind his computer playing WoW.

    The thing is: I can't critisize him all that much. When I was his age, I was all the time using my computer. Playing Test Drive (CGA version) for hours, or programming in Pascal. It just depended on my mood. Still, it was much easier to break away from it because there was no social component.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      the thing is, he is 14. A credit card is required to play. If it is that much a problem, he can always be cut off. 14 yr olds don't have credit cards
      • by jawtheshark (198669) *

        AFAIK he uses prepaid cards [blizzard.com] which are available.... I guess he pays it with his allowance. I never asked, but I don't think his mom gave him her credit card. Heck, I don't think she has a credit card. He certainly doesn't.

    • by aleksiel (678251) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:46AM (#15873703)
      the social component is what makes it so addictive, imho. its why i still play it. i would've gotten bored and quit a while ago, since the end game gets pretty repetative. i play it for the friends i've made along the way.

      the prevalence of ventrilo/teamspeak allows playing the game to be a much more social environment where everyone shares a big common interest.
    • by Karoshi (241344) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:54AM (#15873774)
      In WoW it's possible to set a schedule for the playtime.
      So it's easy to prevent the kids from playing at schooltime or during the night.
      Check the FAQ [worldofwarcraft.com] at their site for more information.
      • Yeah, I know that. The problem is: how am I going to convince him to give me his password? Heck, I don't even know his username on WoW. If someone is going to set in place a technical solution it's going to be me, the default you-know-computers-guy. Would you, as a 14 year old, give the guy that is going to block his account overnight willingly your password? I think not. I know I wouldn't.

        • by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101.gmail@com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:16AM (#15874004) Homepage Journal

          The problem is: how am I going to convince him to give me his password?

          "Convince him"? Screw that. Who is the adult here? I know his mom is the ultimate problem here, so this is not necessarily directed at you, but you don't "convince him". You tell him to give up the password or he's not allowed to play. If he starts getting "unmanageable", you start taking away stuff. You ground him. Take away everything he owns (music, etc). If he's still out of control, you take his room door off his hinges so he has no privacy. If that doesn't work, you threaten to follow him around at school to all his classes (in front of his friends, of course).

          It's pretty clear that he's used to whining and screaming until he gets his own way. He needs a major attitude adjustment.

          • by MourningBlade (182180) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @02:38PM (#15875692) Homepage

            [Y]ou start taking away stuff. You ground him. Take away everything he owns (music, etc). If he's still out of control, you take his room door off his hinges so he has no privacy.

            ...dad?

        • The problem is attitude, the parent is treating the child as an equal. He is not an equal he is a minor child under the complete control of the parent. The parent has forgotten this, they have all the power.

          Take away the computer, ground him, give him endless chores when he is problematic. The mother simply doesnt want to put the effort into being in the position of power.
        • To be honest, if it gets to the stage where you have to take drastic measures like this, something is wrong. I was addicted to WoW for just under a year. However I was too old for anyone to stop, being in my early 20s and at uni. I wasted a whole fucking year on that crap.

          You (and his mum) are adults, uninstall the game. Tell him if he can't use his computer responsibly then he can only use it at certain times. Disconnect the router after a certain time at night. It's not up to negotiation. He doesn't know
    • by vertinox (846076) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:54AM (#15873775)
      He didn't come to the last BBQ we organized. He spends all his days (and nights, I guess) behind his computer playing WoW.

      To be fair, when I was 14, the last thing on Earth I wanted to do would be go to a family event. Heck... When I went to family re-unions, I'd either bring my NES or old school Gameboy and hide somewhere.

      Considering the amount of time playing Doom and BBS games and then later MUDs I can see where he is coming from though. But if its affecting school or he's going crazy and threatining someone's life because they stole his cloud song... Well...
    • Seems to me like he was looking for a way to get away from his family and life, and that WoW is a conduit, but not the cause.

      I bet if someone tried to play with him and create a dialogue things might improve.

      Work out a deal that pleases both sides.
    • When I suggested she'd take away the DSL router, hell broke loose. I think she gave it back after a mere 2 days because his behaviour became unmanagable.

      I hope his mother understands why her son has no self-control. The above quote is a hint.

  • Dry eyes? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aokubidaikon (942336) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:39AM (#15873625) Homepage
    If you're suffering from dry eyes, headaches, back aches, erratic sleep patterns, it may be more than just your average hangover: according to Dr. Maressa Orzack, you could be suffering from video and computer game addiction.

    Or perhaps you're just in need of a new monitor?
    • Re:Dry eyes? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ConsumerOfMany (942944) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:44AM (#15873679)
      If you're suffering from dry eyes, headaches, back aches, erratic sleep patterns, it may be more than just your average hangover: according to Dr. Maressa Orzack, you could be suffering from video and computer game addiction.

      Along those same lines I guess you would have to conclude I am addicted to Excel and analyzing gas chromatography results as I feel like this at work constantly

    • Or you could be suffering from any one of a million other ailments. Maybe you've been out gardening too much. Or working on your car. Or putting in too much overtime at work.

      The only thing that can save Dr. Maressa from sounding like a total faux headline chaser is if she is super-hot.

  • You say that like it's a bad thing....
  • by the_tsi (19767) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:41AM (#15873644)
    ...Just as long as it does't affect my raid schedule. I need that DKP, you know. And if Elementium Reinforced Bulwark drops while I'm not there, I'll be upset.
  • Addicted? (Score:5, Funny)

    by bitkari (195639) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:42AM (#15873655) Homepage
    If you're suffering from dry eyes, headaches, back aches, erratic sleep patterns, it may be more than just your average hangover: according to Dr. Maressa Orzack, you could be suffering from video and computer game addiction.

    No problem.
     
    /cast Abolish Disease
    /dance

  • And all this time I thought it was my three year old giving me the headaches and sleep problems...
  • This is very true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nutcase (86887) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:42AM (#15873662) Homepage Journal
    This is very true. I played in a small raiding guild. When I quit, I had been playing that character for 9 months. I had 7/8 tier 2 gear. For about 2 months prior to quitting, I wasn't even enjoying it. I was showing up because we had a schedule and we had to make it. Systems are in place in major guilds to perpetuate that (DKP/Loot Priority/etc). So I was spending 20-30 hours a week playing a game I was bored of.

    Now I've quit. But I still read all the WoW news, I read my guild's website and forums regularly, and I still have the account. I even consider if I'm going to play again when the expansion hits. I haven't played for over 2 months, and I'm still thinking about it many times a week.

    That alone is probably enough reason to never play it again.
    • I just started raiding too and I have to admit it's stressful and sort of pointless when you think about it. I play a priest so when there's a wipe you hear the usual "PRIESTS SHOULD KEEP TANK UP!" or "STOP LETTING OUR ROGUES DIE" or "WE HAVE ENOUGH HEALING, WHY ARE WE WIPING" and so on. The only reason people keep doing this is for gear, sad when you think about it.
      • It's entirely pointless. That new gear you're going for isn't real. When you eventually stop playing (and eventually you will), you are left with nothing. Zero. It's all fake.

        Stop raiding now. Save a few months of your life. I have a long list of things I want to create. Film Scripts, programs, two board games, a couple short stories, etc. I haven't made any of them because I didn't have any free time between work and WoW (though I'm starting to correct that now)

        Seriously. Just quit. Spend the $14.99 a mont
    • That's the thing about game "addiction"-- you CAN go cold turkey. And rather than having harmful physical side affects, it may actually improve your health.
  • The woman is in one of the silly sciences, and almost all of what she says can be discounted, but this was interesting:

    RW: A lot of comparisons have been made between video game addiction and gambling addiction. Are the two similar?

    Dr. Orzack: They are pretty much the same. They have many of the same symptoms: neglecting work and severing personal relationships, for example. People get the same type of excitement from gambling and playing video games. It's called variable ratio reinforcement, which

    • by mgblst (80109) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:57AM (#15873802) Homepage
      The question is, do the creators deliberately make them addictive? I know that there is some argument that Gambling institutions do, by making them noisy, give free food and drinks (so your body doesn't have an excuse to leave) and having lots of flashing lights.

      Is there even a difference between making a game enjoyable to play to some people (easy to get learn, fun to continue) and addictive to others?
    • by staeiou (839695) <staeiou@gBALDWINmail.com minus author> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:58AM (#15873815) Homepage
      The woman is in one of the silly sciences, and almost all of what she says can be discounted, but this was interesting:

      What? From the article:

      A clinical psychologist, Orzack is founder and coordinator of Computer Addiction Services at McLean Hospital in Newton, Mass., and is also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

      I don't even think that needs explaining, but I'll do it anyway: Clinical psychologists are probably the most pragmatic people in the social sciences (what you call the silly sciences). Her work has absolutly nothing to do with Freudian psychoanalysis (there was nothing in there about gaming addictions meaning that you want to have sex with you mother and kill your father), but instead on the scientific method.
    • i don't think this is true. Blizzard gets exactly the same revenue from a casual player that they do from a hardcore, addicted, obsessed player. casinos, on the other hand .....

      video game companies have less to gain by making their games crack-like and super addictive. in fact, blizzard would probably be more likely to retain a broader audience in the long run by tempering the most addictive qualities, and believe it or not i think they know this.
      • A casual player will probably play longer too, since they get through the content slower. An addict may find that the game is no longer meeting their need for new content, and go to find another MMO that gives them the same kind of fix.
      • The problem isn't that they're trying to make their game super-addictive for its own sake. It's that the very things they do to attract the casual players are the things that make it most addictive. There are no "addict-creating-features" as opposed to "casual-features" in their game. (Certain feature probably support addicts, but that's after the fact.) It's the casual features that are the problem for certain types of personalities.
  • Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:45AM (#15873699) Homepage Journal
    While I don't like to see friends suffer any addictions they're getting by just fine. My only concern is that politicians will use these statistics to legislate gaming. There's no direct evidence that violence in games leads to violence in real life. But if they can use the valid label "addiction" and quantify it who knows what kind of crazy legislation they may try to pass. Any negative word they can apply to gaming is fuel for their pointless causes.

    Maybe I'm going overboard. But it angers me to no end when I see one of my senators giving BS speeches about how games should be regulated.
    • It doesn't matter if it makes you angry or what consequences this will have. This is results of a scientific research. Although... I have a neuroscientist sitting next to me right now... and her only comment on all statiscs-based brain research is a loud pfff.
    • yea.. the politicians are just jealous of the power that china has over it's people...

      think about it.. they can change what they want when they want.. they don't have to worry about reelection time.. and they get fat checks.. you know that if the politicians where the ones that created the game that was so addictive that people played until they died and didn't interact with society that they would have no issue taking there money every month....

      the fact that our government has long forgotten their place
  • Micah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by skammie (802503) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:48AM (#15873719) Homepage
    My brother lost his job 5 weeks ago. He's been playing WoW for about a year prior to his layoff, and his addiction to game did not cause him to lose his job.
    He has no motivation to go and look for a job, he only eats maybe once a day, and his house is pig sty.
    He came by yesterday asking for $150 to pay his rent or he was going to be kicked out. I loaned him $40 two weeks ago, and I am sure that he used that towards his cable bill or his WoW account.
    He looks like a crack or meth addict (having been around those types of people myself), and he doesn't care about anything but playing that damn game.
    I almost got into to playing that game shortly after he started a year or so ago. I am glad I have not purchased the game, and I have no interest in WoW after seeing my brother play the game for three days straight with no sleep (yellow jackets were used to keep himself awake!).

    I know it's not the game that is the problem, it's the person with the addictive personality. How can we recognize, and then treat video game addiction? Is it recognized as a real problem, or are they told to just grow up? 12 steps have been proven to NOT work for ALL people, and my brother is one of them.
    • Re:Micah (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lispy (136512) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:00AM (#15873834) Homepage
      I honestly feel for you. A friend of mine who was playing Everquest looked and behaved the same way until he got kicked out of the university, got kicked out of his flat by his roommates, had hair to the shoulders (not because it was cool but because there was no money/time/incentive to trim it) ate raw sugar if anything at all, smoked cigarettes made of newspapers and old tobacco from the roommates ashtrays etc...

      Shall I go on?? He was about the smartest person I ever knew and now he is working as a facility manager in a small appartment building.
      Its a fucking tragedy. If you want my advice break it to your brother that he either quits playing or should no longer rely on you helping him out. Its like alcoholics. As long as you help them out of their mess they wont change their behaviour pattern...

      Personally I cant afford playing these games although I would love to because of this exact problem.
      Its my retirement plan however locking up in a room and lvl away. How sad is that? ;-)
    • Re:Micah (Score:3, Informative)

      by ElleyKitten (715519)
      That sounds kinda like what I went through with Everquest. I was 19, failed out of college, had no job and didn't care. Fortunately, my parents wouldn't stand for that shit. They helped me find an apartment and a job that would barely cover rent and food and that was that. No more freeloading off them. Without enough money to afford Everquest or even internet at first, I realized that I didn't need it. The best thing you can do for your brother is not give him money. Eventually, he'll realize that foo
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@NOSpam.spad.co.uk> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:49AM (#15873726) Homepage
    "Doctor with vested interest makes sensational statement to support business model" shocker.
  • by Flounder (42112) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:50AM (#15873739)
    "I once counted to a million. Missed the entire Ford Administration. But I'm feeling much better now."
  • Moderation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Atheose (932144) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:51AM (#15873751)
    "RW: What about self control and willpower? Should players take some responsibility for their heavy play? Dr. Orzack: This isn't about willpower or restraint. These games are very elaborately designed to ease you in gently, entice you, and keep you there. And it's a cycle: people begin to spend too much time playing and their careers and personal relationships begin to deteriorate. Then they begin to withdraw more into the game because it's an escape from their real world problems" The part about willpower is completely wrong: If you exercise willpower and self control, then you can keep the addiction under control. Everything in moderation. Orzack is basically saying that no matter how we act, we will get addicted, and that is simply not true. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?
  • Evolution (Score:5, Funny)

    by kripkenstein (913150) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:52AM (#15873761) Homepage
    TFA:

    it's a cycle: people begin to spend too much time playing and their careers and personal relationships begin to deteriorate. Then they begin to withdraw more into the game because it's an escape from their real world problems.

    RW: So what's the solution?


    My solution: let nature take its course. In a few generations there will be no gamers left.
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:52AM (#15873762) Journal
    I RTFA, and I didn't see anywhere that they did a poll of WoW players and came up with this statistic. It seems more like a wild assed guess than anything else. Surely there are some people addicted to WoW, but I seriously doubt the number is anywhere near as high as 40%.
  • ...will the patch be released to deal with this issue? And then the follow up patch that introduces three other bugs? And then the patch to patch the sub bugs? And then the patch that actually fixes what the first patch was supposed to fix, followed by more awkward class nerfing.

    *warms up the gremli^H^H^H^H^H^H 'Blizzard Background Downloader'*
  • Shiny and new! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ari{Dal} (68669) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @10:59AM (#15873819)
    I play WoW (yes, a real girl with boobs and everything playing WoW! Who'da thunk it!), and at first, it was kind of addicting. There was so much to explore, so many things to see and do. I think that first weekend, I played til 4 or 5 AM both nights. When I realised how unhealthy that was, I stopped, and vowed that if I EVER refused a social engagement in real life to play WoW, or neglected my real life duties for it, I'd uninstall it immediately. I'm now in a casual raiding guild (we raid once a week on Fridays), and log in at other times only to play with (local) people I know if they need some help.

    But I'm one of those people who's lucky enough to not have an addictive personality. I didn't get addicted to IRC or the 'net. I can go weeks without logging into a computer outside of work without any problem. When my laptop (my only computer) crashed at home two months ago, I puttered for a few weeks before even bothering to reinstall the OS; WoW got reinstalled a few days later when I felt like it. I can even go without coffee for days on end if I choose to.

    Honestly, I'm thankful for that. The LAST thing I want to be is one of those people who lives and breathes on a videogame. It's scary to think that it's so addicting; I have to wonder why, though? There's nothing physical there to draw you in. It isn't like alcohol or nicotine. Is it the social aspects? Being able to completely control your surroundings, as you can't in real life? What is it about a videogame like WoW or Everquest that sucks people in so completely that it makes them ignore friends, family, and real life?

    I think, as someone who's not an addict, I'll never really understand it.
    • Re:Shiny and new! (Score:5, Informative)

      by HaloZero (610207) <`protodeka' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:01AM (#15873842) Homepage
      Boobs are a myth. They don't actually exist.
    • Re:Shiny and new! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JavaLord (680960) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:26AM (#15874091) Journal
      Honestly, I'm thankful for that. The LAST thing I want to be is one of those people who lives and breathes on a videogame. It's scary to think that it's so addicting; I have to wonder why, though? There's nothing physical there to draw you in. It isn't like alcohol or nicotine. Is it the social aspects? Being able to completely control your surroundings, as you can't in real life? What is it about a videogame like WoW or Everquest that sucks people in so completely that it makes them ignore friends, family, and real life?

      For some it's competition. If you are familiar with WoW's PvP system, or how end game raiding guilds compete it's easy how someone who is into competition can get hooked. It's a 'fake' type of competition too, as it doesn't rely on the fast twitch skills a counter strike or quake player needs.

      For others it's the social aspect. Dealing with people in WoW is much easier for some people then it is in real life.

      E-Fame can do it also, if you are known in game by pretty much all of the 12,000 people on your server, it can have a powerful pull on you.

      Lastly, some people who are guild leaders or officers think the guild *NEEDS* them to be there. While that may be true in some cases, most end game raiding guilds can survive losing anyone.
    • Re:Shiny and new! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:38AM (#15874198) Homepage

      But I'm one of those people who's lucky enough to not have an addictive personality. I didn't get addicted to IRC or the 'net. I can go weeks without logging into a computer outside of work without any problem. When my laptop (my only computer) crashed at home two months ago, I puttered for a few weeks before even bothering to reinstall the OS


      It's funny... when my computer is out of order at home I get real nervous, but not because I need the computer per say. The problem is it's become such a vital part of my every day life it's rather indispensible. Paying the bills, email, stuff like that all are net-dependent. I can reserve books and have them delivered to my local library from a library system that is large even on a global scale: http://www.helmet.fi/screens/opacmenu.html [helmet.fi] Hell, I even plan non regular public transportation trips online: http://aikataulut.ytv.fi/reittiopas/en/ [aikataulut.ytv.fi]

      I don't have time to play games. I have two kids, and more babies are on the way. Email is pretty much the only way to deal with stuff sensibly if I don't make calls during working hours. Anything I need to research I use the net for. Being without a connection literally cuts me off from society.

      I don't feel it's an addiction. I don't miss the net on a vacation away from home. But at home it's like running water and electricity, it's just expected to be there.
    • Re:Shiny and new! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdielmann (514750)
      It's mainly a psychological addiction, with a reward-based component. It's not unlike being addicted to running. After a while you get an endorphin rush while running, and it can get bad enough for people to cause physical damage from running too much. When playing, you can get a rush from the rewards of successful activities. If you're the type to get addicted, this can be enough.

      Then there's the whole "I'm a champion" type thing. For those with unsatisfying lives, this can be more than enough.
    • Re:Shiny and new! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098)
      Addiction can be physical (the body can't properly function without the artificial chemical) or mental (the brain has gotten used to specific stimulations and requires them to reach certain emotional states). Yes, this is a heavy oversimplification, but that's the basic idea - please feel free to flesh it out if you know the details. Gaming addiction is the latter, and is just as real as heroin addiction (the former). Be happy that you don't have a propensity for mental addiction. I know I have it, and I ha
  • A couple of things (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gstegman (988905)
    First, is it just me or did she seem to pull that 40% number right out of her ass? How many of the 6 million users did she interview. If you work at a place where all you see is people who are addicted then I am pretty sure you are going to think that a lot of people are addicted. Secondly, she seems to be immediately discounting true emotional problems really quickly in her example. Oh there's this 18 year old kid who plays all the time and doesn't get along with his family. Well does he not get along
  • by diamondsw (685967) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:06AM (#15873894)
    Anything, if taken to extremes, can become an addiction. It is true that MMORPG's (World of Warcraft being far and away the more successful) encourage this. You have monthly fees that (aside from paying for the infrastructure, bandwidth, etc) entice you to play to justify the ongoing and mounting expense. Grouping makes sure you show up at given times, etc. The random rewards of epic loot in advanced dungeons is similar to random reward studies (which show it's the most powerful form of behavior shaping - see slot machines). You have to set limits on it just like anything else, whether it's drinking or TV.

    However, there are some differences here to other addictions. There is no physical addiction, and hardly any psychological one. You can put it down, and other than mild obsession (what's going on in Azeroth?), it has no ill effects. Hell, you can discontinue your account, and they keep all of your character info, so you can completely unplug, and return at some point in the future when you're interested again, much like an offline game. There's also a limit - you may play a lot to reach level 60, but then you do stop. Sure, you can join raids, get gear, but the drive to constantly improve falls away (other games, like Disgaea, are far, far worse in this regard).

    The most important difference is that if handled well, it can be a positive social tool. I play, but only with people I know in real life. That way we can talk about other things and it allows a set time for us to get together, without having to drive out to each other (I live over an hour away from many of them, and that's just suburban sprawl!).

    Mostly, this is a lot of fuss over nothing.
  • Look Forward (Score:3, Insightful)

    by akaina (472254) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:07AM (#15873909) Journal
    You can look forward to these types of stories getting more coverage. Mainly because the major media outlets stand to lose from non-television entertainment.

    I feel like I'm reading an article from 1950 about the dangers of Rock and Roll.
  • by Calso (838106)
    From the Q&A on her website:

    Initially I noticed that I was spending too much time on computer games such as solitaire and cruel. I became so absorbed in games that I neglected or delayed meeting various personal obligations. I stayed up too late. This led me to realize that behavior of this kind could be an addiction.

    I personally give credence to the notion of video game addiction (I've been clean from CS for three years now, Halo for six months). Even so, if you can stand playing solitaire for more

  • 40 Percent... (Score:5, Informative)

    by JavaLord (680960) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:13AM (#15873978) Journal
    That 40% number was ripped from the daedalus project [nickyee.com]. I also doubt it's accurate since people who fill out that survey or seek help are more likely to be addicted then those who don't.

    MMO addiction is nothing like a Gambling addiction. In MMO addiction you may have issues of identifying with your character, but you don't have the same harmful financial damage that a gambling addiction will cause.

    Quitting MMO's is fairly easy, or at least it was for me. I just deleted WoW, and that was it. I still keep in touch with my guild via their website, which was really my only reason for playing twards the end, along with e-fame.
  • I was addicted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dirtside (91468) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:20AM (#15874042) Journal
    I was addicted to WoW. It got to the point where it was interfering with taking care of other things around the house, and occasionally paying attention to my kid. I finally quit cold-turkey a few weeks ago, and I'm glad I did. The game's fun, but it's just a game; I kept looking at it as "gotta accomplish more, gotta get all these characters to 60, etc."

    One train of thought that helps kill my desire to play goes like this (it's sort of a mantra I run through every so often):

    1. Wouldn't it be cool to play WoW in god mode, and have all the best equipment, skills, be able to kill everything in 1 hit, etc.?
    2. Yeah, for about five minutes, but then it would get boring like god mode always does in games. It's better to accomplish things honestly, within the limits of the game.
    3. Wait, accomplish? What accomplishment is there, exactly, in manipulating an interface that is essentially flipping bits on a hard drive somewhere? It's a game, it should be for entertainment; not some kind of to-do list.
    4. WoW is still a little entertaining, but I've played two characters to level 60, and one each to 57, 55, 50, 48, 46, 33... I've seen pretty much all the content that doesn't require hours of raiding. Okay, I think I'm done.

    • I was spending every possible moment I could playing the game. I mostly enjoyed it but like you said I was neglecting everything else so I finally decided it was time to stop and pulled the plug. To prevent any relapse I gave my account to my guild and the toon was butchered to the point of no return.

      About 3 months after I quit I started a mage on a friends account which I play maybe 3-4 hours a month. (no raiding)

      Blizzard actually help me quit because I got so pissed off that I couldn't progress past rank
  • by Sethosayher (812094) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:53AM (#15874333) Journal
    Now, excuse me while I grind up the installation DVD and snort the powder like crack.
  • Man with a Hammer! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dbc001 (541033) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @12:00PM (#15874401)
    Come on, the "founder and coordinator of Computer Addiction Services" thinks gamers suffer from Video Game addiction? Guess what? If you report those symptoms to a chiropractor he's going to have a different prescription for you! I don't doubt that there are a lot of similarities between addiction to drugs/pills/alcohol and excessive gaming, but this is absurd. I do think that the idea of "video game addiction" is interesting, but I think "addiction" is the wrong word.
  • by podperson (592944) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @12:45PM (#15874729) Homepage
    Note that this is "40% showing signs of clinical addiction" not "40% play WoW a lot".

    Personally, by these criteria I was addicted to EverQuest for long stretches, but I've never been addicted to WoW. It also says to me that Blizzard has a better business model than EQ; people forget that what a game developer wants is to sell as many subscriptions as possible, not to make people play as many hours as possible. The ideal game would have everyone subscribing and no-one actually playing; players cost you money (bandwidth, server capacity, customer service).

    Indeed, Blizzard's master-stroke (from a business point of view) is having compelling instance dungeons which can only be done once per week. WoW is full of "points of diminishing return" in that, it doesn't matter how often you play, your primary toon can only do the current bleeding-edge instance once-per-week. Obviously, the truly addicted max out multiple toons, but their primary toon will only ever be able to get so far so fast. It thus follows that they only need to release one new bleeding edge dungeon every six months to keep a lot of people hooked. This is very bad from my point of view (I hate doing the same content over and over) but it's obviously working well for Blizzard.
  • I quit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brkello (642429) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @02:12PM (#15875465)
    My first MMO experience was with FFXI. As painful as that game was, it sucked me in. I got to the point where I had to rely on a lot of other people to get anything done. I really hated to be a burden on others so I just gave it up. I vowed not to play another game like that again because it just sucked me in.

    When WoW came along, I just ignored it. That is, until my brother stated playing. It looked like a lot of fun so I decided to join him. He stopped playing but I continued, surpassed him, and joined an end game guild. I made all the raids and was probably the most educated and was made a high ranking officer. I then not only wanted to play the game, I was obligated to be there to help run the raids. But some raids had some timing issues...and it really ticked me off. It is really hard to make me mad (unless you are family). I had to step back and say wow...I am getting pissed off at a video game. I was gaining weight and my mind was infested with thoughts of WoW. I finally had to admit to myself I was addicted (even though I did a fairly good job of keeping it under control). So a few weeks ago I told my guild I was taking a break...but, was actually quitting. I just logged off and never looked back. So, while it is addicting, it isn't as hard to give up. I am much happier now since I quit and I know that I will not touch an MMO ever again.

    As much as people want to criticize this article...there is a lot of truth to it. It eases you in and as you build social relationships becomes more and more demanding. But you have to look at what you want out of life. Even if you are great and well loved in WoW, it will eventually go away and you will be left with a few people on your IM list that will fade away. Much better off spending that time on something that is more long term. While WoW is a well done game, you really have to becareful. I'd say most people who are in a raiding guild are addicted and should probably walk away. Not that I want to tell other people how to spend their freetime, just because it isn't healthy. In the same sense that I think people should give up smoking (thankfully dropping WoW is so much easier).

I've got a bad feeling about this.

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