It's 10 pm. Do you know where you and your loved ones are? Here is a collection of experiences from those who live / have lived with an obsessive MMOG gamer and from those who have lived the experience of obsessive MMOG gaming.

Monday, August 02, 2004

"When I first saw Everquest I was mildly curious, but when I was watching it over the shoulder of one of my friends, I could only think about how crude it looked. I myself am an avid gamer, and lover of most games, not necessarily electronic. I enjoy games that promote social situations. (For example, card games, or multiplayer video games.) Everquest at first can give the illusion that hooking up to thousand of other players online would be a socially promoting experience. Everquest rarely - if ever - produces this effect. The game is designed in an intensive time consuming way, not because the programmers would steal away husbands or wives, but so that people would play the game for hours, and thus, pay for several months of membership to the game. The longer the task is in the end equals a direct result on how much money the company makes from the game. The reason the game is named Everquest is because it is simply that - A Quest that is forever. Always stringing, no apparent goal, only trophies mark your progress. (Levels for example.)

It is naturally a very simple concept. But then, from my personal observation, the addictiveness isn't in the game mechanics. It's the online mask. Here in this game you suddenly have a "toon" that represents your person, and even though you can only pick out a hand full of variations to make yourself look different from the rest of the players, it still is like receiving a new body to run around in. You don't see the other millions of faces lit up by the unnatural light from the computer monitor. You can't hear the isolated symphonic tone of fingers thrumming on soda stained keyboards. You don't feel the overwhelming numbness that slowly drives you and everyone playing the game into a state of existence not too unlike a zombie.

Indeed the first time I saw Everquest, it look innocent enough. But the first problems I heard that were directly resultant of the game were not my own, they were of a happily married couple. The Wife was shown the game and eventually she tried it out. Eventually the Husband was giving reports of how worthless he felt compared to a video game. He loathed the game, and his Wife truly didn't seem the wiser. Luckily, this story ends well, because sooner than later they talked about the growing issue, and she cut down on how many hours she played the game.

I myself was on that receiving end when my own current boyfriend told me he was going to start up one of his old hobbies, Everquest. It was ok at first, mostly because he didn't have his own internet connection at home. He would head over to a mutual friends house and play on the weekends. I went off to college and lived in the dorms, which had campus wide access to the high speed internet. When he came to visit me, he asked, if while I was gone to classes, if it would be ok if he installed Everquest onto my computer and play while I was gone. I didn't see the harm in that. But it quickly became a problem. At first I wanted to allow him to play as long as he wanted as I was mildly curious about the game. But then, even after a few days, he was completely ignoring me. I would go to sleep and he would barely realize it because he was in this world where time doesn't exist. Eventually, for the short period we were dating, when he came to town to visit me it was not necessarily to spend time with me, but my computer and internet access. I dumped him swearing that I will never allow that game to take over another one of my relationships if I could help it.

Unfortunately, I was graced again by a much worse situation. I was unhappy with school and had strayed into an online relationship. This person and I had great communication, and were very realistic about who we were and what we were considering to do with our futures. He told me that he had never played Everquest, but one of his friends, and neighbors played it with an unnerving consistently. He said he would never play it because he found the idea of living and breathing Everquest to be disgusting. I forgot about this and eventually after a few years of courting, I decided to try to make the relationship work, and I moved [over thousand] miles to live with him.

The First month was wonderful, I wasn't disappointed in the slightest and I thought I had made one of the best decisions in my life. But then, after that month, his best friend picked up Everquest and started to play it. It is difficult to describe the living situation I was in, but I'll set this up for you so you can understand. I was a VERY long distance from my family and friends. The only support I had in my new home was him and HIS friends and family. We lived [..] miles from the nearest town, and in a rather large house that had been divided into three small apartments. His best friend lived upstairs and next door was a second mutual friend of both of them (the second friend was the one who played Everquest with the unnerving consistency). Basically it was a small social circle. So then my boyfriend, not to be left out, bought Everquest and began to play it with the other two men in the house "As a way to all play a game together." At first I didn't have the game on my computer because I still hated it from my previous experience. I protested to my boyfriend about how the game was addictive, but he asked me not to make a "big deal" out of it. In order to not alienate myself from the people I knew, I did nothing.

Time passed and soon life boiled down to this astonishingly addictive game. I was left with the cleaning, and the shopping and the chores for not just my apartment- but often several dinner runs for the entire house. The three men did nothing but talk about Everquest every day, and play Everquest when they could. At first they tried to fold me into the group and bought me the game for my computer. At first, it almost worked, but I myself was extremely bored with the game and resented what it had done to my brand new choice. I was stuck in a terrible situation. Part of it was my fault for moving so far away (but that's a part of growing up.).

It eventually got to the point where I couldn't talk to my boyfriend (or as I began to put it "overgrown three year old room mate") unless I was in the game and typing to him. I was one room away, and I could hear the keyboard, but it was more than clear that he wanted nothing to do with me. All that I was good for was going out the nearest gas station to pick him up some sort of item he was craving. There was a time during that year when unemployment hit hard and he was the only one with a job, and he was more concerned about playing Everquest than to help me buy food. He blamed me for being lazy and unable to find a job (truth is no one was hiring, I went out applying for jobs on a daily basis.) therefore I should be GREATFUL for the roof I had over my head and that I should "Do my part" by waiting on him hand and foot. (While he played Everquest for 18 hour periods, regularly) We didn't even sleep at the same time anymore.) (And trust me, when I was employed and paying for the food, instead of begging for it, I was still doing all the house work while he was on Everquest. He let me go hungry because he didn't focus on the world any more.)

I still don't know where the line is in that argument, I eventually got [..] to hire me, and it took approximately 1 month to gather up enough money to move home. When I left, he still was playing Everquest for as long as he could manage it, and was all the happier that when I moved I was leaving behind the second phone line that I paid to have installed, so that he might be on the internet 24 hours a day and not miss a phone call. I talk to him about 1 every 2 months now, and he is still playing Everquest- Alone.

That man may never get laid again in his life.

So in the end, I learned alot about my self in that situation, and I still think only of the only solutions one has when it comes to ruined relationship due to this type of game is to TAKE care of your self and your children (if you have them) Leave or make them stop. It is in my experience that there is no middle ground in this game. If you try to compromise they will try to play it more, and you'll nag them for it. They will feel resentful to you for not letting them play a "relaxing" game. You'll feel hurt for them loving their computer more than the person who is supposed to walk with them down the path of life. It is what you can call a catch 22. Some people never get it, they will just change games. Some people see what they are doing and never go back to it again.

Just take care of yourself in the end. Fight for it, or know when to walk away."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home