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.

Friday, September 10, 2004

"My spouse did not have a EQA problem. I did. I stopped playing EQ 4 months ago. Not just stopped. All the in game items were given away and the account was cancelled. I'm not terribly good at psycho-analyzing myself but I'll try. EQ had become a chore. The pressure that drives people to attend raids, to go do this, and to go do that forced me into a permanent state of ... inadequacy, for lack of a better word. I was constantly trying to catch up to the rest of them that I was no longer enjoying myself. There were nights that I dread logging on just to grind another 3 hours. I wasn't angry or anything that the real world (spouse, child, job, etc.) was holding me back. It was more like: If I want to feel inadequate, I can stay in the real world. I don't need to pay money for that.

I'm not sure what the pivotal point was but I suspect our daughter has a lot to do with it. She ... still require[s] night feeding at 9pm .... It was my responsibility to feed her. I usually stop the game, picked something on Food TV or Discovery. I get her out of bed and give her her bottle. She usually felt back asleep on my shoulder after eating. Many many many times I caught myself just looking at her beautiful face, mesmerized. I told my friends she's really an enchanter (for all you other currect or ex- EQA :)) capable of charming the toughest monster ... me.) On those nights, I would just hold her for as long as she'll let me, or until my arm went numb. After I put her to bed, I went back to my desk.... and all of a sudden, EQ doesn't seem to matter any more. I was rid of EQ.

Not long after I stopped EQ. A new entity appeared. Its called City of Heroes. Its another online game where you play a superhero and fight bad people. I tried and enjoyed it tremedously. Acutely aware of what a game-addiction (whether you agree with the term or not) is, I was cautious but I was deeply engaged in it. I was spending 3-4 hours a night on it. I'm not sure but I think my other half was worried about switching from being a EQ widow to CoH widow. Not unjustified, mind you.

2 weeks ago. They flew ... to see my father-in-law (his 90th birthday). I couldn't go because of work. I distinctly remember thinking, "Yes! 2 weeks to myself, I can play till I turned blue in the face." But you know what. I didn't. In 2 weeks, I logged on once at the beginning. I was bored. But more so, I miss my little girl. I miss feeding her at 9. I miss holding her and playing with her pony tails. Nothing seems to matter while they were away. (Except cooking, I did get to do a lot of experiments...some unedible...)

From this past 2 weeks, I want to say, I'm recovering ... but I hesitate to say so ... I'm not sure. Will I go back to play more when they return? If so, what does that mean? Am I just hiding myself in the online world? If I don't go back, does it really mean I'm getting better?

I'm not sure how well informed y'all are ... but Everquest 2 is coming out in 2 months. Better graphics, better this, better that, more engaging gameplay, etc. etc. I'm ... afraid. I'm afraid I'll loose control again."


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