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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"I browsed your site and the testimonials & stories scared me. I'm glad that this resource is here, and I want to tell you about my boyfriend. He played EQ before he met me, and whenever he talks about it I feel like he thinks it was the best days of his life. I start to feel jealous that maybe he does think it was better than now even with me in the picture. He talks so proudly about when he and a buddy started up a guild years ago, and he repeats and puts emphasis on the words when he mentions that "everyone" looked up to the two of them. It's sad because I know there are plenty of real live people who have a high opinion of him and esteem for him, but he can't see it and wants the EQ respect instead.
Right after last Christmas we were both having a hard time financially. He mentioned WoW and the way he brought it up was that we could use it as a hobby we could do together since we do not live together. I said I would think about it. No sooner had he mentioned it then he admitted he had already bought it. At first I thought nothing of it and was happy he had a hobby - he didn't seem to have any when we met. I personally couldn't get into WoW in the beginning, even though he came over and showed me how to make a character and get around in the world.
Then he began pressuring me to play because, as he put it, he refused to get into the game without my support because he knew he couldn't have a relationship and the game at the same time. He told me up front that he would be involved spending alot of time playing, and wanted us both. I felt like I was holding him back from doing something he wanted to do and was excited about, so I bought the game, which was over my budget, and I played just to spend time with him. Unfortunately we saw each other in real life less and less, as he thought game time could take the place of quality time. I called him on it and he blamed his absence in not wanting to be around my family I was living with. The amount of time we spent together per week never improved after the game intruded in our lives.
Later, I became more and more motivated to play and let things like housework slide. My best friend would call and I would only pretend to listen. I flirted with WoW guys out of boredom and my boyfriend would get mad, yet I sat for hours online waiting for a response from him to acknowledge I was there. The only one I was ever serious about flirting with was my boyfriend, though. And in his eyes, I couldn't play for him, I had to play for me because he wanted me to like it. When I realized what was happening and came up for air, my boyfriend would get on my case about not being online and he'd make me dive back down again. He rationalized that he felt better when I was online because he knew where I was & wasn't going out getting into trouble. In the meantime, he spent alot of in-game money on my character and bought her expensive gifts to entice me to play, but all the while pressuring me to level faster. In my warped mind, I thought maybe he did those things for my character because he couldn't afford to buy me nice things in real life.
Now I have slowed down as I have been disillusioned with the effects of the game, but I don't mind playing every once in a while. I already let our guild know that I only want to play a couple nights a week, tops. I enjoy the forums more than playing, really, and play my character now just out of guilt knowing that my boyfriend and others helped level and outfit her. Plus I am going to start school again soon and I need to find a better job.
But to this day my boyfriend is a different story. Sometimes he will make excuses not to come over because he had to work, but I know it's because he wants to get online. He used to stay the night on the weekends sometimes two, three nights at a time but now he is more picky about when he comes over and only comes out in the middle of the day to where we only have a short time together before he takes off in the middle of the night. When he does come over I can tell that he just wants to check the Auction House, and he wishes he'd never have come so he could be playing in the privacy of his own home. Or sometimes long after I have gone to bed I wake up and he's on the computer making inconsiderate clacketyclackety sounds on the keyboard if he hasn't already left. Or during the day, I will step away from him for just a short time to check my hair and when I get back he will be on my computer. He has
told me playing the game is better than sex. When we have problems, he retreats into the game even more and I've had to come online & type in caps to get his attention. Even during a phone conversation the night before I went away on a vacation, he was busy playing the game and wasn't focused enough to say he would miss me while I was gone or even to have a great trip - two basic civilities I was longing to hear. He continues to be extremely irritated when he plays, and I have watched and wondered why someone would play a game that makes them so angry.
In truth, I don't know how much time he is spending playing WoW since we are not in the same household, but he sounds addicted to me when it affects our relationship and time together. We have been together almost three years now, and he gave me a promise ring not too long ago. I am unsure about it and don't always wear it, even though it is not a serious proposal, because I feel neglected while the game is in our lives and I'm not sure how much longer I can feel like the third wheel even though I view WoW as a hobby of mine, as well. Whenever we have a huge fight, he lets me know that he is not always going to have the game in his life, either, and threatens to start going out and finding girls instead of playing the game. It's wierd because he wants all the respect the game can give him but at the same time he looks down on his main hobby as a geeky thing to do - "I don't want to live my life like this," he says, when he acts like he has better things to do with his time than me. He forbids me to talk about WoW with my family and gets embarrassed if I bring it up in public. Then when we are on the phone privately, the game is all he can talk about and I get tired of hearing about it because I want to talk about real issues or even positive things. Also, in the same week he gave me the ring he made a post in our guild forums stating that he would work time with me around the raid times. I think it should be the other way around but least I know where I stand. I feel like WoW is just as bad as another woman sometimes."

"My boyfriend has tried to suck me into his everquest hole before; sometimes it's funny but other times it really hurts. He would bring this big everquest manual with him everywhere, even on our dates, I guess he thought he could get me to read it.Sometimes he would try to get me into other games too, as if I would begin to understand his addiction. I tried to understand I even let him show me a demo of that crap one time... I still cry for those wasted minuites in my life that I will never get back."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New report summary from DFC Intelligence, a market research and consulting firm focused on interactive entertainment and the emerging video game, online game, interactive entertainment and interactive television (ITV) markets

The Service-Oriented Game Industry: Paving the Way for New Business Models.
Extract: "The forecasted $580 million 2005 China game market, has been dominated by one very particular type of game, the massively multiplayer online game or MMOG. MMOGs are baseline more resistant to piracy than standalone games because the game is not a product but a service requiring an authenticating connection with an (expensive and technologically sophisticated) server array. As the chart shows, these MMOG products are expected to make up over 75% of the China game market in 2005."

And here is a recent article from the New York Times about the success of WoW: Conqueror in a war of virtual worlds.
Extract: "'World of Warcraft' has shattered earlier assumptions about the potential size of the market. 'For many years the gaming industry has been struggling to find a way to get Internet gaming into the mainstream,' said Jeff Green, editor in chief of Computer Gaming World, one of the top computer game magazines. 'These kinds of games have had hundreds of thousands of players, which are not small numbers, but until 'World of Warcraft' came along no one has been able to get the kind of mainstream numbers that everyone has wanted, which is millions of players.'"

I was sitting in a seminar recently listening to research reports about the Net Generation, those who were born post-1982 and take the Internet for an assumed part of life. For some reason, I started thinking about MMORPGs and how most of the stories I had been reading involved adults in their 20s, 30s and older, rather than children and teenagers. Now, I know that there are young MMORPG gamers who spent excessive amounts of time playing online games, but I always thought that we had more stories of adult gaming obsession because of their amount of responsibilities and because younger gamers had parents and guardians who had a say in how their time was spent.

Here is the thought that had not occured to me until now: Do gen-Xers and baby boomers play more obsessively and have a harder time unfocusing from the MMORPG world than the Net Generation because they possess less / no intrinsic skills to detach and divide their focus? According to research, there is proof that the net generation's brains are wired differently than that of the previous generations - so I am asking this: Does being connected everywhere & everytime and multi-tasking since birth make it easier for the newer generations to take in MMORPGs just as another part of life without getting completely immersed (aka sucked) into a virtual persistent world?

I thought I was a good multi-tasker, but compared to a kid who can study while listening to music, while talking to friends on IM and having the TV running in the background, I probably could not even call myself a multi-tasker. Heck, once I focus on writing an email or IM'ing someone, I am oblivious to the TV or someone's conversation.

Everyone's certainly been "complaining" about the short attention span of the newer generations but do we perhaps miss the fact that they can divide their attention between so many different activities and stimuli? Will they be less prone to spending years of 40+ hours in MMORPGs than us? I guess only time will tell.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A couple of interesting articles found by Lisa Galarneau from socialstudygames:

My life as an online gamer. Extract: "I think I am addicted. I've got to the stage where I feel that without gaming, I have nothing interesting to do."

Student held over online mugging. This fits in nicely with prediction numero 8 from another article I posted last week ("There will be a branch of government to rule the virtual world").

Sunday, September 18, 2005

"...its really funny there is this ... because i was being convinced by my boyfriend (the EQ addict) that the game was only a problem because I was making it a problem. it is nice as well as disturbing that i am not the only one in this position. he was previously addicted and threw his life away about 2 years ago and only quite because i left him. well, needless to say, we are back together and he is playing it again. we have agreed on conditions of him playing the game, and he has abided by these conditions so far. i think i would be typing pages and pages if i was to explain the whole story. but i guess all of you know the routine of arguing with an EQ addict. like i said, we have agreed on terms of his playing, but i always have it in the back of my head that he is breaking those terms. and it makes me feel rediculous and like a mother that we had to make these terms and i have to "watch" to make sure he is following them. he says that only him and his friends play together and they only talk to each other, but is that really possible? ... im almost to the point where i feel like i shouldnt be with him because i will never be an EQ addict and i will never really be into RPG's. am i crazy????"

This note was posted in the comment section attached to one of the older posts... because it tends to get buried there, I decided to repost it as an actual post. Kindest thanks to the anonymous poster to giving us his/her story - I know how hard it can be to gather up the will power and see through a change, even though it may be for the better. Welcome to your life :)
"These stories are an absolute representation of my own life--except for the fact that I am the one in the relationship with the mmorpg addiction. A month after World of Warcraft was released I began my adventures into the world of Azeroth. At first it was casual fun, but it soon turned more serious.

...Where to begin...

After playing WoW for about two weeks, at an ever increasing amount of time each day, I decided that my current computer was less than desirable to run the game well. So, after scheming for about three days, I went behind my wife's back and purchased a brand new, state of the art computer, racking up thousands on our credit card bill just so I could have better graphics and less lag. When my wife found out she hit the roof and that computer has been a sore spot in our marriage since. It was at this time that I started exploring the different character types/races and changed my main to a human priest. While creating my character I chose female and customized her looks so she was quite attractive and thought of a pretty name. I told everyone that I wanted to play female because they always get free loot and help in-game. Personally though, and this is quite weird, I wanted a good looking girl on the screen to look at. I named her "Marion". Well, as time progressed I found that being a priest enabled many doors for me to be involved with guilds/groups and people talked to me in-game constantly asking me for help. This was extremely rewarding and made me feel needed and appreciated. I made several friends online (albeit I only knew their character alias) and for the next four months spent every available moment with them. I missed out on my newborn son growing when I was just a room away. When he began crawling I set him in the port a crib next to me in computer room, gave him crackers and bottles of milk, and completely ignored him for hours at a time. It got worse when I became unemployed and neglected to find a job to supplement my wife's income just so I could level up "Marion." And Marion had become more than just a character. She had become the woman of my dreams. Beautiful, funny, could kill dragons and everyone wanted her in their group. She was the opposite of me growing up: Shy, last to picked for sports, and kind of a slob. I began having dreams of her at night. At this point I realized something was dreadfully wrong, but I could not stop playing her. The climax came one early morning, after having stayed up for twenty hours playing world of warcraft. My wife needed a ride to work so I had to pull myself off the computer, load the kid in the car, and drive her there. Not more than a minute after we got in the car, drowsy and irritable for having to give up my game to take her to work, I blew up at her over a very innocent observation about my gameplay. A massive argument ensued and punches were thrown while driving downtown in a major city. My wife showed up at work with a large bruise on her cheekbone and I went home with several bruises on my shoulder. There was nothing to describe the horror I felt at having hit my wife because I was irritable for having stayed up playing WoW for too long. I called her and sobbed on the phone to her my apology and sent her flowers. Sitting on the couch, I realized WoW had taken control of me. So I called my wife, told her my plan, said I loved her and deleted WoW off my computer. I then broke my WoW cd's, threw away my manual, and swore it off forever.

But that didn't last long...

Two weeks went by and I called up blizzard tech support, told them my discs had been destroyed and wondered if they could send me new ones for free. They consented and a week later I was playing "Marion" again. What I should've done was delete "Marion" in the first place thereby giving me little incentive to go back. After all, she was the highest lvl I could go. A month later, after a long talk with my very understanding and wonderful wife, we decided I should delete marion and delete the game all together. My life is returning back to normal and, though I hate myself for missing the early months of my first childs life, I am enjoying it so much. Plus, I have come to realize that my "Reality" wife is someone I want to devote all my playtime to. Not some artists rendering of a woman that doesn't exist.

I will admit giving up WoW has been extremely hard. I think about it everyday and have weaned myself to checking the website only a couple times a week. I have tried other mmorpgs to play casually, after making rules of conduct for them with my family, but they just don't compare to the gameplay of WoW. (Those included Knights Online, FFXI, Everquest II, and IRTH online). Tonight, just before seeing this website, I half jokingly said to my wife that I could still load WoW back on the computer and start over. After reading these posts I think I will go to the computer room and break those WoW discs also.

I think it's about time I get addicted to the Role Playing Game I have right in front of me: "My Life." --And this one doesn't require a new computer :)"

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A documentarian from Australia is looking for a few people who are interesting in helping shed light on this whole phenomenon. Here is how he describes it:
"The documentary premise is to investigate the nature of the gaming addiction and influence eon its users and to get an idea of why they forego 'real world' experiences in favour of MMO existences. As with most documentaries the story to be told will unfold with the people contributing to the material. We're looking at doing phone or webcam interviews with people in other countries, as you said there may be few people in Australia we can locate."
So if you have live in Sydney or have a phone / webcam and would like to be interviewed, please contact Nick at! I'm sure he would appreciate any help!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A couple of articles I came across recently:

MMOs Anonymous: Online RPG Addicts Come Clean About Their Habit (July 28, 2005)

Chinese Government Details Plans to Curb MMORPG Addiction (August 25, 2005) and China's 3-hour limit isn't so surprising (August 30, 2005)
Iffy. What does this teach the wanne-play-longer person? That big brother is watching, nothing else. And maybe more time wasted on figuring out how to circumvent this.

MMORPG's in the College Classroom (2003) -PDF Format
Page 11-12 talks a bit about the addiction aspect

Brave new virtual world: Dispatches from the Cyberrian frontier (March 31, 2005)

A World of Warcraft World: 10 Ways MMORPGs Will Change the Future (Aug-Sep 2005)
Don't take this one too seriously.

Life, death and Everquest: A virtual suicide in the popular online multiplayer game is making some fans queasy about their favorite addiction. (November 21, 2000)

I know, I know, a very old article, but it's an interesting look nevertheless. Some things never change, I guess.

I've been wanting to post these lyrics for a while now, and here they are. Has anyone else heard this song before?
Bad Religion - 21st Century (Digital Boy)

I can’t believe it, the way you look sometimes,
Like a trampled flag on a city street, oh yeah,

And I don’t want it, the things you’re offering me,
Symbolized bar code, quick id, oh yeah,

’cause I’m a 21st century digital boy,
I don’t know how to live but I’ve got a lot of toys,
My daddy’s a lazy middle class intellectual,
My mommy’s on valium, so ineffectual,
Ain’t life a mystery?

I can’t explain it, the things they’re saying to me,
It’s going yayayayayayaya, oh yeah,

’cause I’m a 21st century digital boy,
I don’t know how to read but I’ve got a lot of toys,
My daddy’s a lazy middle class intellectual,
My mommy’s on valium, so ineffectual,
Ain’t life a mystery?
I tried tell you about no control,
But now I really don’t know,
And then you told me how bad you had to suffer,
Is that really all you have to offer?

See I’m a 21st century digital boy,
I don’t know how to read but I’ve got a lot of toys,
My daddy’s a lazy middle class intellectual,
My mommy’s on valium, so ineffectual,

That’s what I yearn for (21st century digital boy),
Neurosurgeons scream for more (21st century digital boy),
Innocence raped with napalm fire (21st century digital boy),
Anything I want I really need (21st century digital boy),
21st century schitzoid boy (21st century digital boy),
21st century video boy (21st century digital boy),
21st century digital boy (21st century digital boy),
21st century sofa boy (21st century digital boy)...
Note: the first four lines in the last stanza are ’stolen from king crimson’

The song was originally released in 1991 (and rereleased in 1994). So more than 10 years ago. These 21st century digital boys and girls are easily in their 20s and 30s now. Also, if you are curious, check out the various interpretations on the lyrics. I like this perspective from 'jms'
"I believe this song reflects a growing trend in American thought that technology is and will be the answer to all our problems. This song reminds us that relying on technology to get us through life can create people who are intellectually void. "I don't know how to read but I've got a lot of toys" is a line that I think represents this point....Another point that I think this song brings up is the idea that in America, status is often measured by how many items you have....Buy the right beer, car, and clothes and some hot chick will hook up with you. But somewhere in our quest to obtain as many "toys" as possible we lose track of the importance of education, learning, and becoming well rounded individuals. I think the digital boy (a product of American society) is someone who has placed all his emphasis on acquiring "toys" and no emphasis on getting educated. Pretty soon this digital boy can't read or live life because all he knows is his toys. And this boy is suffering. He's shallow and is useless without his toys but it really isn't all his fault...."

Saturday, September 10, 2005

"Oh my God! I knew I couldn't possibly be the only one living through this EQ bs.I just had no clue there was so many of us! I have been married to my husband for 10 years and we have ... young children.He has been playing EQ for about a year now and he is completely obsessed. Last night I had a blinding headache to go along with a horrific sinus infection and guess who was giving the baths,helping with the homework,and feeding dinner?Not the EQ addicted zombie,that's for sure.EverQuest has stolen my husband's soul.My children are practically fatherless now and I have no idea what I'm suppossed to do about it but take it or leave it.He used to be an avid outdoorsman but no more. It is work,sleep,everquest.I'm just grateful that he can still hold down a job because sadly,all he is anymore is a paycheck.He has sacrificed everything else for EverQuest.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Another email landed in my inbox:


This story talks about the hurricane Katrina and how Everquest 2's makers are being nice to the people affected. Players can now donate and the company is letting their goods be preserved. This still doesn't take away the disturbing /pizza command that they threw in by adding in a /donate command(I'm still disturbed out how they threw in /pizza) but it's still interesting to witness. Any opinions regarding this article? As an Ex-MMORPG player(who played FFXI responsibly but quit before it could affect me) I really don't know what to make of it. Now if they could only heal some marriages their reputation could be solid."

My personal opinion? I'm glad to see it - and you won't hear from me any statement regarding MMORPG companies being the evilest companies in the world. They may not always have the interest of people in mind, but when it comes down to it, I doubt that game companies' primary goal is to destroy people - it just happens to be a side effect. Other than that, the article fails to convince me that this is a company that's working towards improving the life of American communities. Their decision to enable this command isn't really cutting into their profits - and it would be more than stupid to try to make money off of gamers who couldn't log in. Besides, I don't see the monetary donations coming from SOE. And shouldn't gamers who wish to contribute / donate to the help efforts be able to tear themselves away long enough from the game to open a browser and type in the Red Cross, or?

Friday, September 02, 2005

This email was in my inbox this morning - it's interesting to look back at the beginning of MMORPGs and its original marketing ... thank you very much for the post!

"I just ran across the old box from my copy of EQ: Ruins of Kunark. As I opened it up to break it down for recycling, I scanned the review quotes:

'Even a year after its launch, EverQuest remains the most addictive, immersive, and stunning game you'll sink your free time into.' -PC Gamer

' is the most immersive and most addictive online RPG to date.'

'Buy this game for a loved one only if you never, ever want to see them again. EverQuest is responsible for more lost work time and sleepless nights than all
other games released in '99 combined.' -Daily Radar

Right on the box!! These were selling points back then?? F*** you, EQ. I want 4 years of my life, all of my friends, and my body back."