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.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

"This is also what kills me. We are talking adults. Grown men and women whose minds have turned to mush. My friend tells me "I would bash the computer with a bat" or "Tell him that he is not allowed to play". How do I tell my husband that he is not allowed to do something. I am not his mother. I don't feel that is an option to me. I feel that if these are the bad choices he is making that one day he will see what the repercussions are. I don't feel I am ready to make any drastic moves as yet, but I know that in my heart I don't feel the same as I did for this man. I know that those rare times that he says "Give me a kiss" I don't want to go near him. This is a man who forgets to brush his teeth, sometimes doesn't bathe everyday, 2 weeks ago, he wore the same pants for a week, and all his shirts have drips on them from eating at the computer. He GROSSES ME OUT."

Friday, February 25, 2005

Another reference by a blogger, peterb.

Here is a blog / site called Social Study Games that accumulates research, news and resources done on the social aspects of online gaming. Of course, it includes Nick Yee's research.

"I know every situation is different- but mine deteriorated, I started gently with calmly stating that she was spending too much time playing eq- nothing changed- as time went on I became more assertive about it- still no change- which after that it turned to yelling at her about it- still no change- there were other concerns too- she was neglecting our son during this time and the condition of the house became unliveable- i was trying to clean amd maintain the house and take care of the child, dealing with the school and work an average of 60 hours a week all at the same time- i finally gave her an ultimatum and told her she had a choice to make- she has obviously chosen the game over family. Yes there was some cybering going on- even an eq marriage- she was spending more time on that relationship than the real life stuff- still is from what I hear. Seems to be common that they make the game their prority....If I had it do over again I would have been the one to leave and gone to family services and showed them the state of housekeeping that was going on and charged her with child neglect....One time I came from working a 3-11 shift and he was 11 at the time, and not in the house, I asked her where he was she didn't know he wasn't home! There was a park right behind the house and there was a ball game going on- I found him there- He had gone over there and gotten free food from the concession stand and had been there all evening- one of the coaches asked where his mother was- all I could say it that is a good question! And she couldn't understand why I was yelling! Jeeeeez!"

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Someone (thanks!) forwarded MMOGCHART to me, a site that tracks the growth of Massive Multiplayer Online Games. I have included it as a persistent link on the right hand side of this blog for ease of referencing.

It's hard to make direct inferences from the results but it is certainly an indicator for trends on the pursuit of online hobbies. Or life. Or whatever you may want to call it...

"My husband wakes up to his game and goes to sleep to his game. He'll tell me he's going to do something "in ten minutes', like this morning when I was busy and needed him to wake up our son. He always says, "I will in ten minutes cause I am just about to get something or kill something or advance to the next level...The ten minutes in his head turns in to an hour and a half in RL. I wake our son up.

I have been asking him to come to bed and sleep with me as we used to do before he started playing this damn game and he says, "No, I want to play." He sits in the damn recliner with that laptop in his face every chance he gets. Since he started playing he has fallen asleep playing in the recliner every single night and I have fallen asleep alone."

Saturday, February 19, 2005

A new article by BBC News Technology that just came out on thursday: Losing yourself in online gaming.

Although it's a well-written article, I will have to disagree with this statement: "Let us be clear - such obsession is rare." And that is referring to a person who still works and has a family. I have met more than my share of EQ players who BELIEVE in all sincerity that they aren't playing obsessively -> but they play as frequently as I used to!? Just because you can still hold on to a job and a family does not mean that you are playing moderately. It may merely mean that you have a very loving and patient family and a boss who still sees some value in you.

P.S.: Have a look at the comments, too. Other comments on this article can be found here (which includes another BBC article about online romance). Caution: some comments are pro-obsessive playing.

Ok, this would explain why there were suddenly 1000+ hits on this site on wednesday :P

So you might have heard about EQ's /pizza command. Here is a link to a commentary:

Everquest pizza. The last paragraph states:
"That basic idea -- sending messages from the game world out to the real world -- strikes me as having enormous potential. Various gamers have ported their email to games, so they get alerted whenever an important real-world communique arrives. Indeed, if as game economist Edward Castronova argues, a greater and greater chunk of people are going to spend their lives inside game worlds -- where they effectively generate thousands of dollars of real-world value every year, usually at tasks far more interesting than their "real" jobs -- then it behooves game designers to allow them to manage and monitor their real lives more easily from inside games."

A new post: "... I am 17 years old, first i played diablo2, then EQ, then Lineage2. I quit playin lineage and all other games close to a month ago. but my brother still plays. hes almost 21 and he is addicted. He played the same games as I did.. but he always did play them more. He hasn't been able to keep a steady job since he was 17, I'm not exactly sure why he has been fired in the past. He never told me why. He has flunked out of community college due to his addiction. He rarely goes out with friends still. Finally after he failed another semester of Jr. college at his new college my parents gave him an ultimatum that if they catch him playing again or catch him at the local pc cafe then he would be kicked out of the house and they wouldnt pay for his college or car insurance. I overheard them talking and they're only bluffing with this and they dont know what to do. Yet he still sneaks around and plays without getting caught."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

"I spent probably 3-4 years of my life addicted to that f*ing game, and another 2-3 before that addicted to UO. If UO were pot EQ would be heroin (and I am not saying that pot leads to heroin... please, lol, just an analogy).

I haven't read many of the posts here, so maybe there are already posts like this, but just to give you a little view from the other side of the trenches, as such. I think I was immersed in that game because I was unhappy with my life in a way. I have two kids ... and devoted the past 11+ years of my life to making sure that we had a good income, and my wife could pursue her school ... without worrying about having to work.

I'm a good programmer, but it's not what I would choose to do with my life, in retrospect, and somehow I think making that "sacrifice" is kind of how I made the even worse decision to "make it up to myself" by living in this extremely addictive fantasy world online. What probably made it worse is that noone really acknowledges that it is an addiction, unlike drugs or alcohol. It's "not really a problem" according to the mainstream opinions....

My wife never got upset with me. She is a wonderful person who I think acknowledged that there was some reason I needed to go through this period of my life, and knew that her bitching at me was only going to make things worse for us.

Anyway, I finally woke up and realized I needed to pursue my real dreams. I'm going to school, still working as a programmer, but now I know it's just a stepping stone. I want to go to med school ..., and I am so busy between work, back to intense exercise routine, family and school, that I barely have time to even think about EQ, and haven't for over a year.

I guess I should have started this post with "my name is ... and I'm an EQ-holic" lol. But just wanted to say that I think you are probably doing the right thing by talking about this, as I fully agree it is an addiction that can ruin relationships and families, like any other addiction.

I once again have purpose in my life, the way I used to before programming, and there is no need or desire whatsoever for an online RPG fantasy world."

And soon after...

"I remember I had a really f*ed up commute (which was part of my unhappiness and hence addiction) for about 18 months. Like minimum of 90 minutes one way given normal traffic conditions. I hate commuting worse than anything else, so this was miserable for me (I now live close enough to bike to work every day, regardless of weather, and I can't descibe how much happier of a person I am because of that small fact). Anyway, I would get home from work, log onto UO, and aside from a small break for dinner, would be playing (along with my programmer friends from work) literally until 3am sometimes, on a work night (and all night on weekends). Then up at 6 or 7 am to start the commute and same bullshit all over again. Looking back on it, if I had been applying that effort to just about anything besides a game, I probably would have invented something or created something by now that would merit the Nobel Peace Prize. LOL. It's no wonder that 16 semester hours of pre-med, 40 hours of work, family, and a really aggressive exercise schedule are easy for me now, after seeing how much energy I could put into a f*ing game for 7+ years of my life. If I don't take some of the positive experience from that whole thing, I get too depressed thinking about all the lost time."

I haven't posted any new stories lately. Not because there aren't any but because a few have been so ruthless that I have felt completely out of place & inappropriate to ask these people if they would mind my posting their stories.

Many of them involve being married for many years and believing their partner's "it's just for stress" and "I'm just friends with him/her" excuses for EQ only to either witness them running off, plotting to get their partner evicted, or getting that surprise phone call from the online cheater's accomplice. I do have one story from a while ago that I was given permission to post, so I may do that one day, but I'm still trying to figure out how to remove enough so that it would actually be somewhat anonymous.

I have always tried to purposefully omitted stories which involved extreme betrayal to real-life partners and focus instead on those everyday-must-log-on-to-EQ that highlight the detachment from real-life issues and happiness. And it makes sense to do so because I am not trying to tell people that "EQ is evil". EQ is what it is. What people use it for is the right question to ask. You will always find cheaters anywhere, and EQ is just another place that makes it easier for people to cheat. Just like any other place you should ask yourself what your partner is exactly up to if they spend an insane amount of hours socializing with other people and forfeiting spending any time with you or your their children.

Unlike reality, one-night affairs are hard to come by in EQ. Cheating there occurs almost exclusively with people they have come to known and hang out with. So pay attention to when your partner suddenly hides the ingame chats from you. Or when you realize that you are trying to hide chatting from your partner.

Monday, February 14, 2005

An assistent professor in English sent me these thoughts from his blog (thank you!): Moving to Norrath.

A press release by SOE, makers of Everquest2, just in time for Valentine's Day. It is saddening to realize how someone wastes time on this survey & topic when they have probably not even spent an iota of thought on making their real life partner happy on this day.

What's even sadder is that this page has gotten the most hits today... so far it's at least double than the page's most popular day (aka most hits). I have a feeling there are a lot of sad people today, and if you are one of them, please don't forget that there are others who know how you feel and what you are going through. You're not alone. And it's not your fault that he or she doesn't want to spend time with you.

"Love Is In The Air!

SOE made a press release today regarding their recent Valentine's Day surveys held at the EQ2Players website. The release is below:

SAN DIEGO, CA - February 11, 2005 - Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming, today announced results of a recent Valentine's Day-themed poll of its user community. Over the past two weeks, Sony Online Entertainment quizzed the player population through its EverQuest II community site to find out what players feel are the most romantic spots, sexiest characters, and romantic gifts in EverQuest II. The results reveal a deeper, more romantic side of online gamers not often seen amongst the hundreds of thousands of players who spend their time questing through the online world of Norrath.

"When you put hundreds of thousands of people together in an exciting new world filled with action and adventure, it doesn't take too long before relationships blossom and thoughts turn from orc slaying to love," said Scott Hartsman, senior producer of EverQuest II, Sony Online Entertainment. "The social bonds formed between players are the biggest draw of our games and these surveys show that our subscribers are not just thinking about dungeon raids and magical tomes all the time."

Sexiest Race: According to 25% of the players surveyed, Dark Elves are the Sexiest Race in EverQuest II, with Wood Elves running a close second with 24% of the vote. Players found the giant, misshapen Ogres to be the least hot of the 15 selectable races available for players.

Most Romantic Archetype: Players voted Scouts as the most romantic archetype with 37% of the vote, "because they're skilled in the dark." Another 24% chose Priests because they "know about the healing,"14% liked Fighters "because they get up close and personal," and 13% said they liked Artisans because "they know how to put it all together." Only 13% of the responses chose the mystical Mage archetype, despite the fact that "they make you feel sparks."

Best Spouse Class: Druids topped the list of best class for a spouse with 25% of the vote, followed by Paladins, Wizards and Carpenters. Conjurers are apparently the least suited as spouses at 9% because of their affinity for "pets."

Best In-Game Gift: Lingerie was voted the most popular in-game gift that players would give if available with a staggering 45% of the vote. Another 16% chose a suit of red armor, 11% said flowers, and 10% said a comfortable bed. Surprisingly, candy, a Valentine's Day perennial favorite in the real world, garnered only 2% of the vote for best in-game gift.

Most Romantic Spot: The shore of Antonica at sunset must be the right place for love, since 50% of respondents voted it the most romantic spot in EverQuest II. The runner-up for most romantic spot was the Beach in the Enchanted Lands with 27% of the vote. Fishermen and sailors didn't fare as well; only 3% of the respondents found the entrance to Freeport harbor romantic.

Sony Online Entertainment also held a Valentine's Day "screenshot" contest on the EverQuest II website. The company challenged its 300,000 plus-strong EverQuest II player base to submit both funny and romantic images captured from the game, with prizes awarded to the winners. Hundreds of images were submitted to the company - some of them being of a questionable romantic nature - and the results will be posted to later today, before the Valentine's Day weekend begins."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I admit, I am a curious person.

Sometimes I want to see what people think about the stories they read here, especially from people who are familiar with this territory. Many do not want to disturb the scene by leaving a comment, so I tend to go out into the virtuality and look for thoughts on this topic by other bloggers...

Here is a very thoughtful blog entry by Render on gaming & addiction. He also has a great link to yet-another personal experience of computer gaming obsession

This one's from Game Girl Advance

Here's MemeMachineGo, not commenting much directly, but the post itself speaks for what he thinks.

From doubleplusgood infotainment

A blog named Eclecticism

And finally (for now), AFK Gamer

Monday, February 07, 2005

"My husband is currently playing Warcraft and previously played UO. I read what you wrote about your boyfriend and wanted to cry. I go through this everyday. My husband is on his game from the time he gets home from work, til the time he goes to bed, which can be anywhere from 2am to 4am, even if he has to get up for work the next day at 5 or 5:30am. I almost always go to bed alone and see more of the back of his head than I do his face. We used to watch a few select TV shows during the week, now he can't even spare an hour off the game to do that with me. I usually get home around 6pm and when I fix dinner, he'll either shovel it all down in 5 minutes and go back to the game or he will sit at his computer and eat. If I try to talk to him or tell him something, especially about how I feel about being ignored and being lonely, I get ignored or worse, get yelled at, becasue he lost his concentration and something bad happend to his character. The other problem, is that he is in the construction business and gets laid off every few months, and when he does, he plays online to compensate for not feeling a sence of worth from working and to deal with his depression of not working. Developing a charater and making them succeed gives him a feeling of accomplishment. However, since he's so addicted to the game, he can't seem to make the effort to get a side job or a part time job during the times he has no regular work, becasue he'd rather play his game. This leaves the burdon of supporting us to me. No matter how many times I've shown him our finances on paper and show him that we may lose our truck, it doesn't seem to have an impact.

I knew when I married him that life wouldn't be a piece of cake all the time, due to his line of work and I knew that he played online games. I made the choice to marry him, because I know and have seen that he can be a great person. He does do some sweet things on occasion (of course sometimes I don't respond as cheerfully as I should, becsaue I'm just so mad about being ignored for so long). There are sometimes that I can get him out of the house and see the wonderful man he can be.... However, these things have to be pre- planned well in advance. If it's something spontaneous, he makes some excuses why we can't go and we don't or I go alone and of course, it's becasue he can't leave his life-line...the computer. I keep trying to get my husband involved in our real life, but it just seems like these games are a higher priority than me, our marriage and our future."

"I have accidentally come across your site...wish I had seen it sooner. Like before my big, strong ... didn't show for my big birthday celebration, or to meet my daughter for the first time, or New Year's Eve. Of course he doesn't want to discuss it. He didn't show 'cause his guild was on a raid. Or he promised someone he'd help them acquire something. I know him. We were together too long for me to believe otherwise. Friends can say he met someone else, was gay, etc., but the truth is much harder to believe. This grown man who is responsible in every other facet of his life is unable to break his addiction to EQ2 & unwilling to try.

It is weird...staying up until 3 am every night, never going anywhere, not telling his friends on post about his hobby, moody, never having sex, etc. You think at first it's a harmless hobby.

I am heartbroken & disgusted."

Friday, February 04, 2005

"On the rare nights when my husband does come to bed at the same time as I do, I find that I am so used to sleeping by myself that it is difficult to get to sleep with another body laying next to me.

I can't talk to him while he is playing. There is absolutely no point as he doesn't hear me or is so distracted that I get a 'ummm... ya' a few minutes after I ask him a question.

I have my own computer and it is right beside his. He considers this 'spending time together' even though we won't speak to each other for hours on end. I am getting quite tired of it."

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I've been getting emails with funny characters lately, some of them spam, I'm sure, but others seeming to be valid Japanese emails. Just to let you know: I cannot read or speak Japanese, so if you want to write to me, please use one of these translators before sending me an email. Thank you :)

A Battlefield 1942 Widow:

"My husband also blew off a holiday (Thanksgiving) to play his on-line game. There have been more than one Saturday where i have gone out for the afternoon without him because he's told me that he's going to stay home and get some work done. When I return to the house, he's playing and nothing is done.

He won't work on the house at all during the winter cuz it's cold, or during the summer because it's too hot.

I begged him to show me how to use the lawn mower (it's funky, please don't think I'm helpless, I'm not) this last summer so that I could mow the lawn, he was doing it about once a month, and only because it was so out of control it was ridiculous.

For over the last year he's been playing a MINIMUM of 3 hours a day, on the weekends it's worse. He thinks if he keeps one side of the earphones off his ear so he can hear if our 3 year old is getting into trouble is "watching" him.

I've been researching the addictive nature of these video games and I will say that I'm almost grateful that he's not playing Evercrack.

For a while now he's been trying to convince me that it's our marriage that is the problem, that we got married under the wrong circumstances, therefore, it's one big mistake as we are the only couple in the HISTORY of the human race to decide to get married because of a baby and he's depressed because of it. I'm beginning to believe that subconsciously he just wants to be left alone to his gaming. I believe that he is addicted to the on-line gaming, and that is the cause of his depression and restlessness."

Here is a follow-up to a posting from November 2004:

"I am not going to say that a person can totally pull themselves away from playing online computer games, but I will have to give you an update as to a previous posting that I made in November regarding my boyfriend and how my story is the same as all others in the amount of time and attention he gave to his games. For some reason I have never asked, he went from playing EQ to WOW when the new version came out. Many hours were spent and finally he made it to the goals he set and conquered the quest he needed to.

After following the advise that was given I decided it was important to continue to live my life and do the things that would make me happy, if he followed then we were going to make it and if not, sad to say he would have to stay with his life of games. It was so bad that he never even showered for days nor changed his clothes, he would fall asleep and wake up wearing the same clothes for days.

The main thing that I soon realized was, yes the game is a hobby for many, but it is most definitely an outlet for the game players to hide away from their pain or even at times a depressed state of mind. Until they can find the happiness from inside, they will continue to hide within the game. I finally got a chance to sit down and have a real communication with him and told him everything that was on my mind. I told him that I loved him and wanted to be with him, but that I was going to go on with my life and do things. I asked him of course if he was happy with his life and that there was so much more out in the big world he could offer.

Little bit by bit, I am finally getting some quality time, but with compromise. I have learned to let him have some time doing whatever he wanted, but in the evenings or weekends-I am finally having a dinner partner and friend to talk to. I am not sure what snapped but he gets up each day, showers and I have not seen him on the game in over a month. Of course the typical response I will always have in the back of my mind and I am sure it is on others is how long is this going to last until the next 'new' version comes out.

The main point of my focus to others is-there has to be compromises on both sides. We just cant expect them to completely pull themselves away, we have to let them have their enjoyment as long as it is not harmful to themselves or others. Yet at the same time every relationship requires quality time spent together and each person feeling good about the relationship. We must not hold back our true happiness and by focusing 100% of our time and energy on what they are doing and how alone we feel. We must move on-only we can take charge of our own destiny. If they are standing beside us in the end, that is good-if they are still in the chair playing their games, one day they will look up and we may not be there."