My oddest find so far: Buddhist view on MMORPGs
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
"My husband used to play EQ1 when we were dating and then he quit. He used to tell me how he'd play for hours and hours and I thought it was just ridiculous. I thought he'd never get into it again. That is until EQ2 came out.
He played, heck, even I played a little, until I realized it was way out of my commitment level and just too hard. Now I think he's a level 36 or something... Our marriage is perfect, he's my best friend and I wake up smiling everyday...but some days just feel empty.
He recently got into the guilds, which leads to Teamspeak, and I find myself frequently saying something to him..and then going, "are you listening?" Turns out somebody was talking on the headphones and then he gets irritated, saying he was busy. Good god I'm standing right here and I'm real and flesh and they're a priority? I want him to have fun and be entertained, I mean, I watch TV, what's the difference..but I look up when somebody is talking to me. With those headphones I feel like he's shutting me out. I know he means well and he doesn't intend to but it's frustrating. Everything was fine until those headphones. I ask him to come sit with me and watch some TV and even then, he's running a macro and crafting, he just can't stop. We make plans to go out around his guild raids. It's silly.
I'm happy on days when he doesn't play..when we can go out to eat or to the movies, or just sit around and watch TV. Then I just shut down. This isn't anything to make or break us..I've been friends with him for 7 years and married for 1..and some days I just can't believe that I get to be with him for the rest of my life, but how do you cope? What do you say? Do you just hope it will run it's course?
He plays when he comes home from work, usually around 5-midnight. Then almost all day on the weekends. Probably 30+ hours a week. Maybe less, it depends on his work schedule. I ask if we can go to the movies or out on the weekends, and he typically says, "oh, okay, but we have to be back by this time..." for a guild raid, of course.... He works usually 8-4:30, comes home and plays all night, you would think that he'd be ready to go to bed at 11-ish with me, right? Nope, often I go up by myself..he comes in around 1 or later. This happens a couple of times a week."
Friday, June 17, 2005
Here is are two stories collected from a PhD student who is currently studying the "sociological and cultural aspects of MMORPG players"
Memoirs - The Cruel Reality of an EverQuest Junkie
Memoirs - The Submission of a Recovering EverQuest Junkie
(link to his current presentations and papers on MMORPGs).
Much thanks for his link permission!
"I quit my MMOG yesterday because I got sick of always running around like crazy trying to get things done just so I could get back online. I was tired of the incessant nagging little voice in my head pleading with me to go back to the computer. I had quit before but gone back, promising myself I’d limit it to a couple of hours a day after the kids were in bed. Well… 2 hours turned into four hours. Then I started to play for an hour at breakfast and an hour at lunch as well. Then I started to play all day while the kids were in school and again for hours after they went to bed. I do give myself credit for never playing when the kids were around but playing all day when they were gone meant that I had to pick up the slack with the housework after they got home, not leaving much time for actually interacting with them, hence the running around frantically just so I could get back online. My husband rarely saw me (granted he’s a workaholic, but he does work from home in the evenings) because I was in the office chatting away with my virtual “friends.” It’s a pathetic existence really. Nothing you can do online is an accomplishment that would even equal cleaning the toilet in real life. It’s all a big nothing, a big illusion. It feels good to accomplish something in these virtual worlds but the accomplishments are truly meaningless and come at a huge cost. How many precious hours of my life were wasting sitting alone in front of a computer? The saddest thing is that I’m not getting those hours back."
Saturday, June 04, 2005
"I was deeply into Final Fantasy XI(FFXI). I played it not knowing how involving it would become. Minutes turned into hours. I played it midway during my senior year and maintained a fairly good social life. I didn't have any downfalls in my life during when I was involved with this game. The main thing that was getting to me was that everything took forever to do. In these MMORPG games everything takes a day to do. This is one of the biggest reasons people are addicted. In a game like a shooting game or a fighting game or a platform adventure game you won't need to play the entire game just for a day to get anywhere. You won't find someone obsessively trying to find a super powerful thin for hours on end that the developers tease the players with. I remember a day where trying to find a key that players claim can be found in 2 hours ended up turning into 4 hours. It's things like this that make players not want to stop. They always want to finish up these things, then they start another task... and it most likely goes longer than expected. It just builds up and as the player reaches higher standards, the time alotted just gets bigger and bigger. I noticed this eventually and survived the 1st semester through college with good grades. Once my 2nd semester began I ended up cancelling my account because I refused to be another MMORPG failure statistic.
I hear about people quitting work to play the game and such and it's just rediculous. I remember one player hating me because he wanted me to help him right then and there will getting some piece of armor and I wasn't able to help him right then and there because I left the game on to run a bazaar(something a lot of players do to get money)and when I told him I couldn't help him he got extremely mad. It just shows how obsessive these players are. I'm grateful I didn't go any further because the game was becoming a chore after a while. Three hours was the normal time required for trying to gain character levels in parties. Everything was becoming about money and power. People end up needing money for their equipment and levels to show how much they feel they are worth. The game even drops people's levels and it'll cause frustration for the players when they die and lose a level.. and it'll keep them playing even longer.
I love online games, but MMORPGs are way too much to deal with. It's hard to enjoy other games or other activities when wanting to succeed in a MMORPG. Players who feel good about what they got in MMORPGs end up wanting to get more and more. It becomes almost like a competition in a way and RPGs shouldn't really be competitions. I play other online games when I have the time now, and they aren't MMORPGs. I can pick them up and put them down so much easier. This is because I'm never putting anything on hold when I put down the game which isn't the case for MMORPG players. Players never want to put a party to a stop because it'll make them look bad. I remember 1 player stopping a party because he said his mother wanted him to go play the violin. With the games I play now, they have no obligations. There are no spots that will destroy me if I put the game down. a Worst case scenario would mean 5-15 minutes to put down a game, and that's in a hectic situation. In FFXI, where the party normal time is 3 hours, that's if you have a party all ready to go and fight, there were days where it'd take 1 hour just to recruit the party because the jobs were so mandatory.
After going through this I decided enough was enough. I managed to quit before it was going to severely effect me. If players are able to handle dealing with such a game good luck. But with a lot of MMORPG games I know the stories are pretty bad. People are losing their lives, destroying their social lives, and losing their jobs and such. It's not worth it in the long run. MMORPGs are fantasy lands but they don't compare to real life which is an adventure in itself with so much more involved. When I play my games now, they aren't a chore, and if someone calls me up wanting to hang out, I can do that unlike other gamers in these addicting games."
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
"Look at it this way... I was once a hardcore EQ addict. Fortunately I discovered the game after I earned my Master's degree and got a good full-time job. But unfortunately, it ate up 2 years of my life, and I had nothing to show for it. I almost lost that job, scrambled several times to make excuses for my strange behavior. I discovered that my online "friends" meant nothing in reality, and my "euphoric" gaming experiences meant even less.
After I quit EQ, I started dating, I got in shape, and I changed my whole way of life. I found my wife, and we have been married almost 4 years. We are happy, and we are expecting our first baby soon. None of this would have happened if I had not quit EQ. When I was playing that game hardcore, I was effectively neutered and isolated from the world.
WoW is no different. Why am I writing this now? The story is a little more complex than me just quitting EQ... Since I have been married, I've tried other games like DAOC and WoW. I've had this fantasy that somehow I could discover a "happy medium" of casual online gaming, and my wife has played with me on and off. But I can tell you from years of experience, it is a waste of time. It has not destroyed our marriage, but it has not improved our lives. We decided after a couple weeks of WoW that we have definitively outgrown this "hobby."
I am 33 now, and I would pay any amount of money to have all that time back, from EQ and some of the other games. If I had spent that time learning to be a great cook, or developing some hobby like music, or participating in the volunteer activities, my life would feel much more balanced.
Think about it. I guarantee you, you play these games to escape the real world. But at the end of it all, what will you have to show for it? Real happiness comes from challenging yourself, setting real goals and meeting or exceeding them. Imagine your greatest euphoria from WoW... Now picture how I felt when I was a key member of a championship-winning [sports] team, a year after quitting EQ.
It is CRAZY to talk about being afraid to "miss out on WoW." What about missing out on COLLEGE? These could be the best years of your life, and you will not get to re-do them. You don't enjoy your classes? Find something else that challenges you. Are you shy and afraid of people? Challenge yourself. Work out. Make yourself socialize. You will never get any better if you do not try. WoW and other games will always be there, trust me. But your youth will not be.
Ask yourself, are you embarrassed to discuss your favorite activity with your friends and family? That's how it was in my worst EQ days. My family and friends stopped calling me -- when they could reach me I spoke to them like a zombie with keyboard sounds in the background. If I had died at that point, my epitaph would have been "Here lies an overeducated academic overachiever who got addicted to gaming and ignored everybody who loved him." Would that be you too?
Trust me, give up the gaming addiction, and don't look back."