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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I hesitated a bit but decided to post this mockumentary (via socialstudygames via slashdot) anyways because it is just too damn funny. Yes, not every MMORPGer acts and looks like this, and yes, there are fine-looking specimen of the male and female gender that choose to play the game. But really, can you honestly say that, as an D&D fan slash online gamer, you have NEVER met anyone like this? I have vague recollections of having taken part in similar moments.

We quit! End game raiders perspective of WoW from the GamerWidow site.

"I have played WoW since the Beta was available for european gamers. I liked it vermy much and enjoyed beeing part of an online world. Since the realase in Feb 2004 (again european servers) I played like mad. I brought 5 Characters to the max level, was second in command of the most competitive guild on the server. My online times grew constantly, from 2or 3 hours a day in the begining to about 13 or sometimes even 20 or more hours per day. ( I also refused to sleep and stayed awake more than 24 hours gaming sometimes :(

I completly alienated from my social contacts ( There was no time to meet real life people), not to mention my grades (not sure bout the word) at college.

I played literally day and night, even to such an extent that I got ( and still suffering from) health problems.

`Then came the fatefull day:
My Girlfriend left my and told me that she does not want to see me ever again. It hit me badly. I never ever could have mentioned that my sweety could actually LEAVE. I paniked and beged her to stay with me and cried and all that and she told me that I have to delete all my Chars. I was crying, It really hurted me cause those things were so important to me , BUT I did it. She left two weeks later for another guy :( but thats anothr story

Now I´m sitting at home realising that the first computer game i have ever played (I didnt have any games on my pc before wow) has totally ruined my life. I lost my friends, family, and my girlfriend due this game. I have some health problems, and lost about 1 and a half year from my Collegue Semesters. I have lost much more than just the actuall time I have spend. I know all that and it drives me crazy. But the reason why I`m posting here is that I need an answer how to get rid off this emptyness I feel. And how to bear all the pain I have inflicted to myself because of my gaming habits. Right now I have a new WoW account in my Hands and I have to figth wih myself not to reinstall it. To me it seems there is nothing left in my life expect the game. It really frightens me to read what I wright here.

So I hope this makes any sence ( grammaticaly )

I just wanted someone to know about my situation cuz I`m feeling really lonely now and dont know anyone to talk to."

"my boyfriend started to play before we met 5 years ago, he stopped when we met and he started back like a month and a half ago. eq makes my life live in hell. My boyfriend changed so much since he started playing the game, he is playing like 15 to 20 hours a day which is just crazy, most of the time in the night because we live in Europe and he is american so he wants to play with american people. I keep telling him i am feeling lonely because we don't spend time together, when i get up he goes to sleep for a few hours and goes back on the game."

"My husband began the game in 2000. He also played 7 days a week. On weekends he would easily play for 15 hours straight. On top of all of this, he had gained A LOT of weight from drinking while playing the game. I tried to compromise with him by asking him to play every other day so we could have more family time. He would agree but not follow through. The next raid was more important than the first and he was either finding his corpse or helping someone else find theirs. He would also purchase items from other players, some for pretty outrageous amounts. I take care of our finances so I would notice the draft from our account for the purchased items.

I finally told him last year... if he did not stop disregarding my needs and feelings, throwing away our family's money and ignoring our ... children, he would find himself without a family. He ignored my request, I continued to warn him.... I withdrew my loan application to purchase the house we lived in which required both of us to move. I moved into a weekly rate hotel with the children until they finished school in May, I then moved ... close to my parents. He moved in with his parents .... Our divorce was final in May. I asked for no money from him, I just wanted out.

I got a great job, bought a new vehicle and was really getting my life as a single mother together. He saw what he was losing, he went to counseling for his game addiction, started dieting and exercising and came ... to see me 2 months later.... He had lost all of his weight and looked great. Furthermore, he had stopped playing the game. I still held a lot of bitterness and doubt so I remained in .... He called and asked me to go to counseling with me, etc.. I finally decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. I attended counseling with him. I moved back ... in early September and we were remarried ... after 7 months of seperation and 4 months of

He is now clean of EQ and very much a family man. Sometimes they just don't know what they got until it's gone. I'm not promoting divorce but that is what I had to do in order for him to see the light, unfortunately for our children. He has told me numerous times if I had not have left him, he would still be playing EQ.

So, there is still hope."

Friday, January 27, 2006

Much thanks goes to the person who emailed me this yesterday:

"Subject: yet another story

My husband is an addict. I had no idea when he started with EQ II last year that our lives would change forever, but they most certainly did.

He started playing every other day, and I would sit at our second computer and watch him play, amused at the antics the online characters could perform. My particular favorite was the dancing, and he would frequently ask the other players to "dance" for me. Soon, however, he started playing every day, which turned into at least 4 hours a night. I had no desire to sit for that long in front of a computer, so I started trying to find my own things to do in the house while he played. Hey, I knew he needed to "relax" after work, so I was trying to give him space. Besides, any time I brought up the fact I was feeling neglected or that I wanted help around the house, he would get so upset and claim that he couldn't let his guild members down - they had been planning this raid all week, geez!

I was an EQ II widow. No longer did I have a partner in my marriage. Instead, I was a single parent (to my child and husband!) and the maid. He would stay at his computer until long after I was asleep and rush home after work to get online before I got home. If we attempted to plan an outing outside of the house, he would get hysterical and be so unpleasant until we got home so he could see what he missed. He bought headphones so he could talk to his guildmates in "real time." Yes, he was, without question, speding more time with them than with his family.

I was constantly covering for him and excusing his behavior with our child, my family, our friends, and his family about his constant gaming. It was like, I imagine, living with an alcoholic. And like an alcoholic, he became truly skilled at hiding and lying about his addiction. I found out later that he was spending upwards of 8+ hours a night on the game and starting to skip work to stay home and play.

Our marraige was suffering. We were not communicating at all. I would have "blow-ups" and scream and yell about how I was feeling, and he would react by playing his game more because "our marriage wasn't working." It was a never-ending circle, a Catch-22. He delved deeper into the game where he was powerful, popular, needed, and in-control. At this point he was guild leader and very important in that world. In the real world, his work was slipping, his kid didn't know him, his wife hated him, and he was incredibly unhealthy from late-night eating and inactivity. Online, however, he was king. Which would you choose, seriously?

Not unexpectedly, he started a relationship with someone in his guild which progressed from in-game chats to phone calls late at night. Finally, he had someone who understood and loved the game as much as he did and with whom he could complain about his terrible marriage. They both were very high-level characters and online together for hours at a time. This affair did indeed move to the next level, and he began speaking with her on a daily basis, many times a day. Now he had no excuse to deal with his real life outside of the game. He had everything he needed: a powerful online persona and, essentially, a girlfriend.

His ability to lie about his addiction and affair was taking its toll, and I found out about the phone calls. Regardless, it was too late for me to make a difference. He was so caught up in the game and that life - not only convinced he really was that character, but that she was his soulmate. Again, he lied to the people in his real life, and changed his travel plans with his family so he was alone. She flew in and they consummated their affair.

At some point, reality came crashing down, and he had some sort of epiphany. I had already confronted him and knew about her, and he realized what this game had done to his life. He was overweight, had high blood pressure and cholesterol, was cheating on his wife, didn't know his kid, had lost a year of progressing with his job, and so completely stopped living in the real world that he hadn't paid the power bill in 3 months. Before I came back into town, he had deleted the game, sold everything involved with his character, destroyed the disks and anything involved with the game, including his meticulous notebooks. He looked at his workspace around the computer and was horrified that he had been living like an animal for so long.

So, I guess he has a happy ending for an addict: he was able to break free and got his life back. Mine, however, is destroyed forever. He learned a magnificent lesson at my expense.

It has been months, and he has not picked up EQ II again. It is like he is an entirely different person - one who is involved, calm, thinks about other people instead of just himself, and a good father. Do I know the future for our relationship? No, but at least he is trying to head himself in the right direction.

*I know you do not normally publish stories that involve affairs, but I think it is important side-effect of the addiction, and it certainly did affect my daily life - as well as his. When this was all coming to a head, I was searching your site for stories like mine to try and help me put my life together, and I would have helped to read other peoples' stories. I don't think this is salacious, but rather an blow-by-blow accounting of how my family was affected by Everquest II.

Thanks for maintaining this site. In addition to helping me, it also helped my husband realize what an addict he was/is, and encouraged him to get therapy."

Monday, January 23, 2006

This is a follow-up from someone whose story was posted a year ago (January 11, 2005)

"I ... broke up with my ex because of his addiction; but he never quit the game. He didn't think it was an addiction either; and maybechemically it's not...but I think anyone who can't (won't?) give up something as trivial as a videogame for a person they claim to love has a real problem of some kind, and I choose to call it addiction for lack of a better word. If you don't like that one, "unhealthy obsession to the exclusion of everything else" works too.

We broke up about a year ago, and he goes through cycles; but in general, I would say he's still pretty addicted. Maybe slightly less than before, because he doesn't skip work as often as before. And every once in awhile he does yard work. But he probably still plays 30+ hours a week. Some 'hobby.'

Bitter? Yeah, a bit. ;)

... in general, I think what an addict is missing is a healthy sense of esteem. They feel frustrated or powerless intheir own life (to varying degrees, and for varying reasons), and they find a fantasy world where they can escape their own negative
self-image ... and, bonus, it's way easier to achieve success there. Everyone's as attractive as they want to be, and all you have to have is time.

It doesn't hurt that there's social interaction either. I think everyone craves acceptance and friends who "understand" them. And they're easy to come by in these games. In real life, it takes much more work."

Did or have you ever experienced catassing?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Things not to do.
A 21-year-old American online gaming fan broadcast his suicide on a Bulgarian Internet forum.... switched on his web cam and swallowed a large amount of motor antifreeze and pills after complaining about family problems and a lack of money...
(from Yahoo!News)

Just know the truth: That your "buddies" online will be shocked and perhaps feel even a little bit of guilt but are sure to move on to new topics in a short matter of time and forget that you've ever even been online. It's not worth wasting your life over that.

January 19: The above story was apparently completely fabricated, according to his roommate and several other friends from the forum (see the comments and this article or this one). So my apologies for posting this false story. On the other hand, I thought about the request to remove this post and I personally would prefer leaving this up, showing how easy it is to read news stories online and assume it's true, and at the same time keep the discussion open about this kind of topic. Because - in all honesty - it didn't surprise me when I read it. Would it surprise you?

I had an online friend from Everquest a few years back, someone I would exchange messages with (via game board) on an daily / weekly basis. He was only in his early 20s and living his life with reckless abandon... including drugs, booze, gaming, just everything. He felt at odds with his environment, his family, life in general. One day he told me that he might die from ODing himself - he sounded as if he had given up on life. Well, I never heard from him again. I don't know what happened to him. All I have is his first name, a link to a few pictures that he sent and his email. I've tried to track him down, searching with the few information bits I had, emailing him, checking if he had been online at the board, with no luck. To this day I wonder what happened to him.

The tricky thing about online friendships is that you can never be exactly sure what is going on unless you go beyond the online identity. In the above case, there were people who knew him in real life, people who knew enough about his identity in real life to follow up and demonstrate their friendship beyond the Internet. I am not sure how often that is the case.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Are virtual assets taxable? by Daniel Terdiman (CNN News)

I can only imagine the gleeful looks of the people who are left behind in the physical world...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"Its been 7 months since I quit playing and I am so glad that I did. I actually sat down and realized that in the 3 calendar years of having an account. I was logged in for almost 1.5 years. It is a sad commentary on the addiction that the game produces. It has been great to have my life back the last 6 months. I have accomplished more in 6 months than I did from 2/2002 till 6/2005. In addition I have made a decision to get rid of all my video games and systems in favor of physical fitness, historical learning, and real social interaction."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Found this interesting site musing about MMOGs, and this particular article:

"Labor of Love" (October 25, 2005) (which talks about grind-work in MMOGs)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

"I am a mother of three, my husband and I have been married for eight years. Overall, he is a good guy, but the only arguments that we have had over the past 3 years has been over Everquest. I have told him that it is an addictive game and that he is addicted. He uses it as an outlet and when he is depressed, he retreats in the game and is not aware of what is going on. I tell the story of how addicted he is because of an episode that happened one night. I finally took the mouse from the computer so that he could not play the game and went upstairs to our bedroom. It was 9:15 at night, just like an alcoholic he had to have his fix. He actually drove to radio shack, bought a mouse, played his game and then hid the mouse. I found out about it when I went to balance the checkbook and found the charge to Radio shack. The times we get into arguments is when I threaten to take away the mouse, again, he gets violent. He does not hit me, but throws things and puts holes in the walls of our house. If you would meet my husband you would never suspect this behavior. He is a very quiet man and rarely shows aggressive behavior. I have tried to make him realize what this has done to his life and how it affects his family, but he does not think it is an addiction. But It truly is a classic addictive behavior. It has gotten to the point where I feel so lonely. He rarely spends time with me. I spend most of my Friday nights watching TV with my kids, while he plays his game."

"...always nice to know you are not alone! Crazy thing is never realized and am just becoming enlightened to the fact this is a true and serious addiction rather than a SUPER liking to the game. Also coming to terms with I am his enabler as I watch him play like a loon and never make a big deal about his EXTENSIVE hours so as to keep the peace. On his days off from work he plays a minimun of 12-14 hours and he is off 3 days a week

PLUS plays every night after work 4-8 hours so he is truly addicted. Now that I see this for what it is I plan on addressing it and know it will not be very pleasant and he will be super defensive as he sees NOTHING wrong with it and if he doesn' have this to occupy his time then WHAT will he do. My thoughts are: you can take a shower, get a better job, spend some time with your family, read a book, work on your home you are fortunate enough to own (thanks to me!), etc....soo much else in REAL life that can be equally rewarding. I read some things on line as well that have been helpful. Mine is same with the dinner/meal situation, now I stop calling him he can just come down and find out for himself if dinner has been made. Not even sure the last time we all ate together at the table. I too am in love which is why this has gone on so long however the love is getting stale as time goes on and the problem does not get any better, the respect is pretty much out the window! Guess I thought one day this game would grow old/boring for him but I think Sony would never allow it to get boring hence they would lose money. I go about my social life and stay out however I feel like and he stays home playing."

"My brother ... is married and has 2 children. He plays Mon-Fri from about 6-10 pm, and 6-8 hours on Sat and Sun. He even eats dinner at his computer. His addiction precludes him from spending time with his kids and his wife. He rarely goes out, only to take his wife out for her birthday and anniversy, thats it for the year. He lost contact with his friends and when he comes over my house on occasion the conversation usually centers around the game. I used to play as well, but I kicked my addiction after 2 years of playing."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Daedelus Project has just released a new article called "A New Disease is Born" which deals with the concept of Internet (and online gaming) addiction. You can read it here: .

My only (public) comment: Watching TV for 30 hours every week is lame. Gaming online 30 hours a week is equally lame.

And I stick by my favourite term describing all these stories that I am collecting: Obsession.

Monday, January 02, 2006

There will always be good articles that I missed out on ... this one's an interesting perspective, since it's coming from RPG Expert, a site focusing on tips & tricks for popular MMORPGs. The article is a bit old (September 2003) but hasn't lost any relevance. Out of these 10 reasons, at least 7 of them turned me off Everquest eventually.

"RPG Expert - EverQuest - Reasons to Quit EverQuest

1. The game is extremely repetitive in nature. Go over there, kill the monster, loot it, wash, rinse and repeat over and over and over.

2. Your work will suffer. If you work near a computer you will waste work time going to or to look stuff up. You’ll come home during lunch to see if the spawn you are camping is up. You’ll take sick days when your guild has a big raid. I’m telling you.. your work will suffer.

3. Your family will suffer. Faction with your wife will plummet to an all time low. Girls already have this innate need to feel they are the most important thing in your dang life. Anything that creeps up to take No.1 place, bumping them out, will make them jealous. They will grow to hate the game and resent anything related to EverQuest. She will use EverQuest in arguments over and over, claiming it’s more important that your family. And she’ll be right.

4. It’s a poor excuse of a hobby. I tried using this as an excuse to play. “Honey, it’s a hobby. If I were fishing or some other hobby, you wouldn’t complain.” These days, nobody considers computer games a hobby unfortunately. Hobbies typically have something to show for your efforts I hear. What do you have to show for your effort on EverQuest? What? A 65th level Woof Elf Ranger with lots of nice gear? See what I mean?

5. It will make you fat. Sheez, look at all the EverQuest Conventions pictures. All fat people. You can’t put in a lot of time playing and not weight under 200 pounds, unless you are anemic or something.

6. Lack of sleep. EverQuest comes alive after about 10pm. The time zone changes with all the guild members makes for long nights raiding. You have dark circles under your eyes. You walk around in a stupor for the first few hours of the day because you were in a great group until 2 am and didn’t want to log.

7. Waste of money. Don’t make me add all this up. Costs about $12 per month, that’s $144 a year. Basic game cost me $30, plus every expansion (basic, Kunark, Luclin, Velious, LoY, Planes of Power... and now LDoN) that came out (about $30 an expansion on average) equals $150 soon to be $180. I got a character banned, so I bought me another one for $150. Character was stripped so I had to buy some platinum online, which was another $150. Found a few choice items at I had to buy, $75. Geez.. I cold have bought a motorcycle with the money I have spent so far.

8. You can’t explore other good games when you are devoting 40 hours a week playing EQ. Oh yeah, you download the demo and goof around with it for 10 minutes, but you are not really digging into it. Aw, this game sucks.. back to EQ. Pretty soon you are saying to yourself, “Sheez, Anarchy Online stole that idea from EverQuest. EverQuest is the game you judge all others by.

9. You want to talk to others about EverQuest who don’t play. They think you are a real freak as you tell them the game is so cool and in depth. Make sure to mention EQ weddings, the jewelry with special stats and effects, all your good friends in your guild, and how you have mastered the trade skills of baking and pottery. Oh no, this doesn’t sound strange to anyone.

10. You become anti-social to people you can touch. You really find your EQ friends more enjoyable than real life people. You work on finding a mate on EQ so you can group together, have a wedding and crap like that. You are conversing more in private chats with someone than you do in real life. Now, tell me that isn’t odd.

The list can go on and on. Oh, don’t think I am going to quit anytime soon. I just got I a great guild, hit level 65, and I met this chick in-game who really looks hot. I’m here for the long haul.

Stay safe and happy hunting"

Happy New Year and all the best to everyone for 2006!

I received this email around the holidays but didn't get around to posting it. It's a thoughtful post though, so perhaps it's good that it's not getting buried under all the holiday stuff... I don't know which article is being referred to (and never received an response on my email response), so if you happen to know (or guess), please let me know...

"I read an article you posted about Everquest and how it effected the families associated with the players. Many of them were really sad stories, and it made me reflect on my own family. I have been addicted to Everquest for some time playing in some cases over 40 hours straight and getting up only a couple times to use the bathroom. During this time my wife says she understands and such that it is a form of stress relief and she tries to come in and talk with me and stuff to only notice that I may be annoyed. I still do all of the things within my daily routine, and at the same time thinking about when she falls asleep how can I sneak away. I work out and during the time I am jogging I usually daydream about the game. Since I was MT [MT = main tank, j.] I was obligated to be at all of the raids and such. This article changed my outlook on the game and I left my guild. This gave me more free time with the family that I have been neglecting. I can see how happy my wife is. I sit back and realize how you escape into a fantasy world and just let yourself go. I don't know if this is any consolidation to any of the individuals within this blog, but I don't think their significant others meant anything bad. It was an addiction to the game that caused them to spend all of the hours. Sony set the standand and designed this game to be made in such a way that it takes hours and days to accomplish stuff that in other games span only minutes. This is not to take lightly what the Everquest players have done by any means, because in every instance their actions were horrible. How can I say this best. Their addiction is almost like a drug. I have never taken drugs, but I can almost relate to their addiction and cravings. Every waking moment is dedicated to the fix. Many people that don't play video games can only reflect and say how can an individual be addicted to a game. I'm not a psychiatrist and couldn't answer that question correctly, but as a game addict I can try to explain. While playing the game you get family oriented in which people depend upon you for tasks that because of your committment you are able to help them out. The sense of accomplishment when you attain something that has taken you months of solid playing around the clock to attain. To get flagged for certain areas actually takes no less than a year or two of playing 15-20 hours a day and some people accomplish this so you think you can also it could be equivalent to earning your college degree. Then you get to the new area only to find that you haven't scratched the surface. This article is years old so I don't know if you will receive it, but I am sending the email anyway."