The neverending pull.....

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The neverending pull.....

Postby happiness on Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:34 am

Hi everyone...

Im getting close to my full 2 years free of WoW (1st of July). This off course is a great accomplishment in itself - hurray. But I would like to share my feelings for WoW almost 2 years completely out of the game. I've been doing some research on the topic of gaming addiction related to my work and this all mounts up to the following ramble.

When I think of WoW - it makes me long for the game. I miss being immersed in the fantastic world with a feeling of constantly improving my little character. Its almost as if he was alive in that game. In spite of having cursed WoW over and over for almost destroying my life, I can sit this day today and think positively of this game. I am jealous at people who can play it in moderation - something that I believe I would never be able to do. Thats why I've never gone back to the game. I don't trust myself enough because the feelings of pleasure I get from thinking about the game almost makes me irrational.

Isn't it fascinating that I can long for something, that I played 2 years ago as if it was yesterday. I recently attended a lecture on drug-addiction and the person giving it used himself and his smoking-habits as a good example. Being more than 12 years since his last cigaret he still found himself ending up in irrational scenarios where he tried to justify to himself to just smoke a single cigaret.

So strong is the pull in the brain once you have messed with the areas for reward and accomplishment. Dopamine being the neurotransmitter in all of this.

So is gaming-addiction a disease on par with drug-addiction? Well more research in the field needs to be done. But it has been shown that gaming increases dopamine-release in the vulnerable areas of the brain. So if the amounts of dopamine released are abnorm, changes will happen to the brain - and it will develope an addicted state - allways longing for the increased amounts. At least thats what happens with drugs - and research will be needed to see if it also happens with excessive gaming.

I feel confident that this research at some point will show that these areas of the brain can be changed to a pathological degree with excessive gaming - especially in the young and still not fully-developed brain. Why this confidence? Well I have never in my 20+ years of gaming had an addiction to a game as happened with WoW. I've never longed for playing a game for almost 2 years. In spite of my knowledge on the harmfull effects on me with this game - I still try to argue inside my head for the small possibility that I could play it just a bit.

Something happened to my mind. And Im affraid it will take many more years of not playing before the pull is just a faded memory.........
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby Neglected on Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:36 pm

:hug Happiness and Congratulations :joy Yea you!

Thanks for sharing the insight into your own addiction.

Yes, it is amazing. Hang in there, we are all here for you.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby Chunev on Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:34 am

Sounds very plausible. Thank you for this insight, and keep on with your research! You might as well get more official recognition and treatments out of this.

Brain changes and craving are icky things, since it's fundamentally your personality that these things are changing. I guess one thing to strive for would be to find real life just as rewarding as those artificial superworlds. For me, helping out fellow humans pretty much does the trick. Running a voluntary recycling center with occasional heavy furniture. Some take long jogs amidst nature and wonder at sunsets and wildlife in their natural beauty. Finding that something that makes life worth living for should keep our brains geared toward living it too.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby magliadoro on Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:07 am

gaming is very definitely an addiction. I speak from personal experience. I just quit and deleted WoW again today for the... well, AGAIN. Let's see how long I last this time. I swear, it was easier to quit drinking than it has been to quit gaming.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby kaysea on Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:08 pm

Just curious. Did you ever check your total play time? If so may I ask.....
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby Djorn on Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:23 am

I'm glad to see you're still around happiness. As i've said before, I think gaming addiction is a form of addiction. Everybody has an addiction, they are not always unhealthy. Anyway, I visited today because I am feeling similar emotions to you. I think it's about three years since I played WoW, but today I am craving it (or at least another MMO.)

Life is good and I haven't found it particularly hard to not play an mmo. I even played WAR for a while but stopped. I still have my Xbox 360 and try to play it and enjoy the games, but I just can't. 'Normal games' have never been the same since WoW, WoW pretty much ruined them and I am tempted to go back to mmo's to get some of that enjoyment back.

When I was kid, when I was unhappy, I'd used to play games, and I'd be happy again. This doesn't work anymore, and I miss that simple fix for when I'm feeling down. I tend to write instead now, and I feel more mentally healthy because of it, but I still miss that simple enjoyment.

I have different hobbies now. What they are exactly is only important when I am judging myself in third person, thinking about how I am percieved by society. What is really important is how I feel, and I'm looking for things that make me happy. With reference to your other thread, you should do the same. Just find things that make you happy, whatever it is. How your hobbies are percieved by others is not important.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby happiness on Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:02 pm

About 200 days played on my main wow character.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby max901 on Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:41 pm

Hello, I'd agree that in some aspects the urge to play again somehow never goes away completely. Myself, I'm about 2.5 yrs free from WoW after playing it religiously for over 2 yrs and I would say for the better part of the first year off of the game I could not stop thinking about it.

Eventually, the urge slowly faded until I don't really think about it anymore. It just takes a while to wean off of the addiction, at least that was my own experience. For myself, I needed to cut out anything WoW related from my life. What I mean is that after I quit playing the game, I developed a new addiction to mmorpg addiction sites like wowdetox, gamerwidow, etc. I was visiting them very often and I think that for me at least, by keeping the idea of the game there, even if I wasn't playing I was keeping it alive in me somehow by writing about it, reading addiction stories, etc. I hope I'm making some sense there.

That isn't to say that site like these aren't a tremendous help and source of support, they are definitely. But for me there came a point where WoW needed to be dropped, and everything else related to it. Still to this day I do occasionally pop in and read some posts here and there but it's probably like once every 3-4 months instead of every hour like I used to. And I do still think about it once in a blue moon, kind of like a passing thought, but no longer a yearning pulling desire that I used to have.

I hope that you reach the point where you truly find contentment and peace of mind from not having to think about this game anymore. Best of luck and keep hanging in there.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby WoWsurvivor on Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:17 pm

I know the feeling about immersion. I was a fan of the game's lore first and foremost. However, that was overshadowed by the game design and before I knew it I was just clicking on stuff. I wouldn't suggest it for everyone, but I know that I sometimes cope with that by visiting WoW wiki. I was able to actually read about the stories in the fantasy universe, which was great. I never was a high-end raider so I never would have seen those places and even if I did, I would have been too distracted by the stand here and hotkey this and loot instructions to actually follow the story. But, as I said, that is just advice for someone who won't spiral back into it.

I am wildly ashamed of this, but I even wrote a small piece of fan fiction one time just to get the WoW craving out of my system. It was about Redridge or something, one of my favorite zones. Sure, it could never be published because it isn't my property, but it allowed me to revisit the world without paying money/ruining my life and it even served as a quality writing exercise since I was working within someone else's universe.

As for the chemical addiction points, that is for a scientist to figure out. I know I used WoW as drug to forget bigger issues I was dealing with.
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“I have given up in despair. All the clap-trap and fol-de-rol and mysticism were too much for me. As if there wasn’t beauty and mystery and charm enough in real life without going over to the supernatural for your great effects. It must be the vulgarest kind of mind which has to resort to blue lights an tinsel and pantomime to produce any impression” –Edith Wharton, author of over 20 novels and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, reviewing a novel as a teenager.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby Shadow Guest on Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:28 pm

Actually, what had me attached to the game for awhile too was the lore. Its quiet an epic tale of various races and their plight to sustain their way of life. I also liked reading in the WoW wiki a lot too.

I know there are some official publications out regarding too. I still play, but the game is honestly just grinding, questing and raiding. You don't feel the lore like you would in a regular RPG like Final Fantasy.

And if you’re really into writing there is a site called Fanfiction.net where you can post whatever and just have disclaimer reminding readers what copyrighted to whomeve. They have generally everything, if its of any interest.

Fantastic quote, by the way.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby WoWsurvivor on Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:14 am

Thanks for the info, maybe I'll check out that site and throw what I wrote up there so it doesn't go to complete waste lol.

Yeah, when I read this quote I loved it. I personally enjoy fantasy and sci-fi, but my wife constantly questions why kids (we have a baby) need to be introduced to fairy tales and magic so young. She understands that adults might want to escape, but why should a child when there is still so much about this world to learn about.

Then I read that quote in the last New Yorker, and thought it was funny how much Wharton felt the same way. I've honestly never read any of her books, but appreciate that thought. Her production also stands as a great example of what we can accomplish in life without games. Why aren't WE the ones writing the stories? (I write so it just resonates I guess)

Anyway, thanks again!
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“I have given up in despair. All the clap-trap and fol-de-rol and mysticism were too much for me. As if there wasn’t beauty and mystery and charm enough in real life without going over to the supernatural for your great effects. It must be the vulgarest kind of mind which has to resort to blue lights an tinsel and pantomime to produce any impression” –Edith Wharton, author of over 20 novels and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, reviewing a novel as a teenager.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby acolorado on Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:16 pm

Nice post happi ! I just quit gaming a few weeks ago. I've had some definite withdrawal. I can relate to thinking about the game - just natural when you've quit something I know. I'm also a recovered alcoholic of 8 years, and you're post really hit home with some things.

I know how seductive it is to try to relive the addiction and think of all the good times. It's called romantasizing. It seems like a natural thing to do in recovery but in my experience it's hugely dangerous. I had this driven into me in early recovery :lol . Pretty soon you forget the nightmare it turned into. Every time I catch myself starting to do this i stop - just stop - and start thinking about the real results. I wasted 2 years of my life on this game. At the end I didn't even want to log in - it was a chore but I kept chasing that high I had at the beginning, even though it would never happen. All my friends where there. They were gone as soon as I was too :lol . I gained weight .... dear God I am a giant pale hairy maggot at the moment! My life stopped completely while I was unplugged from the real world - I've got dreams man and those will never happen if I log in again. I could ruin what I do have in a split second. Just by logging in. Because only God know's when I would get out again. I have to think that through all the way, and it always ends as ugly as the last time.

As for addiction, I have no doubt that gaming can become an addiction. You're absolutely on the money. I was just as controlled and hopeless when it came to gaming as with alcohol. In one major way the gaming was worse. It was slow. When I got drunk I wound up in jail, or detox, or the hospital. Not every time of course but every time it happened it was because I was drinking. If I picked up a drink that was the inevitable outcome... and it happened fairly soon, a week or two tops. With gaming though - I just let things go. It took years for the destruction to reach a point where I woke up to it, but just like drinking it was inevitable. It was much easier for me to think of my gaming as a harmless past-time because the consequences built up so slowly. They were just as terrible in the end. I have lost - or simply never gotten - so much. This thing destroy's lives and families, just like alcohol. Hell, kids can look at a drunk dad and know he's a drunk - that's why he's such a horrible parent. In spite of all the trauma, they can still remember dad sober, and loving. What about a dad who just plays video games though, and puts that ahead of them? How can you tell yourself that's a parent who loved you? Damn, I'm sitting here thinking about that and I've just decided two things - 1) I am definitely having kids and 2) I will never touch a video game again.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby Djorn on Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:47 am

acolorado wrote:Nice post happi ! I just quit gaming a few weeks ago. I've had some definite withdrawal. I can relate to thinking about the game - just natural when you've quit something I know. I'm also a recovered alcoholic of 8 years, and you're post really hit home with some things.

I know how seductive it is to try to relive the addiction and think of all the good times. It's called romantasizing. It seems like a natural thing to do in recovery but in my experience it's hugely dangerous. I had this driven into me in early recovery :lol . Pretty soon you forget the nightmare it turned into. Every time I catch myself starting to do this i stop - just stop - and start thinking about the real results. I wasted 2 years of my life on this game. At the end I didn't even want to log in - it was a chore but I kept chasing that high I had at the beginning, even though it would never happen. All my friends where there. They were gone as soon as I was too :lol . I gained weight .... dear God I am a giant pale hairy maggot at the moment! My life stopped completely while I was unplugged from the real world - I've got dreams man and those will never happen if I log in again. I could ruin what I do have in a split second. Just by logging in. Because only God know's when I would get out again. I have to think that through all the way, and it always ends as ugly as the last time.

As for addiction, I have no doubt that gaming can become an addiction. You're absolutely on the money. I was just as controlled and hopeless when it came to gaming as with alcohol. In one major way the gaming was worse. It was slow. When I got drunk I wound up in jail, or detox, or the hospital. Not every time of course but every time it happened it was because I was drinking. If I picked up a drink that was the inevitable outcome... and it happened fairly soon, a week or two tops. With gaming though - I just let things go. It took years for the destruction to reach a point where I woke up to it, but just like drinking it was inevitable. It was much easier for me to think of my gaming as a harmless past-time because the consequences built up so slowly. They were just as terrible in the end. I have lost - or simply never gotten - so much. This thing destroy's lives and families, just like alcohol. Hell, kids can look at a drunk dad and know he's a drunk - that's why he's such a horrible parent. In spite of all the trauma, they can still remember dad sober, and loving. What about a dad who just plays video games though, and puts that ahead of them? How can you tell yourself that's a parent who loved you? Damn, I'm sitting here thinking about that and I've just decided two things - 1) I am definitely having kids and 2) I will never touch a video game again.


:) :)

love your decisiveness and clarity.

p.s. what is it with gamers/ex-gamers and writing? how are the two linked? maybe we just love fantasy worlds and stories.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby Cenarius on Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:40 pm

I definately can identify with the love for ones character.

My druid's name is Organtis (get it, like from the earth, no chemicals), anyways he was awesome. Had green hair, looked awesomely powerful in all his epic gear. As a druid he could do it all and I had all the gear to do it. I could join my guild in 25 man Naxx as a Tank, Healer, Caster dps, or Melee dps and still find myself competitive in all forms. Certainly I always topped the healing meters or was second, and top 5 in damage if I was a Moonkin. My guild loved me and brought me everywhere with them. Not only was I awesome but the lore was awesome, hence my name in the forum, Cenarius. It seems like only yesterday and I hope Elune grants me the power to stay away.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby Djorn on Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:29 am

Cenarius wrote:I definately can identify with the love for ones character.

My druid's name is Organtis (get it, like from the earth, no chemicals), anyways he was awesome. Had green hair, looked awesomely powerful in all his epic gear. As a druid he could do it all and I had all the gear to do it. I could join my guild in 25 man Naxx as a Tank, Healer, Caster dps, or Melee dps and still find myself competitive in all forms. Certainly I always topped the healing meters or was second, and top 5 in damage if I was a Moonkin. My guild loved me and brought me everywhere with them. Not only was I awesome but the lore was awesome, hence my name in the forum, Cenarius. It seems like only yesterday and I hope Elune grants me the power to stay away.


Hey Cenarius, welcome. I'm glad to hear you did what you wanted too and quit (i gathered from other part of forum.) As cool as that Druid sounds (always wanted to be one) staying away will be worth it in the long run.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby Tx72 on Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:42 pm

Hm, it's quite different for me. I played A LOT in original WoW, but eventually got bored and quit a while, and never really got into it again like I did during that first period. Don't get me wrong, I still played quite a bit when my interest was rekindled due to the new expansions, but I mostly played as a loner from that point on since my interest in raiding was more or less gone.

I haven't played for a while now, but I don't have any urge whatsoever to start playing again. Only reason I might pick it up again for a bit is if some irl friends I used to play with start playing again. But for now, I'm not interested in the slightest, and I'm actually wondering if I'll ever play any MMO again. I'm hardly playing any games for that matter, and I hardly used my Xbox360 lately.
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Re: The neverending pull.....

Postby jesonkwilliam on Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:19 pm

I think this is really great thing that you have completed your two years almost and at the same time I really want you to be with us here for a long time so we can share our game experience here and at the same time can know something new about the wow.
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