The following is a story by a member of the WoW_widow yahoo group, his story is amazing!
Well I must say it's good to find this group and know it exists! It is
certainly comforting to find people out there who have been in similar
situations. From my own personal experiences, when you are immersed in
WoW (and especially the attitude and actions of the people around you)
you are fairly isolated from the real world, and your own thoughts and
attitude change so much without you noticing.
Hopefully, this story gives another view or insight into the mind and
events of the WoW addict while they are immersed in the game. I felt
compelled to share my story.
My Wife has always been interested and to some extent played small
online role playing games occasionally. Eventually she managed to get
me involved which seemed initially alright, considering we were
playing together. When WoW was released though, it changed everything.
The game is extremely addictive and the mechanics and interactions,
work skills effectively determine great amounts of your time. Some
would say no, you can control your time in WoW and getting addicted is
your own lack of self control. I disagree with this statement for a
variety of reasons, from leveling your character to the 60 limit,
maybe..... although for the end game content (molten core and other
dungeons), it is designed to ensure you need forty people to perform
these tasks cohesively which takes a whole weekend, sometimes 6-10
hours each day. These encounters are designed as such if you
leave/retract your attention from certain important events for even a
short period of time (for example to talk to your wife or even go to
the toilet); it negatively affects the whole `raid' (the forty people
group). You can end up being responsible for the whole `raid' failing.
The quality of the items and rewards found in these dungeons far
outweighs anything available outside, so this is mainly a self driven
incentive to spend copious amount of time in these dungeons earning
`points' to be able to spend on these items when they finally appear.
Bearing in mind, these epic items have a percentage drop rate, meaning
it may take months of attendance (every weekend!) to even see a
particular item you are after appear. Even then, you need to bid
against another person and have the points available (accumulated from
your constant commitment) to be eligible for the item. As you can see,
to get the better edge and experience the end game content requires a
massive time investment. We ended spending nine months living like
this just focused on doing end game content.
After finding the lack of content when our characters became level 60
(the highest game level available), we joined a `guild' that
specialized in end game content. These raid dungeons demand excessive
time (as explained above), and including preparation of materials as a
pre-requisite. I found our eating habits had changed, the issues
encountered in my work and family life I would avoid, and play the
game instead. My friends, forget them… play the game instead.. sickies
at work…stay home and play the game. I'd play the game at any spare
time I had. At the time, being in close vicinity to work, I would even
travel home to actually check on the status on auctions in the game
during my lunch time.
It even got to the stage, where a good friend of mine would ring my
bell at my flat, I would see that it was him, and decide I couldn't be
bothered seeing him as there are more important and enjoyable
activities happening in the game at the time... so I would just ignore
that he even rang the bell. I deeply regret these actions, which at
the time seemed to me perfectly acceptable. I'd think about the
excuses that playing WoW is keeping me from drinking etc... It's a
safe recreational activity. I'm sure everyone has heard these excuses
Furthermore, these `dungeon raids' would determine when I should be
playing. I would dedicate weekends and weeknights. You were scheduled
to attend certain times by the raid leaders; I really had no decision
when I wanted to play anymore. If you decided not to attend, it was
looked upon negatively and you were also judged on attendance record
and performance during the raids. Bad attendance or `lack of
commitment' by not turning up to every `raid' resulted in expulsion
from the guild. Attendance thresholds were at 90%! Whole weekends
would pass without evening seeing the sun, (and still dressed in my
bed clothes) and skipping meals mostly only having one meal per day…
which was just something that `had to be done'. Although after we had
eaten in the evening, soon after we ended up back in the game.
Every day after work, every weekend was consumed by playing WoW. There
were guild commitments and events happening every night of the week.
Surprisingly, I was starting to get frustrated with certain things in
the game, mainly the repetition and requirements which in turn
demanded too much time. I'd found the others I would interact with,
were really only there for selfish reasons (i.e. the rewards found in
these dungeons) and the attitude and treatment towards others was
horrible. Fair enough, people would argue it's just a game and people
do and act however they want. Although, to me I would respect that
there are other people sitting behind these keyboards, and treat
others with respect. Since there was the ability to have voice chat
with other guild members, the argumentative nature of issues and
problems discussed was very heated. Imagine these people were tearing
each other apart on these voice conferences over virtual objects and
power play. Eventually we ended up only spending time with a handful
of people we had met… although even this was repetitive the fun was
certainly disappearing. People feel a certain amount of empowerment in
the game, and can dabble in leadership and many other things that may
be unattainable opportunities and experiences or social connections in
their real lives, so they feel comfortable and powerful in their
gaming community and would never leave.
We once met up with some fellow gamers (another married couple) for a
late lunch at a local restaurant, and in some ways at the time it was
refreshing to actually do something social again (however crazy this
sounds). Although that day, something struck me quite hard. The fellow
gaming couple, sharply stopped the social time with us.. having to
leave as soon as they had their meal and ` get back for an arranged
dungeon activity' that they had organized. I thought to myself… hey we
arranged to sit down eat a meal and have fun, and they are leaving to
go back to the game. Once we arrived back home, literally a 15 minute
walk, we also decided to log into the game and see what was happening.
Five or so minutes later the couple was in WoW again. I thought to
myself… they must have driven quickly or even run red lights to get
back to their home (the normal travel distance is about 40 minutes).
The husband even admitted his wife was driving extremely fast to get
back and by the sounds of things even taking risks on the road to get
back to the game.
This event made me reflect on our own actions, and our own lives… and
we started to step back and face what we were doing to our lives.
Questioned our motives and enjoyment in the game, and furthermore were
we happy with how we were living.
Honestly, sometimes I wonder what was keeping me in the game; I
actually got to the stage where I disliked it, and the people in it.
Although, it was strange that I just keep resorting to play it even
though I started to hate it.
The interactions with others seemed to really be the only thing left
keeping me interested in the game. Although, we learned after we quit,
people were really only interested in the loss of contribution, as the
roles of our characters were apparently `important to the guild' for
them to attain certain things. They found it impossible to understand
why you would blatantly quit permanently after over a year of time and
effort into your characters.
We spent three weeks away from the game, and it was the best thing we
ever did. I started to exercise more and spend time with that
particular friend who had been persistent with me for the past year,
started playing piano and guitar again (the amount of dust on my
musical instruments was crazy) Although, I've found he really is the
only remaining friend now. The other friendships are damaged and
unfortunately to some extent lost. Hopefully time will heal. Although,
this is a result of my own actions and stupidity, and something I accept.
I felt the best thing for us was to cancel the accounts, get rid of
the CDs, and delete any remaining internet bookmarks in web browsers,
and files relating to the game and the game itself from our PCs. Now
we are trying to get our lives back in order.
In summary, the end game content of WoW demands so much of your time.
This includes preparing and `farming money' to pay for materials
required for these dungeon encounters…and the dungeon encounters them
Thanks again and I sincerely hope this will help someone out there.
Founder of GamerWidow.com
Please feel free to become a contributing author to the site! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.