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MMORPG Addiction

Posted by lordaltay1 Monday July 21 2008 at 12:46AM
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All MMORPG gamers know that playing an MMORPG is significantly different than playing an FPS or any other video game. Other video games simply don’t have the same sense of community and progression as MMORPGs or the same sense of accomplishment when leveling up. I’ve been playing MMORPGs ever since I was 11 years old and have grown up playing MMORPGs. I’ve played everything from Everquest to World of Warcraft and while doing so I’ve also been actively engaged in traditional gaming like console games and non MMORPG Pc games.

Throughout my entire gaming career I’ve never looked at the two as equals. I’ve always felt that what happened in MMORPGs “mattered more” than what happened in other games and sometimes more important than what happened in real life. I would get more excited about finding a rare item in say World of Warcraft or finding an amazing deal on a scroll in MapleStory than real live events like acing a test or going to the movies. During my days of playing Everquest, I would at times forget to eat, because I was so hooked on the game. Obviously, at some point I would have to grab something to eat, but even as I got hungry, I couldn’t bring myself to get off my computer and grab a snack, as I felt some sort of need to keep playing as I wanted to continue getting stronger in the game. I also remember that whenever I had to go to the bathroom, I would literally SPRINT to the bathroom and when I finished my business SPRINT back to the computer to continue playing. I’ve always played non MMORPGs, but they were never the same, as I never found myself playing any non MMORPG for more than 5 hours at a time. When I played Everquest, five hours was nothing. From the moment I woke up, I would SPRINT to my PC and start playing until I had to go to bed. I would only play non MMORPGs when I was taking a break from an MMORPGs, as beating a single player game never felt as good as leveling up in an online game.

When I was addicted to MapleStory I would play the game every single day. Every day after school, my brother and my two friends that also played MapleStory would come over to my house and we would all grind together from 3PM to 8:30PM each and every day. At 8:30PM they would go home and play from their own homes. Because I had 8 computers on my network, I could have a lot of people playing MMOs with me. I went through this exact same cycle when I played World of Warcraft, but the only difference was that I had four friends coming over every day to play with me. We would blast music from one of the computers and all grind together for hours on end.

Now that I’m older, I still find myself playing mostly free MMORPGs, but not to the point of playing them the entire day, but that’s partly because I haven’t been super addicted to any one MMORPG lately except for maybe Perfect World and Fly for Fun, as I still play them regularly. When I find another great game, odds are I’ll get hooked and play all day. I’m convinced though, that MMORPGs are addictive. The most addictive component is the sense of progression. MMORPGs make you feel that once you become higher level, you’ll be able to dominate the game and have a lot more fun than you’re having at lower levels. It’s that sense of being awesomely strong in the future that keeps you coming back. The only games that can keep you hooked for 5+ hours at a time are MMORPGs, and if that’s not addiction, I don’t know what is.

Crose writes:

How can you compare this to drug addicts who have a physical dependency and suffer withdrawal symptoms?  Obviously you have no idea what true addiction is.

Of course, the same could be said for morbidly obese people who claim they have a disease, parents who say their kids have ADD when they're actually suffering from SP (stupid parents), and the annoying people who run AA meetings and tell you that you're powerless.  So continue, I guess.  It doesn't make much difference.

Mon Jul 21 2008 3:45AM Report
Eluwien writes:

ad - dic - tion
the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.


Crose : the writer of this blog did not compare MMORPG addiction to a DRUG addiction, not with a word.

What comes to an addiction, that is most certainly what MMORPG's cause. I think lordaltay1 explains nicely there the cons and pros of MMORPG addiction and his own view of the addiction, wich is if I understood right, based on addiction to the feeling of power and progression within a community.

I've my self been playing online since as early as 94 and have started with MUD's and BBS & text based online games. During the years as I have I so have the games evolved further, and through Dooms and Tribes, DAoC's and EQ's, we're eventually in the point where MMORPG's are the main moneymill of the whole industry, and if you read this, I know you play them too.

I would say that in my life the cause for addiction to MMORPG's have been the community side of the games rather than the progression in game (or in some cases even the game itself).

Coming from Finland and when younger I was living in a backwood little town with less than 400 people from wich only handfull spoke same language than I did, internet was the only choise to gain social contacts of any kind. Later on all that have changed, and even if there is now more than million people living in the same city with me, I'm still hooked to the communities I've grown to be part of.

I have never found any other working explanation to the addiction, when compared to social communities in real life, than the hyperactive nature of online communities, specially the ones inside MMORPG's.

We're, or atleast I am, the generation of cellural phones, SMS's, @mails, chats and alike. The speed  our generation communicates is hunreds of times faster than the previous (semi-industrialized) one. And it peaks within an MMORPG.

It would be fools errand to claim that MMORPG socializing is same than real life equivalent, because its simply just way way more than that. Couple of simple examples to clear out what I mean :
- In RL you may belong into many communities, in wich you're more or less actively doing something together. A hobby one, friend one and one for the drinking buddys, girlfriends friends (urgh), family.  Its simply just so that in MMORPG world you may belong into dozens simultaneously, they're overlaping and constantly in motion, you can easily access all the motion and exitement and entertainment value of it is on purpose almost feeded to you. And they're all concentrating on field you are actually interested, at all times. The communitys are "safe", and easy to approach & go away.
- Socializing on 1 on 1 in RL, or even in bigger group when out with mates or meeting with family, its just slow and often unefficient/unpleasing. Compare it to simultaneously having chats open with dozens of people, keeping up with voice com's, forums and like passive info sources. Info of your interest, everywhere, is moving fast, its hyperactive, there is not even a way to get it all in.

Thing is, when you've grown up with this kind of approach, sitting down with 1 friend on a cafeteria talking about this and thats, asking your co-workers how their weekend were, it just feels so slow and unpleasing in comparsion.

I can easily understand that to a growing mind, specially in teenage years and why not later (I'm 26 now), the hyperactive superfast moving communities where you socialize with hunreds, feel unity with dozens, trust and friendship with group of your selecting - will grow to be an addiction. Not to mention that in online world meeting other people lacks all the prejudices and risk factors RL does.

So sprinting to toilet and back, just to keep up with the growing of your character (both the ingame, and fame of your name) in community far beoynd even your grasp is quite normal if you get down to it. I doubt sincerely that anyone can argue with this anymore, so many hunreds of stories have been heard, most of them quite like this, people are happy with their addiction and know how that its there, and how to live with it. They've found the good sides of it, like being able to write 400 marks in a minute 100% correctly, learning 2 other languages, later on meeting up with those dozens of people you would've never met without MMORPG addiction, like I have. Could've never imagine any other lifestyle that would've made me friends in Australia, South African Republic, Greece, Ireland or Norway, all at the same time.

I'm likely to even end up married, just because of this addiction.

Mon Jul 21 2008 4:44AM Report
Eluwien writes:

What comes to MMORPG addiction compared to a DRUG addiction.


Mon Jul 21 2008 4:44AM Report
Eluwien writes:

... I suggest you read

Mon Jul 21 2008 4:50AM Report
exgamer writes:


Do these people really even know you, or care about anything that happens to you outside of what you do apart from raiding with them?

Comparing MMO addictions to a drug habit is not entirely inappropriate. Playing the game releases pleasant hormones in your brain; these can create a physiological addiction. MMO's are addictive by design, and we are experimental rats in Blizzard's laboratory. The difference is the rats are paying the scientists rent for privilege of living in the lab.

Visit for more of my comments on gaming addiction.

Tue Aug 05 2008 8:30PM Report
jessdavis30 writes:

I have to stick my 2 cents in here. My name is Jessica, I am an avid mmorpg'er and just started college. I decided to do my position paper based on mmorpg's - and what I found was a bit scary.  Yes, it is mentally addicting, even if there is no physical addiction, it IS mentally addicting to the point where people have died in Asia due to heart failure caused by exhaustion after playing for days straight without getting sleep or food, or drink.

I am in no way blaming the game manufacturers or creators, but I just wanted to say, yes this is a real addiction. Some people want to stop and they cant.  That says it all right there- not to mention they are avoiding friends and family, quitting or getting fired from work, avoiding basic needs and hygiene and get seriously shooed if you try to "take" the game away from them. In some serious cases, even dying.  Do some research before you tell this guy its not a real addiction.

And, as a matter of fact, these "friends" yes they do care about us. I have had one guy pay my power bill after I got divorced because my ex husband left me high and dry. This guy was playing the game from a military post in Afghanistan and yet he still found a way for me and my kids to keep our lights on. (This was only about our well being, I know this because he was married irl and his wife also played the game and was a friend of mine)

These people are real people and that makes it possible to form real frienships and attachments. but duh

To the guy with the comment about ADD and SP - it looks like you might be one of those SP when you grow up, ADD is a very real issue as well.  And the SMART parents will have their children tested so they can still succeed - caught early, these children rarely have any problems. Too bad your parents missed that.

Mon Aug 11 2008 4:49AM Report writes:
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