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How To Help a Friend With an MMO Addiction?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the napalm-solves-more-problems-than-you'd-expect dept.

Role Playing (Games) 811

sammydee writes "I have a friend who is addicted to an MMO (Pirates of the Burning Sea). On a typical day, he will wake up around 9am, browse the forums for a bit, then go online and stay online all day, playing until about 3am the following morning, taking only toilet breaks and stopping to eat ready-meals. While the rest of the house works hard revising for exams, this friend will be playing his MMO instead. Now, I am pretty confident that this comprises an unhealthy addiction; unfortunately, I have no idea what to do about it. Any attempt to physically prevent him from playing the game would most likely result in an outburst of anger and possibly physical violence. Attempts at telling him he has a problem have been met with derision and angry retorts. Slashdotters, what would you do to help out a friend in this situation? Perhaps you are a reformed addict yourself — if so, how did you break out of the habit? Or maybe I should just leave well enough alone and allow him to continue? Any thoughts are gratefully received."

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It's Called S.E.X (5, Funny)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062081)

Get him a girlfriend.

That's pretty much the only solution.

Save a geek: help me develop the Geek Saver [fairsoftware.net] , the iPhone app that makes dating for geeks a breeze!

Re:It's Called S.E.X (5, Funny)

sreid (650203) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062161)

Unless this was posted by the girlfriend

Re:It's Called S.E.X (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062285)

Unless this was posted by the girlfriend

Or his "girlfriend" is someone he met on the MMO. Do the keys on his keyboard stick?

Re:It's Called S.E.X (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062413)

In that case we shouldn't worry, he'll kick his addiction once he discovers that his "girlfriend", the Undead Warlock named Zombiewitch, is really a 42 year-old balding fat guy from Cleveland.

Re:It's Called S.E.X (4, Funny)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062309)

"Unless this was posted by the girlfriend"

Answer's still the same: get him a girlfriend (a different one, obviously).

Re:It's Called S.E.X (4, Funny)

Lord Juan (1280214) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062377)

Unless this was posted by the girlfriend

~ Double check the address bar ~

I really don't think so.

Re:It's Called S.E.X (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062171)

Girlfriend?!? Get him a hooker instead!

A hooker will see the money and perform. A girlfriend will want to evaluate his character, tell her friends, make him want to go out on dates and shit like that... and if all is good, will "perform".

Re:It's Called S.E.X (5, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062369)

We tried this once.
The hooker took one look at us, laughed, and walked out the door with our money.

Re:It's Called S.E.X (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062505)

The hooker took one look at us, laughed, and walked out the door with our money.

You gave her the money before the services were rendered? Amateur.....

Re:It's Called S.E.X (5, Insightful)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062221)

Absolutely agree with this - sex is the remedy. Make the point that the guy isn't getting any and you are (hopefully), and it'll probably hurt enough to get him to start thinking about what he's missing out on by spending all his time playing Pirates.

Sex is an integral part of almost all humans, and we need it. Use this to your advantage.

Re:It's Called S.E.X (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062411)

Sex is an integral part of almost all humans, and we need it. Use this to your advantage.

If my male housemate ever try this, all they'd accomplish is me backed into a corner, one hand on an my revolver, half looking at them and half looking at my computer screen.

Re:It's Called S.E.X (4, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062323)

Damn... the potentional for real life social interaction with ladies was all it took for me. Were my standards too low? You mean I could have gotten sex out of it? Damn...

Seriously though, you need to start going out, and often, to meet up with ladies in order to fix this. Since he won't be going with you, you don't have to be successful at all at meeting up with the ladies, just make sure he knows your intended goal every time you go out, be sure to have adventures, and be sure to talk about them non-stop around him.

At first, you should neglect to invite him, but be sure to have exchanges like "Should we invite Jim?" "Nah, he'll just say no and stay home to play his stupid game" within earshot of him. Then a few weeks later, actually ask him to go with you. By then he will probably have gotten jealous, and just might say yes. If so, and you can actually get him to have real-life physical relations with a lady - and I'm talking waaaay less than sex here - he'll probably lose interest in the game. Real life will be more exciting. ;)

On another note, is POTBC any good? I haven't played a steady MMO since I quit SW Galaxies, but I always wanted to play that one...

Re:It's Called S.E.X (3, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062335)

I think people should mind their own bloody business personally. It's not like he's poisoning his body with drugs or alcohol or hurting other people with his "addiction".

How to help a friend? Leave them the hell alone to live their life how they want and stop being so bloody pretentious in thinking this person needs to be "saved".

My friend has a /. addiction (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062349)

I^HMy friend is addicted to Slashdot.

He would have sex but he couldn't get a date and besides nobody wants to date an unemployed nerd.

Re:It's Called S.E.X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062493)

Just get him a hooker. Its probably cheaper.

Appeal to His Original Priorities (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062101)

Slashdotters, what would you do to help out a friend in this situation?

I used to live in a bad part of the Franklin neighborhood in Minneapolis. As I pulled up next to my house, two squad cars were parked in a V in my front lawn with their cherries on. I had just worked until 2am at a parking garage on the U of MN campus. There was an adolescent in front of my house being stared down by a policeman. As I walked up the cop was staring him down and holding a bag of weed saying very loudly and very forcefully, "... yeah? And what skills you got? What has this shit been doing for you? How long have you been using? What are you going to do when you're a grown up providing for yourself?"

While that's a lot more melodramatic than you need to be, you can put your friend in the same situation.

A man's got priorities. Your friend's sound screwed up ... but maybe they aren't. I know how someone would approach me about this, they wouldn't try to stop me. Instead, they--being my friends--would appeal to things they know that matter to me. I'll try to list them in order that I think you can evoke a reaction from your friend:

  • Religion
  • Family
  • Role Models
  • Career
  • School
  • Ego
  • Love

I've seen people give up several of these for an MMORPG (Star Wars Galaxies ruined lives). You need to sit down and talk to him and try to realign his priorities. You have to know him and know where he's going to bring that logic. If things don't matter to him anymore there's not a lot you can do once you've made all those appeals (and you may know more).

Slashdotters, what would you do to help out a friend in this situation? Perhaps you are a reformed addict yourself -- if so, how did you break out of the habit?

If I was spending too much time in a game it would take very little to cause me to get up and walk away: "Since you started playing that game, how much closer are you to being the person you want to be when you die?" Don't think that would work on your friend--especially if he has low self esteem.

Most importantly if you convince him to stop, you need to be there for him to fill up that part of his life or to help see the value in realigning his goals.

Last thing is that if he isn't screwing up or endangering any of these things, you're going to have a hell of a hard time convincing him out of the game ... although I cannot fathom how that would be.

Re:Appeal to His Original Priorities (0, Flamebait)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062315)

Ugh, how could you list Religion as #1? That addiction has destroyed the lives of uncountably many more people than MMORPGs.

And if you disagree? Well, it just shows people have different ideas of what to dedicate their lives to, so who are you to tell them otherwise?

Re:Appeal to His Original Priorities (0, Troll)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062355)

Religion has led to more deaths throughout history than anything else.

If you're religious you believe in an imaginary guy in the sky looking down on you. And you have the audacity to think the guy mentioned in the post has a problem.

Stop believing in fairy tales, then we can talk.

Re:Appeal to His Original Priorities (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062371)

Well, religious people seem happy. A lot happier than WoW nuts. *shrug*

Re:Appeal to His Original Priorities (4, Insightful)

Obyron (615547) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062439)

Most of the drug addicts I've met seem happy, as long as they have drugs.

Re:Appeal to His Original Priorities (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062499)

Let me rephrase that for you:

Devotion in the extreme to anything has led to more deaths throughout history than anything else.

Its not just religion, its any devotion in the extreme. Just think about patriotism. Addiction is simply an extreme devotion to something, it can be harmful too.

Re:Appeal to His Original Priorities (5, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062367)

I think you missed the point dude, and are WAY to focused on religion-bashing.

The point was to appeal to what this guy thinks is important.

For a very large segment of the population, Religion is very important. The choice at #1 isn't too far fetched.

However, I don't think he was making a prioritized list, I think he was just listing the most emotion inducing - and therefore most likely to be effective - appeals the guy could probably make to his friend. Religion would definitely be near the top of that list.

It's not like he was telling the guy exactly what to say, good god man, don't be so sensitive!

Re:Appeal to His Original Priorities (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062427)

Ugh, how could you list Religion as #1? That addiction has destroyed the lives of uncountably many more people than MMORPGs.

Yeah? You know a lot of people that wake up at 9am and get on the religion forums and then pray until 3am? Oh, you don't? Well, maybe you should pay attention to your own meager statistics. I'm an atheist. But I'm not stupid.

And if you disagree? Well, it just shows people have different ideas of what to dedicate their lives to, so who are you to tell them otherwise?

I'm confused, are you telling the person who asked the question that he shouldn't try to convince his friend to stop playing or does your logic only apply when it's your ideas that are being questioned?

Re:Appeal to His Original Priorities (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062361)

I disagree; it's a serious addiction and you can't just talk him out of it. I fell into a similar trap last Spring; after years of video game addiction I threw away a semester of tuition by playing games 12 hours a day (nighttime), sleeping 12 hours (daytime), and eating a few times a week when I woke up early enough for dinner. I grew seriously disturbed and my depression swallowed me up.. it literally culminated in a suicide attempt that left me with a broken neck.

I still play video games, but no TF2 or Insurgency [insmod.net] , the games I burned my nights on. They're fun games but they just suck you dry.. whenever I try to play them that familiar thrill of a big exciting moment (lots in TF2) makes me sick remembering how hollow it leaves you.

It's really like a drug addiction.. not physically obviously but the game is so fun and the rewards so immediate and thrilling compared to a crap life.. I think anyone who's come off an all-day frag session really knows what I mean. It was great and fun and you had some epic moments, but you take away absolutely nothing from it. "Well, that was a waste of my weekend." Your weekend just vanishes into completely forgettable minutiae and come Monday you feel like you just left work for the weekend.

Video game control legislation like China's is obviously absurd, but everyone knows someone whose life has been ruined by WoW.. it's shocking how many people get trapped in self destructive patterns by the rush of victory and pride of being superior (level, armor, whatever). It should at least come with a warning label or something.. whatever.

Posted AC for obvious reasons

Re:Appeal to His Original Priorities (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062385)

There was an adolescent in front of my house being stared down by a policeman. As I walked up the cop was staring him down and holding a bag of weed saying very loudly and very forcefully, "... yeah? And what skills you got? What has this shit been doing for you? How long have you been using? What are you going to do when you're a grown up providing for yourself?"

That policeman sounds like a real buzz kill ;)

YES! Re:Appeal to His Original Priorities (3, Insightful)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062473)

And maybe think about the role of this addiction in the persons life. If playing video games is the best part of their otherwise depressing shitty life, you should be prepared to help beyond this scapegoat addiction.

Re:Appeal to His Original Priorities (1)

KPU (118762) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062527)

Those priorities were in increasing order of reaction, right?

It's not a problem (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062105)

Jeremy Bentham would have said he lives an idyllic life. He is generating a maximum of net pleasure.

What is it you want him to do instead?

Re:It's not a problem (2, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062169)

It's not a problem until he flunks out of school, gets booted from the house for not paying rent, and loses his computer and/or internet connection and/or Pirates subscription. His pleasure is at the expense of others, and his creditors are going to come calling sooner rather than later.

Still not a problem. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062209)

I still don't see the problem. If he is homeless and without a computer or internet, he will no longer need to worry about being addicted to a game now will he?

Addicts need to hit bottom before you can re-rehabilitate them. Furthermore, it is not the OP's place to tell this person how to live their life. The only thing the OP can do is wait for the inevitable, and be there for this person when they do hit bottom. Any attempt to stop him from playing the game will only sour the OP's relationship with their friend.

Re:Still not a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062291)

Getting thrown fsked up and thrown out of the house will sour the relationship even more wether or not it's his fault.

Re:Still not a problem. (5, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062447)

Unless this guy has a personal bankroll that he's using to fund his lethargy, his parents are likely paying for the lifestyle he's leading (in part or whole). Angry parents can do quite a bit to motivate a person. Maybe it's time someone called his parents.

Re:It's not a problem (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062421)

The world he lives in is not idyllic. In it, you either step up to your responsibilities or you fail - and then have a very difficult life in an attempt to recover, or even just maintain a modicum of normalcy and comfort.

You are only (realistically) a certain amount of idyllicism in your life; this is usually related to how much money you have sitting around for such purposes. Short of being independently wealthy, chances are this guy's going to run his course of care free days and have to face the music sooner than later.

Grief (5, Insightful)

Boronx (228853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062109)

Get some buddies, make some accounts, grief him until he quits.

Re:Grief (5, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062175)

Sure, but then they'll be hooked on griefing people. Really it is more addictive than the games themselves.

Though why does this story smell like an ad? The single link is to some weirdo largely unknown game, under the context that it's so good that someone is hooked and needs to be broken free. My Spammy-Senses are tingling.

Re:Grief (2, Informative)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062249)

Pirates of the Burning Seas? Unknown? Not really. It's not a huge one, but if you pay attention to games at all, you'd hear about it a few times. Pirate-based MMO? On the internet? And you expect it to go unnoticed?

Re:Grief (1)

Tronster (25566) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062445)

This doesn't sound mature; provoking is not helping.
Be honest, and confront him about his addiction and your concern for him.

Delete (4, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062113)

Hack his account and delete it. Keep doing it. He will figure it out eventually, just don't get caught.

When all of his "work" is destroyed, it will make it hard for him to want to continue slaving away. Keep doing it.

If he is not deterred by that at all, well then I suggest seeking professional help and at least getting an intervention started with the rest of his friends.

This is honestly very good advice (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062263)

As reluctant as one might be to hack an on-line account, it could be necessary to show hard love.

One might not even consider a game a worthy addiction of concern.

However, the parent post contains the #1 bit of advice anyone serious about an intervention to any addiction should be equipped with.

Persistence. Intervene adn then do not stop. As futile as it may feel, never use failure as a reason to quit the fight. As hopeless as it seems, never stop.

Think of it as a challenge to yourself, because it may be more difficult a challenge than even many addicts have seen.

If it helps, know that even if you never succeed it was worth the effort. Because, if the lost soul ever leaves, it will do so with the single good thought that someone cared (even if they themselves didn't).

Re:This is honestly very good advice (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062517)

Reminds me of the Pure Pwnage season 1 finale. Here it is on youtube [youtube.com] . It takes guts but do it, and tell him you did it when he starts screaming his head off.

Oh and they actually deleted a level 70 character to shoot the episode.

Re:Delete (4, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062403)

So you're advocating hacking his account. Classy. Where do you people get off? Christ, given some of the people I've known in MMO's when I used to play, if you were found hacking their account, you would be dead. Seriously, I know several people who if you did that to you would lose it and kill you where you stand.

Nobody has any right to hack into someone elses accounts and delete it. Honestly, advocating that is sickening.

Regardless of the fact it's only a game, imagine how YOU'D feel if some asshole deleted the product of a year or two of your hobby. Like say you're into Warhammer and I come along set fire to your models "for your own good".

God you people are sick.

That is retarded (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062435)

For one, all the MMO companies I've ever encountered have plenty of records of what has happened with an account. That was if something goes wrong, they can restore it. If it gets hacked, they'll just roll it back to where it was before then. So the company will fix the problem and he'll just get to keep going. Now if you keep doing it, you WILL get caught. That's how criminals, and make no mistake that's what you'd be, get caught: They keep doing it. Each time there's more chance you slip up, each time there's more patterns to look for.

In this case you'd get found out fairly quickly because those involved would realize the only way someone could keep getting his password is to have physical access to his computer.

So this is an excellent way to not fix the problem, and to land your ass in jail. Hacking can be a very serious offense if they want it to be.

You can;t save someone from their self. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062115)

I learned that with my regular old drug junkie friends.

Re:You can;t save someone from their self. (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062425)

Too bad you've been modded down. With any addiction, the person has to WANT to quit. You achieve nothing by forcing them too.

(We'll ignore the debate over whether playing MMO's like this is an "addiction".)

You could always do what my friend did... (2, Interesting)

VE3MTM (635378) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062123)

Steal the modem and hide it off-site. Then leave for a vacation.

You don't do anything. (5, Funny)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062127)

He's addicted to being a pirate. He's too far gone to be saved...all you can do is sandbag around his computer. But when the replica cannon arrives via UPS, I suggest you leave.

firewall, fdisk, or just wait it out... (5, Insightful)

jkinney3 (535278) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062131)

Sounds like this is taking place in a college setting. Don't worry about it. Darwin will always win. Your MMO addict will be getting a permanent chance to play all day forever back in Mom's basement after he flunks out. It's not your problem and don't try to make it be otherwise.

Re:firewall, fdisk, or just wait it out... (4, Insightful)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062345)

Sounds like this is taking place in a college setting. Don't worry about it. Darwin will always win. Your MMO addict will be getting a permanent chance to play all day forever back in Mom's basement after he flunks out. It's not your problem and don't try to make it be otherwise.

Spot on. College is the sandbox where you can be a fuckup like this and not have it haunt you for life. There will always be a percentage of kids at university that will do things like this once they're out of Mom and Dad's house.

That said, if this kid really does have a compulsion or other deep-seated issue thats driving him to play like this, I really don't think that any amount of reasoning will sway him.

Re:firewall, fdisk, or just wait it out... (5, Insightful)

foeclan (47088) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062433)

Oddly, kinda worked the opposite for me. I spent all my time on MUSHes when I was in college, was academically dismissed, then turned the programming and computer skills I'd taught myself while MUSHing into a career. Not that I'd expect that to work for modern MMOs, since you don't program anything in them really unless you're into modding. I did eventually go back and finish my biology degree, however, and being kicked out was definitely the reality check I needed on getting my priorities straight (though it took a while to figure that out).

Don't bother (0, Troll)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062133)

Tell him he is wasting his life playing this game. Explain the exploration / exploitation trade off to him. If he still stick to this game, he is a moron not worthy of your concern. Find better persons to care about.

Re:Don't bother (5, Insightful)

zxjio (1475207) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062213)

You don't understand addiction if you think it something to be fought with logical persuasion. And you are probably normal in saying to ditch him, but really, I'm disgusted by how callous people are today. Friendships and relationships involve a little inconvenience, not just saying, 'well, I told him it's a bad idea, fuck him!'

Re:Don't bother (2, Insightful)

Obyron (615547) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062541)

People want friends, not projects; unless they're fucked up and compensating. Of course friendships and relationships involve a little convenience, but having to feel like it's your responsibility to rescue someone from themselves is more than a little inconvenience, and frankly I think most people can agree they don't hold all of their friends on a level where they would find that necessary. I have quite a few friends, but very very few I'd feel the need to march into hell to save from their own poor impulse control; and even those would probably wear out their welcome pretty quickly.

Sometimes.. (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062141)

Sometimes one can only learn through pain...

He may have to have some consequence other than you telling him not to do it, like getting kicked out or having the electricity turned off.

I would say my peace and let him learn his lesson or break free.

Make an educational MMO Game (3, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062151)

Work exam material into the game and you have double good!

Really, though, wouldn't it be great if games like World of Warcraft turned into actually practical learning experiences, instead of simply forcing you to learn a lot of completely irrelevant info? Of course I haven't played a MMO(RPG) since a brief stint with Ultimate Online, so maybe kids nowadays really are studying their double-slit experiment results to level up their Quantum Photon Physics skill.

Is he a room-mate? (2, Insightful)

corychristison (951993) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062163)

Just curious if this particular individual is a room-mate.

If so, is he paying his portion of bills/rent?
If so, leave him be. All he can hurt is himself.
If not, kick him out. Maybe he'll come to his senses.

Re:Is he a room-mate? (3, Insightful)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062317)

im going with this. if hes not hurting anyone and hes not a leech, leave him alone and go enjoy your own life. hes going to have to hit rock bottom to really care enough to make any kind of change, anything you do will likely just make him resent you.

You call that an addiction? (4, Funny)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062173)

Toilet Breaks? Tell him he's doing it wrong.

The dude doesn't even have a pod [makezine.com] .

Why? (2, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062177)

Why do YOU feel obligated to do something here?

Sounds like the guy is a legal adult. Aside from voicing your concerns, butt the hell out. If the dude wants to slide through the first few years of post-highschool, or whatever, it IS his choice.

Like with any addiction, change doesn't come about until the addicted WANTS it to happen. Period.

yea right (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062179)

as if this isnt just a lame spam, cmon /. you know better

Force him out of it... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062211)

If you believe that this is harming him then you can simply force him to stop playing. Take out the RAM of his computer, loosen the SATA cable of his HD so it doesn't detect it, if you have a in-house router simply have the router get off the internet late at night.

Considering this is a college setting though, how much is this harming him? If hes keeping up with his studies and such, well I suppose MMO addiction is a bit less harmful then drug or alcohol addiction, so it could be worse. If he isn't keeping up with his studies, well in a semester he will be gone.

Or, you can always wait it out, chances are the MMO will grow old, a few close online "friends" of his will get a life and stop coming on, it will charge players more money, etc. Then he will naturally just get bored and quit.

Seek professional help (5, Interesting)

kestrelokes (946697) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062217)

I had a friend in college who was addicted to an MMO - not quite at the hours you describe, but not far off. Every semester when finals came around, we tried to tear him away from his computer and help him study, but he never listened. When convincing/arguing/pleading failed (and eventually, it always failed), we would hide or break his game CDs, but he would buy, pirate, borrow, or otherwise find a new copy. He failed out of school.

Seek professional help. Talk to the counselors at your school.

Damned good topic (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062223)

I know a guy who had a pretty comfortable life. Nice house, pretty wife, three kids, good job, the whole shootin' match... and on top of that, he was the classic "undeserving" guy... didn't really know that much but was able to convince people that knew far less than him that he was quite adept. (We've all seen this and hated them for it yes?) Well this guy got into Diablo and literally let his life fall apart. He lost his job and couldn't keep one. Lost his wife and kids. Lost his house. Not sure what he is up to these days but he has definitely not owned up to his weakness. He probably plays WOW or something else now but I can't imagine that he has figured out where his life had gone wrong yet.

Some people have it in their heads, especially when they are in their mid 40s, that they are an adult and you can't tell them how to live their lives... it's his choice and he is happy where he us. (you know he's not though, not when you see everything he has lost in favor of his gaming addiction... one particular low point was when he landed a date with a hit young woman in her mid 20s. Who knows what she was thinking or what he said to spoil it, but she announced she thought of him as a "father figure" and that was pretty much the end of that... didn't handle rejection well and got himself drunk enough that he woke up on his front lawn having pissed himself completely and no idea how he even got home to begin with... the guy is a mess and his brain is hard wired to making stupid decisions.)

While I would LOVE to find a magic answer to help THIS guy out, I don't think there is any such way.

Find what lures him, break that. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062225)

I've gone through a number of online games and have found that the easiest way to tear myself away from them [permanently] is to find what kept me there and disable it. In one case, what kept me there all day was that I enjoyed talking to the people. I spoke to a few of them and had myself permanently banned from the guild. Sure, I could still talk to them elsewhere, but it kept me off the game which made me marginally more productive. (And, for a few of them, since I was no longer in the loop, we found each other mutually less interesting.)

The only way to get him off the game... (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062243)

Is to show him there is a live outside. Trying to verbally convince him he's wasting his life is a waste of yours. Find out what he's interested in (besides that MMO), and take him along to an event he likes.

Vacation (2, Interesting)

jwill7g9 (560020) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062253)

The only think that broke me away from a 4 year World of Warcraft addiction was a long vacation. After spending two weeks in Japan, I realized that I didn't need WoW and was missing out on a whole world real life adventure. The only other thing I can think of is a girlfriend but that isn't likely to happen given your friend never leaves the computer. Vacation away from home is your best bet.

Sit him down, and talk. (5, Insightful)

QJimbo (779370) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062261)

My suggestion would be, in one of the breif moments when he's off the game, get him to just come and talk to you, heck maybe even get some of your other friends to join, and keep him occupied in a social discussion for an hour or two to at least break the cycle once in a while. If that doesn't have a lasting effect, just talk to him by himself and say you're concerned about his wellbeing, ask him if he wants to spend all his life eating ready meals and sitting in front of a computer like a zombie.

Usually any addiction is a sign of something missing from the persons life, if you can find out what that is, maybe you can help him get over the cause rather than the effect.

Thesis (1)

TornCityVenz (1123185) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062275)

Try to see the glass half full here..Surely there is a thesis in here about his gaming Experiences somewhere. Get him stared slowly..A treatment to present to a professor perhaps. Cutting off the internet to the house might be another solution...a number of "technical difficulties" might drive him to get his fix at a coffee shop or the like..where he might interact with real people..it's very easy to become a hermit when home has everything you need.

recovery (1)

CorvisRex (1266594) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062279)

Though I hate to agree with shrinks, most believe these days that one CAN get addicted to video games, at least psychologically. Basically, just like gambling, same effect, same thing going on in the brain, and just as hard to kick. Basically, if it is having a detrimental effect on his life, health, both physical and/or mental, and if this person is someone you care about, a friend, there is sadly, very little you can do. Trust me, talking doesn't help, telling them they are ruining their life does less than help. I am a recovering addict, I know. Pretty much the only thing you CAN do is perhaps an intervention, talk to his family, other friends, find substance abuse councilor and get advice from them. ANY aa,NA, rehab center will have a good list of people who know about this, call them. Basically, you have to treat it like a gambling addiction. If you really are concerned, the best bet is his family and a councilor, together maybe you can get him to at least think about the fact that he might have a problems. Realistically though, if someone does have a problem like this, there is little one can do unless the person is willing to seek help. It is a helpless feeling I know.

Loves the game - or avoiding problems? (1)

Rasta_the_far_Ian (872140) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062293)

Its possible that he is not so forcefully drawn to the game, but rather, that he's trying to avoid some other problem in his life. If you can figure out what that problem is, it might help you deal with the situation.

The fact that everyone at your place is studying for exams suggests one item: he may just not want to deal with studying for finals. The question is why? Is he in danger of flunking out? If so, get him to see the logic of meeting with the professor to see if he can take an incomplete and then take the final later - and then get tutoring pronto.

Get him laid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062313)

Find a reasonably attractive prostitute, and pay her to get him drunk and fuck him. Getting laid is the best cure for any nerd-related addiction.

Packet Shaping (1)

PhireN (916388) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062321)

Put a linux box between him and the internet and setup packet shaping.
Create a script that lets him play for so many hours, then slowly degrade the quality of the connection until he quits in frustration.
Start at 2am, and slowly move it back each day until he is only playing a few hours a day.

I'm the same way (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062327)

Your friend feels trapped for some reason and this game is their escape.

Sit down with your friend for a day while they play and pay attention to what gets them excited while they're playing. If you can't set aside one full day to do this with your friend then you should just face the fact that they're not really your friend and move on.

Once you know what excites them while they're playing you can determine what they're trying to escape from and possibly work with them towards getting away from whatever makes them feel trapped.

Wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062329)

Addiction is not a disease, it's a symptom.

Read "Everquest Daily Grind" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062333)

Although it's no longer updated, the "Everquest Daily Grind [blogspot.com] " blog was filled with the kind of stories that scared me away from MMO (or indeed any game) addiction. Have him read a few of those stories, written by the addicts themselves.

Too little, too late. (5, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062357)

If you and the rest of your buddies are working at reviewing for finals, your addicted friend has already fucked the dog academically. Chances are, that's why he's playing the game for eighteen hours a day: it's a classic avoidance mechanism. He responds with hostility because he considers the game to be his only outlet for frustration and his only source of accomplishment. His guild, assuming he has one, is probably the only social interaction he engages in as well.

Your friend needs help. Professional help. Your school probably has a psychological counseling office, but that's the sort of thing that he needs to seek himself. Confronting him, wrecking his account, getting him banned, or anything else is not going to help you or him at this point.

I say this because I've been that person. Same academic issues, same fixation on a game for social reinforcement (a MUX, in my case), and I'd wager that he's feeling just as depressed and afraid as I did when I was in that situation.

If you want to help him, get in touch with his family. Get in touch with his professors and the dean of his faculty. If he's religious, get in touch with his pastor. Chances are, none of them have any idea what's really going on. It's really easy to just grunt and shrug when someone asks how classes are going. They may have suspicions, but between their desire to treat him as an adult, and the shame and frustration he's feeling at being unable to cope, he doesn't feel like he can ask for help, and they don't feel like they can successfully confront him.

Girls (0)

AttillaTheNun (618721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062365)

Take him out for a cold one, but make sure you end up at a strip club. Treat him to a few ladies and hope that resets his priorities.

worse case, he develops a strip club/hooker habit, but at least he's getting some.

Re:Girls (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062391)

getting some what? STDs?

if he's that lost..... (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062373)

.........his life outside the game probably sucks. Assuming he is in school, he's probably going to fail his classes, and doesn't want to think about it. Thinking about it just makes him feel worse. Leaving his game world just makes him miserable. Who knows, maybe his mom just died too, or something and so in the real world, he's got all this pain, but in the game world he's kind of ok.

If he's going to leave, it's going to either be by force (ie, he can't pay for his apartment anymore, or you destroy his computer), or because he comes to believe that the outside world is something he can handle, that all the pain isn't really all that bad: it is something we all deal with and all can learn to face.

Go with the second option: just be his friend, make him food sometime or something, whatever. He absolutely knows he's messed up, so you telling him that won't help much. Just accept him (maybe even ask him what he did on WOW today, sometimes stuff like that works), and be prepared for a lot of negativeness that he'll throw at you before he's willing to trust you.

Also, if you want to understand the whole 'powerless to face the world' mindset, it can help to listen to Blue October, they've got some good songs.

let life happen, you can't change him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062401)

i struggled with this for a couple years. i destroyed my marriage, squandered away a lucrative at-home business, foreclosed on my house. i also struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, and it wasn't until i was ready to quit my unhealthy and selfish lifestyle that i did.

i've been free of drugs and alcohol for nearly 2 years, and haven't played an MMO in over 5 years. the best advice i can give you in regards to what to do with your friend is tell him how you feel and leave it at that.

years later he will realize how he squandered away all that time and opportunity and will kick himself for it. I for one am thankful for it, I am who I am today because of it. I use computers for leisure now-days, am a successful audio engineer and marrying an amazing woman who is almost done getting her masters degree in psychology.

Everything worked out and I learned a lot from my years vamping out in front of a computer monitor. I am no longer overweight, happier than I have ever been in my life and enjoy a spiritual and healthier life.

router. (5, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062455)

Hopefully you've got a router. Using the built-in firewall, block the ports that the game requires. on and off for five minutes at a time. So he has to keep logging in and never makes any progress (well, even less than normal...), but doesn't realize you're fiddling with it.

If you can't place a linux box as router without being suspicious, you might be able set up a cron job on cheapo laptop you connect to automatically keep changing the commodity router's settings.

Re:router. (1)

antiquitas (1489845) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062535)

evil.... i was going to suggest destroying the ethernet wall socket, but that just hurts everyone in the future.

Be straight up with him and tell him how it is (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062469)

You can't control his life. You can explain your POV and what you think he is doing. When people are addicted to chemical drugs people around him can be 'enablers'. Enablers are people that indirectly support their addiction by passively allowing their drug use. Do not be an enabler. If it is wearing on the friendship and his ability to fulfill household duties tell him to get his shit together or you will kick him out.

Otherwise, professional help.

It's not an MMO addiction, it's an addiction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062475)

If this really is an addiction, treat it like one. Addictions with negative consequences have to be addressed, whether they involve alcohol, drugs, sex, or video games.


That's an intervention checklist, specific to alcohol but applicable here. There are probably many more resources on the web if you look around.

just ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062491)

Ask him what he could accomplish if he devoted as much effort as he does with the MMO to something meaningful.
I used to be a WoW addict much like your friend. When I dropped out of college I realized how much it effected my whole life. Now I've enrolled in a different college and use the energy I put into WoW to my school work and I have much more confidence and am proud of what I've done. I just wish I didn't need the kick in the ass to make me realize it.

Causation established? (2, Interesting)

sheetsda (230887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062519)

Interesting side question: Is his gaming addiction being caused by failing out of school or some other real-life problem (depression?) or is the gaming addiction causing the effects as the story suggests?

Preface: I was once spending more hours per week working on WoW characters than on my concurrent full-time job. I managed to keep said job so I'm not sure I ever got as bad as the person in this story, however, some things worth pointing out:

- This person probably considers those people he knows in the MMO to be greater friends than those he knows in real life. Cooperation from the those in game friends will be the greatest asset to your cause if you can get it, especially if he's a member of a player organization (guild in WoW. Not sure what they're called in Pirates).
- I eventually quit because there were things I wanted to do in life. Presumably he has some of these too. Ask him what the end-game is given what he's doing with his time. What does he hope to accomplish in the game that will matter 5 years from now, have him weigh that with what he's potentially giving up in real life that will matter 5 years from now. He has likely considered this and can't quit cold-turkey so this isn't useful until you can get him down to a reasonable amount of play time making this is your long-term weapon.
- Point out that he can pick the game up again any time right where he left off. This is your short-term weapon. Remind him real life is rarely so forgiving.

Very easy... (2, Funny)

tlambert (566799) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062529)

Very easy...

You and 4 or 5 of your friends all get accounts, and then follow him around in the game ganking all his treasure.

-- Terry

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