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Help for an MMORPG Addict?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the time-for-an-intervention dept.


A worried comrade asks: "A friend of mine has had what many of us (his peers) are starting to consider a serious problem that we are becoming very worried about. He is addicted to World of Warcraft, and not in the same way the rest of us are. While most of us are able to disconnect from the game to take care of our own affairs, he plays to the exclusion of his friends, his job (he calls in sick a lot, it is starting to get noticed) and his life. How do you help someone who is actively throwing their whole life away to play a game?"

cancel ×


I've been there (5, Informative)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15021951)

I was addicted to a MUD my freshman year of college. My parents were the ones who rescued me. And I do mean rescued. This is a heartbreaking situation. You cannot help those who are not willing to help themselves, and that is the first step: getting your friend to realize he needs to help himself. Next step: getting him to realize you can help him, too.

Think traditional addiction programs - interventions, counseling. Contact a drug addiction counselor or psychologist who specializes in addiction in your area; many of the techniques involved in breaking addiction are universal. Avoid AA-type pseudoreligious programs. They have been proven not to work (no flames, please, go google the study yourself).

Keep in mind that this is not an easy process. It took me two solid years to bring my social life back to where it once was; now, another four years later, I'm "addicted" to wow in that playfully, not clinically, addicted way. But stand by your friend. Understand that your friendship means less to him than the game does. Addiction is powerful, and ugly, and hard to understand and overcome. But he's got guys (girls maybe?) like you to help him. He's better off than many.

Good luck.

Re:I've been there (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022007)

Couldn't say better. That, or you can wait for the addiction to wear off (that's what happened to me with Everquest), but it's much riskier as it may not wear off for a long time, may not wear off at all, and may fuck up his whole life.

Re:I've been there (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022171)

"Avoid AA-type pseudoreligious programs. They have been proven not to work (no flames, please, go google the study yourself). "

Can you give me the terms to search for? I searched under "aa study" and got no such study [] .

Re:I've been there (5, Interesting)

tansey (238786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022230) AA.27s_Critics []

From the wiki:

"Specific criticisms sometimes put forth by AA's critics (some of whom go so far as to call AA a cult) include:

        * There have been at least three randomized clinical trials that studied the effectiveness of AA. Specifically: Ditman et al. 1967; Brandsma et al. 1980; Walsh et al. 1991.
                    o Dr. Ditman found that participation in A.A. increased the alcoholics' rate of rearrest for public drunkenness.[1]
                    o Dr. Brandsma found that A.A. increased the rate of binge drinking. After several months of indoctrination with A.A. 12-Step dogma, the alcoholics in A.A. were doing five times as much binge drinking as a control group that got no treatment at all, and nine times as much binge drinking as another group that got Rational Behavior Therapy. Brandsma alleges that teaching people that they are alcoholics who are powerless over alcohol yields very bad results and that it becomes a self-fulfilling prediction -- they relapse and binge drink as if they really were powerless over alcohol.[2]
                    o And Dr. Walsh found that the so-called "free" A.A. program was actually very expensive -- it messed up patients so that they required longer periods of costly hospitalization later on.[3]"

Re:I've been there (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022533)

THe entire basis of the 12 step problems can be found right at step 1-3. From Wikipedia

        1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol; that our lives had become unmanageable.
        2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
        3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

The problem is that they're still copping out. Yes, they lost control. Yes, they need to regain it. Yes, that is really fucking hard. But read steps 1,2, and 3. They aren't admitting that they are the problem, they aren't admitting they made mistakes, and they aren't making an effort to take responsibility for their mistakes and to fix them. With that attitude, you won't get better. What they need is a wake up call and the motivation to take the steps needed. A support group can definitely help, but throwing yourself in with a dozen other people who also refuse to accept responsibility is not a good idea.

Re:I've been there (4, Insightful)

Baby Duck (176251) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022175)

I had to:
  • Give away all the items I could
  • Drop a tradeskill
  • Learn enchanting (1)
  • DE whatever I could
  • Give away the disenchanted mats
  • Sell what I couldn't DE
  • Destroy what I couldn't sell
  • Delete my character
  • Cancel my account
  • Uninstall
  • Throw away all CDs, manuals, and shred handwritten WoW notes

I was half-way sold to even cancelling the credit card my account used to be on. I had to make it as difficult as reasonably possible to become recidivist.

As cheesy as it sounds, the "death ritual" described above was cathartic and a way to say goodbye to my character. A way to realize none of these items truly mattered for a meaningful life. That it doesn't hurt to peel away like this.

One last step (4, Funny)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022216)

You forgot an important step in the death ritual: emailing all your gold to my character.

Re:I've been there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022559)

I had a similar death ritual in a different MMORPG (Kingdom of Loathing), except that when I decided to kill the character, I converted everything to meat (KoL currency) and sold it on eBay. Then I sold the character to someone else. I made about $600 after covering all of the expenses I had paid to play the game (it's much cheaper than WoW).

One neat thing about the KoL economy is that there are lots of one-time items that have appeared through the game's history. These rares and super-rares accumulate value as the number of players increases (and the scarcity of the items increases), so it's actually possible to invest in the game and have a reasonable rate of return without actually doing anything.

My fiance stopped complaining about my game playing when I showed her the Paypal balance from the eBay sales.

Re:I've been there (3, Funny)

robogun (466062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15023059)

I Had To:
* Give away all the items I could
* Drop a tradeskill
* Learn enchanting (1)
* DE whatever I could
* Give away the disenchanted mats
* Sell what I couldn't DE
* Destroy what I couldn't sell
* Delete my character
* Cancel my account
* Uninstall
* Throw away all CDs, manuals, and shred handwritten WoW notes

That's only 11 Steps, you need one more, so include:

* Cancelling the card

Seriously, if these games are this addictive, the next thing that's got to happen is a massive tobacco style lawsuit and cash settlement.

Re:I've been there (4, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022206)

I hate to be the Devil's advocate (and I know about the strong desire to play MMOGs because I think I dropped out the first try of college because of Ultima Online), but I have to put a bit of a realism to what you are saying.

Addiction to MMOGs is not different than being addicted to TV, Books, or any other form of entertainment. People get addicted to porn, chatting, and surfing boring web sites.

Why? Because life really blows most of the time and usually we hate our jobs and hate our girlfirends and lives... Some of us deal better than others. Some get by with a crutch.

Peronsally, I can't go a week without drinking some type of alcoholic beverage and I get pretty bitter and hateful to people when I go any longer than that... It was either give up drinking or cigarettes and I figure drinking makes me a more socialble person and I don't smell like burnt fire all the time.

Secondly, MMOGs are not chemical addictions and should not be treated as such. Alcohol... Well it can ruin people, but unless you drive drunk all the time its not going to kill you like meth, crack, or heroine (and being from a club scene I've seen first hand people's lives being shot up pretty bad or just being dead ... yes i've been unlucky enough to witness an fatal OD in my life)

Those kind of things you need to try to go cold turkey ASAP, but MMOGs and non-chemical addictions you need to simply attempt moderation or complement with something else that is more interesting.

You should probaly point out that he might not be able to play online games so much if he looses his job and that you should maybe setup something fun for him. Like movies... Bar hopping... Maybe a concert. Some place where he can maybe meet a girl or other people with same interests. Don't make him do it if he doesn't want to, but maybe ask if there is anything he wants to do other than play online.

Heck... Why don't you encourage a person with an MMOG addiction to meet more players like him at game conventions (like dragon con or penny arcade con) so that maybe he can meet other people that also have the same problem and he can go "Geez.. That guy is really addicted to that game... Oh wait..."

Simply saying... "Hey! You play this game too much! You should be more socialble!" without providing an alternative really makes for a bleak life. He should turn his addiction into something into something acceptable past time and perhaps gain from it.

Either way... I feel his pain and understand your MUD story from college. I think the only reason I quit Ultima Online is when OSI changed the game so much that it was no longer fun... *grumbles* Til this day I am so tempted to go back.

Re:I've been there (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022628)

"People get addicted to... ...surfing boring web sites."

Well, that explains /. :-)

Now, if you'll excuse me, the withdrawl symptoms are kicking in. I need to go read another dull story, or the trolls will start appearing on the ceiling again.

Re:I've been there (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022636)

Why? Because life really blows most of the time and usually we hate our jobs and hate our girlfirends and lives... Some of us deal better than others. Some get by with a crutch.

If your life is that bad, change it. Look for a new job. If you have to take a pay cut, its probably worth it. If your girlfriend isn't a positive thing in your life (if you don't enjoy most of the time you spend with her), dump her. Its better to be single than miserable.

Secondly, MMOGs are not chemical addictions and should not be treated as such.

I'd agree, but there are some personality types that are easily addicted. Other people just have a hard time finding balance betweek things. These are the people who do need to go cold turkey. You're right though, the first thing to do is try and get the guy out a bit more.

Actually, no, thats the second thing you need to do. The first thing you need to do is figure out if you really ought to butt in. There's nothing wrong with having a hobby you spend 20 or 30 hours a week on. It may just be that he really likes the game. Coming in late to work may be a sign of him de-emphasizing work for a variety of reasons (burning out, tired of the job, tired of the career, etc). Just because *you* think he's playing too much doesn't necessarily mean he is. What matters is what makes him happy with life. If thats gaming, so be it.

Some crutches look different (1)

Elfich47 (703900) | more than 8 years ago | (#15023121)

I practice Aikido 4 times a week. I use it to blow off steam and cope with the rest of the world. Am I addicted to Aikido? I don't know, but it does make me feel better and I get antsy and a bit off when I miss practice. Also, some doctors are talking about information addiction where some people get addicted to being able to reload the news page and get instant everything. I don't know if their have been any clinical studies yet. The addictive tendancies may also be related to the idea of amount of work put in versus the apparent reward that you receive. You don't have to work to hard (click to victory) but you get all these rewards that make you feel better.

Re:I've been there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022750)

hate our girlfirends

Without the whole 'slashdot people don't have girlfriends' thing - why would you have a girlfriend you hate? Bizarre...

You're kidding yourself (2, Insightful)

DoctaWatson (38667) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022860)

if you think that drunk driving is the only way to hurt yourself or die with alcohol addiction.

You're also kidding yourself if you think the repetitive but spontaneous release of dopamine and endorphine isn't a chemical addiction. These games are designed to create that kind of response, and the symptoms of withdrawal show up in these cases on a very regular basis.

Re:I've been there (1)

teasea (11940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022209)

Tried googling "AA-type pseudoreligious programs" and got zero results. Were you referring to a specific study. My interest is in the fact that I haven't seen them work except when people replace their addiction with a fervor for the "program."

Re:I've been there (2, Insightful)

Gribflex (177733) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022954)

A friend of a friend recently went through this.
In their situation, the online gaming had started as a way for friends and family to get together and socialize across long distances. After a little while it became apparent that one of the people had developed an unhealthy addiction to the game - to the point that the parent post describes.

While I'm not familiar with the entire recovery process that they use, I know that a portion of the process was that everyone involved cancelled their accounts. i.e. if Karl is addicted to WoW, and he plays with Mary, Stan, and Jim, then Mary, Stan and Jim all cancelled their accounts in an effort to encourage karl to cancel.

In their situation it really helped 'karl' beat the addiction. They socially segregatted him in the online world, and would only talk to him in RL. While he still had online friends, some of the appeal was lost when his RL social network dropped away. He eventually realized that he too had a problem, and when he looked up from the keyboard he found a supportive network of family and friends (the same ones that he used to play with online) to help him in RL.

I feel that by creating a social void online that could only be filled by going offline that the process was hastened. You may experience different results.

You asked for it... (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15021954)

> How do you help someone who is actively throwing their whole life away to play a game?

You buy 'em a better video card, another stick of RAM, you order a pizza, and you say "yes" whenever he asks if you wanna go on a raid.

Or did you mean to help him do something else? :)

Re:You asked for it... (1)

zephc (225327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022298)

Don't forget to give him gold and armaments!

Beat him and steal his modem (2, Funny)

Sodki (621717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15021967)


The usual... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15021973)

Sex... Drugs... Alcohol... Maybe all of the above.

Maybe he should take up smoking while he is at it?

Re:The usual... (2, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022154)

Actually should work, anyone busy doing the first three will be incapable of playing any computer game, a week or two should be enough. Those online games are made to hook people and fill a void in their life, just fill that void with something else, drag them out, hit the nitespots, get friends and family to visit i.e. actively disrupt their gaming oppurtunities. of course being an introvert nethead my opinion my be worthless in this regard ;).

Let the beatings commence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15021978)

everytime he logs on, smack his fingers with spatula.

get his password and sell off all of his epic gear and give his money away to newbs.

Real Life Meetup (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15021987)

It may be time to introduce him to that Elven princess he's been spending so much time cybering with.

My guess is that once he meets Bubba, the balding and overweight 48-year-old trucker from Idaho, his cravings will go away all by themselves.

Solution. (2, Funny)

Volanin (935080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15021989)

Get him a Girlfriend!

Ok... sorry, sorry... couldn't resist. =)

Re:Solution. (1)

the.Ceph (863988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022235)

Chances are if he's addicted to an MMO getting him a girlfriend will be nigh impossible, stop being a cheapsake and just get him a hooker. Seriously though, tits.

Re:Solution. (1)

presidentbeef (779674) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022302)

While that is funny, I've dropped all online gaming once I started dating my current girlfriend (2.5 years ago). I just didn't have the time between college, work, and a girlfriend.

I've found regular games are fine because you can start and stop whenever. With online games, there are people talking to you, depending on you, killing you...can't walk away for a second, because you might come back and find your character dead or something. Can't pause and resume later. You can do that with most offline games.

Interestingly, I don't miss it. Having hundreds of hours pumped into a game leaves you with very little (not denying the fun of it, though).

However, it's kind of tough to force someone into a relationship...kinda has to happen by itself. Growing up helps, too.

Re:Solution. (1)

HeavensBlade23 (946140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022536)

Apparently you've never heard of all the marriages that ended in divorce because of MMORPG addiction. Seriously.

Re:Solution. (1)

cazbar (582875) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022617)

If that's the only solution, we're all doomed.

Ooh... raid starting.

Re:Solution. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022915)

Or get him a frickin' life. The reason I never got into MMORPGS is because you can't pause them. You can't save the game and come back later. When you leave the game, it leaves you behind.

It's a model that works great for a game company trying to make continuous profits off of their install base because they're designed to keep you in and dump as many quarters as you've got. Except they're not quarters and this isn't an arcade that you have to leave eventually. It's something more intimate, because it follows you home, and it costs more than quarters.

People are pissing away their lives over this fantasy crap. It's sick. I'm not saying that this is true for all MMORPG users, but it is certainly a social problem that is affecting a number of people.

The MMORPG model does not gel with my 100% travel lifestyle. My freetime is more sacred that being mindlessly addicted to a silly worthless game. I'd rather talk to my better half on the phone or look at porn. Frankly, either is more fulfilling than non-stop-hack-and-slash adventuring.

I play games, sure, but games that can be put away like a book and resumed when I damn well feel like playing them again. If I have something better to do when playing a Nintendo DS game, I close the clamshell and it instantly suspends. Instant life, kids. That's what that feature is. Not just PAUSE, but PAUSE + OFF.

Try playing with the real world, it's a more challenging game that anything someone will ever cram into that finite state machine in front of you. Better graphics, too.

How not to... (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#15021991)

Do *not* try to hook him up with a girl. Friends of friends tried this tact on an addicted co-worker and his failure to relate to the poor girl just drove him back to the game. My personal preference is to convince him to ask the game masters for a temporary ban. Then take care of him for the withdrawl period.

Re:How not to... (2, Interesting)

thelost (808451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022517)

it's not unusual for people who are addicted to WoW to simply create a new account - i.e. fork out for a new game - if their old one gets banned. Plus a GM wouldn't ban him on the basis of an anonymous request - by anonymous i mean that there is no way to prove that you are his friend trying to help him. GM's in WoW are hard enough to deal with as it is, this would be impossible.

In my experience people becoming addicted to things like MMOs/games as a displacement activity. There's probably something else in his life that is causing problems too. Have you asked him about that?

Also be straight up with him, say how you feel. It doesn't hurt to tell him you are worried about him. If you can't do that, think of someone who could.

A more extreme solution and one that I actually feel sometimes necessary is an intervention. Uninstall WoW, take his discs. In the end it doesn't do any literal damage as it doesn't destroy his characters or progress. Or, use the childlock tools which locks it out at certain times I believe. Of course don't do any of these before trying simpler things like talking to him.

When it comes down to it, it might be necessary to be harsh and as honest as possible. I have seen people become very ill playing WoW. Certain areas - like battlegrounds - demand a massive amount of time to get anywhere and by their nature are carrot and stick affairs, each success is only an aim towards an even greater challenge. This way people are led on and addicted.

welcome to "world of crackcraft".

Re:How not to... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022601)

Wrong and wrong. First of all, MMOs ban people using identity check information. That's why 99% of them require a credit card. Unless the player goes out and gets a new identity or steals someone elses he aint signing back up. Second, I said that the Ask Slashdotter should encourage his addicted friend to ask for a temporary ban. MMOs do that. They should be required by law to do that, like casinos are, but they're not.

Re:How not to... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15023057)

They ban a credit card. They can't ban all his cards, as there's no way for them to know what other cards he has.

Also, you can play via gamecards. You buy 90 days worth of time at Frys and get an id code to prove it.

Dialup. (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15021994)

Cancel his cable/DSL/whatever and force him to use 33.6 kbps dialup. It's prevented me from playing any MMORPGs.

Or, to be a little more serious, inform him of how much a good-level character will go for on eBay. He might just want to sell it to cover all those bills.
Be careful about this, though, he might want to level up a bunch of characters and sell them, instead of stopping.

Re:Dialup. (2, Insightful)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022040)

Or, to be a little more serious, inform him of how much a good-level character will go for on eBay. He might just want to sell it to cover all those bills.

He won't. Part of the addiction to a MMORPG is relating to your character(s), being your characters. The "real" life is so unimportant because your alter-ego in the game does the living for you, why would you need a "real" life out of the game when you already have such an interresting one inside of it?

Addicted people don't sell their chars, not their main characters anyway. Sold characters come either from chain-builders (who spend their times creating characters for them to sell), or by ex-addicts who suddenly realize how much they wasted in their characters and in the game and want some of it back.

And he probably knows the value of his character already, maybe with a margin of error under a dozen of cents.

A solution. (1)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15021996)

A 9MM round into the CPU usually does it.

Re:A solution. (1)

diskis (221264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022265)

With the the heatsinks we have today, 9mm will not be sufficent :)

Re:A solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022417)

I prefer .50 BMG


CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15021998)

One for each and every one of you.

Seriously, you WOW freaks need to kill yourselves.


asretfroodle (811847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15023015)

You'd probably feel more at home on kuro5hin...


Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15023138)

I'm surprised that no one has suggested moving him to a high pop server... the lag alone will drive him away.

On a serious note, standard intervention techniques work. So does living in the middle of nowhere, where your dialup connection hangs up every 15 minutes.

Good luck on that. (5, Insightful)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022020)

Don't just make them quit - find something to replace the MMORPG with. Doesn't have to be a girlfriend, doesn't have to be an offline game that you only play for an hour at a time, maybe it could be a previous hobby or forcing them out of the house every night to visit with friends. Just something that'll keep their mind off of the game.

I agree (5, Insightful)

selfdiscipline (317559) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022159)

The problem is not that the game is too fun or addicting, it's that RL isn't fun enough/meaningful enough/engaging enough.

MMOs provide an easy path, with clear rewards and punishments. RL doesn't usually provide any clear feedback on how you're doing in it.

Oh, and hallucinogens can be good for treating addiction.

Re:I agree (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15023132)

Yes they can. I recommend mescaline.

He will stop eventually (4, Insightful)

springbox (853816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022041)

If he is able to realize how much of his time is being wasted waiting around in an online game where all of his "accomplishments" are ultimately meaningless. I play online games myself, but I'm nowhere near addicted to them. I doubt he's thinking about much else other than the game, which is a serious problem. You should try to talk some sense into him; either that or he will just have to figure it out the hard way. In any case, hopefully he will discover that having entertainment dominate his life was not a smart choice.

I also see people who are online in games constantly and I don't understand how anyone could possibly put up with the game for extended periods of time without taking any real breaks. (Going to the bathroom doesn't count.)

Intervention? Maybe.... (1)

WolfeCanada (604888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022058)

Try working out something with Blizzard, if that doesn't work, you can always sabotage his system, prevent him from playing WoW. Also, may be possible to talk to your ISP and get his access to WoW servers cut off. He needs help, but will deny it. I know this from experience (with gambling), addictions suck....WoW could be worse than gambling, unfortunately. :(

That's scary (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022078)

That's exactly the reason why I refuse to play WoW, I'm already addicted enough to UrbanDead and Shartak.

This and the monthly fee.

Any way you can (5, Insightful)

shashi (56458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022103)

Whatever you do, do something. Don't just stand by and watch. MMORPG addiction can be every bit as destructive as other types of addiction, like alcoholism. Unfortunately, since it's "just a game" too many people turn a blind eye and believe that this merely anti-social behavior will work it self out. I know, because I've been there. I did the same things when EverQuest first hit the market... I played 60+ hours a week, and I often called in sick to work just to keep playing, which was how I lost my job. Luckily I wasn't married at the time, or I probably would have lost that too. In my case, it actually wasn't the MMORPG that was the problem though. Like any addiction, it was a method to fill a void in my life. I was suffering from depression due to some undesirable situations in my personal life, and I turned to the game as a substitute for real life. It became addicting because I had much more power over my life in the game than I did in my real life. You may want to make sure your friend is doing okay in other arenas; there may be a secondary reason why he spends so much time in the game.

Something, But Not Your Soul (5, Insightful)

airos4 (82561) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022163)

Do something, especially if you can think of something constructive that may help. But please, do NOT tie yourself into this so much that it takes you down as well. Many times I have seen people fighting addictions - drugs, alcohol, compulsive gambling, and yes religious cults and video games. I've also seen many cases where the people who care about the addict go through a hell almost as bad as the addict themselves, running on a combination of guilt and disappointment and a lot of other factors when the "treatments" don't work immediately or at all. Yes, he has a problem. Make sure it stays as HIS problem, and doesn't become your crusade.

Re:Any way you can (2, Insightful)

darga (953093) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022862)

"In my case, it actually wasn't the MMORPG that was the problem though. Like any addiction, it was a method to fill a void in my life. I was suffering from depression due to some undesirable situations in my personal life, and I turned to the game as a substitute for real life."

I think that's a very important point that people very often overlook. I've got an addictive personality myself, and had problems with games (Team Fortress) a few years back. Eventually I cut back and started working out a lot. What I realize now, but didn't then, is that I ended up just replacing one addiction with another. I was blowing off social events and schoolwork etc so I could spend more time in the gym.

As Shashi hints at, most forms of addiction, whether alcohol, games, drugs, film, sex, seem to have one thing in common: escapism.

It really bothers me when I think back to people yelling at me for playing games so much, but not noticing when I became addicted to something that was "good for me," which had similar negative side effects on my life.

Anyway, it's important to remember how complex and subtle these things can be, and that stopping playing videogames doesn't necessarily mean everything is fine.

Re:Any way you can (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 8 years ago | (#15023002)

Team Fortress... yeah, I played that one enough that when I decided to do something productive with my life, I wrote the CustomTF mod for it. =)

Sad... (1)

5pr0ckEt (964598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022119)

I heard the story of a gamer who sat in the same place playing WoW for so long that he actually died from a blood clot that made it to his brain. I know the story is likely BS, but at the same time... good for him. A: he died doing something he loved. B: his best friend now has a new computer (if he had any friends) and C: no more competition in the MMORPG from him. Seriously, it is just stupid. I know what it is to be addicted to something. (recovering alcoholic) The least these guys could do is pick something that involves interaction with other people so there is a possibility of getting laid. :) APOX on WoW

Re:Sad... (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022418)

It's not just a story, it's a real effect. Travelers stuck in airplanes a long time sometimes get it;

A Korean doctor has outlined a health risk pattern that predicts death from online gaming. The most common cause of gaming death in Korea, according to Dr. Song Hyeong-gon, is pulmonary thrombo-embolism, a seizure of the cortex. In the gaming cases, it is caused by sudden visual stimulation following long periods of high stress with low physical activity.

The most famous cases are from Korea, but one would expect that often the connection between of the cause of death and the activity before death is not made.

As I tell my co-workers, that's why I get up from gaming every hour to jerk off. Stave off death.

Re:Sad... (2, Informative)

rossifer (581396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022591)

A Korean doctor has outlined a health risk pattern that predicts death from online gaming. The most common cause of gaming death in Korea, according to Dr. Song Hyeong-gon, is pulmonary thrombo-embolism, a seizure of the cortex.

Pulmonary thrombosis (aka pulmonary thrombo-embolism) is when you sit still for too long, blood settles in veins in your legs and starts to clot, and then after you get up, one or more of the clots breaks loose and gets stuck in your lungs.

Intensely painful, fairly dangerous, sometimes fatal.

Has nothing to do with the cortex or seizures.


Re:Sad... (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022877)

Still, that doesn't save koreans from dying.I guess dehydration plus mental overload (concentration+stress) and your Starcraft disk is lethal.
BEsides,only fanatics play that much.
Normal people get bored after a hour.

intervention (4, Interesting)

blackcoot (124938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022123)

step 1, like other posters have mentioned, is to get him to understand that he has a problem (ideally before he gets fired). this involves some sort of intervention. you'll want to plan it before hand for two reasons. firstly, you want to make sure that you've got the right mix of people talking to him; secondly, you as the interveners are going to need some practice. expect that you might get any reaction from "shit, you're right." to "you're just jealous" to overt hostility.

there are several tactics you can use to get your point across. if your friend doesn't let challenges go unanswered, challenge him to put himself in a situation where he can't play the game for a month or two. tell your friend how his addiction is affecting your relations with him (this is particularly relevant if his family or significant other is at the intervention). you need to be careful that when you do this, you're making "i" statements --- "i feel like _____ when you ditch me" rather than "you ditched me, jackass". you know your friend a lot better than i do, so you've got a better feel for what may or may not work well for him. while you're having the intervention, it's really important that you all make it clear that a) you're there for him, b) you're not judging him, c) you're going to help him pull through when he asks for your help, d) this is not something that will be discussed outside of the people in the room. your goal is to make the room a safe space (much easier said than done).

good luck -- you're about to go through a really rough patch.

12 step program (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022135)

Cliff, Tell taco to sign up for the 12 step MMORG quitting program.
It involves daily patches and willpower.

The first step is identifying you have a problem.

Re:12 step program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022949)

It involves daily patches and willpower.

A linux install instead of WoW? Well, it could work...

Addiction (2, Interesting)

StithJim (943396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022136)

Well my roommate is seriously addicted to World of Warcraft (I refuse to call it "WOW") He does had a girlfriend...which he justified his obsession by getting her addicted. My friend recommended whipping my genitalia out and pissing on something he loves. Not wanting a direct conflict, I obviously refrained from that course. After he caught some computer virus, he reformatted his hard drive. I happened to..."hide" his lovely installation CD's. To cope with the void...we play AA (America's Army) and frisbee golf. It's nice because both of those have some form of an end. Don't know if that was entirely helpful, but hiding things seems to help.

Re:Addiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022660)

He couldn't have been that addicted if he didn't just go and buy a new CD.

Re:Addiction (1)

crazed (811280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022833)

Or even downloaded it! It's good for your roommate that he's not even slightly clever. On a college connection you have no reason to not download til your hard drives fill up.

Simple, take away the pleasure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022139)

You know which are his toons, and on which server he plays on? Get you and his friends to log on and basically harass him. Offer to do some pickup group raids with him, then ninja the good items. Leave the raid right before the boss with the nice drop. Gank him while he's questing. The idea is to make it so that he stops having fun playing. Once the reward cycle stops, he'll probably just wake up one morning and go "geez, this sucks".

Re:Simple, take away the pleasure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022330)

The danger with this is you may end up having so much fun griefing you might get hooked yourself :-P

Get a life (4, Interesting)

merreborn (853723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022140)

I know, it's harsh, cliche, and flamebait, but honestly, it worked for me.

I played Asheron's Vall obsessively for 4 years. I spent one entire summer doing nothing but. By the time I quit, I'd accumulated well over 6 months of online time. I dropped out of all my college classes... Two quarters in a row.

My parents did me a huge favor and kicked me out of their home on my 21st birthday. I found an appartment, got a job I enjoyed, and got engaged. Between the job and the fiance, I didn't have _time_ to play for months. By the time I had time again, I'd lost interest. I played about a total of 40 hours of WoW over the course of a month and a half this year, but rapidly got bored, and haven't logged in a single time in months.

Sounds good. (3, Insightful)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022398)

But, what happens if your job is crappy, you're not particularly excited about your fiance, and life is still very unpleasant?

Wait, wait, don't tell me .... back to the RPG?

Re:Get a life (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022631)

I played Asheron's Vall obsessively

Must've been the German version :-p
Sorry just couldn't resist...

Reality check (1)

Over00 (591403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022162)

You help him the same way you would help someone with any kind of addiction. His friends, family, professionnal...

The anonymous Slashdot audience is of no help here.

What worked for me (5, Interesting)

LearningHard (612455) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022217)

I was majorly addicted not just to mmorpg but to games as a whole. This period lasted for several years of my life during which I ignored my school responsibilities (I was in college). I also managed to lose a decent job at this time. Thankfully my girlfriend helped me. We started dating before the addiction started. During the addiction nothing mattered and finally she told me that if I didn't straighten up she was gone. I loved her enough that I managed to control my addiction and while I still play a good bit I still leave time for school, gf, friends, etc. I have also recovered in school and after this semester will be 12 hours from graduating with a dual major in both Finance and Economics.

It takes different things for different people. Lots of things were tried on me but the feelings I had for my girlfriend (now fiance we are getting married this summer) are what won the day for me.

Well.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022220)

If you could get him off the computer for any amount of time you may be able to screw his WoW install and hide his CD/DVDs while youre at it. I wouln't be a permanent solution but in the time it takes him to get it fixed, you may get some sense out of him.

Maybe he's right to leave the RL treadmill (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022253)

I'm not necessarily saying that you're wrong, but don't be so quick to judge that what your friend is doing is bad.

Yes, it's bad for his status on the RL treadmill, I agree, but there are many ways to go through life, and keeping up with the Jones's is only one of them.

Is he miserable, or not eating, or not looking after his hygiene? If so, OK you have a point. But if he's in good shape physically and mentally (ie. having fun), then the rest is peripheral. He may be enjoying a better life than you are.

Throwing his life away ? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022316)

Jeesh, get real.

Will he just curl up and die at some point ?

Or will he end up raggedy shoed with a paper cup saying "spare some change for an hour of computer time ?"

leave him alone, it could be the last fun he ever has !


Best Wishes For Speedy Recovery (1)

aliens (90441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022317)

It's funny how addiction is often times equated with just drugs and alcohol. Best of luck to you and your friend.

And half jokingly, how about those of us addicted to their jobs. Sounds stupid but I think it happens an awful lot in today's world.

stoney mcPot (3, Funny)

jeezus84 (866723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022341)

if this friend lives in Canada i suggest investing in some marijuana, a backpack, a canoe, and outdoor cookware. if this friend lives in the States i suggest tequila, a couple friends, and a pickup truck.

Re:stoney mcPot (1)

AnonymousPrick (956548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022643)

I know of a guy who was able to quit drinking by taking up pot. It worked! And since the pot is no where as addicting (if at all) as alcohol, he then just dropped the pot. It wasn't very good for his lungs, but he was able to give up something much more destructive.

Here is an awsome book on drugs and their effects: Buzzed []

I learned that Pot isn't as bad as the lawmakers say it is and alcohol is much worse than many drugs - including all of the controlled and illegal ones.

You know he's gone too far when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022361)

Here's the question: has he become a poopsocker?

Game Over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022438)

Arrange for the MMORPG to go thru a New Game Enhancement. Broke my SWG habit. : p

How I quit (4, Funny)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022468)


It is a simple question of economics. The person can spend 8 hours grinding levels for alts at World of Warcraft to get 2% better stats. Or they can spend 8 hours with their primary character grinding date quests, with a 20% chance of success and a 5% chance of critical hit.

At the end of a week, player 1 has just 15% higher stats. But player 2 has a pretty good chance of getting (or becoming) an ultra rare pet, with only a base level 18 requirement. Depending on which server and region you are in, group quests are also a possibility.

There can be complications with item drops, but anything you don't want can be sold at the auction house.

Re:How I quit (2, Funny)

Spades_ (175131) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022605)

But WoW cost $15/month! I think if you tried to spend $15/month on Date quest, you'll be grinding a lot more then 8 hours a night...not on the date... You could go for the sure fire 100% crit rate but that would probably be at least a half a year's worth of WoW!

Re:How I quit (3, Funny)

balthan (130165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022700)

Not to mention the curses you can pick up on a date quest. Some are curable through the local apothecary, but some are permanent!

Better than life. (1)

dazlari (711032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022608)

[Red Dwarf]

Tattoo EXIT on his forearm and see how long he takes to notice.

Catass (1)

sinij (911942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022610)

Buy him a car. Catass [] .

Most addictions are a sign of some other prob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022669)

He needs to see a counselor and see what is the reason he plays? Is it depression, doesnt want to face other problems?

even deletion's no escape (1)

kendoka (473386) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022673)

I deleted my 60 late last year and cancelled my account. I lasted about 8 hours before i sent blizzard an email to try and dig my character up. I was playing again in 24 hours. No lie =)

In all honesty what got me to finally quit was MC. It was long, boring (I used to sit and play guitar, pausing only to spam frostbolts or sheep when needed), and most of the time I didn't get anything. When the raid guilds started to come up with more byzantine and draconian loot rules i just decided enough was enough.

I used to think the sole purpose of playing was to get to 60 and see the end. Now I realize the instances and quests getting to 60 were a lot more fun than what's left for us at 60. (Well it's not true, I mean, Strat and Scholo are fun the first what, dozen times you five-man them?)

Get some real advice (1)

jbrader (697703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022713)

If you really wanna help this guy you should consult a therapist or a 12-step group. Not a website that bills itself as "News for nerds".

One thing (1)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022727)

One thing that has gotten me off many games (and I've heard it helps other people too) is finding a private server or setting one up where you are GM. After you can summon the best sword in the game and run around doing everything, you wonder why you bother spending so many hours to get a weapon that doesnt even get close to the stats. It works for single player games too ... cheating that is, not just upping a few stats here and there...

Everquest recovery (4, Interesting)

Jiilik Oiolosse (717106) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022741)

I've dealt with this myself. I started playing while I was working in order to pass the evening, and because some of the people in the office played. When layoffs hit, I (and several other players) were canned - lower productivity - we stood around and talked about where to get good loot. Spent 15 months unemployed, collecting insurance for being subject to layoffs, playing 14 hours a day. One day I stopped dreaming of people and only dreamed of avatars. I woke up, logged in, and gave away my account, cancelling the future payments. Then the depression hit, I was totally alone with nothing in my life. I'd lost touch with all of my friends, hadn't spoken to any of my family in 6 months. My insurance was running out and I'd be evicted if I didn't find a source of income. More than a year of my life had just gone. I eventually got evicted in my last month of the lease, coming home from a restaurant (alone) to find the locks changed. I'd managed to pack up one vehicle load of possessions before the rest was seized. I realize now that my friends had at first tried to invite me out, but I would decline more and more in favour of the raids, and eventually, I'd just decline and wouldn't even raid. They stopped calling after a while and it was my fault alone that I'd lost them. Sometimes I get the old feeling that I got when I was playing that game and shudder mildly at the thought of returning. Then it passes as I go give my girlfriend a hug and we go see a movie or something. Never again. This person needs help, and the worst thing you can do is stop trying.

slow down his computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15022766)

a game isn't enjoyable when it's displaying 1 frame every ten seconds. if you can't, use up his bandwith. bittorrent does the job incredibly well. hook up and download 300 copies of linux or something.

Live and let live (4, Insightful)

Hannah E. Davis (870669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022806)

It always irks me when I read about poor real life friends being abandoned in favour of an online game, but not for the reasons you might expect. See, I've abandoned plenty of real life "friends" and made friends online too, but although I met plenty of my online friends via various games (especially MUDs), the games were not the reason why my real life friendships began to suffer. If anything, it was because the people who I had previously hung out with just didn't click with me anymore, and playing a game was a way to distance myself from them. If any of them had attempted an "intervention," I would have been pretty damn pissed -- meeting me in real life does NOT give anyone the right to try and pry me away from my chosen form of entertainment. It's my life, and I get to choose who I want to be friends with and what I want to do in my spare time.

Incidentally, my life has never particularly suffered as a result of the small amount of game addiction that I have experienced. Maybe my marks would have been a bit higher (I usually get low to mid A's and high B's, with the odd A+ for flavour) if I'd spent less time gaming and more time doing homework, but realistically, if I hadn't been gaming or wasting time doing other hardcore nerd stuff, I would have been out dancing, getting drunk, and having random unprotected sex like the average university student -- not exactly my cup of tea.

Quite honestly, having a chance to play a game, interact with people all over the world, roleplay, and gank the hell out of a bunch of noobs is a LOT more important to me than getting laid or frying a bunch of brain cells, even though the latter activities might be more "normal" or even "healthy." If gaming makes me happy and sex/drinking doesn't, my former friends don't need to intervene... if they truly care, they need to let me be happy on my own terms.

There are certainly people who do need help breaking a game addiction, specifically the ones who are actually depressed by the prospect of losing aspects of their real lives, but the point I'm trying to make is that not all game addicts either want or need help. I'd rather let people be happy doing what they love than force them to take part in more socially-accepted activities that I know they're going to hate. Maybe they will lose their jobs, marriages, and friends, but if they're still happy, why does it matter? Isn't it better to be unemployed, alone and happy than rich, married, and depressed?

(Sorry for being so incoherent, but I hope you'll get the idea -- I'm at work, and I'm sleepy from skating during my lunch break and spending the rest of the day coding, so my brain isn't exactly working at full capacity.)

Incoherent? Hell, (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 8 years ago | (#15023007)

..your post is the first one that's made any sense. We live in a world of increasing crime, decreasing civil liberties, unending cultural conflict, really awful culture (music, etc) with no viable alternatives, on the news there's nothing but crime and violence, work by definition sucks, financial security is an illousion, family is, by definition, a burden and relationships turn bitter more often than not.

If someone can find solace or-god-forbid joy in this hell of unending stress then I say more power to them!

Re:Live and let live (1)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15023119)

Amen. I feel exactly the same way. Counterarguments seem to be "that isn't normal" or "that isn't healthy." There's tons of crap that everyone does every day that's not healthy, and we didn't need MMOs to trigger our obesity epidemic. Normality, meh, I think everyone on this website can appreciate how much normality matters. A full and healthy life does not have to involve all the trappings we've associated it with throughout history.

Psh, weaklings (4, Funny)

moochfish (822730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022809)

I really can't relate to your friend's problem. Why would anybody prioritize some stupid online hobby over real life??

On a more serious note, for the love of God, mod me up! I've been posting and posting trying to gain karma, and it's starting to effect my work ethic!!

Quit the drama (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022839)

if his life sucks he'll go back to games.Its like drug addicts,the real reason is something lacking in their life,and they try to supplant it with artificial methods.
Its self-reinforcing loop afterwards.

Just unplug (1)

Ekhymosis (949557) | more than 8 years ago | (#15022926)

I fail to see how hard it is to quit these so called "addictions". I've been reading some comments and although I agree with trying to help out the friend, zounds man!, if he doesn't want to quit let him get burned. Nothing like a swift kick to the nuts (metaphorically speaking and perhaps RL too) that is getting fired and losing more than the job to get the friend to truly wake up and see how much of his life he has squandered away on a rather insignificant game (yea yea, wow is best mmo evar, etc etc. grow up, its just a game).

While not exactly the same, I started smoking when I was 16. Got up to two packs a day. One day I woke up and realised that a.) cigarettes were really expensive and b.) they were detrimental to my health. I was also an alcoholic at an early age too.

You just stop doing it. Yes, it's that easy. People say that it's hard or impossible to quit addictions because of withdrawal, etc. Nonesense. It's all in your head. Just stop and see how these things are impacting your life and that's reason enough to quit.

Just my two cents...

Sign him up for Star Wars Galaxies.... (4, Funny)

SWG_Eddie (760714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15023088)

One week with the NGE is enough to drive even the most hardcore MMO player to quit for good....

Addicted to slashdot (1)

LinuxRulz (678500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15023095)

Next on your favorite news site: "A friend of mine has a serious problem. He is addicted to Slashdot. While most of us are able to disconnect from the site to take care of our own affairs, he keep reading dupes to the exclusion of his friends, his job and his life."

Not exactly sure what your friend is doing. (1)

johnnliu (454880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15023125)

There isn't really that many things to do in WoW.

If the friend is skipping work may be he's trying to get the PvP rank.
Or may be his raid group runs at a time that collides with his work.

Different values, different activities (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15023131)

How would you treat someone who spends 8 hours a day playing Beethoven Mozart on the piano?
Or someone who spends the same amount of time watching TV? Or reading classic literature?

Why, in particular, does WoW stand out as unacceptable?

Slashdot addicts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15023136)

Can anyone also help all the addicts that check slashdot 50 times a day?

Seriously, even checking and responding to email is becoming an addiction for a lot of people these days. By addiction, you can probably define it as something that takes at least an hour or two of every day, and where you can't go without it or your anxiety levels go up...

That's Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15023166)

Take a huge bag of weed, some coke, and a few hookers over to his place. If he fails to stop playing after he notices you smoking a dube and doing a line off some hooker's thigh, then you need to: leave the drugs at the house, call the cops, and get out of dodge. A few days or years in the slammer should cure his WOW addiction.
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