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One in Nine MMOG Players Addicted?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the guys-remember-that-sun-thing dept.

Role Playing (Games) 111

Gamespot is running a piece looking at a UK study which may indicate serious addiction problems among a large number of Massively Multiplayer gamers. The study, conducted at Nottingham Trent, showed that almost 12% of a 7,000 person study group showed symptoms of serious addiction, as laid down by the World Health Organization. From the article: "The survey was filled in by a self-selected sample comprising mainly of males with an average age of 21, and was concerned principally with the potential for addiction to online gaming. [Director of the International Gaming Research Unit Mark] Griffiths said, 'I'm sure if we'd done this survey looking at non-online players, looking at gamers that play on stand-alone systems, my guess is that the prevalence of addiction-like symptoms would have been much less prevalent.' According to Griffiths, the problem with online games is there will never be a point where the player has battled the final boss, tied up the story, and can turn the computer off with a feeling of satisfaction."

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I Can Quit Anytime... (2, Funny)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17039764)

Just after one more ding...

It's not an addiction (1)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043442)

It's not an addiction. It's just something I have to do all the time.

Not an addiction, more like a cult (3, Insightful)

Somatic (888514) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046192)

Seriously. If you want to look at the "symptoms", being an MMOG addict is more like joining a cult: you've got all these new friends, you've got to learn all these new things... instead of knowing verse 3.14, you need to know the cleric's level 44 spells. OMFG, you don't have Celestial Healing? [att.ne.jp]

But in our cult, you get to kill dragons, not wait for a judgement day that just never seems to come (next year maybe!). Yes, you lose touch with family like a real cult-- guildies will even scorn you for leaving for family time ("WTF, you're logging? Come on, we've been planning this raid all week. We need your DPS, dude.").

In our cult, we don't go door to door spouting crazy nonsense that would get our asses kicked if people didn't feel so bad for us. We stay indoors, like good crazy people should.

And like a real cult, the other members may feel real sadness and loss when you have to "disconnect". "What do you mean FlowerGirl quit cause of RL issues? But she... but she... she was our recruitment officer, and she laughed at my jokes :("

I'm not addicted... (4, Funny)

teflaime (738532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17039784)

Just because I quit my job to play WoW, that doesn't mean a thing...Besides, I'm moving to China.

Re:I'm not addicted... or am I? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040032)

I'm sorry, I was going to post a long comment, but I'm about to level up ...

Re:I'm not addicted... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040218)

Moving to China makes sense. You don't want those old folks in Korea whipping your ass online and offline with their Whippersnapper Cane (120+ damage) when you talk smack.

Only 1 in 9? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17039800)

That's because they take a survey of all the games played, not the players. I've had open accounts on WoW, FFXI, and Everquest simultaneously. As I move from one game to another I eventually kill the older accounts.

can't RTFA (2, Insightful)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17039810)

Gamespot seems dead to me, so instead:

yes, ofcourse we show "symptoms" of addiction, my question is what does the WHO say about the number of these symptoms that we need to show before we are clasified as addicted, and howmany people showed those signs.

Meh, can't say more with out TFA beign up

Have you played Oblivion? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17039898)

Now, that is what I call addictive.

Isn't it like 1 in 9 drinkers who are alcoholics too?

Re:Have you played Oblivion? (3, Insightful)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040094)

Yes I've played Oblivion. Maybe it could become addictive if it were an online game with no clear end. But I seriously doubt Oblivion will ever incite players to spend thousands of hours (and up to 100+ hours a week for weeks on end) playing at the expense of family, work, sleep, and other essential things. That's the kind of behavior brought on by MMOs such as EQ and WoW that causes people to call them addictive. I myself just quit WoW after spending about 2000 hours in the game over the last 15 months - and that's not much compared to what a lot of people have racked up in the same time span.

Re:Have you played Oblivion? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040514)

Yeah, there is that much gameplay in Oblivion too, and without the annoyance of other players.

Re:Have you played Oblivion? (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041000)

Oh, I'm sure you could spend that much time in it, just like you could in any other video game. But I highly doubt most people will, as there's very little incentive. I'm guessing you could probably do every quest and see pretty much all there is to see in 500 hours or less. But anyhow, show me your XFire profile (as well as those of at least three friends) with 1,500+ hours of Oblivion and then maybe I'll believe that people actually spend enough time at it to become addicted.

Re:Have you played Oblivion? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041344)

Whatever man, I have no desire to convince you of anything. I have a friend who plays Oblivion just to look at the beautiful graphics. He'll take his horse up a mountain to a waterfall and sit under a tree and watch the sunset.

Re:Have you played Oblivion? (1)

Kheng (1000729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042506)

I wasn't really that impressed by the graphics of Oblivion. It was overly hyped :(

Re:Have you played Oblivion? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042574)

depends very much on your graphics hardware.. but Halflife 2 looked better I think. Still, not exactly a natural environment, so you can't fairly compare the two.

And we're still waiting for Spore.

Re:Have you played Oblivion? (1)

Kheng (1000729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043358)

I think any RPG more concerned about Graphics then Gameplay has got their priorities mixed up :)

Re:Have you played Oblivion? (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17049064)

He takes a horse mount to sit under a waterfall and admire the environment? Where the hell does he live?! Why doesn't he go outside? Even if you live in NYC it's only a few hours to Niagara Falls or a national park. Go sit under a real waterfall and admire real nature (not recommended to sit under Niagara). Even if it's been invaded by human beings it's still better than sitting in an apartment staring at a screen.

I don't want to insult your friend, but the real thing is far better.

Re:Have you played Oblivion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17043034)

No there isn't that much gameplay. I beat the game and most of the side quests. I can see someone very dedicated to doing every quest putting in 150 hours into the game. How can you compare 150 hours in Oblivion to 2000 hours in World of Warcraft. Oblivion has an end and eventually most people get bored of it. Eventually most people get bored of WoW but they keep playing anyway and there is no end. Sounds like addiction to me.

Re:Have you played Oblivion? (3, Insightful)

Borg453b (746808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041494)

I was wowed by its beautiful graphics, and visually-sensory based immersive world.. but I quickly found that i cared nothing for the characters around me and my own character, unlike the baldurs gate series which i am revisiting. Just read the dialogues in the first game - we hardly ever get that level of writing in games. Mostly, crpgs are dumbed down for the broad market and the mtv attention-span.

My addition also lies in interesting narration. A discourse i feel part of - with characters i can relate to. When its all about the "dings", you dont really care about stuff except modifiers and stats (which granted is a big part of the sense of "false" accomplishment).

Game devs.. please satisfy my basic-human need for good story-telling; but storytelling that i can interact with; where my choices affect the outcome so your story becomes my story. This is what i miss in most games

Re:Have you played Oblivion? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041736)

Yes, you're right. Some of the story safety restrictions in Oblivion piss me off. I tell a guy he's without honor, he tells me to go away or he'll kick my ass, can I challenge him to a duel? no. Can I start hacking into him? sure, but he won't die, he'll only go "unconcious" because he's needed for another quest. Gah. But, like all games, you have to accept the limitations of the media.

Follow on study... (4, Funny)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17039924)

also... 8 in 9 MMO players are liars.

Nottingham Trent... (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042776)

Nottingham Trent... Is that near Ironforge?

Wish I could read the article.... (1, Insightful)

avronius (689343) | more than 7 years ago | (#17039966)

One addiction is as bad as another. The suggestion that people who play bingo are less "addicted" than people who play "wow" is simply wrong.

Many people just seem to have a natural propensity towards addiction. For many, this is easily controlled by substituting one stimulus for another. For some however, the desire to continue with a specific behaviour is overwhelming, and not easily supplanted.

This can be said of smoking / drinking / golfing / driving / mmorpg'ing / etc.

Identifying an addiction in someone around them is simple enough. Identifying an addiction in yourself is much more complex, as we all believe that we are in full control of our impulses.

Re:Wish I could read the article.... (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040372)

The suggestion that people who play bingo are less "addicted" than people who play "wow" is simply wrong.

Yeah, the difference is that bingo is only in session at certain times, but you can log into WoW anytime, so people addicted to bingo display their symptoms less often.

I work in a casino with bingo and we definitely have diehards who would rather miss a family occasion (if any of them even lived near family - lots of our players retired in the general area) than miss bingo. They show up with their big ol' bandolier of daubers, their lucky troll collection, etc etc.

Frankly I don't care much about addiction unless it's hurting people. Neither the WoW addiction nor the bingo addiction are serious unless you're neglecting responsibilities or something.

I know someone whose father is a gambling addict and they would be traveling internationally one month, and stuck in some hovel the next. My father is an alcohol addict and I eventually stopped speaking to him until he got clean because nothing else was working - he's been straight for three years. *shrug*

Re:Wish I could read the article.... (2, Funny)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040596)

This can be said of smoking / drinking / golfing / driving / mmorpg'ing / etc.

/ sex

Line starts over here --->

I was (3, Interesting)

Cauchy (61097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17039976)

I had to quit playing WoW because that's all I did with my free time. I was in a serious raiding guild, and filling out my tier 2 set and getting ready for Naxx was all I seemed to care about. One morning, I woke up from a dream about killing Onyxia, and I decided that was too much. I got out of bed, deleted the WoW from my hard drive, and canceled my account. My wife was pleased as punch. But now, everything in my life seems so much duller now. I have taken to playing ATITD since it is too boring to become an obsession. Perhaps I should take up heroin? *shrugs* But, I do have to say that unlike many addictions, WoW was fun until the end. But, I no longer think WoW == RL.

Re:I was (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040090)

Sure, you played the hell out of it. I myself played the hell out of WoW, and may again at some point in the future, but my life got in the way.

If you stop, cold turkey, you're not addicted. I love games, I love MMO's...I've played a dozen. I stay up all hours, I play hardcore.

I went through a period between contracting jobs after WoW came out where I played 60+ hours a week, and that lasted all the way up to the day I started the next job, then dropped to maybe 8 hours a week. I kinda wished I could play more, but I had other things I had to do.

So what would this study say about me? That I was super addicted one day, and not the next? Addiction doesn't WORK that way. It's just stupid. These studies vary so wildly in their results, I can't help but think that they're completely full of it.

Re:I was (2, Interesting)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040210)

>So what would this study say about me? That I was super addicted one day, and not the next? Addiction doesn't WORK that way.

You're right. Addiction doesn't work that way. You're not one of the "1 in 9" that the study found addicted to MMOs. People who get addicted to MMOs will actually experience withdrawal symptoms if they do quit cold turkey. Perhaps one of the best ways to tell if you're addicted yourself is to consider what you think about when you're NOT playing. If the game is all you can think about, and you find yourself irritated that you're unable to play because you're "tied down" by things like social functions, work, sleeping, etc you're probably addicted.

Re:I was (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040326)

I don't consider "wanting" to do something other than work to be a sign of addiction...Now if I blew off work in order to play/drink/smoke, then hell yes, addiction.

Addictions aren't manageable, by definition. They take over all aspects of your life. Just because you blow off a social function so you can play a game, that means nothing. It's when you blow off something that actually matters, whose blowing off has stark consequences, that you need to think about addiction.

Re:I was (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040646)

Addictions aren't manageable, by definition. They take over all aspects of your life.
Just a minor quibble with your argument - there are such things as high functioning addicts. Typically in such a case the person is able to pull themselves together enough of the time to function more or less like a normal person, but they are unable to quit. I've known at least one high functioning alcoholic (who later hit a downward spiral, but the alcoholism went back before that). I'd say that such cases show addiction to be "manageable".

I do agree with your main point however. Statements like "one in nine MMO players are addicted" reflect an overly broad definition of "addict". When somebody can get bored with their MMO and quit, or move on, they don't qualify - try that with an alcoholic and see how far they get.

Re:I was (2, Informative)

Jurrasic (940901) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041548)

Agree. I know a certain opiate addict who has not only maintained his addiction at a (relatively) steady level for several years, but has in that time moved up from an entry level job into operations management and successfully raised two children and kept his wife completely oblivious to his habit. Addiction is not nearly as cut and dry as some would think.

Re:I was (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040410)

But the OP said that everything in their life seems duller in their post-WoW existence. That seems like a withdrawal symptom to me.

Re:I was (1)

Cauchy (61097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040642)

Call it what you will. It was all I thought about. I left work, and I would rush home to play. I rearranged everything in my life to be able to raid with my guild. At work, I have to fight the urge to fire up WoW for just a few minutes. I quit cold turkey, but I had no other choice. If it isn't addiction, I don't know what it is---I couldn't have just played 8 hours a week if I wanted to. It was all or nothing.

And, I had and am having withdrawal symptoms, but they do get better. I'm not bored all the time anymore, and I go whole days barely thinking about starting again. It helps knowing that my guild has no doubt dropped me for missing almost 3 full weeks of raiding.

One major consideration is that I do have better things to do with my time---I'm just not sure I want to do them. :)

Re:I was (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17041402)

I was in much the same position after I graduated college but before getting a job. Yes, I exhibited enough symptoms that I could have been diagnosed as being addicted to a MMO. I had full control over my ability to play or not; but interestingly enough, unless you make the decision to stop, that ability is irrelevant when it comes to diagnosing addiction.

Up until I cut back my play time (I got a job), I was, technically, addicted. After getting a job, the presence of another time-consuming activity in my life, one that received priority over my MMO habits, indicated the absence of a MMO addiction. Without something "better" to do, addiction is pretty much a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Without something better to do, there will almost assuredly be withdrawl; I want to play, thats why I play. I enjoy it. If you suddenly tell me I can't play, then yeah, I still want to and that means withdrawl symptoms. If I decide not to play because of X, withdrawl is not a problem because I chose to stop playing for a reason, I might want to play, but I am capable of facing the reality that I can't do it, because of X. Failure to face this reality and neglecting those "better things" IS a sign of addiction, but in the absence of "better things" you still fit the mold of addiction.

So, yes, using people that have done as I did and play excessively during times of unemployment / inactivity / absence of "better things" as a case study, there are a ot of people out there that, while they are "addicted" today, might not be tomorrow. I'd argue that they were not in fact addicted at any time, but the clinical definition of addiction assumes that in all cases there is something better to do, so addiction is that fickle of a mistress.

Regarding this particular study, I call them out on their claims of withdrawl symptoms. I don't see how they could have found 7000 people that would be in a position to suffer withdrawl given the requirement that you need to interject a priority into their life and observe the results, as opposed to making them stop or observing them after they have been forced to stop. I beleive they have used general surveys/observation that fail to capture this aspect adequately, since unless they made the decision to stop, they aren't a valid subject. Addiction is characterized as being uncontrollable, so the choice to stop has to be present and accepted, but addiction will foil the choice. Wanting to play once this priority has been added could be construed as a craving, but not withdrawl, not unless the desire overcomes the new priority. We are, after all, talking about a form of entertainment, and there is a natural tendency to want to have fun that is unrelated to addiction. Craving entertainment/fun when you're forced to do something that isn't fun (work--for some people) is natural and not at all indicative of addiction. Having a preference for the form this fun takes is likewise not a sign of addiction.

Even deprived of withdrawl, they still list 3 of the criteria of addiction (addiction requires 3 criteria, so debunking another--disclaimer on this later--means their addiction numbers are wrong). Granted, there were probably other signs of addiction, but htey were not mentioned and I accept that there will be some genuine cases of addiction, but a large number are probably misdiagnosed.

So lets attack the claims of neglecting other activities. I effectively stopped painting when I started college. This had nothing to do with addiction. Once I was employed in a programming position I effectively stopped programming as a hobby. The first case was because I had other things to do with my time that were more entertaining. The second case is because I was programming at work and wanted to take a break from it in my leisure time. Neglect of other activities carries with it the requisite that you should be maintaining those activities. Just because you start to pursue one activity and that causes you to stop pursuing another does not indicate neglect, although it obviously is a requisite. They do not describe how they identify neglect and, given the nature of entertainment, this could be a simple substitution of one implementation (MMOs) of an activity (having fun) for another (painting); not a neglect of the activity itself, just a better way of pursuing it. Again, the summary of the study fails to indicate how they assess 'neglect.' They would need to present evidence that the introduction of a MMO caused a shift in priorities, not simply that specific activities have been given up for other activities.

Furthermore, the participants in the study volunteered. People with strong feelings are more likely to volunteer, and few have stronger feelings than those that feel they overcame an addiction. Certainly the guy that plays an hour or two on Tuesday nights when nothing good is on TV wouldn't meet the addiction criteria, but would he neither be alerted to the study nor likely to really want to participate. So the sample set would seem to have an inherent bias towards addiction; 1 in 9 from the given sample may in fact be reasonable, but hardly indicative of the broader picture.

I do agree with the study's claims that the nature of MMOs leads to a greater demonstration of addiction symptoms, but I would be inclined to add sandbox games to MMOs. Activities designed to promote community and creativity are more likely to induce signs of addiction than straightforward objective-based activities.

I'm not pretending MMO addiciton doesn't exist, I just don't accept the 1 in 9 claim without more specific data about the study.

Disclaimer: The study gives general results and is one of the more pro-MMO studies I've seen performed. I've made equally general counterarguments and my reasoning might not hold up against specifics. Lacking those specifics, I pass my Will save for disbelief.

Addiction vs Obsession. (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042320)

If the game is all you can think about, and you find yourself irritated that you're unable to play because you're "tied down" by things like social functions, work, sleeping, etc you're probably addicted.

No, that's a sign of obsession. Obsession can be bad, it can even be a part of addiction, but it isn't addiction. Obsession can also be something that you're just a lot more intersted in than whatever else you are doing. Did I think about WoW almost constantly when I was playing it the most? Yes. But so what? I would think about wrestling almost all the time when I was doing that because I liked wrestling more than I like Senior AP English or my job at Little Caesars. I was obsessed, sure, but at the end of the day it wasn't anything harmful (uh, except the whole starving myself part, different story), and when the season ended I was sad (withdrawal?), but oh well, that was it. That's not addiction.

Addiction is when you want to stop the behavior, but can't.

Addiction is when the behavior is harming yourself and your loved ones, but you can't stop yourself from doing it and continuing the harm.

Your typical adult nicotine addict (like my mother) knows it's bad for them, doesn't actually like cigarettes and wishes they could stop, but when they try they find themselves unable to.

An alcoholic, who frequently is in denial about their problem, may black out and fall down the stairs breaking a leg, go to jail for drunk driving, lose their job, their wife, their friends, even their home and still continue drinking.

It is certainly possible to be addicted to a video game, and believe me I can feel the pull when the hit-the-lever-fifty-times-get-a-peanut mechanics of all MMOs kicks in. There are people who have lost spouses and jobs to WoW. There are people who don't even find the game fun anymore but still play, even to the point of losing their jobs. Those people are addicted. Your average loser who plays 40 hours a week, who only talks about WoW with their friends, but still holds down their job and maintains whatever passes for their social life while still getting a kick out of Pwning N00bz0rs, they're just obsessed.

Re:Addiction vs Obsession. (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045374)

Perhaps you didn't quite read what I wrote. I know lots of people use the term "all you can think about" very loosely, but I actually meant it exactly the way it sounds. When something is all you can think about, you literally can't focus your thoughts on anything else. You also missed the point rest of my statement as well it seems. For most people work, social activities and sleep make up most of their life. So basically what I was saying is if you can't think about anything but the game and you become irritable any time you can't play it, you're most likely addicted. Sure doesn't sound like "just obsession" to me anyhow.

But regardless of whether or not they can be defined as "addictive" I think people are finally starting to realize just how many problems they bring on themselves with MMOs. And I think they find themselves affected a great deal more than they ever thought possible.

Re:I was (2, Interesting)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040112)


Eh, I pretty much had the same thing. Except the triggering event was a bunch of Guild Drama(tm) that made me realize that the people I'm raiding with... really don't give a shit about me, beyond my Dark Iron gear, Quel'Serrar and raid attendance. Deleted everything, tossed the non-bound stuff and cash to one of the few decent people in the guild, and haven't looked back.

I tried the ATITD thing for a weekend, before I realized how monumentally boring it is. Yes, I want to click 3000 times to make bricks to build a shitty house!

Fortunately, I quit a month before the Wii came out, so I'm knee deep in Zelda now, and I can't even remember what Rag looks like...

ATITD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17040650)

So... I guess you never got to the point of making beer, designing a mosaic, or putting together a pyrotechnic mortar?

ATITD is definitely Long Attention Span Theater. But there is enough there you can pick and choose what you want to do.

www.atitd.com
wiki.atitd.net

Before WoW there was... (1)

Lars512 (957723) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042164)

...Ultima Online! I was plenty addicted to this at school. I only got a few hours sleep a night, and had decided that my "leisure time" was until 10 or 11pm, and school work could be done afterwards. I was often in a sleep-deprived haze, where just seeing a bird in real life would make me want to chase it, kill it and use the feathers to make arrows. Those were the days... the thrill, the excitement, being chased by bastard PKers with huge lag, later becoming an inept bastard PKer myself. I only stopped when I moved to Everquest. Somehow EQ never caught me up though, and I gave it up after only a few months. In that time though, I introduced it to my friend, and his Dad, who would become seriously addicted for several years after retiring. Whoops.

Re:I was (1)

Kheng (1000729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042582)

I remember back when i was playing, i dreamt of winning Might Shoulders. Racked up about 130 days of play time in 1 year, 7/8 Tier 2, Sulf hammer etc, but one day about 6 months ago I just decided to quit. Too much damn eDrama.

1 in 9 play a game too much (1, Interesting)

liak12345 (967676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17039994)

I don't think there is a chemical substance driving the MMO market (other than caffeine) so I have a hard time calling it addiction.

Re:1 in 9 play a game too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17040184)

You do understand that Addiction is much more than chemical dependancy, it can also be a Psycological addiction, and you can become addicted to almost anything

Re:1 in 9 play a game too much (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17041188)

Right, so let's start by worrying about those things that are proven to be both dangerous psychological addictive. Like, say, religion. Then we'll worry about minor details like games.

Re:1 in 9 play a game too much (2, Insightful)

abscr (645403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040702)

A big cause of cigarette addiction is psychological. People can get through two weeks (after which, most of the physical dependency is gone) and still pick it up again because of the pyschological factors.

Just because it's not physical addiction doesn't mean it's not an addiction; they are just weak-willed.

Re:1 in 9 play a game too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17043636)

Hey, you know what, that makes me think:

I don't think there is a chemical substance driving the porno market (other than testosterone) so I have a hard time calling it addiction.

Phew, feel a bit better about myself now!

BRB (1)

lewp (95638) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040040)

I'll be back to discuss this very serious topic ... after Naxx!

Not necessarily a problem but... (5, Insightful)

BMonger (68213) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040050)

I know for some people it's not the fact that there is "no end" but rather they enjoy the online friendships they create and log in just to talk to their online friends. I know I've logged in just to ask a friend how their surgery went, if they had their baby yet, how their day at work was, etc and not even step foot out of the main city area.

Some people just use MMO's as a glorified chat client too with leveling as a side part of it.

Re:Not necessarily a problem but... (2, Insightful)

ben there... (946946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040786)

"According to Griffiths, the problem with online games is there will never be a point where the player has battled the final boss, tied up the story, and can turn the computer off with a feeling of satisfaction."

I agree that the quote doesn't tell the whole story. Online games are more addictive because they're less boring than playing the AI. They also fulfill a social need. I know I like playing an FPS after work occasionally because I get to chat with generally like-minded people (and shooting people is a good stress-reliever too). Getting involved with a clan/guild/etc., you can actually get to know the people you play with and make a few friends. I'm not big on MMORPGs, but I'd imagine they're even more social.

Glad I saw this coming (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040072)

I'm just glad I had the foresight several years ago to recognize this MMORPG phenomenon as a potential problem. I am a gamer, and I have the tendency to finish what I started (I won't really want to put a game down until I've seen it all the way to the end). When I was first introduced to the concept of Everquest and being able to play online (with many other people) in a massive (and growing) environment, I was intrigued. The 'Ever' part of its title does indicate a problem that the article points out: it never ends. That's a problem if I want to finish something. I didn't buy it, and I'm glad. I probably would have failed out of college if I did!

1 in 9 are addicted... (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040098)

... the other 8 are hopelessly addicted.

Don't forget (1)

fatty ding dong (1028344) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040116)

Some people are gil-sellers that pad their income by playing MMOs. So some obsessive playing could be considered a second job.

But given how much actual legal tender rookie and would-be gil-sellers make, I'd say that only drops the figure to 1 out of 8.5 addicted.

Re:Don't forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17040764)

You mean goldsellers? You seem to have missed the "o" key and left the "d" out of "gold" - twice. I always love it when people repeat the same typo.

But goldsellers are players too, and I'm not sure if I'd group them as addicted or not addicted. Much more interesting would be the people who buy gold and seeing what the correlation between addicted players and buying gold is. The most vocal critics of goldselling always appear (to me, at least) to be the most addicted players.

Re:Don't forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17043654)

You do know that WoW is not the only MMO out there. The OP happened to be enough of an intellectual to choose FFXI over the lesser MMOs... Yes, I too used to play FFXI, and I can say that gilsellers were much more prominent than goldsellers.

And I'm suprised that its as low as 1 in 9. I would think that even 1 in 3 would be a conservative view.

-GrapeSoda

Re:Don't forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17040870)

that's more, not less

Re:Don't forget (1)

fatty ding dong (1028344) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041696)

D'oh! You're right, that'll teach me to attempt rudimentary math in my head when I'm supposed to be working.

Does this mean... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040160)

That eight in nine are bored to death with MMOG after playing for two months?

Re:Does this mean... (1)

Greg.Rodden (853800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043762)

It took me 2 weeks before I un-installed WoW

So...? (1)

TheSam (636870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040182)

Really, that's my question: So, what?

Addictions to illegal substances, alcohol, smoking, and other consumables have a direct effect on the physical welfare of an individual. Online addiction is only a substitution for that of an otherwise dull existance in the real world. This is social evolution. I foresee in 300 years we're all connected to some sort of MMO experience, whether it be a fictional world or series of nonstop chatrooms and advertisements. We're a social species and we've long proven that if there's a way to be more interconnected we'll do it.

What I want someone to prove is that all of you nonMMO'ers aren't addicted to avoiding new technology and entertainment.

(In all seriousness, I'm not sure how much I agree with what I just typed, but one tthing's obvious: I'm 1 in 9)

Re:So...? (3, Funny)

avronius (689343) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040322)

If you're 1 of 9, where's 7?

Re:So...? (1)

TheSam (636870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040408)

she rolled alliance

Another Stat (4, Funny)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040206)

4 in 7 journalists addicted to putting meaningless statistics in headlines?

99% of world is addicted to enjoyment (3, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040222)

These "gaming addiction" studies are getting annoying.

Addictions that involve the taking of a substance are one thing. Quite a different thing are pseudo-addictions that are merely "addictions to enjoyment" without any artificial chemical agent.

We are ALL "addicted" (in a sense) to enjoyment or pleasure or happiness or whatever turns us on --- we are always trying to maximize these things, at the expense of those that we do not enjoy. "Addiction" to our pleasures is the normal human condition.

The alleged "gaming addict" is just a gaming enthusiast who takes his or her gaming enjoyment to an extreme, but that doesn't make it a medical condition unless you are eager to find medical conditions in everything.

Re:99% of world is addicted to enjoyment (1)

Tainek (912325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040392)

Addiction is when we have a Psycological addiction to somthing

I can balance my enjoyment with paying the bills, seeing the girlfreind, ect, and addict cant, why?

because he has lost his sense of self control, he cannot bring himself away without withdrawl symptoms

Its all in the balance, you are an addict when you cannot maintain the balance, and put yourself in harms way (such as losing your job home and wife)

Re:99% of world is addicted to enjoyment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17040978)

I can balance my enjoyment with paying the bills, seeing the girlfreind, ect, and addict cant, why?

And there are very unresponsible people out there who cannot balance anything with paying bills, seeing the girlfriend, etc. no matter what they do - even if an addiction is not a part of the equation.

Re:99% of world is addicted to enjoyment (1)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041152)

Pot is not known to be physically addictive, but you get addicted to the "Fun" and the mindset. Many addictions are that way--gambling, exercise, etc.

As I had it explained to me once--mental addictions are actually physical addictions to chemicals your brain creates when it's happy or wants to be happy (Dopamine), and this is the mechanism of most (all?) addictive drugs as well--they manipulate your dopamine receptors.

That said, I'm getting sick of people using any sort of addiction as an excuse.

How many recent scandals were attributed to alcohol addiction?

When you start with any drug--be it coffee, alcohol, chocolate or WOW--You NEED TO UNDERSTAND that you may not be able to handle it, and weather or not you understand the addiction potential, it's still COMPLETELY your fault because you choose to do it in the first place.

It's as much your fault that you were sending sexual text messages to young children, getting illegal pills from your maid, got pregnant in the bar, robbed a house or whatever stupid thing your addiction caused you to do.

There, now that the fault/responsibility problem is understood, all we need to do is come up with an overhaul for the entire rehabilitation system and we'll be on our way.

Also they tend to over state it (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041232)

I'm sure there are some people who are addicted in the classical sense as they go through withdrawl when they stop playing, play so much that it destroys their life, etc. However it seems anyone who plays lots of games is considered an addict by these peopel. I'm sure in their book I was a World of Warcraft addict. I played with a raid guild so I played about 4-5 hours a night, at least 4 nights a week. Now notice I said played, so what happened? Some lengthy treatment program to beak an addiction? No, I got bored with raiding. Moved on to other games. My attention span is just too short to keep raiding over and over, it was fun for a bit but I've been there and done that as much as I care to.

Clearly, despite the playtime, it wasn't an addiction. The problem is people who do studies like this seem to consider gaming a deviant behaviour, like there's something wrong with you if you want to play games. So if you spend a little freetime on it, ok you are fine, but if you spend lots, you must be addicted. Never mind the people who spend 4 hours a night watching TV (which Neilsen claims people do) they are ok but if you spend that on your computer you clearly have problems.

As you said, people like being amused and many of us find video games to be effective amusement for the money.

Re:99% of world is addicted to enjoyment (1)

rackhamh (217889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041422)

The alleged "gaming addict" is just a gaming enthusiast who takes his or her gaming enjoyment to an extreme, but that doesn't make it a medical condition unless you are eager to find medical conditions in everything.

Unless you think that the part of us that gets addicted to gaming is somehow dictated by something other than biological processes, gaming addiction clearly is a medical condition. In fact, you'll find many studies to confirm that just about every form of addiction has a similar impact on neurological receptors. Gambling and cocaine stimulate the same reward centers. Therefore, medical solutions for drug addiction may be applicable to addictions to "enjoyment" as you call it.

Your argument implies that drug addictions are somehow more "real" than other forms of addiction, which IMO is a great disservice to people who do suffer with such addictions. If you doubt me, try asking someone with an eating disorder about the impact it's had on their life. I think you'll find that their experience is far from "enjoyable."

Easy to see difference: withdrawal symptoms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17046946)

Your argument implies that drug addictions are somehow more "real" than other forms of addiction, which IMO is a great disservice to people who do suffer with such addictions.

I think you're missing the point made by the OP.

Many enjoyable things can ruin your life if done to excess, and if you avoided them then your life would be much better. But that doesn't make them addictions. What you're seeing is purely a feed-forward effect: we like our pleasure or enjoyment, so we seek more of it, so we suffer the social consequences. Our chemical pleasure receptors are of course stimulated by the experience, but that's normal, as that's the mechanism of pleasure.

In contrast, real addictions are reinforced by PHYSICAL NEGATIVE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS. Consuming an addictive drug no doubt triggers the same pleasure receptors as a fun hobby, but it's not this triggering that makes it addiction: it's what happens when you try to stop taking the drug, which is a state of collosal physical trauma/distress that is utterly plain to see even to the untrained eye, let alone the medical one.

The difference between these two things is marked. Simple withdrawal of pleasures never creates physical trauma --- it's merely highly irritating and can drive us into a myopic frenzy because we WANT to do it so much, but it's not physical trauma. Big difference.

Your example of eating disorders illustrates this difference perfectly. Yes, they can ruin our lives, but if you are forced to "go straight" then you do not suffer physical trauma from the withdrawal, just mental anguish as a result of your craving, plus of course lots of hunger if your "eating disorder" was of the excess-eating type (unlike anorexia, for example). But hunger is an entirely natural process, and the fact that it forces you to eat doesn't make normal food addictive.

What is an addict? (3, Interesting)

Jaeph (710098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040240)

This all goes back to using vague terms to label people as "bad".

I can't see the article, so I'll ask: do they have specifics? Are we simply judging by the amount of time? If so, who are we to judge how people spend their time?

Or are they basing it on real things, like losing jobs, flunking schools, etc? If 1 in 9 wow players have either lost a job or flunked out of school in the past year, that's a pretty ugly stat.

-Jeff

Re:What is an addict? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17041640)

Based on the article, it looks like a survey of volunteer readers they did. I doubt it has the depth of a real study and the sample set is already massively biased towards addiction. My assessment is that the study has absolutely no validity.

Feeling of satisfaction, huh? (1)

Parallax Blue (836836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040264)

According to Griffiths, the problem with online games is there will never be a point where the player has battled the final boss, tied up the story, and can turn the computer off with a feeling of satisfaction.

While this may be true to some extent, I myself (and, I am sure, other players as well) DO feel a good deal of satisfaction whilst playing an online game, such as WoW. One could argue that a good MMORPG can and will create a feeling of satisfaction upon attaining important in-game goals, and draw that out as long as possible. WoW is an excellent example of this: it takes time and effort to gain every level and every item in the game, as well as every gold piece (leaving aside power-leveling services and gold buying sites!) Indeed, even after getting to lv60 on WoW (and soon to be lv70 with the release of the expansion, The Burning Crusade,) there is still plenty of activities and goals to keep you occupied, which I shall not list here... there are way too many.

In short: Mr Griffiths, have you ever considered that precisely BECAUSE there is no ending point to an online MMORPG is why players get addicted to it? Because it continues rewarding them for playing long after a single player game would have been over with and finished? Frankly, I don't think you have.

-Parallax

Re:Feeling of satisfaction, huh? (1)

beetlefeet (866517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042878)

Griffiths: "It's addictive because there is no end"
You: "Well did you ever consider it's addictive precisely BECAUSE there is no end? Frankly, I don't think you have."
Griffiths: "WTF? lern2read -_-; "

Sensationalist! (3, Informative)

tbannist (230135) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040278)

While I can't read the article probably because it was slashdotted, the quote above looks like typical media exageration. If you want a study on "addiction" to MMO's to be taken seriously, you might want to classify it on several different levels:

1) Destructiveness of the addiction
2) Severity of Withdrawal
3) Prevalence of addiction in general

Saying 11% of player are addicted to MMOs means nothing without quantifying what you consider "addiction". It's also meaningless without considering the side effects of addiction. 100% of people are "addicted" to oxygen, but that's not a very useful claim since there's no quantifyable affect of that "addiction". The severity of the withdrawal is important to consider, because a destructive addiction that is very hard to drop is more dangerous than one that is easily quit, like MMOs. Lastly, before you go all hog wild about how 11% of MMO players are addicted, I'd like to some useful background material like how many bingo players are addicted to bingo, how many musicians are addicted to music, how many quilters are addicted to quilting, and how many hockey players are addicted to hockey. After all are they amateur atheletes or are they just addicts waiting for their next exercise fix?

Many people have a tendency to invest a lot of time in individual pursuits for a while, whether it be atheletics, school, work, sex, or TV. The question with these studies is always going to be are the people addicted, or just enjoying themselves and socializing with friends online?

Re:Sensationalist! (1)

AWhistler (597388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040632)

These are very good examples of what I meant when I asked before...

When does an "addiction" become just a new way of life?

WoW vet here... (3, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040306)

I was in the closed beta and open beta. I remember having LAN parties that summer with some other friends who were in the closed and open as well...plainsrunning, the kodo stomp bug, the whole bit... FANTASTICALLY wonderful time. Then release day. Each of us got a copy. For that entire weekend, it was all we did.

Time goes by.

I've created a multitude of chars, I have made hundreds of in-game friends, I have made hundreds of in-game enemies...I have hosted and been hosted at many many RP events...I have laughed with excitment at finally getting that drop, and cried when a good friend in my main's guild died. I have quit for 2 weeks, only to return to it. I have quit for two months, only to return to it. I have been at the point of playing only 8 hours a week. I have been at the point of playing 8 hours a day (with a full time job and a family mind you)

I have experienced every angle and part of WoW. About 6 months ago, I slowly weened myself away from it. I had realized I had missed out on a large volume of games as a result of WoW. I am as we speak going through all the amazing xbox ps2 and gamecube games that I missed...even a dreamcast game or two that I never got around to finishing.

I do not regret a single minute spent playing WoW. Some of my most fond and cherished gaming memories (and even a couple in-general life memories) came as a result of my WoW addiction...an addiction which I shall never be over nor one that I ever wish to be free from. There is not a single day that I do not think about playing it again.

Some day, I will double-click on that icon again. Some day, I will thrust myself back into that amazing and fantastic world. Some day, the extensions of my concious and soul shall live again.

Until that day arrives, keep a space around the campfire for me. I have a hilarious story involving a kodo, a troll, and a dwarf's kid sister.

Re:WoW vet here... (1)

rukkyg (1028078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17048444)

Some day, I will double-click on that icon again. Some day, I will thrust myself back into that amazing and fantastic world. Some day, the extensions of my concious and soul shall live again.
You mean you don't have it on your quick launch?

Article (2, Informative)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040318)

Seems like the host is hosed; however, I did find an interesting article on WebMD about gaming addiction found here [webmd.com] .

An interesting note FTA:
According to the Center for On-Line Addiction, warning signs for video game addiction include:

* Playing for increasing amounts of time
* Thinking about gaming during other activities
* Gaming to escape from real-life problems, anxiety, or depression
* Lying to friends and family to conceal gaming
* Feeling irritable when trying to cut down on gaming

Re:Article (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17044398)

Lying to friends and family to conceal gaming

Sprung! Last night I told a friend who called that I would just take something off the heat - put down the phone, went back to the PC, backed out of the middle of a camp full of nasties then logged off before I returned to the phone.

Addiction is very complex (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040398)

It seems to me like there are all sorts of studies talking about how X% of people are addicted to this, or Y% of people are addicted to that. it also doesn't surprise me that there is some amount of addictive behavior exhibited by MMO players.
Articles like this always seem to oversimplify addiction though. A lot of the articles on gaming and information addiction seem to just go for the "OMG Technology is Teh Bad!!!eleventyone111!" fear mongering luddite angle, but other times it seems like people are just playing too fast and loose with the definition of addiction.
I'll start out by saying that I am not- as far as I am aware of- addicted to anything, nor do I have an addictive personality. I have however dealt with a number of close friends and family members who have suffered with various addictions (alcohol as well as numerous drugs).
The first thing to take note of is that there are really two sides of addiction. There is the psychological aspect of it, as well as the physical/chemical aspect of addiction. I'm sure that, much like a gambling addiction, MMOs can have some effect on the chemical balance of the brain- and lead to some form of minor change in the chemical balance in the body. I would also guess that MMOs have much less of an effect than many other forms of addiction that basically cause your body to dope itself up.
That leaves us mainly looking at the psychological aspects of addiction. This is where things get tricky. The problem is that you have to seperate out things that basically psychologically addictive in the game, and things that people with addictive personalities latch onto - which really raises the question:
How many MMO addicts are addicted because MMOs are addicting, and how many people merely have addictive personalities and play MMOs instead of drinking/gambling/shooting up/etc.
My guess is that for at least half of the people who are addicted to MMOs, it's not that the MMO itself is that addicting, but rather it's that they are going to be addicted to something, and that something turned out to be a game. A big reason for people to become addicted to things is as a way of escaping their real life instead of fixing it, and it's easy for me to see how someone who was going to do that already could just as easily pick up a copy of WoW as a bottle of Wild Turkey.
For the other half, I would say it's pretty evenly divided. Some people have so much invested that they hold out for a payoff. This is sort of like what leads to gambling addictions. I think a lot of these players eventually tell themselves that they are going to quit and sell off their characters/loot/etc, but it becomes a matter of constantly investing more time in order to recoup their investment.
For the other half, I would say that the addiction is really more social than anything else. They say that one of the reasons that it's so hard to quit smoking for people is that they have to give up not only the cigarettes, but the people they hang out with on smoke breaks. I would also guess that for a fairly large number of people, they continue to play MMOs not because they are really addicted to the game specifically, as much as it is that they have personal relationships with people through the game that they may feel that they will be unable to continue on with if they were to choose to quit the game.
I think that far too many studies don't consider all of these aspects of gaming addiction, and instead try to use it as yet another reason why games should be outlawed and burned. I do respect that some people recogonize a legitimate need to study the addictive nature of games and get help for the people who are truly hard core addicted, but I do wish they would go into a bit more depth and study the reasons behind the addictions. Of course, a small part of me also things that these people just need to stop complaining about addiction and take some personal responsibility- but that is the part of me that has never experienced a real addiction.

very serious addiction (1)

Susceptor (559115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040648)

i got WOW when it first came out, and I played it non-stop for a year. I lived in that game. I would come from work at 6pm and stay in the game till 3am the next morning. I would eat at the computer and rush back to the game anytime I was away for even a minute. These online games are incredibly destructive to social life and most likely to health as well. it was a year of life wasted and the only thing that broke my addiction was a realization that i would never finish my degree if I didnt stop. Now some people probably can play for a few hours and then stop, but a lot of people like me can't, and as I realized, when you get that absorbed into a game, its better to just turn off the game, cancel the account and stop. If you are in the position I was before I quit, do yourself a favor, cancel your account, stop playing, and go outside for a while. do whatever it was you did before you started playing like go out with friends or surfing (im in california), snowboarding, etc. Dont waste your life and your money on this.

Re:very serious addiction (1)

elsrik (1033576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041716)

Most anything is addictive; Cheetos, speed, adrenaline, sex, video games, money, power, fame, and MMORPGS.

As with any endulgence, the user must be self aware at all times. MMORPGs violate this rule by blurring the line. Not even mentioning RP server drama. Some people opt to play online games to spend casual time with RL friends without the stipulations and problems of traffic, non driving bozos, smoky bars, or loud obnoxious music. I will definitely agree that an addictive personality needs to ration or even avoid something that has the capacity to be so addicting. Applying the label universally for all I don't agree with. The media generalizes enough as is and expects us to assimilate their information as fact. I'd hope the rest of the world apart from the media drones can appreciate the ability to see that blurry line.

Re:very serious addiction (1)

Susceptor (559115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042006)

thats why I said that my statement applied to people who were in my position. You make a good point that addiction is a very flexible term, and that the media overuses it and its strong negative connotations. And the truth is that people can and do get addicted to just about anything. If you think about it, we are all addicted to food, the fact that we would die if we weren't addicted is a minor point, the thing that always gets pointed out is the abuse of food (overeating) and the problems it creates. if I could play a game like WOW for 3 hours a week and be able to put it down, I would probably still be playing, but for me the urge to keep playing the darn thing is just too great. And to clarify for myself personally, I don't think I have an addictive personality, at least I dont indulge to excess in most things of life, but WOW was the one thing that I really went over the line with. For some its food, for some its drink or drugs, and sometimes its games. BTW, keep in mind that there is a distinction between physical addiction and impulse control problems that we also classify as a type of addiction. A drug user may (and usually does) have both poor impulse control and a physical addiction. On the other hand people who are addicted to food or games dont have a physical dependence so much as a problem with stopping an activity before it gets out of hand. Why? because it makes you feel good, so to that extent it is partially physical, but not to the point where your body would have withdrawal symptoms from quitting. (well...overeating might have quite a few withdrawal symptoms actually).

Satisfaction (1)

MrWa (144753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040792)

According to Griffiths, the problem with online games is there will never be a point where the player has battled the final boss, tied up the story, and can turn the computer off with a feeling of satisfaction.
While that is somewhat correct, isn't the insidious feature of most MMORPG's the continuous low level satisfiers? Instead of being addicted to the need to "finish" something, players are addicted to the constant high of accomplishment due to the "ding" factor?

It just goes on and on and on? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17040894)

According to Griffiths, the problem with online games is there will never be a point where the player has battled the final boss, tied up the story, and can turn the computer off with a feeling of satisfaction.

Oh, is that why? Is it really? You mean the lack of an end is somehow enticing for people? It compells them to play indefinately? What you're saying is that something without an end never ends? Well I suppose that makes sense.. Thank you. Thank you for your brilliant insight into why things that never end never seem to end. Are you perhaps a laureate of some sort? AAAS? Nobel? No? Ah.

Not real news. (1)

Analein (1012793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041164)

I saw dug addicts, I saw people spending nearly hundred percent of their waking time with WoW. What's the difference? Both groups lose interest in themselves, in success, in going outside, socializing. A few months ago I was visiting a friend I hadn't seen for about three years. Yeah, running off dinner because "there's a raid going on" just isn't normal.

Eve Online (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041324)

Not really a problem for me or any other Eve players I know, simply because there is no sense of level building by EXP like in other RPGs; you train skills, and the skills train until they're done whether you log in or not. Also, they keep your character / property intact for a very long time if you cancel the account (I once went over 6mo. without internet and still had all my stuff when I came back). Taking a break is no problem...set a long skill to train and forget about it. The only penalty for not logging in is that you can't kill / mine for money (you can put stuff on market or auction and sales will be managed by the market / auction system whether you log in or not), but you can easily make 'enough' money if you only play 5 - 10hrs a week. Aside from money, which as I say isn't a big issue anyways, there's no punishment for not being able to play as many hours as the average 14 year old. On the flip side, of course, there's no reward for being able to play as many hours as the average 14 year old (aside from more money and technical skill at the game) so the playerbase, on the whole, seems to be significantly more mature than other games I've played. As it happens, strategy and planning have more bearing than a quick mouse finger, though, so even at that you get a bonus for being older. Lots of ex-mil folks play.

I am Raynor, and i'm a game-a-holic (1)

Raynor (925006) | more than 7 years ago | (#17041394)

Hi. It's nice to meet you all. I am an addict... I have thankfully been able to resist WoW (I only played in the Stress Test at the cost of my Summer Assignments)... but with WAR and Dragon Age coming out... I'm doomed. Both will (hopefully) have the extra zing that WoW doesn't... or I mean, hopefully i'll be able to resi... must... play... *hack*... *slash*... *hack*... *slash*...

They need to look deeper. (2, Insightful)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042118)

I think that most of the allure to MMOs is that you are playing with other real people, of course if you compare MMO results to an offline game there is going to be a staggering difference.

Why do people get "addicted" to MMOs? I think it is because of the interaction with other people. Someone joins a guild, they play with other people frequently, they become friends with people in their guild. Now they aren't just playing a video game, they are playing a video game WITH FRIENDS.

I play MMOs quite a bit and played World of Warcraft for over a year. When my RL friends stopped playing the game became boring to me because I was no longer playing with friends. I might have a looser type of addiction to MMOs as I can't wait for the next one to come out so that I can play it with my friends. I also tend to quit MMOs maybe a month or 2 after my friends stop playing because I do befriend some of my guildmates. I find myself logging onto the game and checking my friends list; if no one is on then I quit the game, if someone is on then I talk to them and play.

Other people, the people you would consider hardcore addicts, might not have many RL friends so the people in their guilds become good friends, maybe even best friends and talking nearly every day. These people will continue to play as long as their internet friends are playing and if their internet friends are in the same low-friend-count situation then they will keep playing which leads to a group of people whose playing habits become dependent of each other. Since one person will only quit if the other quits, and visa versa, no one ever quits. Perhaps when an unforeseen event occurs, such as a person losing internet access or their computer breaking, then one person is forced to stop playing and the dependent counterpart person decides to stop playing because his friend is no longer playing.

I don't buy into this B.S. about the game making addicts because you can "never beat the last boss" and never truly win the game. These people are addicted, yes, but not to the game. They are addicted to something that the game can give them: a friend, fame, or anonymity.

Re:They need to look deeper. (1)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042348)

I don't buy into this B.S. about the game making addicts because you can "never beat the last boss" and never truly win the game. These people are addicted, yes, but not to the game.

There are lots of people who pour incredible amounts of time into MMOs doing solitary activities like crafting or harvesting. It's not just the community, it's maxing out your character and draining it of all its content. I had friends who would play SNES RPGs for 100+ hours until they had beaten it in every way possible with every item and all that, then put it down. Then maybe a year later they'd find another game and go on the same binge. Likewise I had a group of friends that lived in an apartment together a couple years ago. We bought GTA: San Andreas, and for a solid month until we'd completed it and tried all sorts of crazy stuff, even the non-gamers would always be caught playing it in the common area. But once we "completed" it, it began collecting dust in the corner.

The denial of this closure is a big part of the "MMO addiction", along with the social aspect.

Re:They need to look deeper. (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17046898)

With other games, you may feel guilty when you play too much; with online games, you feel guilty when you aren't playing with your guild members. Eek.

Hmmm (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042128)

Who has time to play MMORPGs anymore, I can't seem to get out of this Slashdot website......

Jocks are like that, too. So are some businesses (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042376)

This is a problem with anything that focuses on winning, rather than doing good work.

Winning is inherently inefficient in an economic sense. The inputs required increase until resources are saturated, rather than stopping at the point of maximum cost-effectiveness. This has serious financial implications in a marketing-oriented culture. Classical economic theory is predicated on the assumption that the cost of production dominates the cost of goods. But, in fact, there are many goods where marketing cost now dominates. Telephone service, for example. The result is frantic overmarketing efforts to achieve a monopoly, in hopes that then, finally, it will be possible to raise prices and make some money.

Jock culture has the same issues. If you play to win, playing becomes all-consuming. In pro sports, that's been the case for decades. It's a modern phenomenon, created by TV. Pre-TV, local teams had roughly the same revenues, win or lose. Today, winning boosts revenues and matters economically. The big sports used to have off-seasons. Now, players train year round. The Olympics was once an "amateur" event, but that hasn't been true in a long time.

Now that you can make money in an MMORPG, that bit of economics intrudes there. And it doesn't matter if you're playing for money; as long as some people are, you have to play as well to stay in the game.

Again, this is a relatively modern concept. Rent The Hustler [imdb.com] , which is about pool halls and pool sharks. Modern viewers find it wierd that anyone would consider it unfair for a really good player to win over the sort-of-good players. That's life, right? But the dynamics in that movie are different; the pool shark is attacked and crippled for being a winner. The movie views this somewhat favorably. That seems so strange today.

The implications of winner-take-all culture are insidious. Watch for them.

1/9? Is that all??? (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042378)

I would have thought it would be 8/9, not 1/9. I mean, come on, the whole business model of an MMORPG is to generate sustained income. Total Profit = Total Number People Playing * (Purchase price + Average Months Subscribed * Monthly Revenue) Multiply addictiveness and you multiply profit. And what do you get out of it, really? Thousands of hours of your life down the tubes, with time that could have been spent on your other responsibilities such as family, teaching yourself useful skills, or time to reflect. Video games are the opium dens of the 21st century.

Re:1/9? Is that all??? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17044488)

If you look at WoW you have the flight sequences where you can go away from the computer and do other stuff without getting pounded by anything. The maintainance shedules make it so I can't play every night anyway. If your character dies becuase you leave the PC to take a phone call it is no huge deal and not a big effort to get back there later or come back in the graveyard. The Auction House works in such a way that it is usually worth not logging back on again until after your auction has finished and then going out of town.

It's also a game I can play for half an hour in most of the areas solo without any problems. I've got more of a chance missing a meal playing civilization or diablo II.

Re:1/9? Is that all??? (1)

pregister (443318) | more than 7 years ago | (#17047366)

No kidding they are.

If we could only get the actual opium dens open again.

I would so rock at pvp if I could play in an opi...pass the cheetos.

Gosh..... (1)

DocJohn (81319) | more than 7 years ago | (#17044008)

I mean, gosh, if I asked 7,000 people who spent hundreds of hours following NASCAR every year, do you think I might find similar symptoms? Would these folks be afflicted with "NASCAR addiction"?

Or, what if we asked the same thing of teens wrt to talking/keeping in touch with friends...? Would they be suffering from the dreaded "social addiction disorder"?

Warning signs of hype, not news:

1. Self-selected sample. Bias is inherent in the dataset, therefore very little can be said about the dataset.

2. Survey research. Survey research is the weakest form of empirical research (next to single case study narratives). Any time someone takes a survey, very little can be discerned from the survey's results without carefully examining the questions asked, of whom, during what time period, etc. etc. The question, "Are you going to vote for President Bush or one of his opponents?" in the 2004 Presidential election is a very good example of an inappropriately biased question.

3. No peer-reviewed journal cited. Given the fact that no journal is cited in the aritcle suggests this wasn't exactly a peer-reviewed study, like those for cancer research or diabetes treatments. Instead, it appears to be a private survey, without any reference to where one could actually read the full "study." (Yes, I checked the group's website - nada.)

Anyways, I'm preaching to the choir here. There may indeed be people who gamble too much, who watch too much NASCAR, and teens who talk on the phone or IM their friends too often, but none of this is "addiction" nor is it worthy of a news article or a Slashdot mention.

Is no one else surprised...? (1)

Redfeather (1033680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17044658)

So, not one person playing MMOs these days spent any time online gaming before there WERE MMOs? I feel old. I recall, fondly, the days when half of my online compatriots disappeared for weeks on end after being booted out of college for spending too much time online chatting, playing -text based- roleplaying games, -freeform- on chats such as Alamak [alamak.com] and The Keep [nexxushost.net] . Hell, I barely graduated high school thanks to my own idiocy: spending night after night up developing characters, cohesing storylines, sketching out designs for newer, better villains. I know one person who lost out on a fellowship because of the Game - and another who dropped out of university three times because they couldn't (or wouldn't) get a handle on what was going on. And people are making a big deal over this as if it's the latest version of crack since - well - crack? Give me a break. People will always be addicted to something. We're human; we like being altered. Be it caffiene, meth, pot - sex, sports, stock trading. Whatever it is that blows your hair back, you want more of it. Sometimes I wonder if addictions only get labelled addictions because they can't be parleyed into some form of sociological benefit or industry. At least not for those addicted. I'm sure it could be argued that Blizzard falls into the same category as some other Enabling [google.ca] Corporations [google.ca] I could mention. But who cares, right? People smoke and drink in the movies all the time. Who ever saw a hot film-noir leading lady who had a penchent for dungeon crawling?

Never Happy (1)

triso (67491) | more than 7 years ago | (#17045274)

Damn liberals are never happy. For years now they have been complaining that too many of us Brits have been going to the pubs too often and drinking too much. Now that we are staying home and playing games on the Internet we are still addicted and going to hell in a handbasket.

Personally, I think they should set up Internet stations in the pubs. What a combo that would be.

Reserved (1)

ThreeDeadTrolls (944446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17048998)

-Reserved till after I down Ragnaros-
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