Are you addicted?

World of Warcraft players hold an in-game funeral for 'Snowly', the gamer who died at his computer after playing World of Warcraft for days on end.

Perhaps this is all old news, but I've just today discovered several sites out there dedicated to gamers with a World of Warcraft addiction. Two gamers have already died at their computers playing WoW.

World of Warcraft Detox is a volunteer-run web site aimed at people with a gaming addiction to World of Warcraft. You can post testimonials explaining your addiction or how you overcame it, or post a comparison between something you might achieve in WoW and something you might achieve in the real world. What's remarkable is that there are around 16,000 testimonials (or 665 pages). Here are some examples:
The other day in a conference i started talking wow speak to executives in an important buisness meeting and i missed my sons 10th birthday party because i couldnt leave the computer because i was half way through a karazhan raid. I pulled my graphics card out and broke it in half so that wow cant run on my onboard card so its strictly buisness now.. back to the real world

- - -
i lost my kids, my wife, and my house to WOW, now i live right next to an internet cafe in Anaheim, CA. and i beg people for money in order to eat and live the next day. I am posting this on one of the internet cafe computers. Please, never ever play this game.
Then there is WoW Recovery, another site dedicated to helping addicts. It's arguable that no other game in history has had this affect on its players. So what is it that makes WoW so addictive to so many people? Sure, it's a good game, but it must be more than that.

I believe there are several factors. Firstly, it's an RPG. It offers the opportunity to live a virtual life through your character. Secondly, it's never ending - there's no point where you 'beat' the game. Thirdly, advancement is incredibly slow-paced. Players who aim to reach the highest levels must pour hundreds of hours into the game. And fourth, the ease of communication and variety of activities you can undertake with other players means players develop relationships within the game that are hard to leave behind.

All this raises the question of whether Blizzard is at all responsible for not protecting gamers enough from this addiction. Of course, it's not really in their financial interests to do so.

It's this addiction that has them laughing all the way to the bank.

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digg this: | posted by Natasha, 11:03 PM |

about the author

Natasha is a political science student, a gamer, a writer, an armchair philosopher, and a geek. Her first cRPG was Castle of the Winds.

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