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Posts with tag gaming-addiction

Player documents the two-headed monster of his own WoW addiction

Battling the addictive power of World of Warcraft
The slow, viscous slide into a life consumed by gaming has become a media tale standard, usually including a bleary-eyed shot of the player blinking in the thin light of the computer monitor. Penned by journalists unfamiliar with the enveloping nature of MMOs, these stories skitter across the surface of a passion turned fixation. Without an understanding of the many positive forces of games like World of Warcraft, writers are unable to do more than entwine readers within a Lovecraftian tangle of gaming's most mind-numbing temptations, pushing them back into the light at the end with a complete, triumphant rebuke of the game in question.

The tale of Sevrin's descent into and return from Azeroth takes a different turn. A third-year film production student from the United Kingdom, Sevrin hasn't blocked World of Warcraft from his every thought -- instead, he spent months poring over his experiences to create a documentary of his experience. IRL: In Real Life, a short film featured last week on WoW Moviewatch (watch it again after the break), takes a frank look at how incessant gaming nearly pulled a young man's life off track -- and then provided the fuel for the creative project that's helping him move on.

If anyone could understand this kind of rise and fall, this dance with the glamors that wetly suck players into the virtual vortex, only to spit them out coughing and gasping with a renewed appreciation for life, it's fellow WoW Insider reader Keelhaul, aka The Mogfather, the player who racked up an incredible 1 million gold only to turn around and give it all away. "Brilliant," he commented simply on last week's Moviewatch showing of Sevrin's video. "Change a bit of the storyline and that's me as well." We suspect it's many of us, to some degree. Let's look inside at Sevrin's take.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Psychologist and games researcher John Hopson

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

What keeps gamers hooked on their game of choice? Chances are, it's an element of the gameplay that was teased out with the help of games researcher John Hopson. The experimental psychologist and beta program head for Microsoft Game Studios examines what makes gamers do the things they do and then designs ways to keep them happily doing just that -- most recently, in titles such as Shadow Complex, Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach.

All that, and he's a WoW player to the core. "I mostly play in the two semi-official Microsoft WoW guilds, and lately I've been a hardcore player in a casual's body," he notes. "My wife and I had our first child a few months ago, so we've both dropped raiding and have been levelling alts instead since that doesn't require a fixed schedule. So far, we're both up to 5 level 80s apiece. :)" We thought it was time to turn the tables on Hopson, a loyal reader and occasional commenter at, and ask him for his perspectives on WoW from the inside out.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Swedes say WoW is as addictive as crack

We've heard a few horror stories from Sweden already about excessive WoW-playing there -- we've reported on a 15-year-old collapsing after not taking any breaks, and we've even heard from a teacher in that country who's targeted World of Warcraft as a challenge to her students' attention. But now one group up there is claiming it's an epidemic -- the Youth Group Foundation has released a report comparing the game itself to cocaine, and says that of all the game addiction cases they've encountered, World of Warcraft has played a part in every one.

Obviously, here at WoW Insider, we're fans of the game, and it's hard to blame an inanimate object like a computer for serious problems in someone's life -- while World of Warcraft is one of the easiest ways an addictive personality can manifest itself, millions of people around the world are able to play it and maintain healthy lives and relationships.

Still, if you're playing World of Warcraft (or doing anything else) so much that it's affecting your health or social life, it's time to stop and/or get help from an organization like this. We won't blame the game for causing someone to pass out (common sense says that doing anything for 15 hours straight isn't good for you) or do poorly in school, but if either of those things are happening to you, in Sweden or anywhere else, because you're playing the game, then cut it out.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves

Compulsive gaming a social problem, not an addiction

Slowly but surely, people are finally starting to gain an actual understanding of gaming, and it's a nice thing to see. The BBC recently reported on gaming addiction with some insight from Keith Bakker, the head of a clinic in Europe targeted at helping gamers. 90% of gamers who spend long hours gaming, he says, aren't addicts at all and addiction counseling isn't the right treatment. Compulsive gaming is a social problem, not a psychological problem.

This is a sentiment many gamers (the non-compulsive kind, mind you) have held for a really long time. Games aren't the problem for young gamers. Poor parental care is a problem, environment is a problem. Communication is important. Healthy environments are important. Games for teenagers tend to be an escape, a place to go where you don't necessarily need to deal with real problems at that age, like social issues, personal troubles, stress and anxiety.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

CNN on WoW addiction

Last week CNN ran an editorial story about online game addictions. Its the typical story about how bad online games can be, and how this addiction can destroy a person's life. The article itself has some good examples of this, from both Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft.

In particular, a specialist at the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery at Proctor Hospital, talks about a young man in his twenties. This poor fellow has lost numerous jobs, his girlfriend, and is quite the recluse since he became addicted to World of Warcraft. It's quite the unfortunate tale, and I'm sure we're all sympathetic to his plight.

Many of us have someone in our family, or otherwise know someone who has dealt with an addiction. They can be a difficult period in everyone's life to deal with. Addictions to WoW and other games in the genera can be no less serious than an addiction to gambling. The results are all the same: people loose their jobs, their families, and can become severely depressed. When that happens disastrous things take place, such as the young man that lost his life in South Korea last year.

The article on CNN doesn't go into any great detail about what you can do if you think you or a loved one has an addiction to WoW. It does give some tips to family members, but CNN is hardly the place to go to for medical advice. Instead, don't bother with anything else then going right to your doctor. Any doctor, at any clinic, anywhere, can at least point you in the right direction.

I'm sure a few of our readers out there have dealt with this in the past, either directly or indirectly. What have you done? What stories do you have to tell?

Filed under: News items

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