Does WoW Really Deserve To Be Compared To Cocaine?
Rick Charbs (Jammart), OnRPG Journalist
The computer game market has skyrocketed in popularity during the past few years. Quite specifically, the Blizzard Entertainment MMORPG: World of Warcraft, or more commonly known as WoW, has introduced millions to the MMORPG concept of computer gaming. Recent studies in Sweden promptly conclude WoW as the most addictive computer game on the market, and make remarks such as: “There is not a single case of game addiction that we have worked with in which World of Warcraft has not played a part,” (Sven Rollenhagen at the foundation to the newspaper Metro), and “The problem with computer game addiction is large in Sweden although there is currently no medical diagnosis of the condition” (Swedish National Institute of Public Health). Is World of Warcraft really an internet drug?
This may likely be true, but the concrete proof as of which we have been exposed to does not seem genuine enough— to me, the real issue lies in every individual player’s will and, ultimately, their ability to resist temptation towards this fabled MMORPG.
Online game addiction has been an ever-growing issue ever since the first large-scaled MMORPGS were released to the public dated to just about twelve years ago (for instance, Everquest, Ultima Online, Tibia, etc.). Looking over this scaling problem of game addiction, is WoW the true cause of this, or is it simply its mass population that augments the amount of MMORPG addicts?
Personally, I think the ratio of addicted gamers has been affected, but only a slight amount. This is due to the fact many additional features WoW has to offer are a real time-consumer on the player’s part. Otherwise, the sheer amount of players in WoW is the main factor in this addiction craze.
It is also known that this game reaches out to wide audiences, including some pretty young players new to the MMORPG scene: “The Local reported in November 2008 that a boy in Laholm, southern Sweden had been admitted to hospital after collapsing following a 20-hour World of Warcraft binge.” With this in mind, can we really blame a child for being addicted to a game? Where are his/her parents? Parents or guardians also take on an important role in this situation. Young teenagers, tweens, and children generally have a difficult time prioritizing. As an adult, controlling their gameplay time is the only sure way to limit their obsession towards the game, or at least keep it under strict control.
All in all, it all comes down to the way you deal with your free time, as well as your ability to prioritize. I strongly believe World of Warcraft is not the source of this sudden “game addiction era”. It is most definitely not “internet cocaine”. There have been many cases of game addiction before even the concept of this title was released. The only reason people are led to believe such things are because of the bold fact World of Warcraft is just so popular. There are many ways to prevent such an addiction—control yourselves!
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