Questions by Joshua Temblett (Dontkillmydreams), Onrpg writer
Answered by Oliver, ex World of Warcraft player
This is the second part of an interview with “Ollie” who gives his opinions on the game and tells us his story of addiction to World of Warcraft.
Q: Do you think anyone else will come out with a game that will beat World of Warcraft? Could Warhammer Online be the WoW killer?
A: The thing about World of Warcraft was that for a lot of people, it was their first MMORPG; it was a small taster of game that had a tight community and large scale world. I think that with Warhammer there was a lot more expectations for you see there was a dramatic change from people playing a single player game like Super Mario, to WoW, which had a huge populous and was generally epic in scale. At the time it was such a big change for players, it was gob smacking. I think with new MMORPGs like Warhammer people were expecting the same giant leap. Perhaps this is the reason people found World of Warcraft so addicting, because of the amazing new experience it gave them.
Q: Would you say that you had an addiction?
A: Well I think most of the game’s players would say, “No I’m not addicted to it, I just enjoy it a lot”. I mean in reality it’s very different to an addiction to something like smoking, which harms you physically and is done more for social acceptance. There’s different types of addiction and people that criticise WoW don’t realise that it’s not addictive in the sense that it’s causing the addicted harm… It’s just people that play it really enjoy it. If someone enjoys something they’ll do it more and more. For example if someone really enjoyed music and listened/played a lot, you could classify that as an addiction… but you wouldn’t call it that as it’s not anything bad in fact if anything it’s making them a better person.
Going back to the original question, I guess I was addicted to it but that was because I enjoyed it so much. I couldn’t give it up because if I gave it up, I’d be incredibly bored and there would be less fulfilment.
Q: Did your addiction have any bad implications for you?
A: I did pretty badly in my exams. At the time I might have blamed that on World of Warcraft but the thing is I’m still doing badly in my exams now. Of course now I’m not playing WoW so I haven’t got an excuse. To be honest… I would have probably gotten out more but when it comes down to it, so what if you go out more? You just go out spend more money and stuff. Basically I’m not exactly bothered if it did have any social repercussions on me, because I was so young, it didn’t really matter. It was a small part of my life, two years.
Q: You hear stories about people neglecting their families and their spouses for this game…which is completely ridiculous. What would you say to someone who was addicted to WoW?
A: I would say you’ve got to remember the game is not going to be around forever, you’ve got to keep a link with the real world. At some point the servers are going to close, and whatever might be out at the time might not be half as good as World of Warcraft and when it does close down you’re going to have no social contacts and you will be major cold turkey. You’ve got to make sure you have some social links or hobbies. A lot of players at the moment are just playing because they haven’t got anything better to do. In fact I was just so bored I got to the point where I was just creating a new character and playing them just for the sake of it. I was like “Wow this really is the same it was before”. Make sure you have something outside of WoW.
Q: Do you think a lot of people use it for escapism? For example, I used to play a game which had a very tight community in which one player found out that a teenage girl from the community was being sexually abused by her father. Of course he did something about it, he called the local police near her and luckily enough she’s safe now.
For some people though obviously their problems aren’t quite that horrific, and maybe they just lack fulfilment with their lives. Is it right for someone to escape?
A: I’m sorry to hear that story about the teenage girl, it must have been a horrible experience for her. At least she’s better off now.
The thing is…you can’t escape forever. If you’re playing WoW because you feel like your life isn’t what you want it to be and you want something more, you want to feel more worthwhile and for your life to mean something (which MMO’s provide) then yeah you get that in WoW. Thing is it’s like drugs. They work for a brief time but they have repercussions, they will affect you in the long term, with the repercussions being a bad social life.
Q: Then again, at the same time the community could help them with their problems, right? I suppose it works both ways.
A: Yeah, totally…I know a lot of communities which meet up with their guilds outside of online games. I know a friend and she’s found all of these friends online and you know what, she’s going to have them for years. Which I think is really great for you see she’s not judging them by looks or status. She may not have been friends with them if she had known them from school, but because of WoW she knows who they are and she’s friends with them no matter what size they are, what they sound like or whatever. So in that respect I think it’s good because you meet people you otherwise wouldn’t. If you’re looking for that type of thing then you’ve got to make sure you don’t play the game alone and become a loner on it because that won’t help. At the end of the day, the key is don’t play too much of it. Don’t let it engross you. If you play it in moderation you’ll have an incredible time.
Q: Is there any piece of advice you’d give to someone who was really addicted?
A: Get a haircut first; lose some weight and start feeling good about yourself. Most of the people I played with had life plans of joining the army and stuff…I mean fair enough…but it was obvious they had low self confidence. Just get a hobby that isn’t technically anti-social. When I stopped playing, one of the things that helped me was that I got into music. That was a real hobby for me; I basically channelled all my energy into that. It’s also a lot more…socially acceptable. You’ll feel a lot better about yourself if you’re more socially accepted.
Q: My final question…you know what it is Ollie. Would you ever go back to World of Warcraft?
A: You know what I was thinking about it this morning.
Q: Oh my god! No way?
A: A lot of people that quit can’t let it go. Especially when you have depressing dips in your life…WoW is like a little devil poking you in the side with a pitchfork that’s going “Go on then, come and play! It’ll make you feel better!”…it’s such a drug.
I keep thinking “I could go back and try the new expansion, that’d be great!”, but after a while, it’s going to go back to the stage where I’ll be playing it because I’ve got nothing better to do and at that point I would lose all my social contacts and all of my friends.
What I’m trying to say is that, even though you may feel like it may make you happier now, you’ve got to realise that you will lose everything you have at the moment, even if it doesn’t feel like a lot because you’re going through a bad time of your life.
The majority of people have got friends outside of school or whatever and have got a relatively good life. No major illness or anything. You’ve got to realise that you’d lose all of that if you went back into that world. It’s going to fail in the end and you’ll just end up starting from zero again.
That’s the only thing that’s stopping me from getting back into it.
Interview with “Ollie” by Joshua Temblett.
So there we have it…Just remember that someone, somewhere will always have your back and that no matter how depressed you get or how much your self confidence drowns in a well of despair that someone in the real world will always lift you back up again.
Never leave behind your family or loved one’s for some game that is just pixels and code because I’m sure that they still want you with them and beside them, and that they still want to walk with you through life.