It is often said that the first step in curing an addiction is to admit that you have an addiction. I admit I have an addiction to PC gaming. Does this get me on the path of "redemption"? Nah, I wouldn't think so.
Dalaila (one of my readers) keeps insisting that I have it bad (my WoW addiction) and that the only way to put an end to it is to delete my account. Thanks Dalaila for your support but I beg to differ. I'm going to try to explain in more detail how I feel about gaming addiction as it applies to me.
I've also heard about the "transfer of addictions". I don't know how scientific this theory is but to me it makes sense. Please correct me if it is rubbish. The theory, as I understand it, says that addictive personalities can get rid of a particularly bad addiction by replacing it with another, less destructive addiction. One of the best examples would be to replace a drinking or food addiction with an exercise addiction.
I've already admitted that I am a PC game addict. I stress the term "PC" since I wouldn't touch consoles with a 10-ft pole. Is this such a horrible addiction? I would think not. For one thing, I don't smoke (never have, never will), I don't do drugs (never have, never will), don't booze (except for beer in small amounts) and don't binge eat. Thus, my most destructive addiction happens to be gaming.
Just to let you in on some history, I got my first computer when I was 16, which was quite late in life. My parents had the weird notion that computers = games and they kept refusing to buy me one. Well, they were right in a way. My first computer was pre-loaded with games when I got it (hey, it was back in the day). Guess what happens when a 16-yr old who has been starved of computer games all his life gets his first computer? He starts playing games like there's no tomorrow. Lucky for me, my mother kept me under her heel and only allowed me a limited time to play each day and only after I finished my school work.
Fast forward a few years. I became independent and my mother wasn't on my ass anymore but my love for games kept growing. Despite this, I finished college, got a job and went on with my life just the same as someone who watches TV for entertainment, for example. Hell, I even got a wife :)
Computer games also played a huge role in shaping what I have become: a web developer whose life revolves around computers.
It is true that World of Warcraft became the culmination to my addiction. Why? Easy: because I will play a good game for years. The best pre-WoW example is Diablo 2. I played that game a million times for more than 5 years. Did it ruin my life? No. Did it eat my soul? Again, no. Am I still playing it? No, but mostly because I can't stand the 800x600 graphics anymore. I still love the style of the game though, which is why I'm waiting with bated breath for Diablo 3.
I've played 3D shooters, RTS games, RPGs, platform, racing and adventure games. Guess which ones have kept me hooked the longest? Yep, RPGs. I absolutely adore the RPG genre. In a game I like to feel a sense of progress by improving upon my avatar's skills and equipment. The fondest gaming memories I have are of RPGs such as Ultima Underworld, Morrowind, the Diablo series (!!), Dungeon Siege, WoW and so on. So it was only fitting that World of Warcraft would become my ultimate gaming addiction.
Can you even blame the game? Can you blame me for loving it? Blizzard is notorious for making some of the most addictive games ever. WoW happens to be a "neverending story". The more I play it, the more stuff I discover that I have yet to accomplish. The online nature of the game makes it even more complex and never-ending, even for someone like me who doesn't interact socially with other people in the game (except for the Dungeon Tool which makes it easier to be antisocial).
Occasionally I become tired of WoW and I quit it for a while. This usually happens when I do the same thing every day, like running the same dailies on the same character, buying and selling stuff on the AH or even running random dungeons daily. Eventually, IF I DON'T FIND SOMETHING MORE EXCITING TO TO IN THE MEANTIME, I will return. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and the saying applies to WoW as far as I'm concerned.
Now, it so happens that (as I've mentioned before) I have discovered this amazing workout program called P90X. I had to try it and seriously at that. Since I couldn't do both P90X and WoW, WoW had to go. 3 weeks later I don't miss it at all. I'm absorbed by my training and I don't have time or the compulsion to even think about WoW.
I believe in the power of the mind. I believe that any addiction can be conquered by willpower alone, provided you really set your mind to it. OK, I'm not that strong mentally but I still think I should be able to conquer almost any addiction. Or at least transfer it to something more beneficial. And what could be more beneficial than exercising? In that aspect I would say I now have a "good" addiction but since everything is relative, my new exercise addiction can be called "good" in relation to WoW but WoW could also be considered "good" in relation to, say, drugs.
I'm not going to delete my WoW account. I know that I'll be back at some point because gaming for me is entertainment. I am not a social person in real life either so I don't go out to bars or clubs. I don't have friends that I go out with due to geographical reasons. I don't watch TV because it's crap. WoW just happens to be a damn good form of visual entertainment and pretty much the only thing available to me (excepting the occasional movie). I haven't deleted my Diablo 2 characters from 5-10 years ago even though I'm not gonna play it again. Yes, I tend to be a bit of a hoarder but since a lot of time went into my WoW account, I'd hate to see it go to waste even if I wouldn't play it again. That info lies on Blizzard servers and it will be there forever, at no cost to me. I believe I can control my WoW addiction so I see no reason to delete my account.
I have repeatedly stated this but chances are high that I will return for Cataclym or even before that. There are some new changes that I'm interested in, including the revamped old continents, flying in the old world, the new races, the new profession and so on. Chances are that I'll have to cut down on my play time. Also, as soon as Diablo 3 hits, and provided it is the real thing, WoW will be dead to me.
Though I've abandoned WoW for the time being, I haven't abandoned gaming. I play Borderlands whenever I have a few spare minutes, in single player only. It's relaxing and I love it because just like Diablo, it is virtually never-ending. It has great RPG features but also combines those with pseudo-realistic shooting mechanics. In order words your gear and stats help you to hit harder but you actually have to aim in order to hit. The graphics are very interesting to say the least (though not everyone will appreciate them) and I love the desolate, Mad Max-like setting.
In case anyone is wondering, I'm well into my 3rd week of P90X (out of a total of 13 weeks) and things are moving along nicely. The first week was the worst. My body was sore all over after each day of training. 2 weeks later I'm a lot stronger, I have way more stamina than before and I've definitely gained muscle mass (about 10 pounds). I am really curious as to how I will look and feel at the end of the program. Hopefully ripped :)
So does all this make sense or am I rambling?
Patch 1.0.5 commentary
3 years ago