Friday, March 10, 2006

WoW: Entertaining, Fun, or Addictive?

If it relieves boredom, does that mean it's entertainment? Does that mean it's good? If it's addictive, can it still be fun? If it's not addictive, is it no longer entertaining or fun? These are some of the questions running through my mind, and I am hoping my query here and the responses given will help me get closer to the solution.

Chances are, you started playing World of Warcraft (or a similar game) for a fairly simple reason. You needed a new distraction. You were bored with some game you had been playing, or you were game-hopping unsatisfactorily, hoping you'd finally find *The One*.

If the game you picked is WoW, and you play more than 20 hours a week, I have some news for you. It's not a distraction any more. It's a part-time job. Yes, I've written a few posts on how WoW is a time-sucker, and I've noted how much of a lot of other stuff you could get done with that time instead of playing WoW. However, this article isn't a rant about that. It's more of a reflection upon what we consider entertainment.

More succinctly put, when you play WoW addictively (in other words, you tend to put aside anything that's not burning your house down in order to play, at least for as long as you can), are you being "entertained," or are you "under the influence"?

Yes, that's a metaphor, likening WoW to drugs. Or, more precisely, likening playing WoW to taking drugs. Even deeper, wanting/needing to play WoW to needing a fix.

Addiction is a compulsion to repeat a behavior. To be addicted is to "devote or surrender oneself to something habitually or obsessively." Yes, you can be addicted to a substance, or a habit, like gambling.

There are scores of papers and statistics out there concerning addiction to playing video games. Although I'm sure these are fascinating, I'm not concerned with their results (as if I'd trust them). My query transcends both issues (drug and game addiction). However, since, I hope, most of us aren't drug addicted, we can analyze our own feelings about the game-related aspect.

I'm not really saying that we're addicted. I'm merely saying that many WoW players have symptoms of addiction. This is something you'll have to evaluate for yourself, and try to be honest. For some of us, it's no big deal. We'll shrug and admit that we play too much. For others, it will be a bit more difficult. Denial. I'm curious to discover how entertaining we really find playing WoW, or how "fun" it is, as opposed to "addictive."

I'd like to gather some information from a sampling of readers for further evaluation, and would appreciate your assistance.

Do what you can to self-evaulate, and then see if any of the following statements describes your behavior: (you can use the numbers in your reply with a "yes" or "no". feel free to skip any you don't want to answer)

1. When I'm not playing, because I can't (at work, travelling, etc.), I sometimes get anxious thinking about playing.

2. When I finally get to play, I feel a sense of relief.

3. While playing, if I get tired, I push myself to keep playing a little more.

4. I keep pushing myself to play until my eyelids get so heavy, I can barely keep them open. Then I know it's time to quit.

5. I tell myself I'm not going to play as much next time, but I end up playing the same amount anyway.

6. When people (in the real world) try to communicate with me while I'm playing, I tend to block them out or just not hear them, and it's always more important that I finish whatever I'm doing before I can devote any attention to them.

7. If I'm getting attacked, and one of my children, or my spouse, or someone close to me wants to look at something and says so with a slight sense of urgency, I have to finish my fight first or else I might die.

8. I think about WoW more than I think about sex.

9. I read more online material about WoW than I read regular books.

***

Now, put these words in order of what best describes your day-to-day WoW experience. And be honest.


-Time-consuming

-Entertaining

-Frustrating

-Challenging

-Fun

-Laborious

-Tedious

-Exciting

-Demanding

-Enlightening

-Boring

-Addictive

******

I'm posting this on two blogs, and I will compile the results and chart them on an additional post, where I'll discuss what I think about the results.

Feel free to reply anonymously. Thanks for your help!

5 Comments:

Blogger Kinless said...

1. Yes, if I know I'll be able to play later in the day. If I'm on a trip I can leave it behind.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.
4. No. I sometimes catch a 2nd wind and could stay up later but I know I have to wake up in six hours.
5. No.
6. No.
7. Yes. My wife plays and understands how it is to be in a fight that needs winning.
8. Hmm.
9. Yes. But my book collection of unread books continues to grow in anticipation of a WoWless life, or at least some WoWless moments (like weeklong trip to Florida to the beach).

***

-Fun
-Entertaining
-Challenging
-Exciting
-Demanding
-Addictive
-Time-consuming
-Enlightening
-Frustrating
-Laborious
-Tedious
-Boring

Saturday, March 11, 2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm actually rather surprised that my answers to all of the 9 questions is "no". Heck, I'll get up to let my husband in when he gets home from work so he doesn't have to juggle briefcase and keys even if I'm in the middle of a fight. I mean, rezzing isn't that hard; the game is set up so you can still have a life if you want to take advantage of that. :)

As for ordering the adjectives, that's a little tough, since they're highly situation-dependent. If I had to put an order to them, it would probably be:

Fun
Entertaining
Addictive
Challenging
Frustrating (almost entirely due to interactions with certain types of people; the game itself doesn't tend to frustrate me)
Time-consuming
Demanding
Enlightening
Exciting
Laborious
Boring
Tedious

I play a lot of hours, but I think that's more a function of difficulty with energy and motivation in other areas, as well as physical disability, rather than addiction to the game itself (although that might not have been the case at first). When I do have energy and motivation, and when my hands are not hurting, I find it easy to go do other things like read a book, write something, rake the yard, and so on.

Monday, March 13, 2006 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Jorugan said...

I have started to play more and more so addicted would be a good name for it, but I have no problem with leaving if there is something I need to do(even if it means dying along the way). I also tend to OCD while I am in-game and feel like whatever I start I have to finish.

While I can admit to being addicted to a point I also just like going on and playing with my low lvl charecters just to see what they are about and how the newest class I have chosen works out for me.

Since my spouse and I both play its hard to tell if there is a Great addiction since normally everything in RL gets done by one of us.

Actually I think I do more of the leaving during a fight type of stuff than he does, but who knows. I guess I should start counting :)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 9:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Pov said...

1. I think about wow alot i work with some people who play it so when im not playing im at work with people who are talking about it
2. When i play you dont have to think about anything else and just relax and have some fun

3. All the time unless ihave to work the next day work > wow

4. yes

5. i dont lie to myself i know im going to play alot

6. All the time

7. All the time

8. yes =/ wow i never thought id say that

9.Yes i read wow stuff all the time when im at work

***

-Addictive
-Entertaining
-Fun
-Challenging
-Exciting
-Time-consuming
-Demanding
-Frustrating
-Laborious
-Tedious
-Boring
-Enlightening
******

Now i know im addicted to wow i play huge amounts i have 5 lvl 60s but i enjoy it and i still do go out but i also rather spend time playing wow then making extra money from work who doesnt? im young and dont need the money atm if the game starts to take over ie i lose my job im sure i would quit

Friday, March 24, 2006 7:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wont answer the questions but i will give my overall perception. I stopped wow for a year because i was really busy getting on with my life. A year ago i realized that wow was becoming a full time job. I started convincing myself that am already good at what i do and so justifying playing wow as I can basically do anything i want by ear at work. I then noticed that i had to get some work done because of my passion for career growth, and building my family. so i decided to quit wow. Had a very busy year. 1 year later i fell back into a different spot which is wow becoming my temporary sanctuary to ease out frustrations in real life. At one point in real life, when you have done everything you possibly can, you need to sit and wait for things to happen. So I am back to wow. I am writing this when am at the stage of it about to becoming a a part time job. the fact is, I enjoy wow very much, yet am also very addicted to it. and yes I am in love with my mage xD.

Sunday, August 02, 2009 4:40:00 AM  

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