I’m addicted to World of Warcraft (aka Wow). There, I said it. I’m approaching 40 and never in my life did I dream I would ever get engrossed by a video game…until two years ago. A friend of mine played WoW. Out of curiosity, my husband wanted to check the game out and see what made it so much fun for her, so he signed up for a free trial. It looked fun. I wanted to try it out. That was the last time my husband would ever be able to get on to play. I won’t go into the mechanics of the game, except to say you play online with other live people and the (current and most obvious) goal is to get your character to level 80. Sound boring? Don’t get me wrong, there are many other goals involved and the quests just sucked me in. I wound up in a guild with several other people who work with my friend — people we know in real life — which made the game so much more fun. Within a year, I had achieved two level 80 characters and was working on making them better equipped, stronger, etc.. I found myself going home from work and going straight to the computer. I got up long enough to eat dinner and then returned to the game, playing into the night. Because my husband works so late on some nights, I would end losing time and playing until he got home at midnight or 1:00 am.
I didn’t totally abandon my family. Right after I started playing, the kids got a Wii for Christmas. So there we sat as a family in our family room. But unlike the traditional family that plants itself in front of the TV, my kids and my husband were playing on the Wii, and me on WoW. I called us the WoW-Wii family. We were still in the same room and interacting. Just in a different way than traditional TV viewing families.
Then, I decided to call it quits. For various reasons some of my guild friends stopped playing. It was starting to get lonely. I loved to play for the social aspects as well as the adventure of the game. With no one to quest with or chat with, it was losing the hold it had on me. I quit cold turkey in April of this year. Not meant to be a permanent act. I figured I would quit for the summer months and then possibly go back to playing when the weather started to cool off again. After all, it’s cheap entertainment at home.
The first month was difficult, but then I slowly got over it. I found another vice. Facebook. I started a farm, restaurant, frontier, hunted for treasure, played bejeweled. It turned out that I didn’t stay away from the computer any more than when playing WoW. I was just on a different form of entertainment. I managed to get through the summer without missing WoW. Facebook filled that gap. Then I started to have withdrawal symptoms. Each time the girls would turn on the Wii, I would hear that sound. The sound the Wii makes at startup was a sound I got used to hearing when I was playing WoW. The urge was still there. Then one of the stupid facebook games started having goals, similar to quests. It was a stretch of a comparison, but it was enough to make me miss my questing on WoW.
This weekend my WoW hiatus ended. I caved. I wanted to play. It is officially Fall. I succeeded in holding off the entire summer. I logged back in, and like an alcoholic going back to the bottle, felt the instant satisfaction of the game. None of my friends were on, but for now that doesn’t matter. I have forgotten some of the aspects of the game in my five month break, so I did the logical thing…started a new character. But this time I vow not to let reaching level 80 absorb every moment of my free time. This time I will set the parental controls on myself. I do have control. [Spoken like a true addict.]