How to Manage a World of Warcraft Gaming Addiction

How to Manage a World of Warcraft Addiction
Written by Alyssia Walmsley

World of Warcraft is easily one of the greatest MMOs of all time. Actually, from my 20+ years of video gaming, I can safely tell you, World of Warcraft is one of the greatest GAMES of all time, online or off. In fact, one could say that it is almost “too good”: any talk about World of Warcraft inevitably leads down the path of game addiction. True, WoW is a highly-addictive game, but like anything else in real life, moderation is the key. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of Blizzard’s online phenomenon:

4 Tips to Help Video Game Addiction

1. Have multiple characters. Stay away from the “I need to have a level 60 character” complex. Obsessing over one “toon” is not only unhealthy for nursing an addiction, it’ll make you a worse player, as well. A good WoW player knows a lot about ALL classes, not the one he happens to be. So, if nothing else, think of having multiple characters as research into the strengths and weaknesses of potential dungeon allies or battleground enemies!

2. Watch the clock. Hours have a way of melting away when you’re lost in the world of Azeroth. Don’t let that happen! Take a 15-minute break every hour. You don’t have to log off; just get up, stretch your legs, get something to eat, do a few push-ups, call someone, anything! You don’t even have to get up; just minimize the game and check your email. The point is, be sure to pull yourself out of the game for at least a few minutes every so often so that you don’t just happen to glance at the clock while doing an elite quest and see that nine hours just disappeared. If it helps, put a clock on top of your monitor or in front of your keyboard. Even if you have all the time in the world, being aware of time while you’re playing WoW is a VERY good idea.

When the fun stops, stop!

3. Do NOT become an active member of the WoW community! This is not a knock to those who are active. However, if you are a casual gamer and you’re worried about game addiction, the last thing you want to do is spend time on the game without actually playing it! Don’t visit the Blizzard message boards. Do not edit the WoW Wikipedia entry. Don’t run a guild. Heck, don’t BE in a guild if you can avoid it! WoW already requires a $15 dollar per month commitment from you just to play; why would you willingly give the game all your free time, too?

4. HAVE FUN! There is a line between having fun and working, and unfortunately, WoW straddles that line a little too often. Always remember that the first and foremost function of any game is to have fun. Not to grind mobs for hours to get decent gear to enter a raid or battleground and THEN have fun. Do not get caught up in the “the game begins at 60” mentality. Do not let anybody…not even Blizzard, who made the game…tell you that after spending over 300 hours with your little gnome or fearsome ork that NOW the game actually begins. It starts AND stops when YOU say so. If you’re not having fun grinding mobs, then DON’T DO IT! MMO’s in general and WoW, in particular, create this mentality that a game has to be fun forever. Nothing lasts forever, so don’t force yourself to play WoW just because that’s what you’ve been doing for the past several months.

Knowing you have a problem is a huge step forward!

Also, remember that WoW was made to accommodate all kinds of gamers with different play styles. If you’re not into battlegrounds, no one is going to arrest you, laugh at you, or think any less of you. If raiding isn’t your thing, then don’t spend hours of your life doing them.

Bottom line: if WoW isn’t being funny, for WHATEVER reason, STOP. Play something else. You can quit for a few minutes, a few hours, a few weeks, or even a few years. Cancel your subscription. Blizzard will not delete your characters when you cancel(because they think you’re comin’ back. They’re usually right, too.) Play a different game. Hell, play a different MMO, if you must(which I highly recommend if you’ve never played another MMO before. You might actually find something that caters more specifically to what you like, rather than the jack-of-all-trades approach taken by WoW’s design). But always remember that games are for FUN. A game that isn’t fun is like medicine that doesn’t make you feel better. You stop taking it.

To a non-gamer(more specifically, a non-WoW gamer), this may all seem like common sense. But to someone who is deeply immersed in the game…someone who loses track of time focuses too much on one character, and spends his non-WoW time arguing with people on the message boards…that line between fun and work disappears. WoW really does become their “second job”(or first, for certain people!) So keep all these tips in mind, and you can fully enjoy World of Warcraft without having to make spouses, parents, bosses, or teachers mad at you!


About the author

Alyssia Walmsley

Alyssia is a Cornell University graduate of 2003 and a former lead technology development manager for Microsoft and Cisco Networking Systems. Between writing on her blog, SkyGone Inc, loves adventures and chocolate sprinkles!