Well I guess I have to admit it. I was addicted to World of Warcraft. The key word here is was, and I am happy to tell you that I broke my addiction with a little reflection of just what the hell I was doing and why.
Addiction is probably too light a word for what I was doing. I bought WoW on January 1st of 2005, a little bit later than most people who had started. Immediately I started my MMORPG powergaming routine that I have been doing for years (I may write about my history in other games, but I dont think I approached any as hard as WoW). I can say that WoW is an incredibly designed game and probably worthy of all praise it is given in the press. So great that, thanks to the nice function in WoW to see how many hours you play your character, this lead me to play for 40 whole days in a 140 day stretch. Now to those not familiar, when I say I played 40 days … it means that I was actually at the keyboard playing the game for a total of 40 days, which is 960 hours. Over that 140 days, I played and average of 6.8 hours a day. Not bad.
Now that you think I am totally insane. Keep in mind I am a college junior and that semester was particularly hard actually, with two classes of constitutional law and political theory. I also will tell you that I never once slept for less than 8 hours a day. So with a little calculation, 960 hours of WoW, 1120 hours of sleep out of 3360 hours total. Thats about 9 hours a day left in “free time” which I probably spent mostly eating, going to the gym, and watching TV. There wasn’t much time for class.
Why did I stop this whirlwind of warcraft? What the hell is the point of continuing? I had seen everything, done everything, and was quite bored of doing it over and over again. I don’t think that 100th run of Strat or Scholo (god I hated Scholo) was going to be as enjoyable as the first. My guild was (arguably) #1 on the server. First to Ragnaros on the server, first alliance to kill Onyxia, blah blah blah. Every week I would attend the full Molten Core raid and the Onyxia raid, got some nice epic loot. Every week it became more and more like a chore.
The same thing has repeated in other games I quit playing. After a while you are just doing the same thing over and over again. You beat the game, even if there is no real official beating to be had. Optimized your character for its role, gotten the best loot easily obtainable, been everywhere and seen everything in the game. Why should you keep playing? PVP? Sucks … go play an FPS. The people? Get AIM … you can play an interesting game or do something more useful while you chat.
The only reason I would keep playing is if there was some kind of evolving storyline and regularly added content. Not dumb expansion packs that are explored, exploited and farmed within 2 weeks of release. With WoW I do not see that even remotely happening, seeing as how when I quit (in May 2005) they could barely give us an update to fix bugs every month. Promises of PVP systems simply don’t cut it because every battle has the exact same dynamic almost, once the powergamers figure out what works best.
So, to all you future WoW users, current users, and future users of any MMO: try to think about what you are doing. Why are you playing? Where is it going? Is it worth it? You will know when to quit then. Never worry about the time spent and throwing it away because it was a game that you got enjoyment out of (or else why were you playing), so that alone is never a reason to stay playing. If more people realized these points, perhaps the companies would realize their revenue falls out a few months after release and they would create games that capture our attention years after we start them.