I was a WoW addict. I’ve since broken that addiction, but I still love the game – but not as it is, as it was. For those who don’t know what that means, let me explain a bit of what game addiction means to me and how I broke it.
Game addiction is pretty rough. I used to log 6-12 hours in WoW a day in my high school time. I’d get home from school around 3:00 PM, log into the game, and play until dinner. I’d consume dinner, either with my family or in my room, and then go back to WoW. I’d gather materials, grind skills, run dungeons, and a lot more. I’d do this until around 2:00 to 3:00 in the morning, sometimes later. I’d then pass out in bed and sleep until it was time for school the next morning. Boy do I wish I were a live streamer at the time – I could’ve built quite the audience. But, I was also young, pretty immature, and almost entirely clueless when it came to treating others as they should be treated. But I digress.
WoW, my guild, and raids were my life. From later 2006 until around 2009, I was hooked. I spent as much of my time as possible mastering being a hunter, growing my abilities as a healing priest, working to deliver as many materials and consumables to my guild mates as possible, and grinding dailies for the coolest mounts, pets and items. Keep in mind I was in a relationship at the time with my now-significant other, Reki. They actually got me into WoW in the first place – we played together, but Reki moved too slow for the rapidly growing addiction that had taken hold. I wanted to be max level in vanilla so I could experience what it was like to be the badass who terrorized low levels at Tarren Mill, to have my name whispered by the Alliance and be remembered because of my escapades in Alterac Valley.
This had quite the impact on my relationships, as one would guess. My friendships became a burden. My relationship with Reki took a backseat – I’m very fortunate they’re patient enough to have put up with my obsession. The game was the most important thing. I had to get home, so visiting with friends was a pain. When I went and had LAN parties with friends for their birthdays or at the local meetups, I still logged into WoW during downtimes to gather mats and show off my epic-geared character. I wasn’t sleeping much, and was surviving off energy drinks and McDonald’s by the time I finally kicked the habit.
My life sort of kicked me in the head. I realized I was missing out on a lot of fun. When I went to Metrocon in the summer of 2008 with Reki, I noticed that my thoughts were completely on the game and nowhere remotely in the moment. It sort of flooded to me and caught me at once. It was during this time that I met the cool folks of the 501st Legion who had a booth there. They had amazing costumes, were super nice, and really made me excited for it. I love Star Wars, so this was super cool. Reki had been into cosplay for a long time which had piqued my interest, and this was screen quality costuming. I wanted to do this, badly. This was a big part of what helped me kick my addiction.
I worked my ass off and ordered armor at some point within the next year. It took my eyes away from the game. I had something to distract me. I started going out to events to help “handle” – handling, in 501st terms, is helping those in costumes at events: being their eyes where they can’t see, helping them suit up, ensuring they are hydrated, etc. It was because of this group of people, in addition to my amazing Reki, that I was able to overcome what got me addicted. I still raided, I still had fun, but I wasn’t spending all my free time in WoW. It was liberating. It also didn’t help that Cataclysm was terrible, and ultimately the beginning of the end of what made WoW special.
I’m happy I kicked the habit – and to be honest, I kicked my overall gaming addiction because of it. I immediately began to feel better and take better care of myself. Once you’ve sunk literal years of time into a game, moving on gives you quite the perspective on life. Now I can look at gaming objectively, which is partly why so much of my stance is rooted in how it makes people feel and whether it’s really harming people, rather than how it affects me personally.
In my next post, I’m going to delve into what I loved about the game and my stance and views on World of Warcraft Classic. May seem odd that I’m excited about something I was addicted to, but in my experience the spell of game addiction has been broken on me entirely.
A live streamer, podcaster, and game lover hailing from the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Regardless of the game, Tim thoroughly enjoys what each game can bring to the table, whether it be visuals, audio, writing, or a combination of the three. He wants nothing more than to have a positive impact on gaming in some manner.
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