Gamer Hate

Belligerently lacking in remorse.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Compulsive Gaming is NOT an Addiction
CommanderHate was WRONG!

Previously I had indicated that gaming could turn into an addiction just like any other abuse substance. That put some enthusiastic gamers in the same boat as alcoholics. Well, that assessment may not be entirely fair in light of this article, which makes some very valid points. Although the article does agree that there may be some who are true gaming addicts, it points out that the vast majority who participate in MMORPGS to the exclusion of “reality” tend to have a social problem rather than an addiction problem.

This makes a lot of sense from what I’ve seen of hardcore gamers who never seem to leave their homes. The truth is that they just never got into the social scene, or were purposefully excluded from it by bullies or simple social awkwardness that made them the butt of jokes. If you had to choose between spending the majority of your day being picked on and laughed at, or being a hero, which would you choose? I think everyone would pick the hero, even if it’s somewhat lessened by the fact that it’s not happening in reality.

Though it’s important to note that the MMORPG has changed the dynamic of escapism to include a very critical social element. You ARE adventuring with real people, and there are still bullies and bad things that can happen to you there. The difference though is that within the game world you have the power to do something about it. In fact, since a lot of the people who tend to play MMORPGS were bullied themselves, there are a whole group of people devoted to stopping the bullying of others within those games. In WoW for example, if you’re being picked on by a group from the opposing faction, sending a shout out in the public channels will often get at least one person to come out and try to take care of the offenders. These people will then often corpse camp the enemies until they escape, thus showing the bully that they’re not going to be allowed to continue that kind of behavior (at least right at that moment and in that area).

It’s interesting that in school and other social situations where one person is being bullied, the typical response is for others to either ignore the situation or to join in and further abuse the person who has been picked as the target. Perhaps MMORPGS aren’t just to escape being bullied, but to surround ourselves with people who are more willing to fight for what is right. That isn’t to say that there aren’t assholes in MMORPGs (because there are plenty), but that there are more people who are willing to do something about it. Is it the power of your Avatar that allows you to take action in the game world whereas you would not in the real world? Is it the anonymity of it all?

Within the gameworld the consequences of taking actions against bullies is relatively low. At worst they might corpse camp you and waste some amount of your time. At best they are unable to defeat you and you can continue to bully them until they leave. I think it’s the draw of the chance to be a hero in someone’s eyes that keeps some people coming back to the game. I also think it’s the chance to be the bully that keeps others coming back.

Either way, the ability to act out your social fantasy of either being the hero or the bully is a very powerful draw for MMORPG players. It makes sense that it would become a compulsion, particularly since it can be so difficult for the socially awkward to play either role in real life.

posted by CommanderHate at 12:13 pm  

1 Comment »

  1. […] Gamer Hate ยป Compulsive Gaming is NOT an AddictionCommanderHate … […]

    Pingback by mmorpgs | Digg hot tags — December 11, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Powered by WordPress