How And Why I Quit Playing An Addictive Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG)

According to my “playtime,” I spent 180 days of my life logged in to the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game: “Final Fantasy XI.”

This enormous value was the result of having played FFXI an average of four hours every day over the course of three years.

In that time, I believed that I had collected an impressive arsenal of weapons, armor, and fictional money called “Gil” for my in-game persona. The reality, as I eventually realized, was that I willingly spent over $600 so that I could waste 180 days of my life sitting on my ass.

In this article, I’ll be discussing the addictive nature of MMORPGs, the humorous way how I made certain that I was quitting FFXI forever, and most importantly, the reasons why I chose to quit playing.

If you’ve never played a game of the MMO variety, then you’re probably thinking “You’ve got to be kidding — Game Addiction?” Believe me, the concept of such an affliction was just as alien to me when I bought the game.

Little did I know that within three years of purchasing the game, I would transform into a self-proclaimed “FFXI Junkie.”

Having examined the product subtleties more closely after-the-fact, I’m convinced that Square-Enix (the game producers) purposely designed FFXI to be addictive in nature. From a business perspective it makes sense to do so, since playing FFXI requires a subscription to their PlayOnline service.

Of course, you’re not obligated to pay for the drugs subscription right away. With exception of the one-time cost of the Game Discs, you won’t be charged anything for the first 30 days. Funny how you must enter a valid credit card number to initiate your PlayOnline membership, though.

Then, right before you enter FFXI‘s fictitious world for the first time, you’re prompted with the following message:

A Word to Our Players

Exploring Vana’diel is a thrilling experience.
During your time here, you will be able to talk, join, and adventure with many other individuals in an experience that is unique to online games.

That being said, we have no desire to see your real life suffer as a consequence.
Don’t forget your family, your friends, your school, or your work.

In fact, this message displays every time you enter Vana’diel, clearly indicating how Square-Enix acknowledges the addictive nature of MMOs.

FFXI possesses addictive qualities serious enough that a mandatory warning displays every time you login to play it. It reminds me of the SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING posted on every pack of cigarettes. Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, and May Complicate Pregnancy. FFXI Causes Muscle Fatigue, Repetitive Stress Disorder, Social Inadequacy, and May Lead to Obesity or Malnutrition.

It’s easy to laugh at, because upon first seeing the warning, it seems very foolish. You can tell yourself “It won’t happen to me,” or “I’m not addicted” each time you click past the warning, but understand that the warning was put there for a reason. It does happen.

Thankfully, although I was addicted, I was still sensible enough to go to work. Three years of playing, however, did cause me to severely alienate myself from my family members and real life friends. It also negatively affected my relationship with my now former girlfriend.

So what aspects of the game make it addictive? Plain and simple: the game has no ending. There’s a seemingly infinite and always increasing number of things for your game character to do. Even after 180 days spent playing FFXI, I still experienced only a fraction of what’s available — but going into detail about what the game offers would go beyond the scope and intended purpose of this article.

The point is that I became addicted enough that I willingly clicked past the warning for three years. Consequently, the subscription costs and prices of expansion packs added up over 36 months, eventually reaching over $600.

Once I calculated that value, I recognized that I was investing hard-earned money into my own demise. Nothing tangible was resulting from the considerable time I was choosing to invest in playing FFXI. After having played so long, it didn’t even seem like I was playing to have fun anymore — I was simply playing because my real life problems didn’t exist in Vana’diel.

With this newfound understanding, I became determined to regain control of my life and quit playing FFXI forever. The problem was, I often heard about the struggles other MMO Addicts had when trying to quit. They’d leave and come back, leave again and come back again — sometimes repeating their attempt to quit five or more times.

Knowing my own addictive personality, it would be all too easy for me to fall into a relapse if I didn’t make some preventative measures to keep myself from returning.

In other words, just telling myself that I wouldn’t play anymore wouldn’t be sufficient. I’d most likely “quit” only temporarily — and return to the game the first time I became even moderately bored.

Similarly, unsubscribing wouldn’t be sufficient either. Character data remains intact when you cancel your subscription, and it’s very easy to reactivate the account.

Since I was seriously planning on quitting permanently, I did everything in my power to make it difficult for me to login ever again. In order to stop myself from returning to FFXI, I:

  1. Gave all of my virtual assets to in-game friends.
  2. Canceled my PlayOnline subscription.
  3. Uninstalled the FFXI Game Software.
  4. Locked the FFXI Game Installation Discs inside a Time Capsule.
  5. Stored the Time Capsule in a neighbor’s attic.
  6. Left the Key to the Time Capsule with my family in New Jersey.
  7. Moved from New Jersey to Michigan.

You may believe my methods for quitting are rather extreme, but I knew that’s what it would take. Even now, five months after taking these steps, I still get an occasional desire to play. Thankfully, it’s damn hard to justify reversing all of those steps to satisfy my Gaming Addition.

Now to answer the more important question: Why?

Three years is a long time. Looking back on the years I lost playing FFXI is reminiscent of a time warp. I advanced my game character for three years while my real life was put on pause. It got me nowhere. I failed to invest in myself because of my addiction to the fantasy. Consequently, after three years I didn’t have more money, more school, or more skills, let alone more happiness.

Dedicating more time to this fantasy world didn’t make sense — my real life was suffering because of my inability to exercise restraint, so I took drastic measures in order to begin creating positive change in my life. The hardest part was making the choice to quit permanently, knowing that I’d have to continue making that choice every day to truly conquer my addiction.

My hope is that maybe this article can enlighten other MMO Addicts that it’s within their power to choose to quit playing. If your life is suffering because of an unhealthy addiction to a MMORPG, then I encourage you to assess whether you’re playing for fun, or because you’re simply unable to stop.

Quitting FFXI has been bittersweet for me. Having abstained from playing for five months now, I admit that there are many aspects of the game that I miss — but truthfully, What I miss pales in comparison to Who I miss.

The people I developed in-game friendships with during my FFXI career are naturally what I miss most. They helped transform the game into an unforgettable experience, and the feeling of comradeship I would constantly experience playing alongside them is something I am sad to have let go of.

I’m not disappointed I made the decision to stop playing, but I can’t deny having enjoyed every moment of my playtime.

Still Unconvinced Game Addiction Exists? See These External Links:

  1. Man dies after 50-hour gaming marathon
  2. Couple’s online gaming causes infant’s death
  3. Expert: 40 Percent of World of Warcraft Players Addicted
  4. China opens game-addiction clinic
  5. China govt steps up limits on online gaming
  6. Ex-Blizzard Employee Divorces Husband Over WoW
  7. Game Addiction: The Real Story
  8. The Human Cost of MMORPGs
  9. I Kept Playing — The Costs Of My Gaming Addiction
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59 Responses to “How And Why I Quit Playing An Addictive Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG)”

#1 Scott on 05, Jun, 2007 at 9:56 am

I’m a former FFXI/WoW addict as well. I racked up over 140 hours in one year after dropping out of school, and it was all about the people for me too.

WoW was a switch from the harder FFXI drug to something milder. It ends up just as bad, hoping that things will get better in the game, looking for what was lost moving from FFXI.

I enjoyed all of my time in both worlds, but eventually you have to realize that you’re sacrificing whatever future you have for nothing. All your time, all your effort in a world like that amounts to nothing.

#2 Ben on 05, Jun, 2007 at 11:28 am

Not everyone tries to hide from their real life problems by playing MMOs, I think that’s what your real issue was. Also, my WoW account is worth about $2000 USD. I think that is something tangible.

#3 Lee on 05, Jun, 2007 at 12:50 pm

Dude – why didn’t you destroy the disks instead of locking them up?

#4 Mike on 05, Jun, 2007 at 1:59 pm

There is a website for addicted gamers that follows the same approach but with new ideas baked in for the millions of gamer addicts…

http://www.olganonboard.org/

Online Gamers Anonymous. It’s real…not a joke.

#5 Derek on 05, Jun, 2007 at 6:18 pm

I really do not play online games, but addictions can be very strong. I was spending hundreds of hours a month on the web. It was realized that all I did was sit in front of that darn computer. My solution…golf…and I walk instead of taking a cart. As for your addiction to FFXI, destroy the game rather than lock it up with a friend.

#6 Shaun Boyd on 06, Jun, 2007 at 7:16 am

@Scott
I couldn’t agree more. You’ve done a great job of condensing the main point of my 1300 word article into a single paragraph. Thanks for commenting! 😀

#7 Shaun Boyd on 06, Jun, 2007 at 7:24 am

@Ben
Although it’s true not everyone tries to hide from their real life problems by playing MMOs, I think the majority of MMO players probably do, and even more are in different stages of denial about their Game Addiction. Using the example you offered: So allegedly your WoW account is worth about $2000 USD — Do you ever plan to quit, and if so, will you actually sell your account? Or does the fact that you calculated how much real money your virtual assets in WoW are worth make it easier to justify your efforts and continue playing? Thanks for commenting.

#8 Shaun Boyd on 06, Jun, 2007 at 7:33 am

@Lee
When I was making plans to move out of state, I sold or threw out many of my possessions. I was surprised at the number of games I had collected and played during my childhood that I was willing to part with. I could not, however, bring myself to destroy the FFXI Install Discs. Perhaps I needed to break my addiction using smaller steps. Step 1 is to distance myself from the game by locking the discs up. Step 2, to be accomplished when I unlock the Time Capsule in the future, is to destroy the discs. Thanks for your comment.

#9 Shaun Boyd on 06, Jun, 2007 at 7:40 am

@Mike
Thanks for sharing that website, it definitely demonstrates that other players have experienced the same Game Addiction. I do have a problem with their 12 Step recovery process, though — Incorporating religious beliefs into the steps takes what I believe should be a very personal and individual decision of faith and promotes it as the answer for all players. In my opinion, that is a poor approach. Not to say the creators of the site are doing a bad thing — I just believe their steps will not apply to all Game Addicts. Thanks again for sharing.

#10 Shaun Boyd on 06, Jun, 2007 at 7:46 am

@Derek
Aside from miniature golf and the driving range, I’ve never really played golf. If it’s as therapeutic as you suggest, perhaps I should add that to my list of things I want to try this year. As for web addiction, I too could be a candidate for that. 😉

#11 David Bradey on 06, Jun, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Great article. This article is timely. I have been using the ‘patch’ for WoW. I have been slowly spending less and less time playing. It is tough because most of my friends still play. The Wii has helped quite a bit. It gets me moving and Deb plays also…we are about to set up an hour a night policy to play Wii then exercise (maybe not in that order). I still have yet to uninstall WoW and cancel…but who knows.

My name is Dave and I am an addict.

#12 Shaun Boyd on 07, Jun, 2007 at 9:08 am

@David Bradey
I think it’s difficult to leave MMOs since you constantly tell yourself “But I’ve come so far in the game.” In other words, quitting negates all of your in-game efforts, effectively transforming all of the time spent playing into wasted time. It’s almost like a parallel to dying in real life — everything you’ve built up beforehand is lost. But I don’t mean to get philosophical on you. It sounds like you’ve already made the difficult decision to quit. Congratulations, that’s the first step, which is always the hardest.

#13 wira on 08, Jun, 2007 at 9:04 pm

“Although it’s true not everyone tries to hide from their real life problems by playing MMOs, I think the majority of MMO players probably do…”

Wholeheartedly agree.

I wasted my high school and college years playing games online, and still paying for the repercussions. Starting from Starcraft, Diablo II, Ragnarok Online, ROSE Online. My friends played WoW at that time, but I decided to not follow them (albeit the extreme peer pressure I was under). My life was a complete drifter’s mess. I realised that I had a choice, to follow my friends and play WoW, or completely not play it and start hanging out with a new flock of friends. More than two years have passed now, and I can safely say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve been reintroduced to my faith and growing my spiritual life, I’ve a direction in life, and I’ve friends who are supportive & encouraging.

Of course you can have friends in online games, and the teamwork often beats one in real life. However, if one is to see the end result of it, I don’t think we need to ask which one is worth more.

#14 Shaun Boyd on 09, Jun, 2007 at 9:13 am

@wira
Congratulations on such an achievement. I’m glad to hear you “got out,” so to speak, and have embraced the importance of faith. Thanks for commenting.

#15 JLM on 12, Jun, 2007 at 2:16 pm

I was addicted to Ragnarok Online back in ’03/’04, lost a job over it. That opened my eyes. Although I still played MMORPG’s since then I’ve played WoW (which was boring so I diddnt play past the 7 day trial) and Rose Online, which I played quite alot over the next 3 years, No idea how many hours, but I would estimate 60 hours a month. Although I havent touched an MMORPG in close to a year, I still play online, Right now Im hooked on Counter-Strike:Source, alot more fun, alot less addictive, and free to play 🙂

#16 Lauren on 19, Jun, 2007 at 10:44 pm

I’m a total WoW addict, but I went on vacation for a week and a bunch of fun people left our guild and I am left with a feeling that I don’t want to play any more. I agree that it’s the people/friendships that count.

#17 Shaun Boyd on 26, Jun, 2007 at 3:08 pm

@JLM
I’ve heard of many people who’ve apparently lost their jobs thanks to their MMORPG addiction — glad to hear that you’ve adopted Counter-Strike as a “crutch” and haven’t touched an MMORPG in a year. That’s progress. Thanks for commenting.

#18 Shaun Boyd on 26, Jun, 2007 at 3:12 pm

@Lauren
I understand completely. In my case, two key players in our FFXI group had a baby together, and stopped playing thanks to their new priority. I understood (and predicted) their decision to leave once they announced the pregnancy. After that, our group was like a house of cards — the foundation began to crumble and as more people left, even more continued in the trend. The game wasn’t the same without so many of my in-game friends.

#19 LJ on 27, Jun, 2007 at 1:28 pm

Ahh yes…

I love this entry, mainly because I never understood why people couldn’t separate real life from gaming life. I opened a WoW account a year ago, played for a week then my computer crashed. I took that as a sign. In Feb, I bought a new computer after saving some money, was given the game as a present from my boyfriend, and started playing again.

This obsession lasted until I reached level 26, to which at that point I decided, I much rather bang the keys on my piano than spend 2 hrs trying to complete a quest. This might also be because I have a short attention span.

I watched as it slowly engulfed my boyfriend, hes now a level 62 and can think of nothing more to talk about than WoW most days. I guess to each their own. We gotta do what we love. It could be worse

I’m just hoping that his account is worth something one day, so he can sell it, quit, and spend that hard energy in the dreams I know he’d rather accomplish, but doesn’t think hes good enough to do.

But hope is a lost cause in itself, sometimes.

#20 Shaun Boyd on 27, Jun, 2007 at 3:24 pm

@LJ
I stand by my opinion that most people attribute a monetary value to their account just so they can have an excuse to continue playing. Thanks to Real Money Trade, where you can actually exchange real life money for in-game currency, players can get a sense of worth for their virtual assets. Consequently, you hear people bragging about how “My account is worth $2000!!!” The interesting thing is, the moment you try to suggest they actually sell it for the money, their argument is “But it’s worth $2000!!!” Pretty backwards, if you ask me.

#21 Ian Adams on 24, Jul, 2007 at 3:36 pm

I only ever played one MMORPG, called “A Tale in the Desert.” I was interested in it because all of the other normal trappings of MMORPGs — combat, levels, no ending, etc. — were not present. But I left the game because of one trapping that was still present: the tedious repetition of un-fun tasks. First and foremost, a game should be fun, right? So why is the genre flooded with repetitive, not-fun tasks?

It took me a month or so to finally cancel my account, but during that time I was also expressing my dissatisfaction by simply not playing. Besides, all of the friends I talked to in the game were people I knew in real life. It’s not like I was leaving behind a social circle I’d never have contact with again.

I specifically avoid MMORPGs not because they’re addictive, but because they’re time-consuming. But then, I never had the experience of ditching out on my friends because I had to be somewhere for an instance or whatever other in-game activities there might be. The social aspect of the game is intriguing, but it’s not very well executed. Coupled with the lack of reward for continuing to play the game, what, then, is the incentive for me to spend my time playing the game?

The answer is that there is none, and that’s why I don’t play MMORPGs.

#22 Björn on 31, Jul, 2007 at 11:46 am

Being open ended is not all that makes those games addictive. I suspect the main addictive element is “Flow”, they have probably timed the missions and events in such a way that you can play in the perfect flow (I refer to the flow concept, as described in the popular book by Csikszentmihalyi). If a game is too difficult, you quit in frustration, if it is too easy, you get bored. They create just the right amount of gratification to keep you hooked.

#23 Mary on 01, Aug, 2007 at 2:11 pm

Shaun,
the Korean couple who lost their baby was such a tragedy! I hope it is a wakeup call for those with higher responsibilities, like raising their babies in a caring , loving way. Keep the Faith!, Mary

#24 Kaya on 03, Aug, 2007 at 6:35 pm

I was once addicted to WoW as well, but I gave it up because as a college student I needed to spend more time studying and less money on something that was just making school harder for me in the long run. However, for someone who is trying to quit, I have a much better “patch”. There is a game called Kingdom of Loathing, that spoofs all these other MMOs. The community is wonderful, but one of the best parts of this game is that it is turn-based, so the amount of time per day that you can spend on the game is actually limited. Works for me, as now I only spend about half an hour a night, and still get to talk to a bunch of friends and have a great game experience!

#25 Jessamyn on 06, Aug, 2007 at 2:01 pm

I can guess why you wrote this. 🙂

Firstly, I’d argue that some activities that bring pleasure are worthwhile for that reason alone. For example, I play the piano. I’ve played for 18 years, but I’ve performed infrequently and never competed. I rarely play for friends and family, though it’s fun to do so. But primarily I play for myself, because it’s enjoyable and creative and fun. It’s true that I am also cultivating a skill, but that isn’t why I’m doing it. Isn’t enjoyment a good enough reason for me to be able to spend time playing piano? I also listen to piano music, get songs stuck in my head, and am happy to talk at length with other people who play. Sometimes I just start playing and can go on for hours, though most days I limit my practice time. But no one would accuse me of being addicted to piano. And let’s not get into the money I’ve spent on music, recordings, lessons… it was very worthwhile for me, though, because it’s brought me a lot of enjoyment. I think all the same arguments can be made for MMOs.

And secondly, I’d argue that it certainly is possible to play MMOs an amount of time which is within reason. They do have an addictive nature, but you can play small amounts of time or infrequently, and if you get too wrapped up in it you can take a break. My /played time in WoW is 30 days, over a period of 19 months. Maybe that is higher than my “/played” in the same time period for piano, but it isn’t higher than the percentage for sports, and I still spend lots of time cooking, writing, going out, having fun friends and a great boyfriend, and of course working and taking classes. It’s a question of life balance, which you rightly suggest to be very important. With any hobby or interest, if you spend too little time doing it you will be unhappy, and if you spend too much time doing it, you will be unhappy in other parts of life. Figuring out what balance of activities maximizes your happiness is key to living life contentedly.

#26 Carlina on 09, Aug, 2007 at 4:57 am

Hi, I’m 14 and I’m addicted to online role playing games. The game I play is actually on a blogging site (I use xanga.com, but they’re all over myspace.com and facebook.com, too). Pretty much people just decorate pictures of a celebrity and then you go around and talk to other role players. I’ve been playing for about a year now, and I’ve been fully aware that I was addicted for about 7 months, now. Although I’ve known I was addicted, the hardest part, as you said, was leaving the people behind. Since the whole premise of the game is to go around, making relationships, it’s so hard to break this kind of addiction.
For months, I would use our shared, family computer, where I would go on and role play for about 4 or 5 hours straight, everyday. However, my parents, knowing that I had a real-life account on the blogging website, parentally blocked it from me, so when I typed the web address in, I wasn’t allowed to access it.
However, I would lie and find different ways to get on other family members’ accounts, so the website was unblocked. I knew I had a problem, and I went through two times where I would “quit forever” for a month, then show up with a new character and new name. (The hardest part is that even when you kill your character, blogging websites make it so easy for you to make a new one). Over the past two months, since school is out for the summer, my addiction has become even more intense, where I’ll pull all nighters just so I can continue talking to people that I’ll never meet in real life. I’ve taken our family lap top into my room with me. It has no parental blocks, AND I don’t have to even leave my room to role play. Thus, I’ve spent countless hours of unhealthy time on the computer recently…
I’m not one of those “socially awkward teens who uses this as an escape.” I’m very well liked in real life, but I DO think I use my role play so I can try different experiences without having the consequences of looking or sounding stupid, because I’M not doing these things, my character is, through my guidance. Also, I’ve found things that I haven’t had in real life yet, such as actual boyfriends. The thing is: I can use my role play to do things I’m so far unsure of trying in real life.
However, my role play addiction is having a disgusting consequence on my REAL life. I see myself blowing off friends, family, and summer school work so I can be online. When my family takes me out (they do this because they hate seeing me isolate myself from the world–I hide my problem from them) I only wait till the next time I’m online, and rehearse what I’m going to say next to my friends on there.
More recently, I’ve been more and more disgusted with myself and depressed. I want to quit this role play desperately. I was going to, but my online boyfriend convinced me to stay. All the while, I’ve continued my unhealthy behavior.
Luckily, I came across this entry and other websites on gaming addiction. Your entry was really the one that brought the final push of motivation. I’m going to quit my role play right now. I will shut down my site right now, give the lap top to my parents tomorrow (my mom needs it for work anyway), and go back to my own, personal computer which will now be set so that my parental block settings are the only ones on the computer, because I’m the only one using it, thus, I will never again be anywhere near the source of my addiction. Yes it would mean leaving my online friends and “breaking” my online boyfriend’s heart (pft, I’m sure he’ll find someone else), but I’m sure I’ll find it all worthwhile when I GET MY LIFE BACK.

Wish me luck?

#27 Shaun Boyd on 09, Aug, 2007 at 9:04 am

@Carlina
Good luck! And good for you 😀

#28 Geek Central » Blog Archive » Are you a poster child for online addiction? on 09, Aug, 2007 at 1:45 pm

[…] morning I was reading an interesting piece on online addiction: How And Why I Quit Playing An Addictive Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG). I wrestle with the problem myself, balancing “real lifeâ€? with the twin-headed monster of what […]

#29 Cap'n on 09, Aug, 2007 at 3:39 pm

Very interesting. I haven’t yet learned how to do trackbacks or pings, but I wrote an article that basically agrees with your viewpoint. I think, though, that the problem is larger than just MMORPG’s, though they are probably the worst.

#30 Kris on 13, Oct, 2007 at 9:37 am

I know it’s a little late in the game to comment on this article, but i have to say it hit home. I to am addicted to ffxi and it’s hard to leave because of the relationships you develope. I am ironically at 180 days of game play. I too am on the path of quitting, and seeing as you are one of my in game friends and was a blast playing with you. I am glad you have quit and stuck to it and knowing someone i played with shared the same problem i have and was able to quit, gives me even more drive to stick to it as well. So thanks Shaun (Jess) for the memories in game and the encouragment to continue my path to quitting!!!

#31 Rysus on 01, Nov, 2007 at 12:01 am

Ok i have read and understand why u quit.. but in between just made this article a bunch of bull shit… i mean cmon ur trying to get ppl to quit but yet u have RPG gamesites strictly for MMO. U quit playing my ass. u prolly got sick and tired of not getting anywhere in FFXi and decided to go another means of MMO. Next time u decide to say hey look at me i stopped cause it was an addiction think b4 u put contradiciting shit in with it u jack ass.

#32 Patrick on 04, Dec, 2007 at 11:01 am

I’ve been playing Battlefield 2 for like 2-3 years…slowly making my way to a Captain. I play it every night…like u…”it did cause me to severely alienate myself from my family members and real life friends.”

I have built up a career, but somehow I seem to have lost all my friends. I used to think friends are bullshi*. They come and go.. so I didnt feel the importance of gatherings and such.

Perhaps, its the games that have made me think and react that way. Now, I think my social life is completely wreaked.

Today, your article has knocked me over.. I should give up the game and try to regain all that I’ve lost.

You have made it…Now’s my turn.
Thanks.

#33 dudefromcanada on 29, Jan, 2008 at 10:35 pm

I gave up 3 years of my life to this game as well. Its hard when you grow up around negative role models and are abused, you often find negative ways to control your life and cope. I remember the dishes, bills pilling up. I have other addictions I’m working through too. When I quit I did much like the author except move to a different city. I realized all the pain and things I’ve missed in my life. Once I broke free of the game I saw how much better real life is. I just need to overcome other addictions now…

#34 hannah221 on 01, Jul, 2008 at 8:18 am

my boyfriend has been playing battlefield 2 for just over a year and a half. he plays all the time, like 4 – 5 hours a day, sometimes all night. He never wants to go out anymore and we never see our friends. Our flatmate also plays so they hang out and talk to members of their clan on mics all the time. He is totally addicted, yet when i try to talk to him about he, he just gets annoyed or laughs at me. I wish he would realize so we could go out again and see people. what can i do??

#35 Shaun Boyd on 01, Jul, 2008 at 12:11 pm

@hannah221
I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a “Video Game Intervention” but it sounds like that’s what you’re looking for. If you’ve approached him on the topic but he doesn’t take you seriously about it, let him know that you’re serious about it.

I imagine that you feel as though his time spent in the game takes time away from you as a couple. If that’s how you feel then he needs to know that if things don’t change, then you’ll move on. In other words, think about giving him an ultimatum: Battlefield 2 or you. If he’s committed to you, then the choice should be obvious. If he chooses the game, then it’s clear where his priorities lie — and you’ll know that you can stop wasting your time with him.

Of course, I don’t know if that’s what you want to hear or not. If you love him, then the thought of leaving him probably didn’t even occur to you. Understand that you can’t force him to stop playing — that’s his choice, and so it’s not really something you can control, even though you might be able to influence his decision.

What you do have the power to control is how YOU decide to deal with the situation — and if you’re unhappy, then make some changes.

#36 Maria on 21, Aug, 2008 at 4:16 pm

I’m glad I found this… I’ve been trying to get my boyfriend to stop playing a game kind of like this and it seems like its impossible. Almost like he likes it more that me latley. I hope he’ll read this, and maybe it will help him realize something. Thanks.

#37 J on 24, Dec, 2008 at 11:10 pm

oh, my goodness. your story is very similiar to my own. I’m not addicted to a roleplaying game, but to several roleplaying forums. I’ve been roleplaying for five years, but in the past two, I’ve become much more withdrawn, spent hundreds of hours online, lost many friends (including my best ones), watched my 4.0 GPA steadily decrease, have my circulation go crazy because I don’t exercise, argued with my parents and loved ones over my internet addiction (and cried myself to sleep many times because of it), and spent all of my weekends online because I’d rather roleplay than go out with friends. lately, I’ve become convinced that my fictional characters are more important than I am–and finally I’ve decided to stop. I’m blocking all of my forums for good. I’m, quite honestly, deathly afraid that I’m going to “relapse”, but I’ll definitely be turning to this article for encouragement. thank you so much. good luck and God bless. (:

#38 JoAndrew on 28, Jan, 2009 at 12:12 am

Well you did make a mistake there, but what’s important is that you got over it already and you are winning your own personal battle, avoiding to get back online. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine… There is a famous saying: “Time wasted in doing something that you enjoy is not wasted time”.

#39 Afton on 02, Oct, 2009 at 11:41 am

I appreciate everything you’ve said here, as I’m a reformed FFXI addict.

However as for locking the installation disks in a time capsule etc. That wouldn’t have done anything for me, I bought new disks three times over, Reinstalled several times over, Character reactivation services etc. After my level 60 Corsair finally got banned for 3rd party tools (which i used at the end of one of my leavings to try and get myself off the game by getting myself banned) I simply made a new character and did it all again.

The best way to rid yourself of the game, is to find something else in your life that replaces it. Friends, Family, Music, Hobbies. Anything other than gaming.

There’s always a way back to FFXI, and if you’re addicted as much as I was, starting a level 1 brand new character off a brand new xbox and brand new FFXI disk that you just got PURPOSEFULLY to play FFXI, is far too easy.

#40 Masamura on 20, Oct, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Hello from reddit !

Wow, your story and mine are similiar.. I was a 75 NIN PLD BLM SAM RDM with most of the end gears but I couldn’t stop myself from playing… until one day I decided to “wake up,” gave my account to the next best PLD I know and told him to change the password and billing and never ever give me access to the account anymore.

I do have the urge to go buy the game and replay it… but thinking I have to get a party and wake up almost 24/7 to get my missions and camps done, I gave up.

I still want to go back in sometimes… but the tediousness just kicks in now.

#41 S. on 27, Jan, 2010 at 11:23 am

@Carlina

I’m 14 too and I’m having exactly the same problem. It’s hard. I had made so many accounts that I couldn’t handle so I deleted them to make more and I got so into one account and made friends with the people on there they nearly knew everything about me in real life. I wish sometimes that I never did make a RP account that wouldn’t help me with my exams with all the time I used up on those sites that I could have been revise time ((I’m not a nerd btw lol))…Good luck giving up, It’s gonna be hard but just go ahead, delete them and keep yourself occupied. Thats what I’ve been doing for about 7 months..I still think about signing onto the website but then I remember that I’d be going back to square one again.

#42 Josh on 17, Feb, 2010 at 1:11 am

It felt so good quiting WoW. I feel like I’m not a slave anymore to virtual reality. People feel that their virtual reality lives of fantasy is connected with their real ones. I’m 22 and I decided to quit my crappy online game addiction and to aim to get a job and finally apply for college. Thanks for this guide I enjoyed reading it. =)

#43 Anibe on 17, Feb, 2010 at 1:24 am

If you can’t deny having enjoyed every moment of your playtime, you contradict yourself saying you just “wasted” $600 and 3 years of your life.

Life is for enjoying it wherever you like most.

#44 L on 12, May, 2010 at 7:04 pm

@Anibe

You’re right that these games are enjoyable. Of course they are. But harmlessly enjoyable? Not on your life. A “contradiction” when someone realises they’ve poured hundreds or thousands of hours of their precious life into an empty hole that they’re never going to get back ?
It’s an empty hole, because everything gained in this virtual world is not transferrable to the real world. Once the service shuts down, or the developers pull the plug, it’s over. It’s an empty hole because it’s designed to suck you in – leading the player to divert their focus from their real, natural life, to in-game achievements.
Yes, the journey may have been fun, but when you realise you’re still playing this shit, while your friends have moved on in the real world. They have great jobs, they have girlfriends. They’re travelling around the world. Meanwhile you’ve poured all your effort into an empty hole that you’re never going to get back. When the game ends, the real life seems like a cold, hard place by comparison.
A contradiction? I don’t think so.

P.S. the best way to quit is to re-align yourself with your real world goals, and realise why you just don’t want to play anymore. Make a list of all the things you could be doing in the real world instead; everything that you’re missing out on. A juicy carrot works better than a whip. Don’t “fight” it, that just creates resistance and stress. Surrender, be conscious. This shit isn’t fun, it’s pointless grinding. Release this garbage from your life. You don’t need it anymore.

#45 Blue Rage on 18, May, 2010 at 7:28 am

I fail to see how it was harmful if you only played an average of 4 hours per day. You do realize that the average person spends many more hours per day watching television? At least with those games you had some form of connection with other players rather than sitting back watching reality shows about people you will most likely never come in contact with. I’d rather play a game than stay updated on American Idol. Face it– most people waste their life in some manner that they enjoy… thus, you really have to ask if it is indeed a “waste”.

For all the people who lost their job or failed out of college due to this “addiction” there are many more who went on to have successful lives while “addicted” to the same games. It is all about self-control and knowing when to turn the game off for the day/night. If someone misses work enough to end up fired due to playing games… well… I’d say that is more of a sign of a mental disorder than a mere “addiction”. I’d also say it is a mental issue if you “forget” the “real” world when playing. When I play a game I’m fully aware that I still have bills to pay, a woman to please, and a dog to walk– and a number of other things that I still get done when the computer or console is turned off.

#46 Nick on 01, Jun, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Thanks for posting this – I’ve struggled with MMO addiction for 15 years now. It started with Diablo I, continued through EverQuest I & 2 with some Diablo II in between, and now Aion.

I did not let gaming destroy my life in any way, but it could have been more than what it is. I did graduate with honors from college and went to an Ivy League Law School. I’m not practicing as an attorney but I’ve always been fully employed.

I do think I’ve let myself go a bit physically and have become more depressed and reclusive. Sometimes I find it harder to socially interact with people, because when they talk about what they have been doing with their lives or even just their weekends, these days I have nothing to say since all I’ve done was play games. It’s sad.

I miss the time of my life when I spent far more time with family and friends. My in game character has the life I want for myself. It’s just wrong.

#47 Juma on 07, Sep, 2010 at 1:10 pm

It is amazing that this article is 3 years old and it feels like it was written yesterday. I am in the process of quitting also and your method i think is very effective and I’ll prob do the same except moving lol, that was a little too much..

#48 Alicia on 01, Nov, 2010 at 2:08 am

It’s amazing reading this blog, but when I stumbled upon this article it was like going back in time to talk to myself! I did the exact same thing a couple of years ago, except it was Star Wars Galaxies. I loved the game, I played nearly every day for 5 years and my boyfriend played it all 5 years too. We were completely addicted to it.

Once I started to notice how much of my life and hard earned money I had wasted on a virtual character and how little I actually had to show for it (although like you said, I did enjoy every minute of it), I started to slow my game play but it wasn’t enough, my mind was still consumed by it. I knew I could not let it go unless I really let it go. So I did, I had probably one of the biggest giveaway party events in the whole game and it felt great to have one last big party with all those virtual friends I’d made. I do miss them. And all of my years of collecting, my perfect amazing collections.. were toast in one evening.

There’s a difference though – I was with a man who was addicted and didn’t want to quit. It was terrible, I felt like I still couldn’t get that game out of my life even though I’d done everything I could to cut it out – except to cut him out as well. I did wait hoping he’d come around soon and it took him over a year to make the same conclusions. But it took a huge toll on our relationship and we nearly didn’t make it through. MMO addiction is actually serious, although I laughed when I first heard of it. Thanks for your article, I’ve never really read about someone else in such a similar position.

#49 MUGEER on 20, Dec, 2010 at 3:03 pm

AM UNIVERSITY STUDENT AND I HAVE WORK TOO I PLAYED BROTHER IN ARM ONLINE MORE THAN 1000 HOURS AND NOW AM ADDICTIVE ON PLAYING COD 4 ONLINE I PLAYED MORE THAN 2700 HOURS TILL NOW AND I CANT QUIT I LOST MY STUDY MY RELATIONS AND MY FAMILY RELATION I WAS SMOKING AND I TAKE DESITION TO QUIT AND I QUIT FOR A SECOND BUT I CANT QUIT PLAYING ONLINE NOW I REALLY FEEL BAD PLEAS GIVE ME SOLUTION’S

#50 Julio on 10, Aug, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I played 2 MMO games Runescape. Now runescape was hard I would play EVERY day until 1 day I noticed I kept doing the same things until I finally just stopped the second is for the iPad named pocket legends now I just started and it’s not the best it’s easy to quit for it’s also does the same things Here is a tip think about what ur doing and think about what u could do outside…..

#51 Brandon on 10, Oct, 2011 at 1:26 am

I never did get past my addiction to MMOs, even now I found this article because I was looking for a new MMO to play. My past relationships and new ones faded because I hid from my problems and played a game instead of moving on. It is not just MMO, it is any and all games that let you just.. not be yourself and become stronger. Even in the COD/Halo/Whateveryourfixis its because your good at something more so than anything else. Drinking Coffee and smoking while sitting on my ass can only last so long.

My advice to everyone is to stop dwelling on your Facebook/Texts/Games/Drugs and kick yourself in the ass for every hour you wasted not moving ahead and move ahead. I know I can not be the only one that does not want to die not doing anything but procrastinating or getting off on drama.

#52 H on 04, Nov, 2011 at 10:17 am

I have to thank you for writing this blog because it gave me the courage to log into square enix as of right now and just stop my service.

I liked what #44 L had said.. “Don’t “fight” it, that just creates resistance and stress. Surrender, be conscious.”

I believe that is the true key to moving on from something like this

#53 Amazed on 04, Nov, 2011 at 10:19 am

I have to applaud the original poster as after 3 years people are still finding this article so very useful and to let others know they aren’t the only ones struggling with something like this. so I thank you for writing this and keeping this around

#54 The forgotten one on 13, Feb, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I stumbled ascross this site while searching a new mmo to play. I have played Diablo 1 back in the day over a 56k analog modem (damn those were the days (nothing like opening a TP in the chamber of Diablo without opening the walls and shouting to ppl in town “Come in TP i need help” lol)). Then after that my next online adventure was Runescape. I played it from 2000 to christmas 2006 when i was banned for using Ghostmouse to mine for me. 2006 to 2008 I played a browser text based mmo Dragon domination that was shut down in 2008 with me being on the 1st place in the highscores. In end of 2008 i join Closed beta of Runes of Magic a F2P mmorpg that i play to this day, have one of the strongest Rogue/Scout on my server with almost all the titles, cards, T7 modded gear all X runes T12 weapon, over 6000 Euros spent in Cash Shop etc. Since im a bit bored with it i am looking for a new mmo.. but this article started me thinking about my life. I do have my own buisennes that i can only do during summer so during winter im at home just playing, but i would like to do much more with my life.. and nothing seems to beat the mmo experience. The only thing i imagine could be better than in-game life is being quite rich in the real world, lets say around 1 million Euros rich.. so i could have a nice Lambo and screw nice girls in the tropical islands. Since there is a very slimm chance of that happening i think ill stick to my alternate reality. Cheers

#55 Alec on 25, Jan, 2013 at 2:39 am

OMG, thanks so much for this advice!! I don’t play the same online game as you do, I play an online game called Transformice. I always loved that game, and I’ve been playing for almost 2 whole years. But now its getting really hard to quit playing Transformice. I would skip my homework to play a stupid online game. Even though I told myself that I still had homework to do, I still couldn’t resist it. And now I’m flunking my classes. I’ll try your advice tomorrow, wish me luck!!!

#56 Qrious on 17, May, 2013 at 4:35 am

Thanks to this article, I just quitted my online game, Age of Wushu. I’m glad that I did it before it becomes too late. Thanks again, dude.

#57 John M on 01, Jan, 2014 at 7:31 am

I have a time consuming hobby called video games however I make sure my life comes first.
Reason I am looking this up is yesterday I made the decision after a very negative experience in an online game to give up all gaming that is online like this and stick to games I can finish and enjoy playing.
Interesting way to start the new year. first thing I have to say is it was nothing to do with the game or the people who made it. I think their community is amazing and will certainly still support that company other video games. Its more the nature of these type of games even the ones that have better gameplay amazing storyline and really are good games but still have elements that make it a negative experience such as grind death pens level limits Rerun same thing x 100 ect and this in turn can lead to players behaviour in a negative way, for online games this is true , thank god I only ever play call of duty online once lol.
So while there things I love about certain games I am being more choosey about the type of games I buy, for example you wont find me playing candy crush any time soon.
Video games can be a positive experience but also a negative one.
Glad I found this site and know for some people its a deep issue even if not so much myself. But new year and new things to focus on so I still will be gaming just in a different way this year.
I am 100% fan for gaming though and that’s not going away any time soon.

#58 Paul on 22, May, 2016 at 9:16 pm

My partner started playing Final Fantasy (fill in the blank). I did not grow up as part of the video gaming generation, I want to make that clear from the start, and maybe this makes a difference.

First off, no lie, this has to be the most asinine game ever developed, to be sure, and I can see the addictive qualities: repetition, meeting and playing with like minded individuals, gaining/growing, a game which never ends. Every single day, he wakes up and plays for a couple hours…. because he “has to do things”…. fish, craft, whatever. And, then, well, home from work, gotta play, catch up with “friends” he has made, go off on quests…. and, to an outsider, all the quests look the same, up and down stairs, into a room, fight a goonie, and then divide up the treasure, extra points or whatever. Dinnertime? Be there in a few minutes? No, try, at the very least, twenty to thirty, because you can’t just leave, you have to finish your quest, then go back to your inn, then call for your servants so they can sell things, then lay down and rest. Day off from work? Yup, that’s a good twelve to fourteen hour stretch…. and the fun starts when you try to figure out if you’re being spoken to or if the conversation is with one of the “friends” in the game.

Second, I am obviously the only person he knows who has no problem with the game. (That is sarcasm.) He plays with a group, and none of their wives, husbands, children have any issues with them playing for hours on end. When we do manage to do something, it’s because it’s fit in between when it’s “down time”…. afternoon movies, maybe a lunch, never a dinner, never anything between 2pm and 10pm, because that’s when his “friends” are on and playing. Remember “Cheers”? The show about the bar? That is what it is like when he logs in, everybody is there and waiting to go fight a goonie. The world stops, time stops, life stops.

Finally, the excuses. “I don’t feel well, I have a migraine.” Having been a migraine sufferer, I know when you have a migraine, you don’t want to do anything. Oddly enough, he don’t want to do anything…. but playing the game, that actually helps. So, another reason, new, to stay home and never do anything, it makes him feel better. I had to listen to him go on about not having made a bow correctly…. why, he might have to pay a player to help him make a bow correctly! And, he didn’t have enough time to decorate the new home he just bought “over there”, so he had to pay someone to decorate his place. (Thankfully, over here, he has me as his personal servant.)

I hate this game. I hate the way it manipulates people…. they put so much time into it, and they don’t want to actually admit it’s a waste, a frivolous sort of thing, and they don’t want to quit because, well, because. And, as with any addictive substance, try having a conversation about it…. because there is no having a conversation, it’s only a game, what;s you’re problem with it? (Again, sarcasm…. with anger.)

#59 New beginnings on 30, Nov, 2016 at 12:56 pm

I’ve been playing a MMO for a little over a year now and I’ve been thinking of quitting the game since months ago, I just haven’t gotten to it yet. I guess it’s hard for me to let the game go after all the time and money invested into it. I’m the guildmaster of a reputable guild with loyal and strong members. We aren’t the strongest in the game yet and my plan was to quit after achieving that rank, but being realistic, it’ll be a long time until every member is fully equipped with gears good enough to get us there. I have high-level gears and lots of achievements, and I have received many offers and trades for my account. However, I’ve always known everything about what you’ve written to be true. I have advanced my game character for a whole year (and more), but my real life is on pause.

I have lost countless hours of sleep and pretty much been a recluse over the year, all so I can play. It was bad that even my in-game friends would tell me to sleep and rest when they found out about the odd hours I kept. I’m addicted to a game, something I never thought would happen to me, and I made the people around me worry. Work wasn’t on my mind at the time since I was a recent graduate and I figured taking a short break playing games was justified. Now one year later, I realized I’ve done nothing for myself. Sure, I’ve enjoyed myself and did well in-game, but everything I did in the game will probably remain just that. I had plans to quit playing months ago but I stayed for my guild, though recently I tend to avoid being on when most of them are because they expect to raid,etc when I just want to chill.

I guess this is me admitting that I’m addicted to a game and it’s a starting point for me to actually quit playing the MMO and do something more worthwhile with my life. It’s been heartbreaking and relieving at the same time, writing this, and it’s as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I probably won’t quit right off the bat but I’ll definitely be working on that and maybe it won’t be that hard to do since I don’t actually find the game as fun anymore and I’ve also been reducing the time I’m on playing…the hardest part would probably be telling my guild about it, but I’m sure they will manage and understand. Reading your article was like seeing what I was actually doing and it gave me the motivation to finally quit the game and act on it, instead of just thinking about it. Thanks for writing this article, I’m sure it’ll help many others in similar situations in the future.

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