There have been many horror stories lately, some true, some fiction about players of World of Warcraft. The stories have a wide range, a kid leaping from a building claiming to be reenacting a spell from World of Warcraft, parents not feeding their children for days due to their in-game needs, to a real life stabbing over a virtual theft. After playing the games online for a while, it is evident that some people will inevitably take the virtual world too seriously. It's a game, meant for fun.
There are plenty of casual players, but some take things too personally or too seriously. That's when it begins to borderline on addiction, and becomes dangerous. In an America where everyone is becoming more enlightened and in touch with themselves, there seem to be twelve step programs to help contain the addictions of every sort. Now the kids who grew up playing video games are growing older, and still playing them.
Video games are a form of entertainment, a method to escape from the toil of every day life no different than television. World of Warcraft offers its players a chance to adventure in a virtual world that many of their customers are familiar with from the Warcraft franchise. The online role playing genre however lends itself to addiction and competitive nature very easily.
A portion of the game is attaining the maximum level; level 60 in World of Warcraft. Only the people who have achieved this feat can possibly hope to have any influence. At maximum level, one would think there's not much left to do in the game, after all, there is no more improvement that the character can strive for. With the Player versus Player (PvP) ranking system, and "end game" content, that's hardly the truth. Through the PvP system World of Warcraft has put in place, players may view their characters rating against all others that they play with.
The PvP system rewards player for each enemy player they slay. The more foes killed, the higher the rating. Players are ranked on quantity rather than quality, meaning the players with the most time to dedicate to the game get the highest rank and reward. The "end game" content is mainly made up of raid instances, challenging dungeons and content that requires a group of forty people to coordinate and spend six to eight hours a night to complete a dungeon. There are currently three such instances in the game, meaning a raid group who wants to do all three, as they often do, would have to dedicate a minimum of three nights of eight hours to just those instances. That's the equivalent of a part time job playing World of Warcraft.
The players gain nothing tangible for their time, but their characters have a chance to get some new armor or a new weapon for the time spent. The majority of the subscribers to World of Warcraft are not these same video game junkies that would kill for their online world. Just like classic pen and paper role playing games, most of the players know the clear cut line between fantasy and reality. The amount of time needed to dedicate to a World of Warcraft game just to stay on top of the curve is more than any casual gamer has. The competitive nature of video gamers push many of them to spend more time than they can afford to have the most powerful character possible.
Plenty of college students have failed out of college because of the downward spiral that World of Warcraft addiction can cause. Once a student gets behind in a class, they can become depressed. World of Warcraft can be a good way to take your mind off the problem. A planned hour of play can easily turn into three or four.
Soon, the once small problem of turning a project in late becomes test material left unstudied.
Hunter Crowell is a researcher, avid online gamer, and creator of Buy WOW Gold Price List, helping players find the cheapest place to buy their gold.