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July 29th, 2009, 13:35
Dr. Richard Graham plans on giving addicts in game therapy according to Gamespot.
"We will be launching this project by the end of the year. I think it’s already clear that psychiatrists will have to stay within the parameters of the game. They certainly wouldn’t be wandering around the game in white coats and would have to use the same characters available to other players," Graham said, asking Blizzard to waive or discount the game's $15 monthly fee for therapists. "Of course one problem we’re going to have to overcome is that while a psychiatrist may excel in what they do in the real world, they’re probably not going to be very good at playing World of Warcraft."
Graham said his proposed in-game measures were necessary because the game addicts can be more easily found online than in person. The newspaper's article comes after a related story it published in February, headlined "World of Warcraft 'more addictive than cocaine'." Blizzard could not be reached for comment as of press time.
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July 29th, 2009, 13:35
The more-addictive-than-cocaine-article shows some seriously limited parental skills. The kid played for 24 hours straight. Allow me to quote:
"[…]a 15-year-old Swedish boy collapsed and went into convulsions earlier this month.

His family rushed him into hospital where doctors diagnosed an epileptic-type seizure brought on by sleep deprivation, lack of food, and too long a stretch of concentrated game playing. "

I would have thought that parents had the responsibility to give their kids food and put up at least some basic rules? My parents took away my computer when I was a kid, since I was playing too much. Of course I got angry and sad, but it was exactly what they should've done.
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July 29th, 2009, 13:54
True, dat — but IMO it would not be unreasonable to ask that the producer of the game take the potential for addiction seriously as well. They could, for example, have configurable session caps and cool-down periods. For example:

(1) Have a (fairly high) max cap — say, maximum of eight-hour session, with a cool-down period running from 15 minutes for an hour's session to 16 hours for the full eight-hour session. No account would be able to exceed this limit.

(2) Make it possible for players to set their own tighter caps and cooldowns, in such a way that tightening the restrictions takes effect immediately, but relaxing them only takes effect after 24 hours, and even then the player will have to explicitly confirm the change.

(3) Provide a different type of account, where the keys to the cap controls are separate from the account itself. Parents, spouses, or other trusted third-parties would hold these keys, and could therefore restrict play-time accordingly.
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July 29th, 2009, 14:05
The entire genre is totally counterproductive to a healthy life.
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July 29th, 2009, 14:23
Not to mention all these Chinese workers hired to produce virtual gold in there.

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July 29th, 2009, 14:28
Let's get one thing straight: Whatever issues people have with gaming, gambling and so on are related to compulsions, not addictions. The difference is basically physical - if you are addicted, there are physical reactions in the body that are impossible to prevent no matter how much you want to quit. Compulsions on the other hand are mental; any physical reactions you get from not being stimulated are also purely mental (the brain "feels" that it needs to do something particular, yet it doesn't actually have to).

Comparing any compulsion to drug addiction is redicilous. The drug addict will go through immense pain and sickness to cure his/her addiction, far worse than anything you can experience when trying to quit gaming, gambling, etc.

That being said, if you leave something with a compulsion alone, it's not unlikely that they might just end up doing this actvity (whatever they feel forced to do) untill it ruins their life. It's certainly serious, and not to be taken lightly, but comparing it with drug addiction is still redicilous in my opinion.
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July 29th, 2009, 14:29
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Not to mention all these Chinese workers hired to produce virtual gold in there.
AFAIK that's a better way for many of them to make a living than the alternatives, but I don't really know enough to say for sure.
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July 29th, 2009, 14:44
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Let's get one thing straight: Whatever issues people have with gaming, gambling and so on are related to compulsions, not addictions. The difference is basically physical - if you are addicted, there are physical reactions in the body that are impossible to prevent no matter how much you want to quit. Compulsions on the other hand are mental; any physical reactions you get from not being stimulated are also purely mental (the brain "feels" that it needs to do something particular, yet it doesn't actually have to).

Comparing any compulsion to drug addiction is redicilous. The drug addict will go through immense pain and sickness to cure his/her addiction, far worse than anything you can experience when trying to quit gaming, gambling, etc.

That being said, if you leave something with a compulsion alone, it's not unlikely that they might just end up doing this actvity (whatever they feel forced to do) untill it ruins their life. It's certainly serious, and not to be taken lightly, but comparing it with drug addiction is still redicilous in my opinion.
Speaking as someone who lost his sister to drug addiction, I must disagree TO A CERTAIN EXTENT. Not that this makes me an authority of any kind, but it's simply to point out where I'm coming from.

True, there are major differences - but the body and the mind are bound together in a very intangible way.

It's not necessarily easier to lose a "mental" addiction and stuff is happening in your body that's related to your brain that can be exceedingly hard to quantify and dismiss. You can call it compulsion if the word suits you better, but in the end it's just a word.

Now, physical dependancy can be extremely hard to overcome - and especially in the case of drug addiction. But there are typically underlying reasons that make you pursue such a lifestyle in the first place, and though you can treat yourself and "break free" of physical addiction - you're going to have to look at why you started in the first place.

What it comes down to is that you're trying to escape, and though the circle of destruction might start for different reasons and even without a reason - once it's begun, you will have to fight hard to break free. You might become addicted to drugs by being ignorant enough to try it or even have someone force it upon you by trickery. But that's just the beginning, and it's not at the core of the challenge. The challenge starts once the consequences of not living a healthy life start showing up - whether it be unhealthy in a physical or mental way. Generally, it's the challenges of living in modern society that makes it especially hard to let go of our ways of escape.

I'm not trying to ignore the very real implications of being physically addicted, I'm just trying to point out that mental addiction can be equally harsh - and most often both kinds of addiction go together in ways that are hard to see, even for the trained people treating the addiction and those suffering from it.
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July 29th, 2009, 15:44
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Let's get one thing straight: Whatever issues people have with gaming, gambling and so on are related to compulsions, not addictions. The difference is basically physical - if you are addicted, there are physical reactions in the body that are impossible to prevent no matter how much you want to quit. Compulsions on the other hand are mental; any physical reactions you get from not being stimulated are also purely mental (the brain "feels" that it needs to do something particular, yet it doesn't actually have to).

Comparing any compulsion to drug addiction is redicilous. The drug addict will go through immense pain and sickness to cure his/her addiction, far worse than anything you can experience when trying to quit gaming, gambling, etc.

That being said, if you leave something with a compulsion alone, it's not unlikely that they might just end up doing this actvity (whatever they feel forced to do) untill it ruins their life. It's certainly serious, and not to be taken lightly, but comparing it with drug addiction is still redicilous in my opinion.
Things like game addiction have a physical basis too. Games hijack parts of your brain chemistry — the dopamine reward system, specifically. You can get actual withdrawal symptoms, and in practice such addictions can be just as difficult to break as a heroin habit.
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July 29th, 2009, 16:01
It's splitting hairs. Hooked is hooked,

PJ has it right when it comes to parental controls, there should be account lock functions that the, as we call it here at work, "authority having jurisdiction" has the control of. As de-facto tech support geek of friends/ family/ coworkers, I'm finding that the parental controls afforded in Vista are a great tool for parents keeping track of and limiting children's behavior. I remember having the channel lock-out on the cable lock box when i was a kid, parents would do that before they left to make sure I wasnt watching somethng they thought I shouldnt.

Some kid playing a MMO too much is not necessarily "bad parenting", parents do not hang over their kid's shoulder every second of the day. They arent in the kid's room all night while he's playing. Give them a lock and key, good tool for getting kids to do what they want too.
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July 29th, 2009, 16:21
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The entire genre is totally counterproductive to a healthy life.
That totally depends on what kind of life they had before WoW. I bet many of them spent that time infront of the telly instead or infront of other games. WoW at least put them in a social situation where cooperative skills are crucial, where its important to listen and follow rules etc if they want any kind of success in the game..

But ofcoruse its not healthy to just sit at home playing games or just watching tv, that goes without saying.
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July 29th, 2009, 16:27
Addictions have nothing to do with parenting skills, and should be taken seriously.

Some MMO's are made to exploit psychology.

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Last edited by JemyM; July 29th, 2009 at 17:03.
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July 29th, 2009, 16:44
Originally Posted by bemushroomed View Post
That totally depends on what kind of life they had before WoW. I bet many of them spent that time infront of the telly instead or infront of other games. WoW at least put them in a social situation where cooperative skills are crucial, where its important to listen and follow rules etc if they want any kind of success in the game..

But ofcoruse its not healthy to just sit at home playing games or just watching tv, that goes without saying.
The fact that watching TV for extended periods of time, and nothing else, is unhealthy - doesn't mean the MMO genre is healthy. So, my point stands.

But compared to other genres, it's particularly unhealthy because it's designed to keep you playing for years - and most of them reward you based on how much time you spend playing them. That's the key difference.

Other games end, and TV shows end.

MMOs don't end.
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July 29th, 2009, 16:48
I guess Blizzard will need to update their EULA to counter psychiatrists from making business opportunities in WoW.
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July 29th, 2009, 17:03
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The fact that watching TV for extended periods of time, and nothing else, is unhealthy - doesn't mean the MMO genre is healthy. So, my point stands.

But compared to other genres, it's particularly unhealthy because it's designed to keep you playing for years - and most of them reward you based on how much time you spend playing them. That's the key difference.

Other games end, and TV shows end.

MMOs don't end.
Your point seems to be that everyone that is playing mmo's are addicted, that is not the case. It's the same with drugs, most people using illegal drugs arent addicts, but just as with addicitve games, its the addicts who ends up on the news so it might be easy to believe everyone ends up like that, while in reality its a tiny, tiny fraction.

I can just as easily say "gaming doesn't end", there's always a new game to play, a new tv-series to watch etc, your argument doesnt hold.
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July 29th, 2009, 17:06
Originally Posted by bemushroomed View Post
Your point seems to be that everyone that is playing mmo's are addicted, that is not the case. It's the same with drugs, most people using illegal drugs arent addicts, but just as with addicitve games, its the addicts who ends up on the news so it might be easy to believe everyone ends up like that, while in reality its a tiny, tiny fraction.

I can just as easily say "gaming doesn't end", there's always a new game to play, a new tv-series to watch etc, your argument doesnt hold.
No, that's not my point.

My point is that the genre is dangerous.

There might "always" be a new game - but it's not the same. You take a break naturally when something ends, and you take time to clear your heard. Typically, you have to wait a while before the next game grabs your attention and they're all done within a few dozen hours - normally. It's not a problem combining normal gaming with a normal social life, but MMOs can be a BIG problem if you're a certain type of gamer.

MMOs are designed to keep you hooked, and it has an unhealthy effect on those who're in danger of becoming addicted.

Drugs are the same way - they're dangerous.
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July 29th, 2009, 17:09
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
No, that's not my point.

My point is that the genre is dangerous.
Gaming as a whole is dangerous to a tiny fraction of the population, that is my point and its not really that interesting, there will always be addicts.
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July 29th, 2009, 17:18
Originally Posted by bemushroomed View Post
Gaming as a whole is dangerous to a tiny fraction of the population, that is my point and its not really that interesting, there will always be addicts.
Gaming as a whole is dangerous, but much less so due to how they work and how long they last, and that they do - in fact - end.

I'm not saying it's interesting that MMOs are counterproductive by design, it's just my opinion and nothing more.
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July 29th, 2009, 17:24
That they end isnt interesting, since there's always a new game. It's not like people stop playing once they finished a game, or that people stop watching TV when their favorite show ends.

That mmo's never end is a reason for many to stop playing them as well, one of the reasons i stopped, same with many of my friends.
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July 29th, 2009, 17:42
Originally Posted by bemushroomed View Post
That they end isnt interesting, since there's always a new game. It's not like people stop playing once they finished a game, or that people stop watching TV when their favorite show ends.

That mmo's never end is a reason for many to stop playing them as well, one of the reasons i stopped, same with many of my friends.
Some people don't stop in time, and one of the reasons is that they don't end.

We'll just have to disagree about this point of them not ending. People don't stop gaming and they don't stop watching TV, because those things end - I agree. But they take breaks, and they take the time to do other things. It's called variety and it's the spice of life. With MMO addicts, the argument is that they play instead of the other things - but the problem is that they don't just play - they play the same thing and don't really do anything else.

You won't find many people who do nothing except watch TV or play games all day long, and most people mix it up and one of the reasons is that those things have natural endings and goals. They're basically forced to spice it up - because there isn't always the perfect game, the perfect movie, or the perfect TV show ready, and sometimes they even have to go out the door to do something.

The social factor of MMOs isn't necessarily a postive either, because it carries along with it a feeling of obligation that - in my mind - has no place in a fantasy world you're paying to enjoy.
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