Friday, July 18, 2008

My addiction to World of Warcraft.

I have spent far to many hours of my life playing this wonderful temptation. I refuse to post how many actual game days I have spent since I started playing 10 months ago, but I freely admit that number is high.

What is it that attracts me so much to this game?

It is such a detailed and immersive world. Even though I've seen a lot of it several times, I just cannot get enough of it. There is always more to do. I have leveled two characters to 70. It takes a good 6-7 days of play to get to 70 (note this is game days: in other words, 7x24 hours of play). This part is fun enough, and because of the size of the world, I ran a lot of new quests the second time around. Once you hit 70, you may think the game is over, (at least until the expansion comes out next year). However, this is far from true. First, you need to start getting better gear in order to run the heroic dungeons. This takes a decent amount of time. You'll also be finishing up quests to get more money, and start running dailies (which you will probably run for a very long time just to get money). On top of this, you'll have to grind rep for a number of factions, in order to get better gear. After having run them a number of times, you should be close enough to start the raiding content. This is where the game is taken to a whole new level. Now, you get together 10 buddies, (and later on 25) and tackle the most difficult dungeons. There are half a dozen "end-game" raids that progress in difficulty. The latter 2/3 require a good month or so each for a group to get good enough in order to actually complete. You also have to progress through these in a specific order, because each new raid is increasingly difficult, and requires better gear.

So.. needless to say, there is a lot that I find attractive. If I ever hit a place where I never had a new goal to achieve, I would probably drop the game. But that likely will never happen.

I feel rather guilty, because the reality is there are plenty of other things I can do with my time that would be far more productive. I heard a girl once lament that so many future Christian leaders were wasting away their lives at games like World of Warcraft, and this certainly is not far off from the truth.

But, for what it is worth, here is how I justify it. The reality is, we already live in a culture that is addicted to entertainment. I know from experience that the time I play WoW is time that I would have spent watching TV, or bumming around on the net. I really wish that we could have counters on our TV's that said how many hours they have been on, and I think we would be severely humbled by those numbers. I've heard numbers as high as 4-5 hours a day for most young adults.

Although this is far from substantial, I have learned from this game. I think some of my teamwork skills, leadership skills, and communication skills have increased. Again, I freely admit the weakness of this excuse.

So is there a solution? I have thought many times about giving up the game. After all, that would be a number of hours each week that would then be free for more productive tasks like study, music, and devotions. For me, this is unrealistic. I know that if I had that time free, I would just find other avenus of entertainment to fill it. Perhaps this is a weak excuse also, but I do like that WoW keeps track of my time played. I can (and do) pay close attention to this. I haven't worked out a healthy balance, but my goal is that as long as I am:

- Regularly spending times in devotions

- Giving Marcy her fair share of my time

- Spending time studying / preparing for ministry responsibilities

- Am working at a decent job (or working towards)

... as long as these are in place at healthy levels, then maybe WoW isn't such a bad thing. Its just an admission that instead of TV and other pointless entertainment, that WoW fills those spots and keeps track of the time played so hopefully I can maintain balance.

I wish I was the type of person that could schedule all of my 24 hours each day towards specifically productive tasks, but I know this is not possible. Hopefully as I mature I can grow closer to this, but I know from experience that if I do not have a few hours of entertainment each day, I quickly get depressed.

Things like WoW are very dangerous, because it is very easy to spend 10 hours a day. But if you can keep it in a health balance with your other responsibilities, and still feel satisfied with your level of productivity, I do think it is possible to be a WoW addict and still live a healthy life.

Of course.... this could just be denial :)

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