I’ve begun playing World of Warcraft again.
My return to the game has led me to wonder: do most people struggle with low-level addictions, or is there actually a type of addictive personality? I don’t just mean addictions to drugs or tobacco or alcohol, but addictions to little things: coffee, chocolate, ice cream, and computer games. How common are these small compulsions? Or are there simply People Like Me who are more susceptible to addictions than normal folk?
My life has been filled with addictions since boyhood. What are collections if not manifestations of addiction? My web-surfing? That’s a sort of a addiction. My collection of comics? That’s also an addiction. My library of books? That’s a rather large addiction!
Does it take a special personality to succumb to addiction, or does everyone suffer from these compulsions, if only to a small extent? I’m curious.
You may recall that I became addicted to World of Warcraft earlier this year, spending fully ten percent of my life playing it between last November 23rd and April 15th. At the height of my addiction, I spent twenty percent of my life in game: four or five hours every day.
As may be expected, I’m wary about playing again. Addiction may rear its ugly head once more. The World of Warcraft experience is so fun, so immersive, that even six months after having quit the game cold turkey, I found myself dreaming of its virtual environments. I longed to roam the savannah and the jungle and the mountains defeating gnolls and the like. So I’m giving it a chance.
I have been back in-game for ten days now, and have been pleased with my restraint. I have placed limits on myself. I have a kitchen timer by my side, and it serves as a constant reminder not to become swept up in the game. I stop playing after designated periods of time. I spend days between each play session. I don’t do “just one more thing” before logging off for the night.
I am exercising moderation.
My goal is to limit play to between seven and ten hours a week. This may seem like a lot, but an ancillary goal is to take time from other wasteful activities rather than from those things that are important. So long as I trade web-surfing time or comic-book-reading time for World of Warcraft-time, things are fine.
It’s been great fun to start a new character on a role-playing server, adventuring with both Joel and Scott, as their time allows. I do not regret this decision.
(And stay tuned for the debut of Amy Jo’s weblog…)