World of Warcraft is not addictive. Those who say otherwise have either not tried the game, or have themselves gotten addicted due to a personality that is predisposed to addiction. Had it never been created, these players would have no doubt gotten hooked on a different game instead. I personally have played World of Warcraft on and off for about four years now, and I still find time for college, a part-time job, real-life friends, and other games – I simply take a break from the game when real life gives me too many responsibilities. Yet people like me, who lead perfectly successful lives while playing the most popular MMO released to date, are ignored by those who wish to criminalize WoW and perpetuate the negative stigma behind it. Despite what some people might say, the game has no special property that makes it more addictive than any other game.
The key is to not let the game take precedence over other activities. There is an unfortunate minority of WoW players who miss out on real-life activities like class and work to play, but for most of us this is not the norm. I can’t speak for all, but I personally only log on when I find myself with some free time to kill; just like I do with any other game. So why do those of us who balance World of Warcraft and real life get brushed aside? Because people like to use the game as a scapegoat. It is much easier to blame a game for the problems of a loved one than to admit that he or she is simply lazy or has a larger underlying problem to deal with.
It is true that Blizzard uses several incentives to encourage players to continue renewing their subscription, such as the regular releases of expansions, the refer-a-friend program, and the ease of automatic renewal using a credit card. But this doesn’t make them an evil corporation bent on getting everyone hooked on “Warcrack,” as the game has been dubbed by many who oppose it. Instead, like any company, Blizzard seeks to generate revenue using effective marketing techniques.
There will, of course, always be those who disagree, whether it be with my views specifically or with World of Warcraft or with Blizzard as a company. But I thought it was about time someone who wasn’t paid by Blizzard stood up and defended WoW – MMO players just need to step up and take personal responsibility for their lives rather than blaming a leisure activity for their shortcomings.