Are MMOs automatically a neurosis? A question not easily answered.
There was an article recently in techland.time.com “The Inexorable Decline of World of Warcraft” By Matt Peckham May 09, 2013. It mentions that playing the game has tapered off lately. Why were people playing in the first place?
“Blizzard’s turning heads that probably shouldn’t be turning today off news that World of Warcraft – the most successful online roleplaying game in history — lost 14% of its subscriber base over the past three months. Make that 1.3 million players.” Where did all these people come from?
I was taking a psychology introduction course at Austin Community College a couple of years ago. I think I was grasping the material well, I made a B in the class. Yet the book we had to read seriously had some odd ideas in it. There was a chapter that called World of Warcraft, and all MMOs a neurosis. It literally said that “the game causes a neurosis” point blank.
Many players have been known to not show up for jobs, not show up for school, and in general become obsessive about playing. Even if they were “A” students or successful teachers before hand the game can become compulsive. Yet some players do a couple of game levels and walk away laughing, never to care again. Isn’t it sort of up to the person what they are going to do with a tool? Doesn’t there have to be something else going on with the individual to launch that tool into odd use? MMOs are part of a vast online world that has really only existed since the 90s, and has teachers and parents spooked. Yet can you really say that the dangers that exist online don’t have equals that have always existed in real life? Some people can play a hand of cards, and laugh. Others die at the hands of loan sharks in the depths of Las Vegas, all for some little cards with numbers in the corner.
An online world has even more seduction, your character always moves forward, and never moves back. Your character is born perfectly healthy and equal to all other characters. It is able to run fast and jump high every day, which is not a guarantee for humans in real life. It’s hair and makeup always look perfect, even after hours of battling slime monsters. Every quest giver thanks you for completing their wonderful job. You have many employments, and they are all respected. If your character loses all its money, weapons and armor, you can always call customer support and have it all replaced. Real life will never have so many positive affirmations as a video game. The MMO games show in sharp contrast a modern life where people are feeling less and less rewarded or accomplished for any effort or dream. They show off by contrast a sucking emotional void that needed filling. Can we really blame people for responding?