Are Online Games Destroying Our Marriages/Relationships?
I debated awhile about publishing this hub, but I feel it is necessary. The divorce rate in this country alone is out of control! The ease in which anyone can dissolve a marriage is shocking. Divorce is just one of the problems, separation and infidelity are also added to the mix. There are many causes for a relationship to end, but I am going to address just this one....online gaming. The reason I address this one specifically is that I was 'hooked' or addicted to these kinds of games in the past.
Most of these games attract young people, but that is not always the case. The complexity of today's games are attracting people of all ages. While it is true these games are fun to play, they are also extremely addictive and once involved, it is not easy to stop. The sheer number of these online games is overwhelming. Games like World of Warcraft, Ultima Online, and one of the most popular, Everquest. These are fantasy role playing games where you create a character, like a warrior, healer, magician, etc. and as you explore the world you are in, you gain powers and items that make you stronger, thus being capable of going after stronger foes.
One of the lures of these game is that you play with other people when you go online. All you do is look for a group that needs your character's unique abilities and skills, and off you go. The social interaction is appealing and even real friendships can develop from playing. I am not going into the bad things these games can cause to a player personally, like withdrawing from the real world, being obsessed with the game, playing the game and not doing other things you used to enjoy, spending hours and even DAYS playing without stopping, getting little sleep, and even losing your job!
These problems are real and studies have proven just how harmful these games can be. Since I played Everquest off and on for a substantial amount of time, I am going to focus on this game.
Everquest (EQ) is one of the longest running RPG (Role Playing Games) ever. In April 2011, EQ celebrated its 12th anniversary...that's right, it has been online for over 12 years! Starting out in 1999, by a company called Verant, it has grown to a community of unknown numbers worldwide! The game itself has really grown in size also...beginning with just a few continents and growing to monstrous proportions...other dimension and plains, going back in time, etc. Verant eventually sold the game to Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) which has controlled it ever since. EQ has had 16 expansions, I believe, increasing the size of the cyberspace world, attracting more and more players. The entertainment is relatively cheap. One account, with up to 8 characters ( or more you can buy from the online marketplace), you can create, only costs about $15 a month. Some people I personally know have had 10 or more accounts! So, each month they are spending over $100 a month to play! This is how powerful this game's attraction is. The original EQ became so popular, that (SOE) came out with a sequel: Everquest II several years ago.
Even though this game is very well done, it has caused many disasters in peoples' lives. Most of the people who play this game are male, but there are a good number of female players too. But, the ratio of male to female is enormous...men outnumbering women by a huge margin.
Mother's Child Dies while playing Everquest
- Mom leaves kid to die while playing EQ... :: Ultimate MMORPG Gaming Community & Trading Zone
Tue, Aug 19, 2003 'Addiction' to computer fantasy game may have led to child's death By Kirby Sanders The Morning News/NWAonline.net email@example.com S
The Destruction of Relationships is Real
These computer games have been ruining relationship for many years. Marriages have been ruined since one spouse is almost exclusively focusing on the game, and ignoring or withdrawing from their families. Some are so 'captured' by the game, that their health is suffering. Some even wear adult diapers so they don't have to leave the game for a few minutes to go to the bathroom. Eating habits are affected, some not eating or eating too much! It is a real problem and getting worse as more companies see the 'cash cow' these game are creating.
There is a website created by the wives of EQ players that has been online for years. I personally have not been to this site, but have heard it discussed online in the game when I was playing! It began as Wives Against EQ, but believe the name was changed to Everquest Widows. Many of these women are on the verge of divorce or already are divorced or separated. Entire families are being destroyed by these games. Online games are as addictive and as serious as gambling, drinking, drugs, etc.
Everquest Addiction! A Serious Problem!
- EverQuest-Widows : EverQuest Widows (tm)
A site for wives that absolutely hate EQ because their husbands are addicted and they are neglecting their families!
- Christina Cordell: \'A Survivor of Everquest Addiction\' | Workbench
On Aug. 8, 2003, three-year-old Brianna Cordell became trapped in her family's car and died from heat-related injuries.
My Experiences with Everquest
Since I have played Everquest, it would be appropriate to relate my experiences with the game. I joined the Everquest community just after it was released in 1999. I have always liked the fantasy genre, played Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) when in college, and truly liked reading books like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Sword of Shannara and countless others. Seeing movies like Conan, the Barbarian, Merlin, etc., also were to my liking. Back when AD&D began, in the mid 1970s, there weren't computer games like EQ...nothing even close! That AD&D game really opened the door to what was to follow when the computer technology took off. Companies jumped at the chance to cash in on the multitudes of people that liked the fantasy genre.
When I began playing EQ, I got sucked in like almost everyone else. I was not married, so this was a way to have fun and not spend a ton of money. But, as time went on, I got drawn into the game more and more. When the expansions came out, I bought them as soon as I could.
I did enjoy the game, I don't deny that, and still play occasionally. There was so much to do, not just going out and clobbering monsters, collecting treasure and progressing my character. This game's developers incorporated trade skills, like blacksmithing, tailoring, alchemy, and baking. Characters could learn these trades and actually make armor, food, magical items that they or others could use! The entire game was very complex and the learning curve was pretty long. It even had a monetary system that was complex and useful.
I enjoyed the social aspects and think this is the one HUGE draw to the game. Meeting real folks online and joining them in adventures, quests, and just causing havoc in the world was so much fun. It eased the loneliness and know many of the people that play are single. Every year there is a convention held, called Fan Faire...believe it is in Las Vegas. As the game matured, the game attracted everyone, not just single males. Even husband/wife/kids teams began to appear and the trouble really began. Whole families were spending a lot to play...getting extra computer systems, more accounts, etc.
I am fortunate that when I was playing this game, I didn't ruin any relationship or marriage. But I easily could have! I played this game very much, but thankfully I learned how harmful this game could be and took steps to protect myself. I admit that I sitll play this game as I stated earlier...I have invested a lot of time, literally years developing my characters, and still like to take my high level 'toon' and test them against stronger and stronger foes. I am not addicted to EQ, but I was at one time. It wasn't easy, but I was disciplined enough to realize what was happening and began to spend less and less time playing. It can be done, but the more addicted you are, as with any other addiction, the harder and longer it will take.
I am not knocking the online game industry. It does provide a lot of enjoyment for people and is good for the economy. I like to play computer games, both online and offline. But, people have to be extremely careful and not let EQ or any other computer game take control of their lives. Teens and young people seem to be more vulnerable to these games, but it can get anyone.