WoW wants you to stay addicted
I started playing WoW around Christmas 2007, and didn't stop until April 2009 or so (right about after Ulduar came out). Essentially, my second half of my freshman year and all of my sophomore year of college. My grades tanked--I was an engineering major and apparently the stuff you learn in sophomore year are important to the other years. My grades only began to recover the second semester of my senior year when I had finally caught up.
In order to quit I first weened myself off by playing ES IV (Oblivion). It was so liberating to be able to pause the game and quit whenever you felt like it. I met my girlfriend September 2009, and she showed me the futility of games generally. There's no point in sitting and staring at a box all day. Even if you do well in the game, what does that matter?
I remember my ex one time complaining that he couldn't put guild-leader on his resume. I think that's when I realized I had to quit. That on top of the fact that WoW isn't a fun game. It's a grind, and it's exhausting.
I sold my account, and it ended up getting completely banned. It didn't matter. I felt so free and clean.
And then, Blizz allowed WoW to be free to play under level 20. I immediately took advantage of these trials, and the next thing I knew, I had purchased up through WOTLK (it was only $10 each...Cata was out at that point, and you got free months of play).
Yet I started grad school so I let my "free" game time run out. I was great, I was clean. And then I logged in the other day at had a Cata 10-day trial. I don't want to play again. Yet somehow I am now looking at a level 71 char that used to be 60 a few days ago. I even purchased the $10 copy of Cata because of the discount.
My free trial runs out in a half an hour, and I already want to go back. WoW wants you to stay addicted--that's why it's always free to play. Even a few bgs that go horribly, and I want more. I know that if I play, if I hit the level cap, if I begin raiding...I know that this won't make me happy. I know that any victory is fleeting and at the end of the day, my head is dizzy from playing. Yet I have this impulse to keep going.
I never thought of it as an addiction before--I always thought because it wasn't an altering substance that didn't really make sense. But I realize something. I'm hiding my playing from my girlfriend now. And that seems like a dark and scary road. Some people solve this problem by playing with their significant other. But that seems even further removed from reality than needed.
I feel like I need help, and I'm glad I found this site. I hope people can understand that Blizzard just wants your money and wants to find ways to manipulate you into playing again. I feel like a fool for having purchased the $10 Cata. Even with the newest expansion I really don't have a desire to play. This game is terrible and getting worse.
I think I'm going to turn to books to save me this time, not Oblivion. But what bothers me is even getting rid of your major account isn't enough. The impulse never goes away, and I don't understand how this happened to me again.