Online Game is Hazardous to My Life
I like playing games. I am not a diehard gamer but I have played since Tele-match era, Atari, 8-bit Nintendo, Super NES, Genesis, The Playstations all generations, X-Box, Wii. Mostly play against the computer, or close friends. But I have never been into online games or multiplayer games until this couple of weeks which brings me into some sort of life threatening situations, at least according to me.
Due to understand better why so many people are into the online games I decided to do a little experiment by trying to get the first hand experience. Based on the recommendations from my colleagues which happens to be online-gamers, I choose one populer title of the genre Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), lets just called it with the initial ‘TR’. In TR, like any other MMORPG, it interacts you with million of player in the virtual world. It has huge player base approx. 3 million in which play in 250 servers worlwide. The game itself is basically building the village, its population and its army and of course involving attacking or being attacked. But I will discuss less about the gameplay and more about its effect to my real life.
In TR, in order to achieve proper development rate in your character you must regularly logged in to the game and stay online for certain period. The more you stay online, it can be assumed that your character in the game will develop more quickly. This is the rule of thumb. Some might say that your strategy or how much you willing to spend your money will also contribute to the pace of development in the game, but in general a it is the time you spend in front of the computer that will deliver the result. In a sense, this is not detrimental yet to your real life since maybe you could just check it once or twice a day in your spare time. But this is not the case.
Sorry to say to you, the casual player, there are hardcore players in the world who manage to spend like 12-18 hours a day just playing the game and stay online. So in order to compete with them you need to spend at least the same amount of time, especially if you start later in the game. Otherwise they will destroy and beat your character right away. In TR, your village will simply be gone in a click of a second the moment you do not take care of it or at the very least it will not grow to become competitive. How the hardcore gamers manage to find the time? I do not know and I will not assume. But I tried to compete with them, for the past couple of weeks I seldom sleep, or if I sleep I wake up every half an hour to check my game development, I sleep on the couch. In the end of the day, the result is I am late going to work, I do not read books anymore, I do not write, I do not watch movie, I do not ride my bicycle, I do not spend enough time playing with my daughter and talking to my wife. The game consuming your time will result in the game consuming your life.
Beside taking you of your time it also taking you of yourself. More than one time I got angry messages from player whose angry because I attacked them and because there is an In-Game Message (IGM) facility, anyone can yelled at anyone with any tone and harsh language. You become untouchable. It takes you of your real character. A real-life coward can bully the real-life big kids at anytime at their wishes without afraid of the consequences except being banned by the administrator.
The last concern of mine is that I become so serious so that I become stressed out because of the game. I am afraid that I am being attacked. I am worried that my neighbor in the game develop more quickly than me. I am afraid that all my troops will be wiped out in a war. Though it is a free game, but my time spending in the game can not be considered free. Time is always been a luxury. It is always has an opportunity cost. So, playing the game is not fun anymore for more, it is not relaxing. It is challenging, but not in a good way. Improving my character in the game is not directly positively correlated with improving my character in the real world.
To conclude, considering the effects as the above, and understanding that my real life is still more important than my virtuals, I decided to stop actively playing the online game. Once again, this is not to judged anything that might happened to other people. It is just what I have experienced and what the occurences have affected me. And, I have to say that online game is hazardous to my life.
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- March 4, 2009 / 10:57 pm