It really boils down to vicariously living and escapism. I have seen many persons who can casually enjoy MMORPGs as a lighthearted source of
entertainment. I've seen families and businesses meet up inside MMORPGs to bond and it seemed like they really had fun doing so.
However, like all things in life, the key is moderation. I have also talked to the so-called "hardcore mmo gamer" who games inside a mmo environment
for upwards of 40+ hours a week. In my relating with them, I noticed that to them; the reality crafted by the MMO game designers was one that was much
more acceptable than the reality they had normally dealt with out here in the real world.
That's the fatal flaw in their logic though, that reality in there has been created for them. In fact it has been hand crafted to immerse and entice,
bring mild chills and thrills while making the person feel strong(level system), wealthy(simple economy), popular(NPCs greet them kindly) etc...
Yes inside the MMO, all the world truly is a stage. And it would seem that some forget about our reality or long to get away from it so much that they
make a active decision to focus more on the fake reality of the MMO, than they do on their own, true life.
What an ego stroking it must be, for the normally shy and meek person, to enter a land where everyone knows your name, and you are respected and in a
minor position of honor. For the person who can take all of it as a lighthearted entertainment experience, no harm done. But for the person so drawn
in that they begin to identify more with their vicarious avatar(screen character) than they can with their true self.... the MMO becomes a horrible
Do some reading up on the main offenders. "EverCrack"(everquest) for example, has been in various media stories due to its seemingly high level of
addiction. I personally think that it is no more addictive than any other, it was just more visible. Now, years later we have WoW(world of warcraft)
which has a higher subscriber base than most anything else in the subscription entertainment world. I'm sure there are tragedies and horror stores to
be found surrounding it as well.
I personally played Dark Ages of Camelot, another MMO for several years. I did so casually and with friends and family(cheaper than long distance
rates in a way). I never really got into it heavily. It was just a fun "chat engine" for me. But I met many a sad soul in there. Great people,
afraid to return to reality for whatever reason.
That's not to say all things are bad with MMORPGs, like everything there is good and bad found inside of it. I have heard and seen of persons meeting
up with and making good friends in both the game and in reality due to time spent in the MMO. I also have heard of various persons finding "love"
inside the MMO gamespace and fostering that love into a real relationship in the real world.
Of course the happier and more positive side to MMOs will be less noticeable than the vulgar, antisocial, divorce creating, drug addiction like
properties. Why? Simple. Because we all love t read about the sob story, hard luck case, poor them, how sad, how tragic, glad it wasn't me etc.....
So that's what the media gives us.
I'm sorry you've been affected by the negative side of MMOs. I'd offer that you could try to have an "intervention" with your friend, or at least
try to suggest counseling to him.
Or better yet, buy the game he's playing and go in there and meet him. Talk with him and show him that you can exist in the gamespace, and still come
out and exist in reality. Setup times with him in game where you'll say "ok that's enough of this for me bro, I'm headed over so we can hang
out." or "Man this was fun, you know what'd be even better? let's go grab a few beers." etc etc whatever it is you do.
I hope you can help him, but that's really not up to me or you, it's up to him.