I always get a kick out of finding references to Warcraft in non-gaming venues. This morning I woke up to find on my feedreader that a certain university’s advice column decided to tackle the issue of World of Warcraft addiction.
From the Oct. 2, 2008 column, the question was:
Dear Uncle Ezra,
I am very concerned for my room mate. He has developed an addiction to World of Warcraft (Wow), it is a massively multiplayer online video game that involves adventuring with a character who uses magic or defeats his enemies with more conventional weapons like swords and axes.
He spends at least 8 hours everyday playing this game. On weekdays, he comes back from class in late afternoon and immedietly starts the game and plays until 2am. On weekends he plays all day, from waking up until going to bed. He also likes to smoke occasional marijuana and spends alot of time playing Wow stoned.
He has stopped speaking with his friends and makes exuses when his friends ask him out whether it is to dinner or a party. His life is absorbed by Wow.
What do I do?
Uncle Ezra’s answer:
Dear Roommate who is neither Horde nor Alliance,
Video games can become very addicting, in fact they are designed to be addicting. Many a student has flunked out of college by getting caught in the trap of “gaming.”
From your description it is hard to tell whether your roommate is indeed in trouble. If he is keeping up with his studies and choosing to play during all of his free time (although this is not the life choice we would make) he may be making a conscious choice that works for him.
If he is getting sucked in to the point of isolating himself from others and neglecting his academic responsibilities he may need help to disengage. Signs of trouble include neglecting to go to class, not doing work, missing an exam, becoming disheveled, not sleeping much, not eating much or relying primarily on junk food.
Please continue to ask him to do things other than gaming and if the opportunity arises, mention your concern.
Since you are concerned, please mention what you notice to your RA and RHD. They will check to see if your roommate does indeed need help. It is early in the semester and it is better to act now, since the longer you wait the more difficult it might be for your roommate to recover.
And remember to beware of the dragon of Blackrock Spire!
It seems Uncle Ezra himself is a fan of WoW. I wonder if the Residential Programs staff (the RAs and RHDs) receive video game addiction intervention training?
Why is the column called “Dear Uncle Ezra”? Ezra Cornell is the name of the founder of Cornell University. The column’s premise is that the university’s founder lives on, answering questions on the internet (despite his actual death in 1874). If only we could all be that lucky! (Questions are actually answered by a team of anonymous, though quite knowledgeable, university staff, faculty, and alumni.)