Gaming 101

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May 042006
 
Authors: ELENA ULYANOVA The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Jeremy Glass will fail at least one class this semester because he plays World of Warcraft like it is a full-time job.

Glass, a freshman pre-med major, began playing World of Warcraft when Blizzard Entertainment Company released the game about a year and a half ago, and spends an average of eight hours each day playing it. He has also logged a total of about 1,000 hours on the game and has spent approximately $350 dollars.

“I would call it unhealthy,” Glass said. “I wish I weren’t addicted, but at least I can openly admit it.”

He said he is more motivated to play the game because there is always a goal and something to look forward to, which he does not find evident in school.

The most addicting property of this game, Glass said, is that there is always the opportunity to get to a better part. Players can also network with friends from anywhere in the world and work through the game together.

“I’ve gotten sick of it before and stopped for like three days, but then I started getting the itch,” Glass said.

J.P. Proskey, a freshman open option major, played the game for five days before he decided to quit. He played an average of six hours a day.

“I played for a week and I don’t recall eating. I also slept half as much as usual,” Proskey said. “I like to live, breathe and eat, so I don’t play that game anymore.”

Proskey agreed that the game is so enticing because of the “just one more level” mentality.

Pam McCracken, director of alcohol prevention and education services at the Hartshorn Health Service, said part of addiction is the repetitive and compulsive use of something. She also said this is potentially occurring when people are addicted to video games, and is often prevalent when one continues to do something even though negative repercussions, like neglecting responsibilities and relationships, result.

“Eight hours in front of a video game is probably not the most constructive,” McCracken said.

Another phenomenon taking place in this virtual world involves a group known as “farmers.” This group of people only plays the game to earn gold coins, which count as money in the game. They then illegally sell their account off to people who don’t feel like working their way though the game.

“They don’t talk about it because it’s illegal in Blizzard’s standards, and you could lose everything you have inside the game,” Glass said.

People have sold their accounts for amounts as high as $700, Glass said. He also said that if he were to sell his account at this time, he would earn about $500 to $600.

Betsy Lefholz, a freshman political science major, recalled a time when she saw two people make a deal for World of Warcraft gold coins.

“One of them turned to other and said, I will trade you an eighth of pot, which is $50 worth, for a certain amount of gold coins,” Lefholz said. “They did argue over the amount of coins for a little bit, but the deal went down.”

The World of Warcraft is classified as a massive multi-player role-playing game (MMRPG). There are more than 100 servers people can play on and about 500 people on each server. Glass said that since you pay for the game monthly, Blizzard consistently makes an effort to make the game better and even customizes it for holidays.

“There are just so many things to do, it’s a virtual world; it’s pretty entertaining,” Proskey said.

Elena Ulyanova can be reached at campus@collegian.com

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