6 Reasons I had to Quit World of Warcraft
Those who know me well know how much I love a good RPG so it makes sense that I have wasted years on a little title you may have heard of...World of Warcraft. I played WoW off and on from when I was 18 to 23, and I really don’t want to check and see how many hours I have accumulated on my account. I’ve racked up some substantial time playing Stardew Valley which was a quick passing ship in the night compared to my year's long love affair with WoW. It was hard to break myself away from the obsession I had for the game and never could really get it out of my mind until I finally was done with it for good, but it took time and mistakes to get to the point of realizing it was time to quit. I had begun to recognize I had some extremely bad habits that were not only affecting me physically but also mentally. It took a list of being utterly sick of these patterns that finally made me kick the habit and go WoWless, cold turkey.
It was a time suck vortex
Once I entered Ner’Zhul, I was gone. I had officially checked out of reality and good luck getting me back. I would try to limit myself and play on a healthy level but it takes a healthy individual to do so, and that was not me. I would tell myself “ok, you can play until 10” but once it would be time for bed and I would give myself an hour extension. And then another. And then another until finally it was as late as three in the morning and I needed to be up at seven for work. I couldn’t resist, and I couldn’t pull myself away from it and honestly, it still feels like the time I played was just a few minutes but my sleeping pattern back then would beg to differ. Time is a true commodity because once the moment is gone, its gone forever. I honestly can’t tell you if all the time I spent playing WoW was worth it. I do think some of it was, but not all of it and that means it was just time wasted.
It was all I could think about
When I was in the game, I was focused on my missions and dungeons, and it didn’t really differ from when I was in the real world. I spent time looking through the armory and researching new gear and ideas to get further along in the game. I made plans with friends to play at a specific time and watched the clock, so I could get home and play. I always looked forward to the first hour I would get to play WoW because it meant the first of many for that particular stretch and at the same time, I wanted time to stand still so the clock would never run out. I had a junkie mind for the game, and I looked for others to play with from my daily, real life. I always held my breath waiting for someone to open up about their faction and took mental notes of who to avoid if they opposed me (I am a PVP girl through and through afterall). It was an unhealthy mindset because I couldn’t detach and even scarier, didn’t want to. I was content centering my thoughts, schedule, and life around a game that I played for several hours at a time. It was my sun, my moon, my heaven and my hell and I was so wrapped up in the fleeting moments of playtime that I compensated by an obsessive yearning to play in my off time.
I pulled away from my real life relationships
Once upon a WoW time, I was busy playing, and my then boyfriend surprised me at my apartment with flowers. When he knocked on the door, I knew it was him with probably a sweet gesture (which it was - he had brought me flowers). I did what any loving, devoted girlfriend did. I pretended I wasn’t home, so I didn’t have to stop playing. Did you think I meant I was a loving and devoted girlfriend to him? No, no. I meant to World of Warcraft. Granted, that relationship was on the decline but the fact that I went out of my way later to lie and say I didn’t even hear the door knock showed that I had a problem. The fact that he waited for me outside for me to come home is a problem of his own, and maybe the game saved me from being murdered that night. I guess I’ll never know.
It was affecting school and work
Just life in general. In a sense, I stopped caring about it or wanting to do it. WHY would I want to work for money when I could go and play for in-game gold?? Don’t you see the logic? Yea, neither do I, but hindsight is twenty-twenty. Here is a little life tip I’ve taken away from WoW - if something is distracting you from bettering yourself and your life and pushing you further along, it’s probably not worth it. And WoW will never be worth it. I just have to look at the time I lost and wasted (not just playing but cramming and stressing over my responsibilities) as opportunities to learn from and do better.
I stopped taking care of myself
I was still pretty physically active, but I wasn’t really taking care of myself. I didn’t want to “waste” time making dinner so I would get a hamburger for dinner on the way home from work (pro tip - making yourself a healthy dinner is NEVER a waste of time). I didn’t want to indulge in my long bubble baths anymore, so my showers became a race to get as clean as fast as possible. I hate doing laundry. That one really isn’t WoW related I just really hate doing laundry (least favorite chore). There are certain things everyone should do for themselves so that they are just taking care of themselves and during my WoW days I was shirking a lot of those things. The only person I was hurting was myself, but I should be the most important thing to myself, not a game. It took some time to realize that but now I think I am pretty damn good at keeping myself happy and alive.
I was using it to ignore an even deeper problem that needed addressing
Most of the time I spent playing WoW I viewed as an escape, not just from reality but myself. During the time I played WoW I was deeply struggling with depression and feeling very lost in my life. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and I was living in a city I hated and was in a very toxic relationship I couldn’t figure out how to get away from. I thought I was stuck. So I left by visiting Orgrimmar (yes I just revealed my dirty blood elf self...COME AT ME BRO). It was a crutch, or rather, a pretend band-aid for a severely, deep wound I was trying to fix by pretending it wasn't there, so I fixated on any form of happiness I could find. Once I found that happiness, I over indulged and turned it into an unhealthy habit. It wasn’t until I got out of the game for good I was able to see I had to face some issues and enter some real-world dungeons so to speak (i.e. therapy). I did, and I have to say I have been so much happier without that virtual crutch. It took time, effort and work but I do believe I am better off without it.
I am happy to report that since facing these WoW associated issues I haven’t even missed playing. And as much as it was terrible for me, I think a lot of good came from my years playing the game. When I first found out that Grant, the man I adore with all my heart, also played games it wasn’t so surprising being that we both are relatively geeky. What made it great was the ability to know how to speak to one another so quickly based on our similar gaming styles, and it did help that we thought it was romantic that we always played on the same server. Sometimes we still wonder if we ever crossed paths in game and its fun to have our inside jokes about it. I also realized my constant love for gaming and animation with it which is partly why I decided to go down an artist path, and I will always be thankful for the game because it did get me through a genuinely hard time in my life. Probably, most importantly, playing WoW helped me realize who I am, a geeky woman with a love for a majority of different fandoms and there is no reason to hide that or be ashamed of it because I know there are millions of others out there.
If you are reading this and feel like you are stuck in a loop playing World of Warcraft and you want to get out, you can always email me, believe me I know what you're going through.