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MMO Addiction and How to Break It

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All video games can be addictive, but massively multiplayer online (MMO) games are usually at the top of the scale.

At Game Quitters, we understand MMO addiction because we have experienced it firsthand and it is our mission to help and support others.

This article discusses the addictive nature of MMOs compared to other video games, common signs of MMO addiction, and how to protect yourself from addiction to this type of game.

What are MMO games?

MMO stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Game. These often come with games that include role-playing, and may extend to MMORPGs. Popular MMO games include World of Warcraft, Black Desert Online, Guild Wars 2, RuneScape, EverQuest, Final Fantasy 14, Rift and Ultima Online.

MMOs offer a world of endless possibilities. You can be anything you want to be, you can have a loyal group of friends, you can travel wherever you want, you can win, you can succeed, you can overcome challenges, and you will always feel like you are doing it. the right thing.

Sounds too good, doesn’t it? Well, that’s what it is. Many people struggle to play MMOs casually. Because if you want to achieve something worthwhile in the game, you have to put more time and energy into it, which can become addicting. There are other reasons why MMOs are such an addictive video game genre.

Why are MMO games so addictive?

It’s possible to get addicted to almost any video game, but when it comes to single-player, story-driven games, it’s common to play a few times before moving on to the next one. However, this does not happen in MMOs. That’s because there are several factors that make MMO games so addicting.

illusion of improvement

MMOs have the ability to convince you that you are improving in a meaningful way. It takes advantage of our human propensity to perform tasks, complete them, and improve our skills. When you become attached to your character and feel in control, you begin to feel like you are that character. Completing in-game challenges and missions creates the illusion of growth and improvement as you become more skilled.

sunk cost fallacy

When you start playing World of Warcraft, RuneScape, or any other MMO, you start the game with almost nothing. Building your character and getting some items will take time and effort.

Playing an MMO for a few hours is like a drop in the ocean, but if you’ve played a single player game for a few hours, you’ve already experienced 25% of the game. This forces you to play MMOs longer and makes it much harder to stop playing because you’ve already spent so much time in the game.

This is known as the sunk cost fallacy. That is, when you think you’ve put in so much time, effort, and money that you should keep doing something, even if it’s making your life worse. The sunk cost fallacy is a big part of what makes MMOs so addictive.


Humans are social creatures, and game companies create MMOs to satisfy and exploit our social needs. Most MMOs are guilds, where groups of players team up to challenge his MMO world together.

Joining or creating a guild unlocks a new aspect of the game: responsibilities. You can’t turn off your computer or game console whenever you want. You have to schedule time to play with your teammates and are responsible for not leaving the game in the middle of a battle or raid. This will give you even more commitment to the game. The amount of time spent playing games means that for some people his MMO is the only place to socialize.

If the more you play MMO games, the more you want (or need) to play MMO games, and you realize MMOs are having a negative impact on your life, it’s an addiction. There is a possibility.

What are the signs of MMO addiction?

Mothers learning how to spot the signs of gaming addiction

A recurring question on our community forums and parent support groups is: What are the symptoms of video game addiction? If you’re worried that you or a loved one is playing a problematic game, here are some common symptoms of MMO addiction.

  • Always thinking about past MMO games or anticipating the next session
  • I get restless and irritable when I can’t play
  • Need to play more often to get the same excitement
  • Trying to spend less time on MMO games, but it doesn’t work
  • Neglecting other hobbies or interests that were previously enjoyed
  • Continue playing despite adverse effects
  • Hide your gaming time from friends and family
  • Use MMO games to escape negative moods and situations
  • It puts school, work, and relationships at risk.

So what is MMO addiction? If he has experienced 5 or more of the above symptoms in the last 12 months, he may be at risk.

Still not sure if you’re into MMOs? Take our video game addiction quiz to find out if you or a loved one has a gaming problem.

My MMO Addiction – Cam’s Story

I have experienced MMO addiction firsthand. Playing World of Warcraft was the best and worst time of my life. I loved escaping into new worlds, building my character, and playing with my friends. But I got hooked on the game too, and eventually quit when life reached its breaking point to the point of writing a suicide note.

If you’re having trouble controlling your MMO game, read on to find out how to start living your own life instead of a virtual one.

How to break your MMO addiction

So how can you overcome MMO addiction? There are steps you can take to turn things around. Here are four tips to help you regain control of your game.

1. do a game detox

Playing video games releases dopamine from the brain, and this repetitive act can have similar effects on the brain as gambling, drugs, and alcohol. The more you play his favorite MMO game, the more dopamine you need to feel the same thrill.

Our videos explore the effects of gaming on the brain and include helpful advice on a 30-90 day detox to help reset your brain to normal baseline dopamine levels. Taking a full break can help you moderate your playing or quit the game forever.

2. find an alternative hobby

Find new alternatives to games while you detox. Learn a language, start a podcast, write a short story, take pictures, or even try a new sport.

Our hobby tools are filled with ideas to inspire you to put down your gaming console and focus on something new. It’s also a great way to make new friends and meet face-to-face. No need to start a new hobby. Maybe you got hooked on the game and dropped it, and you want to get hooked again.

3. schedule your day

MMO games are often played impulsively. Getting your day in order can help minimize the urge to play when you have nothing else to do. Having free time isn’t a reason to play games, it’s a sign that you need to find other ways to fill your day.

You can schedule alternative hobbies, social activities, school, work, daily chores, moderate games, and more using whatever calendar works for you, like Google Calendar. Designating a specific time for a game makes it much easier to stick to that session and avoid the urge to play impulsively.

Four. Switch to single player game

In our experience, MMO games tend to be more addictive than single player games. This is because single-player games have a pause button, allowing you to save your progress and come back to it later, whereas MMO games focus more on achievements and rankings. The game continues even when he’s not playing, so he can sometimes feel a sense of FOMO when others are further ahead.

If you want to limit or moderate your behavior, try switching to single-player games or story-based offline games that are generally less risky.

Need help?

Asking for help is not weakness

If you’ve tried the steps above and still can’t develop healthy gaming habits, you may need professional help.

At Game Quitters, programs for gamers and their families offer immediate strategies to break the spiral and breakthrough. You’ll also learn how to improve every area of ​​your off-screen life, including motivation, productivity, and improving your social skills.

Take the first step today and make an appointment for a call about your game plan strategy. Limited slots available.

During the call, we’ll find out if you’re a good fit for one of our coaching programs. This program will help you take control of your MMO game forever.

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