Quick Note

My host upgraded my domain’s PHP version, which broke the design and readability of Lume the Mad in some sections. As a result, I am working on fixing things to make sure its archives can be perused. The fix will take some time, since Lume the Mad is not at all a priority for me. As a stopgap measure, I’ve updated WordPress and reverted to the default theme just to make sure thing are readable in a basic form.

No, this does not mean I’m back to playing or writing about WoW. I just want to make sure my past work does not fall into the void. There is another reason for it, but I’ll talk about that only when I’m ready.

Over a Month into Icecrown Citadel, What Do I Think Now?

I think the encounters in Icecrown Citadel are quite good at a basic level. The normal modes are moderately challenging. I think Putricide, while not difficult beyond the limited attempts you get, is extremely fun.

But the atmosphere of Icecrown is ruined by excessive gating and limited attempts. When someone in my raid is having lag issues, I am annoyed. Not at the people with the latency woes, but at the game design. I have to pressure people with lag to sit so as not to potentially lose a shot at killing the boss. And when someone makes the most innocent of mistakes, people get pissed off. It’s not fun for them. And it’s not fun for me as a result.

As far as gating goes, I think a gate should have existed only for Arthas. Instead, the instance feels extremely fractured by the existence of several blockades. The awe is not at all seamless, as a result. It’s broken, causing the instance to lose its luster each time you have to wait for the next door to open. The impact of the atmosphere and my enjoyment is lessened as a consequence.

I think raiders shouldn’t have the fear of God struck into them for wiping just once. I think it’s a flawed game to play in that regard. It’s one of the reasons why I stepped back from hardcore raiding in the first place. And now that I’m casual, my satisfaction is still hindered by the same issues that caused me to lose some enjoyment in hardcore raiding. I thought it’d go up substantially. I thought I’d be able to laugh and shrug if we don’t get a boss and run out of attempts. But it’s difficult not to think about that, simply because that limited attempt number exists.

It’d have been a great instance, save for those two issues. Instead, Blizzard feels the need to have gating to protect the irresponsible players who ruin their lives competing. Don’t believe that played a part in Blizzard’s decision? You should read the Icecrown article from the first issue of the official WoW magazine. I will quote the reference explicitly.

Players tend to take on everything we give them as soon as we give it to them. What we’ve found is that if we give them access to twelve bosses, they will run those bosses day and night until they beat them all, to [the players’] own detriment.

These are the words of Tom Chilton. Need I remind Blizzard those people are a small percentage of players. And it shouldn’t be up to a gaming company to police their behavior through game mechanics. They will find other ways to satiate their addiction. When they run out of content to attempt, they will roll alts and do it a second time. Hell, most top guilds do that so they have the option of having a better raid composition, anyhow. And if WoW doesn’t allow them to satiate that addiction, they will simply turn to other games, be it Dragon Age, Call of Duty, or whatever the current flavor of the month or year happens to be.

If Blizzard wants to help gamers with their addiction problems, they should fund studies of the “condition” and provide monetary aid for programs that help treat it, instead of subjecting people, no matter how responsible, to being coddled. Not all of us warrant such treatment.

Then What Are the Positives? (Stop Whining, Lume!)

I “whine” (I’d use the word “criticize” instead, but some people are going to call it whining), because I try to protect the game I like. And there are things to like about the raiding game. To succinctly list what I like:

  1. The music.
  2. The artwork.
  3. The encounter design.
  4. The story. (Save me the complaints about Jaina crying and the dramatic lich. It’s still awesome in the grand scheme, so far.)

There are still many unknowns. Namely, the rest of the encounters, and the hard modes. We’ll see about those. But, so far, that’s my take on the instance.

I also like the basic idea of having a raid-wide buff to make bosses easier to kill over time. This way, people aren’t perpetually stuck on a boss months into their attempts, while allowing more hardcore guilds to defeat something before the buff comes into effect. But the details are not yet known, so it’s difficult to develop an full opinion just yet.

We’ll see how the rest of it plays out over the next few months.

Clearly I Wasn’t (and Am Not) “Back,” But an Update of Sort

(Sorry for the lack of editing and links. With life the way it is, I’d rather get this out now than spend the next few weeks intermittently editing it and then finding it outdated when it’s ready to be published.)

There are a number of people who used to read my blog who have asked if I will ever continue to write. Technically, the answer to that question is “yes.” I do have a manner of important things to say concerning Wrath of the Lich King, its raid content, the future of the game, the nature of the MMO industry, what the future holds for me, etc.

But to expect any sort of regularity in content is probably out of the question. First of all, leading a hardcore guild is in gamer speak “serious business.” Doing so between taking classes full-time and working a couple jobs is even more strenuous. Finding the time to sit down and even write about a game while maintaining any level of normalcy between my obligations would be impossible. But the complexities of why I haven’t been able to find time deserve to be addressed.

Wrath’s Initial Content Did Not Help Existing Hardcore Guild Leaders Transition Easily

The first reason why I could hardly find time to write concerns the nature of the game’s raiding content itself. For a guild transitioning from TBC to Wrath, the path was extraneous given the tools the game provided.

As with any transition between expansions, a guild is going to lose members to that fabled realm reality. Which means a guild leader will have holes to fill with new players. Unfortunately, however, tier seven was hardly challenging, making the process of replacing people arduous and uncertain.

Naxxramas is a relic of “old content.” Many people look back on it fondly, as they should, but it was designed to be the last tier of vanilla content, not the first tier of a third expansion. So it had many problems. Consider that each encounter only has maybe one or two gimmicks, a primary feature of “classic” content. By comparison, encounters in TBC usually had a few or several gimmicks, except for maybe Attumen, but he’s a special flower.

Consider further that most of Naxxramas’ “gimmicks” are now outdated. So when you nerf them into the ground on the premise that Naxxramas is supposed to be entry level, you get a raid dungeon that becomes much easier than even Karazhan was. This is hardly a prime environment in which to test new members.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Sartharion with three drakes alive, and five-minute (and then six-minute) Malygos provided some challenge–Sartharion as a situational awareness and cooldown check, Malygos as a minor-grade DPS check. And you could definitely use Thaddius to weed out people who couldn’t do something as simple as switching sides on a debuff change. But when you only have a few encounters which highlight people’s mistakes, it’s difficult to distinguish between typical mistakes anyone can make on a bad night, and someone who plays consistently terrible.

In a nutshell, there wasn’t enough challenging content to adequately evaluate players to determine whether or not they were good.

Potential Recruits Were Complacent

Because the initial content in Wrath was easy, many awesome players were also content to remain in mediocre guilds. Afterall, any guild with half a clue could clear Naxxramas and the easy version of Sartharion. Malygos was a moderate challenge, but only moderate. And then Sartharion with two drakes proved doable for even subpar guilds.

This provided ample access to all available loot for anyone in an average guild. So why would they apply to guilds with higher standards when they can get the gear they need and potentially have a better shot at it given established reputations and DKP? Simply answered, they wouldn’t. And I certainly noticed.

What Recruits You Did Pick Up Were Usually Mediocre or Came with Baggage

Basically, the breadth of our applications came from people who were one or more of the following:

  1. Unguilded.
  2. Knew someone in the guild already.
  3. Were tired of dealing with mediocre players.

For number one, this often included people who had taken breaks from the game. A new expansion is an optimal time for people to return to the game, afterall. Unfortunately, this meant a lot of people applying were either inclined to get bored of the game or to have real life intrude. Now, there’s nothing wrong with the latter. It happens. But when a high percentage of your applicants are susceptible to such conditions, it makes it frustrating to find long-term players who will be around for at least six months.

For number two, you’re never guaranteed to find someone who is actually good enough to be in a hardcore guild. Friends, relatives and significant others are often biased and will do and say anything to be able to play with their partners in crime. I’ve seen this happen several times, now.

For number three, sometimes this condition is paired with a bad attitude. The type of person who can’t accept that even good players sometimes make mistakes. I’ve seen this several times, now. And I’m not going to lie and say we don’t already have some temperamental players who occasionally get upset over mistakes that are going to be typical in any guild.

Simply put, you’d be hard-pressed to find guilds ranked between 15th and 50th in the U.S. who play perfectly. If there was, they wouldn’t be ranked 15th through 50th. They’d be number one. Because if all it took them was exposure to the mechanics, they’d defeat each one devoid of random mechanics in merely a couple hours (and a few of them sooner). Which would likely outpace Ensidia. Which would make them number one in the world. So people need to get it into their fucking heads that it’s just not going to happen. If that’s what they want, they should apply to Premonition, or move to fucking Europe and join Ensidia. And even then, they both raid grotesque hours to get their world firsts, and they don’t play perfectly on every attempt.

So when you have a lot of these types of applicants, it becomes very difficult to retain good and reasonable players. Of all the people we recruited in tier seven content, only two people remain as a full-time raiders. And that’s saying something, because as a guild we’re currently ranked number 53rd in the U.S. We have six of the ten hard modes down (if you count Algalon as a hard mode).

I highly suspect these issues are what have caused guilds like Might, vodka, V A N Q U I S H, etc. to slip far behind in the ranks. During tier seven, you were simply lucky if you could find just a few genuinely good players.

Early Raiding Achievements Were Frustrating

Tier seven had some annoying achievements required for Glory of the Raider.

The Dedicated Few and Subtraction are just retarded. When you’re trying to gear people up, sitting people for an entire raid so others can get the achievement or running two different Naxxramases, one heavy on alts, is aggravating. Especially when one of them comes close to Immortal and fails at it because you needed one of your stronger players to even have a chance at completing the other 20-man Naxx.

I like the concept of And They Would All Go Down Together, but it provides no reward other than potentially completing the meta and getting a drake.

Denyin’ the Scion was just fucking stupid.

The Immortal was perhaps the most frustrating of all. It was, essentially, part skill, part luck, and partly based on the quality of your applicants. Let’s be clear: attrition happens. So when you have 23 people and need to trial a couple people, it’s difficult to evaluate them when you need to sit them out because you don’t want to ruin an Immortal attempt. And doubly frustrating when the reason you fail is because you think they’re awesome based on their Sartharion performance, but then it turns out they can’t do the jump on Thaddius and then ruin the attempt by running into a group while uncharged. Or just fail on the charges.

Immortal was frustrating also when normally good players ruin attempts by doing stupid things. Like thinking they can line of sight the mana bomb on Kel’Thuzad. Or trying to push DPS too much on Sapphiron instead of playing it safe with ice blocks. Or failing to notice where they’re standing for something. Or missing a heal on Kel’Thuzad’s frost blast.

Those were reasons we never got Immortal. We came to Kel’Thuzad ready to get it I think four times and failed each time. A few other attempts failed because of disconnects. A few failed to priest problems on Razuvious (problems I don’t think we’d have today), before we realized you could soft reset the dungeon and still have a shot at Immortal if you did Razuvious first. A couple failed to Grobbulus bugging out and spraying the raid as he turned to inject someone. And a few failed to recruits failing on charges on Thaddius after we thought they’d be able to handle that situation given their performance elsewhere.

And then some were just mistakes any good player may occasionally make. For example, we had one person who’d been in the guild for two years make a single mistake, which ended an Immortal run early. Though, honestly, it was still in December, so I don’t know we would have done Sapphiron or Kel’Thuzad cleanly. But my point is that in the past two and a half years, he’s made maybe three noticeable mistakes. If that. So if a player that good can make a mistake, anyone can.

What complicated the matter even further is that normally mediocre guilds were getting Immortal. So when one slightly above average guild on our server got it, suddenly people were saying “Lunacy is no longer number one.” Right, okay. Even though we got server firsts on the 10 and 25-man versions of Twilight Zone, Malygos and You Don’t Have an Eterinity, we were suddenly number two, then number three, etc. We were the only guild to even do five-minute Malygos when it was still five minutes. But somehow, people were now better than us in the eyes of some rather uneducated imbeciles (a few of whom commented on this blog).

Unfortunately, that mindset also tended to creep into the thoughts of some in the guild. Because we had a couple people who were normally good players fail more than once on Immortal, and because good recruits were suddenly almost impossible to fine, they began to view the guild in general as mediocre and in decline. We even had one player who departed us return to say they were glad to see we were good again in Ulduar.

In reality, however, nothing was in decline. If anything, we’re stronger now than we were then. That’s not to say we don’t have holes to fill and problems to solve. Guilds always do. But we were never mediocre. We were never in decline. We just had some people make stupid mistakes, and we took dumb chances with some recruits. That doesn’t mean we weren’t going to be capable at competing when raid content again became difficult.

And it now shows. With Ulduar, we’re ranked 53rd in the U.S. On our usual twenty-hour raiding schedule. A couple of our hard mode kills were in the 40’s. But from November through April, I was frustrated in having to deal with unreasonable personalities and poor morale, on top of having recruitment problems, etc.

Life Is Primary, Blogging a Distant Last

On top of guild leadership, life has simply been busy and will only get busier. It has come to a point where I will have to step down from leading the guild in the near future. Anywhere between two months from now to a year.

I’m coming into the final year of my degree. However, if something comes up in life such as a major family death, that could lead to a year and a half. Simply put, I’ve taken studies far too casually to be content. I’m lucky to have one job, let alone two. One is part-time, and one freelance and unpredictable, but whatever pays tuition. However, I face the possibility that I won’t get a Cal Grant next year, which would help with tuition and allow me to shift some finances into my rent. If that doesn’t happen, I’m going to have to increase the amount of time I spend at work. Which means I will no longer be able to raid.

As it stands, I’m sacrificing blogging time for whatever work I can get. So this is why you don’t see me writing. And when I’m not working, I’m usually interviewing applicants, farming the gold I need to raid, or participating in 10-man Ulduar once I get home from work, because it contains a lot of BIS pieces for certain classes (including my own).

I’m Also Inclined to Change My Life’s Priorities and Hobbies

Simply put, the world is unpredictable. And while I definitely enjoy gaming as a hobby, spending twenty hours a week raiding, and probably twenty to forty dealing with guild-related issues has developed it into a full-time job. It was one I was willing to take on two and a half years ago, when I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life. But these days, things have changed.

Running was once a passion of mine. Right out of high school, I had aspirations of working to compete on an amateur level. Even though I wasn’t serious in high school about running as I could have been, I still did extremely well and built like a Kenyan or Ethiopian marathoner. But I never applied myself. So now as I’m getting closer to the prime age, I just want to take a shot at competing, if even merely on an amateur level. And I’d love to get into the ultra marathon scene. But the game eats into what free time I have to condition myself. So I’ve hit a plateau in my training, because I haven’t been able to do what’s necessary to go above and beyond: hill repeats out in the foothills everyday, more focus on my nutritional habits, balancing proteins and carbs to optimize muscle growth and development, etc. Having a raid in twenty minutes means settling for a quick fixing of mac and cheese with maybe a vegetable, or eating whatever family has cooked up and then rushing to raid.

On top of this, I aspire to write about topics other than games. Where I once had planned to study web development and then create a gaming news web site with a different flavor and treatment of its topics, that passion is no longer there. It’s a complicated topic and one I will likely address in my final entry of the blog. I realize this post is already long-winded enough, however. Regardless, my plan is to eventually enter an MFA program for creative writing at my university. And once that happens, I won’t have time for anything else. And it’s something I want to do more than anything.

The “Zombie” Portion of the pre-Wrath Event Is Flawed

I’ve been spewing profanities the past couple days. The source of my foul-mouthed escapades: the zombie portion of the pre-Wrath event. Or, rather, the extent to which people can use it to grief players and the lack of safeguards against it.

To give the situation some context, I should explain how the event works:

  1. People become infected with the plague. This is done when a player kills an infected roach, opens some infected crates, or is the subject of infection by either player or NPC zombies.
  2. The infection is applied as a disease. When the disease runs its course, or when a player dies or tries to remove the disease with an immunity effect like divine shield, the player turns into a zombie.
  3. As a zombie, a player retains his or her level and can attack other players of either faction, flagged or not.
  4. NPC’s can be infected and become zombies, as well.
  5. There are “argent healers” that can cleanse people of the infection and attack these zombies. High level players with any sort of disease cleansing capabilities can also remove it, though it has a high resistance rate.
  6. Guards can attack zombies.

This seems an okay situation on the surface. Argent healers were meant to serve as the NPC-driven defense against this menial version of the plague. However, looking deeper into the matter, it is important to note the various conditions that morph the event into one of the most poorly designed experiences WoW has ever offered. These conditions are as follows:

  1. The argent healers are only stationed in major cities at important hubs: banks, auction houses, flight points, and entrances to various areas. They are not stationed in most towns outside of the capital cities.
  2. Guards in most lowbie towns are too low in level to even put a dent in the high level player zombies. At best, they can daze the zombie and prevent them from reaching a lowbie that has managed to mount up and run away.
  3. Lowbie players cannot themselves put a dent in the player zombies that are much higher in level than them, due to the level difference.

Compound these conditions with the risk of putting so much power into the players’ hands and you have an absolutely, positively frustrating experience for many. If not for the fact that I could swap over to my level 70 retadin, turn on sense undead, and completely own the shit out of anyone with poor intentions, I’d be more annoyed than I already am. Especially because I rolled on a PvE server to avoid the type of asshattery I’ve been seeing.

I’ll put this into perspective. The other day I was trying to level up a couple alts in Bloodmyst. This is when two people from my own guild decided to kill me and decimate Blood Watch and all the lowbies there. Having none of it, I lectured them about when to say when, switched to my paladin, owned them, camped them, cleansed them when they tried to continue spreading the plague, and kicked one of them from the guild (who wasn’t a good member of the guild in the first place). As funny as it is to grief people, it takes a ball-less git to repeatedly grief lowbie players of their own faction. And a jerk to do it to people in their own guild, especially when those people are clearly upset or annoyed. Having leveled on a PvP server before, I did what was only natural.

Here’s another interesting case study. Some high level druid decided it’d be funny to grief all the lowbies in Darkshire. I just happened to stop by on my low level alts and notice, so I swapped over to my paladin to take care of the problem. The result is alarming.

y u kill me fagg

Do we really want to give so much power to people like this? Especially on a PvE ruleset? I sure hope not. Notice how he tries to berate me for killing him by justifying that the event is for killing people. “y u kill me fagg” definitely reeks of maturity and social validity. I’m only doing what a lot of people would do on a PvP server when someone griefs and camps lowbies. There are repercussions for being a dick!

But don’t get me wrong. I’m all for having fun with people near the cap, considering they can immediately defend themselves. But thinking about the lowbies who have yet to build up connections on a server, I can’t help but wonder how frustrating this event must be for them. How many of them have quit over this fiasco? I’m willing to bet a rather sizable amount. The fact that safeguards weren’t put in place for low level areas is greatly disappointing.

What’s more, there doesn’t seem to be any purpose to becoming a zombie other than to kill and infect other players and NPC’s. If there was actually a quest to perform as a zombie, and if lowbies could actually defend themselves, I’d be a whole lot more forgiving and inclined to view the event in a positive light. I definitely think it has its place as a fundamental concept. But the specifics are broken.

10/27 Update: It’s Over

For those of you who are unaware, the zombie portion of the event ended at noon today. It was fun and frustrating while it lasted. I’m appreciative that Blizzard is trying to create more dynamic and robust world events that aren’t concentrated in one zone. However, I’m also glad it didn’t last until the launch of Wrath.

10/29 Update: Response to Some Comments

I don’t want to spam people’s feed readers, so I am simply adding this to my entry as an addendum. And since there are 100 comments, a lot of people don’t actually see the points of the event that have merit, so I am adding my general response here.

A lot of people in their comments have made the assumption that I was 100% against the zombie event. This is not the case. Might I highlight an important quote from the entry.

I definitely think [the zombie event] has its place as a fundamental concept. But the specifics are broken.

As a positive point, the event tied very well into the lore. It gave our characters and the factions ample reason and motivation to retaliate against Arthas directly. It proved to be “disruptive” to daily life, just as the first undead plague was. And it turned us against each other. That was probably Arthas’ intention. Or was it Putress’ intention? Who knows. In either case, I understand what the event was supposed to do. That’s exactly the “fundamental concept” I’m talking about.

World occurrences like the zombie event do have their place in WoW and should be done again. However, I still think it had its flaws, and these issues can be fixed without deadening the event’s intentions to the point where its purposes are rendered ineffectual.

Just because the event did its job doesn’t make it perfect. Just because some people enjoyed it, doesn’t make it perfect. Just because these two facts exist, doesn’t mean I should not address any issues I might have had with the event, in hopes of improving similar events for the future.

There is no doubt this event had great potential that it met to some degree. But it’s one thing to be disruptive, and another to completely obliterate people’s abilities to perform certain tasks for hours upon hours upon hours. It is, in my opinion, disruptive and engrossing enough that people can attack others while performing the tasks they deem “routine.” You can make various NPC’s immune, without obliterating the event’s intentions. That’s exactly why Blizzard made the flight master in Shatt immune. And it’s still disruptive and engrossing for lowbies that they can merely be attacked, even if they have the ability to defend themselves.

There is no reason events like these can’t happen in the future. There is no reason such dynamic occurrences can’t happen. For all its specific flaws, the fundamental concepts were sound. Blizzard just needs to take a little more care in designing events like this in the future. That’s all.

No QQ about it.

A Public Response: Stop Telling People How to Game

I had a strange response to my entry about downing Kil’jaeden. I feel it deserves public treatment, because it highlights what I dislike about a specific portion of the anti-MMO community. The comment comes from someone named “Muckbeast.” I guess because he is trying to be a muckraker in the MMO community. Right…

I killed him solo in a private server months ago. Me solo > your raid guild.

Think about that, and then ask yourself if it was really worth all the broken friendships, drama, anger, rage, arguments, etc. that it took to get to this point.

Raiding gives a very FALSE sense of accomplishment that often results in people letting their real life accomplishments falter. Everyone has a certain amount of accomplishment they want to attain in life. When they get it from a game, they stop seeking it in real life.

HOLD THE FLAMETHROWERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Everything I have written above is an exaggeration. I wrote it to make a point. Raiding and gaming should be about fun, not about some kind of titanic “achivement” that feels like you just gave birth.

-Cambios

Are you suggesting any time a friendship breaks, an argument is presented, drama beheld, or rage expressed, the cause wasn’t worth it? I’ve lost friends over my time commitment to running, work and school of all things. Is the pursuit of accomplishments in these fields not worth the investment, considering these problems can arise? I guess I’ll just stop taking classes, quit my job, and sit on my couch all day so everyone can come over, have a few beers, and play X-Box or watch TV any time they want. Until, of course, I have to sell my television and my X-Box to pay for the quadruple bypass I needed to save my life after a debilitating heart attack onset by a sedentary lifestyle.

I use the Socratic method and the same style of exaggeration to counter your point and force you to really consider the argument you’re making. Obviously, I don’t believe any of the things I listed are worth dropping, as they are key to my well-being, success, and happiness in life. Just as MMOs can be an adequate source of entertainment providing happiness in life to those who prefer and enjoy them. I say this as someone who has played single and multi-player console games, FPS’s, RTS’s, dungeon crawlers, a couple MUD’s and MUSH’s (I even helped code a MUSH for a short while), top-down multiplayer games, etc. I’ve played games that adhere to all the MMO models: free, distributed, premium and subscription-based.

If you don’t think I’ve enjoyed raiding immensely, you’re terribly wrong. There surely have been frustrations and issues that arise during raids, but they are no different than those that occur in any social setting or business endeavor. It doesn’t mean there haven’t been rewarding experiences or friendships created in the process. Nor is it suggestive of abnormal behavior, something you seem to feverishly believe given the writings of your own blog. There are people I have met playing WoW I now consider “real life” friends. I have improved my time management and supervisory skills simply leading a guild. By writing this blog, I’ve found another outlet in which to hone my writing skills, something crucial to my major. All the while, I’ve enjoyed it, despite any minor complications. Furthermore, it is something that hasn’t consumed my every waking hour.

People who can’t grasp the positives others might obtain through this sort of gaming experience are just expressing personal opinion. I really don’t care if you personally think MMOs aren’t worth the investment. More power to you if you want to focus your time elsewhere. But all you seem to be doing here is raking the muck of the blogging world with outlandish straw man arguments that depict a gaming demographic stereotypically and vilify a genre with generalized typecasting.

Everyone is expected to do the best they can in life. But why should you care if they’re happy with what they do? No matter how trivial the enjoyment? Who cares if playing MMOs is something someone prefers over going for a doctorate. Maybe this person is content to live a middle class lifestyle and spend their time frivolously. Is it any different than someone who would rather spend their time at the movies every weekend instead of working on that dissertation they’ve found so frustrating to complete? Anything that can be reasoned in such a manner is fair game. It’s not your life to live. Let them live how they please.

The simple fact of the matter is that I don’t agree with you, nor do I appreciate you using my blog’s comment area as an advertisement space for blatant propaganda against something that has actually been a positive force in many people’s lives. Even if it has been a negative force for some, it is not the root of evil you make it out to be. People exhibiting their addictive or dependent personalities, be it through video games or drugs, is a serious issue and worth addressing. But not in the manner you seem to view as acceptable. Everyday, people make conscious decisions to play MMOs for good reasons. Only when the decision to continue playing them is unconscious should someone intervene. We should be treating the real cause: the addictive personality itself.