When Everquest Becomes More Than A Game Pt. II

Last time I was writing for you, I was saying I would interview a person addicted to Everquest. His name was “Chris”. Find out why he forbid me to post that interview! Last time I submitted an article, I was beginning a series of stories covering interviews I was going to conduct in the game Everquest. Unfortunately, for my first story, I was not very careful about beginning the interview itself. The subject, an EQ addict we will know as “Chris”, mistakenly thought the interview was seeded in some connection I have with Verant Interactive, the company that publishes Everquest. Of course he was wrong, but “Chris” is an addict, you see, and would not listen to reason. Regardless of how adamant I was at explaining my position and my stance for this column…he refused to believe I was not out to get him. From there, “Chris” threatened to boot me from the server we both play on 80% of the time. He threatened to make my life there an ingame hell and nightmare, a power I granted him knowing who he knows and what he is capable of. After that failed to get the desired results…”Chris” threatened to sue me in real life.

“Chris” actually threatened to sue me for interviewing him about his addiction to a multi-massive online roleplaying game.

Even by trying to keep me from doing an article dedicated solely to his addiction, “Chris” shows us exactly what it means to be addicted to a game…Very sad, indeed.

Anyways, having said that, I find that “Chriss” addiction isnt worth its weight in gold pixel coins! So, I have moved on and over him, to my next subject, a girl we will know as “Janice”.

“Janice”, like “Chris”, is an addict to Everquest. She is different from “Chris” in many ways, though. For one, she is a girl, a real one, not a he/she in pretend using the lovely bodies given by the game designers to solicit cyber and get loot. “Janice” is in her mid-twenties. And she likes to talk to people. In the beginning, “Janice” was addicted to games like Yahoo! Chess and Cribbage. She had a certain group she met on a regular basis (read: every chance she got on to see them), and they played these games against each other. For “Janice”, it wasnt just the chatting that addicted her. Her actual skill at the game was empowering for her as well. In a general sense, she was addicted to the community.

“Janice” had a friend who played Everquest. This friend helped “Janice” enter the world of Norrath, and soon, “Janice” found she was addicted to that, too. It was a community she appreciated. She enjoyed the flirting, the occasional cyber with someone she felt very deeply for, and the ease with which she gained in levels in her chosen class. She liked the prestige that came with being high ranking in a guild, surrounded by people who adored her.

How could a girl not like these things?

“Janice” soon began to feel the pressures of Everquest addiction, though.

An addiction becomes a bad thing when it begins to affect your real life. “Janice” attended school, but soon left it unsatisfied. Did she simply go on Social Assistance and spend all her hours playing this killing game? She did not. She got herself a job within days, and continued working there for some time until the business basically sold its employees out.

But still, “Janice” can say today she was addicted to Everquest. Why? How can this be? It did not cause her to lose friends. Rather, she gained some very memorable ones. It did not cause her to gain weight. Rather, she was busier playing and did not eat as much as she used to.

So…how did “Janices” addiction to Everquest affect her?

You see, we must remember. “Janice” is a girl. A real one. The kind that feels, cares, loves and adores. Being that, she is also vulnerable, gullible, and weak to the attentions of deceptive males.

Men in Everquest are as confusing as they are in real life. And “Janice” was even more confused, considering she could not see their faces when they lied. Soon it was that “Janice” had intense ingame relationships that pressured her to take them out of the game, a dangerous effort for any heart. She felt the pressure to meet people, to take chances she might not have taken before.

Everquests computer-screen protection barrier let “Janice” care deeper than she could have intended about people who may not have deserved it. It also made it more difficult to stop that caring.

Times came for “Janice” when she would not indulge her addiction, would not be able to come and enjoy the fantasy world and beautiful scenery of Norrath, because of how people there could make her feel. The pressure to love, to care for a stranger…it got to a point where “Janice” would avoid the game to not have to deal with the emotional problems people in her ingame life could put on her.

This was when “Janice” realized she was addicted. She saw that she was torn over playing a “game” and the pressures of the people she used to go to the game for.

At this point, the Gods intervened, and due to the introduction of the DirectX 7 requirement that enables “multi-media enhancements”, such as sound and graphics, “Janice” suddenly found herself physically unable to play.

Any further problems from her addiction were promptly cut short.

Now, “Janice” has been away from the game for some time. She can look back on her two years of history with the game, and wonder at the amazing things she has done. She touched level fifty, a good accomplishment, long before the friend who introduced her to the game ever did. She applied for and was accepted as a Guide on another server, a great accomplishment indeed! But the overlay of the pressures of the actual community that was her addiction are still there, when she looks back.

And if you asked “Janice” today, she would tell you yes, she was, and still is, addicted to Everquest:

“EQ is a drug, its one that will always have a hold on you no matter what you do…
if (youre) clean for yrs, it still runs in your veins”

Everquest is a killing game. But for so many, it is something more than a game. It becomes life…”Janice” has returned to the game, and is focusing on JUST the “game” aspect of the game, and doing her best to not fall prey to the pressures of the community. It is hard, but it is something she strongly feels she can do. And I wish her the best of luck.

It is just a game.

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