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If 'World of Warcraft' is a drug, Blizzard is a cruel drug dealer

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If you search for "World of Warcraft addiction" on the internet, you're likely to see some of the following links:

  • How to break a World of Warcraft addiction: 14 steps
  • Woman loses children to World of Warcraft addiction
  • Internet addict tells how World of Warcraft gaming had become "like crack cocaine" after five week binge surrounded by filth

People play World of Warcraft and they get hooked, because MMOs are a black hole. Once you pass the event horizon, your real life and your virtual life switch polarity, and flesh and blood become but a dream from pixelated space.

In 2002, CNET explored the dark world of EverQuest, a progenitor of WoW, which had trapped a man named Dennis Bennett. "The game almost ruined my life," Bennett told CNET. "It was my life. I ceased being me; I became Madrid, the Great Shaman of the North."

"I ceased being me."

More than a decade later, a Night Elf Monk named Monkkicks would post this in the World of Warcraft forums on Battle.net:

Hi i play wow every day usually for 8 hours. I do not enjoy it, but i still play it. i don't even know why. i start to level chars ,then i stop, then i might make another char and level it.

i want to be able to play less but i just can't do it. all the people i have met in wow stopped playing or play less than what i do.

what keeps me drawing me back to this game? why am i addicted? does anyone know a good way to cut back on wow? or anything to get my mind off the game?

thanks for reading...

There's even an entire Reddit community dedicated to helping people quit World of Warcraft. One self-identified addict posted a message titled "after 6 long years I'm finally done," detailing how they had to delete everything and even destroy the physical manifestations of the game to break free:

last night was it for me though...I deleted everything...changed password to something I wont remember...broke my game discs and trashed them along with my authenticator...im done...finished...this game has taken so much of my time I am ashamed...I wish I had never heard of it and started this spiral into a black hole...

As someone who played EverQuest for years, I know what the feeling is like. I, too, deleted my characters and never looked back. But now, thanks to a game update from Blizzard, digital death is no longer final for World of Warcraft players.

Blizzard announced on Thursday that it will turn its current and former subscribers into necromancers, capable of recalling their withering virtual souls from oblivion. All characters level 50 and above (and what self-respecting WoW addict doesn't have one?) "are eligible to be undeleted at any time."

It might sound like a trivial detail, but it's a big deal for people who are truly addicted to MMOs. For former WoW players, the possibility of coming back will now be perpetually dangled in front of their face.

"You'll be able to get back into action right away, and your character won't remember being deleted — we won't tell, either," Blizzard writes. "Shhhh...."