In all seriousness though, I'm currently dealing with a frustrating situation. I've been playing games for almost twenty-eight years, and still manage to carve out adequate time each week to devote to this activity. I'm also married, work full time, and have a two year old daughter. So as you can imagine, this adequate amount of time that I'm referring to is actually considerably less than what it was prior to getting married and having a kid. However, knowing that I have these additional responsibilities, I'm absolutely content with the approximate eight hours a week that I have for gaming.
Am I suffering from gaming addiction? No... not at all. Unfortunately, my wife is.
So my wife has a fairly serious gaming addiction, and before you say "hey man, that's fuckin' great!", it's actually fuckin' not.
My wife is a full time --edited--. So she works approximately 10 hours per day, four days a week. Therefore, she typically has three days off a week, and on work days, is home by approximately 6:00pm. Our daughter generally goes to bed at 8:00pm... at which time begins the only actual time that we have to ourselves. I certainly don't expect my wife to focus all of this free time on me, nor does she expect for me to do the same. We understand that there will be nights where we both just need time alone... time to play games, or watch programming that the other doesn't necessarily have an interest in.
This formula worked great for the first year following the birth of our daughter. But then, I bought my wife an iPad. You can probably see where this is going. We both have an arsenal of i-devices, and at first we embraced our i-device ownership as an additional element of commonality... ultimately giving us something else in common. We would scrounge around for sale apps (thanks CAG), recommend apps for one another, and play games cooperatively and competitively. Then I made the biggest mistake of my life and stumbled onto --title edited--. I downloaded the game the first day it hit the app store, and after finding it charming at first, I recommended that my wife try it out. Two weeks later, she decided to give it a whirl. Around this same time, I became bored by the game, and found it's "freemium" infrastructure to be ridiculously unbalanced. I opted to quit, and pitched my "they're just trying to milk players for every cent that they have" spiel to my wife in hopes that she would look at things logically, and drop the game before it started to become a financial burden. But she really enjoyed it... and because I'm a complete sucker/pushover, I value her happiness, and want to make sure that she remain happy in our life together. So I left it at that... --title edited-- was her thing, just like playing PS3 is mine.
Fast forward to today. The wife remains logged-in to the --titled edited-- server nearly 18 hours a day... regardless as to what else is going on. When at work, she leaves it up on her phone at her desk. At home, she'll have it open on her phone, which rarely leaves her hands. Going to the store, she's playing. In the bathroom, she's playing. Multitasking. Giving the baby a bath while playing. Cooking, and playing. After the baby goes to sleep, she takes a bath... and plays. Gets out of the bath, and plays... until she passes out. There's no interrupting this cycle. The only time she breaks from playing in the evenings is when there's a new episode of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. The rest of the time, she plays. In other words, more time is being spent playing than is participating in her daughter's life, participating in my life, adhering to typical daily responsibilities, managing her time at work, helping out at home, etc.
Oh... and she's not just playing, she paying. She currently spends approximately $150 per month on the game. This money is spent on mana, or "pots" as the players refer to it. These "pots" are what allows you to recharge your mana pool, which is the required element necessary to cast spells. Defeating "spirits" with spells yields experience, which leads to leveling, advancement up current campaign leaderboard for your region, and at the end of the campaign, a virtual medal for the campaign. You can also use "pots" to purchase chat avatars or designs for your in-game avatar. The game can be played without purchasing anything, however, to remain competitive, you almost have to pay to play. The mana regen rate is too slow for my rather impatient wife, and some spirits require more hits than you have in your mana pool. Once attacked, these spirits will retaliate until either you kill them or they kill you. Therefore, once your mana pool runs dry, it's essential that you use a "pot" to regenerate in order to defeat the spirit (if you so desire). So far, she has level capped six accounts, and has a total of seven alternative accounts that she uses for spying, power-leveling, and random community spoof nonsense.
The game is lame as Hell.
Then there's the community. There's a boatload of saps with an utter lack of self control that play as much, if not more, than my wife. They're all "friends" in this virtual world... and develop rather personal relationships. I get it, it's the general appeal about the whole MMORPG scene. She actively participates in the embedded team chat and cross-team chat within the game, PMs within the game, the official message boards on the official site for the game, and even dedicated groups on facebook. She even changed her facebook account to one specifically for her --edited-- persona. She canned all of her friends and family (including me), and has nothing but other --edited-- players in her friends list. It's reached a point where I believe the lines of reality have become blurred for her. WoW syndrome, if you will.
The fit hit the shan 16 weeks ago when I caught her having an affair of sorts with another player. I'm fairly certain they never met in real life, but their private message exchanges were rather shocking. Literally consisting of love letter quality content. Including tales of each individual's spouses almost catching them in the act. Shady-ass stuff. The community was even aware of this "relationship," and heralded it as a success story within the game. When I found out, I lost my shit. I found myself reprimanding my wife the way I would a teenager. Actually barring her from playing... questioning her role as a mother, a wife, a --edited--.
Two weeks later, she was back to playing.
It's progressively getting worse. She no longer is able to differentiate between what is important and what is not. Her daughter and I have been thrown to the side... her office work has reached a point where it nearly impossible to catch up in a reasonable amount of time. Every aspect of her real life is being neglected. Our marriage is permanently damaged because of this game. Her temper has been shortened when dealing with our daughter. Communication is non-existent... unless it's communication within the game.
I'm at a complete loss in this situation. Has anyone else had to deal with this kind of stuff? If so, how did you go about it? I would hate to have to resort to divorce because of a shitty iOS freemium MMORPG... but that may end up being my only option.
Edited by metaphysicalstyles, 20 April 2012 - 05:04 PM.