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      After the recent release of “Alice: Madness Returns,” I  picked up a copy. With each copy, console gamers also got a free download of  the original “American McGee’s Alice.” Before playing the new Alice, I had to  go back and beat the original again. While many things were just as I had  remembered, I’m glad […]
    • Video Game Rant: Donkey Kong Country Returns
      One of my favorite games of all time is Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2. When I heard they were making a new one, I was super excited, but also somewhat skeptical. So a few months ago, I picked up a copy of Donkey Kong Country Returns to try out the new game. My fiancee also joined […]
    • Scott Pilgrim Versus the World: Movie Review
       (Warning: some spoilers) When they decided to turn this Canadian comic into a movie, I’m not sure they were aware of what a cult smash hit this would be. Topping the charts for Blu-rays on the first day it was released on home video, it’s also been on several top ten lists. It appeals to […]
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      ***Note: this information is from before Cataclysm. There have been major changes to the class. See my sources below for more updated information.*** When I rolled Druid on the first character I legitimately got to level 80, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I leveled Feral Cat, and when I hit 80, I realized […]
    • Finding a Job
      This is a digression from my usual topics, but I wanted to share some of my strategies with other unemployed or soon to be unemployed people out there. My job search has been the focus of my free time lately, so I figured it would be the perfect topic for my next post. 1)      Assess […]
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Why do you WoW?

I am an RPG lover. I’ve been through conventional ones and dual class RPGs, including Diablo 2, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Borderlands, Dokapon Kingdom, and recently World of Warcraft. Yeah, I used to be big into WoW, I leveled a character up to level 40 before I had to quit.

And now? I’ve been playing for 2 weeks, and I’m already level 38 on my Night Elf Druid. That was basically 3 days worth of playing. Nonstop. I did occasionally eat food and sleep, but I thought about WoW, and ate while I played. Soon, the addiction will fully take over, and I will be playing every spare moment, doing dailies and raiding and re-specing and…

So why is it so hard to stop playing? I’ve tried to figure out what makes WoW so addicting. It’s not the plot for me, or the characters. It’s definitely not the amazing combat; fighting is fun, but I’m not into PvP and I’m not big enough to raid yet.

My theory on why WoW is so addicting is threefold. One, the escape from reality afforded by most games. Monotonous questing and killing is a great way to blow off steam and relax with some menial task, like knitting or cleaning. RPGs are good for this, and WoW does the RPG bit right, with good leveling, abilities, and talents.

Two, you can be a total noob and still make progress, especially if you’re a twink, or on a private server. (Jk.)

Three, the people make it fun. On private servers, there are not enough people to do real raids, and the guilds aren’t terribly active. On official, there is a definite community, with a working auction house that always has nice stuff, and people to raid with (not just random puggers). It is a massively multiplayer RPG for a reason, and I think this must be the main reason.

This is a game that is meant to be played with others, often because 1 character can’t do it all. You can’t tank and heal and do DPS, not and do them all well. Even my druid can’t do as much as I can with my rogue partner. By myself, I can take 1 guy at a time, but with my boyfriend on his rogue as a leveling partner, we can take 4 mobs at once.

So I have a question for any readers out there. Do you WoW? Why do you WoW? Why do you continue the meaningless quests, the mindless leveling? Is it your character, the sense of accomplishment (or Achievement whoring), the adorable Murlocs—what makes you keep coming back?

Play Games for Your Health

What do video games do to your body? Can they actually be good for you? What physically happens to your body when you play?

Playing games is like playing sports. Your body produces adrenaline to help you meet those challenges, which speeds up your reflexes. This is an evolutionary response to danger or challenges in your environment. This also helps you feel less pain, so if you’re sick or recovering from surgery, pop a Tylenol and pick up a controller.

The downside is that blood is being rerouted to your muscles to give you those lightning quick trigger fingers, but it does this by taking blood away from the brain. This means it can be hard to think clearly, so don’t go making any big decisions while gaming (they could put that on a warning label on the back of game boxes). It seems counter intuitive, because it’s important to be able to make good decisions in tense situations, but you’re really working off of muscle memory rather than traditional memory.

Another pro is that by gaining experience (literally and metaphorically) in games, you may be better able to deal with things in real life. The way people react to stress and stressful situations affects their bodies in unexpected and sometimes unexplained ways. So by remaining calm and making that adrenaline rush work for you rather than against you, you’re learning how to deal with Simulated Stress Situations (SSS- okay I made that acronym up, but it sounds legit, right?).

Lastly, the problem with adrenaline is that you can get addicted to the rush. People can get addicted to any video game and for various reasons. You probably don’t get much of an adrenaline rush from farming for gold or experience in an RPG, but playing a (good) survival horror means you’ll be on the edge of your seat the whole time. But the more you shoot zombies, the more often you might want to.

So to sum up, here are some of the pros and cons of playing games, so you can decide for yourself if the benefits outweigh the risks. Personally, I’d rather have the experience dealing with stress and addiction and level up to help me prepare for tougher challenges ahead.

+ Adrenaline is released, reducing pain

+ Learn how to deal with stress

–  Harder to make decisions

– Adrenaline can be addicting