Thursday, February 12, 2009

WoW and Marriage

Over the weekend I saw an add in Facebook for a survey for people who play WoW and are married. Since I fit this category I decided to do the survey (I use to do surveys as a college job, I hated it, but now occasionally I'll give in because I know how badly it sucks to get people to take them.)

Well, having worked in telemarketing, I can see a biased survey a mile away. I wouldn't say they were asking leading questions (which companies are notorious for); however, the questions it did ask were very interesting. You could tell that this was going to be one of those "look how awful WoW is" or "WoW is destroying society as a whole" studies. After asking demographic questions the online survey asked things like "how often do you fight with your spouse because of MMOs".

Some of the questions just were ridiculous (maybe they apply to some, but not to me). They asked how often you preferred to play MMOs instead of being intimate with your spouse. Come one guys, I like playing WoW and all, but I'll leave my toon stranded with mobs all around given the choice between that and woopie. I suppose that we could compromise and RP it. Well, no that wouldn't be the same...

There were other questions that pointed to the great addictiveness of MMOs. I will admit, I'm addicted to WoW. But I'm not having withdrawals from it when I'm not playing. "Do you get depressed and anxious when you are not playing MMOs?", no, not really, I might be thinking about what I want to do on this toon or another, but I'm not a basketcase just because I'm not playing.

I think that most of us enjoy the game or we wouldn't be playing it, or reading about it on-line. Are we a little obsessed? Probably. Are there people more obsessed with Twilight? Yes. I won't even tell you how many times my sister-in-laws have read the series (but its in the double digits now). Is a little obsession such a bad thing? As long as you keep it under control and its not hurting anybody.

So, does WoW ruin marriages? I suppose it could if someone is being stupid. In my opinion, if WoW was a major factor into destroying someone's marriage then there are much deeper problems than the game. It seems really stupid to blame World of Warcraft. Its my guess that if WoW ruined your life, it could have easily been something else in its place.

Now, I do admit that when I first started playing WoW I neglected my family a little too much. My wife wasn't too pleased when I would play half a Saturday. But I've gotten that under control. Now I put my family first and only play when the kids are asleep. Plus, last summer we got a second computer and a second account. Now in the evenings I explore Northrend with my wife (or work on achievements during one of the holidays). So, now its a way for us to spend time with each other. Should we probably try to do more outside of the house? Yes, however, what are you going to do when the kids are asleep anyway? We're kind of stuck here. So, we can watch TV, play board games, fight mobs on WoW, play the guitar, examine my penny collection, etc etc. WoW (and watching grey's anatomy or Lost) often wins out.

Wow, that was a lot of rambling. So, has WoW affected your relationships for good or bad?


mikemetcalf said...

Interesting post Bob, can you post a link so I can take the survey as well? I've done a lot of research about addiction and MMOs, and I think problem gaming and addiction aren't synonymous. Addiction doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your marital quality, but one thing I've thought about lately is the difference between good and great. I think playing WoW is good, but I think redesigning my website would be better. Twinking my mage is good, but painting my bathroom is better. I see a lot of wasted in my potential lost in my life to wow. I don't think my marriage or family life has suffered, but I don't think it's what it could be. I'm not saying we all have to be superman, but personally, I can do better. The compromise I made is to not play on weekday nights, to not play while my daughter is awake, and to set some goals to get things done during the week. We'll see how it goes.

Bob said...

Yes, there is always the good, better, best (I think that's from Dallin H. Oak's talk?) And you are right about that. Its good and fun to play wow, but its better for me to spend time with my kids (reason I don't play when they are awake). I do try to keep my wow playing down to a minimum (hence the reason I'm not level 80). It does help that I play with my wife so its time together instead of time apart.

As for the link? I just tried to find it again on Facebook, didn't show up. I tried to do a google search, nothing. If I see it again, I'll put the webpage in the comments here.

Arrens said...

I too only lay when the kiddo's fast asleep. And my wife knows that if I'm ever needed for anything while I'm WoWing it up that I'm just down the hall. If I'm in a raid or instance, I make sure all the honey-do's are complete before I log in. I agree, certain areas might be improved if I quit the game. But I've had the experience of quitting the game before and other parts suffer as well (i.e., my utter boredom frustrates the crap out of she-who-must-be-obeyed).

mikemetcalf said...

Yeah, it sounds like you've found a good balance. And I agree that it helps that your wife plays. It's always a tricky balance to strike though. Anyway, thanks for the post. It was good food for thought.

Bob said...

@arrens It cracks me up that you refer to your wife as she-who-must-be-obeyed. lol, does she know about this?
Anyway, yeah, I think there is a balance that you have to find especially if you are married with kids. I don't think that we have to get rid of anything that's potentially a time waster (TV, movies, videogames, sports, juggling, going to work, etc) but we just can't let them get in the way of whats more important.

@mikemetcalf I think I have a better balance than I use to have, but I probably still focus on the game too much.

Luke said...

Good food for thought. I am a semi new player to WoW and I am married as well. When I started I new what I was getting into and made it a goal to not play while our little one was awake and when the wife was home. It has worked our well and Mike and I get to play at work durning lunch so when I go home I've already played my WoW and can move on to other things. I feel that when I get other goals done around the house that WoW is ok to play. When I don't accomplish those goals I feel guilty so I don't play. It has worked our rather well for me.

Bob said...

I play early in the morning before work (on leveling alts and random other stuff that I do on my own) and at night after the kids are in bed my wife and I will frequently jump on to go play on our mains. I haven't done any raiding since wrath has come out because I'm not 80 yet. Raids usual go to late for me, I start falling asleep pulling random mobs, haven't wiped the raid to do sleepy playing yet.