Many people find that juggling their virtual and real lives can be a difficult act. There are only so many hours in one day, and MMO games are getting more and more savvy at compelling you to play for extended periods of time each day by offering daily quests or other timed challenges and rewards, in addition to the usual drive to raise your level, complete quests, help out with raids, etc. That feeling that you’re missing out on something if you don’t keep going is often what drives gamers to play for numerous hours each day, and can cause them to run into issues with their real life.

Addiction in various forms is a very real threat, and should not by any means be scoffed at or taken lightly. I’ve compiled a few tips below that I think can help gamers avoid falling too deeply into MMO addiction, allowing them to enjoy the great benefits of online gaming, while still maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle away from the game.

Keep Things in Perspective

This isn’t always easy to do, especially when you’re in the throes of long gaming sessions. It becomes very easy for your virtual life to slowly encroach on your real life and exert more and more influence over it. And once that ball gets rolling, it can be very difficult to stop the momentum.

For me, one of the best ways to keep perspective on the reality of the situation is to consciously picture myself 10 or 20 years from now. What relevance is this game I’m so addicted to now going to have in my life in 20 years? What are the odds I’m still going to be playing the game after so long? Will I even be playing games at all, or will I have moved on to new hobbies or pursuits? Will that game still exist even if I did have designs on playing it that long?

Ask yourself these questions and you should be able to help keep your gaming passion in perspective as a hobby and not a way of life. Chances are the game you’re playing now will have no relevance in your life in 20 years, so why neglect yourself and the things that are really important in your life for it now?

Yes gaming is a blast, and a great way to spend some free time. But it should not interfere with things that really matter, and will be important aspects of your life 10 or 20 years from now, namely your education or work career, your family, and your friends.

Get Away From the Game

As I mentioned above, you can begin to lose perspective on reality when you’re in the middle of an extensive gaming session (such as playing 12+ hours a day for several weeks), and often the only way to get out of it is to take a moderate to lengthy break from the game.

Short breaks are not enough to break one from the gaming haze you may find yourself in, and you’ll often spend that time away from the game simply thinking about it the entire time, and counting down the minutes until you can get back in front of that monitor, slaying creatures and slinging spells once again.

After 48 hours or so, the burning desire to play the game should start fading, at which point you’ll begin to question what drove you to play for so long, and neglect your real life in such a way. Take this opportunity to set some new boundaries on yourself as far as play time goes, detailed below.

Stick to Limits

The easiest way to avoid going overboard with your gaming is to set limits on yourself. The limits could come in various forms. It could be a strict limit on the amount of time you play each day, or the times which you allow yourself to play at, and it could also be used as a reward mechanism, limiting play of the game until you’ve completed any or all of your tasks for the day, be it homework, work around the house, or simply taking care of yourself in other important ways (eating right, exercising, etc.).

The most important thing to remember when setting limits on yourself is that you MUST follow through with them. If you break your promise to yourself even once and give in on your self-imposed limits, you’ll have no hope of succeeding afterwards and will have to start the process over again.

Breaking a gaming addiction is difficult, just as not falling into it is difficult in the first place. Let your online gaming experience be driven by your enjoyment for gaming, and not by any desires for in-game wealth, power, or glory, and you should be able to avoid some of the pitfalls that befall many other gamers. Keep the reality of things in perspective and you should be able to maintain an ideal balance between carefree gaming and a healthy livelihood.

16 Readers Commented

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  1. BananaMan on August 19, 2011

    hmm some very helpful tips for those who are crazy about online gaming ^_^

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  2. Church♪ on August 19, 2011

    This’ll be very hard for people who are addicted to games, they’ll have to try harder than people who just like to game.

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  3. McClintick on August 19, 2011

    I used to never think game addiction existed, but in the last 4-5 years it boomed to the point where you hear about it every week . With games, especially mmo’s being so involved and society as a whole lowering moral standards people in some cases become glued.In the article it’s talking about extreme cases and those people have more wrong with them then just addiction. Depression and lack of sense of self-worth are usually connected to real addiction. But gamers who just want to play alot also need to take breaks.

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  4. Phoenix on August 19, 2011

    Wow…you just made me realize that i am in fact addicted myself..wow..I avoid friends to play games and have become so introverted. But its sooo hard to stop D: Like when i am with friends im thinking “wow, i would have so much more fun playing so and so.” And it is hard to keep up with your online friends who are addicted to and gain like 3 or 4 levels over night. ya know? But McClint has a good point aboust some feel worthless and stuff.

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  5. Borntown on August 19, 2011

    wow.. this is why i love MMOBOMB… man.. i gotta apply for a job with you guys. You really dont just talk only about mmo’s but life!! +rep and respect… :D

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  6. Phoenix on August 19, 2011

    Srsly! i have so much respect for you guys. You guys are the shizzz xD

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  7. Gomez on August 19, 2011

    Anything is considered an addiction when the others ( aka the real life friends) can’t benefit from it. No one will consider the others addicted to something if they have the same level of addiction.

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  8. Rufinus on August 20, 2011

    am not addicted to games or online games it self. am addicted to my pc.

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  9. Stacy Raven on August 20, 2011

    After being an avid gamer for 10+ years I found myself breaking away from gaming for the first time in my adult life this year. I went from playing MMOs for AT LEAST 5 hours a day EVERY DAY to not having touched a game in nearly 9 months. Over the past year or so I found that as my real life responsibilities became more and more, I had less and less time to play. When all your online friends can play for 20+ hours a week and you can only play for TWO hours a week you fall behind really fast. It got to the point where I figured out if I couldn’t play every day it just isn’t worth it to play at all. Everyone else is higher level. Everyone else has better crafting. It can take me two weeks just to complete simple quests because of the time restrictions my real life places on my gaming time. It finally got the the point where it’s not really worth it anymore and gave gaming up entirely.

    I do miss gaming, I’m not going to lie. But spending hours a day on a game just isn’t an option for my life right now, and hopefully it won’t be for a LONG TIME. Because since giving up gaming my career has taken off like I never even imagined it would. I’ve also found “the one” and we are even talking about marriage. My real life is finally coming together. I just had to give up my first love (gaming) to get it there. Now my first love is ME – and creating a life I can be proud of. I’m happier now then I’ve ever been. So yeah, I may miss MMOs and gaming, but in the end it’s a small price to pay for the happiness I have now. :D

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    • Phoenix on August 20, 2011

      Gee, youve helped me realize a lot[: thank you.

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      • Stacy Raven on August 21, 2011

        Really? Oh wow, awesome! :D That makes me happy to know that I’ve helped someone with just telling my story. *hug* I wish you luck, Phoenix! :D

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    • Gomez on August 21, 2011

      Just wondering…Would you think the same as you do now if you would have been rejected 5+ times by girls in these 9 months ( or 1 year) ?

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      • Stacy Raven on August 21, 2011

        Well seeing as I’m a girl and I’m not much into girls, I don’t think it would bother me to be rejected by them. lol I know what you mean though. And yeah, I’d probably still feel the same way, because my career is in the best place it’s ever been and I’m extremely successful right now in my work life. :D It’s made me more money and more honor then I’ve had previously. So yeah, even without a successful personal life, a booming professional life would still make it worth while to give up gaming. :)

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  10. PotPuppy on August 20, 2011

    ” For me, one of the best ways to keep perspective on the reality of the situation is to consciously picture myself 10 or 20 years from now. ”

    20 years from now : ” I’m thinking about getting metal legs. It’s a risky operation, but it’ll be worth it. ” thnx JP could not agree more XD

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  11. zenyth on August 20, 2011

    this forum ain’t helping me too much i barrelly have 1 or 2 hours time to spend on pc , and I spend it playing apb
    but still im sure there are gamers that rlly need a help like this

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  12. KiX on August 23, 2011

    Really great tips you got here. But this seems more for the super addictive people more known as “no-lifes”, who really need to get a hold of them self and get out once in a while.

    p.s
    When i say no-life i dont mean in an offencive way. But more like a term for people who spend almost every awakening moment infront of the computer gaming, and ignoring whats outside in the real world.

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