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Engagement v. Addiction (just definitions)

Engagement v. Addiction (just definitions) – August 14, 2007 7:15 PM (edited 8/14/07 3:15 PM)
Airclair (1096 posts) Doesn't Play Well with Others
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Just to note, because from the chat no one (from what I could understand) knew the difference:

High Engagement (clinical):

Cognitive salience (how much you think about the game)


Tolerance (needing to play more and more to get the same high)


Behavioral Salience (how often you play the game)

Conflict (intra and interpersonal)




As can be seen from the above definitions, it helps immensely in understanding behavioral addiction to separate out Engagement activities from addictive activities. Specifically addicted activities center on justifying or preventing stoppage of play. The inability to stop, an inability to quit, etc, denote addiction, whereas a preoccupation or mental engagement with the game combined with high play time is simply (as one study put it) "...someone who just likes to play video games. A lot."

Not that there is anyway to NOT sound defensive but this is (obviously) something I've thought about from time to time. I've never really debated the gambler's fallacy v. Notorious Monster fights (as I believe, and still do, that judged holistically each kill is a positive influence on getting the drop).

And again sorry for stamping my foot at the end but when 2 non-MMO players and 1 guy who played FFXI to level 53 (not even the halfway point) on one job say we know better than you about MMOs, I don't know any other way to respond.

Well as I've always said, definitions are the key to an argument...there you go!

Re: Engagement v. Addiction (just definitions) – August 14, 2007 7:44 PM (edited 8/14/07 3:44 PM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
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Are you seriously bringing this up again? I'm tempted to lock this thread for your own good. But I do have a few things to say.

First, I am level 58, not 53. Bitch.

Second, being a hardcore MMO player does not give you great insight into whether MMO's are addictive, in much the same way as a compulsive gambler is not the best person to ask whether gambling is addictive.

Third, quoting definitions without saying where you got them is pretty useless. I mean, I could quote articles literally all day long that talk about the specifics of MMO addiction.

(signature removed)

Re: Engagement v. Addiction (just definitions) – August 14, 2007 7:53 PM (edited 8/14/07 3:56 PM)
Airclair (1096 posts) Doesn't Play Well with Others
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I actually care about this topic. If MMOs turn out to be damaging or something, I'd like to hear about it.

You are a nub whm!

It was from a doctoral thesis, and as I'd much MUCH rather keep this informal, I don't want to start quoting stuff and having people go back to it. Actually it was from that gamasutra article which summed up the thesis, which you linked to under "long". (ironic word choice as I finished reading the full thesis an hour ago, all 44 pages or whatever)

Since it's a buzz word topic I expect many off the cuff articles to exist (thank you gaming blogs!) so I guess if we start quoting "Jimmy says gaming is addictive!" that might be silly.

I wanted to note the difference between Engagement and Addiction because it was casually referenced in the gambling addiction articles, but listed in much more detail in the Internet Addiction Disorder stuff from 2004/2005, seems much more applicable for behavior.

Finally I felt bad that the entire discussion ended with "We know better than you" and me responding with "No that's patently absurd as none of you have played MMOs" so I figured I'd define the thing that had been bothering me the most (the difference between playing a lot (all mmo gamers) and addiction (some mmo gamers) and how to tell the difference).

Re: Engagement v. Addiction (just definitions) – August 14, 2007 7:57 PM (edited 8/14/07 3:57 PM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
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You've been saying all along that MMO's aren't addictive, i.e., that there are no addicted MMO gamers. All we've been saying is that that's a load of malarkey, and despite your protestations you seem to be saying the exact same thing.

(signature removed)

Re: Engagement v. Addiction (just definitions) – August 14, 2007 8:07 PM (edited 8/14/07 4:07 PM)
Airclair (1096 posts) Doesn't Play Well with Others
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No I said:

"I'm saying that, like "gambling addiction", MMOs can enable people with addictive tendencies to become addicted, yes. It can also negatively impact people's lives with previous mental illnesses"


"See Mike the problem here is that MMOs really do have addictive tendencies, they mimic real life in that the more time you spend, the better you are. Their reward system has no built in "You've done too much" today limitation"


"No I'm working from the assumption that you guys think I'm addicted to MMOs (and I probably am) and thus that MMOs are addicting (they're not)"


"Gambling and drugs ARE addictions"


"So you blame the activity for this? You compare alcohlism to ... video game abuse"


"No my point is that MMOs aren't addictive period. I have no doubt they will be made to be in a medical text 5-10 years from now. Just because I believe something doesn't mean I fail to understand how people think"


"Yea but when you start talking about sugar and heroine, and then MMOs to gambling, the distinction is a lot less clear about video games. I said, ages ago in the chat, that MMOs have addictive tendencies"

etc etc etc

The waffling on MMOs have nothing to do with addiction and addictive tendencies etc was due to the lack of definition.

The addictive tendencies in the chat referred to engagement. High cognitive saliance all that. The addiction sections of the chat focus on not being able to quit (which is where I continued to draw the line).

My whole point of the chat (and if I had known these definitions, it could've been summed up a lot easier) is that high engagement behavior in MMOs does not mean that it's difficult to stop. The fact that MMOs encourage high engagement behavior *does* make it difficult for addicted people to stop however. This is an individual, behavioral addiction, and as such has little to do with the substance (the game in this case) and a lot to do with the individual and his/her reasons for playing the game.

Re: Engagement v. Addiction (just definitions) – August 14, 2007 8:11 PM (edited 8/14/07 4:11 PM)
Airclair (1096 posts) Doesn't Play Well with Others
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If the conversation focused around the ability or inability of a player to stop playing in the face of real world responsibilities/requirements, I think it could've been a positive conversation.

Re: Engagement v. Addiction (just definitions) – August 14, 2007 8:17 PM (edited 8/14/07 4:17 PM)
Airclair (1096 posts) Doesn't Play Well with Others
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Plus these definitions make me understand more why this conversation centered around the working 5 months for an item thing, and how that would light up the "hm this guy can't stop even though it took that long!" alarms.

I think NM camping is a different topic (one centered around probability heh) but this distinction has A) made me a lot less defensive and B) crystallized my understanding of my own "duality of MMO" talk, which I kept referring to as MMOs were at once addictive and not addictive. That makes me happier, since I knew what I was trying to say, but not how to say it.

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