To stay away from Azeroth—which is to remain unsubscribed from Blizzard Entertainment’s enduring MMORPG, World of Warcraft—is no simple task. In fact, the gaming community has long (and only half-jokingly) referred to the orc- and elf-filled game as “World of Warcrack.”THOM JAMES CARTER
As somebody who, over the past 14 years, has racked up more than 600 days played, the pull of WoW’s constant new dungeons, raids, and battlegrounds is something I can attest to. When I’m at a loose end, the first thing that comes to mind is logging on my level-60 rogue. And if I don’t play for an extended period of time, I’ll, quite literally, see WoW in my dreams. On a conscious and subconscious level, I can’t quite escape.
Video game “addiction,” though, isn’t solely relegated to WoW; it’s cross-genre and cross-platform. Neither is addiction the only neurological and psychological side effect of video games. So how, scientifically, do video games—from MMORPGs to shooters and RPGs—affect our brains? And despite the drawbacks, can the brain benefit from video games?