Addiction

…, and some drug and bewitch the soul with a kind of evil persuasion. Gorgias

Are you an addict?

To define addiction, I will limit myself and use one of the definitions of Michael J. Kuhar: an addiction is seeking and taking drugs, in spite of personal distress and harmful consequences. An addiction is something that you do; it is a behavior.

Is there a connection between substance addictions (like cocaine, alcohol, painkillers) and behavior addictions (like gambling and gaming)?

In the DSM V gambling changed from being categorized as ‘impulse control disorder’ to the category of addiction or the ‘substance use disorders’. This means that gambling is now seen as best understood when it it regarded like substance abuse. In other words addiction to a substance or to a behavior works similarly. Gaming addiction is not (yet) officially diagnosable as an addiction/disorder.

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Why do we ‘troll’? – Guest writing for Rav!

Good morning fellow gamers! The other day my friend Ravanel kindly asked me if I wanted to guest write on her blog today. Of course I said yes. So since my sleeping routines are getting no better and my addiction for writing you guys new blog posts is getting worse (!!!) I’ve been typing away on a new article exploring answers to the question “Why do we troll?”.

“Everyday users on the Internet—as well as clinicians and researchers1–7—have noted how people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn’t ordinarily say and do in the face-to-face world. They loosen up, feel less restrained, and express themselves more openly. So pervasive is the phenomenon that a term has surfaced for it: the online disinhibition effect.” -The Online Disinhibition Effect, John Suler 2004

This is the subject examined in my latest blog post. To read it, jump over to the Ravalation blog and check it out here. Happy trolling everyone!

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In Game Whispers – Narcissus

In Game Whispers” is a series of posts featuring real characters with fake names based on real events.

 

Narcissus: Imps are so bad today lol.
Dalek: should be an easy win
Narcissus: I’ll go make sure we have some damage mid, Noctua you go guard grass
Noctua: sure.
Silence.
Dalek: lol
Silence.
Narcissus: See? lol. Easy win. they are leaving the wz already
Noctua: 3 inc grss
Silence.
Narcissus: WTF! How the hell did we loose mid?! ******* IDIOT CALL INC FFS!

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In Game Whispers – The Player

In Game Whispers” is a series of posts featuring real characters with fake names based on real events.

 

Lamb: Hiya
Noctua: hey
Player: Hi
Tarras: hello
Player: anyone else sick of kdy?
Lamb: First time!
Player: really?
Lamb: Yeah : )
Silence.
Player: mate, why are you pulling all that aggro?
Lamb: Sorry I’m new…
Player: i can tell
Player: and dude, youre in wrong stance for tanking btw
Lamb: I’m not a dude! ^^
Player: dudette then

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In Game Whispers – The Womaniser

In Game Whispers” is a new series of posts featuring real characters with fake names based on real events.

 

Womaniser: I’m so tired of killing the damn prophet of vodal… can’t wait to lvl up.
Noctua: tell me about it
Womaniser: 2x XP FTW!
Garret: That was my last one though. thx 4 the run boys n’ girls!
Womaniser: Wait… are there girls here?
Silence.
Garret: Well I don’t know I won’t assume
Womaniser: Well are there??
Flint: there are no such thng as women in gaming it’s all guys pretending to have tits
Noctua: that’s not true :p swtor especially has lot’s of female gamers I’d say
Womaniser: you are girl noctua?
Noctua: well yeah but point is there are a lot
Womaniser: yeh, back off Flint, you’re being a little offensive m8
Noctua: No it’s fine really, just saying
Womaniser has removed Flint from the group.
Garret: “Err, ok… I’m gonna head off too before I get kicked too”
Garret left the group.
You left the group.
Womaniser: Why you leave the group?

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Issues with Kurloc (post guildmeet)

Strangely enough, after the first couple of times of playing with Kurloc, he changed back to himself. Apparently my brain made a different category for rl Kurloc and virtual Kurloc and my Kurloc had come back to life again.

He had to do a quest and he needed a goblin warlock. I had one. I logged him, without thinking it through. Kurloc saw my guildtag. It was not my main, but it was my main’s guildtag. It was my real guild. My guild was known. And somewhat (understatement) notorious.

K: Lol <guildname>
P: Yeah. 🙂
K: So how you got in?
P: Long story.
(The story: I accidentally entered a battleground equipped with my fishing gear. Some dude commented on it, in a semi-rp-way, and I out-rp’ed him and his friend completely during the battle. He grinned and sent me a guild invite.)
K: Short story. You are a girl.
P: They didn’t know that.
K: Sure they did.

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A guildmeet pt. 2/2

Trying to act casual, I descended the stairs. Not feeling like a star, far from that. ‘Pyxis!’ someone exclaimed. I insta-smiled. (My body apparently insta-smiles when someone exclaims my name. Even when it’s my virtual one.)
‘Hi,’ I said to no-one in particular.
‘Hi!’ said someone who grabbed my hand and shook it, ‘Kurloc.’
‘Kurloc!’
‘Let me introduce you!’ he said.

Of course, I forgot most of the names. I see faces before me, merging together. Smiles, brown eyes, blue eyes, glasses, an occasional tattoo. Skinny people, fit people, and people that looked like they didn’t believe in going outside. It was hot. It was boiling down there. A low ceiling. The space was crammed with tables and chairs.
‘Pizza coming at seven,’ Kurloc informed me with a wink.
‘Nice,’ I said, keeping my cool.

It was like my first day going to a new school, after my family moved. I was six, walked through the gates, in the yard, the buildings, children running around me and I was shocked. I hadn’t thought about how the school would be, but somehow I did have expectations. Because it looked different. It all looked entirely different. And so did Kurloc. No conscious expectations, but I must have had some, since he looked different. And he seemed less friendly (and less hotheaded) than I had experienced him in game.

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A guildmeet pt. 1/2

Quietly leveling an alt. Got a guild invite spammed at me and saying yes simply matched my mood best. A lot of happy welcomes in guildchat and I happily thanked them in return.

This guild was the sort that would advertise with ‘nice bunch of people’, in other words, the worst kind, but it was new to me. So I checked out their website, where they posted friendly things. They also had guides for everything. And there was a guildmeet planned. Very close by. Just over an hour drive.

I could go.

But I shouldn’t.

It wouldn’t hurt to ask them about it. I casually mentioned it to an officer, named Kurloc. Bad temper, but always talkative. Kurloc said I should definitely come and that it would be good fun. I replied that I had reservations, being new to the guild, I could possibly hate everybody irl and vice versa. ‘No,’ he said decisively. ‘You won’t. I have already quite a good impression about you. It’s not about how you look or what you do online, so it’s easier to get to know someone.’

I strongly disagreed with everything he had said. But I didn’t really play with these guys anyway, there was nothing to lose.
‘Do it,’ he said, ‘you’ll like it.’
My curiosity won. ‘OK,’ I replied.

Friday evening, drizzling rain, walking in a shabby back street in an unfamiliar town. Here and there a shop. I was dead nervous and second guessing my decision to go. The meet was held at a games store. Found it. I opened the door, a little bell rang which made my heart beat out of my chest, and I forced myself in. T.L. Lights, games on display, (board games, chess sets, etc), a cash register, and one small table with people playing cards. They didn’t look up.

‘Hi,’ I tried, in a tightened voice.
‘Hey,’ mumbled one of them, and they continued playing.
I approached them. ‘The owner will be back in a minute,’ he said.
‘There is supposed to be a guildmeet here?’
Now all of them gave me a quick glance.
‘Yes, there is. Just go in the back, downstairs.’

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The Psychology Behind Character Creation – Part 2

A little while ago I wrote an article about why we make our characters look the way they do. To follow up on this I have conducted a few interviews with SWTOR players asking them questions about characters they’ve made. Something I quickly picked up on was the relationship with the players motivation for gaming and the attitude he or she had towards character creation. There’s a very clear connection between these two which you will be able to see for yourself below. If you haven’t already read the original article about the psychology behind character creation I would recommend you follow the link and do so first.

The Psychology Behind Character Creation – Part 1

Here are the summaries of four interviews highlighting some different attitudes to character creation and it’s importance:

 

Aaree
The Harbinger

Aaree tells me that the first character she makes in a new game generally is a slightly idealised version of her self. It’s got similar features as that of her own physical self. The alts that come after can differ a lot but tend to unnamed (2)have one or two things in common like the eye colour or make up. She gears her characters to suit the role they play.

“As in the case with my healer sage wearing robes, ect” she explains.unnamed

Almost all of her characters are female and have always been since she started gaming years ago. Aaree does have a male character that she is very fond. She tells me she has spent a lot of time getting his appearance just right.

From talking to Aaree it is obvious that immersion is important to her when playing a game like SWTOR. This is clear from looking at everything from the way her character looks to how she gears them and even makes choices in the story fitting the personality traits she has assigned the character. Her main is female and so are most of her alts. They look either very much like her or are very different but with one or two similar characteristics (such as being human, same gender or even eye colour). If she goes for other species then these tend to be human like in their appearance, marialans or cyborgs for an example. Similarities such as these will make it easier to feel a sense of immersion into the story. It is also a way for us to explore different sides of our own personalities within the safe environment that gaming provides.

 

 

Snave
The Red Eclipse

Snave tells me that he spent more time making his main character but then modeled the other characters that came later after that. This due to a combination of limited character design options in the games he plays and him “being pretty lazy about this stuff”. He has spent much more time customising his characters outfits ect than he did in the initial character creation he informs me.

When asked if he finds his main resembles him in any way he answers: “Unfortunately I am not blue, nor do I have red eyes. I guess we have similar hair at a push but to answer the question; no I do not model characters after myself normally.”

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Thoughts on A.I. – A journey through fictionalized philosophy

If A.I. is conceivable than it is arguably possible. Now if it was possible then we need to ask ourselves “Is it desirable?”. Let’s have a look at implications.

The movie Ex Machina successfully blurs the lines between man and machine.

NATHAN
I programmed her to be heterosexual. Just like you were programmed to be heterosexual.

CALEB
Nobody programmed me to be straight.

NATHAN
But you are attracted to her.

CALEB
This is childish.

NATHAN
No, this is adult. And by the way, you decided to be straight? Please. Of course you were programmed. By nature or nurture, or both.

– Ex Machina, The screenplay

Instead of asking how artificial intelligence resembles humans and their behavior why don’t we turn this question upside down and ask ourselves how we resemble artificial intelligence. As humans we are conditioned or “programmed” by our environment and experiences. So what is the difference between us and a machine?

In the sci-fi book “Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K Dick we are introduced to the self destructive nature of man by the character Phil Resch and his increasingly lacking ability to emphasise. Resch has lost all empathy for androids as well as any living thing. He kills not because it is his job to do so but because he enjoys it. When Resch eventually finds out that he is not an android he is in fact surprised. The main character of the book, Rick, can come to no other conclusion except that Resch has lost a critical part of himself that made him human. This is a part of the reoccurring theme of depersonalization discussed in the book. 

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