Friday, June 24, 2011

My Secret Compulsion.

I think to some degree each and every one of us out there have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in some degree or another.  A mild case, the one we all have, has no O or D really, it is just a compulsion.

While the fact might be true that there are cases of OCD that can really be debilitating it usually isn't.  I have OCD about many things and you probably do also even if you don't realize it. 

I can't leave the bathroom without washing my hands, even if I only went in there to get a tissue to blow my nose.  I just have to wash them.  Not sure why, it is OCD.  I don't think about it, it just happens.

When I have company and they put a glass on the table and it is not on a coaster I will pick it up and put it on one or slide one under it where it is at.  I even have to have a napkin under my coffee when I am out somewhere, I will not just put a cup down on anything without something under it.  Not sure why, it is OCD.  I don't think about it, it just happens.

That is the type of OCD each and every person in the world has.  Simple things that we do not even notice that we do every day without even thinking.

Have you ever watched the Ellen talk show?  You will notice that she always puts on hand on her thigh when she walks out in the same exact spot every time.  That is a case of OCD.  Sometimes it can be as simple as that.  It is not debilitating, it is not for an actual purpose, it is just something that she does that she quite possibly does not even know she does.

The thing with OCD is that if you do not do those little things they throw you off.  You will feel off all day long because something is wrong.

I think that games like WoW actually encourage OCD behavior by making us develop a pattern and when we do not do our pattern we feel a little off.

Actually WoW, and almost all games really, reward OCD like behavior.  So much so that we develop our OCD in a conscious manner and then it embeds itself into out subconscious after we have done it long enough.

I log in to my Druid to do my jewel crafting daily, then my Warrior for my jewel crafting daily.  No matter what else I have to do that day, that is always how I start my game time.  It never changes.  If I miss my daily on them I feel as if I am missing out on something. 

I even log on to do my jewel crafting daily on days I have no intention of playing.  If I know I will not have time to be on after work that day I will log on before going to work just to do them.  That my friend is textbook OCD.

One night last week I did not show up to raid night until it was just about to start so I did not have the time to log onto my druid or my warrior for their daily jewel crafting quest.  That whole night, although I did not actively think about it, I just felt a bit off.

Raid nights, in their own, develop a form of OCD.  If you raid every Thursday for a year and then do not raid one Thursday you will feel as if something is off.  Even if you knew that there was no raid that night set up you would not be able to shake the feeling that there is something you are supposed to be doing.

Your conscious mind knows you raid that night, it knows you are not raiding tonight, all is rational and fine.  Somewhere in your subconscious however the OCD kicks in and starts messing with you.  It is the reason why you have that feeling that something is wrong.  Like you are missing something.  Even if your rational conscious mind knows differently.

I have pin pointed a few of those OCD moments in my game play outside of the obvious dailies and raid nights.  I am a button smasher.  I always like to have something to do. Any moment I am not doing something I feel as if I am doing something wrong.  That is the OCD kicking in.

I am comfortable with my Hunter because there is always something to do.  I am not so comfortable on my Rogue because I have to wait to do things.  I've tried to get comfortable with my Rogue, I really have.  I can even do quite decently with him now yet I still never feel right playing him.

I am a button smasher, that is part of my secret compulsion.  I like to be doing something at every given moment in time.  It is like that in every aspect of the game.  I hate sitting in a main city not doing anything.  If I am on, I have to be doing something.  I can't just hang out.

This is why all my DPS characters have a gathering profession.  It gives them something to do while waiting in queue besides standing around in a city reading the dribble we refer to as trade chat. 

I always need to be doing something.  Smashing buttons, gathering materials, anything.  I can not do nothing.  Doing nothing is time wasted and time wasted means something is wrong.  That is my OCD, my secret compulsion.  I have to do something.

Dailies, raid night, constant button smashing, these are all habits the game developed itself.  Does this mean the game is at fault?  Not really, as I said all people have OCD to some degree and they will latch on to what they are susceptible to latch onto.

I latch on to things that I am already susceptible to.  I am like that in real life too.  I can't do nothing.  I have to always be doing something.  The game just rewards such behavior. 

What worries me is if it is possible that the game can actually take people that have minor OCD with specific things and push them to the next level.

The game trained me to be compulsive with my dailies.  That did not exist before the game.  It is not hurting me in any way to do them but who is to say that there is someone out there that has a bad case of OCD, not something mild that we all have.

It is not debilitating in any way for me but that does not mean that for someone else it isn't.  I see it as quite possible that the game could push someone over the edge.  Someone with serious OCD, not just putting a hand on their thigh whenever they do something, and push them over the edge.

Ever drop something in the mail box and open it back up to make sure it went down?  That is mild OCD.  We all have it, we check because we feel it is necessary. 

Some people check a few times.  Some people might even walk back to check again after they have taken a few steps away just to make sure.  Some, those with a severe case of OCD, will not be able to stop thinking about the mail and if it went down.  They might wake up in the middle of the night to go back and check or toss and turn all night worrying about if the mail really went down.

Who is to say what it is that exactly tips the scale from you opening the mail box two or three times after your dropped the mail in to check and you not being able to sleep at night because you worry about it?

Should a game, any game, be training minds to think in a OCD sort of way when it could be the tipping point for someone that already had more then just the mild every day OCD we all have?

It makes me wonder sometimes or maybe I should say it makes me worry sometimes.

Is something we do for fun possibly dangerous to us?

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