Addictions….

January 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Life in General, MMORPGology

I saw a question posed recently: How addictive is LoTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) a Massive Multi-Player Role Playing Game?

Nither LoTRO nor any other online game is in and of itself physically addictive. The key phrases here are “in and of itself” and “physically”.

For some thing to be physically addictive it must have a molecular structure and that structure must be similar to some chemical naturally produced by the human body. For example, morphine… it is addictive because it has a molecular structure nearly identical to a chemical naturally produced by you and I. When the body gets what it needs from an outside source it stops producing it and becomes dependent upon the external source of the chemical. Once addicted, when one tries to stop getting it from the external source the body goes through a transition known as withdrawal until it starts producing it again on its own. Some chemicals are more addictive than others, this is always dependent upon the length of time from which first ingested from the external source to when the body stops making the required chemical.

Crack is incredibly addictive because the body immediately stops making the similar chemical. Nicotine is much less addictive since one does not become physically addicted after only 1 cigarette. That is, the body keeps making the requisite chemical until its received the chemical externally over some period of time.

Based on the above description of addiction, it is completely impossible for an online game to be addictive as it does not have a molecular structure.
There are some who would say it is psychologically addicting. However, placing the term “addiction” on this is incorrect and is simply an easy way to escape responsibility, to actually place it (responsibility) on the game as opposed to the gamer. “Addiction” to LoTRO, WoW or any other game is ALWAYS the direct result of a choice. If I choose to play LoTRO with all my free time… some will say it’s an addiction, when in fact, it’s merely my choice.
Someone recently wrote that our (men’s) hearts easily/naturally make idols of things. I think that’s true and that it is an exhibition of our sin nature. When we choose to sit and play LoTRO (and I’ve done this too, so I’m guilty – probably more than most – of this specific sin choice) with all of our hearts, minds, and souls, we are making an idol to replace God… simply stated… choosing to sin – consciously… on purpose… there is no accident here.

Note: If I choose to eat too much or get drunk these too are sins and are examples of making idols of something besides our Father and of making sin choices.

If we do that which the Lord approves with appropriate moderation, keeping it and our Lord in the respective, proper and correct positions in our hearts, it’s fine.

I also believe God is where the people are… if we are online … then He is online too… I think mission fields begin at the end of our noses… wherever that may be… cyberspace included. I think God laid it on the hearts of those who start various online fellowship groups (i.e., guilds) (as the One who works in us to will and to do) so that fellow believers may have online fellowship as well as maintain a witness of Him… to be the fragrance of Christ to the saved and the perishing… online as well as off.

In fact, I actually have experienced more Christian fellowship through involvement in an online Christian guild than I do in real life. This is true because (1) I’m an extreme introvert – happier at the computer than at a gathering, and (2) after 9, 10, or 11 hours of work in a day, I want to come home not go out, even to Church.

It’s time people (AND MYSELF INCLUDED) stop blaming other “things” to avoid responsibility for our free-will choices. We all make our own choices, no one and no “thing” make us do that.

Gaming is MUCH more fun with friends!

December 30, 2008 by  
Filed under MMORPGology

Since March 0f 2007 I’ve played Lord of the Rings Online… time and time again I’ve deleted all my characters and started over from scratch. I’ve done this so many times that I can give you a walk through of the Elf Introduction from memory — through to Level 6.

I guess I kept thinking I was missing something… it just wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be… but I didn’t want to quit, because I love quest games. Back in the 90′s I played all of the Sierra quest games… Police Quest, Space Quest, and Kings Quest… online gaming was a simple progression of that, it added the capability of interacting with other people.

Some people can take it too far, and live more in the virutal space than in reality. I’ve thought about why this is and I think its that folks may find the virtual world (1) more rewarding, and (2) they’re more in control of it.

What I’ve found in a very short time of being a member of a kinship and playing on a server with more players.. is that more people make the game more enjoyable. First of all, the kinship is so incredibly cool, because here are a group of folks (some are even my age ;-) who enjoy doing stuff I enjoy. Secondly, it is much more fun to see PCs (Player Characters) running around the landscape in and out of towns than it is to be there all alone.

Still even with the increased number of players it’s the kinship with whom I’ve already interacted more than I have with others in the last 1.5 years that is… making my virtual day!

Thank you… Creations of the Light!! What a blessing!

Round and round we go…..

December 28, 2008 by  
Filed under MMORPGology

Good Morning Y’all…. well I’ve been much less than successful at maintaining this blog with current, updated, important information. It’s now the end of 2008 and I’m not sure I’ll ever get any better at this.

My problem is that my attention span (not long on good days) moves from one thing to another, to another, to another… returning to the 1st interest, then to the 2nd… ad infinitum.

I love my Lord, my family, gardening, counted thread embroidery, reading, playing with clay, rug hooking, and gaming as in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (also called MMOG or simply MMO).

My favorite earthly author is J.R.R. Tolkien (isn’t that surprising given the number of articles I’ve written on him and/or his work). Tolkien was one of the world’s greatest etymologists and worked at Oxford. Quite simply he loved words and could put them together so beautifully as to make one see, feel, sense something… to make it real. I love him, I look forward to meeting him in the future as he was a believer too.

So quite naturally my favorite MMO is The Lord of the Rings Online (LoTRO). In 2007 when I began playing I thought it’d be a good chance for me to witness to others by putting Tolkien’s work into his perspective. I felt this was necessary due to the number of folks, particularly younger gamers, who see only the fantasy or role-playing and not the truths with which Tolkien was concerned. You see, Tolkien believed that truth could be expressed through myth.

I do all that I love individually going from one thing to the next… basically, I’m an obsessive – compulsive person… throwing myself whole-heartedly into things, limited to one at a time (two at best)… but I also get bored with one thing after awhile… so I change… plus my husband and I have both had medical problems this last year and we did a trip to Europe… all of which must be squeezed in… I look forward to retirement simply to be able to enjoy doing the myriad of activities I enjoy the most… ALL of the time.

In gaming I got rather bored… bottom line.. it was lonely… very few people played on the server I was on and the “groups” (aka guilds or kinships) with which I came in contact left me cold… after all, what did I have in common with them beyond the game? … not much, if anything… who knows… after some research I found Creations of the Light (CotL) a Christian group that enables me to play my favorite game with a group of people with whom I share a lot more than just a game….. so I’m off… not to see the wizard… but to be an elf or a hobbit or simply a woman… in Middle Earth…. to solve puzzles and save the virtual world….

Some links…
The kinship – Creations of the Light at http://lotrocotl.com/
The game – Lord of the Rings Online at http://www.lotro.com/
More about the game – Forums for LotRO at http://forums.lotro.com/

On Power

April 30, 2007 by  
Filed under My Lord, Tolkien

Have you ever considered that we (mankind) have a problem with power?
In Tolkien’s fairy tales Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, the primary topic of each is the quest to defeat an evil would-be-lord’s attempt to own all power. In reflection it seems to me that the one ‘thing’ man strives for perhaps more than anything else is power. In some cases it is the quest for power, in others it’s the display of power that fuels our economy and our lives.

Power in all its forms is inextricably linked with pride. We take pride in ourselves when we can exhibit power over ourselves, others, and our possessions. In today’s society many consider power to be a positive thing, such as in being the ‘Master of Our Own Destiny.’

But we are only kidding ourselves if we think power and/or its pursuit is a good thing.

It is power that fueled Lucifer’s quest for God’s throne; power of knowledge that induced Eve to pick up the apple. Often, it’s the pursuit of power that drives men and women in the workforce to climb the corporate ladder, run for office, or own a business. Power is the reason people rape, murder, and abuse other people. It’s power that drives countries to depossess other people of their property and lands.

Look around our world today and one way or another most of us are trying to exhibit power in our individual lives. It is this real quest to own and/or utilize power and its resident co-evil pride that utterly destroys man. It abases us as we try to elevate ourselves to preeminence above God.

Even in our games it’s all about power. The Massively Multiplayer Online-Role Playing Game (MMORPG), The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar the players have characters that achieve “levels”. Each level exhibits its own “power”. When fighting a “bad guy” one looks at their own level and compares it to the “bad guy’s” level to see who has the most “power.” In the Lord of Rings Trivial Pursuit game power is exhibited by knowing more than the other players. These forms of power would seem innocuous at worst. After all, we all enjoy them.

Back to Tolkien’s heroes… they were humble, and this humility gives us (the reader) a sense that their attitude was just and right. In all my readings I’ve not found even one person who expressed that these heroes were stupid or foolish. I don’t think we could understand that it’s better to be humble than to pursue power in and of or for ourselves. We should consider where our sense of morality (right and wrong) comes from. This is an excellent example of myth containing truth.

I agree with Tolkien, that only Divinity has the right to own and exhibit power. Jesus said he is sitting at the right hand of Power. That tells us clearly that it is God who has the right to power. Jesus also said he has all authority… that IS power… real power.

We are creatures not The Creator. If we focus on God first and foremost as we ought and humble ourselves to Him and His guidance He will demonstrate power on our behalf. What a wonderful, peaceful position to be in…. That where The Creator takes care of us (of me)…

On humility… God tells us to, “… consider others as better than [ourselves]..” Christ said, “No greater love hath any man than that he lay down his life for a friend.” We’re also told that the second commandment is “… to love others as we love ourselves.” These actions keep us humble and defeat the quest for power… humility and power are mutually exclusive…

I need to learn to be more humble!