Anthony Rosner, from WoW hero and hardcore player to promising filmmaker.
Recently I wrote an article about his video “IRL – In Real Life” : a short, “light-hearted” documentary looking at the effects of World of Warcraft addiction.
A great video I must say, inspirational, with nice music and images, inviting you to bring out the best in you.
I decided to interview Anthony Rosner and I hope you will find in this article the same inspiration I found from him.
1.Which do you think is the most attractive and addictive element of Wow?
Anthony : well, I believe the most compelling element of WoW that is addictive is broken into two areas. One is the fact that the game never ends, there is always new content being added to the game like patches and expansions, which makes people want to keep playing until the new stuff comes out.
The other element is the strong social side, although this doesn’t apply to everyone but making friends on WoW, I believe entices you to play with them more, also added to that is the fact that you all have the same interests in the game and people invariably encourage each other to keep playing more.
I think it is hard to realize that you might be addicted if everyone around you is also addicted.
Also no doubt the “fantasy” of playing in a huge virtual world has its lures on people who wish to escape and become someone else like a hero. But you know, I don’t think these apply to everyone.
2.How did you find the strength to leave WoW?
Anthony : the first warning signs for me, is when I realised that my university grades were suffering, I wasn’t passing any of my essays and greatly underperforming.
I always wanted to be a film director and I was doing a film production course and throwing that opportunity away. I didn’t want to throw away my dreams.
I also noticed I had been single since I subscribed to Warcraft, and that I started playing on Valentines day (as mentioned in the movie), this was more of a comical reason, but it did make me think about it and how much I was playing and how little of the world I was seeing.
When that happened, I disbanded my guild and decided never to raid hardcore again and just play casually, after a while I just got bored because I didn’t have anyone to play with, which I deliberately made sure so I wouldn’t get sucked back into the game.
3.After you left WoW, did you still wanted to play again?
Anthony : yeah, I wanted to play, I wanted to try out the new content but it just didn’t seem worth it, there were more important things I wanted to do, and I set out a priority system for me, WoW was very low on that list.
Except for when I was making IRL, ironically I was playing again, but only to make the movie, I didn’t play hardcore or anything, I didn’t feel the need to get sucked in either as I was quite bored with the game at that point.
4.Do you know people who are WoW Hardcore Players,who they realize they are addicted, but they can not stop?What would you recommend them?
Anthony : I don’t really know anyone else who plays the game hardcore, everyone who I know plays the game occasionally or not at all, definitely not as much as we all used to. (I will cover my suggestions in question 8).
5.Do you think Blizzard know the power they have on players, especially those who are weak and with existing social problems, so as to emphasize their Wow addiction?
Anthony : I think Blizzard are very aware about their game and the sort of hours people put into it. I don’t think they target the game at “weak minded” people or people who are prone to addiction.
They are running a business and unfortunately a business that has a subscription model, which means that they want their content to last longer than a month, so they keep adding new stuff and tasks within the game that can take weeks to complete (some take months or years in some cases).
They don’t want people to complete everything in a week and then unsubscribe, it doesn’t make any business sense.
However I think they try to convey a positive gaming message, they have added features that allow you do some of the content without dedicating months to it (like the raids) and have allowed people who do play casually mechanics within the game to play a few times a week or whenever they want to, rather that forcing it on them that they have to play everyday.
6.Considering that we are now at level 90, and Blizzard says there is space for expansions up to level 100, do you think Wow is set to continue or disappear one day in the future?
Anthony : I think WoW will be around for many years to come, as long as there are people paying for the game and playing (I think they have 10 million subscribers) I wouldn’t be surprised to see the game go on to expansions that increase the game to level 110-130, I guess it all depends on how they can keep peoples interest, although they are working on a new MMO, so that might lure players away from WoW, but then the cycle will start all over again with a new game.
7. If you could go back, do you think you would invest 6 years of your life playing WoW or doing other things?
Anthony : I think I didn’t spend my time as wisely as I could have, I definitely missed a lot of opportunities, but I don’t regret anything otherwise I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I feel a lot better off now after having those 6 years spent in the game.
And it wasn’t all bad, I did make some great friends, a few of whom I am still in contact with on a regular basis also if I didn’t play the game, I wouldn’t have made my film, and I am probably a lot better off now that I made IRL.
I made some new friends through my film and it has opened up opportunities for me.
8. Please Anthony, do you have a suggestion for those who want to quit, based on your experience?
Anthony : I think if you want to stop playing, you need to work out why. Is it because you don’t feel happy about something else, maybe a job, career, social circles, relationships?
And then work out a priority, think about what you want in the future and not what you want now.
The most important thing is to not cut the game off completely, you need to gradually play less and less, it might take a bit of will power to start slowing down.
At the end of the day, the game doesn’t go anywhere, it is still there and all the gear you get is replaced before you know it.
It is just a game, but moderation is definitely the key.
I think it is very healthy to play games, they can inspire you creatively, allow social opportunities and provide new skills and learning.
I know a lot of Europeans would play on English servers just to learn English. I do think WoW is a great game, if it wasn’t I wouldn’t have spent 6 years playing it, but really it is all about what you want to be, not who you are now, have an end goal in sight and work towards it but if it is just cut off that can cause people to become angry, and that doesn’t solve anything.
The last point I would like to make is not to blame the game, the game is just a tool that can be used to maybe deal with other issues, by blaming the game, you are saying there is nothing wrong with yourself and therefore might miss the bigger picture.
Thanks so much for your kindness Anthony!
I hope this interview will help many WoW addicted players decide to take action dedicating less time to World of Warcraft and more time to Real Life.
Anthony : Leaving Wow opened my eyes again!
I hope you will too!
See Anthony Rosner personal website here.