Swedish Youth Advocate: WoW is Crack Cocaine of Game World

A youth advocate in Sweden has likened World of Warcraft to crack cocaine in terms of its supposed addictiveness and the Swedish National Institute of Public Health has endorsed that view.

As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, Sven Rollenhagen of Sweden’s Youth Care Foundation has authored a report describing WoW in ominous terms:

The most dangerous game on the market… There is not a single case of game addiction that we have worked with in which World of Warcraft has not played a part…

It is the crack cocaine of the computer game world. Some will play it till they drop.

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  1. Wolvenmoon says:

    ^—-what I meant by no bullies.

    ‘sides, if you play WoW harder than the bullies and write down anyone’s name that kills you at a low level, you can find them and exact hilarious vengeance. XD;

    Unfortunately, our public school system fails many ‘bullies’ as hard as it fails ‘bullied’. Often times children with autism, tourettes, etc are viewed as ‘bullies’ by the school, and are thrown to the wolves (‘bigger bullies’) to ‘straighten them up’. All it does is hurt the kids, and cost them millions in lawsuits and lawyers.

    I remember my mom was up at the middle school one day talking to the principle about a cursing problem. The principle looked her in the face, and without even so much as a liar’s twitch said "We do not have a cursing problem at this school." And wouldn’t you know it, call it Karma, God, or chance, a kid piped up out in the hallway, right that very minute talking to his friend "NO SHIT!?" and his friend replied: "YEAH! No shit!"

    This same stance is applied towards bullying. "We do not have a bullying problem, your kid is the bully and is getting what’s coming to him."

  2. CaptainZM says:

     I get into fun games really hard. I play them until I squeeze all the fun out of them, then I move on. I wasnt quite finished with WoW after 2 years but then Real Life got in the way and College started. So WoW got thrown on a backburner and gets to pop up whenever I have spare time and Feel like dealing with the Northrend lag.


    "Don’t Run, You’ll Just Die Tired."

  3. Valdearg says:

    Bullies in Wow can’t actually do anything to you. Yeah, the smack talk is there, but aside from talk crap, at which point you can just turn off your virtual "Ears" by using /ignore, there isn’t much they can do, unless you choose to let them.

    Worst case scenario, you Choose to play on a PVP server, and one of the side effects is that you will be ganked repeatedly as you level. I guess that could be considered bullying, but that can easily be avoided by playing on a PvE server.

    In real life, you say the wrong thing to a bully, and you may very well end up in the hospital. Its too bad you can’t just round up any kid that has a history of bullying (even a short history) and put them in thier own little secluded school, with bigger bullies, just to see how they like it.

  4. Spartan says:

    Hmmm… Maybe I’m missing something here. Many of us [gamers] have been referring to WoW as "digital crack" for years now – in a love/hate sense of course. So it the mainstream world just finiding this out now? Shocking….


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  5. PushDustIn says:

    Yeah WoW has bullies; but at least in a virtual world people are generally more equalized. I’m not sure where I heard this but, "On the internet, everyone is a fat kid". Kids who are bullied have a better chance of not being bullied/ bullying others than in real life. Since the internet has the potential to make you anonymous (Expect in China now), you can say/do whatever you want without fear of people actually hurting you.  

    http://www.katamaridemocracy.com http://twitter.com/PushDustIn

  6. hellfire7885 says:

    "World of warcraft they have no bullies, no teachers bitching at them, no grades, and just about anything they do in the game offers them some level of reward-and if they’re crafty it’s exchangeable for real world money!"


    Eh heh, then you’ve not played it, as it indeed does have bullies.

  7. Wolvenmoon says:

    Any action can be addictive if it provides the right stimulation. World of warcraft capitalizes on providing that stimulation to keep its income. When in fact when you look at it from an outsider’s perspective it really isn’t that good of a game, the only part of it that keeps it so popular is the social aspect. Otherwise it’s all super repetitive.

    For addicts it’s not so good news, for normal gamers it’s fine in moderation as long as they stay in moderation. For people who don’t play it…its market domination is obnoxious because no one wants to play anything else.

    Why the hell aren’t they targeting the underlying problems in society that cause people to have the potential to be addicted to these games? These societal issues are like a hydra. You may chop one head off for a few moments, but your victory is short lived when it comes back with twice as many heads, and both of them pissed, just minutes later.

    Hey! "Swedish Youth Advocate" and "American equivelants"! Here’s an idea! Give your ‘youth’ an incentive to learn and exercise! Make a 3.0 GPA or above? All the ammo you want paintballing, or a gym membership. A 3.5 GPA? All the ammo they want, and a GOOD paintball gun. 4.0 or better? Deck ’em out in a jean suit with a cool mask.

    Or hell, play into their interests! 3.5 and above they get a copy of DDR, and if they hold a 3.5 solid for 3 semesters give them a game console and DDR! Still not good enough? Well, shaking your finger at them telling them how wrong they are for whatever interests they have is working REALLY well. FFS, they work like full time employees for a perceived ZERO pay.

    World of warcraft they have no bullies, no teachers bitching at them, no grades, and just about anything they do in the game offers them some level of reward-and if they’re crafty it’s exchangeable for real world money!

    (Edit : I know it’s not technically feasible to spend taxpayer dollars, but seeing some public schools spend up to 8,000 dollars a year per student and still have horrific grades just pisses me off when I know my college is spending near nothing on me (And I’m paying them more than they spend on me) and I’m motivated enough to get a 4.0 GPA)

  8. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Ah picking out a a hobby then blaming it for "obsession"….


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.


  9. TBoneTony says:

    Addiction is because there are problems in the real world and someone needs emotional escape.

    So blaming the addiction as the problem is not going to help if the person goes back into reality and all those same problems in real life will most likely make him or her suicidal all because he/she can’t go back to what they enjoyed to escape from horrible reality.


    And blaming the Videogames is just plain ignorant to the real problems in real life.


  10. ZacharyMiner says:

    I think most people have overlooked a problem with this posting. The quote comes from a guy who, apparently, works with kids who have various types of problems and need help. (I say "apparently" because Google is overloaded with hits on this specific story and I can’t find a good link to a site for the place he works for in Sweden to learn more about them.) Is it any surprise that he sees video games as a problem these kids are facing? Like it or not, video games can be an escape for people, and MMOs are especially famous for this.

    So, this guy is coming from a perspective where the only gamers he sees are the ones who have a problem, and who may have an addictive personality. He doesn’t see the thousands of people who play seriously, but who keep it under control, or those who just game casually. His sample, then, is biased, which not surprisingly leads him to a biased conclusion. And the only reason this got any traction is because it is such an inflammatory quote and makes a connection that a lot of people would like to see made, between what they consider to be addictive behaviors.

  11. finaleve says:

    Has anyone seen the people in the RP servers of WoW?  Go take a walk (as a DK since its much easier that way) and walk through the towns and cities of the game.

    I’m not going to say that WoW is crack or whatever.  I know it can be addicting and everything, but so is everything else.  It’s called self-control.  Instead of punching people until they bleed when i get mad, I just let it go, let my mind wander away for a minute and think of something with sunshine and giggles and return to that situation to handle it more properly.

    Now of course, addictions dont really work well like that, but the idea is that you need to take a moment of time away from something to avoid it from getting worse.

  12. jesskarobins110 says:

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  13. SeanB says:

    I started playing WOW on a 7 day trial. I liked the game, but didn’t want to pay to play it. Eventually i found a free private server, and played on it for about 10 months. Just this week, i started running my own free private wow server.

    But i’m not addicted. I can stop any time i want.. I just dont want to.

  14. Aprincen says:

    Emphasis on some. WoW isn’t nearly as addictive as crack cocaine. I suppose it’s all relative. It might be the most addictive game but how many people seriously get addicted to this game? And what kind of addiction are we talking about? I can’t imagine a wow-guild stealing car stereos…

  15. mikese says:

    There really needs to be some kind of WoW anonymous, because this game has taken over the lives of a few of my friends and they have their online meeting raids etc. They sit home and never come up they need some kind of addiction treatment and fast because this is messing their lives up pretty bad.

  16. PushDustIn says:

    Addiction is always problem with the person and not the product. It’s not the casino fault that people spend their whole life savings there; it’s the people that decide to gamble irresponsible. I’m sorry if you thought that I was saying that the product was addictive; I did not mean that. Like I mentioned in my other responses; video game addiction is a non-substance based addiction like gambling or internet addiction.

    There probably was enough time to help Woolley and probably not enough was done. I am not as familiar with the case as I should be.

    http://www.katamaridemocracy.com http://twitter.com/PushDustIn

  17. hellfire7885 says:

    In those cases it was problems with the player, not with the game.

    As for the Woolley case, there was ample time to get that young man the help he needed yet no one did a thing.

  18. TBoneTony says:

    Kinda like how I heard all about this belief of Porn addiction from a group of parental groups on Oprah.

    This also can feed onto the Violent Movie/Game addiction all because one person who is interested is having fun while all their family members or friends either hate it or are simply not interested in the hobby.

    So the only one who is having entertainment on their own is being labled as addicted because they are not doing what others consider as normal.

    That is how I believe this whole concept of addiction to an entertainment medium is grosely misleading to parents who are more scared and not wanting to understand it.

  19. HarmlessBunny says:

    Comparing this to a drug addiction is once again, very very wrong.

    A SOCIAL addiction, mostly because of something missing in a persons day to day activity or something wrong socially may get addicted to something like this because it fills a void and entertains them at the same time.

    DRUG or CHEMICAL addiction is addiction to a substance that the body becomes adjusted and dependant on. This can be VERY harmful to the body and can lead to true dependent addiction to said drugs or even alcohol, and various other substances.


  20. Geryon says:

    Yes the basis that video games are addictive does hold some merit but I would say that people can become "addicted" to almost anything, drug video game gambling or otherwise.  Frankly at the end of it, it is nothing more that arguing over the definition of what an addiction is versus other things such as compulsions.

  21. hellfire7885 says:

    China has had similar problems since, ever since such games existed, yet these people are treating it like a global problem, saying once WoW hooks you, you can’t quit.

  22. PushDustIn says:

    In China, Zhu Caoyuan was stabbed to death by Qiu Chengwei over a virtual sword in Legends of Mir 3. And Lee Seung Seop (South Korea) died after playing Starcraft for 50 hours straight…surely these are cases of addiction.

    (In the United States Shawn Woolley committed suicide while playing Everquest in 2001, while he probably was addicted to the game he shot himself I believe. SOE wouldn’t release the chat transcripts so it’s still a mystery why he shot himself.)


  23. Monte says:

     I’m not so sure about that second point… i think i’ve heard some nasty stories as to how far some WoW addicted players are willing to go to keep paying their monthly fees and keep playing WoW… i think the stories usually come out of China…

  24. KayleL says:

    If we take away WoW from a WoW addicted player, we are not going to see physical changes to the body. We are not going to see people stealing stuff to pay for the wow monthly fee. So how could we compare it to cocaine?

  25. PushDustIn says:

    Like I mentioned in my reply; I think equating WoW to crack is a little extreme, but the basis that video games are addictive holds some merit. Not to say that everyone who plays video games are addicted to them; most people are not. It’s like playing the lottery; some people are addicted to gambling while other people only play once in a while. It’s just having self control really

    (Although some people are more susceptible than others depending on your DNA and experience; its like alcoholism runs in the family, etc.  I’m not an expert on how your DNA affects your susceptibility to addiction so I’ll shut up here).



  26. Cecil475 says:

    I suppose if it were like cocaine, for the time I played it, I guess I would still be playing it today. Right now even. Too busy playing WoW to go to school, my chores, or even write this reply, let alone read this news story.

    But it’s not, and he’s full of shit.

     – Warren Lewis

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  27. PushDustIn says:

    Hah the whole concept equating video games to drugs reminds me of that Mario ‘Game Over’ video where Mario is addicted to mushrooms.


    Congrats to your friend for dropping her addiction. People really need to have a realization to stop addiction in my opinion. I know a lot of people who are on drugs and until they realize that it is bad for them they will never stop. You can put someone in therapy but they won’t listen to you until they have a reason to.



  28. black manta says:

    Just great.  The last thing I want to have happen is for people to find out I play WoW and then have them think I’m no better than a druggie.

    Oh well, if WoW is like drugs, then I guess I’m like my friend who did meth for a year and then quit and never picked it up again.  Somehow she never got addicted to it.  And while I could play WoW fairly diligently, once I hit 80 and there wasn’t as much to do, I could go without for weeks or months at a time before picking it back up again.

  29. PHX Corp says:

    Yes they’re exaggering it a little Too Much

    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

  30. PushDustIn says:

    I think they are exaggerating a bit too much with the crack cocaine connection. However, this doesn’t mean that I believe that people cannot be addicted to video games. Quite the contrary; people can be addicted to non-substance based products (Such as gambling, internet, etc) where people have a compulsion to engage in such activities. Achievement whores like (formally) me are unable to play a new game until they are rewarded with all of the achievements possible. At one point I was playing http://www.kongregate.com so much that I had 69% of all the total badges; and I joined two years in.  The answer to the problem is self control and awareness of your problem, just like any other addiction. I’m happy to say now; I play video games only for fun and when I have time to.


  31. PHX Corp says:

    Obsessing over a video game is verry Bad(But I tend to stay away from MMO’s unless they’re like Warhawk(which is not techinically a MMO))

    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

  32. cullarn says:

    yes but you have to understand he wouldnt get paid without the lies, this is why i abhor these people they are here to get paid not to help

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