Massively multiplayer online (MMO) games often are considered addictive for those who play them. This means some players find it hard to play in moderation and may find it difficult to simply stop playing when necessary. For this reason, among the most common characteristics of an MMO addiction is the tendency to choose the game over both responsibilities and other hobbies. Addicted gamers also often find it difficult to separate their game from the rest of their life, which means they may let a loss in the game ruin their day or make them upset enough to break real-world belongings. Those addicted to online games also may spend large amounts of money that they do not have, just so they can continue playing the game.
Some gamers who play video games of this type manage to fit it into their week without allowing it to take over, but addicted gamers usually do not find moderation possible. This means they might start playing games instead of hanging out with friends or participating in other hobbies that they used to enjoy. While this often is the first sign of an MMO addiction, more serious signs usually come when gamers place this activity not only above their other hobbies but above their responsibilities. They may start missing school or work so they can play the game, which can make it hard to have good grades or keep a job. Gamers with an MMO addiction also may neglect their health and hygiene, because taking showers, eating and even sleeping would cut into their game time.
Another sign of MMO addiction is the inability to realize that what happens in the game is separate from real life. This is why some gamers become destructive when they die in the game or lose to another player, meaning they may punch holes in a wall, throw their computer monitor or break their desk. They also often threaten other players, as well as family and friends who have nothing to do with the game. This often is the point at which loved ones realize there is a problem.
Many MMOs require both an upfront cost for the game and a monthly fee to play, which isn't a problem for most players. The problem comes when an addicted gamer starts spending money he does not have, paying for the game before paying for housing and food. Many of the most addicted gamers cannot keep a job, because they play the game the majority of any given day. This makes the trend of spending money they do not have a fairly common sign of MMO addiction. They may use credit cards or money from family to fund their addiction, which is an issue that tends not to go away until the problem is recognized and treated.