In his latest weekly column for GameSetMatch, Simon Parkin talks to the friend who took over his Final Fantasy XI account when he moved on from the game. Since he sent her his account information and deleted the game from his hard drive, he has been nagged by a feeling of guilt. Did he ruin her life by introducing her to the time-sucking grind of MMOs? He discovered that while she does spend large amounts of time in the game, she is happy for the time she has invested. She has made lasting friendships within the game and while she would not try other games, she doesn't regret her adventures in Vana'diel.
Most of us find a balance between the total immersion of these virtual worlds and the demands of real life. And many real life friendships come from time spent in-game, which should be no surprise given that most relationships spring from common interest. On the other hand, we all know someone who spends far too much time in our shared worlds to be healthy.
So here's the question: knowing how enjoyable MMOs can be, but also knowing that they have the potential to take over one's life, how comfortable are you in recommending them to your friends?