My WoW addiction wasn't your typical item or PVP ranking but the longing for roleplay and company through roleplay. I hardly ever wanted to know the person behind the screen; I just wanted their characters with mine. It didn't matter if they were friend or foe, lover or murderer, they were just there and we were cooperating on something creative.
I think this is why I feel happy and confident when I'm working on a group project for art or design. I'm being creative with other people who enjoy being creative. It's hard to find the time to do that in college unless it's for a class or doing work. But even so, that's such a nice feeling.
The Rping goes past WoW. I Rped in MUDs and Yahoo chatrooms throughout high school. I like making up characters and worlds, and sometimes Rping was a good way to get an initial feel of them and explore their personality.
Unless it's about an interest, I never liked getting to know the people behind the character. It didn't ruin the character itself so much as it drove me away from the person as a whole. Sometimes I didn't mind them. But you had all kinds of people who came into Rping; many of them had mental conditions, myself included. We would clash over small details. I would spend nights agonizing over a plot's progress or a character's condition. I didn't feel personally attached to my character, as in, if my character had to die, so be it. But I think I was just as attached to the plot and world.
I used roleplay to explore aspects of my mind with people I couldn't explore in reality. But, most importantly, I used it to get away from the real world. I remember staying up past sunrise to finish a roleplay. I remember obsessing over plot details.
I guess as time goes by, you start to drift away. You find better outlets for things. I like drawing better than roleplaying. I can still escape into a fantasy world and make up a story, but it's different. I can share it with other people. Other people can give me feedback on my characters and their world without me having to rake for hours for someone who shares my same interests. I find it more amusing to muse over ideas. It leaves me less drained, takes up less time, and just letting the imagination go wild. I can muse with anyone. I can't roleplay with everybody.
I've been playing on an acquaintance's (at best) private roleplay server. I'm not on very much anymore unless roleplay is going on, and it's kind of irritating to watch.
I don't even think I log in to participate when something big is going on. It's more like watching a zoo.
Some people are there to have fun, but out of those, you have people who take rp as a serious art and then more. When they are out of character, they enjoy talking about their character more than I'd desire to talk about my own. They spend a long time planning in advance what's going to happen instead of letting improv takes it's course. It's irritating to watch because I was the same way a long time ago.
I want to say things to them, and sometimes I do, only to watch them do it all over again. I've been there. Most everything about the roleplay risks was told to me; it was a matter of me applying it. Now I know making long, empty text descriptions are useless compared to a rich sentence. I know getting wrapped up in the politics of details is energy better spent elsewhere, like musing or drawing or writing. Or daydreaming.
I watch now because I'm bored. I talk about it because I'm bored. I have some sympathy for them, but I won't tell them that. They won't take it the right way. I know because I wouldn't when I was like them, either. I'm also not here to help them unless they ask for it. I'm not offering, but I'll help you. I'm just here now.