I'm a complete fraud. I've been trying to convince you in parts one, two and three that I'm hopelessly addicted to World of Warcraft and my real life is going to pot because I have to spend every spare moment levelling up my Night Elf Druid. It turns out some people have many more spare moments than I do.
A few things have happened recently that have thrown my nascent addiction into sharp relief. No, not climate change or Jade 'my perfume was made in India' Goody -- The Burning Crusade expansion pack was released. It sold 2.4 million copies in 24 hours. This add-on raises the WoW level cap from 60 to 70 and adds two new races, the butch alien good-guy Draenei and the fey bad-guy Blood Elves.
Here's what took me aback: a friend of mine took two weeks off work to play The Burning Crusade. He used his actual holiday entitlement. My girlfriend would have serious words if I even contemplated that, and frankly I'm not that nuts. But here's the real rub: after two days, my friend quit. Cold turkey. He hasn't gone back. He just came back to work and got his days off back. And it wasn't that he didn't enjoy it. He was into it more than ever. It was that he wouldn't be able to keep up with his fellow guild members when he went back to work.
He couldn't commit to playing as many hours a week as they could, and he didn't want to be stuck playing lower-level content. The stuff he most enjoyed was the hardest instances (dungeons) and the raids on enemy player cities, and they were leaving him behind -- even though he was willing to take time off work. He explained that some worked in tech support or a similar job with lots of downtime during the day and they were able to 'grind' (kill computer-controlled enemies for their loot) then. Some were unemployed -- £8.99 a month is a great deal if you're bored and looking for a job.
Having a full-time job (even one where I can play WoW in my lunch hour) with a commute, and friends to see in real-world drinking establishments, and a girlfriend means I just don't have the time to be a true Warcrack addict. I play it more than any other game I've ever been addicted to, and I think about it whenever I'm walking around, or going to sleep, and yes, when I was ill a week ago I had bad dreams where everything in real life was a quest, but I do have a real life. Honest. So how much experience do I get for writing this? -Nick Hide
Level: 29. Location: Ashenvale. Best new thing: Insect Swarm spell.
Update: Part five of Diary of a Warcrack addict is now live.