Sunday, June 22, 2008

Moderation

Matticus had an interesting post where he references an excellent writeup at the site "Girls Don't Game" called "Confessions from a Former Hardcore Raider". The story presented is a very powerful and touching one and can hopefully be seen by some people as a wake-up call of sorts-- not even necessarily a 180-degree one, but one where you sort of sit back for a few minutes and see her point and where she is coming from.

See, here is the thing. WoW is a hobby, not life. /gasp I know right?

Now I'll be the first to tell you that I love this game, and I love hunters, and I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish not necessarily in terms of endgame progression, but in terms of feeling like I am knowledgeable about my class-- at least enough to be called a teacher and a class leader, and enough to have a blog on it that seems to be popular and helpful if many of your kind comments and e-mails are any consideration. Many of my friends and family, even those that do not play WoW, have even told me they are proud of me in this regard. I am proud of my WoW accomplishments just as I am proud of my Neopets accomplishments or the way I knew games such as Starcraft or Final Fantasy Tactics Advance inside and out.

But I think that we are all guilty of sometimes turning the game into a job. Maybe some of us do it more than others.

I myself am certainly guilty of the no-work days where I say "I'm only going to play WoW for a few hours in the morning and then get other non-WoW stuff done" only to get distracted by heroics, then alts, and have the entire day turn into a pure unadulterated WoWfest.

I am guilty of saying "I'm going to take a break from instancing and raiding" and then showing up at Karazhan the next day because I feel the group needs me.

I am guilty of spending three hours doing dailies, yawning and bored out of my mind (instead of, you know, having fun in a game, heaven forbid), because "I need the gold".

One of the scarier nightmares I had in recent memory was a never-ending Karazhan pull. No joke; that was my nightmare. Mobs kept coming and coming and I was out of mana and I was desperately fighting to stay alive and yet we never wiped, but never got past the pull either... I woke up countless times that night in a cold sweat, wishing for it to simply end, but then I'd fall asleep again and the mobs kept coming. Yep, other people have nightmares about dying or being chased; I have nightmares about World of Warcraft. I look back on it now and I can't decide whether it was hilarious or pathetic. (Probably a little of both, really. I giggle at the memory, either way, even though it was a seriously scary dream at the time.)

When you realize that you are maybe playing too much and starting to be guilty of some of the things I mentioned, that's when you've got to take a step back and remember that the game is a hobby, and there are tons of other hobbies out there to cover and only a limited lifetime in which to do them. Playing one video game to the exclusion of others isn't bad in and of itself, but you're missing out on a ton of other great stuff, you know?

Barring a brief ten minutes to /wave to the guild and test my new install, I haven't logged in since last Tuesday. Almost a week now. Instead of playing WoW, I have been able to reacquaint myself with an old and faithful friend: my hobby of tinkering with computers and Linux. It's been both a frustrating and thrilling five or six days; pounding away at the keyboard and racking my brains for solutions to various problems. This culminated in three days of trying to figure out why my new WoW on Linux install was crashing on me at the login screen; three days of hard work and trial and error followed by the inevitable sheepish "Eureka" moment when I discovered the solution and realized how embarrassingly simple it was.

Trading in a week of WoW to rekindle an old hobby was well worth it in my opinion, and actually gave me a deeper appreciation for why I play the game in the first place: to relax and have fun. I think when I return to active playing tomorrow I'll have a lot more fun than I was having a week ago.

Well, that's all from me for today. In closing, my new computer desktop is made of equal parts win and awesome:



And yes, that is the Gnome desktop manager. Yes, I know, I am normally a hardcore KDE fan. I felt like trying something different though. (Besides, "sometimes you feel like a gnome, sometimes you don't".)

P.S. I am fully blaming the Spell Shades for that nightmare I mentioned. /shudder

9 comments:

survivalhuntersanonymous said...

/Cheer

Great post, Pike. I read the one by Monique, too - I was like that, but for different reasons. It was a band-aid, like she said - only my problem was that I had to quit my old job with crappy hours and pursue graduate school. :P

Now, my guild's great, my life's doing great, and I'm making sure to have plenty of real-life achievements to go with the in-game ones... like performing at open-mic nights, picking up chess again, et cetera. :)

Itsnoteasy said...

I had a similar experience when I were a wee lad. I must have been about seven or so, and we'd been playing this game Zeliard for ages. And one night I had a nightmare about the frogs.

*shudders*

Hey, those things were scary back then! :D

There's a video on Youtube showing a playthrough. All these years, and I've still never finished it myself...

Loronar said...

Like you, I took a little break from WoW this weekend because I went out of town. I had not logged on since Wednesday night, but instead I went to visit friends nearby. It felt good to be able to get away from the in-game stresses.

I remember I used to play this browser game in which I was a guild leader. I spent too many hours thinking about the game and how my guild can survive in the wars against all these other guilds. It was too much for me, and after 2 years I finally quit. That experience taught me a lot about moderation in games.

Karla said...

Any comment I post on this is enough to turn into a rant/rave that I'm going to save for a post for my own blog once I get it up and running, so I will simply say /huzzah

But I have to ask. WHERE did you get your Mario wallpaper? That's freaking AWESOME and I want it. :)

Mister Adeqauate said...

Well you know me - I play WoW for a few weeks, then break for a few. I was going to just post "What matters is that it's fun", which is what I believe, but you already covered that by saying your return will be more fun than you were having before. So huzzah!

Anonymous said...

/wave Pike

Nice post (as usual). I'll leave aside the too-much-wow issue, as i am dealing with it myself these days... but i must ask a few linux questions!

First, are you using Ubuntu now? 8.04? And, can you share the problem/solution you were having with the crashing after login? I haven't had that particular problem, but the data could be useful.

Many thanks for all that you do for us!

// Okage on Misha

Pike said...

@ Anonymous - technically it is Kubuntu with the ubuntu-desktop installed on top of it. I am a KDE fan but decided to give Gnome a try. For all intents and purposes though, yes it is Ubuntu. No, it is not 8.04. It is 6.06. I cannot get anything more recent than that to work with my wireless card. The fix was... download and install the latest version of Wine from the site, and not use the Wine in the Ubuntu depositories. =P

@ Karla - I found it posted on a forum somewhere, I may have to see if I can upload it so those who want it can have it.

Karla said...

I would love that, Pike... it's awesome. Thanks! :)

Greta said...

great post!

I've been thinking about this lately... as I'm "saving money" for my epic mount, I notice that I'm spending a lot of time doing things I do not enjoy. The part of the game I am really into is instances but those don't lead to much gold, so I haven't done them lately. After reading your post, I'm kind of thinking about whether the "amount of fun I'll have with an epic" is enough to satisfy "the amount of fun I am not having doing dailies."

I'm also trying to track my hours played ... writing it down is making it pretty obvious that I need to cut back. my perspective got kinda screwy cuse there are several people in my guild who play way way way more then me and I constantly feel like I need to "catch up" but at the same time... maybe I need to just cut back and let go of that a bit.

and yes, I dream of WoW.