Monday, November 23, 2009

Blizzard's Epic

Blizzard has created the most potent virtual drug. I don't really need to say the name. Most of the time it elicits laughter and pity. I remember telling my friend that I started up an account. When he told his wife (who is also a gamer) she replied, "I thought he was cool?" Unfortunately it is what it is, and today is a glorious day. I weened myself off of the virtual heroin in order to become a semi-productive member of society again.

Clap throughout the entry if you feel the need to do so. I still am.

I can accept the argument that video games are potentially addictive. However, it has to be video games…plural. I play a lot of games, but I also play a lot of different types of games. I eat it up. I had no idea that one game can turn a mild mannered individual into a freak of nature. When I had my first virtual fist of cuffs in Azeroth I should have paid more attention to the signs. I remember shortly after hitting a very low level, an individual who will go unnamed defeated me in a duel. He taunted me immediately afterwards and without a second thought I got mad and paced around the room. I don't remember his name, but I was furious. (just kidding, his name is Vilxi, I wrote it down) To get that mad at someone for something so meaningless amazed me. It almost felt like steroids, if I knew what that felt like. Shortly after that came the real world problems.

Like clockwork, I started canceling plans with friends. I stayed in, every night, and couldn't wait until the weekend so I could get a few days of uninterrupted gaming in. Friends eventually found out what I was up to and left me to my devices. I'm sure they were mildly worried. They were immediately able to draw a conclusion that if I cancelled on anything, they knew that game had to be involved. To make matters worse I even bought a supplement that would allow me enough energy to function on a few hours of sleep so I could maximize my questing.

Thoughts of story ideas, crushes and other general mundane occurrences became replaced with the emphatic motivation to level my character. I would daydream about the uncertainty with professions because I always wondered to myself, "Does a rogue really need to be an engineer?" I shortly felt comfortable again because I forgot for a second how great that motorcycle mount looked. I thought, "that bike is too important to me right now." I never became a slob, but I would only do general chores around flight paths. If I had a long flight to a city, that would be a good chance to take a shower. A short flight path? A quick load of laundry. A tuna sandwich. I became very efficient. Needless to say, I encountered what millions of other people have dealt with regarding this game. I developed an addiction.

I think the problem stems from the fact that I thought I was immune to it. One of my best friends encouraged me to start up an account years prior, and I casted it aside because I thought I was too good for a PC MMO. I also thought that even if I was to start it up, it would not keep my attention long enough to stick with it. Obviously I was wrong. I was not one of the lucky ones. There's always a percentage of new players that play the game feverishly for awhile and then they drop off. It's the law of averages. Those smart people realized the biggest disadvantage of playing the game. It does not end. That is scary in itself, and it's one thing I should have realized from the beginning. I could have prevented the embarrassment of having to give myself a personal intervention.

I know this sounds like an admission of guilt and my desire to stop playing that MMO altogether. It really is. Have I completely stopped playing though? Not yet, but my frequency is almost the complete opposite than what it was. That game will more than likely take away a little time from my life now and then, but no longer will it harness my soul.

That game is five years old. What I'm talking about has been experienced by others, but providing honest testimony never hurts. Do your homework before entering Azeroth. Are you the type of person to turn a linear console rpg into your own personal sandbox? Stay Away. Do you have Haruhi dance patterns memorized just so you can entertain yourself? Stay away. Have you unlocked every achievement for Dead or Alive: Xtreme 2? Stay away, and you might just need to be water boarded.

Like alcohol and crack cocaine, it's all good in moderation.

I applaud and bite my thumb at you Blizzard.