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Inner Peace

June 15, 2011

Scopique writes a good blog. I very much enjoy his “Gamer Psychology” posts — not only for the insight and humor, but also for the fact his thoughts often mirror mine and he conveys them much more eloquently and concisely than I could ever manage. Two posts of his have inspired me to write this today, accompanied by a stark realization that hit me recently: For a group whose main hobby centers around a form of fun and entertainment, we gamers can be a rather cantankerous bunch.

Sure, sometimes mistakes get made and we need to hold those responsible accountable. It’s also okay to get angry or upset when things don’t go our way. But as with most things in life, happiness is beyond anyone’s control but your own. If anything, “Zen of Gaming” and “Why Do We Bitch” made me see that much of our dissatisfaction with gaming and the industry is inflicted upon ourselves, by ourselves. Knowing what you want is a start. Sometimes what it takes is also a different way of thinking, or a shift in attitude, because blaming others for one’s own bad behavior never gets a person very far.

Granted, I have a dark side (who doesn’t?) but in his latter post, Scopique has already hit upon many of the methods in my mental arsenal to stay happy and positive-thinking. But three more semi-random thoughts born out of this:

  • Consistency – “The more time goes on the less excited I get, even though I was so hyped about it a couple months back.” Sound familiar? If I shed a tear for every time I saw a quote like that in the gaming forum community, we’d all be drowned by now. Did being excited and staying excited go out of style while I wasn’t looking? I realize anticipation can quickly turn to frustration, but you shouldn’t let waiting make you become bitter. Don’t know about you, but feeling “disappointed” or “disillusioned” before the whole thing even has the chance to get off the ground is a damn shame, don’t you think?
  • Sense of Entitlement – Get rid of it, or it will eat you up. The world doesn’t revolve around any one person or his or her desires, and nothing will make everyone happy. Game devs need to make money and put food on the table for their families too, so sometimes it’s better to recognize you are not their target audience and move on. Stay realistic — the “perfect” MMO does not exist, not for anyone, so if you are going to play something, might as well start enjoying it for what it is instead of agonizing over what it’s not.
  • Play and let play – Don’t like something? You can always ignore it, but don’t try to ruin the experience for others. Those features you find yourself agonizing over might actually be something thousands of others are grateful for. Like I’ve said in the past, criticize the game, not the gamer. There’s more to a person beyond their interests and hobbies — insulting other gamers or thinking less of them for their game-of-choice or play style is immature, not to mention kind of dickwad-y.

17 comments

  1. I think that was more then eloquent :D


    • You think so? Nah, I bet you could have come up with a better term than “dickwad-y” :P


  2. Nice post. I’ll have to give Scopique a look if he inspired this one. The number of times I’ve found myself trying to remind people that fun is what you make it, makes me feel a bit like Mary Poppins “find the fun and poof its a game.”

    The sad thing is, I think some of the most bitter and disillusioned out there think they are actually showing support for a game by ranting and railing over it. I like to inject a note of calm and sanity when I can, but sometimes I just can’t bring myself to actually read game forums, and I feel like my calm voice gets lost in the fire and fury.

    So keep posting the Zen and I’ll be sure to share.


    • Sometimes, criticism can be support, but you’re right, I cannot see the value of ranting and railing. A person’s definitely more credible when they’re not foaming at the mouth :P Speaking of game forums, I rarely visit them anymore, unless I’m looking for specific information or to read dev updates.


  3. just visited Scopique’s site too; gonna add to my blogroll :)


  4. There’s a lot of truth to be said here. There are plenty of games that have been very hyped lately, and that it would be easy to get disillusioned with, but I try to remain neutral on it and let the game decide its own fate when I finally get to play it.

    And, with any MMORPG, it’s best to enjoy the game for what it is, not ruin others’ experiences or let them ruin yours and, when you do finally feel like the game just isn’t fun or is causing stress in your personal life, simply walk away and don’t let it get to you. :)


    • Well said. Different strokes for different folks!

      And with everything, I always say it’s best to keep a level head and stay positive but realistic :)


  5. The fun of an mmo fresh out of the grease and hot is the features, the discovery, and the initial fun. No matter what, you will end up crafting, leveling, and dungeon crawling over and over again. It doesn’t matter what new twist, or flashes, and bells, and whistles you put on it. Playing a game like World of Warcraft, if you’ve beaten Molten Core, then technically you’ve beaten The Last dungeon in the latest incarnation, not that i can tell you the difference between Kelthuzad and anything you’ve seen in Cataclysm, but you get my point.

    What makes a game fun is the community, the people you see running around the AH on a daily basis, maybe even have a friendly rivalry with in pvp, or damaging, or healing, or tanking. Guild’s, and fellowships all derived from the same goal. The thing about it is, so often people take this “friendly competition” and make it into Elitism, in my experience that’s all i ever really encountered.

    Well, most of the time anyway, there WERE very nice people who helped me along, or that i would team up with to gather things, and just make small talk, alot of people on my facebook are people i keep up with whom i’ve played mmo’s with before, decent human beings who just excel at playing a game.

    Another insight into this, is when you think about it, alot of these gamers with bad attitude’s are Lone Wolves who don’t particularly care about anyone else and simply want to enjoy the game through whatever means they want, bringing about a certain negativity because “I dont want to be associated with this guy cause he’s an asshat.” or “You’re a cupcake, you need to l2p” i think the association with the have’s and have not’s trickles all the way down to the average player and that goes so far outside of the box that just playing and enjoying yourself and then adding flavor to it, being yourself and not caring what anyone thinks of you as A PERSON PERSONALLY goes out of the window.

    It’s a bit of a task just to find people who arent so self absorbed to reach out and keep such a continuity in a game, but in my mind, it’s very simple. I think if everyone went out of their way to be courteous and helpful in an mmo, and pretty much isolated the bad seeds by not paying them any mind, the community would be much better. The sad thing is that this jerks really band together in a way, but that’s all ine and dandy too, no one person can ruin MY play experience.

    And on a note of complaints to Devs. I only had one, WAAAY BACK in Burning Crusade, my rugged T6 Enhance Shaman with the Wicked 3.5 Dps was soooo toast in any and every situation based upon the fact that his Health was so low :(.

    I mean, for crissakes, it’s ONE THING for Pally’s and Warrior’s to have more hp, but when Mages, Locks, Rogues, Druids and EVEN PRIESTS have more health than a shaman??? There’s something wrong with that one…


    • Humans can be naturally competitive beings, just sometimes some of us take things a bit too far. MMO communities really aren’t so bad, but with any large population inevitably you’ll get you share of bad apples, though I’ve been mostly fortunate in that the vast majority of players I’ve teamed up with have been decent people.

      Of course, anonymity has a way of making some people behave badly too. I just know that when I hear these negative stories, I just can’t help but shake my head. It doesn’t help that we get desensitized to it somewhat, and more unfortunate when the bad behaviors propagate because we think since it happened to us, it’s fine to do it to someone else.


  6. Well said. “Game devs need to make money and put food on the table for their families too.” I hear a lot of talk about games geared for as many players as possible being full of examples of poor design. Frankly, most businesses that want to expand try to please as many customers as possible. I’m sorry, but mass appeal is a design goal, too, and an excellent one. People who dislike a particular game’s design should just shut it and go play something else, IMHO. I am not being critical of varying playstyles, but of those who feel the need to complain about things that others enjoy immensely, and belittle those others for their enjoyment


    • I agree. It’s capitalism at work, folks, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a product with mass appeal. Like you said, it’s absolutely a legit business strategy. It’s unfortunate sometimes when my tastes don’t run with the vast majority, but hey, fair’s fair if I’m not their target audience. In a situation like that, i’s useless and frankly terrible to belittle others because I feel a company isn’t making a product that suits my needs and catering to the greater masses. If I’m in the minority, I see that as my own problem. As such, I’ll go to a niche product or hope someone one day will make one.


  7. Good post! I try not to complain as much these days. We do enough of it as it is, forums, blog rants and discussions and so on. I just try to focus on the good things and stay positive. I’m no angel though, sometimes one will still pop up here and there ;)


    • Oh, I know I do that once in a while too! After I speak my mind about it though, I try to move on. Anything I don’t like is probably not something I’m still playing, and I generally don’t see a reason to go on complaining after that.


  8. “The more time goes on the less excited I get, even though I was so hyped about it a couple months back.” Sound familiar?

    I’m positive I’ve said this sentence, almost verbatim.

    The difference — and I’d like to think it is a big one — is that I usually say it as a way to clarify that the intensity of my excitement may be dimmer than it was when I first heard about a game; I certainly would never use it as an excuse to bitch about it, though.

    I tend to get a bit short on patience for people who use that sentence as an excuse to whine. Like if they whine enough, a developer will release the game earlier than intended.

    Games take time to develop. Hell, GOOD games take even more time to develop.

    The sooner gamers can reconcile themselves to this fact, the better off they/we will all be.

    Any game developer worth their salt are not going to rush an incomplete product out there just because some segment of the community is finding waiting difficult. Waiting is difficult — suck it up and find something to help fill that time, it will be done when it is done (that’s supposed to be one of the first things you learn growing up: “Patience is a virtue, Possess it if you can.”).

    I have found ways to be patient with regards to games like SWTOR. However, I have simultaneously grown less patient with people who lack patience — how ironic is that?


    • I don’t really recall you saying that, but if I did, I certainly didn’t mean you. It’s to the people who complain like the companies owe it to them to serve up the product on a silver platter, right now now now now now or else they’re too good for it. It’s that entitlement again, as if their lack of interest is an actual threat that will make the developer release the game any faster. I just think, dude, give me a break.

      You’re right, patience is a virtue, and good things come to those who wait. I love playing games, but they shouldn’t run my life. I know all too well the butterflies of anticipation one feels when you are waiting for something you are really really really looking forward to, but there are more important things in life I can focus on to keep my mind off the wait :)


      • Lol, I probably should have mentioned in my post that I didn’t take any offense to anything you posted. I just found it kind of funny since I recollect saying something very similar before.

        It is kind of maddening to see so many people carry around such a sense of entitlement when it comes to video games. Like “How dare they make ME wait! I’ll just throw a tantrum and threaten to not play their game. Then they’ll understand just how close they came to losing me as a customer.” It’s no different than when a child threatens to run away from home. It’s a hollow threat — and it’s not even a terribly effective one (no decent game company is going to rush a game out the door just because some fans can’t be patient).

        To make matters worse, these are the people who shed crocodile tears and rant when a game does release early and comes out half-finished.

        If you take cookies out of the oven after 5 minutes, cry me a river if they come out soft and not golden brown.

        If you want a good game, patience is needed. It really is that simple. It takes time to make a good title.

        I’m sure companies like BioWare are no more happy about having to delay release than anyone else. But I am glad they are not willing to compromise quality for a quick payoff.



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