Thursday, June 17, 2010

WoW and that Sweet Emotion

OK, so the angry kid above isn't playing WoW (it's either CounterStrike of Unreal Tournament, I can't remember which) but I think it's still apropos for "those" moments that we all have.

And if you heard the audio clip from Paragon's Lich King 25 Heroic Kill, you get to see the other side: the cheering, excitement and joy. (Sorry, I can't find the clip/link)

WoW definitely has the ability to set our emotional meters swinging wildly and strongly. (I am speaking mainly from a PvP and Raiding perspective, though I suspect RP would have similar points) I have a couple ideas, and I'd also like to hear any others that you may have.

The Personal time and effort investment

You don't succeed in raiding or PvP without spending a LOT of time in the game:
- leveling your toon
- working on gear
- learning to play your toon
- learning the basic fights (both raids and PvP have pre-planned tactics)
- learning to play as a team

Even if you aren't "in character" (in an RP, or anthropomorphic sense), you have still put several hundred hours into any character that is "ready to go". In my own experience, the more time I put into a task or objective, the more emotionally invested in that given thing I will be. It seems that most people I've known are the same way. Time may or may not equal money, but time most certainly seems to be equate to emotion.

So, when something doesn't go as planned, failures of some sort, or negative interactions with other will hit a nerve and we will likely have a negative response.

Conversely, when you FINALLY drop the boss, or get up to an arena rank, or beat a tough team, the exhilaration is amazing.

Thems is Peoples behind those pixels

Maybe this part gets driven into the ground. That voice you hear over your headset, and those pixels dancing in front of your avatar are the visible "face" of other folks. People aren't bits of code and they will almost always have *some* type of impact on you.

Whether you despise them, love them, or simply don't pay attention to them, they are an integral part of the game and how they interact with you can be a huge part of any feelings you get int the game.

Combine this with with the emotional investment we have, and the results are demonstrated every day, both in-game and here in the blogosphere.

Rools iz Rools

If you ever played pen & paper D&D, with the DM (dungeon master) sitting behind his screen and rolling the dice to determine your fate, there was almost ALWAYS a way to bend a rule, create a rule, or just do something out of left field. The only limits were imagination and patience.

WoW doesn't have that flexibility or intimate level of interactivity. Let alone an imagination.

So we are all stuck playing within the rules of bit, bytes and teraflops that were created by the designers. Much to the QQ of folks on the various forums and blogs.

How does this affect our gaming in any emotional way?

Let me ask it this way: how do you feel about somewhat arbitrary laws in your city, town, state, county, etc? Especially ones that you feel are either draconian or ones that almost encourage irresponsibility?

If you're anything like me, they will piss you off. Either because they restrict you too much, or give too much leniency to assholes.

-But I WANT to go to Ironforge Airport without fear of banning or booting!
-Stop the gold sellers, botters and the like!


The sad/frustrating part of this aspect of our emotional interaction within/around the game, is that its effect on us is almost universally negative. Perhaps you could argue that the story telling, lore and questing are also part of the "rules", and can be EITHER annoying OR good (or completely banal) so that "rules" aren't always a negative... *shrug*

The Mirror

How we deal with ourselves and our time with WoW is probably the biggest factor, although others can certainly be a huge part.

If you had a crappy day at work, school at home, what ever, you can probably bet that your real life (RL) is going to have an emotional impact on how your time in Azeroth will go. It is very possible (and often a hoped for side-effct) that playing will relax you and get you out of your rut or mood. But that's not always the case.

This is especially true when you put yourself into a part of the game that tests you. Either via PvP against other players, or in Raid content WITH other players (and all of THEIR own issues, problems, and joys) You will be trying to successfully perform a task, and you will either succeed or fail.

This can be viewed from a group perspective (did we win/down the boss or did we lose/wipe) or it can be on a much more personal level (how did I do? did I stand in stupid? Did I help those I should have? Did I kick butt?)

It's under the lens of the latter part of the individual, personal review that you can get you down. ESPECIALLY if it is reinforced in any way by any of the previous "emotional modifiers" that I mentioned above. You can end up happy, sad, or any of the other myriad positions on the spectrum of emotional state.

And you know what? That's ok. As long as whatever state you are in doesn't become "clinically relevant", having an emotional response to the game, even negative ones, is OK. It's what makes you who you are, it's how you grow, learn and stay human. (or cyborg for some of you)

I almost deleted or drastically edited my post from yesterday. I don't want to QQ *too* much, but hey, it's all part of who I am. I'm a grouchy, competitive, social person. While my primary reason for bloggin is the interaction and community, I *do* still think of this as a scrap book of my gaming. Not just the good and that, but also some of the less fun parts.

So, did I miss anything? Majorly screw something up? Let me know...

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