Tuesday, February 5, 2008

To stand steady on several legs

How many legs are you standing on in the game? Or to put it a bit differently: what is it in the end that gives you the kicks, the entertainment, that makes you go on, wanting to keep paying the monthly fee and logging in? Is it just one thing that motivates you - whether it's to create the perfect character according to you, to chat with unknown people from all over the world or to simply try to "beat the game", killing every boss there is to kill, taking it to the bottom so you feel like it's "the end"? Or are you standing on several legs?

I've started to make up a theory of my own. I think it's healthy to find several motivators, different aspects that are complements to each other. Then you can more easily handle the struggles that inevitably will come one day. You don't fall together for just the slightest breeze.

If you're very social, building your whole playing on being in a certain guild or with a few exclusive one's on your friends list, it can be quite devastating when the day arrives where the friends are heading for another game and the guild is split up after some drama.

If you're living for new content and impossibly can see the charm in bringing down a boss for the second time, it will be tough for you to come further. Or it will rather feel like a job than like entertainment. After all farming is inevitable from time to time. If you only live to optimize your gear, you'll be boring to socialize with, people will see you like a egoistic jerk, almost like a ninja. It won't work in the long run.

For me I'm something of a spider, standing on several legs in the game. If one leg is missing at a point I'll limb for a while, but I'll manage. The game isn't dead because one aspect disappears. So exactly how do those legs look? Well, this won't be any complete list, but here are a few of the areas which keep the game interesting to me (without any ranking).

The social one. Friendship, laughter, to play and let go a bit of all the adultness in my life. To grow and improve as a group. If I was to play WoW solo I would have abandoned it long time ago.

The focused one. Sometimes you need to focus totally on what's going on in the game, for instance in a raid. There's nothing else but "here and now", any RL-worries disappear for a while. Even if it's hectic and stressful, it makes me relax completely.
The curious exploring one.New encounters, new areas, new ways to play the game, new classes... Do you need to say anymore? It's entertainment! Just like any book or movie.

The goal oriented systematic one. To go further, to set goals and achieve them, to see that I'm always developing, as Larisa and as the player who's controlling her. Sometimes it won't go fast, and I won't reach so high, but there's always a movement forward, a feeling of accomplishment. This is an illusion, I admit - as a matter of fact I won't accomplish anything but a few pixels and memory sequences in the servers of Blizzard. But I let myself be seduced, with open eyes.

Four steady legs. And probably a few small ones in between. The risk that I'll leave the game altogether (or the chance, depending on how you see it, after all it's quite time consuming) is probably quite small as far as I can see. Those legs will carry me a long way.

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