Let's talk about Feats of Strength again. I admit it's the third time this week that I mention them, and that's a little odd considering that I'm not that much of an achievement junkie in the first place. Not more than the average at least. But I’ve got some kind of hangup on this at the moment, so I’ll blog on and hopefully it will ease my mind. Here we go: time for this week's ponderings from the bar.
My Feats of Strength
This post takes off with the announcement from Blizzard that we’ll get yet another ”Feat of strength” if we only can be bothered to log in once during a three week period.
Reading about it I asked myself what other feats I had in my bags. Since I've never paid any attention to them, I had no idea. A quick check in armory revealed that I had acquired 18 until this day, and to be honest most of them were less than overwhelming:
- Getting myself a Collector's Edition for Wrath, well done, pat on shoulder?
- Getting a Crashin' Thrashin' Racer as a Winter veil gift like everyone else in 2008. Wohoo?
- Obtaining one emblem of any kind, really? I'd rather consider it a Feat of Strenth to manage to avoid them altogether.
However, most of the Feats of Strength won’t fill me with a sense of pride. The list consists of a number of randomly picked events during my lifespan as a WoW player, which happen to have been documented this way. as a matter of fact some of the feats are so cheap that they inevitably dilute the concept of feats as being special and desirable.
This is a bit of a pity, since there actually is some potential in this feature. Just like the rest of the achievement system, Feats of strength could be a tool for players to make their characters stand out from every one else.
Even if your lvl 80 mage looks exactly the same as the one next to you at AH, wearing identical gear but a slightly different hair style, your individual experiences and areas of interest in the game will differ. The Feats of strength list could offer an opportunity to put this at display.
In the current form, the system is automatized. When you do certain things in the game, a note is added to your armory profile, armory either you like it or not. There’s no way to undo an achievement; those lists are forever (or as long as the game lasts).
But let's play with the thought that the Feats of Strength worked in a different way. What if it was the player who chose them? You could pick the ten achievements you were most proud over, as a declaration to the world: “Look at what I’ve done! Those are the top performances I have done!” A die hard PvP:er would of course display his best PvP achievements, a raider would highlight the most prestigious boss kills and the dedicated grinders would made no secret of their Loremaster or Insane titles.
Picking the best achievements would be a bit tricky and I’m not sure how my own list would look, but I know it would be different to what it is today. My Twilight Vanquisher title from April 2009 required far more strength than logging into WoW for the five year anniversary, that's for sure.
True Feats of Strength
Since it's my Friday night post, I'm letting my mind wander best it likes as we're enjoying our after-work pint. So now I'll stroll away and talk a bit about what I would consider to be the True Feats of Strength, which is someting quite different to the stuff that Blizzard rewards.
If you think about it: aren't there ever so many game related activities that will require patience, effort and courage? Those deeds will never be documented in a log, never flashed out as a guild message - and yet they are what will stick to our memories as we one day in the future will recall our years of WoW playing.
What's the bravest thing you ever did in Azeroth? When did you find yourself at a turning point, taking a hard decision that took you in an entirely new direction in the game? Which are the deeds that required all strength you could ever come up with? When did you challenge yourself with a task that seemed way out of your reach, taking the risk of a bitter and embarrassing failure?
When I think back at my own time in Azeroth I believe one of the bravest things I ever did was to take the plunge into the unknown, switching to a server where I didn't know a single soul, to join a guild that was raiding 25 man T5, while all I knew was how to Karazhan. A true feat of strength. Or the moment when I pressed the cubes in Magtheridon for the first time in the spring 2008. Looking back it seems as a fairly simple thing to do, but to me - it was huge!
Joining Adrenaline, taking a leap in difficulty and expectations was another one. I knew that I would be on trial for weeks; There was no guarantee I would pass it and if I didn’t it would pretty terrible in my records. "Why did you leave your former guild?" "Ahem. They thought I sucked so I was asked to leave..." But somehow I overcame my fears and took the chance, aware, regardless of the risks.
The fact that I've stuck to my guild ever since, being there through ups and downs, no matter what, is also something I feel good about, even I most of all think that I'm just privileged and lucky to have found such a good home. So probably it's not a true feat of strength. But it's important to me. The guild anniversaries outlast Blizzard's anniversaries by far!
And then there are the offline, but still WoW related activities. The very idea to start to blog in English took me a bit of courage, and to keep doing it for such a long time and with such intensity is probably Feat of strength material, (even if it’s also bordering to being a candicate for the Insane in the Membrane title. 600 blog posts, all about one single video game? Am I out of my mind?).
I won’t ever be able to write into my Feat of Strength log: "This mage is a dedicated WoW blogger since February 2008." But it sure would tell more about me as a player than the fact that I once got a Green Brewfest Stein more or less by accident.
Real Life Feats of Strength
This post is going towards its end, but before you head off for another pint in the bar or a nightly conversation in front of the fireplace, I'll ponder a little over the next level of Feats of Strength.
Have you ever thought about how your Real Life Feat of Strength list would look?
Taking the risk to be a little boring and predictable, I believe that my Mother title would top my list. The fact that I've given birth to and raised two children never ceases to amaze me. My list would also include some radical changes my life direction. Moving to a new place to live, switching jobs and career. Daring to step up when the situation required it - even if I didn't think I was fit to do it.
Then there are some feats of strength that are more on the sad side, feats I would rather have been without. Experiences such as dealing with deaths in the family, situations where I’ve been forced to act more like a “grown-up” than I had asked for, taking responsibility not only for myself, but for others. You know. The crap we all will encounter sooner or later in our lives, either we're prepared for it or not.
My conclusion - what I’m really trying to say with this post - is that I think we give ourselves too little credit for what we achieve in life.
We're so quick to identify our shortcomings and - the job we didn't get, the so-and-so grades, the GF/BF that dumped us, the friend we let down, the competition we lost, the opportunities we missed because we took the wrong decision. We love to dwell on it, calling ourselves all sorts of names. Fail mother. Fail friend. Fail lover. Fail student. Fail, fail, fail. But how we think back of our success stories, how often do we even notice them? How often do we recongize that we that we make a difference?
We have so much to be proud of, even if it doesn't show in a feed or will be celebrated with a flash message on a screen. Don't ever forget that.
It’s time to finish and bring out a Friday night toast. This one is for all our real Feats of strength - in the past and in the future.