Every now and then, during a quick “nice to see you” conversation, friends ask me how I feel about the beautiful response Dragonborn and other covers have gotten. I panic trying to summarize my feelings and end up saying something like, “It’s really awesome!” And the moment I say it, I feel lame. Because eating ice cream on a Sunday is awesome. The encouragement you guys have given me has truly changed the way I feel about my life, my choices, and about myself.
Last year was a difficult one for me. Emotionally, health wise, professionally… Every aspect of my being malfunctioned at the same time, and what I remember the most is that feeling of hitting a wall.
In November, during one of the most peaceful moments I’d had all year, I recorded the Dragonborn cover. In the months since then, every single message I’ve received from you has turned that concrete wall into this:
Every encouraging message you write, every tweet, every share feels like a firm climbing grip.
I’m not over the wall yet. My insecurities haven’t been magically fixed. My fears and doubts are still lurking nearby.
But you’re helping me find a way to keep moving. And most importantly, you keep me looking up.
And that’s why you are more awesome than ice cream on a Sunday.
Infinitely more awesome.
I spent more than half of my World of Warcraft days playing damage dealing characters. I was never great at it, but I didn’t mind. The game was fun anyway, and I was happy following my friends around, carefree, doing mediocre damage
When most of these friends left WoW, I started playing battlegrounds because I was too shy (/chicken) to join random dungeons. I did what I could to help my team, yet watched with indifference whenever I got my ass kicked. Even with a Ret Pally my stats didn’t compare to everyone else’s, so instead of running up bravely to enemies, I started using what healing spells I had to help others who were better than me. Eventually, curiosity led me to switch my pally to Holy and… man.
This was the coolest thing to go through. After a long time of playing with this feeling of “whatever, I suck, I’ll do what I can,” I was suddenly full of adrenaline and a surprising attitude of “Leeeaaave no maaan behiiiind”. I didn’t want ANYBODY to die EVER. It was an intense determination that felt out of character for my insecure gaming self. I loved every second of it.
I’m sure I still wasn’t what you’d consider “good” at WoW… but it felt good to want to be better. It replaced my indifference with a stronger attitude that stayed with me even when I occasionally went back to damage dealing. It changed the game for me. And not just WoW, but every game. Sometimes, indifference is simply a sign that you need to find a different approach to what you are doing. Or a different purpose.
I wanted the Skyrim edition with the Alduin statue… I wanted the Halo Reach edition that had Dr. Halsey’s journal… The Gears of War 3 statue… The— everything.
Yet, I didn’t buy them.
The amount of things I’ve accumulated over time is insane… And I’m not even a collector of anything in particular. I admire people that own and maintain collections of stuff they like. :) In my case, the things that I do own usually end up dusty in a corner or buried behind stacks of papers.
See Exhibit A, my underwhelming Star Wars “collection” (featuring Drunk Yoda):
I was looking through the games I own and realized that I don’t own a single special, limited, or collectors edition. Seriously. And a large part has always been the mentality of “I’d rather spend the extra money on another game… or save it.” But, am I missing out by only buying standard editions?
I do consider special or limited editions when it’s a game I like, especially if they include something I can use more than once… like a controller. But if the content is more symbolic than practical, I tend to talk myself out of it.
I’m curious. What sort of things encourage you to buy special or limited editions? And second, do you make the most out of the content they include?Read More
It’s been almost 10 days since the release of Diablo 3. After writing an open letter to myself, I’m only level 9. Good Malu for playing responsibly.
I’ve really enjoyed the game so far. :)
I wanted to thank you guys for sharing your battletags with me. I’d like to finish the game in single player first, and afterwards I’d love to join you!
So for now, play proud and I’ll see you sort of soonish in Diablo 3!
Oh, boy. I just downloaded Diablo 3.
I say “Oh, boy” because Blizzard and I have a complicated past.
I found World of Warcraft at the perfect time when my life changed unexpectedly. WoW helped me deal with difficult emotions by letting me handle painful reality in small doses. (Thinking back, I will always thank Blizzard for empowering me right after life had done the opposite.)
WoW pushed me back into a numbers system with objective progress, rewards, and an outlined path towards a goal. This made me feel a comfort and happiness I hadn’t felt since I was in school.
And then, the game started hurting me for the very same reasons it helped me in the first place. There’s a fine line between coping and denial. I found myself playing until I was literally falling asleep, so I could just stumble into bed and not think about anything. This kept me from having any internal confrontations that needed to happen so I could move forward.
The quick, objective progress in WoW also made my slow, subjective progress as a musician and composer disheartening. Without motivation, my productivity was severely affected.
Now, I have nothing against playing for hours if I feel like it and have the time… I have a problem when it turns me into an irresponsible person.
Being irresponsible makes me feel ashamed… because I know better than that. And being irresponsible because of a game, makes me feel ashamed of playing. I don’t want to be ashamed of doing something I love.
I managed to ease off on the hours I was playing for many months… then like a loop, something bad happened and I found myself staying up until 4 in the morning again. That’s when I finally cancelled WoW.
I still think about it often… especially when I have free time at night… And I still haven’t been able to delete the install. I just moved it to a backup drive. It’s comforting to know it’s there.
So now… Back to Diablo 3, here’s an open letter to myself.
Let this be a good thing that will enrich your life, as any form of art should.
And promise to play only when you feel proud to be playing.
Today, I played Oblivion without any pants on.
I started out dressed, I assure you… but I guess somewhere during the tutorial I switched to a robe and then looted a piece of light armor that protected my upper section… and nothing else. Hahaha!
I tried playing Oblivion on Xbox 360 two years ago, and I didn’t get very far because I was more used to console games that required me to simply shoot stuff. I felt a bit overwhelmed with the menus and choices. RPG n00b!
Skyrim’s UI design with all the simple to use menus is what helped me begin to understand how things work, and this made me want to try Oblivion again.
I started a new game, got through about 40 minutes maybe (half of that time I spent looking for my pants)… and then died. Imagine my surprise when I loaded the last autosave and found myself almost at the beginning.
I was reminded of every school paper or project I lost when my computer froze.
This made me realize that the modern (and frequent) autosave function in games has made me somewhat lazy. I wrongly assumed the game was saving as often as Skyrim or Mass Effect 3. (Although there were a couple of times in Skyrim where I got killed while exploring and got sent all the way back to the town I left from.)
Lazy or not, I’m glad frequent autosaving exists in many newer titles.
I will return to Oblivion another day. Once I get over the tiny resentment I feel at the moment. Hahaha!