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.
I was playing with friends, having a great time. I even tried cutting my hair to match my character. Ha!
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.