Readers may have detected a touch of ennui and frustration in my last post.
A little thinking helped to narrow down the cause.
It is a basic case of: These goals are not my own.
The past week has been spent in very “reactive” mode. See new update, respond to new update. See achievement to be gotten, rush to get check box completion. See enemy zerg report, rush to defend against enemy zerg.
That is not to say that new content is not welcome, or achievements are no good. It is a question of degrees.
A two-week update period gives me very little time for anything else. The first week is spent !00% focused on the new content and achievements, leaving the second week as emergency back up and farm/grind of content I like that will be disappearing. I’ve maintained a three week schedule would be less hectic (see comments) and failing which, I would be fine with the four week Flame and Frost style stuff too (but I know this sentiment is not shared by a good many Reddit and GW2 forum frequenters.)
As for achievements, they have their place and purpose. Achievements can provide direction and guidance. Achievements can focus player attention and crowds in the places where ArenaNet feels would be more fun with more active players.
But let me ask you, taking a recent specific example, why 2,500 points in Southsun Survival? Why not 1,000?
A thousand points would still serve the same purpose of having players hang around playing the minigame. “Proper” play generally yields 30-50, with a 50 point bonus if you win. “Point” play yields 50-100. That’s anywhere from 10-20+ games played still.
The Aspect Arena achievements felt more attainable. 2,500 points just feels grindy as all get out. It ends up making what is intrinsically fun a chore and an obligation.
An interesting quote from the researcher mentioned in the article above is “It may be that, in the absence of an emotional bond with the organization, commitment based on obligation is experienced as a kind of indebtedness — a loss of autonomy that is emotionally draining over time.”
The phrase I’d like to key in on, in our particular context, is loss of autonomy.
These goals are not -my- own.
I feel obliged to do them because I have chosen the higher level goal of being a completionist with seasonal achievements (for which, one might say there is also some external reward prompting with the new Achievement Reward system) but it does not mean that I’m actually enjoying the in-between steps if they get too insane.
It reminds me of WoW raiders complaints about feeling obliged to do a ton of dailies just to keep up with what is expected of them in a raid. They like to raid. They don’t exactly like to do 48 repetitive things in order to just merely qualify. Again, this is a matter of degree. 10 things? No problem. 20 things may be pushing it. 48? Hahaha. How much free time do you devs think we players have anyway?
It is the same with WvW. For me, I hasten to add. (There are plenty of Tarnished Coasters super-duper hardcore about WvW or just feeling a lot more like WvWing than I do at the moment, and they’re keeping the fight going. The benefits of playing on a full server.)
My tendency tends to be, log on, check guild and friend list, see a bulk of them in WvW and go, “Gee, I guess I should join them. I’m sure it’s aggravating for them to see other people online and not WvWing when the whole place evidently needs as much help as it could get. They probably could use more support and hands on deck.” Before you know it, the feeling of social obligation has overtaken my whole night and 4-5 hours are spent reacting to a commander’s orders/movement and engaged in generally outnumbered defence.
Some days I -want- to fight. I’m itching for a scrap, log into Mumble, find a commander I like to follow, and willingly blend into the zerg and have a great time. But regular schedules get to me and I have guildies and commanders that spend every single night (and possibly some mornings too) in WvW. That wears me down after a while. I just don’t have the personality for that sort of orderly routine.
The cure for this, is both simple in theory and hard to execute.
Start addressing your own goals.
Having been Skinner-Box conditioned to follow achievements as quests, when I posed myself this question, I sat around stumped for quite a while.
What -did- I want to do in GW2?
Ever so slowly, like drawing blood from a rock, came tentative answers from a hitherto ignored portion of me.
- How about, go explore bits of the open world again, find cool stuff, and level a class you haven’t played yet.
- Collect all the ranger pets!
- Maybe tweak your charrdian’s build again, give up spirit weapons and see just how much damage you can put out as a berserk army of one.
- You wanted an asura thief, and maybe a charr thief at some point.
- Hell, make that one of every class for asura and charr eventually. Cos they’re just too awesome.
- There’s an experience scroll to level 20 that is unused in your bank. And an empty character slot that was intended for Black Lion Key farming.
- Your guild bank is sitting on a pile of unconsumed celestial crafting recipes. Because they’re level 80 and your weaponsmith/jeweller is not yet 80.
- You need gold, like always.
- You had the urge once to watch a few PvP videos and learn how to sPvP properly, and read up on builds and such. Oh, there’s a PvP monthly you might also try to finish for points…
- Just how long can you sit at 199/200 fractals done in your achievement summary and not do anything about it anyway?
- Speaking of which, you always wanted to learn the other paths of dungeons you haven’t done and work on obtaining the Dungeon Master title.
- Your human storyline is not yet done. It’s the last one. Your human mesmer is rotting somewhere.
- Your elementalist needs attention. It feels complex, yes, but I bet it is capable of doing some crazy things once mastered.
- Perhaps peek back in on GW1 someday and see if more progress can be made on the HoM.
And on and on. All stuff I’ve been sitting on because other more urgent things were prioritized first.
Burnout recovery self-time.
I addressed the immersion problem first of all, trying to reconnect back to the GW2 -world-, rather than obsess about the game, meta or otherwise.
Graphics settings back up to crash-a-holic, prepared to memory error per zone.
Went invisible so as not to bother with anyone or anything in my friends or guild lists and switched into personal bank guild.
Logged on runty asura ranger. Went out into the world.
Metrica Province, by the way, is a really excellent place for losing oneself (as long as you tune out the fire elemental calls.) So are most of the Maguuma jungle zone areas. They’re just not traversed very often by many players.
Found a giant asura champion that I had never seen before.
Kited him in circles in an epic battle of level 12 ranger dodging and healing spring-ing, with plenty of inquest respawns getting in the way. Pulled out a blue Mighty Chain Leggings from the Inquest Chest at the end of the herculean fight. I think I need a T-shirt that says, “I can’t wait for the next update and better champion loot.”
Talked to nearly every NPC I could see. There are some crazy asura conversations in Rata Sum. Metrica and Brisban also have some classics too.
Somewhere in between, I discovered a Wintersday gift box in my ranger’s inventory. I could have sworn it wasn’t there before when I first started. Maybe a back log in the full inventory queue or something. Opening it yielded 250 mystical cogs, a toymaker’s bag and a bunch of skins. Talk about a belated gift. I’d missed this freebie before, but hadn’t been sweating it due to being fast enough to loot the chest to begin with.
This naturally called for buying some stuffing and glue off the TP (it’s amazing how inflation makes one barely blink an eye at spending 1 gold for a stack of stuffing and 2 gold for a stack of glue months later) and crafting the toy golem. Which makes all the minis I would want from that. (I still think the princess doll is fugly and don’t want it.)
Seeing the current price of stuffing and glue also led to another modest attempt at the endless plush griffon tonic. Five tries later, I was three more gold poorer, endless tonic-less, a mystic forge daily done, and with some spare normal griffon tonics to hand.
It is amazing how one immediately cheers up running around as a cute stuffed animal.
(Southsun, by the way, is nice and peaceful and deserted once more. It’s another of my favorite hangout locales with a TP, bank and merchant nearby, as long as one ignores the settlement of crazed karka just next to you. Just missing a guild bank. Maybe I should look into the price of those guild transport thingmajigs.)
Out of sheer mischievous fun, I made the run south past scary reef drakes and annoying reef riders to the Consortium resort and did the easy jumping puzzle as a plushie griffon.
No one found me before the tonic wore off, but I had a blast just camping out and being cute regardless.
I also did other stuff from that long list of mine (keyword: mine) but I’ll save that for another post.
If you’re feeling the burn, go and do what’s fun for you until you feel better.