Blaugust Day 21: Sleep is for the Weak, and They’re All Ok By Me (On Gaming Priorities and Balance)

Yesterday, I managed to discover one thing I prioritized over writing a blog post and meeting the Blaugust deadline: SLEEP.

It was 9pm on a Friday night, all the time in the world to scratch out a blog post really, but since I’ve been nursing a mild cold that only fills up half a trash can full of tissues (as opposed to nastier ones that devours boxes of tissues and fills a trash can to overflowing) and feeling moderately woozy (which could also have been caffeine withdrawal from two Starbucks lattes downed mid-week to speed up the work day…)

…I looked from computer to bed, and bed to computer, and then said, “Forget it. Tomorrow’s Saturday. I’ll knock out two posts.”

The extra 2-3 hours feels really good this morning though. I suspect I’d been shaving off an hour or two the last few days and accumulating sleep deprivation that way.

Funnily enough, before I crashed, I managed to make time to knock out GW2 dailies and attend guild missions (and Trove dailies while feeling grumpy about how long weekly guild missions were taking this Friday.)

And dinner, of course. And a shower. Before game. Then sleep. Because health.

In my roundabout way, I’m trying to figure out how to segue into a topic that part of the blogosphere’s been talking about lately: Gaming priorities.

  • Apparently Izlain and Eri started it, with a Couch Potatoes AMA, where they talk about regrets from their gaming habits. (Which I will admit I have not prioritized any time to listen to, so am quoting off someone else’s summary. I’m a poor audio learner, ok?)
  • Braxwolf picks up the thread, where he wonders about the impact of having too many sources of short-term gratification tempting our younger generations and if this stands in the way of them being able to endure hardship for long term benefits.
  • Rowan Blaze adds on to it, pointing out that gaming is just one of a myriad other activities that it is possible to become obsessed with or addicted to, at the expense of other things. He goes on to cover gaming and its possible effects on relationships.

Then there are other posts that aren’t explicitly about gaming priorities, but seem to me to be related:

  • James over at Goobbue Crossing is feeling the grind in GW2, flooded with currencies he has little present use for and can’t figure out, and feeling under-motivated (and not really rewarded) to get past the learning hump.

Plus pretty much any and every other post that laments the fact that there are too many games out there (including those on one’s Steam list) and/or the need to focus playing only a few of those at any one time, and/or the challenge of finding enough hours in the day to knock out a blog post in addition to the above.

I find myself in total agreement with Syl’s comment over at Braxwolf’s:

There’s always something to learn in nature and it so happens that in nature too, substances that can heal you very often can harm/kill you too (aka ‘the dose makes the poison’). Games or rather escapism through games, has the potential to do a lot of good in a person’s life; it can get them through a time of hardship and tragedy, it can cure them of loneliness and insecurity. For a time. Until it stops doing these things and becomes the opposite.

The keyword is balance. Sometimes you know when to stop and re-balance, sometimes you’ll learn the hard way… It’s never too late to look at your life and change things if you really want to, especially if you’re still young and capable.

Moderation and balance, and becoming clearer in what you value, and thus should prioritize.

It’s easy to see that in Braxwolf’s case, one of his values is long-term benefits/greater good over immediate hedonistic happiness, and Rowan strongly values his relationship with Scooter, for example.

I can totally relate with James’ currency flood feeling, every time I try to get back to LOTRO, my bags overflow with things I’m sure I don’t need to bother with right yet, but have no idea where to put them in the meantime, and it feels like a hurdle I’m not willing to cross because some things about LOTRO just don’t appeal to me as much as other MMOs.

I try to play Eve Online, and while the learning hump there feels like a fun challenge to get over, I usually end up asking myself, but why would I do it? I would be paying a subscription (or grinding isk for one) to basically be someone else’s content, because I’m not really motivated by socializer or killer preferences. I’d be better off playing an MMO that hits my more favored Explorer or Achiever tendencies, and does so in a less directly competitive manner.

Different people may value different things more highly, and prioritize them differently as a result. It’s really all about balancing what we value first, and not let any of them take the upper hand and overwhelm everything else that we also value.

And if that does happen, well, it’s a learning experience… learned the hard way.

I dunno, but I rarely frame these things as a regret. Regret to me, kind of says that you wished they hadn’t happened. But in my opinion, I needed them to happen in order that I could learn valuable lessons and readjust my life as a result. One doesn’t learn by coasting through life. One only learns when one stumbles, or rams facefirst into a wall, or falls flat on one’s bum. Hurts, but learning to get up again is also another one of those important life lessons.

Incidentally, the longest continuous gaming session I ever experienced was in my foolhardy youth, where winning was everything, and my team raced two other teams on a MUD quest marathon to kill 30 raid-like bosses. It took us 9 hours. We won. One other team called it after that, and the last team gamely plodded on and finished at the 11th hour.

After that, I said “My god. That was crazy. Never again. Worth the experience once. But never, never again.”

No regrets. But I definitely learned the boundaries of one of my priorities that day.

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 21.

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3 thoughts on “Blaugust Day 21: Sleep is for the Weak, and They’re All Ok By Me (On Gaming Priorities and Balance)

  1. wolfyseyes says:

    I was about…I wanna say…10? 15? levels away from cap on SWTOR on my Bounty Hunter. Since I was in a guild with some friends, I wanted to put my nose to the grindstone and get to 50 as soon as I could so I could help them tank stuff.

    So I spent pretty much the whole day suffering through the final two planets of content, playing and playing and playing. By the time I finished, I didn’t feel joy or delight or achievement. I literally felt ill. As if I had been bitten by a vampire, or at least a cloud of mosquitoes.

    It was the last, most recent time I put myself through that. Indeed, lesson learned.

  2. bhagpuss says:

    For me probably the two most important factors, by far, that have affected how large a part MMOs have been allowed to play in my life are :

    1. The fact that I was forty years old when I played my first MMO
    2. I’m partnered with someone of around the same age, who also had never played, who took to MMOs as eagerly and enthusiastically and immediately as I did.

    That’s meant that there has been very little domestic conflict over the time-consuming nature of the hobby (although don’t get me started over guild drama…) and a knowledge from both of us that we are devoting the time we do to this hobby in the light of considerable life-experience of times when we did a lot of other things instead.

    By comparison with other ways of spending non-working time I feel playing MMOs (and writing about them in my case) is time very well spent indeed. I don’t feel I’m missing out on other aspects of life because I feel I’ve given most of them a fairly good run already and, what;s most important, I’m confident I could go back to most of those and pick them up again at any time, or find new ones, should I so desire.

    I do wonder what it would have been like to have been, say, my 25-year old self when I first played Everquest. Fifteen would have been fine, twenty too, but the mid-20s could have been a problem.

  3. Ysharros says:

    I was 32 when I started playing my first MMO, which I guess was old enough to not get sucked into this whole “where did my life go” problem folks seem to have with gaming.

    Have I played too much to avoid dealing with real life issues? Yes. Have I played when I should be doing other stuff? Sure. But never to the extent that it had a major impact on my life or caused me the kind of regret I’m seeing in some of these blog posts.

    Interesting sociological stuff to look into as we phase from the generation that ‘discovered’ online gaming to the generation that grew up immersed in it.

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