Friday, May 17, 2013

Got Happy?

First: I hate to keep meme'ing (is that a verb?!) [potential] historical inaccuracies. I'll justify it this time though by saying, even if Benjamin Franklin didn't say it, it's still a cool quote. It's cool, not because of any political agendas, but in spite of them:

Watch the 2011 documentary, Happy

If Blizzard was writing this, perhaps it should read:

"The game rules only guarantee the citizens of Horde and Alliance the right to pursue levels; you have to get the RNG gods to drop items in groups."

Wait, no-- how about:

"Blizzard only guarantees the Horde and Alliance to pursue gear level. You have to do the quest line yourself."

Okay, I give up. It's early. But you get the point. The RNGs guarantee nothing.

Been thinking a lot about what makes me happy, or unhappy, lately. Happy is such an ubitquitious, yet elusive, state of being. Happy, you kind of suck sometimes.

Next, find a comfortable 45 minutes and watch the documentary. It's worth it. Parts of it will make you uncomfortable, so be warned. Parts will make you cry, so be warned. If you don't have time, I'll cut to the big themes:

1. Family and friends are our worlds; when we get lost in creating material worlds only, we are lost souls (watch story on Karōshi (過労死?)
2. Self-actualization, or the quiet moments of inner peace come in surprising ways--be open to them, even if your sister-in-law runs over your head. (No spoilers -- promise.)
3. Since we all can't live in Denmark or the bayous of Louisiana and eat crab and crawdads all day (oh man would I fit in there!) consider your own little patch of earth and see the joy. It's there, I promise.

Here's the deal. Straight up. Blunt.

I love playing WoW. I am nostalgic already, after only three years of play, though. It is my humble shaman opinion that unless Blizzard does take a open, honest look at the grinding, they are going to kill that joy. That's it.

If you watch the documentary, there's a lot of talk about dopamine levels. Dopamine levels are our happy buttons. They are killed with desperate repetition. Excerise and creative pursuits keep them pumping. Speaking for myself, I found my Azerothian dopamine levels were at their highest when I was doing a progressive achievement task, such as What a Long Strange Trip. I was also happiest when I had my first character, and then discovered a new class. I did not like the same repeated queats. I loved when pets and mounts became account-bound, and love walking into old instances to goof around, and feel like a bad-ass for a few minutes. I love the small amount of RP I've done--it's creative and engaging. I love when I've been on a raid team, even for short times, with funny people who made me laugh. I love my few close friends in Azeroth, that we get each other and I don't have to justify a damn thing to them.

More legendary fun, more solo, two, and three person achievements (not just for ponies, but achievements--a common bond, a goal, a STORY). Every time I read Navi's posts on raiding, the subtext is always the same: she is hanging with people she loves, and who love and depend on her --sure the gear is nice, but that is always secondary. Always. She's sitting at a large picnic table picking freshly caught seafood. When Tome writes about her solo adventures, she's writing about exploration, and making the game her own. She's catching happiness. When Bear writes about Cub, he's writing about family connections and insights that this journey. Even Navi, Kallixta, and I had raised our dopamine levels to the roof when we wrote our fables. (We have more in store, by the way....)

Oh, the blunt part, that's why you're still reading? Not the love fest? Okay. Here it goes.

For every time a bean counting, trolling game design mechanic or "what can I MAKE them do" enters into the equation, I feel a game karoshi moment.

Blizzard: knock it off.

Less karoshi.

More dopamine.

Within reason. Wouldn't want to become an addict, yo?

Theme song: Imagine Dragons


  1. Yeah, I drank the kool aid there for a bit and was very unhappy. Chasing happy again though, my fault.

    I think the thing I sort of resent the most this expansion is how anti-alt it is, at least to me. Okay, off to watch it!

  2. I share that resentment: our alts are what kept and keeps us engaged, and putting them all on the same treadmill blows. Perhaps a more apt analogy would be they never get to be the pack leader and are always staring at another dig's butt.

  3. That would be DOG'S butt: no one digs a ...never mind

  4. I've been listening to way too much Imagine Dragons, thanks to my youngest. They're good, but there's such a thing as "Too Much of a Good Thing".

    Now that would be a great lead-in should my problem be "Too Much of a Good Thing". Dang. Wasted a great opportunity!

    I've been very happy with my balance of RL vs WoW, but that means I haven't been spending as much time in Azeroth as prior Expansions. In fact, there's too much I'd like to do, but not enough time. This is a far better problem that the opposite. I guess it IS a problem of "Too Much of a Good Thing"! I just needed to work it out before typing.

    1. I love that things from "old" content are still just out if my grasp, or that I learn a new "old" story. So fun...


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