Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You've Got To Know When To Hold 'Em...

Know when to fold 'em.
Know when to walk away.
Know when to run...

If you haven't heard "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers ever, then my little intro probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense. However, it's a great song even if you're not a big Kenny fan and iconic in many ways.

In the song, Kenny is comparing life to a poker game, but here I'd like to extend that analogy to WoW. We've seen a lot of atrophy in the blogosphere over the last few months, with Stop at The Stoppable Force being the latest that I'm aware of. Each of these folks decided to "walk" or even "run" in some cases, but in all cases, I think they were burnt out on the game.

So how do we fight "burn out"? It's a term common enough among gamers, clearly connoting a sense of fatigue with one's current activities. Bloggers are prime candidates for this particular non-warlocky affliction too. We strive to stay current and entertaining, which means we have to spend enough time in-game or reading about the game to generate content. Some folks are better at this than others, but all of us spend quality time with it. It's something that's important to us.

This puts us at high risk for "burn out", because it can often seem very hard to step back and take a break. However, I think being able to know when to take breaks is a key skill for any gamer, be they hardcore or casual. Each of us have our own limits to what we can endure, but we all have a definite limit. It's important to know your limit, be honest with yourself about it, and work within your responsibilities to not constantly push your limits.

As an officer, raid leader, sometimes substitute GM, blogger, aspiring writer (yes, I write other things than just here and would love to make a career of it, however it's kind of on par with "pro athlete" as far as I'm concerned, which brings us to), athlete and football coach, future husband, and valued "team member" at work... my plate is pretty full at all times. I'd imagine a lot of gamers juggle similar loads. Toss in a few kids or school and you probably feel me. The point is that gamers are usually "doers" in life. The same compulsion that drives us to complete every damned achievement we can and research our specs and read blogs probably drives us to take large loads on ourselves in other areas as well.

We need to be aware of this tendency in ourselves and be honest enough to give ourselves a break when we need it. I do this a lot of ways. I play another MMO (EvE online), I mix up PvP and PvE (though I like PvE a lot more), I have a min/max toon and a "fun toon", I take nights off to go play basketball or softball... to name a few. What do you enjoy? How do you change it up and take breaks? I still probably log in just about every night, but I don't run myself ragged trying to do everything.

I view WoW and MMO's in general as more of a marathon. It's something I want to build up over a few years. That's what I like about it. If I wanted to "beat" the game in a month or two, I'd get a console game (and I do play console games quite often). As with all marathons, pacing yourself is the key. This is my plea to bloggers and gamers in general... don't be afraid to pace yourself. Gaming has grown up, and our attitudes need to reflect that.

I think I've rambled enough for today. I didn't do much besides casual PvP in-game last night, hence using this general topic today for content. In a way, that is a break too. So are lazy link days and pictures :-).


  1. This is a really nice post, and something I've been coming to realise lately too.

    Since taking on the onus of raid leading I've oscillated wildly, was this a mistake? Do I just want to quit the game entirely? What about all my friends? Oh wait, we're doing great, this is a lot of fun!

    etc, etc. I'm learning the importance of taking the good with the bad, and knowing when to refuse to lead (Offnight raids, I won't do them, I won't lead them, I refuse). I did offnights for one week and it about killed me. While I'd like to do the 10-man stuff with my guildies, I know I just can't handle it.

  2. Best thing that I've found (and many others have done the same) is taking up a new project. Some do it with trying out pvp or taking up lvling their profession. Me? Welp, I've been doing the Recruit a Friend with a new Shadow Priest and made the game into something completely new to me. I've also been working on my Offspec for raiding.

    When all you do is Tank (or DPS or heal) try a fight that you've already done 10 bizillion times from a different angle. I've been giving my lolret a spin & loving it.

    My best advice, find something off the wall and research it. It might bring some spice to your gaming life :)

  3. Find new activities. At one point it was work on achievements. Recently I've started an AH experiment that's going well.

    Change your routine. Left an old guild raiding nearly every day for one that raids 2nights/week.

    Set small goals. Going to level that alt to 10 this weekend. Going to get this one to 11 tomorrow. Don't go going to level that alt to 80 by Labor Day while doing everything else too. That kind of goal will burn you out fast.

  4. Yep, great comments. These are all good ways to stave off burn out.

    Of course, this only really makes sense if you *want* to make the game "last". That is to say, there are some folks that just want to do "everything" as fast as possible and be done with it. That's fine too, it's another way to play, but that sort of gameplay would exhaust me.