A while back I talked about how a fear of failure and rejection was a major part of the reason I had isolated myself within the MMO's that I have been playing. Well, my recent turn towards digital trading card games (dTCG's) has revealed to me that this fear is even deeper than I had first realized. And as much as I wish I could pinpoint when I started to become so fearful in my interactions with other players, the best thing I can come up with is when I lost my "support network" back in World of Warcraft. Having a group of close friends to experience content somewhat "sheltered" me from having to put myself out there and interact with a more diverse population. Once that was removed, I found myself unwilling to "put myself out there" again and instead became more and more withdrawn. But I discovered recently that it isn't even just about failing or rejection. I am not a highly competitive person by any means, but all the sudden I am also simply afraid to lose.
The Corruption Runs Deep
I've been dabbling in several dTCG's recently, some of which I've already talked about, others of which I haven't mentioned yet but will probably talk about in my Utopian Chaos column at some point. But in each of these games, I am keeping almost exclusively to whatever PvE content the game offers and avoiding playing other players whenever possible. Why? Because the games aren't fun? Because my little starter decks are crappy? No... because I simply don't want to get pummeled by other players. Why should that matter? The only way to get better at anything is to practice, especially at the beginning. No one is an expert at a game right out of the gate. Well, ok... almost no one. There will always be the odd "savant" out there, but that's certainly not me. So why should I care about getting killed at first? I shouldn't, but I do. I care so much that I go out of my way to avoid it, and thus ruin any chance at actually improving at any of these games and enjoying them more in the long term.
And you know what's even more sad? This attitude is starting to creep into the offline single-player games I try to play. During the recent Steam sale I picked up a handful of titles that were well received and dirt cheap. I haven't even booted up half of them, or barely started a couple of them. Why? Because I don't want to stumble around trying to figure them out at first. I don't want to "suck" while I try and figure them out. But who is going to "see" me? Is there anyone watching while I have to save/restart several times while I try and figure out what the heck I am doing? Nope, it's just me, myself, and I. So what in the world is the problem? I wish I knew, but it is really becoming paralyzing in a sense. It is ruining my ability to enjoy ANY kind of gaming... MMO, TCG, offline RPG... doesn't matter. I can't seem to enjoy anything these days because I am just purely afraid of any kind of failure, setback, or obstacle.
Getting Over Oneself
I suppose it may be frustrating to some of you to have to keep reading about my personal issues rather than some juicy gaming gossip, but it's hard to write about games that you can't bring yourself to play anymore... so this is what I have to write about for the time being. I am hoping to find a way over this little "hump" and get back to enjoying my hobby again. Actually I am hoping that my involvement with Utopian Chaos is helping me turn the corner on this. There are a bunch of really great people over there and they have been very accepting of my contributions so far. It's a good feeling to have after being pretty much "on my own" for such a long time. Now if only Carbine would fix their random number generator and send me a WildStar beta key! They announced another stress test coming up this weekend and guess who didn't get invited again? Yeah... this guy. At this rate I may break down and try Final Fantasy XIV: ARR when it launches later this year.
Enjoy the rest of your week and look for my column on Utopian Chaos tomorrow!