Do You Admire Or Pity Hardcore Players?
I enjoyed reading a post by Larisa a few days ago that highlighted an article written by a member of the highest ranking guild in WoW, Paragon, in which the guildie describes a typical day in his life. Check out Larisa’s post for more info about it all but, to summarise, essentially it involved Kruf, the Paragon guild member in question, squeezing in a staggering 10 hours of WoW a day whilst still holding down a full time job (and successfully living off a meger four hours sleep). There’s no question that this is about as hardcore as it gets.
I’m not going to judge Kruf as an individual and, honestly, I have no interest in how he runs his life. I do think it’s safe to say though that it’s not a healthy lifestyle for anyone (aside from the lack of sleep, sitting in front of a computer for that long isn’t good – I’ve got the posture issues to prove it) but then I’m sure he knows that already. Fact is too, if you want to be the best of the best at anything then you need to sacrifice pretty much everything else in your life to achieve it.
Of course, as a longtime MMORPGer, I’m not unfamiliar with the hardcore sterotype and I’ve seen it, to some degree, in all of the MMOs I’ve played. I’ve seen unemployed men practically live online and run the most elite guilds on the server; I’ve seen young mothers who admit to ignoring their children in order to keep playing longer; I’ve seen teenagers hide from reality in order to develop a powerful online character; and I’ve seen absolutely ordinary people get sucked into playing too much risking damage to their personal life as a result. Yeah, it can be a real tightrope to walk sometimes and turning hardcore, knowingly or not, can happen to just about anyone.
The result for gamers is that this activity creates a real split persona. In the virtual realm, you have avatars that ooze power and strength and have accomplished things that some players can only dream of. In real life though, the player is often not a powerful or wealthy or influence person merely just a normal man or woman who has sacrificed a heck of a lot to be able to invest so much time online. The prize always has to be paid and it’s a real dichotomy.
So how do I feel about these hardcore players? Well it’s funny because in game, I admire them whilst in real life, I pity them. I know they’ve given up so much to be able to achieve these feats online and make a virtual reputation for themselves and that makes me a little sad because I can’t help but think about everything important that they’re missing out on (friends, family, girls, money, booze). And yet I’m quite jealous of what they can do online. I’m jealous of the fact that they are more powerful than me and I’m jealous of the fact that they get more glory and have a higher status than I do. It’s a no-win situation.
I suppose it all boils down to the fact that I’m probably a little competitive and hate the idea that someone in-game can “beat” me just because they’ve got more time to spend than I do and this used to bug me quite a lot a few years ago. It seems somehow unfair that I wasn’t willing to give up certain activities in real life whilst hardcore gamers were and thus had an advantage in MMOs over me. I reconciled those feelings a lot time ago and now just try to look at things pragmatically. Life is a set of scales and everyone has to find a balance that suits them best.
P.S. Don’t make the mistake I made and search for “hardcore wow” on Google Images. At least not with your wife sitting in the same room.