Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dear Matty: Nags, Scolds and Harpies edition

Dear Matty:
Do they have sharp talons?
I like to fly to Azeroth to escape the real world's pressures. Admittedly, sometimes I don't do a great job at balancing real-world responsibilities and time spent playing. Lately, a friend will say something like "get outside!" or "Gee, I didn't know you could play WoW while standing in the unemployment line!" and it's kind of getting on my nerves. I mean, you know, right now with the new content, and keeping up with valor points, being forced at metaphorical sword-tip to walk the plank in the Zuls, and the new Mt. Hyjal dailies (my baby bear cub was SO worth it!), time does slip away faster than ever it seems. And raiding? Fuggedaboutit. Recently a guild was looking for a player with my exact qualifications, and I had to decline recruitment, because of all of the real-life stuff I knew I have to do. And that just caused more resentment. So, Matty, what do YOU do to balance your real life and play time? Cause lately I'm just getting angry at both.
Up All Night-Elf

Dear Up All Night:
I completely understand your dilemma, far better than I would like to admit; furthermore, I have no easy answers for you. In fact, it is those "easy answers" that may be at the heart of the issue. Meaning, someone just telling you to "go outside" or in my case, "do the dishes" is a bit simplistic. Recently, I have been on both sides of the "nagging" shield. On one hand, I have been told what-to-do-when by a micro-managing boss, and on the other, have the unpleasant task of telling others what I think they should be doing, other than what they are. I know, and they know, those are responsibilities that must be met in order to keep the chaos under control; however, the anger gets misdirected toward the messenger, not the task/message.

Much of real-world responsibilities are about anticipation, just like game play. It requires thinking and planning at least three moves ahead of what is going to happen next: for example, if you're packing for a picnic (fun) you still have to make the bologna sandwiches and make sure there's gas in the car (not so fun: who's going to make the sandwiches? Who's going to unload the dishwasher? Who's going to find the picnic basket?) We want to get our mundane chores done quickly, efficiently, and without harrowing obstacles in order to do things we want to do, including hang out in Azeroth for a bit.

Is this a buzzkill? Is this spontaneous? Yes. No. Maybe. Did you go try to into the new raids without viewing one film? Did you read your favorite players' blogs to consider strategies?

The thing is about Azeroth, is it doesn't FEEL like it's someone else telling us what to do. It feels like we're in control over our play-time destinies, and for the most part, we are. We 'see' our friends, hang out, have fun, run dungeons, and then say 'goodnight,' no expectation that anyone of us needs to go put the wet clothes in the dryer or let the dog out.

Remember this at all times: Blizzard is a company. A big company. They make a handsome profit from their devoted players because "time is money, friend." Waiting for a dungeon queue only to have the group "fail" causes irritation. Every time there is a repair bill for a virtual death, some seemingly arbitrary amount that the accountants and bean-counters at Blizz have carefully estimated for each level of player and gear score. Do not think for one second that "they" don't know what those pixels are up to, even 12,000,000 of them, exponentially. Where do you think nerd rage comes from? It exists because the social contract gets nul and void sometimes, or doesn't feel honored. Hence, the nagging or scolding that happens in real life. We all just want it done, on our schedules.

Again, I wish I had an answer for you. Perhaps the best attitude to adopt is that life is a "get to," not a "have to." I personally try to count blessings whenever I am feeling resentful, for example, some people in this world don't have a dishwasher to unload. I didn't for years and years.

Okay, okay, yes, these are kind of "eat your broccoli" messages, but they are interesting:
100 People:
Miniature Earth:

Enjoy your life, both real and virtual. Those responsibilities you have and accomplish boost your own self-respect, and part of the bigger-picture social contract. You wouldn't go into a raid without your own buff food, bandages, flasks, and freshly-repaired gear, would you? Of course not. And the fact is, in real life, others are more likely than not going to give you a medal for changing the toilet paper roll or eating your peas.

Good luck, and put that toilet seat down, please.


Theme song: Polly/Nirvana

Other "Dear Matty" Columns: 
Love Hurts Edition:
Significant Other Edition:
Nietzsche Editon:


  1. You were right, Matty! I DO like your blog!!!!

  2. May I say a hearty "Squeee!!!" :)


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