A Double Edged Sword

So I think I’ve denied it, rationalized it, and defended it enough. My 15 day experiment with playing Ragnarok Online again has invoked the addict inside of me. Somewhere along the way, the remaining 8 days I had left to document never presented themselves on paper, and only exist as memories of long nights incessantly clicking, typing, and sometimes regretting it the morning after. I’ve always been able to put my (game) writing in front of playing when it was time to get the pen moving, but trying to balance that with documenting RO hasn’t been as successful.

Although my playing time reached an apex in the time leading up to my first day of work, it has dropped considerably now that I have a job to juggle. Still, my job hasn’t been completely keeping me at bay. The majority of my time at work (I’m a Departmental Aide at my local library) is spent in somewhat solitary terms; besides the fraction of brainpower needed to sort books correctly, I’m largely left to my own devices. I’d still be thinking of playing, thinking of what I’ll be hunting, what I’ll be doing, As soon as I could get home and log back in. It’s not at all what I envisioned myself doing. Work has taken a chunk of the time I’ve dedicated towards maintaining friendships and relationships, but despite having to do something that’s pretty much mandatory in society, those two should never take a backseat to a videogame. You’ve never heard of someone addicted to Playstation, Xbox or Wii. It’s a lot easier to find a save point and quit, or just pause for a few minutes. When partying with others on a game like Ragnarok, some level of commitment to staying online exists for the duration of a leveling session, or a guild activity. There’s something about MMO’s that brings forth tendencies that could devastating to an individual, if they aren’t able to manage everything that have going on with them. Playing Ragnarok again has shown me that I still have some growing to do, because I’m slipping back into the same habits that made me quit in the first place.

Before you start thinking of the stereotypical MMO fanatic, I’m nothing like this guy:

Click to view the screen shot better..

Don’t get me wrong, under the right conditions, MMORPG’s are a hell of a genre to get into. On a large enough scale, they’re much cheaper on the budget, offer a wealth of goals to aim for, and the caliber of fun you can have in a group setting have yet to be reached on console games that can be played online. In addition, friendships and connections to others can be just as substantial as ones in person. Hell, in some cases, maybe even stronger. It is a double edged sword though. In my case, I had some great times on Ragnarok a few years ago, and even now as well. However, at the same time, my writing has grinded to a halt, and I’m simply more agitated, pissed off or just anxious when I’m not playing. The same goes for when I don’t accomplish what I set out to do when I am on. I don’t wholly blame playing Ragnarok again for what’s happened, and I do take responsibility. There is fun to be had while playing still, but my next move is drastically reducing the time I spend on it.

The remaining days I still have to cover will come down the pipe. I need to be able to write it honestly, without the baggage that piles up when I think of writing about it right now.

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