|From The Guardian (Clive Rose/Getty Images Europe)
What’s he going to do with the next 10 days…?
Anyone who knows me well will understand that I do love myself some sport.
Last night, two rather contrasting sporting events took place. This poor bloke ended up out of a rather important Tennis competition, beaten by a guy who frankly no-one expected to do so. There’s also a European Football contest going on. My national side were playing but they lost on penalties in the last round to a side who last night, against most people’s expectations, took out the tournament favourites. Both these events serve to demonstrate the complacency of assuming that previous performance is an accurate or consistent means of predicting future events. You should never assume that an outcome is secured or guaranteed.
Last night, someone I’ve only known for a while confided in me their dissatisfaction with the game, and that they are seriously considering leaving for good. The surprise this created in me may have only a passing association with Rafael Nadal and the Italian/German football teams, so that’s not the main reason they are included in this post. They are here as examples of how looking at your world in different ways can be not only a revelatory experience, but can make you realise that your situation, however bleak it may appear, can be considered differently. I hope by doing this to show my friend that maybe, just maybe, things aren’t as bad as they might seem right now, and he could consider giving the game another chance… because it’s not Azeroth he’s fallen out of love with, it is the people he finds playing within it, and that’s a situation I know can be fixed.
A new home is a difficult step, however. What is there to gain from starting again?
Mr Nadal was well on his way to victory last night, but a crucial turn of events meant his game was suspended for 40 minutes whilst the roof on Centre Court was closed. When he returned for the final set his opponent, the unassuming and very less capable Lukas Rosol, pretty much handed him his behind. Although we can only speculate, I’d like to think that with nothing to lose, Rosol came out to play thinking, at two sets all, what is the worst that can happen?. He has one set to win, and he’d already won two. He was able to override nerves and the gravitas of the situation, and go on to secure a victory which will be considered by many as one of the greatest upsets in men’s tennis.
There is nothing to lose by starting again. It can be difficult, especially if you’ve moved from place to place as my friend has, looking for a server to call home. It can be particularly difficult if personal circumstances mean you feel uncomfortable and are without a real direction, but knowing you have one chance to make a difference can be a fairly motivating experience, hence my desire to sit here and try and convince not just him but you that, even with everything else that’s going on, there are many people in game who are very, VERY special indeed.
You just need to go and find them.
That in itself can seem daunting, but here I can speak personally and say the journey is worth the first step. I see all these people on Twitter every day and they come to my site, in increasing numbers. Yes there are the trolls and the timewasters but in the end they will be outed and discouraged, and maybe even set back on the paths they need to find their way. Knowing you are on the back foot can be crucial to turning a situation to your advantage. Even a negative can be considered a positive if you want it enough. There are many, MANY good people playing, and I am sure that there will be players in your region who would be happy to welcome you to their world, even if it means starting from scratch. You bring a wealth of experience and understanding to the table, even if you can’t afford to transfer characters immediately. I think that should count for something.
Then I come back to the Italians, who played woefully in the Euro 2012 Group stages. England lost to them on penalties in a 0-0 game which, on the strength of what happened last night, makes us look a great deal more competent than we seemed at the time. Last night, frankly, they demolished Germany, a team who most people considered a sure thing for the Championship. They owe that to a man who has become a minor celebrity in this country and who is undoubtedly a footballing enigma. If you want to know more, go read his Wikipedia entry. Again, one man stepped up and made a difference. However, what I’m more concerned about in this is how preconceptions are never a guarantee of outcome.
I am well aware my friend may be at the end of their gaming journey with Warcraft, even if it isn’t the game that’s cause his woes. It is often easier to use the game as the crowbar to force you out of habits or routines that you feel have become destructive, but are often not the actual root cause of the problem. This is where the bigger picture can be useful in identifying where you are in relation to the many other issues that surround you. My national side can take a great deal of comfort from their performance in light of larger considerations: looking at your life across a wider canvas is often the best way of highlighting both positives and negatives. I urge my friend to consider all the good things the game has given him, and not to dwell in the darkness, because it can easily consume you. Find a way to look at everything as objectively as possible before you make your final decision.
However, when all is said and done, often it is just time to go. I have said this on many occasions in the last couple of months, as I have watched people leave the game, many for good. You must do what you feel is right. With the advent of technology the people who you really care about will still be friends even if you don’t see them in game, but there is a loss in a world where personal communication is such a vital component of the gaming experience. It is not for nothing that even the lowliest of PuG’s insist on voice chat these days: communication is vital to progression. I have one more thing to say therefore, and it is the most important thing of all, and it doesn’t need to be backed up by 22 blokes in football blokes and two guys with racquets.
Whatever you decide, I respect your choice, but I urge you to consider all the possibilities before you do.
Consider this my attempt to make you think differently about the game I still love despite everything, and maybe, just maybe, I might help to change your mind and convince you to start again. After all, you never know what might happen if you take the chance.