Confessions from a LotRO addict
Have you ever noticed that some, on blurting out their /played time in chat, will immediately say something along the lines of ‘but I’m not always at my desk’? Cracks me up when I see folks do this because I know exactly why they’re offering up excuses. Gamers get a bad rap sometimes, don’t we? Gamers are silly teenage kids or stupid adult kids who live in their parents basements playing games all night. Gamers don’t want responsibility. Gamers neglect their kids or their houses or …. Gamers lack social skills and therefor have problems creating friendships with people outside of their games. I’ve heard them all I think and when you realize that maybe you do play too much, you get defensive and feel the need to immediately start offering up excuses. Or denials (like, being afk when you’re played time is over six months on one of your many, many characters). Personally, I think what adds more sting is when it’s people you’re close to that say these things. Especially, gamers with ‘day jobs’. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, ‘well, I have a job and bills to pay so I can’t just sit here and play silly games all day’. Or something similar. Nothing makes you feel worse than the sudden feeling of being called out or looked down upon. Right?
But this post isn’t about my excessive gaming of the past (I’ve absolutely been one to use the ‘afk’ thing from time to time). My confession is about something I didn’t do that I said I would. And how my fear of what people (fellow gamers) may think of me for not doing it has gotten the best of me. Fitting in to a gaming community feels awesome and the thought that you screwed up or let some of them down can be a weighty thing.
A few months ago a Twitter conversation took place on the lack or community activities on Crickhollow. Oddly enough, I ran into someone on My Middle Earth Network who was voicing concern over the exact same thing. My immediate thought was, ‘hey, this is something I’m good at and I bet I could get something going’. I went to the LotRO forums and put a call out for interested persons who’d like to help get some server events going. I also issued a call out on Twitter as most of my Twitter buddies play LotRO. I started getting responses and the ideas started flooding. Oh, I can’t tell you how exciting it was to just *think* of the possibilies. Or how all of these people from different kins were willing to work together to pull this off. I wanted to give more a chance to offer help so I told them they’d be hearing from me in a week so we could set up a meeting.
That’s when it happened. Real life reared its head a little larger and I suddenly realize I was A) burned out on LotRO B) burned out on my computer and the internet and C) burned out on sitting at my desk while my real life was in such a state of shambles.
I’m being a little dramatic on the last bit. I have a troubled son and it’s his life that’s in a state of shamble. But, you know, when it’s your kid, you hurt, too. I was learning about things I’d never experienced and just flat terrified. And ashamed because I hadn’t seen the warning flags that, looking back, were there. I wondered for awhile if it was because of my gaming. I now know it wasn’t. I just flat didn’t know about stuff like that.
Anyway, I took a break from LotRO without telling a soul, save for one friend. And I told her it would just be for a few days. After the few days mark, I started playing around with another game, one I’ve played before during a summer burn-out and didn’t check back in to LotRO for a couple of weeks. My friend wasn’t on so I logged back out. The Crickhollow folks were on the front of my mind and I felt horrible. I’d said I’d do something and then, just didn’t. All summer I’d log in once a week to see if my friend was on, think about the Crickhollow thing, and log back out. I felt shame because I’ve always, always, ALWAYS done what I’d say I’d do. I despise empty promises and don’t generally like the type who make them. Now, however, I was one of them and I hated that.
Recently I’ve come back to LotRO. I’ve been wanting to play so badly but the guilt of not following through has held me back. I decided to not play on Crickhollow at all, even though I’ve accomplished the most on my characters there. I went back to Elendilmir, met up with an old friend and have played a few times. The guilt followed me there, too. I finally agreed to (re) join his kin, a kinship I started a couple of years ago, but stressed that I didn’t want any responsibility. I almost told him that I’m just flat not dependable anymore. I did mention home-schooling my daughter and, because of that, I wouldn’t have the time to play that I used to. And that’s true.
But that’s not the real reason. I used to do so much for so many, some days doing nothing BUT gathering materials to craft for others … or running people through all of Epic Book 1 … or deeding deeds I’d already finished because a friend was lonely … Now I feel like a big fat failure. What’s funny is that they didn’t need me on Crickhollow. They’re working events and, I hope, having a blast. I’m really not that important. And I know that. But I also know I said I’d do something and then flaked out without a word to anyone. Last night I sat on the couch watching the telly and wishing I was in game working on Ranni’s epic books. I realized how silly it is to not play but, didn’t anyway. So I’m hoping that ‘coming clean’ here will be the ‘fix’ I need to get over myself. The situation with my son has, at times, made me feel that I’ve failed as a mother. My escape has been gaming for many years. The idea that I failed there, too, well, it’s not a good feeling.
Here’s to hoping Ranni and I will be kicking some epic butt later tonight!