Thursday, 27 October 2011

of Egos, Alter-Egos, and who you REALLY are.

There was recently a thread on central that got my brain spinning - and admittedly, my heart hurting. The thread itself was innocuous enough, about about people's egos and alter-egos, but it got me thinking about a path I've seen countless people on. Notice I don't say countless wizards. I'm not talking about wizards. Wizards are nothing but a bunch of pixels that a person controls, and it's the people behind the screen - the hearts, the minds, the souls of those people - that is on my mind today.

Compared to many of you, I've been in this game a short time - barely over a year. In this relatively short period of time, I have seen a lot of things. I have seen people start this game as shy, quiet, humble players and turn into loudmouth PvP bullies. In the real world, I have known happily married couples that are loving, moral, salt-of-the-earth type people where one person gets sucked into a game, withdraws from their real life, and even starts up a 'second family' including a 'spouse' in game. Even worse, they feel no remorse or see no problem with it. I have seen people on game boards - smart people, adults with marriage and children and very real lives - let their lives be torn apart by games and their egos within it. I've heard someone say (a few phrases combined together here, but this was actually wording taken right from the horse's mouth), "I am the greatest player this game has ever seen. The fact that you would think rules that apply to other people should apply to me is absolutely absurb to me."

At some point, you can invest too much of yourself  into your alter ego within a game. It's important for EVERY gamer, Wizard101 or not, PvPer or not, well known or not,  to have a strong sense of who you REALLY are outside of those pixels. If you don't have that sense of your real world self, you start to lose track of everything that matters.

I am not Katherine Light. Katherine Light is a set of pixels I control sometimes, for fun. I am SO much more than that. Pick any member of this community and the same should be true for them. If that line is blurry for anyone - if you are muddying the space between your real world self and a character on a screen - it's time to take a step back.

I think a lot of problems in the arena and the game in general are caused by that. People lose track of who they really are (or are unhappy with who they really are), and rather than work on those issues they start to think that their value as a person is tied up with how their character does in a game. We as people are worth infinitely more than that, and it's sad to see people give up a part of who they really are in favour of having a character on a screen with a big ego.

You are a person, not a character. You are worthy of being valued. Your pixels are just pixels. Never, ever forget what you, the person behind the screen, truly value and who you really are.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

What I learned - hosting a 4v4 tournament.

Well, The More The Moneyer Midlevel Mayhem tournament is completed and The Veneration are the champions! [round of applause!!!!!!!] We had some crazy fun, some tough matches, a lot of laughs and, of course being a competitive tournament, some drama.

The following is NOT intended to be a passive agressive jab at anyone. I know there's been some discussion about doing more 3v3 and 4v4 tournaments in general, and I thought it might be helpful for me share some of the lessons I've learned and the advice I would give to someone who wanted to set up something similar. You may not agree with this advice, and that's fine - it just things I wish I had known ahead of time that would have worked for me and that I wish I had followed myself.

1. You cannot be specific enough. Literally, you can't. How specific you choose to get is up to you, but there will always be something that crops up that you were not able to address. Explain your rules thoroughly, but make clear that any issues that come up outside of those rules are at your discretion to deal with how you see fit.

2. Don't justify or defend your decisions. You are running this show, so make the decisions that seem right to you. Whenever conflicts pop up (and they will pop up), people on one side or another will be annoyed with any decision you made. Explaining it, justifying it, and defending your choice only gives people the idea that they are up for discussion or debate. Let people complain or rage if they feel need to, but don't engage. "I stand by my decision." is all you need to stick with.

3. Be prepared to be the bad guy. No one will be happy with every choice you make when you're organizing a competitive event and are in direct contact with opposing sides, particularly in a game that has a lot of younger players. You need to be okay with people thinking you're the bad guy - and you need to be prepared to see a side of people you did not expect. Don't take it personally (even if it's being made personal).

4. Stress commitment to team leaders. The TMs don't say flaking is a big concern for nothing. Stress right from the beginning that you expect teams to be responsible and prompt as far as arranging matches, showing up for matches, keeping in contact with the team members to arrange matches, etc. Tell them that if they are not willing to commit to doing those things and stick with them, they may want not want to register. Have at least one alternate team for those teams that will flake anyway.

I may edit this post as more things occur to me, but all in all it was great to see people in genereal having fun, and playing a type of match you don't normally get to enjoy in ranked PvP. Thanks to everyone for coming out and supporting their favorite teams, their friends, and the tournament in general! I had a blast.

Also, Happy wizaversary to me! Woot! :)