This is my first blog post, I hope I'm doing this right...
When Halo 2 came out I became instantly addicted to online multiplayer like many of my friends. I remember Bungie or some third-party site ranked players state by state, with a top 100 for each state. After dedicating countless nights to memorizing maps, perfecting the notorious "noob combo", energy sword hacks, and fine tuning no-scopes, my clever teenage gamertag "IMAKILLYOU69" climbed it's way into the top 10 for my state. Of course, no one really cared. Well, no one I physically hung out with.
There was a gamer I befriended after being impressed by his skills (he was in a top 10 for a different state) and his dry sense of humor. I forget his name, this was 10 years ago, but let's call him Skippy.
Skippy and I had mastered what 99% of Halo 2 players neglected. Every subtlety, as I remember, from memorizing spawn points in relationship to death points, getting the perfect vantage spots for sniping, and even knowing exactly what corner your enemy would turn because of how predictable some of the maps are.
We were either too young or too oblivious or a combination of both to get into the tournament scene, but we'd routinely match up with 2 others against some full team pre-made and mop them off the floor. One night in particular we got stuck with lvl 50 modders (basically, players who couldn't get to 50 themselves so they either mod or find a way to make sure they're the host of the game, then they reset their router to lag out the game for everyone else while they pick off your stagnant bodies). They had done a poor job of breaking the connectivity so we were still able to play - but we had extreme lag. By some insane stroke of luck, in a 2v4, we managed to pull ahead to 50 kills firing the most arbitrary shots. It was a glorious feeling - justice porn at its finest, at least for a Halo 2 addict.
Then, World of Warcraft came out. Embedded in fighting and fps, I was not the target demographic - unfortunately, most of my friends were. As the new Halo 2 map packs dissuaded players and Halo 3 leaks surfaced, the community rapidly dwindled. After 3 released it was pretty rare to find a match, let alone one that was challenging.
My friends were all hooked on WoW and no matter how much smack I gave them for playing an MMO, the "movement" eventually got me.
And you can guess what came next...a 4 year WoW addiction.
And I mean a serious addiction - I'm sure this sounds familiar - ignoring homework, sports, and hangouts to grind, farm, and raid. Making up reasons for why you can't go to "that one party everyone's at" so you can sit in Vent for hours listening to a guild officer go over patch notes and suggestions for whatever patch was coming out. Or maybe you just wanted to grief opposing factions for hours. Hell, once arenas was introduced that perma-locked me. I wish I flat out sucked at pvp so I could've just given up on the game. But we were pretty decent, getting gladiator the first 3 seasons and almost making it into the tourney.
--- Side rant:
did you know there are legitimate recovery centers for video game addicts? It's called "reSTART" and applies to the general "net addiction". Really?! I get the video game addiction. That makes sense. But one of their slogans reads "Social Media: Update less, connect more" - that's an addiction I'll never understand. Sure, people love taking their selfies, "checking in" whenever they go to a bathroom, and adding filters to everything they see, touch, and eat - but it can't be nearly as serious as a video game addict....can it? (Ironically, they have 8 social media sharing buttons next to this slogan; talk about adding fuel to the fire.) I looked up the myths and facts
from a more established recovery center to compare the ideas of addiction. Some of the stuff from reSTARTs internet addiction page
was way over my head, like this line from one of their research papers:
"We investigated the morphology of the brain in adolescents with IAD (N = 18) using an optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) technique, and studied the white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) changes using the diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) method, linking these brain structural measures to the duration of IAD.[font=Open Sans] "[/font]
Mmm...voxel-based morphometry...because the 16-yr old addict who reads this is going to think "aha! that's exactly what I've been experiencing..."
On the same page reads something a little more digestible:
"Resarch scientists discovered a correlation between parts of the brain related to social perception and a person's number of Facebook friends."
Isn't that just plain old common sense? Holy crap people actually think number of friends, karma, and other social metrics impact how they're perceived? ...
(And yes, they misspelled "research")
The point I'm actually trying to make is this site is poorly executed. Their "internet addiction" page is literally just a collage of research findings that make either overly obvious conclusions or illegible conclusions. There's nothing about their treatment process or how they actually differentiate true addiction from false addiction. Some other links/pages on the site are slightly better fitting, but seem like someone copy pasta'd a wikipedia article. Their signs and symptoms page is just a 10 bullet list of things like "changes in sleep patterns" or "depression". Really? I don't even think there's much use looking for their ideas of addiction because if I somehow managed to find something coherent it would just read "net addiction is when you're addicted to the net."
--- end side rant.
Reflecting on all the games I've played over the years, I still think Halo 2 matchmaking had the greatest OM experience - better than Quake, UT, and COD. I should have never stopped playing Halo 2, maybe it's time to spark up that nostalgia.
Thanks for reading!