10 years ago, the thought of a ranking system or a level based experience system in a FPS - let alone online play, was mind-blowing.
Today its all to common to see level based ranking systems in games (ala Halo, CoD etc etc) Me and my brother were talking yesterday and I got to thinking....Being a high rank in a level based FPS is rarely fun. Some people get sucked in, I've seen it in friends before and it almost happened to me too...If you let it; it can ruin the game for you.
It's supposed to be a game. But for many, many people the ranking system BECOMES the game... They play the game ONLY to rank up.
I can say this because it started happening with me a few times. Particularly in Halo 3 playing level 43+ ranked slayer games were just draining and I wasn't enjoying the game for what it was...
I feel the simple addition of a ranking system in an online game increases the chances of addiction by ALOT. I say this only from my own experience in these types of games.
At one point I stopped playing all together for about 40 days...Playing Halo just felt like work...like so much effort it was super draining and wasn't fun anymore. When you start getting to this point in a ranked game, losing is the worst thing anyone could do to you. The disappointment I have felt loosing a level were emotions not of this world....emotions dragged from the depths of hell on the back of Satan's mythical dragon beast and then shit out over my very soul.
Then I started thinking to myself "Oh my god, what have I become!" I took a step back from the intense world of competitive ranked matchmaking and put Halo and CoD away until I could figure this out.
I didn't play for about a month and a half...now I'm back and kicking ass. I had to step back from all that bullshit for a while...Now I love the game again. Ranked or unranked, it's all good. I know what to expect when you start to care too much about a stupid number next to your name - don't get me wrong, I still try to level up and play ranked - But I will not let myself get worked up over it.
Because when you care only about a number next to your name your gaming performance is affected, at least in my case. These days, I play the game for the game itself...just enjoying it, which is the way it was meant to be.
I know it sounds like I'm bitching about ranking systems...But the truth is far from it. I love ranking systems for what they add to a game...a new layer of depth is added when a feature like that is put in, which is awesome for gamers, it kind of validates the time gamers invest in a game, and your skill (or lack thereof) is reflected in your rank (some would say).
In short, Ranking systems are awesome. But don't let your self get sucked in! Remember: "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."
Beware the four headed beast that is ranking addiction! Don't let it ruin the game for you.
How about you guys? Ever found yourself stressing over a rank? Is my blog starting to get a bit negative? What ever happened to the rest of the Jackson 5? Will I ever find true love?
Post your thoughts!