Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Long Due Essay on Trolling and Happiness

I wrote this a week or two ago and it's one two of my other blogs but I think this is relevant to my goals with GamingRoots. When I started writing I had a goal in mind that I had already been trying to accomplish. I wanted to change the way that people think while gaming. Alot of good players treat other's poorly. It's something that I believe started in the 90's with hardcore FPS games and Starcraft among elite and professional players. The problem is that it spread. I'd say Call of Duty 4 was a big explosion for this type of attitude as it was such a widely popular FPS title. So many people were on this game trying to get great scores. From there on skill was no longer actually a requirement for you to treat other people like shit. Casual players would get infected with the attitude, or suffer it and lash back because the environment was there. Either way whatever the history of it is. There's a very poor attitude going on in the world of video gaming and I want to help lead people out.

With GamingRoots I hope I can capture your attention with the lessons I have to offer and show you an example of a gamer who doesn't need to be like this. I'm anonymous to, so there is no gain for me and there is no consequence to me so I could just lose my self control and treat people like shit if I wanted to (And I have many many times) I hope you like it.

This essay is quite a variety that all winds down what I perceive as a linear thought process providing history, deductions, and results in that order. I will start with a description of my gaming experience. This is to show why I believe I have a strong grasp on the elements of game-play. Then we’ll switch gears and move into a more human nature oriented psychology lesson, closing with hopefully some reasoning that will make you feel better with every day that passes. I want to say that I am not perfect, and that I have lost my self control many times in video games and “screamed” or “yelled” at people. It’s part of this experience and my willingness to do good and not spread negativity on the internet that helped me learn what I’m presenting today

I have always been a lover of games. I was first introduced to them at my Grandmothers house with the NES. My first game would have been the original Legend of Zelda and probably Super Mario. I owned a Super Nintendo and a Nintendo 64 on which I played countless titles. I converted to PC gaming as soon as we bought our first PC. I played Lineage, and some other MMOs that I can’t remember at all, but I was taken entirely with the release of Ultima Online. How could I go back to playing games limited to a local community after seeing and feeling the vastness of an online player-base?

In 2006 I started to become captured by the thrill of gaming competition with World of Warcraft’s expansion “The Burning Crusade”. The addition of Gladiatorial arenas was fascinating, intimidating and exciting. At this time I wasn’t really anything to be taken note of but it was the start of something laden with lessons. I picked up Call of Duty 4 in 2009 and that’s where I really started to learn the formulas that churned out a win. With the help of my best friend I quickly grew to dominate fellow players with speed and strategy deduced from the slightest inferences of my opponents mindset and counter strategies. I got “good” (Good is a question of perspective, always.) at gaming there and took my situational skills to League of Legends and then finally back to World of Warcraft with the release of Cataclysm to test what I had learned against my old muse.

When I played Call of Duty I went through phases of obtaining excellent scores and having mediocre plays only getting a three to one kill death ratio. (I would kill three enemies for every one time they killed me.) I realized that there come times in advancing skills that you put aside the foundations that you’ve built solidly to expand upon new concepts and those generally distract from the old methods of success you had used, causing you to fluxuate with time. Once you’ve solidified the concept you’ve been grappling with your over-all success will rise, until you find a new concept to expand or take your new perspective to your old foundations and revise them for better efficiency.

I played League of Legends for about 7 months on and off with general success, never very seriously; but it was this game that opened my eyes to the philosophies I hope you will be able to also discover. Assuming I can retain your attention long enough to put all of these pieces together as I have. Such a lesson comes from a vast amount of experience and can’t be simplified into its basic state or it turns out to be something you’ve heard before but never felt was true. Just a cliché, a phrase used by the masses without understanding its root can never be transferred. You cannot give what you haven’t understood I believe.

League of Legends skill or success isn’t very easy to determine since winning the game can come from many different play-styles or results. I’ve read that in Europe the 5 man teams that push towards the objective of the game tend to avoid vicious player versus player interchanges and instead prefer to play a game of avoidance and strategy to break the enemy team’s Towers. On American servers, the teams use more aggressive tactics and it actually tends to frustrate European players since they are used to a completely different play-style.

One thing comes out of these statements to me. The game can be won through many different play-styles. That’s probably part of why it has been so successful is that every person has their individual thoughts, perceptions and ways that they see as effective towards breaking their enemies’ towers. Because of this, it makes skill hard to determine. A player who’s fast on the trigger with his abilities and has good skill might still lose to a slow player who is more aimed at the towers because the towers are the objective, not just to kill. This applies to many games, but the former player,  who is skilled at aggression could utterly crush the latter strategic player in confrontation, nullifying their battlefield manipulation value later in the game. As the game goes on you accumulate “points” in many different ways and so the end result is very much a boiling pot.

Now, League of Legends has a bit of a vile community. Many people will tell you this. Players will verbally attack their own team mates for anything they perceive as damaging towards the end result, because you get locked into a 20-60 minute game for that end result. A win or a loss: The result of about half an hours worth of work. Everyone wants to win when you’re devoting on average 30-40 minutes of your time towards the game. The players will call their teammates (or the opposing team) bad, unskilled, stupid, new, anything. Anything to vent their frustration or other emotions caused by their damnation to lose a game (Often a game can be decided as a win or loss within 10-20 minutes due to the many “points” that stack up against or for your team. Though not more then 20% of the time at best the game can instantly turn in the enemy teams favour no matter the current circumstances).

I’ve been called all of it. I’ve been devalued as a player, as a team-mate, as a person. Many times it bothered me because having the experiences I’ve had I know that I have something that is very good to offer to my team. With confidence I can say that I have a 80% chance of winning a skill based competition if I join a League of Legends public game. Which is where all of this discussion is taking place, I’m going to ignore the competitive side because this all revolves around the average person attacking another person they don’t know.

People will in-accurately assess others all the time. I went through phases of self doubt, wondering “Why do people attack ME? I’m doing excellent!” Sometimes you’re unlucky and a great game can turn against you and the other players opinions of you will quickly form against you as well. And sometimes people who you are beating will call you bad as well. They can be right, they can be wrong. League of Legends, being free to play has players from all over the globe. It has easily over 5 million regular players, people who play every day or every other day.

The population of earth is something I can’t tell you. I don’t know the estimated figure, and if I did it wouldn’t be true anyways. What I do know is that it’s so high that you will never meet enough people on earth, to be unable to leave your past behind. You can always walk away and start anew in a new community. Some people will instantly dislike you to your core, some people will think that you are amazing! I feel that it’s true to say “There are 10,000 people on Earth AT LEAST, who love you enough to marry you and live with you happily for the rest of your life, and you love them just the same.”  These things cannot be changed without lying or preparing your image to be something that you are not. Being de-valued by people who I knew had no assessment of what I was doing or how skilled I was constantly made me realize that people will judge you, and people will say things that are wrong. There are many examples of this in the music industry. Nirvana and Led Zeppelin are just two of hundreds of great well known acts that had problems gaining acceptance. They were told directly by record companies, by people who’s job it was to critique and assess their music that it had no place in the modern market. That is was bad. And of course, this is just the music industry. I don’t need to bring up 10 examples to make the same point. People will assess you incorrectly.

Now, since there are so many people on Earth, and there’s a 50/50 chance (I call it 50/50 since it’s not something you can control or predict) that they will either like you, or dislike you: Why are we taking things so personally? I know we’re taking it personally because I see people responding to it. The person attacking you has one or two goals.

They are either attacking you out of their own frustration and have no mind for the way it affects you, or they are attacking you because they desire to effect you in a negative way. Doing the latter suggests you are actually doing both in that you’re taking out your negative emotions and trying to make someone else feel negative emotions. Now we are getting into the subject of trolls. Generally: People on the internet trying to upset others. That’s about as concise and simple as a troll gets without just calling them an internet bully. Lots of people have tried to make an in depth description of this “Phenomenon” the rise of popularity and culture of the troll. I’m not going to get into that, because it’s pointless. All you need to know is that they are upset inside and that never changes. Why else would they need to act like this? Why would the single spark ignite for this behaviour as is always required for any action.

On the internet, people are anonymous; it’s a point that’s been made before. It’s easy to act without self control when there are little to no consequences. I believe this reveals a startling bit about what’s really going on inside the mind of humans. When there’s nothing to hold you back, how do you act? Lots of people lash out. Doesn’t that just tell you they are bullies? How do you treat a bully?

I’ll tell you how I deal with them. I ignore them, I ignore them entirely. It wasn’t easy and I don’t expect it to be easy for anybody to achieve release from the words of other people if they are currently concerned with them. It took me a long time, I’ve known that their negative spread of thought was nothing but anger and hurt for a long time, but that doesn’t make it any easier to not be upset by the sheer vast amount of people doing it or the words that they say. Humans are like birds we are very sensitive to each other, smart and observant and I think people forget this often. We are animals, basic in our foundations complex in the result, which is often tainted with deception.

Here’s why you should ignore them too. You are the only thing you have. You have your body and your mind and everything else can be taken away from you without taking away your life. You are born, and you follow a linear path of time until the moment that you die. 100% of your life is spent feeling emotions. If you spend your teenage years entirely in pain and frustration, by a rough estimate and assumption on living 100 years you have literally SPENT 10% of your life’s time being in that state. ”We only have one candle, to burn down to the handle.” I choose that I spend more of my minutes being happy so that when I die my happiness to unhappiness ratio will be weighed as much in favour of happiness as I can make it. And I think that’s one of the very few scores that you can keep in life.

When you let a bully, these dime a dozen, unoriginal, cowards who will only manifest their weakness and thirst for satisfaction off of your distress when there is no chance of consequence or loss – get what he wants. You’re lowering that ratio, and for a very silly reason. When you respond, either to play it cool so that you can show them you haven’t been upset or to tell them how much of an ass hole they are, you are showing that you care. They will capitalize off of that and can easily take control of you from that point still. They already have in a matter of speaking. So how do you truly win? By being happy.

It takes a strong person to stand up and say “Yes I am mad! You are making me angry because you are an ASSHOLE!” to acknowledge that their game is succeeding because they ARE an asshole. I think playing it cool is probably the easier option but that’s playing their game and that’s sinking to their level. And playing it cool has been done before, they know what you’re doing. It takes a master to watch with a cool smirk as their attempts to invade you fall like the feeble strings of hypocritical confetti they are.

When you respond, you’re actually sinking to their level in one of the truest forms of the metaphor. But it’s not enough to sit silent if it bothers you still. You have to work towards fully understanding the situation. The situation is this: “An upset bully is trying to make me upset.” The important part to remember is that they are just upset people who are lashing out. Cool has never existed except in the mind. They act in a position of superior coolness, but a bully is not cool. A coward is not cool. You have to have confidence in yourself alone that will serve as a barrier to their comments. People will assess you wrong all the time, but the person who knows best your objectives and thoughts is you and that’s all you need to trust. By being solitary and confident, able to trust that you are strong and intelligent the values and opinions of others will diminish into silent cries of desire. What is it they desire you can see clearly if you know how to look.

I encourage you to find trust in yourself that you have a gift for this world to give, size unimportant. I encourage you to understand that your happiness is of extreme value and that the greatest disaster may be to be discontent. Say it out loud “Fuck the posers! Fuck the haters!” let the weight of those letters F U C K bind together in heavy, loud protest. Then say this “I love myself!” and believe it because you should. Believing in yourself will help you to move forward every day, and never become suspended by the opinions of people who are just too abundant to worry about.

There are many people on planet Earth who already fully understand this philosophy, and have come to the result that I have through many different walks of life. Many people are living their lives absolutely free of what others say or think and they are living their lives quite happily. I think that being concerned with what others think is a BIG problem in the world. Lots of people pretend that they don’t care what other’s think, but are being too active in liberating themselves therefore making the entire process fairly redundant and stressful. I know that some people who are ready to make the change will read this and hopefully I can fill in the puzzle pieces that are missing through my experience but this isn’t a guide that will take everyone to freedom.

This is only the steps that I was able to identify from my own journey that lead me here. I hope that I can help some people by spreading the knowledge they need to make it to happiness. I also know, that in many places where this will be posted, there will be some “clever” fool who thinks he could soil, or taint this with any number of attack plan. Mostly I expect “U MAD?” (An unoriginal disease among the sheep of the discontent, nothing more). I mean, would you really let yourself get bothered by someone who says that? It’s like losing chess to a guy who only uses his Queen. No skill, no creativity. Nada. At least get mad to someone who understands how to really get under your skin.

 It’s important to remember that just because someone acts a certain way doesn’t mean that that’s their core, or the standard of how they wish to act. I say this because if we assumed everyone who treated another person like crap over the internet over something petty was a bad person – you would probably wind up losing faith due to the sheer amount of the act. It’s just a loss of self control and I think some time in their life they will realize their errors. Some people don’t, but we can’t tell the future. It will always unravel itself at it’s own pace and no amount of asking “Are we there yet” will get you there any faster. I’m releasing this without a whole revision. I’ll read it once or twice a week after the initial copy was hammered out in 30 minutes but there’s no way I’m going to try and boil the elements down to their purest form.

I think it’s interesting that as children we’re taught how to deal with bullies, but that the problem persists through-out life and the name just changes from being a bully to being an asshole. Suddenly we had to give everybody else equality in the subject of intellect because we were all adults.  I don’t respect everyone’s opinion and I think that’s a great way to be. Sometimes people are innately stupid.  Hand in hand with ignoring negative opinions, you can ignore different opinions. Opinions you don’t agree with. They would get you frustrated just to argue that yours is correct. What a worthless cause.

Any piece of opinion, writing, philosophy, can be reverse engineered and turned upon itself. If anyone does, I’m writing this footnote as a universal ward. When I choose to do something like this, I consider my decision to be good trusting in myself that I am trying to generate something positive. In a world where bad and good are pushing from opposing sides, and some people are stuck in the middle faithless wondering “Why would I do good when there’s just so much bad and it wont make a difference”, the only answer for me is to push on the side of good, because that can’t be wrong. That’s how I know how to trust in my decisions. Again, I’m not perfect – but I try my best when I’m in a good mood.

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