Wednesday, March 9, 2011

There's No Crying in MMO's!

Thanks to actor Tom Hanks, we know that "There's no crying in baseball". I guess certain basketball players from the Miami Heat didn't get that memo, or at very least didn't watch that movie, as their coach threw them under the bus the other day saying during a press conference that there were a coupld players in their locker room crying after a particularly difficult loss.

But what about gaming? Is there crying in gaming? I'm not referring to complaining, but rather real emotional outpouring in the form of real tears, difficulty breathing, all out crying. Should I share anything that's ever happened to me where I allowed myself to cry or perhaps stopped myself? Maybe...I'll think about it.

What brings on that powerful manifestation of emotion anyway? Death? Joy? Pain (physical or mental, etc)? Certainly everyone has different thresholds, different breaking points for different situations. I just wonder how much crying in front of the monitor actually goes on in online gaming. What would cause you or me to flood our cheeks with the salty moisture of the entrance to our souls?

Crying in General
I just had this talk with my kids the other day, where they mentioned to me that "if you cry in school your life, your reputation, everything that you love and want out of school will be destroyed...forever...never to recover." A bit of an overreaction, I suppose, but what do you expect from an 8 and 10 year old boy? My basic stance on crying is this: There's a time and place for everything, usually, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with crying in general. It would be wise, like my kids say, to control yourself in public if you can. But there are definately circumstances where it's acceptable to cry in public, for example if you were told of a death in a public place, everyone would understand your emotional response, even mean little kids in elementary school.

Crying is natural, we were all born crying, or cried soon after birth and long into our first few years of life. It's a means of communication, it let's people know that we have a need, whether that's physical or emotional comfort, and let's others know that we deem some issue important. Frankly I despise the macho male society that I live in. Especially in sports. As a "MAN" I'm not supposed to cry, like ever. I'm supposed to, per some unwritten cultural rules, remain stone faced and play the role of the tough, good solier. THAT'S BULL CRAP! There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING WRONG WITH CRYING. Anyone who says any different is, in my sole-important opinion, mentally disturbed and example of a repressive household. How are humans supposed to make any lasting bonds if their not allowed to express their true emotions? We're NOT animals, we're above that, our capacity to think and feel make us so.

But I still teach my kids to be aware of your surroundings, and protect themselves from unnecessary ridicule by expressing themselves, ALL OF THEMSELVES, to the appropriate person at the appropriate time. This means they work hard not to cry at school, but when they get home, I let them and encourage them to pour out their hearts about the pain they suffer at school from bullies and other affects of really bad kids. So, if you want to cry I got nothing against you. The more the better I say.

Crying in Games
So I'm not raiding anymore. Like...ever. Unless I get a new back or something, it's done, I'm done. And for me that's a touchy subject. It's a recent decision, really. I tried to get strong for Cataclysm raiding, but when it came to it I just can't take sitting in a chair for 3-4 hours, it's too difficult on my body. I had to tell my guild leader, and that was difficult.

My wife tells me I take everything too seriously, and she's probably right. It's my personality to take ownership of my life's activities, to give them meaning. Even sitting in the park on a blanket with my kids, that's important because it's a time of bonding. Equally the last couple years I've come to bond with the people I raided with. We're not lovers or lifelong friends, but I internalize my contributions and view them as significant because I've had to suffer through some painful nights, nights which physically hurt me for days after in the real world, for the sake of contributing to the team and driving us to success. That success meant something to me, it meant that I had sacrificed physical comfort for an opportunity to achieve something with 9 other human beings, even if it was a game, it was done with other real people.

So when I had to tell my guild that my body was just too broken and I couldn't contribute any more, I do recall my eyes watering. So for me, I guess there is crying in MMO's. Who woulda thunk it? I'm not ashamed, I am proud that I feel, and more than that that I value human connections enough to allow myself to feel loss when I cannot enjoy those connections as much or in the same way that I used to. I have my breaking point, and for the first time ever playing a video game I reached it. In the end it's about the people. Because I helped form the guild, I'm allowed to stay and do whatever I can whenever I can, and I still help cut gems, make flasks, etc. I still run some fun things on the weekend when I don't have to give up too much time. It's nice.

Crying and You
There is a time and place for everything, for the most part. I still feel that while on vent or whatever, people should control their emotions, or at least control to whom they express them. It's ok to let it out to the right person at the right time, but I still think one should protect him/herself from general ridicule. What we do, what we play, because it's with other people who feel, I think in principle there is no feeling that needs to be repressed, nor any manifestion of those feelings. Just do it at the right time. Most circumstances in gaming really don't merit crying, but I think there are a few that do, and all of those deal with the relationships we forge with other sentient beings.

So, Tom Hanks, there may not be crying in baseball, but maybe there should private.


Zinn said...

It might not say much, because I cry for many things. But I have cried when playing WoW. I remember when I lost the tier 8 chest to a guy who had already got alot of nice loot, after a bloody struggle to kill yogg-saron. I really felt I deserved that tier chest, and I was so deeply disappointed that I didn't win it (although I didn't dislike the guy, I just felt I deserved it more).

Syl said...

I have had the same back issues for years and they were a big reason for me to quit raiding in the past too. I always wondered if I was the only one with this issue, but I've seen more bloggers mention it. I hope you get better soon, my own problems seem more lasting.

Crying is one of those things that I don't understand what the fuss is about with some people; it's a natural thing, it happens, it's part of being human. I feel sorry for people that can't cry.

Anonymous said...

We had a series of particularly horrid wipes on Cho'gall, and everybody was getting progressively meaner to everyone else about failing to kill adds, break MC, interrupt, etc. It hadn't yet descended to namecalling but I could see it coming.

So I got on vent and cried. Bawled my eyes out. Told everyone that I was trying really hard, trying my best, cut me some slack, tell me what I was doing right for a change, why don't I leave the game now I'm obviously not worth anything. I admit it, part of it was cold social manipulation. But it changed the tone completely.

After my rant we took a 5 minute break, then came back and made immediate progress. We got to phase 2 that night, and downed him in 2 attempts the next night.

So I'm a full advocate of crying in MMOs.

Reala said...

This is a really interesting post Gron. I find crying can be a huge relief for frustration, especially as I'm more prone to anger than sadness.

I haven't yet cried at WoW, although I nearly did when my guild fell apart recently. I cried at other games when I was younger, mostly due to the sadness conveyed in good storytelling and, in one case, because the game ended and I wanted it to go on forever (I was 12 mind..)

I think you've instilled a good attitude in your kids with regards to appropriate times to cry. Extremes of *any* emotion have a time and a place and it's key to learn when those are.


LarĂ­sa said...

Well... I've cried a lot recently. I've never ever cried over loot. But I shred quite a few tears before deciding to leave my guild. The problem with crying over WoW isn't as much hiding it to your guild (I don't think you have to) but to the people around you in real life. It's just too hard to explain to people with a firm "it's just a game" belief. I frankly wouldn't even try.

It's sad to hear that your back finally brought you to this. I hope you'll find enjoyment in WoW from your new, more casual approach.


Mhorgrim said...

I can't say I blame you on all of this. I will say that the more I see the other commentaries, I doubt I will ever enjoy hardcore raiding. I figure if you love the game, do what you love about it. When you cease to love an aspect, time to move on. I haven't ever truely cried per se about WoW. I did take a break from it during WotLK and tried a different game for a year. Now I just relax, enjoy the friend/family guild I am in and don't stress as much.

As to back problems, hell yes I can understand. That coupled with the general stress and I totally understand. Hopefully, you will find casual gaming on Azeroth still fun and entertaining. Im still rpetty new to the Blog area and it seems just as I find WoW blogs I'm interested in, the author's are pretty burned out overall. With luck we will se more of your posts in time. Take care man.

Gronthe said...

@ Zinn: I'm certainly not one to say it's wrong to cry over loot, I have no doubt that your situation brought you to that breaking point and I totally get why it upset you. I think if it were me I would have yelled really, really loudly.

@ Syl: I've met quite a few people with back problems, more than I ever thought possible. My issues are lifelong, it's in part a degenerative issue, it's just a matter of living life the best I can. Crying is natural, I too feel sorry for those that either can't or simply refuse.

@ Anonymous: I felt that way in some wicked fights before, as if I might have reached my breaking point. Your case, like Zinn is just another example of how all of us are different, how we have different breaking points over different things, and yet all these differences make our little gaming world so great to play in.

@ Reala: Yep, some people get angry, some people cry, some people just completely shut down. I hope I never get on your bad side, that's for sure. :) Thanks for stopping by and chatting! You're always welcome.

@ Larisa: I read your post about your guild from last week, only I read it yesterday so I didn't comment. Even though it is a game, it's definately not "JUST" a game, which would imply that nothing we do in it is of any importance. False. People are important, and our relationships with them are especially important. When there's a change or separation or whatever, it matters to us on a very personal level. No, it sure isn't "just a game."

Mhorgim: I'm finding my casual playtime extremely liberating, peaceful, fun, and all around splendid. I still get to chat with my guildies sometimes, so that's a nice thing to keep up with. I'll miss the teamwork and the good that comes from that, but casual play/life is for me, who's part French, as natural as can be.

Thanks to all for your comments, I appreciate the honesty we can have amongst each other here.

redcow said...

This is a good post and you seem like a very well-balanced and awesome person (and parent!)

Like Reala, I often find myself crying out of sheer frustration at something IRL; it doesn't usually last long, but it's an outlet for a buildup of extreme anger or frustration and usually does less damage than throwing things around my apartment.

In game, I have yet to cry over actual gameplay issues - mostly I get frothing mad and rant at someone in chat. However, when it comes to social interactions, be it rude talk in pugs or trade, guild strife and break-ups, or spats with in-game friends, I have been moved to tears, however slight. Like you said, I think that's because even if the medium for the interaction is a game, the interaction itself isn't a game, isn't simulated. It's real human interaction, with real people, and it can cause real emotional responses!!

Shintar said...

I only remember crying about WoW once, when after weeks and weeks of wiping to Kael'thas in The Eye back in BC, I missed the final kill due to my computer breaking down that night. I had originally been in the raid but finally had to be replaced after several crashes, and then they downed him about an hour later. I just felt so cheated.

In real life I cry a lot more - it's extremely easy for me to get teary-eyed when something depresses or frustrates me. Unfortunately this includes inappropriate times and places sometimes.