I’m not competitive. At least that’s what I have to keep telling myself, then do whatever it takes to avoid placing myself into competitive scenarios.
By nature, I tend toward wanting to be competitive when there’s a score being kept or metrics being measured. Every time that happens, I notice my fun plummets into oblivion. Whether it’s seeing who has the highest damage on the meters, the best gear, the best loot, the best design, etc., etc., I have to avoid it.
When competition kicks in, I stop playing the game and I start playing the numbers. When I start playing the numbers, I get burned out/frustrated/bored and I quit. There are so many examples that I could go through, and each of these ruin(ed) my fun. Here are a few:
Keeping score in FPS games
People notoriously look at k/d ratios or even just overall kills. Games like Call of Duty and Overwatch track these and make people hyper competitive. Even among friends it’s all about how many kills you get. I would rather focus on “did we win?” If the answer is yes, then we won as a team.
But it’s never good enough. It goes back to personal performance rather than team performance. That ruins my fun because despite trying or wanting to focus on the team, I feel forced to look at my own performance.
Topping DPS Charts or Parses
This one aggravates me to no end, and it’s a big reason I often get discouraged with WoW. It’s not unique to my current guild or raiding experience, so if you’re reading this and you’re wondering if I’m talking about you then the answers is yes and no. This has existed for a decade.
Let’s say we kill a boss. That’s awesome. I feel on top of the world. Then we look at DPS charts and parses and it’s a big display of “I got 95% percentile” and “oh you only got 10th percentile.” Or it’s an on-going live competition to see who can top the DPS charts. Sad thing is there will always be a last place. This is one of those situations where captain Picard would tell you, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose.”
Having the Best of Something
This one is broad and applicable to so many games. I’ve even had it happen with friends in Minecraft. “How many diamonds do you have? 20? Oh man I have like 50 you must be doing something wrong.” Yes, that actually happened. I suddenly feel the need to get more diamonds. I shouldn’t but I do.
And in MMORPGs it’s designed into the game to get people to want to compare themselves to each other. It’s a mechanism used to keep people playing more. “I have to get better than Joe! I have to get a better loot drop!” I have friends — you know who you are — who thrive on being the one in the lead of everything. If I compare myself to these people, I feel unjustifiably inadequate. It shouldn’t bother me, but it starts to.
Being Expected to Always Win
This is one that kills my enjoyment in games like DOTA and even FPS games. It’s the idea that we always have to win and be perfect. You didn’t capitalize on every opportunity you had to win? How dare you! You suck! Quit the game! Quit life! You’re a loser! That’s the TAME side of how competitive people get in games like Overwatch, DOTA, and League. I understand that to some people their idea of having fun means they need to win, but their right to fun ends where mine begins, and treating people like crap isn’t acceptable. So I often avoid those games (unless feeling up to the task) to avoid those types of people.
I’m NOT the Best
I have to distance myself from the competition and focus on the game. Did we kill the boss? Yes. Was it easy? Yes. Did I top the parses or charts? No. Did that ultimately matter? Not at all. I still had a REALLY good time killing that boss. Therefore I should not feel as though I want or need to compete with others on how well I did personally.
In FPS games I can play as a sniper and not have the k/d ratio of someone running around with a SMG. They’ll advance faster up the ranks. They’ll unlock more guns that I may never, ever see. Did I enjoy playing a sniper? Yes. Would I enjoy playing a run-and-gun SMG spammer? No. Therefore, it shouldn’t matter. I had fun playing the game.
Telling myself I’m not the best helps. Realizing I never will be is pretty easy. Being okay with that, and not trying to be is the challenge.
It’s a constant struggle for me, and one I will always deal with. It’s personal, and it influences how much or little I enjoy the games I play.
What type of gamer am I? One who MUST avoid competition for the sake of my own enjoyment.
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