Hi

April 27, 2009 - 4 Responses

Hi,

I thought this was a cool post that pretty much sums up my past few months.

I am not the author and ill post a link to his blog at the bottom.

I will say however that all in all ive come to realize that i want desperately to have a passion for something unquestionably. Apathy it seems is my greatest enemy that i cant seem to shake. I wannnntttttt passion, fire, zest even. So in an attempt to find myself or to find what im missing im stripping everything thats running my life. That doesnt mean im quitting my job (although that would be amazing) but i am prioritizing. Im searching for what will drive me, fuel me, dwell in me. I want a heart after God, fully on fire. Fully.      maybe ill go camping.

That is if anyone reads my blog anymore. lawl

The View From the Top

The top of what you ask? The height of World of Warcraft greatness.

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine quit playing Warcraft. He was a council member on what is now one of the oldest guilds in the world, the type of position coveted by many of the 7 million people who play the game today, but which only a few ever get.

When he quit, I asked him if he would write a guest blog post about the experience. What follows is a cautionary tale about the pull an escape from reality can have on you.

——————————————————————-

60 levels, 30+ epics, a few really good “real life” friends, a seat on the oldest and largest guild on our server’s council, 70+ days “/played,” and one “real” year later…

Mr. Yeager asked me to write this “guest blog” for him. I figured I should oblige him this request – it was none other than Mr. Yeager who first introduced me to (begged for me to buy, actually :-p) the World of Warcraft. It was the “perfect storm” for me; a time in my life when I was unemployed, living at my family’s house far from my friends, and had just finished my engineering degree and was taking a little time to find a job. I had a lot of free time on my hands and WoW gave me a place to spend it.

This could be a many page epic tale, but I figure I’d give you the brief history and pertinent information. The guild Mr. Yeager got me into and with which I became an officer is the oldest and largest on the server I played on. It is around 18 months old and extremely well-versed in endgame instances. I was both the “mage class lead” and an officer. I have many very good friends I met through WoW (in real life – no kidding) and even have been “involved” with another councilor in real life (yes, I know, I’m weird for meeting girls through an online video game but honestly, ask Mr. Yeager, she’s head and shoulders better than all the girls I met DJing, waiting tables, in college, and bartending at clubs in Philly). But I digress…

I just left WoW permanently. I was a leader in one of the largest and most respected guilds in the world, a well-equipped and well-versed mage, and considered myself to have many close friends in my guild. Why did I leave? Simple: Blizzard has created an alternate universe where we don’t have to be ourselves when we don’t want to be. From my vantage point as a guild decision maker, I’ve seen it destroy more families and friendships and take a huge toll on individuals than any drug on the market today, and that means a lot coming from an ex-club DJ.

It took a huge personal toll on me. To illustrate the impact it had, let’s look at me one year later. When I started playing, I was working towards getting into the best shape of my life (and making good progress, too). Now a year later, I’m about 30 pounds heavier that I was back then, and it is not muscle. I had a lot of hobbies including DJing (which I was pretty accomplished at) and music as well as writing and martial arts. I haven’t touched a record or my guitar for over a year and I think if I tried any Kung Fu my gut would throw my back out. Finally, and most significantly, I had a very satisfying social life before. My friends and I would go out and there were things to do every night of the week. Now a year later, I realize my true friends are the greatest people in the world because the fact I came out of my room, turned the lights on, and watched a movie with them still means something. They still are having a great time teasing me at my expense, however, which shows they still love me and they haven’t changed.

These changes are miniscule, however, compared to what has happened in quite a few other people’s lives. Some background… Blizzard created a game that you simply can not win. Not only that, the only way to “get better” is to play more and more. In order to progress, you have to farm your little heart out in one way or another: either weeks at a time PvPing to make your rank or weeks at a time getting materials for and “conquering” raid instances, or dungeons where you get “epic loot” (pixilated things that increase your abilities, therefore making you “better”). And what do you do after these mighty dungeons fall before you and your friend’s wrath? Go back the next week (not sooner, Blizzard made sure you can only raid the best instances once a week) and do it again (imagine if Alexander the Great had to push across the Middle East every damn week).

What does this mean? Well, to our average “serious” player this equates to anywhere between 12 hours (for the casual and usually “useless” player) to honestly 10 hours a day, seven days a week for those “hardcore” gamers. During my stint, I was playing about 30 hours a week (and still finding it hard to keep up with my farming) and logging on during my work day in order to keep up with all the guild happenings and to do my scheduling and tracking for the raids. A lot of time went into the development of new policies which took our friendly and family-oriented guild further and further away from its roots but closer to the end goal. Honestly, what that end goal is I’m not totally sure – there is truly no end to the game and every time you feel like you’re satisfied with your progress, another aspect of the game is revealed and, well, you just aren’t as cool as you can be again.

There are three problems that arise from WoW: the time it requires to do anything “important” is astounding, it gives people a false sense of accomplishment, and when you’re a leader, and get wrapped up in it, no matter how much you care or want people to care, you’re doing the wrong thing.

First off, let’s go back to the time it takes to accomplish anything in the game. To really be successful, you need to at least invest 12 hours a week, and that is bare minimum. From a leadership perspective, that 12 hours would be laughed at. That’s the guy who comes unprepared to raid and has to leave half way through because he has work in the morning or is going out or some other thing that shows “lack of commitment”. To the extreme there is the guildie who is always on and ready to help. The “good guildie” who plays about 10 hours a day and seven days a week. Yes, that’s almost two full-time jobs. Funny, no one ever asks any questions, though.

The worst though are the people you know have time commitments. People with families and significant others. I am not one to judge a person’s situation, but when a father/husband plays a video game all night long, seven days a week, after getting home from work, very involved instances that soak up hours and require concentration, it makes me queasy that I encouraged that. Others include the kids you know aren’t doing their homework and confide in you they are failing out of high school or college but don’t want to miss their chance at loot, the long-term girl/boyfriend who is skipping out on a date (or their anniversary – I’ve seen it) to play (and in some cases flirt constantly), the professional taking yet another day off from work to farm mats or grind their reputations up with in-game factions to get “valuable” quest rewards, etc… I’m not one to tell people how to spend their time, but it gets ridiculous when you take a step back.

The game also provides people with a false sense of security, accomplishment, and purpose. Anyone can be a superhero here if they have the time to put in. Not only that, a few times I’ve seen this breed the “rockstar” personality in people who have no confidence at all in real life. Don’t get me wrong, building confidence is a good thing and something, if honed appropriately, the game can do very right. But in more than a few cases, very immature people with bad attitudes are catered to (even after insulting or degrading others “in public”) because they are “better” than the rest. Usually this means they played a lot more and have better gear. I’d really hate to see how this “I’m better than you attitude” plays out in real life where it means jack how epic your loot is – when you say the wrong thing to the wrong person it’s going to have repercussions and you can’t just log out to avoid the effects of your actions.

And people put everything on the line for these accomplishments with which they associate much value. I know of children and spouses being forced to play and grind for their parents, threats of divorce, rampant neglect, failing grades in school, and thousands of dollars spent on “outsourcing” foreign help. For what, you ask? Honor. The desire to be the best for at least one week. To get the best loot in the game. What do these “heroes” receive? Why, cheers and accolades of course as they parade along in their new shiny gear… which is obsolete the first time they step into one of the premier instances. The accomplishment and sacrifice itself are meaningless a few days later. Then it’s usually off to the races again.

Finally, when you’re a leader there is a call (or more appropriately a demand) for success. Usually those you represent want to keep progressing. They want to keep improving. They want more access to the best things. It is on you to provide it. In my experience, when you fail to progress fast enough, waves ripple throughout the guild and people become dissatisfied. It’s your fault, no matter what. Everything you’ve done to keep things fair and provide for everyone does not mean a damn thing. A few will stand up for you, but when you have 150 people who all want 150 different things, you end up listening to 150 voices complaining about the job you’re doing. This volunteer job usually takes at least 10 extra hours a week (on top of regular playing). Towards the end of my year of service, I apparently couldn’t do anything right with my class. I had to rotate people to make sure everyone was getting a fair shot. I wrote actual mathematical proofs the allowed for fair and effective (yes, both) raid distribution according to efficiency, speed, and guild class population. I even rotated myself more than any other class member. People still took it upon themselves to tell me what I was doing wrong (constantly) and how their way was more fair (usually for them).

The thing that kicked me in the ass more than anything else was I really cared if my guildies were getting what they wanted out of the experience. I truly thought my efforts would make them happy. I wanted to make a difference to them. The greedy and socially phobic high school kid I thought I could help through the game, all of the couples (both married and not) who were falling apart because of the game I thought I could rescue, the girl who was deeply wounded by a guy who left her for the game but was herself addicted I thought I could save, not to mention a host of others, I thought my efforts were helping. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: I was providing them with an escape from their problems and nurturing the very thing that was holding them back. Oh yeah, it hit me like a ton of bricks after I had changed so much and lost enough of myself that the most wonderful girl I ever met broke up with me.

I remember clearly after fumbling around life for a few weeks that I dragged myself into the bathroom to get ready for work. I was tired because I was up until close to 2 AM raiding. Every week I read though email or I would run into one of my “real” friends and I’d hear “Andy, what’s up, I haven’t seen you in a while.” I looked in the mirror and in a cinemaesque turn of events and a biblical moment of clarity, told myself “I haven’t seen me in a while either.”

That did it. I wanted to do the things I wanted to do again and be with the people who appreciated me even if I abandoned them for a year and sucked to high heaven as a friend. The prodigal son returned and my friends were happy. The best advice I got was from the girl who dumped me for being a jackass (and after I decided to really quit and be “myself again” became one of, if not my best friend in the entire world), who said “your real friends like you even when you screw up.” It’s true.

Funny side note was the reaction I got from the guild that I spent a year pouring my heart and soul into. I made my post in the guild forums saying I was leaving (half of it RPing – something that doesn’t happen after you start raiding) and that it was time for me to move on. Three days later I didn’t exist any more. The machine kept on moving without this gear. A few people asked me over email (and when I logged on to clean out the old bank) when I was coming back (I’m not going to). There are a few others I keep in contact with and am planning on going to visit sooner or later so I can hang out in person and they can finally meet me. But in the end being forgotten about so soon after still left a bittersweet taste. But one that was a lot easier to swallow than the one I chugged down every day for the better part of a year.

Don’t get me wrong, WoW did a lot of things right. At times it was a fun game that allowed me to keep in contact with friends who lived far away. More importantly it introduced me to some of the best real life friends I’ve ever met. However, it did take an undeniable toll on me and is taking a far greater one on many, many people when taken too far.

http://soulkerfuffle.blogspot.com/2006/10/view-from-top.html

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Acts 14

August 23, 2008 - Leave a Response

Acts 14:19-20

This chapter shows some examples of what incredible pain and suffering the disciples went through in the name of Jesus. Paul was even stoned and thrown outside of the city because they thought he was dead. BUT then He gets up and goes back into the city to preach. Pretty bold move Id say. Sometimes its so hard to picture things being that rough in the life today LIke it was for Paul and Barnabas. How different is today compared to then?

I pray for focus. Determination. Passion. To see your will done.

Acts 13

August 19, 2008 - Leave a Response

Acts 13:49

Reading this chapter I came to the end of it and found a very interesting footnote in my bible for this chapter. The devil doesnt bother to bother some christians like the ones who go along with the crowd or who keep quiet about their relationship with Jesus. The person who doesnt go along with the crowd and who shares his or her faith is the one who gets persecuted. Its interesting how that works. All the sleep mode christians get a free ride. While the bold and passionate christians get persecuted. It happened here in acts 13 which is pretty amazing.

I pray that in the end i wouldnt look back and realize that i was in sleep mode through my whole life. Make me the persecuted christian with nothing to lose but the look on your face when we meet. Help me let go. Less of me more of You.

Acts 12

August 16, 2008 - 4 Responses

Acts 12:5

This is the epitome of answered prayers. Peter was locked in prison after James had been killed with a sword it says earlier in the chapter. I couldnt even imagine what was going through his mind! I mean its verses like these that get me excited and its what i sometimes miss in my own “irl”. Passion for God! They prayed TO GOD EARNESTLY! What did He do? Sent an angel and just walked him out…… Come on. The best part is ordinary people believing WHOLE heartedly in something bigger than us something outside of our vision and reach!

I pray for the drop everything urgency to be passionately involved in You. Lay it on me because i want it, need it, USE ME. Look past the text and see my heart and BREAK IT. Just snap it in two. Stap. Less of me more of You.

Acts 11

August 14, 2008 - Leave a Response

Acts 11:29

This chapter is a recap in a way from a book earlier. In Antioch where the term Christians was started there was a prediction of famine. The desciples helped with the abilities God had given them. I love how this can relate to now. We all have gifts and all can be used. Its just on us to choose too i suppose.

Use me and my gifts big and small. On that note show me my gifts. Less of me more of You.

Acts 10

August 12, 2008 - One Response

Acts 10:3,10:13

Through out this chapter Cornelius and Peter were given  visions and angels appeared to them  to lead them where God wanted them to be. Im frustrated that signs this clear arent being shown at this point. Sometimes i wonder where my angel is and why im not being set into trances to see visions of heaven. At the same time Im wondering if the problem is on my end? But then i havent heard of much of angels appearing around me either. Id like to take this as a positive note in the journey through Acts but a frustrating one too.

I say this over and over. YOU know MY heart. I strive after what you want me to become. I want to understand more and I want clearity. I want passion for you and i want to become a man after your own heart. Show me what it takes to achieve what you want. Give me and angel or even a wisper in the wind. At this point ill settle for either or anything. This is my cry out. Amen

Acts 9

August 10, 2008 - One Response

Acts 9:23

Saul. A man who spent his life seeking and killing christians pulled a 180 and began following Christ. This is an amazing story in itself but it doesnt stop there. He not only follows Christ but also begins to spread word about Him. He if forced to sneak in and out of towns in order to do it too! I would say in most of our lives things havent gotten as drastic as us having to sneak into cities just to get the chance to spread the word. Does that make it easier or harder for us? Would we even have the courage to stick with it if we were wanted dead for what we were doing?

I pray that you can give us, me the courage to spread what you have done. To spread it without fear of anything. Spread it with passion. Spread it with love.

Acts 8

August 6, 2008 - Leave a Response

Acts 8:20-23

Gods gift cant be bought with money. Money will fade away and become dust and air along with everything else in this world. Simon is a huge show boat and thought he could use his money to win the crowd and was scolded horribly for it. Lesson learned. I am a little clueless at the end of the chapter where Philip is baptizing the eunuch and when they rise from the water the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away and that he appeared In Azotus and both him and eunuch went on preaching. I wish it would go into that alittle more. Like the eunuchs reaction or anything like that. Something. He was a biblical teleporter.

I pray that WE can continue to get more and more out of Acts as we go through this book together. Use us.

boyce ave

August 6, 2008 - Leave a Response

Linkin Park Cover

Coldplay Cover

I loved this.

Boyce Avenue

Acts 7

August 5, 2008 - One Response

Acts 7:54-60! All of that…

This is an amazing chapter. Its like what every movie ever made that involves martyrdom is based on. Like braveheart only better. Stephen is basicly getting grilled by this group of people and he replies with basicly the whole old testament in a few paragraphs. He ends it with verse 51-53!!! Then verse 54 ” When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.” Not sure what gnash their teeth means but it doesnt sound good. AND THEN!! in verse 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. The crowd COVERS their ears and starts yelling at the top of their lungs as they rush him to stone him. In the end He gave his life gratefully for standing up for God. Even in the face of death he crys out to the Lord to forgive them for what they were doing and to not hold theirs sins against them. EVEN AS HE WAS GETTING PELTED WITH ROCKS! After  he said that the bible says he fell asleep. Im so giddy over this chapter its insane.

God I pray for the courage to stand up for you when it comes down to the right time. THe courage to see it to the very end. Give me a heart like Stephen in this chapter. An unashamed fearless passionate heart to follow after you.