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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at www.spouseaggro.com, write for www.ablegamers.com, run www.mmovoices.ning.com and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

The key to happiness.

Posted by beauturkey Monday January 11 2010 at 7:40PM
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I stumbled upon a cool documentary on some channel the other day, and it was really really good. Essentially, it talked about Happiness, it's scientific basis, and it's benefits.

Now, I'm all into pretty much anything, but worrying about if I am happy is never one of those things that I think on. I know I am happy, very very happy, and have always been that way. The world just seems too much like a huge rainbow sandbox of exploration for me to be unhappy. But, I have to admit that even I started to grow a little more morbid over the last few years. Supposedly it is an age thing.

So, I actually wondered what this documentary would claim the key to happiness is. Would it be fit mind? Fit body?

In the end, all of the scientific data said that social connections, social interactions, are the key to happiness.

I have to say that this made me smile. This was as much one of those amazing Oprah A-HA! moments (yes, I just used "Oprah" in my blog for the first time. I think it was the first.) as when reading "Accept life as meaningless, and live life as art." Sounds silly, hippy-ish or hokey, but it's true. Social interactions are what we are all about, it's how we came to be what we are. We are a social creature, it's in our blood...our genes.

In fact, watch someone having an argument next time you are in game. Watch them argue with a guildie about loot or about status. Now, here's how it would typically go:

Player 1) Hey man, I think I should have that loot!

Player 2) Nah, I deserve it..after all, I can wear it!

Player 1) Don't be a jerk! You already got like 4 items!

Player 2) Yeh but what's fair is fair...

And it might go on in that way for quite a while. But think for a second on how much this give-and-take is an integral part of not only conversations, but arguing as well. Even enemies do this. One side says something and pauses...the other side responds and then pauses..when it gets down to it, they are actually basing a good deal of what they say off of the other side.

In other words, even enemies listen to each other.

Now imagine if that same guild argument happened, almost. Imagine one side ignoring the other.

Player 1) Hey man, I think I should have that loot!

Player 2) Alright everyone, on to the next room!

Player 1) Hey! Listen, I want that loot, that would be better...

Player 3) This is so fun. Thanks for taking me guys!

And on the game goes, all players essentially ignoring Player 1. He would eventually leave, quit the guild or just become a hermit in game. So much of what he does and wants to do depends on others, especially in a situation like his.

Remember as a kid, when you first heard about "reverse psychology"? My mom told me that I was upset at a girl, not because she broke up with me and I truly loved her, but because the responses she gave me were being taken away. Our give-and-take was over. Correspondence was dead. Isn't it amazing when you consider how much of our social interactions are very, very dependant on the responses of others? Even when we are angry and want to be "left alone," we do not mean anything like being truly left alone. In fact, "Leave me alone!" is often a request for attention.

How much of our MMORPG hobby is dependant on other players? While most of the discussion tends to lean towards "how many you need in a group", that is too literal. I have not met a single game yet that cannot be played through while alone, in some fashion.

In fact, I am the biggest solo'er out there. I rarely, if ever, play with other people in groups. When I do, though, I do realize how much I miss them. I think it's because I am always jumping around from game-to-game, but it is more than likely the fact that I am always a horrible player. I couldn't shoot my way out of a cardboard bag, and I like it that way.

But when I go to the mall or the movies I don't walk up to strangers and ask "Hey, wanna' sit with me?" It's just the fact that watching a movie or shopping is fun when surrounded by humanity. We like having other people around us, we like to hear other people laughing and ordering food. But we aren't having conversations with them, and we aren't doing anything else but being part of their background.

So while many players talk about how much "easier" games have become, and more "solo-friendly", we are never really alone in these games. We are part of the crowd, and the potential to meet someone new is always there.

Happiness is based around social interactions, I agree. I just tend to use the entire internet, my Twitter account and my various websites as my global friends list. I am not worried about how many of those people might be in one particular game, being that I can just bring up any number of messengers to talk to them in an instant.

The world is smaller now, thanks to technology. And social interactions are easier to have. And that makes me very happy.

Beau

Player_420 writes:

that is why WoW-esq raiding is becoming a joke, and slowly dieing out with more open world, player driven concepts.

Wed Jan 13 2010 12:22PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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