We've all seen the video of that one kid throwing a fit because his mom disconnected him from his World of Warcraft account, and I know that we aren't all that crazy when it comes to our games, but let's face it, interruptions are annoying and sometimes they can get the best of us when we are already in a highly stressful situation such as just almost getting that one raid mob that you have been trying to take down for weeks dead, or in the middle of some fairly even matched pvp.
I bring this up because I had an episode of my own just a few days ago, and it made me so angry that I went on ranting and raving about it for most of the day only to find myself laughing at what a jerk I'd been later on, after things had cooled down a bit. But let me just tell you about it.
So I'm on this spying mission. My goal is to get into a heavily patrolled city without being noticed, speak to a few contacts (which I of course have scouted out in advance), and then proceed to pick-pocket a variety of scouting and patrolling guards for any orders or intelligence that they might be carrying. My boss has assigned me to get 10 pieces of this information, and there is a recharge timer on how often I can use the pick-pocket skill as well as a chance at failure every time I make an attempt. Meanwhile the guards of this city, who are all real people, not npc's, and who are touchy enough as it is, are all running around shaking down anyone who doesn't look like they belong, and I quite obviously look like I do not belong.
Are you getting the picture? This is about as stressful an MMO situation as any, and it is about the worst time for the telephone to start ringing and for me to look over and see that it's the mortgage company's number calling.
I ignore it. I paid that shiz, I'm not the droid they are looking for, plus I am only just outside the city walls and so far no one has even looked at me.
I continue on in my mission of stealth and intrigue. My pulse is beginning to beat faster now as I come into the line of sight of a few players with that tell-tale yellow glow above their heads that signifies that they are part of the city patrol. I begin to take evasive actions, leaping from roof-top to roof-top to avoid their gaze. My contact is just up ahead. All I have to do is make it to him, get what I need, and bounce for a minute until the heat cools down.
I see him up ahead. I make a beeline. Just then my wife opens the basement door and shouts my name. "What?!?" I answer. "Did you move the money into the right account so that the mortgage check could clear?" "What?!?!" I respond again. Whatever she is saying sounds like Greek to me, and I am not Greek. My contact is right there in front of me. I click on him in order to talk and get my first piece of information, the most important piece of this trip.
I hear my wife snort and come pounding down the stairs. "Why do they walk like that?" I half wonder in the middle of everything else that is going through my mind right then. "And if they are going to stomp all over the place shouldn't they also develop some kind of saying to go along with it? Like Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum! or something?"
I'm trying hard to ignore her.
"Hey!" she snaps. "Did you move the money to the right account so that the mortgage check could clear?"
I get attacked by a city patrolman with an itchy trigger finger. "Hold on for a minute", I say.
Now a little note here. This woman has played these games with me. We have both played on open PVP servers together. She knows exactly where I'm at right at that moment, and yet, amazingly, she doesn't care in the least.
I find this incredibly annoying all of a sudden, the guard is pounding on me, another has joined in and so I know that there is no way that I am going to win this thing, but I am at least beating the one that attacked me initially pretty badly, and all I need is another two or three minutes to finish this thing off and then I will be happy to turn my chair around and address whatever mortgage faux pas that has taken place with all of the attention and caring befitting of my dear sweet lovely wife.
But in the most famous words of that one song from the old punk bad Suicidal Tendencies..."BUT SHE WOULDN'T GIVE IT TO ME!!"
And so of course, I freaked out. "WOMAN!!" (that's how you know it's about to go down) "WOMAN!!" I said spinning around in my desk chair and completely abandoning the entire fight, game, and screen. "WHAT IN GOD'S NAME ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?!?!" "I PAID THAT SHIZ!!! I ALWAYS PAY THAT SHIZ!!! WHY IN THE WORLD ARE YOU MESSING WITH ME RIGHT NOW!!!!!"
Well, that didn't go well.
Some people never argue. They talk to each other in a calm monotone fashion, saying only what they mean and completely understanding that each member of the conversation is an individual and justified in having their own feelings and perceptions of the world even if those feelings and perceptions do not agree with their own.
My wife and I are not like that.
What WE like to do once we get arguing, is to stand about four inches from each others face and use our "down the street" voices to debate over who is the most childish and least willing to take responsibility (her opinion of me) and who gives less of a shiz what she thinks (my argument :P).
So we do that for like an HOUR. Then I go and look at the bank account and find out that she processed the payment before putting the money where it belonged. The long and short of that being that it was HER FAULT.
Now I know we all make mistakes. I've made mistakes. And who really cares if the mortgage guy gets his money a day late or a month late, he's gonna get his money one way or another or someone is going to be out of a house. But at just that moment. That moment when we figured out that I not only....
A. Had nothing to do with the problem at hand.
B. Had missed out on one of the golden opportunities of PVP, which is, in a gank situation, to take at least one of them with you.
I could not help but give her the look. What look you ask? You know that look. That "Look at what you've done to me" look.
Later I felt bad about the whole situation. But then 5 minutes after that I couldn't help but laugh at how mad I had become over the whole deal. See, it wasn't the game itself that I cared about so much, it was the emotion of that moment. That moment in time when my attention was completely focused on one thing and one thing only, just to have something completely foreign to that moment invade my brain with distraction.
I'll bet that if the mob was hard enough to take down, and I had a large enough role in potentially getting that job done, that a long lost relative, previously thought to even be dead, could pop up at my door and I would tell them "Hold up! I gotta finish this!!" before acknowledging one single thing about their re-appearance.
That's how good it gets sometimes. At least in my understanding.
(Author's note. Although the topic of this blog talks about subjects such as neglecting one's responsibilities in lieu of playing video games, such actions are not considered actually acceptable and should not be attempted at home. With that said however, I would still love to hear some of the moments when you've either been un-ignorably distracted from your MMO playing, or not, and how you responded.)