Monday, November 12, 2007

5 Lessons in 5 Years

Stormgaard at Se7en Samurai tagged me with a meme: 5 Lessons in 5 Years. Three will be gaming related and two more general life lessons learned. I'm playing fast with the rules, so my apologies up front.

1. Pay to play is okay.
I missed the boat on many of the earlier MMOs because I was staunchly opposed to paying a monthly fee to pay them. No Everquest. No Dark Age of Camelot. No Ultima Online. I thought how stupid is it to buy the game in the store and then pay for it over and over to play it. Silly rabbit. I finally got it a couple years ago. Fifteen bucks a month isn't outrageous and is actually cheaper compared to buying a new game every couple months.

2. MMOs are like a zillion times more addictive.
Than anything really. I burned through many sleepless nights playing Diablo 2, but nothing like World of Warcraft. I didn't expect that level of obsession. I hate to admit it, but the game was affecting other areas of my life. Lucky me that I pulled out before things got crazy. I see some people I care about starting down that path, and it worries me. I'm no saint though. Since restarting WOW, I want to play more and more. But now I know this beast. MMOs by their design are addictive. They are built to keep you logging in month after month, night after night. Almost all of them reward you for time spent in world. Plus they have no end. No plot that is neatly wrapped up after defeating the final boss. No game over screen followed by rolling credits. The more free time you have, the further you will advance, and the bigger your rewards. I'm just regurgitating what I've read in other peoples blogs. Nothing new here.

3. Vid card specs hurt my head.
I learned that video cards specs, while utterly complex, are necessary to understand. I've made two mistakes with video cards. The first was thinking the amount of memory was the only thing that mattered... 256 MB is 256 MB ... right? Years ago I bought a seriously outdated Radeon card on sale when I was playing Neverwinter Nights. The graphic quality and FPS improved. True. But I couldn't play newer games because the technology was too old. The second mistake was not taking the time to understand that not all 6000 series nVidia cards are created equal. Just like many things in life, vid cards are available in a range from low- to high-end. I'm determined not to get burned again on vid card buying.

4. Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.
I'm in the middle of learning a big, fat lesson about life the hard way. Sorry to be cryptic... but you really don't want to hear about it and I am light years from being ready to write about it. Moving right along.

5. Switch jobs to advance.
Quick little quiz for you... to advance your career/paycheck do you stay with the same employer year after long year or do you take a risk and find a new job? Guess what I think. Yes, there are exceptions and maybe this applies only to the high tech fields like IT departments and software development shops. Once upon a time I had old-fashioned notions that hard work and loyalty and perseverance would one day be rewarded with a promotion and raise. My grandpa worked the same job for decades and retired with a pension. Those days are gone. I slugged through eight years in an entry-level position. Eventually I was doing tasks that a senior level tester did before he left the company. I got smart (okay, a little smarter) and found a new job. Almost half again as much money, less work, and more respect. Crazy. It worked for me, it can work for you too.

Time to tag a few people with the 5 Lessons in 5 Years meme. My picks: