I’ve been doing some research and reading up on online gaming in order to complete my follow-up article on cheating in MMOs, and I realized no one is going to understand why I’ve needed this sort of second-hand acquainting with the subject. So I’ve decided to write a personal, in-between piece about that very thing.
To begin, I was not allowed to partake in social internet fads due to my mother’s fear of who could be lurking on the “World Wide Web”, to the point where I had to hide the fact that I had a creepy, beloved Myspace account. But that was hardly the only reason. Honestly, for the most part, I just didn’t know online gaming was out there. In fact, I would consider my first introduction to online gaming being when I went to a friend’s house and watched him play Call of Duty 4 when we were ramping up for the Modern Warfare 2 release. I was a junior in high school at the time, and very far behind in the world of gaming, due mostly to the fact that we lived in a rural suburb that had only just been getting “wireless modems” and faster internet speeds. I’d listen to my well-off fellow school mates bicker about their levels and who had prestige, while I still went home to check my angsty, teen message boards on the only household computer hooked up to the phone line. That is to say, I was very behind.
Things didn’t get better in college; my life revolved around a laptop now, and upon managing to download League of Legends with a gathering of friends in the philosophy department conference room, I realized it was absolutely pointless to try to run the thing and ended up reading “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” instead. Upon the release of Elderscrolls IV: Skyrim, I was forced to go online and download a launcher called “Steam” in order to play the game, which ended up costing a fortune because we now lived off of a 3G data card purchased through Sprint. Steam would later facilitate the majority of my online gaming, however, up to this point, the internet had done nothing but caused me pain and woe. I decided to stick to my solo experiences for the foreseeable future.
Finally, I was living in an apartment in town where I could purchase wireless internet based on speed and not data quantity, and then Destiny was released on next gen consoles. Everyone I worked with wanted it, wanted to play it, and especially, wanted to play it with each other. I made the flighty (and worthwhile) decision to purchase the whole shebang: the Destiny PS4 bundle, Playstation Plus, and a wireless headset. At long last I would enter myself into the world of playing with others. And it was awesome, until I realized that in the world of playing with others, you have to learn to play what others want to play. Quickly everyone ran off to the next big thing and suddenly I was trying to learn how to recruit strangers for raids.
My friends had lost interest in their next gen consoles and had gone back to their “PC Master Race” roots, bragging about their rigs and what graphic-intensive MMOBAs they were playing. Meanwhile, my laptop was overheating when I played Minecraft, the first game that taught me what modding was. Aside from the fact that I realized I needed to start hanging around people who didn’t have so much excess time and money, I also realized I needed to start working towards what I had always wanted: to build my own computer.
When I was 15 years old, the graphics card on the desktop computer my father had gotten me a single year prior had burned out. I was devastated. That is, until my dad took me back down to the Circuit City we had bought it at, and we purchased a new Nvidia graphics card. He showed me how to open the case, where all the pieces go on the motherboard, and then continued on with stories of “Back when I built my first computer” and I was absolutely amazed. With my vast childhood experience with gaming consoles, I remembered multiple times where our Playstations would stop reading disks or turning on completely, and my mother would throw them out and get new ones. The idea of actually fixing something when it was broken was completely alien to me. Now, here I was staring at the inside of the system that held my life and understanding how the different components could be removed, rearranged, and replaced; I knew I wanted to do it myself.
Unfortunately, due to changing priorities and life events, that opportunity hadn’t arisen until just this last fall when I finally had the means and the drive. After nearly a decade of hoping, planning, and dreaming, I built the PC that would allow me to do anything my little heart desired. I was so proud I considered having the accomplishment engraved on me tombstone, but since it probably won’t be my last build, I decided against it. And because that has happened so recently, you may even notice how excited I get about games that everyone else has known about for the last ten years, such as Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, and literally any game I can get my grubby, little hands on. That being said, I am still pretty new to this social gaming experience, which you can tell if you ever watch my horrible gaming etiquette while streaming Rocket League.
So, now that I have learned to love a new type of gaming experience, I can finally feel comfortable and free delving into the world of MMOs knowing that the only thing holding me back is…probably my lack of skills. That being said, I hope this has helped you get a little more insight into my struggles with multiplayer gaming, and I hope you stay tuned for my next piece.
See You Soon!