Friday, 7 September 2007

Loner No Longer

Perhaps one of the things that people don’t know about me is the fact that I used to be a total loner. I love going places on my own, and I readily take sole responsibility on activities that normally would take collective efforts from group members. But no man is an island, so they say, and it is quite something that it took a game to make me fully realize how truthful that adage is. How did gaming make me a better person? Here’s how.

The massively multiplayer online RPG, Ragnarok, is but a loner’s haven, so to speak. There are lots of things to do that would require one to take on challenges alone. But of course it wouldn’t be massively multiplayer for nothing; like all games, Ragnarok advocates camaraderie, teamplay, and endless interpersonal interaction among the gamers.People need to come out of their shells and work together for the betterment of the world...

While games are basically virtual, they still reflect the real world to a great degree. In the case of MMORPGs, gamers are expected to build communities and foster an environment of fair play and unadulterated fun. This is very true of real life, wherein people need to come out of their shells and work together for the betterment of the world.

I still remember how I, a total loner since I could remember, learned to gradually step out of the boundaries of my lonely comfort zone and reach out to others. While I was beginning to become more sociable in-game, I started to let the people around me to know who I really am.

Yup, at first I appeared aloof, conceited, vain and proud. I need not say that I enjoyed how people used to shy away from me. There was a time when I even downright reject my parent’s advice that I need to have friends (I really didn’t have close friends until late in highschool). Back then, I was glad to carry things out alone just because I could get away with it.

It’s quite amusing that I was drawn to play Ragnarok because it fits into my then lonesome world – I could freely wander without the hassles of tugging others. At that point of time, I believe I could create a nice little nook for myself, wherein there’d be no disturbances, no troubles, no worries. Just plain me, myself, and I.

But lo! I soon learned, and I’m grateful I didn’t have to learn through the hard way, that to do certain tasks requires the efforts of another. I believe most games, in general, at one point in their gameplay, would need the player to actually associate with others.

One in-game event after another slowly made me realize that asking others for help doesn’t lower one’s dignity. It is the other way around. Giving and receiving some form of assistance is never derogatory, and they instead make an individual a better member of society and boosts his morale.

At that certain point of time, I began reaching out to the very first persons who I could call my true friends. They were never ashamed to ask for my efforts, and they showed me that they would love to help as much as they could. I am indeed grateful, that I learned the proper lessons at the right time, and it was brought to me by a game.

The more I got engrossed in the game, I got to know how bad my attitude was. I soon left behind the old, totally lonely, me, and began to open up to others. I found a true sense of happiness with how people would approach me out of nothing at all, perhaps just to have some little conversation that, although may be about worthless and mundane topics, made me feel better nonetheless.

Thanks to the game, I learned a life lesson that my parents were never fully able to imbibe upon me because I resented it: No man is an island.

So when the time comes, I’d gladly allow my future kids to become gamers. I learned how to be a better person because of a game, perhaps they may learn a few lessons that I may fail to teach them.

Maybe they, just like me, will become more adept at touch typing (a very, very handy skill for writers and bloggers), or become well-versed with trading (and become future successful entrepreneurs), or they may integrate into their characters the nobility of swordsmen, the steadfast faith and patience of acolytes, and the mages’ love for wisdom.

Special thanks to Level Up for this great game, and to GM Tristan for continuously seeking to improve MMORPGS through events such as the Group writing contest. I made this entry for the fourth week of that particular challenge.

So to all game developers, particularly those behind Ragnarok, ROK ON!

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