Thursday, 20 September 2007

The Proper Mix

Life itself is but a great blend of homogenous and heterogeneous mixtures, which bring about the colors of, and spice up, the world we live in. The essence of existence is a delectable concoction of the various elements of joy and gladness, of sadness and bitterness, of excitement and glory.

There is a proper balance for everything – and happiness maybe found in that exact formula wherein the equilibrium resides.

Balance: Both Lock and Key
Even one of my hobbies, online gaming (MMORPGs in particular), is very much dependent on an appropriate fusion and subtle balance, which is between real life and the virtual world in this case. It might sound a bit too philosophical, but I’m sure every online gamer would understand what that means. :)

The greatest challenge in MMORPGs is this: to find your true happiness in a virtual world while at the same time enjoying real lifeTo put it simply, the best way to enjoy online gaming is to do so while enjoying the real world for, indeed, the greatest challenge in MMORPGs is this: to find your true happiness in a virtual world while at the same time enjoying real life. Putting it succinctly may make it sound too easy, but striking the balance between cyber life and real life is a tad difficult feat that those who gain mastery of which are the epitome of gamers in general.

Virtual in Reality
First of all, the virtual world is there to make up for the boredom of living in a rather monotonous world – but it exists in a dimension wherein it is nothing but a figment of imagination. This virtuality, or the so called cyber world, caters to the people’s need to reach beyond the limits of their physical boundaries, to interact with others as much as they can, and touch (figuratively) as many lives as they could.

The cyber world provides a rendezvous where crossroads meet crossroads, and new horizons are born. It exists though it is practically inexistent, in a place wherein it resides but cannot really be found. An enigmatic puzzle, it may surely be, but a beautiful picture it is to those who chance upon it.

In other words, the virtual world isn’t real, but it exists. As such, it entails several characteristics to extract the essence, and to get the most fun out of it.

Mixing Seven Components
My life as a gamer is but a colorful story love story filled with the usual pangs of resentment and failures and the joy and tribulations of beating the odds and making it through the strongest of downpours. There had been ups and downs, and some of the ordeals I went through contributed largely to who I am today.

Seven key factors had helped me grow more into this hobby of mine, and made me realize how online games such as Ragnarok Online can play a central part in preparing an individual for the real world ahead of him. These are: commitment, dedication, integrity, a deep sense of vision, maturity, efficient management of resources, and maintaining the proper balance between work and play.

In the game of Ragnarok Online, choosing the path to wizardhood entails great dedication and a true sense of commitment for the grueling task of leveling is but long and tedious. I remember the endless waves upon waves of Alarms (clock-like monsters), Stings (slow-moving lumps of mud with a glove on top), Geographers (sunflower monsters who heal each other), Enchanted Soils (bouncing clump of sand, anyone?), Argiopes (giant worms) and whatnots who I engaged in kill or be-killed battles. Reaching the needed job level of 50 for my mage certainly tested my dedication to this game, and it surely made my sense of commitment as strong as steel.

Furthermore, I can tell off anyone from saying that online games are a waste of time and resources. It is because the game imbibed upon me the value of integrity, and it made me develop a deep sense of vision. True, one’s identity is anonymous while online, but I believe (again, after through all the in-game experience) that whatever people do anonymously speaks more for themselves than for what they are publicly acknowledged for doing. Integrity and vision are but very personal characteristics by which one can gauge himself; for my part, I can say that I value my integrity and I stand up for everything I believe in.

To participate in an online game where events transpire in real-time, a player needs to be more mature and he also needs to manage his resources efficiently. I remember the time when I was deeply engrossed with RO – it was during my college days. Being in college means that resources (particularly financial resources) are sparse, and responsibilities are mountain-high. But through it all, I managed to keep my grades up, maintain my scholarship, run the student publication, participate in inter-collegiate and regional quiz bees, and bring honor to my school while my character in the game was also leveling and maturing as I am in real life.

I matured to keep up with the times – I micromanaged my time and made efficient use of my resources to ensure that my gaming life and my student life are not pulling each other down. Piece of cake? No. But it was truly FUN now that I look back upon it.

Studying was of course top priority then, but I sneak some time in-between research just to let my mage catch up, especially when there are experience modifications (for faster leveling). There were times, too, when I went online more than I studied just because the latter drains me more (gaming lets me recharge, as a matter of fact).

At that particular moment when the virtual meets the real in perfect harmony, there you should be to have the best of both worldsThat’s the greatest part of it – maintaining the proper balance between the virtual and the real. In the end, whatever virtual will only be real in its own context, but the real as of the moment might just be virtual, in a sense. Both are temporary, and are also affected by the wave of change that shapes the face of the earth. But at that particular moment when the virtual meets the real in perfect harmony, there you should be to have the best of both worlds.

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This is my entry to the final week of GM Tristan's Group Writing Contest. Good luck to all who joined! (Wohoo! finished six weeks at last) ^_^

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