Relinquishing Evony, Day 58
I knew I made the right decision when I found myself clicking on an Evony bookmark instead of the appropriate WordPress bookmark to begin writing tonight’s blog post. Doubtless some of my readers may rejoice to hear that I intend to give up a little of my geekfront property and relinquish the video game that has occupied a vast amount of hours almost as embarrassing as my love of Snuggie. As a refresher for those who may not have read my first attempt to curb the gaming habit, I discovered the joys of this city building and war game when stuck at home for weeks during the summer with a very strange virus that infected my back. With strict instructions to avoid the two activities I perform regularly, singing and exercising, I really do owe my sanity to having such a great distraction at the time.
In full disclosure, I had witnessed a friend of mine earlier that spring returning over and over again to his computer to play Evony at his apartment and judged his serious attention deficit, perceiving his whole obvious addiction as rather lame. Officially a MMORTS, or Massively Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy game, it actually encourages you with rewards within the first day to find and join an alliance and to participate in the chat with other players. Believe me, I can relate to pure geekdom, having grown up with an Atari 800, Pong, Prodigy, Telnet, and Nintendo World magazine (yes, I really liked my games), and I have spent weekends with little sleep to satisfy some odd craving for Zeus or Half Life. As my appetite weakened as an adult and the binges lessened in frequency, I never suspected the deceptively fulfilling aspect of a game that combines strategy with live players.
Rarely do I rejoice in my past judgmental attitude, but thank God I never really understood the point of diversions with strangers online in college. I likely never would have graduated. On the other hand, as much as Evony has distracted me and consumed precious hours I might have used more constructively, I have no regrets at having played it for so many hours for so many months. On the contrary, I learned a far greater amount about life and my new second family than about strategy. I now have friends who come from all over the world and all walks of life, a small handful of whom I really would trust with my life.
At one of the Obliterati events, my friend Hermann and I discussed the key differences between friendships formed in person versus relationships formed online. After some thought, I have to agree with his speculation that because one can more easily control the information shared with others online, he will likely feel more comfortable with divulging more information and allowing a closer connection online than in person. My mother discovered this over the past year with a friendship she began online through a medical support site. Although she has experienced a few close platonic relationships in the past, I have never witnessed her form such a close bond with someone so quickly, and though they have never met, they chat on the phone regularly like a couple of teenagers. It makes me smile.
Although that smile fades a little when I think of relinquishing my habit, the time has come for me to refocus my energies and let go of this distraction in particular. Attempting to limit my time hasn’t worked, and I strangely felt a certain peace about letting go, in a way that rarely happens with something so akin to an addiction. Today I began the process of demolishing some cities and notifying my friends of my decision to leave. Tomorrow I intend to complete the task of handing over or abandoning the rest of my empire and deleting the bookmark. Perhaps the calm I felt came with making a good decision; more likely, I trust that strong those friendships will withstand the lack of a chat box and look forward to experiencing their evolution in other ways online and especially in the real world.