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On Motivation: The Ups, Downs, and Mysterious Whys
A very interesting thing happened to me this morning. I find this particular thing interesting because of what happened yesterday.
This morning as I was going about my normal morning routine and getting ready for work I realized that I no longer wanted to play World of Warcraft as much as I have been playing in the last month.
The notion hit me like a ton of bricks while I was starting to walk down the stairs to go to work.
(It is interesting how your mind will work on things over night and often have some new insight or new thoughts on a subject you may not have even known you were mulling over.)
This idea that I didn't want to play WoW as much anymore was present yesterday as well and, while I was vaguely aware of it yesterday, it came into full fruition this morning.
Why was yesterday so important to this morning's thoughts? Because yesterday was August 9th. That day Blizzard added the Demon Hunter as a playable class as well as introducing the quests leading up to the upcoming expansion.
Shouldn't this new content have made me want to play the game more rather than less?
That is the funny part about motivations. The reasons why we play (or stop playing) the game aren't always obvious.
In thinking about why yesterday's events affected my desire to play I came to the conclusion that before yesterday I was playing the same Warlords of Draenor but with the new pre-expansion additions (most notably the new transmog and class/spec changes).
As I talked about on Episode 099 of the podcast I was really excited to play around with the new transmog changes. And I did. And I loved them!
I also was excited to learn more about (and try) the new class and spec changes. And I did. And I really liked playing my bevy of 90-ish characters with new and interesting specs.
I even leveled many of them to 100.
(But this really shouldn't have surprised me. I've often used late expansion time to level characters up so that I can have them ready to be choices for who to level in the new expansion.)
But why did the things that got added yesterday make me want to play less?
I really think it was because the changes really signaled that the new expansion is coming and that sort of burst a bubble I have been living in for the last month as far as playing the game is concerned.
It's hard to explain but it's almost like the events and quests yesterday made me realize that the usefulness of I've been doing for the last month, while interesting, has come to an end. What once was interesting was not longer needed.
If there is one thing I know about myself it is that while I enjoy having goals or learning, once I feel that I've learned all I need to (or that I've learned enough or completed the goal or task I had at hand) I often lose interest. And when I lose interest I often lose it hard.
Thinking back I think this same phenomena (along with family changes) really took a toll on my motivation to play around the time of the Warlords of Draenor launch.
I was listening back to the last couple episodes of the podcast recently and while I sounded fairly upbeat and interested in Episode 097 with Erogroth, when listening to Episode 098 it was almost painful to me to hear the utter lack of motivation in my voice.
The switch in my mind had already flipped. I was tuned out.
While there are many reasons that there was a year gap in between episode 098 and 099 (new baby!) the main reason was that I lacked the motivation to keep playing.
Why do I bring this up now? Why, after announcing to the world that I was literally "Back in Business", do I find myself waining again?
Back when I was raiding I'd often tell players leaving the game that "they would be back". (Everyone always comes back.) Leaving and coming back is a natural part of the cycle of playing WoW.
Just as MMOs aren't static, human beings aren't static. Times change. People move on, get busy, and a hundred other things. Change happens to everyone and everything.
At the time I started Power Word: Gold I was a different person. At the time I was under-employed and was weighed down with depression stemming from a traumatic job loss.
I lost almost 40 pounds without even noticing. I wasn't eating and I wasn't sleeping well and I had to watch my angel wife get up and go to work each day to support us while I sat home and played World of Warcraft.
This wasn't a place I wanted to be and I decided that I needed something to give my life some structure.
I needed to be doing something, anything, to make myself feel like I was contributing to the world in some way not matter how small or insignificant. I needed that because if I could do that maybe I could build myself back up somehow.
Around this time I had recently found gold-making blogs. These blogs were written by people like Faid, Cold, Alto, Nev, Marco and The Gold Queen.
What I saw was a burgeoning community of people that were all rallying around the idea of learning how to make gold in World of Warcraft.
At the time I thought that some of the top blogs weren't really that good.
If this was the top of the gold-making blogging space perhaps I had something to contribute. Maybe even raise the bar a little.
Besides, if I was going to be going to a gold-making blog to check the blog roll and see what new posts were out I might as well be doing it on my own blog.
I threw myself into blogging for the first few months many times writing blog posts 7 days a week. I
started reaching out the the community. Here a little and there a little. Leaving comments on their blogs and letting them know that I had started one of my own.
Around that time I also started building small routines into my day that would make be feel a bit less like a cave-dweller and more like a human being.
Every day at 3PM I would get cleaned up and dressed and walk the 100 yards to the mailbox and get the mail.
After doing that for a month I then added going to the gym in our apartment complex and walking on the treadmill for 30 mins.
Little-by-little I began to slowly work out knots in my metaphorical muscles and help reverse some of the emotional atrophy that the depression had (almost imperceptibly) produced over the last few years.
That was where I was at then I started the blog in February of 2011. I was in terrible shape emotionally, mentally, and physically.
But I wanted to be better and the gold-making community at the time embraced me with open arms.
To say that the community was a life saver is true in a very literal sense. As I gave to the community I also gained strength from them.
Over the next 3 or 4 years a lot went on in gold-making blogging podcasting ,and eventually livestreaming.
And I was a different person at many points throughout that time.
I eventually was able to work from under-employment to full-time employment. The experience I gained doing social media for Power Word: Gold got me that full-time job.
And now I sit here. A different person. A different person then than I was over 5 years ago. 2 years ago. Even 1 year ago (remember Episode 098).
I feel that I am in a better place than I was then.
I am much more confident about my working life now than I was in 2011.
In addition my wife was recently able to move from full-time down to part-time at her job and now has more time to spend with our kids.
I feel blessed. I am blessed. And all of you were a big part of that. And you still are.
Just as I am not the same person that I was back then and World of Warcraft is not the same game that it was back then and gold-making is not the same as it was back then. There is still something about this stinking game that is so unique. So special.
I mentioned the gold-making community saved my life. World of Warcraft saved my life as well.
As silly as that sounds it is true.
Even when I wasn't actively playing the game I would still find myself getting lost in happy day dreams about playing the game. Getting lost for a moment with the feeling of playing the game.
Is my current motivation for playing the game down a bit? Yes. Yes it is.
But I also have many more considerations to think about when trying to decide how to allocate my time. While I love the game I need to be better about playing in moderation.
Many of us would be embarrassed if our friends and family knew how much time we spent playing World of Warcraft.
(C'mon. Admit it. You've sat in your chair playing the game for 16 hours straight. Don't try to tell me you haven't.)
I think that from now on I'm going to be playing in shorter bursts and trying to maximize my enjoyment during those play sessions.
In fact after I get done with this blog post I'm doing to be cancelling hundreds of auctions I have spread across most of my servers.
Hopefully that will cut down on the time I feel I need to play.
In addition I will be starting to set some time limits on how long I play the game in one sitting.
As I've gotten older my body doesn't bounce back like it used to. I
use a computer all day at work and then come home and add more hours sitting in a chair using a computer. This can't be good for my body. I want to avoid irreparable damage.
I need to start watching out for my body. I need to be mindful that I'm spending time with my kids. I need to get more sleep. All this means less time in the game.
One thing I've always strived for with all I do here at Power Word: Gold is quality.
I've always wanted the things you find as here at Power Word: Gold to be on-topic and high quality.
This was why I was so disappointed listening to Episode 098 of the podcast. That wasn't "Power Word: Gold" quality.
Going forward I want to make sure that whatever I do, whether if be a podcast episode, a blog post, a livestream, or a video, I want it to be of a quality that you deserve.
This means that the number of items coming out may be less but the quality will be higher.
I've always thought of Power Word: Gold as having a "common mans" voice.
I've always known that I wasn't the most dedicated gold-maker. I wasn't the most crafty. I wasn't the most insane. I wasn't the most hard-core. I didn't ever care about the GPH or the absolute min/max way of doing things.
But I was always sincere. I was always kind. I was always willing to help someone out no matter where they are at in their gold-making journey. I've cared about helping others learn how to make gold in World of Warcraft. In these ways I've been a success.
In the past I've strived to bind the gold-making community together. I used to be much better at this.
Over time there was some very bad blood spilled in the gold-making community. It pretty much tore whole sections of the gold-making community apart.
There were insults and back-biting and fighting and betrayals and alliances and factionism and a whole slew of things that hurt me on a very personal level.
(If you're new to gold-making this is a dark past in the gold-making community that is best left in the past. Those of us who were involved still bear the scars. The level of unkindness shown to each other was astounding.)
There are members of the community that I still can't bear to bring myself to think about without feeling regret, remorse, or anger (or all three) and that still makes me sad.
They say time heals all wounds . While it has taken me years for scars to fade I feel that I have moved past all the slights and injuries.
(And for those that I'm still struggling with I hope that the day comes when I can truly forgive and move on.)
But that is just a distant memory. I pray that something like that never happens to our community again.
Looking forward rathe than back I have to start watching people who are active in the gold-making community now and see what they are up to.
I want find out what "gold-making", this thing started with by handful of blogs (eventually growing to over 100), has grown into.
I want to be here to see what it will become.
Which brings us back to motivation.
What will motivate me to keep playing the game? What will motivate me to keep contributing to the community? What will keep me doing blog posts and livestreams and podcasts?
I really love this game. love this community.
I've been so overwhelmed with everyone welcoming me back in. Thank you.
I've come a long way since I started this blog in February 2011. I've come a long way since I started playing World of Warcraft in October 2005.
I look forward to continuing to grow and learn and share as we all head into Legion together.
Maybe, thought, I'll take it a bit easier up until that expansion comes out.
Maybe just a light bit of leveling and auction house. That sounds nice. Right?
I talked a lot in this post about why I started blogging about gold-making. What was it that got you into gold-making in the first place and what keeps you motivated to play and keep making gold today? I've love to hear about it in the comments below, on Twitter (@PowerWordGold), or Facebook.
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