Choice, time, and rewards

| Wednesday, February 27, 2013
I used to have a lot more time to play.  I had all the time in the world for grinds, long quest chains, and travel time.  I saw little problem with it all.

Now I have less time.  Yet I still have the same sense of entitlement that I had when I had more.  That is to say, I think we earn what we can from playing and if we want more, we play more.  If we don't play more, then we shouldn't complain, because we're merely making our own tradeoffs between different aspects of life.

Here I am with less time and the voices in my head scream about irony and being on the other side of the coin.  Yet, I don't care.  What is so ironic?  If I thought I should get as many rewards as I once did, then perhaps I'd be suffering from irony or hypocrisy or some other word that has had its meaning diluted over time.

Instead, I don't care.  I play less because playing and the rewards from it are less valuable to me than what I do with my time elsewhere.  I'm not on the losing side of some cosmic equation; I'm just on a different point on my old equilibrium line.

This isn't to suggest that I'd not want some more rewards.  Maybe a couple bindings of the windseeker could drop the next time I'm in Molten Core.  Maybe the bonus loot option could reward me with something more rewarding than gold.  It would be nice.  However, there is another idea that I have retained: trivialized rewards are trivial.  It is the rarity of the reward or the effort that goes into it that makes it a reward.  Otherwise it's junk food: additive and yet ultimately unsatisfying.  A little more reward would be nice, but I don't expect it, nor do I suffer for lack of it.  Well, maybe the valor points...

Since writing that post about the valor cap being too low I've only capped once.  Since then I've lacked some combination of time and interest.  It's been the one thing that annoyed me, that there was this goal that I could not get to.  There are other goals that I am not reaching, but they are mine and they are long-term.  They do not taunt me every week.  Yet, I must admit that my post was imperfect, but even this annoyance is slowly fading.  Why?  For the same reason any other perception of a reward has changed: I've not cared.  I could hit the cap; I could identify times when I could have gotten many more valor points, yet I did not want the valor points as much as I wanted other rewards in life.  This choice has made all the difference.

I wonder if that is the key to why some people insist that they must have more, see more, be rewarded more: they do not feel that they have chosen a different path, but that they have instead been stuck on one.  Maybe this is a privilege that I've had.  I used to play a lot and now I play less; I can see the choice in how I spend my time.  If I'd never had a lot of time, might I not perceive it as a choice?


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