Because Roman Numerals past ten just start looking like Super Bowls. This week I want to talk about something that’s been a part of my gaming career for a long time, and maybe yours too! It’s something that transcends gaming, and becomes a very part of your personality. It begins early on and lasts until you die. It’s a part of how you conduct yourself, and how others perceive you. I am talking about the human ego.
An ego breeds confidence, which in turn can breed arrogance, which I think most of you will agree is a bad thing.“But Alex, everyone has an ego of some kind, does that mean that everyone is bad?”, of course not. How you manage your ego and pride is all a part of growing up. Finding a balance between confidence and arrogance is all you, I’m not here to tell you how to do that.
Ego is important in gaming because of how we game. The fact that people are more prone to being jerks online has been attributed to the relative anonymity they have. It’s easier to be bolder when there’s no potential physical ramifications to our actions. I believe the ego is a primary initiator for most negative online behavior. “That guy got so lucky” or “this dude must be hacking” are both examples of someone’s aversion to self-blame. By blaming your failure on someone else, you can protect yourself from the crushing insecurities we as humans hate so much.
Owning up to your mistakes is a huge part of growing up. Apologizing or admitting you were wrong is no easy task, especially for someone raised on the internet. What feels like a century ago I was playing arena in World of Warcraft at a somewhat high level. I was on a crappy Battlegroup and would float around Gladiator rating for an entire season. Because the Battlegroup was so cruddy, I got a ton of attention from people on my server. Being 18 at the time it all went to my head and I started down the excruciating path to dickishness.
Again, it’s hard to admit mistakes, and when we would start losing games I would always blame my teammates, again, avoiding responsibility. Eventually it got so bad that my tiny teen brain was forced to realize the reality of the situation, “they don’t suck… I suck!”. After this momentous event during my Sophomore year of college [and a heartwarming apology to my teammates, awwwh feels] my gaming arrogance began to crumble. After I realized I wasn't as great as I had once believed, playing games with friends was a lot more enjoyable. The pressure to perform was suddenly gone.
If you struggle with your ego, I honestly hope it doesn't take some grand event to wake you up to reality, because damn it can be embarrassing. Being confident is great, but be humble about it, people will respect you a lot more than if you engage in post-game badmouthing. Use discretion and you’ll be untouchable, no matter what community you’re a part of.