Time for some on-the-fly self analysis.
I used to be a pretty hardcore gamer. I used to be a car enthusiast. I used to be a computer geek. I used to be a comic book nerd. I used to be an electronic musician. I used to be a singer. I used to draw with pencil very well. I used to have all these interests, hobbies, practices, and more. What the fek happened?
I can easily defer to my lack of funding. After all, most of those hobbies require a substantial amount of money to keep up to date. I’m at the point where I’ve sold almost all the items/tools required to keep up-It is unfortunate, but was necessary to survive.
Seems my interests and hobbies have changed or adapted to my budget. I suppose it’s that way for everyone.
It’s more than funding tho. Or is it? I know I tend to have an addictive personality. If I find interest in something I pursue it with relentless vigor. Have to consciously hold myself back from certain things that I know can easily waste time and money.
Let’s take an MMO I had recently all but quit. It is called Vindictus. It is an online role-playing game, but at its core is an arcade action game, a beat-em-up. It is often anachronistic in look, but is medieval-Norse and fantasy based. I was instantly addicted to the gameplay, in fact I played it for 3 years. I can’t fathom how many hours I’ve spent on it. I still do play it once a week or so, just to feed my need for the gameplay-It is after all, free-to-play. Or is it?
Yes, you can indeed play Vindictus without spending real-life money. However that may inhibit the speed at which you can level-up and the power you can acquire. After all, everyone wants to be powerful, have instant power to make things easier, and of course to show off to other players. This is where it starts to get scary-
First of all, in order to be able to have access to newer items, you need to level your character by gaining experience points. There are real-money items that can be bought to double the amount of experience points you can get. These experience boosters have a limited time of use, and need to be purchased continually if you want to keep that rate of gain up.
The weapons, armor, and accessories you gain can be upgraded (which will your affect speed, strength, etc.). In order to upgrade you need to pay an in-game NPC (non-player-character) with in-game currency. The item will be successfully upgraded to certain point-From there it becomes a gamble for the item to succeed to it’s next tier or level. Keyword: Gamble.
Here’s the scary part-You are able to spend real life money on items that will not instantly upgrade your weapon/armor/accessory, but instead to protect them from resetting to their original statistics or being completely deleted. Again – Gambling. And it doesn’t stop there-
The game is visually stunning, or at least it was when it first started out. By current standards, Vindictus is sort of medium quality, but that is irrelevant. The point is you are able to customize the look of your character(s). There are various costumes to try out as you level up. You can pay real-life money to combined the stats of one item to the look of another.
You can also customize the colors of these costumes. One way to do that is to use the in-game random auto-dye booth with in-game-currency. For most the default auto-dye colors aren’t usually desired. You then have the optional to use real life money to purchase an item where you can gamble on an assortment of colors and hope the color you specifically seek is chosen.
I can site further uses of gambling real money in Vindictus, and I can tell you that I used them all. I don’t know how much money I’ve spent on the game in total, but over 3 years, it was in the hundreds.
The final straw that lead me to leave the game is when I lost my main weapon in an attempt to enhance. That weapon had at least $70 dollars invested into it. Once I lost that sword, my power, my speed, was immediately impaired, and I lost the ability to properly contribute in effectively damaging bosses. As a result I would be immediately cast out of parties based solely on my visible statistics, even tho I am a more than capable player skill-wise.
Add that to the fact that I make barely enough money to survive from my current job- I just no longer have nay desire to continue seriously in Vindictus, Free-to-play or otherwise. It is just not worth it anymore. There are also other interesting MMOs to look into now.
I don’t really like myself, nor the situation I am in. I often question myself as to whether it’s worth going on living or not. These events, these activities …these hobbies have at the very least distracted me from ending it all.
So what do I do now that I no longer have enough money or time to pursue these old interests?
Thankfully, reading is generally cheap. Thankfully, I spent enough money to procure the name for this blog, and I’m able to use it to vent my frustrations, to chronicle events, and explore myself. Thankfully, my aquarium and fish keeping isn’t overly expensive and time consuming. Thankfully, my continuing choice of Earl Grey tea is cheap and refillable at Starbucks, and that they have free net.
Thankfully, I have the few friends and relatives that I can continually confide in.