Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Depth charging the mental reef.

So I've had a mega hiatus so far and it's for a number of reasons. The first big one was new job! Yay! And the crazy amount of training involved. The second is well, life. Family, trying to get things done, etc. The last one is the topic of this blog: BURN OUT PREVENTION.

Burn Out is all to common among gamers. You add the pressures of life, family, and obsessive hobbying and eventually you'll just get sick of the gaming lifestyle. This is a natural cycle of being a hobbiest. Don't think there is something wrong with you if you get tired of gaming. The key here is to do things in moderation. There has to be more to your life than just gaming, if not I'd look into why there isn't anything else going on and that might take professional help. (But I digress.)

Burnout tends to go though stages.

The first is frustration. Nothing you are doing seems to capture the essence of what you think you should be doing. No system, variation of a story, or your players seem to gel. Eventually you look at the prospect of new or ongoing games with disdain and/or worry. Is my game falling apart? Are my players bored? Is my GM in a rut? Etc.

After frustration comes melancholy. You just stop caring. Sure, you go through the motions of going to games, or meeting with friends (It's you excuse to go.), and so on. But you tend to leave games early, or show up late, or just sit on your phone or tablet through the whole process. You are there in body only. When asked about your games you tend to play them down and focus on other things.

Finally there is avoidance. You come up with excuses not to go. New activities, TV shows, online games, etc. This is the make it or break it point between total and normal burnout. Total burn out is if you progress to the final stage and just quit gaming or take a much needed break.

A few things: There is nothing wrong with taking a break. At all! It's great to refresh you batteries and it helps with dealing with life issues so when you do return to gaming you can focus and enjoy yourself more.

So how do I prevent Burnout? Let's talk about what I'm currently doing:

1. Catch up on my favorite TV shows. I have a backlog of Flash, Arrow, Agents of Shield shows to watch. These are great and easy relaxing things that tickle my inner geek.

2. Catch up on my novel reading. I had a VERY good Christmas in gift cards for Google and Amazon. I kinda went nuts picking up book series I've been meaning to read. I've got a lot of books to read, re-read, and enjoy. I'm also on Goodreads now! Posting reviews, generally being a goof.


3. Try not to fixate on gaming. I'm casually watching the Exalted 3 news. If/when the book exits layout and heads towards the pdf drop I'm going to shift gears and prep for a few things I'll talk about at the end of this blog.

4. Get my house in order. I needed time to put my daughter into daycare, clean up the house, and try to keep my family happy. It's been exhausting but rewarding.

5. Goof around online. I'm surprised but I'm not focusing on video gaming this downtime. I'm mostly just chatting and being social with some friends. Trying to hang out in the semi-official Exalted IRC channel more. Btw, if you want me to talk about IRC/Skype games I will soon.

So there you go. Normal geeky things to take my mind of gaming. Now once Exalted drops this blog is going into review mode. I'll break the book down in a couple of ways:

1. Overall Review (post reading)
2. Combat Testing (yay. I'm going to build Bob Mortal and Bob Exalted and showcase how combat works. I'm going to take my hand at Exalted Combat 301 advice and make it a series in this blog!)
3. Talk about how to zero in on the new Creation as a ST.
4. Fun breaking the system! Showing examples of me breaking a system for fun and profit!
5. A look forward.

Until then I'm going to casually post thoughts on other games like Star Wars, Supers, etc.

And a mild rant, sad beef I have with FATE and other 'light' games. But that is later when I can formulate my thoughts on the subject well enough.