I mean that what it had been for so long really. A routine challenge, a routine set-up, a routine style, a routine behavior. It's honestly been that way for several years now, and I think it's driving me crazy. I know it's driving my GGW family crazy.
Here's the issue...
I've been playing Call of Duty since Modern Warfare 2, when a long-time GGW-brother dragged me kicking and screaming from Halo 3 over there. It sucked. I hated getting shot in the foot and dying. I had been trained over the years in Halo to aim for the head and torso, and win the one on ones. But COD was faster, and there were no shields. Ok, I was accustomed to no-shield Halo in our Geezer Perfect War variants, but COD was Perfect War all of the time, and done much faster, with someone hiding in a bush across the map...all of time. Regardless, I went. Bitching the whole time.
I rallied. I learned. I found new challenges. Over the years, I had grown accustomed and was driven by the challenge of Prestiging, and then the eventual challenge of Fresh Start after maxing out, and doing it again. I began to be driven by fully maxing out weapons, despite hating them. Nobody cared, and few understood why I would submit to this torture.
"Just play with what you like!" They say. My reply has always been a casual, "I will...when I'm done." But, I was never done. There was always another challenge, another way to spend tortuous hours. IT never made me better, but I did learn to experience the game in broader ways.
The drawback, is the frustration. I'm not a shotgun player. I'm not traditionally a close-range player. I mid to long range, and rely on accuracy over twitch for success. SO when I've been forced to play a different way, it takes me a long time to adapt. I'm not real good anyway, but I'm not completely terrible. So when I trade out a 20-25 kill per game average or so (forget the 30 death per game part), for a 5-10 kill per game, I not only feel like I let my team down, but I question whether I'm having fun.
So roll into the current...Black Ops 3. I began my challenges with moving systematically through the Specialists and completing their challenges while simultaneously moving through the weapon classes and maxing out each weapon (3 times through, two weapon prestiges each). So here I am the other night into the second of the shotguns, and on a map known for long-range encounters. I'm hurting my team by running around with a shotgun, and I comment that I'm fairly useless. A GGW-brother (Ukla the Mok) nonchalantly asks me why I would bring a shotgun to the long range map. I offer my casual reply. I'm getting through my challenge.
Earlier today, as I anticipated gearing up with my GGW clannies and Geezer friends for another round in the evening, I almost dreaded running around with shotguns...again. Then Ukla's question flew back in. Why would I "bring a shotgun to a long range map?"
"Screw you Ukla , quit asking me."
"Seriously," Ukla's phantom voice started saying, "think about it."
So I did. You see, I had limited myself to one gun. Loaded up that gun with every available slot for attachments, and left no room for anything else in a class. I have done this for YEARS. But Phantom Ukla wasn't just questioning me about my incessant and idiotic use of a shotgun. He was questioning why I would limit myself. That I'm not optimizing my opportunities to be both short AND long range. To double up my abilities to work on two weapon styles. I just had to change my thinking a bit. I had to tinker with my tried and true class builds. I had to...adapt.
The next thing you know, I got excited. I thought up some changes to try. I hadn't done this since I started. I was seeing new challenge opportunities. I painfully sacrificed much loved weapon slot spaces, to hold two primary weapons. I changed my perks to take advantage of two weapons. I had to work on snipers too, so I built a sniper/shotgun class. What did I find? How did it go?
Who cares? The point was that I got excited again. Suddenly, I wasn't just chasing challenges, but I was working on them in a new way. I felt empowered, and I know it sounds silly. Truth be told...I was completely mediocre, averaging about 13 kills a game across 5 games and mostly sniping. But it was fun, as I had a added dimension of a short attack to run on if needed. Actually for some of the most average games I've played...I laughed, and loved every minute of it, and can't wait to keep pestering people from afar, and yet still fighting around corners tomorrow night.
So really what's all this about? Well...maybe it's a stream of consciousness. But maybe it's also the story of Joe Gamer, who is feeling a bit lackluster in his game. Instead of finding a new challenge in a new game, it's about reshaping the challenges, and seeing them differently. Maybe it's about not expecting the game to bring fun to you, but you finding the fun in your game. Maybe it's about the games challenges, but first overcoming your own challenges along the way. Maybe it's about talking to Phantom Ukla about life, and seeing if the real Ukla the Mok responds the same way later. Maybe it's about all of that, or even none of that.
Maybe...it's because it's not a routine.
FireMedic41 (real XBL GT) has been involved in GeezerGamers since the first article on Bungie.Net back in the day, and was part of the Great Influx on GeezerGamers.Com in 200(too long ago). He counts some of Geezerdom as truly some of his greatest friends and has traveled many states to drink, laugh, debauch, and avoid getting tossed in jail to hang with them. He's an avid FPS player, and can usually be found bitching about something, somewhere. Although he likes to walk in unannounced from time to time still on the current Community Cast, he's a former podcast host for both the GG Community Cast and Bovine and FireMedic41's Retro Arcade, as well as now being a mostly retired Forum Ninja on GeezerGamers.Com. He likes to opine occasionally on things that don't matter to anyone.