I don’t smoke, I rarely drink, but I do have some…impulse control issues in other areas. It’s what makes me play Mass Effect 3 for 30 hours in three days after release until its finished. It’s how I watched six seasons of the Sopranos in under a month. Once I get a hold of a piece of media I like, it’s hard to tear myself away from it.
But what if that media has no end? That’s where I run into trouble. My last bout with Diablo II was…troubling. There was always better equipment to get, a higher level to reach. When I awoke from my coma, I’d wasted about three months of my life. I understand how World of Warcraft fiends can waste years, and as such, I’ve never tried the game.
That was a long time ago of course, and though I’ve grown up since then, I’ve realized I’m probably going to have to set some boundaries for myself to ensure such a thing does not happen again. Here are ten rules I’ve come up with to help keep myself in check .
1.Have a Clock Nearby
Time flies when you’re doing Baal runs, and too often I could play the game for what seemed like forty five minutes, but was really five hours. I need to really be aware of the time, and having an actual clock nearby is a necessity.
2. No Playing Before Work is Done
I have the luxury of making my own schedule for work, as most of what I write can be written whenever I like and published later. That said,it requires a lot of discipline to get it all done every day, and if I’m not careful, I could fall behind. I can’t take breaks in the middle of my workday just to play a few minutes of Diablo, which will surely turn into an hour or two. No play until work is done, even if there’s no one looking over my shoulder.
3. Don’t be Enslaved to Builds
I became obsessed with “maximizing” my characters in the last Diablo, and that meant being very, very unsatisfied 99% of the time until I was finally able to acquire the item I sought. I need to stay away from guides and perfect builds and just play the damn game for fun.
4. Don’t Fall for Trading Scams
I finally ragequit Diablo II because I spent about a month trading up until I finally got a Zod rune. Then when I went back to my inventory, poof! It was gone. I don’t know if dupes will exist in D3, but I’m sure as hell going to be more careful this time.
5. No Skipping Social Obligations to Play
If you’re shirking real life events to play Diablo, or any game really, that’s not OK. Too often I missed out on things that I shouldn’t have because I was stuck indoors trying to hunt down Immortal King armor. Not so this time. I also now have a fiancee that will likely not let this happen.
6. Try to Play Something Other than the Barbarian
This isn’t so much an addiction issue, but I really should probably get away from the Barbarian, who was always my main character in the last games. Try something new damnit! But I bet this is the first rule I break.
7. No Powerleveling Way Ahead of My Friends
I have more free time than many of my friends who will play the game, but it’s not going to be very fun if I’m a million levels ahead of them and we can’t really play together. Or is there some sort of catchup or nerfing factor that does allow this? I should look into that.
8. If You’ve Reached Max Level, You’ve Gone Too Far
No, the high levels of Diablo 3 are not like those of 2 where going from level 98 to 99 takes as long as going from 1 to 98, but chances are if I’ve actually maxed out a character, I’ve been playing way, way too much.
9. Set an End Date
As I mentioned at the beginning,my problem is games without an end. As Diablo really has none,since you can keep leveling and finding items indefinitely, I’ll probably need to set a hard end date so I don’t end up as one of those people with 4,000 hour in WoW. Or I might have just gotten older and will get bored with it eventually like a normal person.
10. Exit Gracefully
My ragequit in D2 was not pretty. I stripped off all my gear that took me months to find and threw it on the ground in a public game as people swarmed for it. I lamented how the game was a huge waste of time and a creation of the devil and how no one should play it as it would devour your soul. Not in a religious sense, but a time sense. Let’s not have another incident like that again, shall we?