For some reasoning I’m feeling optimistic and upbeat today, so I wanted to talk about hype and how I think we (ok mostly I, but there’s some of you like me out there too) need to learn to embrace it.
Full stop: I’m not talking about PR hype that’s coming from some marketing department about a game that’s not even finished yet. I’m talking about hype from our friends. Seeing the people we hang out with on social media get really jazzed about something. Maybe “buzz” is a better word?
Anyway… I feel like we can react to hype 3 ways. We can embrace it, we can ignore it, or we can demean it.
I find it’s often REALLY tempting to demean it, and I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m just an asshole. But if so I’m not the only asshole around. I’m trying to be better. Like when Warlords of Draenor came out a lot of my friends were SUPER-pumped. I personally am not a fan of WoW but as far as I know I managed not to jeer about the expansion or try to demean anyone’s hype for the game.
A more passive-aggressive way of demeaning hype is with “flavor of the month” comments. Not everyone says “flavor of the month” in a derogatory way, but some do. Y’know the kind of thing: “Oh, so WoW is the FOTM now? I give it less than a month and you’ll all be playing something else.” (With the implication being this is a bad thing.) I’m really guilty of this, too. I get irrationally annoyed when a friend finds some new game and starts talking about how much fun he or she is having and that causes a bunch of other friends to try that game. I’m not sure why this bothers me…it has something to do with knowing that while these people are saying this is THE GAME TO PLAY today, I know they’ll be playing something else in a few weeks or months. But why THAT bothers me…I just can’t figure out. And if I can’t figure it out, it must not be very important and it’s just a bad habit I need to rid myself of.
I’m thinking about all this because of the Guild Wars 2 expansion announcement this morning. I don’t like Guild Wars 2…for whatever reason I just can’t get into it. But today instead of getting snarky I paddled hard to catch up and then dropped into the wave of hype and enthusiasm and rode it for all it was worth (yes apparently today is the day for surf analogies) and y’know what? It was FUN. I watched the twitch stream from the event with one eye and the buzz on Twitter with the other and it was really cool seeing all my friends so excited for this new expansion, and the next thing you know I was updating my Guild Wars 2 client.
So Guild Wars 2 is the flavor of the month, or week, or day, or year. And y’know what? That’s awesome. I’ll give it another go. Maybe it’ll stick this time, probably it won’t. But at least for the time I’m playing I can share in the discussion with my friends. And that’s a lot more fun than standing on the sidelines making snarky comments about the game.