Friday, March 30, 2012

The Noob Mentality

I play video games. Not excessively, of course, but it is a part of my life as much as other people have their TV shows or movies. It is only to be expected of a nerd, I suppose. But I do not believe it is always a waste of time, or simply an escape from real life, as so many see it. Through video games and the incredibly loving world of online gaming, I have been gently introduced to many poignant life lessons.

The most significant one I will share with you now.

In gaming (more specifically in online gaming), there are two distinct groups of gamers. In the first group, we have the pros, who are professionals of their craft. These are the guys who research their stuff on the Internet. They use the forums. They read (and write) the FAQs, walthroughs, and guides for the games they play. They calculate stats and time in-game actions. They "grind" for experience points. They "farm" materials and weapons. They join clans and guilds. They use weapons and strategies they don't like because they are more effective. They try to get 100% of the trophies, even if it has no in-game benefit.

Then there are the noobs--also known as n00bs and NUBs (Non-Useful Bodies).

Noobs (the idiots they are) play for "fun"--as though video games were ever about fun. They hop from popular game to popular game, only delving into the waters of each long enough to get the bits of poo floating on the surface, and never delving into the delicious mire of the riverbed. If they make any attempt at strategy or cleverness, it is usually through abusing simple, universally known tactics that ruin the dynamic nature of the game. Examples of this may include camping (in shooter games), chicken-hawking (rpg's), excessive grinding (mostly universal), using exploits or glitches deliberately to gain an advantage (universal), and relying upon other characters to carry or support them without fulfilling their own part/role (rpg/universal).

Noobs have no desire to learn. They often display this through asking stupid questions they should be able to figure out themselves just through common sense, or reading the instruction manual. If one corrects a noob, the response is often outrage or defensiveness.

I should quickly note the distinction between noobs/n00bs and newbs/newbies here. Newbies are simply new or inexperienced. Everyone goes through this stage. Noobs are perpetually inexperienced. An easy way to tell the difference is to observe the willingness to learn. Noobishness is a mentality, newbieness a stage--newbs become pros with time. Noobs always need help, and fail to give help in return.

In real life, we have mercy upon those who are noobs. We have unemployment programs, charity organizations, etc. There is no such mercy in online gaming. Although many minority groups whine about the vicious verbal abuse they receive in online gaming, noobs are by far the most commonly (and deservedly) bashed of these groups.

On a side note, I think it is important that all people experience this world of casual abuse at some point in their lives, so that every fault in their souls might be brought into the open and mocked savagely.It is excellent for character building.

Far too many people have the "play for fun" mentality in real life. The consequence (the same as it is in gaming) is that they suck.

I say it is time to do away with this prevalence of noobishness in society.

If you suspect that you may be a noob, I suggest you go through the following list. If you suck in one of these areas, make yourself better.

 1. Look at your grinding. Grinding is anything dull and intensely repetitive that increases power/money/good stuff like that. Like your job. Or weight lifting. Or homework. If you are grinding excessively in one area, then you are probably a noob for taking advantage of a super-simple mechanic just to give the appearance that you are awesome. Workaholics, nobody likes you. Go away.

From the other end of things, if you are not grinding at all then you are most certainly a noob. Grinding is the fastest way to improve in an area. Although the task is not daunting in itself, the monotony and circumstance certainly are. Suck it up. Just do it.

In short, value grinding but keep it in its place if you don't want to be a noob. 

2. Look at the specific things you are doing. How have you come to where you are? How much of what you do is in imitation of others who are regarded positively by society? Are you taking the things you are learning and applying them in new ways? If not, you are being a noob.

If you ever want to become more than a noob, then you must learn. You must  be willing to learn on your own (and that means applying creative thought as well as simple research), and go through some pain in the learning process. Most importantly, your learning must make a difference--it has to change you. This process is called growth. You don't experience true growth when you only copy what everyone else is doing just because it works for them.

3.Can you resolve everyday problems independently? Do you need outside motivation or instruction to get things done? Do you demand an example before you attempt something? Do you continue to require aid to do simple things, or delegate those things to others entirely? This is noobishness, and also just plain annoying.

4. How deep do you dive in the muddy creek of life? How do you consume? All of us in western society are consumers. At least in the middle class, it is how we consume that sets us apart from our fellows. Do you think about what you wear, eat, and use? Are you analyzing the things that occur everyday and responding  to them properly?

Do you look beyond what is immediately available/visible to everyone? Do you search for answers and deeper complexities behind events, products, knowledge, and life in general? Or do you trust the simple summaries and mass-produced junk that others pump out as good enough for you? You know you do, you noob.

Figure things out on your own. You weren't born with a massively complex brain just so everyone else could work out things for you.

5. How are you exerting yourself? If you pick up a hard game, do you finish it? Or do you get past the first level, quit, and go on Gamespot to write a whiny review about how unfairly difficult the game was?

A noob is defeated by any sort of unexpected difficulty. Don't be like that. Exert yourself--you will never grow if you never push your boundaries.

You must go beyond easy mode if you ever want to be a pro. Do it.

A Final Word

In my opinion, life is no more meaningful than a video game. Thus, if you truly wish, I suppose it doesn't matter if you want to be a noob. But as long as you stick around to play the game, you might as well contribute to the world rather than be just another leech.

And the first step to that is in mastering your lazy, selfish nature.

I have no doubt that if you put all of your noobish desire for immediate fun in its right place, it will bring you great pleasure down the road. There are few joys greater than fully mastering a well-made game.

But if you decide to remain a noob, that's actually alright with me. You'll be yet another headshot for my kill streak.  

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