New Game Diaries: Heroes of the Storm

IV- Finding Miyagi

Every time I decide to learn something new, I usually start with an approach driven by simple curiosity. During this empirical process, blind experimentation reigns and I make a lot of mistakes without trying to understand in depth what it´s happening. This start could be described as 100% fun times, the enjoyment is more important than the knowledge. When I talk about my learning process, I like to compare it to a drinking night. This stage in the process works like the first part of the night. Everything is fun, some drinks taste good, others taste like dog piss. Not that I’ve ever tasted dog piss, but the point stands. At this stage, there’s a lot of expectations and dumb ideas whirling through our mind.

The next step during my learning process is usually characterized by more detailed research. Suddenly, whatever I´m learning is no longer just a random exercise. The details and minutiae become the point of interest. However, during this stage the empirical intention is maintained basing the new knowledge on personal analysis without any ¨professional¨ support. Going back to our drinking night analogy, this moment would be the point where everything tastes delicious. Our idiotic ideas start to become hypothesis, philosophical assumptions without any real support. No one really knows what they are talking about and they probably ignore what is being said, but they all are totally convinced that something very interesting is being talked about.

Finally, the last stage I try to focus on is measuring my knowledge and trying to gauge how much of this new activity, or game in this scenario, I actually understand. This is when two things generally happen; On the one hand, I read and explore the details within the manuals that I had originally ignored. On the other hand, I start looking for a guide. Someone experienced, or at least someone who knows much more about the subject than I do. Someone that can support me and teach me, giving me little golden nuggets of advice to conquer this new experience and understand all its intricacies. Basically I start looking for a Mr. Miyagi.

The drinking night comparison becomes a little more complex here since in reality no one looks for a Mr. Miyagi, unless they’re heartbroken drunkards looking for relationship advice…but generally, this is the stage of the night where everyone assumes that they are the wisest person at the table and will shower you with nonsensical advice.

And you will think it’s the greatest advice ever because, like them, your brain cells are letting you down majorly due to your unadulterated alcohol consumption. But anyway! Back to games and stuff…

During this recent week of HOTS, I explored Youtube, hoping to find some guidance. Someone that knows his stuff and is able to share his knowledge through his content, and who isn’t a loudmouth. It wasn´t a simple task, especially the loudmouth part. This IS Youtube, after all … screaming and yelling has become a complex virus that floods YouTube (but that’s another topic). In addition to this, I joined a small group of players, and the group´s most advanced player is actually the same friend who initially introduced me to HOTS in the first place. These sources of information have been extremely valuable to me, they helped me understanding the not-so-obvious details of the game. Watching the online experts is like a master class in which I listen, process quickly what they do and get excited about what I just learned. The gaming group becomes kind of a workshop where I can apply the new knowledge under the observation and direction of much more advanced players.

Now, this all sounds very nice and it seems like this week was a great success, but …. reality is never that beautiful. Now, this doesn’t mean I had any traumatic experiences during our play time, or anything of the sort. However, it aroused certain negative feelings that I had not yet felt during this new experience. I´m talking about frustration and anxiety. This is linked to the experts I watch on Youtube, not so much to the gaming group. I think it is normal to see people who stand out with great skills in any activity and feel inspired or attracted to that activity. This happens constantly, for example Messi inspires millions of young footballers, John Williams does the same for composers and even Kim Kardashian for the many who wish for an adult life without having to work or do anything productive. The problem here is that this inspiring figure is a double-edged sword. Having that ambitious end goal to reach is a very good thing, but during the process, you must learn to deal with several failures that strongly emphasize the enormous distance between you and the target.

Anyway, even with these negative feelings in mind, I managed to achieve this week´s goal: my Tyrande reached level 10! (An actually ridiculous and insignificant thing when you compare it to experts …). There´s a small detail that I should add regarding my play session with my fellow Miyagis. I realized that there is nothing more fun than seeing the random, seemingly nonsensical actions that they do occasionally, even though they are advanced players. Also, I have had a lot of fun with some friendly trolling between the group. I´m not yet a trolling victim though (the advantages of my Noob status). We´ll see how long that lasts though …

I feel like this week was very productive. A few negative things came up, and thanks to the increase in my number of victories when playing with the group, I was able to buy a couple of new characters. I am very intrigued by a certain Specialist (I´m finally understanding what they should do in the game). Next week I will focus this new chubby, ugly and sensual guy: Azmodan.


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