Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Good Vibrations

This is a little different from our normal fare, but i see things on twitter, or in facebook groups that look like “OMG, i suck at this, why did i ever think i could do this, wtf is wrong with me?” and it cuts through our (the gaming community) population with a regularity that i find concerning. So, here are two truths that i think will help us all out.

Truth #1: We were all bad at this when we started

RPGs are a combination of a bunch of different skills, and like any skill, they have a learning curve and require practice to get better at. None of us step into the hobby with a complete mastery of all of those skills. It takes time and practice to get better at those things. That’s entirely okay, and we all were a new gamer at one point, and most of us still remember the crushing despair of not knowing if we’re doing something wrong and the rest of the table hating us for screwing up their game.

Getting better at RPGs requires you to determine what you want out of the experience and then building those skills up. It’s a process that you aren’t going to go through alone, and the Internet age RPG community is full of super chill, super relaxed people who can help you with the terms and the jargon (we love our funnily specific words that don’t mean that thing to other people) that litter our hobby.

Truth #2 We all have doubts

Oh, this one’s more for the creators, but doubt hits our community like a plague. Doubts range from “Is this the right color for that?” to “OMG I should abandon this completely and become a wandering hermit righting wrongs and fighting injustice.” We all have them, and that’s perfectly okay. Humans are social critters and we rely on each for external validation and that’s a soul crushing thing.

Again, this is a situation that can be managed by the RPG community. There are tons of creators and gamers out there that struggle with the exact same doubts that you might be having. My professional training suggests the following idea.

Doubts are a part of the way our brain processes changes in our environments, especially the ones that we initiate. Familiarity, and gaining practice with those changes ease doubts until they finally disappear. So, doubts require practice (and feedback) to be banished. Fortunately, we live in an age where feedback is easy to find and there are tons of options to practice.

What does it all mean?

Well, practice and familiarity improve self confidence and that helps us want to try to play more and this cycles into a positive spiral of growth and mastery.  Play more games, be okay with not being the best.  You aren't comparing yourself to anyone else.  You should be tracking your growth as a gamer and seeing how you progress compared to the gamer you were last night, or last week, or last month. 


No one is born with the fully articulated skills to be a gamer at their highest level and that’s okay. Doubts suck, but they can be defeated with practice and feedback, and if you have a question, feel free to ask.

Game on, Game Fans.

No comments:

Post a Comment