My current addiction is Dominations — A strategy based video game developed by Nexon & Big Huge Games. It is so addictive that I ended up spending $5,400 USD in one single day, just for upgrades.
But let me surprise you with a confession here.
The $5,400 USD that I spent on the game stemmed out of frustration, anger, obsession & rage.
And how did this happen?
Well, I was part of a multiplayer group — Instant Karma — where everyone in the group was higher than me in rankings, had a stronger team of virtual players and were better players than me. While me, Loy Machedo — I was the new kid on the block who was right at the bottom of the ladder.
Now, the purpose of the multiplayer group was to enable all of us to compete with other groups of players around the world and win points/rewards and boost our rankings. And the goal of each player was to earn a 5-star for the war they individually participated in.
Given the experience & knowledge of the group members, at every war all the members in the group earned a 4-star or 5-star. While me, Loy Machedo earned one result consistently. And that was a Zero Star.
The fact was I sucked at the game.
So I asked my group for advice, guidance and help.
But no matter whom I asked for advice or how many times I asked guidance -no one seemed in giving me anything concrete.
And even if the advice did come in — it came through very generic statements like “Oh just upgrade your base” or “Use tanks and then the other troops”.
That was it.
I even tried searching online for tips, tricks, techniques & strategies but all I got was a mish-mash of information.
I sincerely loved the game, I genuinely wanted to contribute and I truly wanted to be the best — but somehow, either the group members were busy or non-responsive or they simply didn’t bother. The only way I could contribute was if I was many levels higher with more experience, more upgrades & more troops. And there were only two ways I could grow — Either I would have to wait for 6 months of slowly upgrading myself. Or I could spend money and buy my way to the top (that is how FREE games work online and that is their exact agenda).
So one fine day, getting absolutely pissed, angry, frustrated and really enraged, with the mistaken assumption that if I was many level higher, I would be much better player, I logged into my game and with a vengeance kept swiping $100 upgrades non-stop for one hour…..until I was exhausted. And I am not exaggerating — I was literally exhausted.
I guess, it was the drop in sugar levels that caused me to have a cold sweat, but I was shaking and sweating. But a false sense of achievement flooded my veins as I was now at par with the rest of the senior members! I was now like the big dogs…. or was I?
With all my new upgrades — I proudly and boldly informed my team members — I was ready for war.
There was silence.
Some of them checked my base.
One of them in the group asked me — Did you spend money to upgrade yourself?
I said yes.
Then no one said a word.
Then came the time for WAR!!!
As it was customary — each one of us was allocated an enemy.
I was looking forward to being allocated the same old enemy levels. However, this time when I got allocated an enemy — the enemy was even more bigger, stronger, tougher than what I had ever seen before.
Confused why I was allocated an enemy base at such a high level, I asked them, “Don’t you think this is a very tough base for me to win a 5-star?” to which the group leaders replied, “Given that you have upgraded yourself, we are pretty sure you can take on this base. Don’t worry. Go ahead. You will do just fine.”
I said okay but I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to destroy this base. However, my ego, my pride and my new $5,400 USD investment made me absolutely sure I was going to earn the bragging rights in the group as the ‘Rookie-Of-The-Year’
And so I said, “YES! Let’s do it!”
The war began.
30 seconds later my war was over.
I sat there in my room…
And in a state of shock.
What just happened?
Before spending $5,400 USD — I was earning Zero Stars.
After having spent $5,400 USD, now I was earning…Zero Stars.
Seriously, what the fuck!?!
I was confused, puzzled, and very upset.
I saw the results of the other teams members….
All of them had once again achieved 5-Stars that too without spending any money. But Loy Machedo….. 0-Stars.
Even after spending all the money, I had still accomplished…..Nothing.
I was seriously upset.
I wanted to shut the game.
I angrily wanted to delete my account.
I visualized smashing my iPad and never playing this game all together.
In those few seconds, hundreds of thoughts flashed across my mind.
But the most painful thought was the feeling that the entire group of players — those people I had trusted as my mates, were secretly laughing at me and my stupidity.
I felt like none of them respected me and I would never be able to earn their respect — simply because they were all seasoned players, they knew more than me and they were all better than me. I may be had the money to blow and upgrade myself, but I didn’t know anything about the game.
I was very upset.
Very very very upset.
And before I knew it, one of the senior members of the group — Ben suggested, “Why don’t you join another group called Reapers Academy instead of this group?”
I kind of got the message.
I wasn’t required.
I wasn’t useful to the group.
I was a good-for-nothing.
Its strange when I think about this now but at that moment the childhood feelings of failure, rejection and feeling unwanted all creeped into my mind & heart. It was a familiar feeling but one I hadn’t experienced in a long long time. And frankly in this situation, there was nothing I could do.
I thought I could earn the respect of my gaming peers, I assumed I could add value to the group, I believed I could that if I put in money and upgraded myself and I would be among the best.
But I was wrong.
So taking the instructions from Ben, I decided to leave the current group and join the other group called ‘Reapers Academy”
And I left the group feeling miserable.
Feeling like a failure.
So with a feeling of dejection, depression and despair, I joined Reapers Academy.
In the group chat, it was then Ben who introduced me to the group and to a guy name Taj. His name sounded Indian (He is Srilankan) and I was told he was among the senior most and also among the best in the group.
I just took a sigh….unimpressed.
After all, wasn’t I part of another group where the members were ‘senior most’ and ‘among the best’?
I introduced myself to him and the group and then admitted before hand that I was a totally lousy player — really lousy and that like a fool, I had spent $5,400 USD in it with zero results.
By this time, I no longer wanted to play the game.
I had lost all interest and I just wanted to quit.
But I didn’t tell them this.
I knew if I would give them the truth that I was a lousy player — they would surely kick me out. After all, the purpose of creating such groups was to win with strong players and not lose while harboring losers or amateurs like me.
Upon giving my crappy introduction — I immediately I received a private message from Taj.
I knew what he would say.
Something in the lines of ‘Maybe its best you join another group…’ or some polite & apologetic blah blah just to get rid of me.
And exactly as I anticipated, he first expressed shock that I spent so much money on the game just ‘buying’ myself into the higher levels. And then as I rightfully expected, he send me the chat message, “Its better you leave this group Reapers Academy’…..
Well…..I had enough.
So immediately, as soon as I read that sentence, even without thinking I typed “Thanks Bye”
No sooner I had done that, I was about to remove myself from the gaming group when he typed the next sentence which was…..
“I think a dedicated player like you should join our Main Group. You have the fire, the passion, the dedication and the commitment to be the best. We need members like you who want to be the best.”
I was like HUH?
Was he talking to me or someone else?
I looked at it again, this time reading it carefully….He was talking to me alright….And as I stood staring at the chat, in came the next sentence….
“And yeah, if you want, I am ready to mentor you to be the best’
No sooner he said that, I was stunned…..
Did he actually say MENTOR???
To be sure, I asked him again….
“So you want to teach me the game and everything else about the game”
He responded, “Yes of course buddy. I want you to be the best of what you can be. Because only if you are the best, our team will be the best. After all, aren’t we a team?”
I still wasn’t convinced, so then I asked him, “And why would you want to help me? I mean, I am of no benefit to you. You don’t know me. And maybe I can even leave the group after I learn. After all, why would you want to share your trade-secrets with anyone?”
To which Taj responded by saying, “LOL…. Even if you do leave buddy, its no problem. Its a free world. But the reason I want to teach you and new comers like you is because I was once like you. I too used to go around asking people for guidance and help, but no one wanted to help me. Even I got depressed and upset so much so I decided to quit this game forever. But by luck, I accidentally found a mentor. And through that mentor, I found some videos of this game online by other players. And then I took many months to listen to listen to my mentor, to study the game and understand how the game is played. And after many months of constant practice, I finally was able to reach the level where I am today.”
And then he added
“When you introduced yourself as a lousy player who invested so much money in the game, I saw myself in you. I saw the fire, the passion and the desire to want to be the best. And that is why I want to help you.”
I was seriously surprised.
I couldn’t believe my luck.
But for the first time, I was smiling.
Before I knew it, for the next one full hour he shared with me all the tricks, tips, strategies, links, videos and game play — stuff that I should have known but didn’t.
In fact, he didn’t stop there. For the next many days, Taj took every single opportunity to share whatever he knew with me. From giving me one-liners sharing the invaluable trade secrets of….
- What players to focus on
- What powers to upgrade
- How to raid
- How to attack
- What upgrades to focus on
- What player combinations to make
- What tactics to use
- How to overcome powerful enemies
After just one week of his training I achieved my first 5-Star Victory — not once but twice in a war! And I owe this achievement to Taj & Ben.
You see, the reason I shared this experience with you is not to brag about how incredibly persistent I am. Neither did I share this story to inform you of my outstanding achievements in this online game. The truth of the matter is I am still a baby who is learning how to play the game. And frankly speaking, where my achievements in this game are concerned:
No one cares.
No one remembers.
And no one is bothered.
Rather the purpose of sharing this article with you is to tell you explicitly how insecure, unhelpful and cold people are even where something as stupid and silly as a game is concerned. And mind you we are talking about adult behavior where child-like games are concerned. And if this is the state-of-affairs where adults versus child-like games are concerned — what do you think should be the state-of-affairs where more serious & life changing tasks are concerned?
Think for a minute — in this incident, you have grown ass adults who do not wish to part with their ‘precious-little-gaming’ strategies because they do not want someone else to be better than them. So then the bigger question is how would these same adults behave where bigger, more important and more precious matters are concerned?
I believe we live in a world where if you are normal, average, simple and a regular guy — you have nothing to worry about. Everyone loves you, you love everyone and the world is a perfect place.
However, the minute you become a competitor, the minute you start striving and aiming for bigger things than the rest and the moment you announce to the world a bold initiative that is where egos, insecurities, jealousy, envy & negativity come into play — all of a sudden you will see people flip the switch. So much so that many people will derive greater pleasure at someone’s failure than at their own success — even if it has nothing to do with them.
And if you want evidence of this, look no further than your office colleagues, your friends circle and your relatives.
Do you seriously think anyone would be excited and happy to know you are doing 100 times better than them? you are more successful than they are? And that you are happier than they are?
We live in a world that is focused on me, my and I.
More like the survival of the fittest.
And that is where the saying ‘Dog-Eat-Dog’ comes into play.
Now, I am not going to portray and position myself as a Saint and market myself as someone who is ready to help anyone and everyone on this planet for free. If I start doing that more than what I am doing now, I might as well declare bankruptcy. My bread and butter comes when people pay me for my services and my expertise. However, for the times I have done anything for free, just like Ben & Taj, I have done so without expecting anything in return.
Because that is how giving should be.
Now, I am very competitive and I am very obsessed about winning. I’m pretty sure even Taj & Ben are. But what made them stand out was the fact that they were ready to help me even without expecting anything in return. And for that aspect, I was grateful.
Thanks to Ben, I was introduced to a new group and introduced to Taj. And thanks to Taj, I was able to up my game.
Today, Taj, Ben and me are really good friends — even though we are just virtually connected thanks to a game. But this game revealed to me once again, the purpose and the power of Mentoring. Seriously speaking, had I met Taj & Ben before, I may have saved my money and this mistake that I made out of impulse and frustration. But like they say — better late than never.
I am lucky that I met Ben.
I even more lucky to have met Taj.
These are the diamonds we discover when we dig deeper into the rocks of life. And to my surprise, I found them in the most unlikely places — A online strategy game where the purpose was to kill and be killed.
PS: Few days ago, Taj was undergoing a corporate change in his career. And he was confused what to do where his Resume, Interview skills & Personal Brand was concerned.
Guess who came to his aid?