I few weeks back I noticed something when I was doing some low level dungeons. I was playing this mid 20s level hunter that a friend created to break up the monotony of the level 85s. I did several dungeons with all different class make-ups. I was consistently topping the damage meters but didn’t think much of it because people are different levels and things aren’t terribly balanced at low levels.
But I think we were in Blackfathom Depths when I noticed something different. I don’t remember the classes of the others in there, but I remember there was another hunter. I didn’t check what spec he was, but I quickly turned on the damage meters and watched as we played. I soon found myself paying pretty close attention to the damage meters, which I have sworn to hate so many times before, to make sure that I was doing more damage than the other hunter. I was, by a lot. But on every fight, trash or not, I wanted to make sure that, if I beat no one else, I beat that hunter.
I didn’t have this sense of competition with other DPS, just other hunters. There was something inside me that wanted to prove my value. So I tried harder when there were other hunters around. After thinking about it for a bit, I recalled feeling the same for healing. When I would heal more raids (back in BC, sometimes LK) I would push myself to do more effective healing than the other healers. This validated me and my ability to heal. The challenge was against me…can I push myself further for the group and for me? I remember being told I couldn’t tank heal because I wasn’t good enough geared for Mag’s Lair. I was determined to prove them wrong!! I popped potions, watched 5 second rule, I played my little heart out and healed like there was no tomorrow. In the end, the tank healer went down and I stepped up and outlasted other priests better geared than me who had since started tanking the floor. That was a great moment for me because even without bragging about it to the raid, I knew that it was my playing that helped us succeed, the raid leads probably didn’t notice, but I knew I had made a significant difference and probably because I was out to prove them wrong.
I think a lot of this happens subconsciously. There will be some sort of challenge and my natural competitiveness takes over without even thinking about it. And I try harder than ever. I wonder if others feel this way?
Coming soon: Exploring the idea of in-game goals and motivations!