Human beings are an interesting breed, it’s safe to say. We come in all shapes and sizes, both physically and mentally. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. Some of our attributes easily fall into both categories depending on their application. Take yours truly as an example. I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, but I’ve also never been tested. When I was growing up, ADD was mentioned sort of in whispers and usually they were the special kids and were on some kind of medication. The 80’s were just all around weird, weren’t they?
These days attention disorders are much more common and acceptable. They are defined, and worked with instead of “treated.” I’m lucky, because I have a job that requires focus but not completely. It means if my mind wanders or I feel the urge to do something completely different for a few moments I can. What’s even better is having a lovely wife who supports my various interests (and fortunately enjoys WoW as much), pushes me creatively, and doesn’t question any of it unless it affects us financially (which is my department anyway, so she knows there’s rarely any concern there). So what does this have to do with WoW?
I’ve come to the conclusion it’s actually a strength and weakness to have ADHD as a player of World of Warcraft. It’s strength comes from a probability that we’re altoholics or at the very lease play a few characters. We also tend to raid one day, and then craft the next. A few hours later we’re PvPing. It means we are learning various aspects of gameplay and strategy and are thus more versatile. But at the same time, we aren’t focusing on just one area. That could be a weakness depending on how much effort we put into being effective. I like to think most areas I learn, and learn them well. But it also means I stop doing certain things for lengths at a time because I’ve found a new interest or returned to a previous one and it keeps my attention. While that’s fine for me, it has to be brutal for my friends and guildmates.
Sure, they can be understanding. But deep down, I know they must get frustrated when they want to start raiding as a guild, or running stuff together and I’m off collecting Transmog gear or on a completely different server because I’ve decided to get my Taurens a few levels rather than do Alliance stuff. I find ways to do the things I want to do without pushing hard for things I know some of them want to do, and as a Guild Leader that can be selfish. What I haven’t managed to do is find a way to balance it.
I try, but I think I’m just not capable due to the way I’m mentally “wired.” There’s always something else I want to do and a game like WoW offers endless possibilities for someone with an imagination. A prime example was earlier this week I cleaned up my characters list, deleting 4-5 toons that just will not see light of day. There were a couple more on the “cusp” of being deleted, but I have hopes for them yet. What’s worse, is that I rolled two more and have ideas for 3-4 as well. I’m even thinking of making MORE as part of an idea for the new year.
Meanwhile, I have the project I’ve spoken of that is approximately half done. I wanted to finish it this month and I know the window of opportunity is fading. I know my guildmates want to run things, even with our tough schedule. I have one in particular who’s taking his Paladin now from 80-85 so that we have a tank (despite just hitting 85 with a Warlock main) to do 5-man content. I’m sure he’d much prefer having Tumunzahar as his healer instead of some random person who isn’t as patient or possibly used to his play style…or in some ways just not as good.
As time passes, I start more and more different things in game and out. I’m notorious for not finishing them or committing to them fully. Months will go by without a toon getting a level, a dungeon, a quest, or an area of my basement remains half sorted. No matter what I tell myself or try to do to break the cycle, I can’t. Sure, in terms of Warcraft, I could just stop playing. But if I’m enjoying the game for me then that hardly seems the right answer. More and more, I don’t think there is a right answer, though. I just needed to stop and accept it for what it is. In doing so, it will be much easier to say to people “this is me” and they’ll understand and either accept it or they won’t.
I’m sure it sounds odd that even writing this was difficult, but you’d be surprised. I spend so much time in game trying to just work against it. To be able to just go “sure, let’s go” but there are so many moments where there’s something else I have much more interest/focus in doing. Things I know others don’t want to be “wasting their time” with. But I can’t ask them to understand without telling them how it is in the first place. Folks with much bigger issues than an attention disorder have been open about themselves and found it to work out fine. So time I do the same.