A blog by Kiraeyl
What happens when life throws you a big change, a life-altering event shall we say, and you find yourself distanced from the game you enjoy playing? This happens to a lot of us at some point in our lives. I’ve known people to become absent from a community game for many life-altering reasons; having a baby, military leave, death and funerals, weddings and honeymoons, and more. The list could go on and on with reasons why we find ourselves away from keyboard. What happens when you come back from being afk and things have changed and nothing is the same as it was?
I found myself in this situation many times. Each time I set aside the game and concentrated on things that mattered the most to me at that moment in time. In my case, it was birth, death, and birth again. I am actually watching my newborn son suck on his pacifier as I write this.
I’ll admit, I absolutely love playing League of Legends. In Season II, I wanted to become a better player. I watched all the pro’s streams, I practiced all the champs I wanted to play and I would spar with anyone who would spar with me. I got involved in many League of Legends related things; I started to stream, I played a lot more with my friends, I chatted with my clan about strategies that were viable in the game, and I read multiple guides on the champions I loved to play the most. I even tried to play ranked, which terrified the heck out of me. I wanted to become a really good player. I lived, breathed, and dreamed of League of Legends. And then my life-altering event happened and I had to put it aside.
When I came back, the game had been re-vamped. There were so many new items, new champions, new builds. I became greatly confused and tried to look back on all the patch notes to see what I had missed but it was too much. It was overwhelming. I chatted with my friends and I was lucky if I got in some games with them. Heck, even some friends ditched me after they found out I had a baby. I used to get invited multiple times to play normal games and suddenly there was nothing. I had left the game to attend to real life matters and so most of my online friends had left me. (And it begs the question were they ever really friends? No, just online acquaintances.) And that is when I started to realize that leaving the game you love kind of sucks.
To get over the feelings of loneliness, I turned to my clan-mates. They were supportive and would chat with me about how everything was and if I had wanted to play. I was rusty at the game I had loved to play 24/7. Well, let’s face it, I was pretty bad. I wasn’t sure if I was building my champions properly anymore (bilgewater is good on some adc’s now? What the heck did it build into? Oh… new item), and it seemed like my right mouse button wouldn’t click properly. Neither did my Q W E R keys. Flash? I swear that never went off anymore when I wanted it to. I was dead weight to my team. But they didn’t care. They were my clan-mates and they had a good time with me. I slowly am getting better and I am at “just ok” status.
If you find yourself stuck in the same situation of leaving a game that you love, I suggest trying a few ideas to get you back into the swing of things. Reunite with friends who truly were your friends when you played. I can honestly say that I am friends with each of the people in Clan Rangers. Each of them understand my situation and they were able to work with me to make sure I still got some kind of enjoyment out of playing. Another suggestion is to realize that it’s okay not to play all the time. Take time to pay attention to what matters in life before playing your game. If it is spending time with family after a death, or taking care of your infant after birth, that is more important to do so you should do it. Then you can concentrate during the little time you have on your game. Last suggestion is to take it slow. You won’t get back to how you were within a few games of returning. It takes time and patience and understanding that the game you are playing is a game. If it frustrates you to the point of giving unneeded stress and causing emotional outbursts, it’s time to quit and focus on something else.
After following these suggestions (as well as I could), I feel comfortable with how I am progressing. The game is no longer one of my major focuses in life. I watch pro streams or the competitions that are aired online while feeding my son. I will hop on for an ARAM or two if that is all the time I have. If I get invited to play a normal, I’ll play but win or lose I am just happy I was invited. My clan-mates understand if I need to afk for a second to comfort a suddenly crying awake baby back to sleep. I had wanted to be one of those good players you see on streams, playing and winning and rising in the ladders, but in the end I am fine with where I am at. There’s nothing wrong with being “just okay”.