Saturday, November 02, 2013

Where Are My Bonus Coins?

I had something happen to me this week playing online baseball that I think points to my general lack of satisfaction with my life.  It went something like this...
It was one day, thirteen hours ago.  That’s how WGT Baseball MLB counts the time.  I had just gotten home from a thirteen hour day because of month’s end.  I was tired, but I was still going to play my “Rival Game” in WGT Baseball.  I had to in order to keep pace with the other team, all of which were better to some degree than mine.  This is a product of my previous success in the game.  As your rating goes up, which is based on wins and losses, you get pooled with better teams.  
I pick a rival to play against, someone calling themselves “Michael’s Team.”  He uses the San Francisco Giants logo as his team’s symbol.  This is reason enough for me to want to beat him (I use the Los Angeles Dodgers as my symbol).  
As with most of the teams in the rival pool I’m currently in, his team hits way better than mine.  His team is also faster, too.  I do, however, have an advantage in defense over most of the other teams, especially against Michael’s Team.  My defensive rating is 23% higher than his.  And I’ve been training my pitcher to take advantage of this asset by increasing his power rating.  This should mean that even if the other team gets a hit, the ball won’t travel as far and will be playable by my superior defense.  
My prognosis: Since I’m going to control my team’s hitting during the game, and my pitching and defensive combination should stifle his hitting enough, I should be able to scratch out the runs I need while keeping his team down.  I expect a tough game, but one I should win with a score something like 5 to 3 or 6 to 4.  
At first, things go the way I expected them to.  I get a run in the first, then another in the third.  He finally scores in the fifth, but I match the run in the bottom of the inning.  He scores three in the top of the sixth, taking a one run lead, but I erase that lead and take it back with two runs in the bottom of the frame.  With three innings left, I’m leading 5 to 4.  
Then it happens.  The little spinning wheel counting the outs, 1...  2...  3...  stops to reveal that his team has scored six runs in the seventh.  
SIX RUNS?!?  How the F***ING HELL did he put SIX RUNS on me?  I am PISSED!  I think my neighbors must believe they live next to a psychopath.  I usually curse when I lose at this game, which has been happening more and more often as I get higher and higher in levels and play against stronger and stronger teams, but at this...  INJUSTICE...  This ILLOGICAL, STUPID, UNFAIR, ILLEGAL, BRAZEN ACT OF DIGITAL CHEATING...!  If I were to invoke biblical style phraseology, it would be safe to say that there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  
To make things worse, suddenly I can’t seem to hit anything.  I discover, in fact, that they’ve added a new feature to make the game “more realistic,” the Double-Play.  Over the next two innings, I hit into two of them.  Yeah, effing, stupid computer program with incestuous inclinations...  That every so f*****g realistic.  
The insult continues in the top of the ninth, when the computer playing Michael’s Team decides he deserves another run.  I’m now six runs down.  I’ve not been able to get more than two runs off of him this game.  I’m tired.  I’m fuming.  I’m angry.  What do I do?  
There’s a feature of these “free” online games that allow their creators to make money.  You can buy tokens, in WGT Baseball they’re called “chips,” using real money to improve your team.  Buy them special equipment to increase their performance, or buy a better stadium, to give you better training results.  I usually buy them to heal players instantly after they are injured.  This allows me to keep a smaller team, which means less payroll expense that other players complain about in the online forum.  
In WGT Baseball, you can also use them in batting situations to give yourself a boost.  To increase your batter’s power when he swings, or to increase his chance of hitting the ball.  
I start to use mine.  I probably spent about 80 cents with each swing of the bat.  I ended up burning through about nine dollars worth of chips in that inning.  I ended up scoring seven runs, winning the game 12 to 11.
The insight I think I’ve gained comes from this question: Did this win make me happy?  No.  Not happy.  At best, I was relieved.  I did NOT WANT TO LOSE.  And I didn’t.  But happy...?
I think this is the indication of an addiction, isn’t it?  When you first start using your drug of choice, there is that HIGH.  A feeling of euphoria.  It’s that pleasure that brings you back again and again and again.  But that high becomes harder to achieve as time goes on.  You use more and more of your substance of choice to reach it.  Then, you use more and more of it not to get that high, but to keep yourself out of the low that follows.  
I got into WGT Baseball because I LOVED playing the game.  I was winning and winning big.  Now, I “have to” play it.  I’ve even skipped writing sessions because I was faced with the choice of writing something or putting in my season game.  Since my writing doesn’t feel like much of an attraction these days, it wasn’t as difficult a choice as it should have been.  
But another thought has come to mind.  It’s how much I wish life had Bonus Coins to add to one’s efforts.  Imagine...  You go to a job interview, say, and you’re talking to the person doing the hiring.  You get to your experience in the field and you notice a frown on her face.  You aren’t quite what they’re looking for, you start to think.  She looks up at you and starts to open her mouth, a slight shake of her head is seen...
Cha-Ching!  Bonus Coin!  
“The advantage an employer has of hiring someone with less than idea experience is that we can train you in our system without you having to unlearn another...”  Her frown becomes a smile as she extends her hand.  “Your hired!”  
Or when I’m submitting a story...  Cha-Ching!   Bonus Coin!  And my story skips past the frustrated wanna-be intern that’s been assigned to go through the slush pile, who would see an idea he had for a story done much better in mine, and land right on the desk of the editor making the final decision.  
I’m not trying to get out of doing the work.  I do my best.  I train my team.  I’ve written every day for years.  I’m not asking for a magical charm to give me something I don’t deserve.  I just want a small, itsy-bitsy little bonus that will make a difference.  That’s all.  
I was hoping some conclusion would present itself before I reached the end of this entry, but it hasn’t.  I’m thinking about quitting playing online baseball, though I haven’t yet.  I’m trying to budget myself.  I took a loss playing the team in first place in my Season League when I decided to not spend a bonus coin on the last batter of the game.  I’m telling myself I have to deal with losing.  At least with the online baseball its more contained, more straightforward.  With other things...?  
Maybe it’s just a matter of keep stepping up to the plate. 


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