Uplink Available – April 19, 2022 (109/365)

“A busy life makes prayer hard

Prayer makes a busy life easier”

Thought I’d start this with that line. It’s especially true if you do realize how busy you are… or, well, how busy you ought to be, anyway.

If today, I took some time to list down my immediate to-dos for this week, it looks like tomorrow, I’ll need to go over where I stand so far regarding what I’ve been doing, what I’m doing, and what I’m about to do. I need to go over what I’m making, what I’m spending, and how deep I am in the red, exactly – because no denying it, I am in the red. Every time I dip my beak into reserves gets me deeper… but now that I mention it, I suppose I have to be thankful that I actually have reserves to begin with. Not everyone has reserves.

Not everyone can handle it.

Speaking of reserves, if we’re talking about reserves when it come to the resource of time, I have to admit I’ve been wasting a lot of it. I didn’t think much of it at the time I bought it, but now that I’ve chosen to go a little deeper into the world of Cyberpunk 2077, here I am, just as I used to be with Fallout 4 (or any other Fallout, for that matter) – hooked.

And it’s not very productive, when you consider the real world to-do list I said I just did… but what keeps me hooked? Well, as in any other RPG I’ve cared to play, I’ve gone into a cycle I only noticed now – that when I do play as a character in a fictional open world, I tend to spend a lot – a LOT of time leveling up any skills and getting the best gear, just so that when I decide to continue down the main timeline, I am stronger than the game expects me to be.

And that’s not the only reason I spend much more time that I do on these games – It seems like I intentionally delay the main timeline, because I like being in a world where every effort is programmed to provide guaranteed rewards, and in such a world, every player has the temptation to relish in control… at least, as long as the main storyline remains unfinished; the book remains open, and I would either come to my senses or end the story and close the book.

I see the same pattern in how I play Real Time Strategy. I’ve never been a fan of rush tactics – doing them, or when my opponent (usually AI) does it to me. No, I’m not sure which RTS game coined the term first, but I’m a steamroller – I ‘turtle’ up, meaning I focus on maximum defense and maximum resource acquisition, build a massive army (or, in the case of CnC Generals, there’s the sweet option of building multiple and too many nukes or superweapons), and then end anyone and everyone with an iron fist. Resistance is futile. I control the storyline and end it, only to come back to the Skirmish screen and do it all over again.

Here are some notes I’ve made earlier this month:

Observations while playing Command And Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath

I have the tendency to establish and secure your income streams before I build my army, which gives me an opening – if I am rushed, I’m done for. But on the other hand, if you give me enough time, I will win the game. Guaranteed. 

Every unit has its advantages and disadvantages. No matter what faction you are in, you need an effective combination of units. Don’t just count on one, or even two units. They will get the job done, but a healthy combination will get the job done faster.

Don’t just buy the most expensive units, when a horde of lesser units could do the trick. For every expensive unit train 2 or 3 cheaper units as support.

The income will not really matter so much later in the game, if your army is already at an advantage. In fact, if you’re well insulated and you have a massive cashflow, you can end the game there already. It’s like you’ve already won.

Observations while playing Cyberpunk 2077

I have the tendency to scan more often than I probably should. And as in every first-person open world RPG, I tend to hoard any and all items I can.

I also hold out on spending any skill or perk points unless I know what would definitely help me.

I still have the tendency to save and load too much – in fact it seems like if I’m saving and loading too much then I probably need to lower my expectations regarding ideal situations. Porting this to real life I think I set my expectations a little too high for myself, and possibly for others as well.

You can consider this article a continuation of my analysis re: Cyberpunk.

I am not trying to justify how gaming is integrated into my life. It’s just the more that I play I become more aware of my character – I mean, in this reality, at least.

What’s it telling me so far? Well, if I was going to cut to the chase, I’d tell myself to snap out of it and to stop playing unrealistic simulations. Or, just to put them into their place.

Clearly, not every resource gatherer you spend on and build in the ‘real’ world has a guarantee of perpetual sustainability and significance. Parts and entire systems break down in the real world. Sources run dry. Tiberium isn’t always going to have value. Supply Drops, Black Markets, and ‘Hackers’ aren’t going to get you the same constant amount of resources every time, if they do get any resources at all.

Armies are not as expendable. Soldiers’ lives have just as much value as their leaders and the ones who command them. Also, considering that resources are not as easy to come by as they do in games, you ought to be spending on units wisely. Unlimited resources could have us spending on the absolute best each and every time, but even in simulations the strongest units aren’t necessarily the best ones. Micromanagement and team dynamics are far more valuable in ensuring money is spent wisely, loss is avoided, and profit is made more or less consistent.

Not every experience in the ‘real’ world has its immediate experience boost. Nobody is an NPC. Everyone is Player One.

There are no save points. It’s hardcore mode. There’s so much more at stake, and recklessness poses far more drawback than benefits.

Tomorrow I’m looking to come back to gauging myself where it matters in this reality, versus the awesomeness I see in my savegames. Considering all of this that I’m doing in the virtual worlds that I jumped into – in the name of ‘relaxation’, mind you – I’m adding more pressure to my real world to-do list, by way of wasting time. Maybe I do it on purpose, just so I kick my ass and work out of last minute (less minute?) panic.

Either way, I think it would help me immensely if I faced any day the way MC Hammer prescribes – to pray. Pretty sure the more we tune into Who really matters, we’d make far better use of our resources… no matter what they are at our disposal.

“A busy life makes prayer hard

Prayer makes a busy life easier”

No wasting time there, for sure. And I really should get my ass back to writing more. This week is critical.

God bless us all.

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