Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Great Experiment

Yesterday I had the pleasure of finally meeting up with blogger friend Evanescein08 for an online game of Halo. Not only did this mean playing Halo online was about a billion percent more fun…I got a lot more data for my ‘experiment’ and it supports my initial hypothesis.

What experiment, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

Being as generous to myself as possible, I can best be described as a completely average Halo player. I lose more often that I win and in team games, when my lackluster performance can be cancelled out by a team-mate’s excellence, my performance usually ranks me as third out of my four-man team.

In other words, I’m not very good at the game, but I’m not particularly bad either.

About a week ago I was playing online when Sunny walked through the door…and a funny thing happened.

Usually, I’m a pretty ‘tense’ Halo player. I concentrate hard and do my best to win. This time, however, we were only about a minute in, my team was getting slaughtered and when Sunny came home, the only reason I didn’t just stop playing was because quitting early loses you an experience point.

So, I just started talking to Sunny and was barely paying attention to what was happening on the screen. Usually with every death I call up the scoreboard to see where I’m ranking and who’s winning…but this time I honestly didn’t care.

Then I noticed something. In the five minutes that Sunny was in the room, my team had clawed our way back from a twenty kill lead, and I was responsible for getting 15 of them…which also put me as ‘kill leader’ by a significant amount.

My attitude changed. We had a damn good chance to win now, and that win would put me in spitting distance of getting my Sergeant rank. I started to concentrate and started trying to win.

Within a couple of minutes we were losing again and I couldn’t get a kill for love nor money. I rapidly dropped to the bottom of my team’s kill scores.

So I relaxed again. We’d already lost, so screw it. I went back to talking to Sunny again and barely paying attention to the game.

Five minutes later it was all over…and my team had won and in the last few minutes of the game I’d clawed my way back up and become team MVP.

I turned off the Xbox and started to think. It was something I’d noticed before. When I don’t actually care if I win or lose something, I’m far more likely to win because I just relax and enjoy myself instead of getting tense and wound up.

So, yesterday, when I was playing online with Evanescein08, we were playing in a series of team games with us both on the same team.

However, while we were playing, it wasn’t like we had any kind of plan and we weren’t ‘talking tactics’ over our headsets. To be honest, the game became almost secondary to the conversation…as a result, neither of us were paying the amount of attention to the game that we would if we were playing alone.

Now, here’s the thing. I performed significantly better during those games than I normally do. For example, according to my stats, in 65 games I’d never scored a ‘Killing Spree’ (that’s killing five opponents in a row without dying yourself)…but in the eleven games I played yesterday, I got no less than five Killing Sprees.

Evanesce didn’t do too badly either, getting pretty much every possible medal in one game, including ‘extermination’, where he took out the entire opposing team with a single grenade.

So basically, the results of my experiment is this:

If you want to win, the best way to achieve that is to not care if you win.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to want to win and not care if you win at the same time…rendering the whole experiment useless.

At best, if you want to be better at Halo, find someone interesting to talk to as you play.

1 comment:

Evanesce In 2008 said...

Playing Halo3 and chatting with you yesterday was a LOT of fun. I look forward to future games.