Have you ever found yourself in a situation that you got angry about a new update of the game you absolutely love, which you thought it wasn’t right and it wasn’t okay? How about losing several matches in a team-based game, and the feeling lingers even after you turned off the game? Or maybe you got yourself into a conflict with someone in a team chat window to the point that you cut all kinds of connection with the person? Or somehow you forgot to save your game, felt confident that you’ll get over the next three areas without a need to, and died on the third area? Most of these questions lead to emotions.
Then, have you asked yourself: Am I emotionally invested?
Emotional investment is an act of stimulating your emotions whenever an event, activity or subject matter is encountered. This topic is frequently discussed within the context of love and romance, but this really applies everywhere – gaming included. A person who is emotionally invested usually consumes time, energy and resources (such as money) to show the person’s support or position, may it be gaming, TV series, or even sports. On both extremes in the scale, lack of emotional investment leads to demotivation, while the excess of it leads to poorer objective judgment.
There are various examples of being emotionally invested in gaming – I am one of them. For the past 5 years of playing Phantasy Star Online 2, I have gained friends by joining into teams, enjoyed the raid quests and of course, the lore. Because I am emotionally invested into the game, believing that the game will grow and become one of the best games I played in my life, I also invested an amount of real cash by buying Quality of Life items such as 30-day access to the shop, being able to enter blocks designed for Premium subscribers, access to value-added drinks for buffs, and a lot more. Even the fact that rare drops on most MMO games are heavily controlled by Random Number Generators (RNGs), it affects me when people get better items than what I get, until eventually become at peace with this fact, that when it comes, it will come, and when it doesn’t, it’s okay!
Another example is a person who keeps himself on the top of the charts – may it be his match history (wins vs. losses), or his damage per second (dps), or even his gears. He feels bad when he doesn’t reach the top (feels bad man), and he feels great when he does – the bragging rights. In my experience, I never even reach a point that I am on the top-tier list and frankly I don’t care that much – I usually play either the mage class or the support class, so I am not expecting myself to see my name on those rankings. I usually fall on the bottom half of the logs. Even if I want to, lack of time is my enemy.
There are also people I’ve encountered who finds a game so awesome, he desperately sold one of his accounts to somebody. Though I don’t understand why would you sell the account you have invested your time, energy and resources to get it to high levels? Asking these kinds of questions will lead you to feel some type of way. Choices, indeed.
Of course, being emotionally invested can happen even outside games (well yeah, this first came from the real world anyway). If your goals in life or your advocacies you support match with someone, you may feel that you wanted to invest yourself there and show that you share similar passion. However, be very careful when you choose to become invested with a person. Before jumping into it, take a step back and think things through.
So, you might think, is it good or bad to be emotionally invested? As the project manager’s default answer says:
It depends on how it helps you as a person. If the emotions you invest help you grow as a person, make you happy and fulfilled, and of course, help you gain more friends to the party, then why not? However, if being emotionally invested leads you to more problems such as addiction and depression, then being emotionally invested is bad.