I am a heavy proponent of video game usage in the quest for awesomeness. I believe that they give the brain a rest from hard core usage, develop hand eye coordination, and are simply great diversions from thinking about the harder problems of life. Not only do video games have regenerative power, but they are often the source of creative power.

Recently, I’ve been playing a cooperative MMO shooter called Realm of the Mad God (RotMG). RotMG is a cooperative MMO shooter, where the whole point is to get as far as you can without dying. You collect spiffy trading fodder and talk to excellent people, but both of those feed into the primary purpose of not dying. When you die, you have to start at the beginning with your basic equipment and strive to reach the godlands (where all of the *really* dangerous mad gods hang out) once more.

Unlike many MMOs, you are not at war with the other players. In fact, your shots have no effect on the other players, and you can gain benefits from cooperating with the others around you. There are also distinct advantages for working with the newbies in the form of guild-building fame points and ranking stars. There is a company sanctioned wiki and forum available for the benefit of the players. In essence, this is a very sharp operation. This game also teaches some awesome personal development lessons.

You Have Specific Strengths

In RotMG, there are 13 classes from which to choose. Each one of them has specific skills and abilities which make them the best fo certain situations. The paladin is a great melee fighter who has a bit of heal to back him. The huntress has a wonderful long range attack, yet still has some of the melee traits with her traps. In the second and third tier of classes, the qualifications to become the class are built from the tier before. Each one of them, however, is necessary within the game.

You hae skills and strengths in your list of stats. You might be a brilliant artist, or perhaps your organizational skills are second to none. You might think about your world from a long view, or are especially adept in the short term. Regardless of where you are, there is still a place for you and those abilities.

Experience Builds on the Past

There is a logic to opening classes within RotMG. You have to have been an archer before you can be a huntress. You have to have been a rogue before you can be an assassin. This presumes that the skills that you receive on the basic levels will work to your benefit in the higher tiers. You get great stuff at all of the levels, but many are very partial to their tier two and three characters.

The experiences that you’ve had in your personal world are different than many others, but you are building a foundation with the previous experiences to take advantage of new experiences in the future. That time that you spent working in a copy room might have given you a generalized understanding of machinery. The years that you were an accountant taught you some leadership skills, or make you the perfect PF blogger.

Bad Drops Happen

Sometimes in the game, you spend minutes trying to kill a monster or the mad god himself. You strive and strive, and finally you kill and rush over to the bag which has dropped only to find that the bag contains a single healing potion. There’s nothing that you can do, other than try killing another creature or running through the same gamut again, hoping for the best.

This happens in life, too. You work your hardest to make a business thrive, putting all of your love and attention into it. You get to the place where the reward is supposed to happen and discover that the rewards are not there for you. Like in the game, the best option is to keep trying and the rewards will be better. No, it doesn’t feel good when it happens, but that’s the best chance to regroup and go for that prize or a different one.

Economy Happens

The game itself is free. The players cannot hurt one another. There is still a thriving market in good weaponry, good robes, good everything. Each of these items is sold for stat potions or traded for better class related equipment. When you walk into the main gathering place (the Nexus) you will find countless merchants all pimping their wares in this free economy. You will find budding capitalists selling their wares to their heart’s content.

In life, there are entrepreneurs who attempt to make some profit out of nothing. They will sell you the shirt off of their back, rather than give it to you. These people will occasionally have what you need, but they’re quite often selling something that you’ll not get a good value from. You are the one who has the opportunity to make a decision. The thing might be good or bad, but it is ultimately your choice.

Groups are Awesome

In RotMG, groups of people will gather together to go on killing sprees. They will gather together and travel in packs to make sure that everything pops just as it should. In fact, when so many quests have happened, every single person on the realm will be summoned to the walls of Oryx’s (the Mad God) castle to fight him and his minions. What could not be done alone is better done in groups, where everybody is offering their own skills and firepower to the cause. This is one reason to spread your good (but not your class) weapons around, because you might be fighting side by side with them later.

In so many cases, a group is more than the sum of its parts. A blog which was special in the past can become superior with the assistance of many others. You might find that a duet and the subtle harmonies which are created add a subtle and nuanced depth to the piece. Those people around you are supporting you because they have their own particular goals and needs, but when you come together, it becomes magic.

Knowledge Should be Shared

RotMG has a wiki and forums which everyone can access to share information about the game itself. There is complete information about the new monsters which show up. There is information about the monsters an dtheir drops. There are even guides to certain species, outlining the best way to eliminate them. Most of what is shared is general information, but you can also read about a whole lot of stories which have happened on the realms and get a little insight about the people around.

Research and knowledge should be shared with the populous. The person with whom you share information and teach might just become your mentor someday, and vice versa. Since all of you have different strengths and different viewpoints, even the ordinary can be elevated with the application of the proper person. There is research about your passions everywhere, and if there isn’t, you should make your information available. People will come out of the woodwork to read and you will find kindred spirits.

Unexpected Awesome Happens

While you’re fighting in the ‘trenches,’ you’ll often find that you’re low on health points. With so many things shooting at you, it can get completely out of hand. Occasionally, someone will do a ‘drive by healing’ which restores your points just before you’re going to die. This is an awesome thing, keeping you around for another shot, another monster, another battle.

In life, you might be taking a lot of hits for what you’re doing. You’ll be thinking about giving up and going back to a reset point, but then occasionally someone will come along and give you unexpected encouragement, a kind word, or that ‘thing’ that you needed so you can make your life fly. It comes from a source, perhaps a stranger, who you might not have thought was capable of giving you the help.

Great People are Everywhere

One of the things that I especially like about cooperative games is that everyone is gathering together for a common purpose. There are some who will be charitable and give you the best of their weapons and their gear in the hopes that you will make it further than they did. I have received some of the best weapons in the game as a result, and i’m thankful to every last person who has given me something because I got to experience something else.

What makes this world awesome is the people. We are all on this planet, and while it sounds like I’m just blowing smoke, there’s goodness in everyone. Asking for those opportunities and sharing your own experiences will open people up to your cause and perhaps reveal something good about someone else. Awesomeness is best shared rather than held tight to your chest, and your greatness will spread if you allow it. Take the lessons from the others around you in kindness, in generosity, and more to make everyone around you shine.

The gear that you have on your back isn’t permanent, just like the gear in Realm of the Mad God. You will experience better, and you will experience worse, but the sole factor here is that you will experience. Through learning, thought, and community, you will become even more awesome than you already are.

Images are from various sources, including the forums and the Realm of the Mad God Facebook Page. If you’re wanting a great game, take a look at Realm of the Mad God