Order in Chaos

I’m a borderline OCD candidate.  I have a few friends that I consider farther along that spectrum than I am, nevertheless I seem to be more than average.  It’s a running joke at work that my desk is so clear of papers that people feel intimidated by it.  (simple fact is that I prefer electronic copies than paper).  Yet it’s a mindset I have applied in numerous places in my life, mostly to manage anxiety.

My father in law is on the opposite end.  I remember the first time I did some repair work with him and went to his garage.  Stuff was everywhere.  It took me longer to find a saw than it did to use it.  My tools are not perfectly stored, but they are stored in such a fashion as you can clearly find them with a glance.  My better half originally thought I was crazy for spending time putting things back in the same place, but after a while of trying my method, the craziness of never finding something turned her around.

I’ve always had a passion for experimentation, the scientific kind mind you.  I learned quite early that you have to limit the variables to find much success, and that’s been my motto ever since.  Build a stable and secure foundation, have fun tweaking above that line to find better and better ways forward.

Clearly this applies to my gaming.  I try to automate as much of the rote stuff as possible, so that I can have more fun doing the different things.  I use map addons to mark harvest nodes, so I can try different flight paths.  I build and run simulators to focus on optimal skill choices and stat weights, then tweak as I go.  I’ll spend 20 minutes building a harvester so that it can mine for me for days and I can spend time building something else.  I’ll memorize board game rules just to find out if various tweaks can be applied.

Some folk ask how that’s considered fun, and I can understand that.  I lose a lot of mystery of “regular” discovery because I’m digging down at the underlying systems.  What I gain instead is pleasure in finding the things people didn’t think about.  In EQ I found a number of “exploits” where I could solo farm with limited risk.  I found features in the UO code that let me make items with near permanent usage and sold it for great profit.  I was in nearly every MMO beta up until RIFT launched, and logged hundreds of bugs in each.

I was watching some Awesome Games Done Quick the other day and wanted to show my wife.  She saw insanity, I saw practice and dedication.  They were finding all sorts of bugs in the code that allowed them to do amazing things.  Mario Maker seems to celebrate that mentality.

As I grow older, I’m finding that this need to find order in chaos is still strong.  As games become more complex, it’s becoming even more fun to find some of the weird stuff in games.  And I get an even bigger kick of sharing these finds with my kids and other gaming friends.

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