Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Blogaday 11 of 20

Day 11 - it's taking a toll.

It's 9:18 PM right now. If anybody's been watching the time stamp on my other posts or catching the times I drop, 9 PM looks like sunrise compared to when I've been writing the past 10 nights. So in a way this night has a lot of fundamental differences between it and other nights. I'm showing up three to five hours earlier than usual, but I'm also much more tired than usual. I'm less in love with blogaday than usual as well.

Last night was a little crazy. I got to bed a little after three. Nobody's fault but mine, of course, but it was still late. I've been getting to bed at three a lot lately. Most days I just accept it, because I've had a nap, and I figure that I'll survive. But I felt pretty bad about it last night because I knew I had a council meeting this morning at 6:15. I looked at the clock and realized that I had to be at the building in three hours. I was scheduled to get about two hours of sleep.

I had taken more than a two hour nap, so I thought it was a little insane that my official night's sleep was piecemeal compared to it. Things were obviously messed up.

I functioned well during the meeting and at school today. I only fell asleep during appropriate times. I had a really good calculus class, and seminary was really good as well. I got home and played some warcraft, and then crashed as I am wont to do.

And really, I am functioning. I know I've said it before, but I am not failing my classes because of my sleep. I'm not ruining relationships with people that are important to me. My kidneys are not shot because of the schedule my body is on.

But at the same time, I recognize that this can't be good for me. However skilled my body be at adapting to the stresses placed upon it, wouldn't it just be a better idea for me to get a hearty chunk of rest? Imagine what I could be capable of if I was getting a solid seven to eight hours a night, in one chunk. I think I'd be more alert and happier. I think I'd probably take better care of my kidneys. I think that I'd probably be able to use more of my brain, and that's always a great deal.

Yeah, I'm not dead, but I know this isn't the way that things are supposed to be. I definitely got carried about with the new routine of blogaday and white strips. Both things are very good for me, but both were poorly timed. I was able to not feel bad about going to bed so late because I was doing really good stuff super late. I was furthering my goals, which was awesome.

But there's a time and place for all things, and I can further my goals before midnight. I'm not going to hold myself back because this is the sleep cycle I just happen to be in. I can break out of this. It'll be a bit of a brutal few weeks as I work on it, but I believe I can do it. I want to see what it will do for me. I really think it will make my life better. I have no idea in what manner it'll do it, but I'm really excited to find out.

So here I am, with a problem. It's not monumental, but it's a problem and it's been holding me back from my full potential. It's time to get rid of that problem. Historically, I've been terrible at sleeping patterns anyways. But history doesn't matter so much, I'm going to take a stand and make it happen. It's go time.

La la la la. So what's the news?

It's Tuesday, January 8th, 2008. This has been the least upbeat of all blogaday posts so far. Perhaps it's time to change that?

I played two games of dota today. For the uninitiated, dota (pronounced [D'oh-tuh]) is a custom game type for Warcraft III. If you've been around me and my boys, you've heard us talking about it. We played incredible amounts during December. After nearly every mad performance we'd all drive home and squeeze in a game or two together before we had to be back to sing again. It's fun because we can always play together. There are seven mads (James counts) that play. Teams are made of five, so it's not too hard for us to make a few phone calls and start a game of at least four guys. We have fun playing and bonding. It gives us something to talk about when girls aren't around, and, embarrassingly enough, something to talk about when girls are around.

Now, I'm not going to go into all the mechanics of dota, because it's a very complex game that doesn't lend itself to being explained. Suffice it to say that you control one hero through the whole game, and you're trying to kill the other team's heroes. They, likewise, are trying to kill you.

We're currently teaching Glen how to play. Dota is interesting because of how very very hard it is to break into. Playing online is generally a little fierce, and if you come in as a noob it's very hard to learn anything between the death threats and various remarks about your dear mother. We've taken little Glen under our wings and are training him up to be a champion one day.

But, this training of Glen has made me step back and evaluate my own dota play. Before Glen showed up, I was the worst dota player we had. I'm still terrible. There was one week where I did very well, and I think that convinced me that I was good. I still haven't faced the roses that I'm not that great. But I'm getting there, and I've got some plans to fix it.

Dota is a good game because it is all about the flow of information. Like I said before, the more information that an individual has, the better able that individual is to make good choices. Dota is all about choices. In order to make good choices, one must know what is going on on the battlefield. One's got to know where the enemy heroes are and how strong they currently are. They've got to know the limits of their own hero. How much damage they can take, how much they can dish out. They need to know where their team mates are and their capabilities and limits.

Above all, it's important to know where to draw the line. In dota, you're constantly pushing your forces up towards the bad guys' base. The closer you get, the better chance that you're going to get ganked, or surrounded by bad guys from all directions and owned.

Glen has been getting ganked a lot lately. I have as well, but let's focus on the loveable noob for a minute here. It's easier because he has an excuse. Talking about him makes it sound like a learning experience. Talking about me makes it sound sad.

So anyways, Glen dies a whole lot. He has often been heard to exclaim, "There was nothing I could do about that. I couldn't teleport fast enough." "There was nothing I could do about that, their stun was just too much." "Nothing I could do, these guys are just too good."

And he's right. Once Glen got ganked, there was nothing in the world he could do. He's been playing with very fragile heroes, and the enemy has been exploiting his weakness.

But it's interesting to note that Rick never gets ganked like that. Kyle never gets ganked, or Levi or Dak or James or Tyrel. The only two that get ganked are me and Glen.

Glen gets ganked because he doesn't yet know when to turn back and get onto our side. There's a certain sense that one develops over time, a sense that tells you "Ah crap, there's five guys about to surround me, isn't there? I should b before it's too late." (By the way, to "b" is to get back to your side all careful like)

Glen has an opportunity to survive, every time. But Glen keeps putting himself in situations where the enemy has a great chance to surround him and take him out. Glen isn't as well-versed in dota, and so he hasn't been watching our warnings to b. He isn't able to ascertain all the enemies' locations like the more veteran guys have. One time today the message came up saying that the scourge had slain roshan. That means that all five of their guys were at one specific point on the map. We all knew that. Glen, not so much. Glen was actually really really close to that one specific point. We knew that at any moment five mean heroes would storm and fall all over him. He still had a second to get away, so we called b left and right, but to no avail. Glen stayed, and got hosed.

You can replace "Glen" with my name, and it's the same effect. We are both guilty of this.

In any event, what's the moral of the story? The moral of the story is that success in dota relies entirely on your ability to decode the information that you are getting and to make responsible decisions based upon that information. It's been said that if you never die in dota, you can't lose. That's not one hundred percent true, but it's dang close. Information is key to success in dota.

There's two applications for this moral. My life, I figure, is a lot like Dota. Yeah, there's no creeps, and my special boots don't give me +50% move speed. I caught a butterfly once and couldn't evade anything. But the principles that govern success within dota can also apply to life.

One must always be on the lookout for information. One must use that information to make responsible decisions. In a way, we must react to the environment, placing ourselves in prime position to succeed. If there's an enemy hero running away cause he's low on health, and you can manage to get yourself between him and his base to kill him, you'll do it. You want to strategically place yourself. Likewise, if there's a golden opportunity, the job of your life just opened up for one day for the first person to apply, you will strategically place yourself at the doors as soon as they open. It's rare that one is able to place themselves in the exact right place without knowing the information first. It does happen, from time to time, but reading the signs yields success nearly one hundred percent of the time.

So, just like Dota, one can watch for opportunities to dominate in life. It takes constant vigilance, and one must be aware of their surroundings for it to work. But the basic principle, that information empowers us to make better choices, and that better choices make our lives better, is the exact same between Dota and real life.

And just as one can look and see opportunities to gank an enemy in dota or to land that sweet job in real life, one can use the information to sense when they themselves are about to get ganked.

Now, generally when one gets ganked it's a pretty rude thing. You're almost always "pushing", that means moving forward to kill their stuff, and that means that you're earning gold. Earning gold is vital, because with gold you buy items to make your hero stronger and better able to win. You get ganked when you push because you're putting yourself on their side where they can see you and easily sneak behind you to cut off your escape. One needs to watch the information to know when this is going to happen so they can run before it does.

And just like that, we can see times in real life when we're about to get ganked. I feel like my three AM bed time was just about to get me ganked. It was the same idea, really. Here I was pushing- posting and whitening my teeth, doing good things- but doing them at the wrong time and the wrong place. I haven't been ganked yet, but even if there are no signs pointing to a gank being on the way, I am an incredibly easy target. I'm right next to the enemy's tower and I've got low hp. I might as well paint a target on my face.

One can't play dota always on the defensive, but there's a time and a place to push and a time and a place to back up and defend. I was being a little too aggressive with my blogging and staying up. I have the same problem on Dota.

My body's been sending messages about this sleep thing. "You're going to get ganked come third period, you know it." It's been risky. I'm doing my best now to back up and take a healthy place on the map.

I'm going to be less aggressive with the sleep. That's going to make me die less, and that's going to mean I'll have more gold. More gold means better items, and better items means more kills. More kills means more gold. More gold means more items and more kills and a win at the end of the game. Not dying is pretty important.

So that's the lesson that I've got to take from Dota today. I think it'll make me a better player and a better person. I'm happy to say that I'm on my side of the river right now, hugging a tower. It's 10:07, and things are winding down. I had a big nap today, and so I'm not sure if I'll be able to sleep tonight like I want to. I will do my best, though. I'm going to try to make it happen.

I do respect Dota for what it is. It's entertaining, it's a challenge, and above all it's a good time to play with your buddies. There will come a time when Glen and I join the ranks as viable players. I know that we've got it in us. Glen just needs more time, he needs to develop that feel. I've got the experience, I know exactly what the feel is, but I need to start actually listening to it. When Kyle says b, I think I probably will b. There's a time and a place to take a stand and fight, and there's a time and a place to turn tail and run like a little girl. In Dota, there's no shame in running like a little girl. In life, there's less shame in running like a little girl than people try to tell you. There's a time and a place to run away.

I just want to be on my toes. Getting the information and then acting upon it. The information is surely coming, it's just a matter of whether or not I will act upon it. It's 10:10 PM, and I'm ready to close up shop for blogaday day 11. I feel good about this post. With this completion here, I am 55% done with the most ambitious project this blog has ever seen.

Tomorrow, I work on scholarship stuff. Tonight, I've got one beautiful calculus assignment to tackle before bed. I didn't know if I was going to do it or not. But I think I am. It's an opportunity. One could say I'm going to gank this calculus assignment. Doing so will give me more gold, in a sense. It'll make me better able to gank calculus in the future. My information says that this is a great opportunity, and I'm going to take it. Calculus is so dead. Alt+G click, Alt + G click. Gank calc, gogo.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

This is one of my favorite posts of blogaday so far, mainly because the whole time I was thinking of Capture the Flag. I suppose that game works kinda the same way, doesn't it?

You've brought up some really interesting points, too. When I have a break in my own posting agenda, I will explore them on my blog.

I want to play Capture the Flag.