My new addiction — Brawl Stars

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I do not consider myself a gamer. I have played games and was a huge street fighter player back in the 90’s but since, I don’t really play much. Sure, I played candy crush for a few week. I played some World of Warcraft and City of Heros for a bit. But nothing like I play Brawl Stars.

Now, let me start by saying, because I play alot does NOT mean I’m good. It simply means I play alot. I have watched twitchTV of good players play. I am not one of them.

For those who don’t know, #BrawlStars is a new game by SuperCell, the makers of Clash of Clans too, and some other games. There are different “brawlers” with different skill sets that you acquire throughout playing the game. You play with other people online in games like Showdown (a battle royale on a map, similar to Fortnite), Brawl Ball (a 3v3 soccer match with weapons), Gem Grab (3v3 gem collecting first to hold 10 gems for a certain time, I think 15 seconds, wins), and a few other games.

As you play, you get trophies, and tokens, and star tokens. You also get power points. Wow, writing it down, you get a lot of stuff for playing. Then you open “brawl boxes” when you collect a certain amount of tokens (100) and get coins and gems and bonuses. From a psychological standpoint, you are rich beyond your wildest dreams by simply playing a game. LOL. Then you can, of course, spend real money to buy more gems to buy more coins to buy more brawlers or points.

The economics of the game is multi-tiered. With gems, you can by coins, with coins, you can buy power points and upgrades. With Trophies, you increase your level. With power points, you increase your power level.

Hopefully you are thoroughly confused and want to just play now. :-)

Well, then there are MANY brawlers, 22 to be exact. You start with Shelly and then you get more by opening brawl boxes… randomly. Ok, I’ve explained enough about it. More on my obsession.

I play with friends from work. It is so much fun. We team up and play against others and usually win. Why? Because we interact with each other in person. Go left, select this brawler, we need a healer, etc… It is great when you get a perfect mix of brawlers for a certain game. I currently have 20/22 brawlers and only one (Leon) is a random get. Bo, I’ll get when I get to 3000 (trophies) and I’m at 2100 already.

The games are relatively short, like 2–3 minutes max. It is great for waiting for a subway, taking a break from a project, or having your morning coffee. It doesn’t require a lot of time, but it can. Why? because you want to get to the next level. Here is what is brilliant about the game, when you start off, you win and get trophies, you level up quickly, and no penalty for losing. Then you get to level 4 and you lose and lost 1 trophies… then you want to win one more game to get your trophies up to the next level… you win 3, and lose 1. You are doing well. Then you get to level 7 and you finish 9th in a showdown and lose 4 trophies! So now to get back to where you were, you need to finish in the top 3… but you lose again, so you switch to Gem Grab, because there you can get 6 trophies for winning, and then you lose and lost another 4… The +5 then -4 game of wins/losses gets overwhelming and you just want to get to the next level.

On top of that psychological battle of getting to the next level, if you are playing with friends then you feel accountable for winning for them because they will lose trophies too and you feel responsible for failing them. Then on top of that, you have friends who have that one brawler you don’t and you want, so you play and play to open a box, and hope they show up.

Then you cave, you spend $1.99 on some gems to upgrade your character. It’s only $1.99. Then you see an option to buy 2 epic brawlers for $9.99. OMG, that would save SO much time to just buy them. So you do. Now on a game that is free, you have spent $12. But then you want to upgrade them, and you are at a higher level, so you need more coins, and there is an amazing sale for 500 gems for only $4.99. So you buy that… and then upgrade… then you upgrade them again.. now you aren’t winning as much and your trophy count is just hovering around 1900 and if you get to 2000 you get Dyna-Mike, who everyone loves on games for a good long range person.

As soon as I get Mike, I’ll stop… as soon as I get Crow to level 7. Oh wait, I have 4 characters at level 7 and if I get to level 9, I get a super power. To go from level 1 to level 2 is about 20 tokens. To go from level 7 to level 8 is about 500 tokens. See the progression?

As soon as I… get my promotion, save x amount of dollars, release my next project, finish my book, etc… I used to say, we all do it, we all think like that. That is NOT true. That is a lie I’ve been telling myself to make me feel “normal”. There are a subset of people out there that are not like that. They are not driven by the next level, they don’t suffer from crippling FOMO. They have a joyous life and appreciate each moment of their day. They don’t live on video games, instagram, facebook, snapchat, tinder, twitter, or anything else. They aren’t reading this post. Because they don’t care about it. They care about talking to people in person. spending time with people they love, and probably have a hobby that involves some type of outdoor/physical activity.

I’ve been sober for almost 17 years now and really find it humorous when addiction shows up in other forms. You can live a very fulfilling life with true joy without facebook, medium, brawlstars, and instagram. You don’t need to know what the Kardashians are doing. You don’t need to worry about what Trump tweeted at 3am this morning. You need to learn to interact again. How to talk to someone about things other than the latest viral video, but about how you are feeling inside. I have a tech blog, but I think I am going to use medium to post about real things outside of tech. Things like alcoholism, how to interact without a phone, how to build a relationship that matters, how to not hate yourself on a daily basis, and most importantly, how to care about yourself and others. I hope to do that. Let’s see how it goes.

For the record, I’m not perfect, I try to be better on a regular basis. I do enjoy playing BrawlStars, and I’m not going to cancel my cellphone, disconnect the internet, and get rid of my television. :-) I’m still me, c’mon.

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A fun loving developer who likes to write about, talk about, and teach tech solutions, and help others succeed!

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