The competitive ethos of this game is really starting to bum me out. The individual activities of castle-building and dungeon-looting are things I normally enjoy, but once you add a score to it, which goes up when you succeed and down when you fail, and is compared on a moment-to-moment basis with the scores of other players, and then suddenly it starts to feel . . . tawdry? Risky? Embarrassing?
I don't know exactly how to put it. It's like, now my ego is on the line, but a part of me recognizes how silly that is. I don't exactly pride myself on my unique dungeon-crawling abilities, and while I would like to think that I'm a decent dungeon designer, my philosophy of design ("a good dungeon is one that fools you into thinking that victory is not inevitable") is at odds with my goals as a player ("kill the intruder as quickly and efficiently as possible"). So being bad at The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot is not really something that should impinge on my self-image. . .
It's just that The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot distills the notion of "self-image" into a single numerical value, that I can see go up or down (you have a thing called "crowns" that you gain when you successfully raid a dungeon or your dungeon kills an intruder, and lose when you fail to do those things), and I feel myself changing my behavior to pursue the anonymous, mechanized validation that comes from seeing the number go up.
I've got kind of a weird thing with competition. I hate to lose, but I don't especially like to win either. Okay, so everyone likes to win, even me, but I always feel a little guilty about it. I greatly prefer cooperative games, like Borderlands or Sentinels of the Multiverse, or at the very least, games that allow for joint victories and ties. I feel like "victory," for me is finding a way for everyone to be better off at the end of the game than at the beginning.
That said, the frustration and self-criticism that I experience with losing is a powerful motivator, and so, I fluctuate in my gaming style. With The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot, I've done some things I'm not proud of, like attack underleveled castles, or castles that have weaker defense than the average for their level rating. I've also done some foolish things, like throw good money after bad to resurrect myself in a castle that was kicking my ass, or drink a bunch of potions to finish a castle whose reward was less than the value of the potions themselves.
I've not been exclusively underhanded and bullheaded, though. I have had an angel on my shoulder, encouraging me to pursue a spirit of good sportsmanship and honest, healthy competition. I've sometimes even listened to it, but the shoulder devil has been much more persuasive.
I think The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot is a game I want to enjoy, but that damned crown meter keeps getting in my way. I wish I had the maturity and the self-control to just ignore it, but I don't. It's gotten under my skin, and it's making me irritable and morose. I'm going to try and power through the last eight hours so I can put this whole sordid enterprise behind me.