I have an obsessive personality. By that I mean I tend to obsess over something for a few weeks to months, consuming everything I can about it, and then I move on to the next thing. It's pretty rare for any one thing to keep my attention longer than that, and when it happens it usually means there is something special to it. Writing is one thing that I keep coming back to, but even in that my obsessed -> dismissed nature shows in how I change projects. Why say all this? Because I want you to understand what it means to me when I say I have been an avid League of Legends player for almost three years now.
I'm not sure what it is about the game. It could be the simple to understand premise with the depth of all the characters. It could just be it is the game that friends I have play, and play regularly. Something about League though has kept me coming back since before they started their second competitive season and while I maybe don't play the same raw number of games I once did, it is still the game I play the most and keep coming back to.
So much so that I've even tried my hand at the ranked ladder. My ranking isn't anything special. I'm Silver 3 currently, which means I'm just around the 50% marker for skill in the community. I am average. Half of the players are better than me. Half of the players are worse than me. Not a horrible spot to be in, but not the best either. The thing is though that I've been climbing the ladder lately. In season 2 I dropped as low as Bronze 5 (the lowest possible ranking) and barely made it back to Silver 5 by the end. In Season 3 I never climbed higher than Silver 3 and spent most of my time in Silver 5. I also didn't play ranked as much. Now, in Season 4, I've been bouncing around Silver 4 and Silver 5 until recently I started going a bit more seriously and climbed from the very bottom of Silver 5 to the very top of Silver 3.
Where before a failed promotion series would see me drop rank on a long losing streak until I hit the bottom of Silver 5, I've actually been staying near the top of Silver 3. I've failed the promos to Silver 2 twice now, most recently last night, but I'm still within one win of trying again, and I have a good feeling about this next shot.
So what changed? Mostly my reason and approach to playing. I'm not playing to climb the ladder - though I am taking joy in doing so. Rather, I am playing to see how far up the ladder I can go. I am playing to improve myself as a player. Losses mean less to me now because they're chances to learn. Wins are awesome, but it's just a step along the way.
It is an approach not unlike those shown by other characters aspiring to imrpove themselves. Ryu from street fighter isn't looking to be the best so much as he is looking to challenge himself, and overcome the challenge, of increasingly difficult foes. Maybe someday I'll get to the top. For now though, just climbing is a joy in and of itself. Even with the occasional slide back down.