SVSU students, I fear I have an addiction.
In September 2012, I joined up with a few people and started playing a fantasy game. To start, I named my character and then selected all the items I needed to get started. As the demanding tasks of the year went on, I realized that some of the items I had selected were not good enough and my character as a whole had, well, holes that needed to be filled.
In order to fix this, I either scavenged the game for items that other competitors failed to find or I traded items to others to shed the weight that brought my character down, obtaining items I needed to boost certain categories where my character appeared to be the weakest.
This story may seem standard to those dweeby, techie kids with a whole lot of time on their hands playing RPGs, but this story is not exactly what it seems. I do not play World of Warcraft or any other online game that resembles it. Ladies and gentlemen, I am addicted to Fantasy Basketball.
OK, OK I know what you are thinking. “Wait, what? Dylan, the story you just explained sounds like some lame fantasy quest game!” Well, you are half right. If you read my story again and replace the word “character” with “team” and the word “item” with “player” it may make more sense. My point is, when each of these complete opposite games are stripped down they become more similar than one may have originally thought.
Fantasy sports is basically one big quest game for sports fanatics. Oh, I know all of you hefty jocks with your beer bellies, Calvin Johnson jerseys and “killer” barbed wire bicep tattoos may protest any comparison to such an unattractive activity such as RPGs, but are they really that different?
To start, there definitely is an obvious difference. Fantasy sports is rooted in something that is actually very real and fantasy RPGs are based in some backwards world where orcs exist and women wear revealing body armor all day long with no rest (the latter of which may also reside in your average sports fan’s fantasy, but let’s not get into that).
Once this difference is recognized and then shunned away to the desolate part of the brain, we can look at the bare bone examples. Both games feature trading and scavenging for items/players in order to better his or her team/character (in RPGs one would scavenge the land, while in fantasy sports one would scavenge the waiver wire). Both involve head-to-head competition in which whoever has the strongest asset in the most categories is the eventual victor. And, most importantly, both of these games feature ferocious individual competition in order to achieve the status of champion of his or her league.
No matter which type of fantasy game you prefer, the main motivation will always be the will to win and the will to do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.
So there you go, nerds. You are not so different from those considered to be more manly or more in tune with what is cool. Tack one off in the win column for you because in a way, you and the meaty bros from your opposing faction both share a weird obsession with online fantasy games.