Leaving Lumbridge: Five Lessons from a former Runescape Addict

You can just hang outside in the sun all day tossing a ball around, or you can sit at your computer and do something that matters.

Eric Cartman

I took another bite of pizza. Click. Click. Click. 175 more goblins to slaughter until I get to level 82 strength. Once I get to level 82 strength, then I can start killing cyclops in the warrior’s guild. How many will I need to maul for a Dragon Defender?

I heard my mom walking up the stairs.

“Paul, did you finish your homework?”

172 more goblins.

“I don’t have any homework.”

My backpack was full of homework.

“Paul Ethan!”

The middle name. Now she’s upset.

168 more goblins.

“Yeah yeah yeah, I know. I’ll do it tonight.”

I didn’t do my homework that night. But I did slay 175 goblins. Persistence pays off.

Runescape.

8 hours a day on weekdays. 12 hours a day on weekends.

“…and then I started running out of lobster but then Dharok spawned and my prayer points were running out too and so I started ranging him you know how you can like trap him behind the tomb? I started ranging him dude I like trapped him behind the tomb.”

I listened in awe as we walked around the playground. Brandon was a much higher level than me. I was a total noob.

“Dude you fought Dharok without any prayer points?”

“Yeah oh my god dude it was so wild I fought Dharok without any prayer I started ranging him behind the tomb and he was like blaarugh and I was like no way motherfucker!”

“Did you get any good drops?”

“Nah I got nothing. Shit sucked.”

We laughed.

The bell rang. Time to get back to class. In Runescape, Brandon was like a god. But in elementary school, we were both on equal footing with equally horrible grades.

I took my seat.

“Take out your textbooks and turn to…”

I took out my textbook and turned my imagination over to Dharock. How can I get to Brandon’s level? I need to train until 40 attack so that I can use a rune scimitar. Then I’d have to do the dragon slayer quest so that I could wear a Rune platebody…

“LeCrone?”

I looked up.

“Do you have the answer to question 9?”

I didn’t. But at that point I had more than enough prayer points to fight Dharock. It only took me 2 years, but I had finally passed Brandon’s level.

“I do not have the answer Mr. F. I do humbly apologize.”

The kids laughed. Mr. F shook his head. When I didn’t have an answer, I’d compensate by playing the class clown.

“LeCrone, go step outside.”

I stepped outside. I was at that age where I should have been thinking about girls and strange changes happening in my body. Instead, I was thinking about Runescape.

Mr. M pointed at me.

I looked up at the whiteboard and saw nothing but hieroglyphics.

“Uh, you take Y…and, uh”

Isn’t this supposed to be Algebra 1?

“No…We take X and substitute it for…”

Substitute? X? What’s he talking about? 

I needed some fresh air. I raised my hand. “Mr. M, may I go to the restroom?”

I asked to go to the restroom a lot. My teachers probably thought I had irritable bowel syndrome. There was nothing wrong with my bowels. During high school, all I could think about was how awesome it would be to get a bandos chestplate drop from killing General Graardor.

If that happened, I’d lose my shit.

Sixten more abyssal demons to kill.  None of my friends were online. I could barely keep my eyes open. Just sixteen more. On Friday, with no reason to get up at 6 in the morning, I could play all night and go to sleep when everyone else wakes up. Click. Click. Click.

I had been playing for more than five years. My endgame? Achieve the highest level. Each click brought me one step closer. I couldn’t be stopped. Even if you pulled the plug from my computer, I’d find a way to keep playing. 

2 in the afternoon.

Time for breakfast. 

I shoved a bite of leftover pasta down my throat and logged on. Graduation was nice, but getting the strength bonus from my bandos chestplate was even better. I was getting closer to my goal of achieving the max level. But then what? What would I do after that?

Yeah, good question.

What would I do after that?

I had no idea. 

So I kept playing.

“Yeah hi, I’ll take one supreme pizza please. Uh-huh. Oh and could you write something on the box? Yeah, like, directly on the box, I see on your website that you have special options for customers — this is my special option. Okay. Could you write ‘grats on max level’ on the box?”

I did it. I beat the game. To celebrate, I ordered a pizza.

Woopie.

Video game addiction is a wonderful thing. If you never experienced it, you missed out on a ton of valuable life lessons.

Lessons like…

Establishing a routine

Everyday, I would wake up, play Runescape, go to school, go home, and then play more Runescape.

Saying no

I said no to homework so that I could say yes to Runescape.

Efficiency

I learned how to get the most exp in the shortest amount of time.

Focusing on what matters most

I structured my days around doing what mattered most to me: playing Runescape.

Persistence

Remember those goblins I killed?

Doing a good job

I would go on quests, murder some hobgoblins, gain experience, and get paid in vast sums of gold for my effort.

My only problem? I was applying these lessons to the wrong life.

If I had applied these lessons to real life, then I wouldn’t be writing this. Instead, I’d be living in a yacht drinking something fancy (like White Claw).

In Runescape, I had more than 300,000,000 total exp.

In real life, I had zero.

I took another bite of pizza. After more than a decade, I finally logged off.


I posted the first draft of this (roughly 200 words long) in my newsletter. Liked this post? Sign up! Each week, I send out an email about creativity and self-improvement.

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