So, in accordance to a school project, I ended up not using the computer (or any other digital device if I could help it) on Friday and Saturday. I managed to stave off the resulting madness by reading about 1250 pages, finishing off the last two Harry Potter books in the series. In a way, so many hundreds of pages simply to cover the events of those last few books was an unnecessary grind of its own, leading to a reasonably interesting tangent.

In much the same way I'm disappointed to discover I reached the maximum level in an MMORPG, only to discover that there's really nothing left to achieve, it's a bit of a bother to complete an epic series just to realize that the story's over. The characters, whether they live happily ever after or not, are done, their role in your imagination finished - they might as well be dead (if they were ever alive). Perhaps, out of grieving, fan fiction results.

At least, with a book, an ending is expected. In an online persistent state universe, or a roleplaying game, there's an unspoken promise that the story will never end. Define your own character in a story and play them until the end of time. A storytelling campfire that is always burning, the ultimate entertainment for any who would sit and listen. Perhaps, this more than anything else, is the appeal that keeps pulling us back to MMORPGs.

However, in cooperating with this appeal, our expectations are set perhaps on an irrational goal: we lose sight that the point in playing a game, or reading a story, is the journey, and not the destination. Much like the Mirror of Erised in the Harry Potter books, an RPG reflects a heartfelt desire that can captivate endlessly unless one acknowledges and accepts that what's being reflected is illusion: unattainable.

Yes, the everlasting gobstopper is truly unattainable, in a catch22 fashion. Even if the RPG succeeded in being a story that lasts forever, we would merely waste away before we reach the end. And, on that morbid tone, my Spring Break vacation has come to an end.


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