What gaming superstitions do you follow?
People — humans in general — are a largely irrational group. Despite the existence of science and a supposed belief in logic and rational thought, we are particularly susceptible to superstition. Superstitions began out of a very human need to explain the inexplicable; humans look for patterns in everything and often try to create cause where none exists. Superstition and myth were the foundation of what often became religion in many cultures. We deal poorly with uncertainty or the arbitrary expression of the natural world. If Grog was hit by lightning when everyone was safe, it must be because he angered the thunder god, not that he was standing under the tallest tree on the hill when everyone else was lying flat on the ground.
Maybe it’s being afraid of black cats, which have the highest rate of euthanasia if surrendered to a shelter (74.6%) and the lowest rate of adoption (10.0%). Maybe it’s a fear of broken mirrors or walking under ladders. Every culture has superstitions by the dozen, and modern internet culture has caused these to spread and be shared beyond its origins.
Many sports teams and individual fans have superstitions about what they wear, little rituals performed by fans or players — things that objectively have no impact on the teams’ abilities to perform and yet both the supporters and the teams believe in them. Belief is a powerful thing and is said to be able to move mountains; yet how would the players know whether you are really wearing your lucky scarf or not?
Gamblers are legendary for their superstitious beliefs, from having to wear their lucky shirt, or sitting in their lucky seat, or using their lucky card holder, or needing to use “their” slots machine and no other. The numbers 13 and 4 are considered unlucky in casino gaming, as is crossing your legs, using the main entry door to the venue, counting your money at the table, having itchy hands or lending money to another player. Conversely, wearing red, blowing on dice, standing while playing, or crossing your fingers are thought to bring good luck.
Gamers have their own superstitions; a common one among tabletop gamers is you don’t touch other people’s dice, and if a dice has been rolling badly, it needs to be put in dice jail to teach it a lesson (Etsy has way too many choices should you decide to go down that path). Other dice superstitions include having specific dice for a specific character, as the dice are aligned to that character’s abilities.
Another reasonably common belief is having a specific person in raid increases the chance of good loot dropping, or in our guild — if one specific player was present, if their character either died or wasn’t wearing pants, the quality of loot was assured. Many superstitions in gaming are linked to loot, and probably have their roots in the same thinking that leads gamblers to have so many superstitions. Of course everyone knows the best way to get that last item you need for a quest to drop is to complain about it in guild chat. And anyone who raided Naxxramas knows that if you kill Mr Bigglesworth, then Invincible can’t drop.
One of the more recent superstitions to surface is the phenomenon of ‘follow the rats’ in Diablo 4, a belief that started circulating on Reddit a few weeks ago, and have been picked up by streamers and major news outlets. It is the belief that while in a dungeon in Diablo 4, if you see rats running in a particular direction, ignore any instance objectives and follow the rats, killing any creatures in your path. The rats can ‘smell the cheese’ and will lead you to the best rewards in the instance. While it’s not impossible that the developers could have coded a behaviour like that into the game, the likelihood is bordering on zero, as the amount of effort required to detect and act on that would be extreme and of little benefit to the player base.
Still, it’s a good story.
What superstitions do you have when gaming? Do you have any specific rituals that you follow when you want success or good loot drops in game?
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