My most fun WoW session in a long time happened last night, less than half an hour before the weekly server reset, when the dungeon-finder put me into Zul'Aman with a random group. Fewer than 30 minutes to complete the dungeon and collect 140 valor points. What was our motivation? I suppose our main motivation was to collect the 140 VPs. That's why I'd queued. A second motivation was just to test ourselves, to see if we could beat that clock.
In fact we failed to do so, but I haven't been so pumped up and excited by WoW in ages! We were playing as if every death mattered, because it did: it could cause a wipe which might end our hopes of completing the dungeon in time. I've not been so alive in WoW for a long time! Fear! Tingling nerves! Exhilaration!
In one sense, the 140 jujubes didn't matter. I'd happily take a loss of 140 emblems of whatever, just to get another shot at that fun.
In another sense, the 140 VPs did matter. It was the end of the WoW week and the reset meant that I would never get the chance to win those particular 140 again. Would we have been so pumped up if it had been, say, a Thursday server reset for some hot-fix, knowing that we would still be able to get our full quota of VPs during the remainder of the week if we failed this particular time? I don't think so. I mean, we can try a timed run any time of the week, and I don't think it would be so thrilling as this one was. I think it was the fact that our VPs were in jeopardy that caused the extra frisson of excitement.
This goes back to Nils' perfect death-penalty, which is something that you greatly fear happening, but don't suffer much if it actually does happen. We greatly feared the permanent loss of the chance to get our full quota of VPs for the week and were greatly motivated by that. But in the end, their loss was not terrible, because we had not owned them in the first place. We had not mentally accounted these VPs as ours, since we had not yet won them, and we knew at the outset that our chances of doing so were not 100%.