Lately my MMO gaming time has been down a bit, mostly due to DoTA, but also from the fact that currently I’m only actively playing LoTRO, and that’s with Aria, so we don’t log in a ton of hours each week. LoTRO is a great game to take at a casual pace, as there is always something to do, and even in short bursts of an hour or so you can make significant progress.
The down time has got me thinking how much game time has an effect on game enjoyment. All my best memories of games, be they MMO or not, are from games I was heavily invested in. The peak of WoW for me was raiding MC and BWL, making progress each week on new encounters. Both UO and AC peaked around the time my guilds were most active and involved in heavy PvP. My overall gaming highlight was being ranked #1 in Myth 2. In all situations, I was playing those games a rather stupid amount of time, generally around 6 hours or more each day, 7 days a week. You have a lot of free time as a student. Having graduated, that’s just not possible right now, and even if it was, I don’t think I would want to spend my life devoting so much time to gaming, not to mention Aria would kill me.
Maybe it’s just an odd coincidence, maybe it’s me just getting old, but I just don’t have that ‘pull’ with games these days as I did before. Yes LoTRO is fun, but it’s not ‘must play now’ fun. Same with the Wii, all fun games, but not anything like getting Final Fantasy 7 and playing it till your eyes bleed, taking a break, and going right back. And I think it might have something to do with consistence; the more you play a game, even if it’s just in smallish amounts but daily, the more you get ‘into’ that game and want to finish. Part of that is overall I just have less gaming time, but another factor is choice. I have more choices now than ever in what to play, and I can bounce around from one game to another at will. It’s fun from a diversity standpoint, but not so good for actually getting into a game and finishing it, hence The Witcher remaining unfinished despite being a great game.
So I think in order to get more out of the gaming time I do have, I’ll need to focus a bit more. Non-MMO games make this a bit easier because they actually have an end, so once you finish, you move on. MMO’s and open ended games like DoTA or Civilization are a bit trickier, since they never end, but at the same time don’t require quite as much time to really get into. DoTA you get into it for the length of a match, and as long as your skills stay sharp, it works. Same with Civ, but even less, since its turn based and you just need to remember strategy, not quick combos and twitchy gameplay.