Friday, December 21, 2012

One Week back in World of Warcraft

I received 10 free days to play use World of Warcraft including the new expansion so I took advantage of it last week.  I still didn't get to play much, but there is something comforting about coming back to a game that you played for a long time, particularly with all the new content (for me).

The best part was being able to chat, even briefly, with a couple of guild members that I used to play with regularly.  Besides that, I was able to almost complete a level, complete the beginning Tiller quests and farm every day, complete the first major quest chain and get the flight paths so I can get to my farm without having to run.  This last part was more difficult that it should have been, but I think the expectation is that you can get that first quest chain done in one sitting and for me it took all week.

I am still hoping I'll be able to play either Lord of the Rings Online or something else with my wife, but with preparation for Christmas and people getting sick, it wasn't going to happen over the last month.  Given that, I suspect I'll probably resubscribe to WoW now that the expansion is pretty easy to come by for $20.  I'm not sure exactly why, but I can't justify $40 for the amount of playing I do, but I can justify $20.

Now, if I'm talking about value, I'm sure either playing LotRO or Star Wars the Old Republic again would make more sense.  I could access a lot of content either for free or for cheap and there is no required monthly fee.  However, my time is much more valuable than the amount of money we're considering and the huge amount of time I've spent on my two level 85 characters and the assorted alternate character wouldn't happen for years in another game.

There is a certain momentum that happens with Massively Multiplayer games that I don't think happens so much with single player games.  Even though combat, abilities, and all the activities that go with a MMO game are constantly being changed, it is still much easier to rejoin a game you have been playing, particularly if you still have friends that are playing it.

Now there is a difference between playing and being dedicated to a game.  The Godmother recently posted about her experience with players who don't care in a raid.  I was able to raid in vanilla WoW and Burning Crusade, but never got to the point of being able to do it afterwards.  I doubt it'll happen with this expansion either, even though my guild is very open to bringing people up.  I just know I don't have the time.  That doesn't mean that questing or crafting or any of the other numerous activities in WoW won't be worth the $15 a month for me.  Since I do care, unless somehow I end up with more time, I know I won't even try to raid.

There are a lot of different ways to play these games. A lot of them don't hinder others enjoyment of the game, but some do.  I know, for me, I can't enjoy the game in ways where pretending to be good enough to participate in activities when I know I'm not.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Games, What Games?

It's been almost three months since my last post.  I'm still hoping to find a way to play one day a week, but even that's been too ambitious for me recently.  The good news on the game front is that now that the Macintosh Client has been released for Lord of the Rings Online, I have some small hope that I might actually be able to get my wife to play online with me.

Neri recently wrote about how she had to start playing World of Warcraft differently and, although not in the same context, I did have to make a similar decision.  In some ways this blog was a reaction to wanting to start playing more without the possibility of falling into the situation where I felt it was taking me away from what I needed to be doing, with a full time job, a wife, three children, and all the responsibilities that surround those things.

However, balance is difficult.  When I was playing SWToR briefly I decided that I couldn't play enough for it to be fun, at least for $15 a month when I was lucky if I could play one night a week.  Now I still wonder if I can truly play any MMO one night a week.  I haven't given up hope, but I haven't been very successful so far.  A lot of what drives MMOs is the rewards that lead to other rewards and so on.  When you are playing one night a week, you really lose a lot of that continuity.

Anyway, I'm still hoping I can get a night a week where I'll play (and hopefully post about it).  If it can become a regular habit, I think I can set those goals and keep a roster of what I'm doing.  In an odd way, it could be similar to someone who is playing multiple games where they have to lower their expectations and remember their goals between sessions.

In any case, if you are still following me, thanks!  I haven't given up hope and possibly there are others that are in similar situations.  And just maybe you'll get another post soon!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On Being an MMO Spectator

If you haven't noticed, it's a busy time in the MMO world(s).  Guild Wars 2 has just been released, World of Warcraft just released it's pre-expansion patch, the Lord of the Rings Online expansion would be just around the corner except that it was delayed, and what am I doing?


Well, not quite nothing.  I am desperately trying to stay afloat on the blogs I read.  I have actually played a little Lord of the Rings Online and even spent $10 on the Mithril edition that was on sale and is now the new normal price at Gamestop (more on that later), but I've played very little and, if anyone is still reading, they know I haven't been posting.  And how am I handling this?

I'm doing fine.

I've always liked being a spectator.  There is a song by Mazzy Star I've loved for years, Blue Flower, and until recently I didn't understand why I loved it (other than the fact that it is incredibly cool).  The chorus is:
Superstar in your own private movie
I wanted just a minor part
But I'm no fool
I know you're cool
I never really wanted your heart
I've certainly never thought of myself as a Superstar.  But, of course, the point of view isn't from the Superstar, but from someone participating in their movie.  I guess we all do that and play both roles, but so many people want to be the center of attention.  I remember hearing a speech a high school girl made where she included the line 'Of course, everybody wants to be famous.'  I'm sure she'll realize eventually that's not true, but it is the reality of so many people's lives and the reality media of today certainly plays to that desire.  I've always been much more comfortable with the minor part.

So this is a good time to be a MMO Spectator.  I'm happy people are enjoying 'The Secret World' and 'Guild Wars 2' and excited that 'Mists of Pandaria' and 'Riders of Rohan' are coming soon, but, right now, I'm not there.  But I am excited that they are excited.  I love reading what they have to say and, if I ever catch up, I might even make a comment on some of them.

My minister said something wise to me a few months ago, generally that he understands that people are in different parts of their life and may not be able to offer as much depending on where they are.  I'm a spectator and I feel fine.  And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll have something to say about it.  I might even be able to play one night a week and have something to say about that, too.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

One Night on Rusty Hearts

If anyone thinks all MMOs are too similar to each other, they should try Rusty Hearts.  As someone who played RPGs on computers and then played World of Warcraft for many years, playing Rusty Hearts felt like I had just moved to a foreign country.  

I haven't played many RPGs on consoles, but my impression is that the game was designed by a group of people who loved console RPGs, loved the aesthetic of vampire games, and thought it would be great to combine those two and allow multiple people to play together.  There is a hint when you first start the game where it says 'Rusty Hearts is gamepad compatible.'  I have read that the game is quite similar to the 'Castlevania' games I never played.

Character creation

There is none.  You initially get to choose between four characters.  I picked 'Natasha' the first time but it told me that Natasha came in later in the game and so I went back and chose 'Angela.'  Truly that is all you can do to start out. No changes in appearances, not other options, only four characters to choose from.  I've read that you can pay for different appearances and characters from the store if you want.  Equipping items does not change your appearance.

My sexy character with Victorian frills and extra large sword

You start the game with a video that uses the in game graphics and puts you in the middle of a fight.  There are no options during the video segment, but to go to the next segment or to the actual game.  Fighting is pretty straightforward where you need to face the monsters (typically some type of demon or skeleton)  use a letter to perform either your normal or a special attack.  Movement is a little odd in that you have to use the arrow keys and can't use WASD like I am used to using, but it worked.  I am sure it would be much easier with a gamepad.

The animations for fighting are pretty dynamic, with flourishes and different moves while fighting even if you are just using your normal attacks.  Also, at least early in the game, you are much stronger than those you are fighting against, taking on around 5 or 6 monsters at a time without any issues.

The fights are divided into segments divided by walls, and the game lets you know when you finished an area so you can go around a pick up what was dropped or take a break.  All three characters participate in the initial gameplay and videos, though you only control the character you chose.

Once you finish you are put into the gameworld and someone in front of you wants to talk to you.  I found these sequences odd, because the game inserts dialog for all three characters although you only see yourself.  I'm guessing the designers wanted to have the team feel of a game like 'Final Fantasy' but only allow you to control one character since others can join you.

Frantz inserting himself into my conversation
The mission I tried after the introduction probably took about 30 minutes and included several smaller fights and one mini-boss at the end. The path is very linear and if you pause very long and arrow appears to make sure you know which way to go.  The mini-boss was definitely tougher but not difficult.

I could see how this mission structure could work well for someone not playing often.  In a relatively short period of time you can complete a mission and it makes it pretty obvious what comes next so long gaps between playing the game shouldn't be an issue.

I didn't try it, but it is possible to craft items by bringing the right items to the correct NPC.  Gathering seems to be from the creatures you kill and anyone can craft anything.

There is a room you can go to with a single click when you are not in a mission and it provides storage (which can be expanded for a price), and a daily fortune.

If I was wary of strangers bearing gifts, I don't think I'd play MMOs.


Performance was quite good on my older machine, though I didn't try to push the settings.  The combat is quite action oriented and it does seem like they took the effort to make sure that you didn't have issues due to performance.  In order to accomplish this, the character appearance is quite pixilated.

Overall impressions

I am very glad I tried Rusty Hearts although the game isn't for me.  The whole Goth, melodramatic story made me want to roll my eyes more than once.  That said, the game tries to accomplish something very different from the other MMOs I've played and it generally succeeds.  The gameplay is fast, there are no issues with performance, and it makes it easy to go from one mission to the next.  For someone who likes the setting and is looking for a relatively easy game, it could be very entertaining.

Friday, June 29, 2012

One Night on Everquest 2

My Erudite Templar just starting out

 My biggest observation about playing Everquest 2 for one night is that there is a huge amount of things to do.  As soon as I created Kantro I noticed all the tree branches and rocks and plants and other things that I could pick up.  Being both a crafter and a hoarder by nature, even before I received my first quest, I already started picking up things.  

Then to tempt me even more, there were the 'little shiny things' on the ground.  These are collection items.  I pretty quickly discovered, particularly since my packs will rapidly filling up, that if I clicked them in my pack I could add them to my collection.  There were at least three collections that I started in about 2 hours time, each collection having between 10 and 20 items to complete them.  I'm compulsive enough that I don't need a reward other than to be able to pick up shiny objects and add them to a collection (there are rewards for the less compulsive).

I'll go back and talk about my experience more generally now.

Character Creation

From the very first screen Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) is tempting you to become a member. First you pick your class category, either a Fighter, Mage, Priest, or Scout.  This a great idea when you again have 19 choices, but of course out of the 19 choices all the interesting ones are limited to members and you have 8 pretty standard choices.  Then you pick your race.  There are 19 races, a huge variety, but only 6 that you can use as a free-to-play player and, of course, all the interesting animal based ones are off limits.  

I am typically a 'glass is half full' person and 8 classes and 6 races are a huge selection, but I found the process very irritating.  I can understand wanting to reward members when you switch to being a free-to-play game, but it felt more like SOE was taunting me, saying 'Our friends get these fun toys, but you are limited to the boring ones.'

Also, it was odd there was no guidance as to which were the 'evil' or 'good' characters or starting cities.  As a neutral race I was able to pick any starting city, but I had to go on the web to realize there was a significant choice I was making.  Possibly the choice has become less significant than it was portrayed on the website I was looking at, but it seemed like it would have been easy to categorize the choices.

Climbing was fun!
As mentioned above, I was very happy with how many things there are to do in Everquest 2 at the very beginning of the game.  Combat was pretty standard and, as you would expect, very early in the game it was quite easy until I accidentally pulled three mobs.  Even though I created a healing character, I still felt like my damage spells were effective.


I did have some lag, unlike any of the other games I was playing.  Even though my Blog is titled "One Night a Week", I often play early in the morning and that was the case with Everquest 2, and, because it was early, there weren't many people on when I was playing.  However, about every 5 minutes or so, my character would freeze for about 5 seconds and I couldn't do anything.  I never died because of it and it didn't ruin the game, but it did make me worry about if it would be an issue in groups, particularly as a healer.  I didn't try changing any settings to fix it and it certainly wasn't something that would keep me from playing a this point.

Overall perception

Depending on what you want, I could see Everquest 2 as a great game to play one night a week.  There are so many different thing to do, that you probably wouldn't feel to limited by playing as your only game and it would be easy to find goals that you want to do in short periods of time.

However, there were two things that made me less likely to come back.  The first was mentioned above.  While Fallen Earth and Lord of the Rings Online make it easy for you to spend money, as a free player, Everquest 2 made me feel like a second class citizen.  Possibly I would feel that later in the other games, but I didn't like feeling that way early on.  That said, as mentioned above, it felt like there were more gameplay options and if that were my primary criteria, it wasn't enough to keep me from playing.

The second point was more difficult to tie down.  I didn't feel like I was part of a 'story' in Everquest 2.  All three of the other MMOs I've played recently, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, and Fallen Earth gave me a sense of the world I was becoming a part of right at the start.  I felt more like I had to figure this out on my own in Everquest 2.  For some people this might be a good thing, but I didn't like it.  I'll follow up on this in another post.

Next, I'll be playing Rusty Hearts, my fourth and last trial (for now).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mithril vs Steam

Yes, two posts in one day.  Don't expect to see it again.

I was looking for a comparison of the Steam Starter Pack and Mithril editions for the Lord of the Ring online  and I couldn't find one so I put one together here.  Please let me know if it needs to be corrected.  I based the values on what was on the Turbine Store when I looked yesterday (6/13/2012).

  • Trollshaws (30-50), Eregion(45-55), Mines of Moria(51-60), Lothlorien (55-60)
  • 595+695+1495+595=3380
  • 2950 for Path of the fellowship
  • 2000 points
  • Steed of the Horse-lords Mount (62% speed) 1195 points

Cost $19.99 (what was the sale price is now just the price on Gamestop)

Total 6145 points or 205 points / $ (or 307 points / $ on sale)
(Follow up note that the game is on sale at game spot for $9.99, increasing the potential value to 614 points / dollar on 7/21/2012)

  • Northdown (18-40), Evedim(32-40), Misty Mountains (39-50)
  • 595+595+695=1885
  • 1000 points
  • Noble Grey steed (68% speed) 1995 points
  •  25% XP Boost token (?)
Cost $29.99 (was recently on sale for $14.99)
Total 4180 points or 139 points / $ (or 279 points / $ on sale)

It seems to come down to how much that XP Boost token is worth to you (as far as I can tell, it isn't available in the store) and for me it's very little.  I'm there more to do the quests than to get to max level so I don't see that it'll help me as long as the quests are interesting (I guess that could make a big difference).  Right now, with the Mithril edition's on sale lower price and the Steam Starter pack not on sale, it would be very difficult to justify getting it from Steam though I do love it using Steam and downloaded the free version for my daughter from there.  The Mithril edition also has the advantage of quests for levels 50-60 not included in the Starter Pack.  I guess they are set up so for someone who really likes questing, they could probably justify getting both and having an extra horse since there aren't any overlapping quest packs.

Did I miss something?

Free will?

Does it feel like you've given up your free will as a parent?  It does to me sometimes.  I don't mean this as a complaint, just an observation.  So many times now it seems like my decisions are made for me.  I should probably spend a little time planning ahead, but it seems difficult to find even the time to do that some days.

So what does this have to do with MMOs?  I showed Lord of the Rings Online to one of my three daughters, who is 7, the other day.  It just happens that my wife started reading her 'The Hobbit' about a week ago and the two of us have been reading it to her depending on who is more available in the evening.  As you can imagine, once I showed it to her, she wanted it on her computer as well, so I downloaded it from Steam.  I didn't think it would run well on her computer that has an older Core2 processor and no video card, but it actually runs quite well in the limited resolution she has it at.
My daughter's Lore Master, Kantrita (imaginative, but not so much with names)
So, as you can imagine, though I'll go through the last two evaluations, my decision has pretty much been made for me.  I'll be playing LotRO with my daughter at least until she loses interest.  She's pretty young to be playing the game, but she'll always have help.  Also, she's pretty good about listening when we've said she's had enough.  Of course, she knows if she doesn't then she won't be doing whatever she was doing for quite a while.

With it being free it's not really costing me anything but time for now.  But since she seen me playing World of Warcraft and seen others on horses now she wants one for herself.  I could just get her a horse pretty inexpensively but I had been looking at the Mithril edition since it seemed like a good deal.  By my count you get four quest packs which would cost 2950 Turbine points, plus a mount that would be 1195 Turbine points, plus 2000 points to use as you'd like for $20.00.  So that's 6145 Turbine  points or at about $1.00 for 100 points over $60 worth of stuff for $20.  Do I have that wrong?

However, I know the best deal is free and $20 isn't close to free and, if I would to buy it for myself and my daughter that's $40.  However, LotRO has one big selling point that the subscription games don't. Once I pay, I have what I purchased until the game goes away.  Still $40 is a lot to pay for something that was free.  Then again, I don't mind spending money on something I enjoy and it's even more difficult to deny it for my daughters.  If she keeps playing until I finish the evaluations, I'll probably splurge on it for myself (unless someone can tell me it's not a good deal) and just make sure I don't get my horse out in her presence and then give one to her as a treat a few weeks later once I've decided it's worth it.

This goes directly to the point of this blog.  When you have limited time, the value of things are very different than when you have a lot of available time.  $15 a month for 80 hours of game-play can seem like a great deal, but if it's only 10 hours, the value of the subscription is much less.  Even if I stick with it, I suspect it will take me at least 6 months to finish the content in the Mithril edition and for that I only have to pay once. Now, if I were someone who finished it in a month, it's probably still a pretty good deal but the value is a lot lower in comparison to the person who plays little.  Similarly the value of $15 VIP membership is much better for someone who plays a lot.

I posted earlier about influences.  It doesn't seem much like an influence when you are on a ride and you only think you know where you'll end up.  It's more like a train I'm hanging onto.  But at least I have fun and some pretty scenery on the way.

Monday, June 11, 2012

One Night on Fallen Earth

Actually, it was more like two short nights.  So, here's how Fallen Earth went.

Fallen Earth Character Screen

The good parts:
  • Character creation in Fallen Earth is quite detailed.  I don't really need all the scar and tattoo options, but it's better have too many options than too few. Also the options really seem to make a difference.
  • Fallen Earth has a nice introduction that doesn't take too long.  Even if the clone story for why you can't die is a bit far-fetched, it's better than having no explanation at all in a near future game that doesn't include magic.
  • There are a nice variety of things to do for both crafting and fighting.  I didn't get to explore much of either, but it seems to have more flexibility in what you can do and I didn't feel either too overpowered or underpowered to start out.
  • The visually were pretty nice and seemed to run well on my machine from a couple of years ago with an even more dated graphics card.
  • The quests gave you things to do, but didn't seem to scripted (after the introductory sequence, that is).  It's a game that seems to encourage exploration.
  • You get a horse at the beginning!  Well almost at the beginning (I think it was the third quest I did).  Moving slowly could get old fast and it's nice they give you a mount so soon.
On my horse at South Burg

The not so good parts:

  • I was given a choice of 6 towns to go to but had no idea what to choose.  I think 4 out of the 6 were listed as Full (and this was at around 5 am EDT).  I chose a 'Crafting' one since I usually like crafting, but I wish I was given a better idea what I was doing.  Is this picking a server?
  • I'm not too fond of the Post Apocalypse setting.  Not at all the games fault but it's not really my thing.  It also makes it less suitable for playing with my children.
I was impressed by Fallen Earth and could see myself coming back to it, except for the fact that it's probably not the best family game.  The open nature of the game would be good for only playing one night a week.

I hope there are still a few people reading after my pause in posts.  More about that in my next post!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Why play an MMO one night a week?

Azuriel posted Revisting Single Player MMOs about how it is not just valid, it's common that people play MMOs as single player games.  This made me realize that many people wouldn't play an MMO only one night a week and question why I'd want to do it.

I think it comes down to three things:

Longevity -  A healthy MMO is constantly growing.  There are a lot of things to do and there will be more over time.  Most of the single player games I've played have either been RPGs that have a definite ending (e.g. Ultima games) or strategy games where you have variation between games (e.g. Civilization games).  I find PvP too stressful, so, in either case I tend to lose interest within a couple of months.  With a MMO, I can play it for years if it's maintained.

Investment - As I play MMOs I invest a lot in the characters I build up and I'm curious to see how he or she develops and interacts with the world.

Community - It is odd to include this when you are playing a MMO as a single player game, but there are two aspects of community that are still there.  Even if you are just questing or exploring, every once it a while you can help someone or someone may help you.  I have very low expectations for others in games, so it's always somewhat surprising when it happens, but it is nice when it does.  

Finally there are all of the blogs.  I enjoy reading about MMOs.  Because MMOs are persistent and shared, they become a great source for discussing what people enjoy and why.

I have a lot of undeveloped ideas about why MMOs are enjoyable in them selves and in the broader community that I'm hoping to develop in this blog over time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

One Night Travelling to the Shire

Kintri in the Shire (Nice hat!)

I spent my first night getting to the Shire in Lord of the Rings Online.  With so little time, I made sure my game was up to date and I created my Hobbit Minstrel, Kintri, before I started playing.  I'm playing on Elendilmir since the only guild I've belonged to used to be on that server.  I had also read some of the documentation on the game site.

There was a nice introductory quest chain that got me to level 5 and the Shire.  It was fun, but I generally felt pulled along and there is nothing really compelling me to play right now.  That said, there are a lot of things that interest me about this game:

1.  I think the pay system is pretty well suited for infrequent playing.  Someone suggested paying for 1 month so I won't have the Free to Play limitations.  I see that the Mithril edition is available for $20 and if I decide to keep playing, that seems well worth it since it plays for all the areas I would need up to level 60, a mount, and 2000 points to use as I see fit.  Looking online, it's difficult to figure out the exact limitation of Free to Play.  Does anyone have recommendations?

2.  The one thing I'm most tempted to do, is figure out what crafts I want to learn.  I went to the lady in Michel Delving where you can pick your 'vocation' (a combination of three crafts).  That really made me tempted to want to look up what I'd want to do.  Crafting is a great side focus for me.

3.  I'm an explorer and it'd be fun to explore the Lord of the Rings world and participate in the Fellowship's story along the way.

4.  Quests, quests, and more quests!  If the introduction was totally on ropes, there is certainly a lot to do in The Shire judging from all those rings I saw in completing my first few quests.  I like that the quests aren't very combat focused, too.

Other observations:

  • The graphics are fine, not outstanding.  This doesn't really push me one way or another, though if pushed I'd say I prefer the more comic-like graphics of World of Warcraft.
  • I saw a few people playing, both during the intro and once I got to the Shire, but not many.  Although it would be nice to play with others every now and then, it's not a big deal for me.
  • Humor is a good thing and the game already shows both that it respects the source material and doesn't take itself too seriously.
  • Even the clothing I have from the first standard quests is fun to look at (particularly the hat in the picture above).

My plan, if it wasn't clear, is to play four different games on four different weeks and see what works, what doesn't, and then focus on one of those games after the four weeks are done.  One thing I'm interested to see, is how much I'm compelled to slip in time either doing research or playing these games that I've only played for one night during the week.

Next up is Fallen Earth!  I have a long weekend for Memorial Day so hopefully my next night will be fewer than 7 days away.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Game advice given!

Thank you for all of the advice!  

And thank you for your patience. I've been away on a business trip so I've been even less available to play or post than usual, but I should have time to start this weekend.

I've decided I'll play one game a week for the first four weeks to decide see how they do for a single session, give my reactions and then see what I feel compelled to come back to.

The four games I'll play will be:
  • Lord of the Rings Online:  The good news about this game is I'm already a fan of the books and I know the plot, so I'm hoping leaving a coming back after a week will be a little less disorienting.
  • Fallen Earth:  Two recommendations and the free to play model is supposed to be relatively generous.
  • Everquest 2:  I've been curious about this for quite a while and will be interesting to see how it plays.
  • Rusty Hearts:  This is purely from Killington's recommendation that it has short missions that might work well for someone with limited play time.
Games I decided not to try (yet):
  • Everquest:  Although I'm quite curious, at this point it quite old and with limited time, I'd rather play something newer.
  • Guild Wars:  I looked and I can buy it for $20 from Steam or $30 for the Guild Wars Trilogy.  The Trilogy is a very good deal if I decide to stick with it, but while I'm experimenting, I'd rather not pay until I know I'm going to like it and it's wasted money if I never play the game.  I'm also hopeful that it'll go on one of the Steam sales or might be reduced when Guild Wars 2 comes out.
  • Guild Wars 2:  Sounds like a great game from all I've read, but the price will go down and I can justify $60 even less than $30 with my limited time.
  • Dungeon and Dragons Online:  I've just never felt any compulsion to play this game.  I used to play D&D P&P briefly and even remember buying one of the first edition boxed sets but someone will have to give me a good reason to want to play it online.
  • City of Heroes / Villians:  I've never been a big superhero fan, so the other settings are more interesting to me.
You all have me excited about playing again and it'll be interesting to see how they stack up with my limited play time.  Thanks again for all the advice!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Game Advice, Please?

I'd like some suggestions.  I've dabbled here and there since I cancelled my SWTOR subscription a few months ago, but haven't picked a game to really try my limited time MMO playing on.  Here are some of my thoughts, but I'd like to hear from people who have played the games before I make a decision.

  • For your reference, I played World of Warcraft from beta pretty much until December 2011, though I had a couple of breaks and at the end, I wasn't playing much at all.  I also played SWTOR for a couple of months.
  • Bartle: EASK.  That's somewhat unfortunately since PvP is probably the easiest way to have fun in short spurts, but it's just not my style.  Exploring, crafting, and questing are what I've spent most of my time on.  I've done dungeons and raiding, but they will be very limited (if at all) when you only have one night a week.
  • I can afford a monthly subscription game, but with such limited play time, it seems wasteful, particularly when there are so many Free-to-play (in name, anyway) games out there.   I'll have no problem paying for additional content, but since I won't be playing that much, it shouldn't be difficult to end up paying less than $15 a month on some games out there and still have fun.
  • However, I am open to a limited subscription.  There is appeal in starting a WoW trial account and getting a bunch of Horde alts up to 20 since I played Horde very little in all the time I played.
  • No (or at least very limited) huge grinds when on such limited time, but I don't find crafting or harvesting to be a grind (even though I know others do).
  • I'm hoping part of the fun of this will see how different games that might play great when you have a lot of time might not work on limited time.  For instance, I enjoyed SWTOR at first when I put some hours in during beta and at the beginning, but once I limited my time, I found it was difficult to pick up the story where I had left it, though I guess the story had lagged some at the same time, too.
I'll appreciate any help I can get and feel free to ask questions that you think will help you figure out what I might like!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I remember hearing an interview with an author (I believe it was John Updike) where he was asked about his influences and he stated that although he had read extensively, his biggest influence was his children.  The same is true for me.  My wife and I have three children, ages 3, 7, and 9, and although in some ways I am the same person I was before my first child was born, my life is totally different.

One way that affects me is in my choice of games.  Typically I do not play while my children are with me, but once in a while it has turned out that one was there while I was playing World of Warcraft or SWTOR.  I thought about what I was doing and made sure I could leave at a moments notice, but I was never really concerned about what they saw or heard.  However, it's a influence now as I pick games going forward.  I have friends who are excited about playing the Secret World.  I was interested enough to read some about the game and take the quiz to find out I was a 'Dragon' but the 'mature' tag made me pause.  I realized that even though I typically played games by myself, I didn't want to worry about one of my children being disturbed by what I was playing and decided the Secret World wasn't for me.

Similarly, I recently played the 'Diablo III' open beta.  I had played Diablo and Diablo II extensively and enjoyed the brief beta experience, but I've decided I wouldn't be comfortable playing it with my children with me and therefore I won't be buying it.

What about the rest of you?  Do you find that your game decisions are limited by your children, girlfriend or wife, boyfriend or husband?  It's not necessarily a bad thing.  There are so many games and so little time, that it's good a way to have limits on the choices I will make.


As someone who recently stopped playing MMOs due to lack of time, I have been interested in how it would be to try to play them only one night a week.  The idea isn't to limit myself to one night, but due to the rest of my life, that's about all I can expect to do.  This leads to a very different approach to the games as you can imagine, but hopefully I won't be the only one who is interested.

So, if you are looking for a hardcore MMO blog, this won't be one for you.  However, if you have trouble balancing game time and the rest of your life or if you're interested in different approaches to gaming and thoughts about games, hopefully we'll have some things to talk about together!