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!