10 Feb 2011

Managing Limited Game Time

There are times when I miss my youth. Back when I was a student I’d be free to play the night away, blasting cyborgs in Quake 2 or bludgeoning head-crabs in Half-Life. I’d blitz through a game in four days straight, chomping through single player content like a man possessed.

The other thing was that back then I’d play through a lot of games. I’d consider buying a new title once or twice a month to give me something new to play. I’d adventure across a multitude of worlds, shooting my way to liberty, freedom or glory.

Warcraft has changed this. In the time I’ve been subscribing I’ve bought maybe a handful of other games for the PC. Gordon from We Fly Spitfires asked a great question recently about what the gaming landscape would be like without the game. For me and probably a fair few others we would never have entered the MMO genre.

I think that MMOs are interesting to me on two points, the first one being that they’ll eat up as much time as you throw at them. The second and slightly trickier one is that there’s no way to beat the game. It’s not like Halo where you beat Arthas or Deathwing and get an end-game cinematic before the credits roll.

Things become even more intricate once you start managing multiple characters. I have a raiding mage, a roleplay mage, an alchemy warlock and a jewelcrafting priest as well as countless other alts. How do I make sure I split the time fairly between raiding, roleplay and making sure that my other characters get worked on?

Currently I work on the “priority principle”. I write a list of the things I want to get done in the time I have available to play, and I slowly whittle it down. I can’t make many raids at the moment so I work on other alts instead. More often it’ll be levelling the roleplay mage, but I’ll periodically log on to the alchemist or jewelcrafter to make sure I’m stocked up with flasks and use my transmutation cooldown.

I also tend to push my main game to one side when I’m playing betas. While the Rift beta was up I’d play it almost exclusively in order to get as much out of the limited time as possible. Now that everything’s offline prior to open beta next week, I’m focusing on WoW again.

I’m sure there must be other methods for managing this though, so I’m interested to hear your ideas. Do you just have a single character that you focus all your attention on, or do you drop certain activities from your Warcraft schedule? Do you find that you play fewer games since starting WoW?

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