Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Esri (Chapter 4)

Posted by Randolph Carter on April 30, 2009

MMO community connection:

Gaming Granny

Chapter 4: Preferences

At your peak, how much time per week would you say you spent gaming?

Probably 40-50 hours.

How about now?

10 – 30 hours.

When during the week are your regular play times?

I usually play for an hour or two in the early evening during the week, maybe 4 hours on Saturday and 6 on Sunday.

Generally speaking, are you more of a social creature in MMOs (grouping to quest, joining guilds, etc.) or something of a lone wolf?

I’m both. I join guilds (usually with the same people I’ve been gaming with for years, but not always), participate in guild chat, but do most of my playing solo. Some games I’m more solo and some I group more, but for the main part I like to play “together alone”.

Have you made any lasting friendships through your MMO experience? Please explain.

Oh, yes. In fact I just got back from a long weekend get-together with a group of long-time gaming friends. We still play together in various games, some in one, some in another, have our own forums and congregate in Facebook and about once a year we get together in “real life” and have a blast. I have other friends that I talk to in IM even though we haven’t played a game together in over 5 years.

Before logging into a game, do you already have a course of action planned out in your head, or do you just sort of do whatever you feel like once in game?

Most of the time I have a plan, but sometimes I get distracted and sometimes I just log in and go with the flow.

When playing MMOs do you tend to just play one at a time or do you take more of the smorgasbord approach?

I used to play one at a time, but now I have subs to multiple games going at once. Right now I have subscriptions to Eve Online, Everquest II, Free Realms and a lifetime sub to Lord of the Rings Online.

Do you tend to supplement your MMO gaming with other PC, console or tabletop games?

Yes. I play the occasional board game, an hour or so of Wii per week and the odd game of Mah-Jhong on the PC. Occasionally, I’ll buy a single-player PC game and spend a few days or weeks in that.

Are you something of an altoholic?

I mostly use alts to try out new or alternate starter area content and classes and those alts seldom make it past the starter areas in games. My altaholic tendencies are satisfied by the multi-game approach — I used to play alts more often when I was playing one game at a time.

Do you find yourself multitasking while gaming (perhaps watching TV, talking on the phone, out of game instant messaging, playing another game, or even listening to a podcast)?

Very seldom. I used to be able to do multiple things at a time — for instance, I always had a book I was reading while watching TV, but these days my only multitasking takes place at work, where it is a necessity and at home I try to concentrate on one thing at a time. Sometimes when mining in Eve Online, I will be doing something like working on a skill training plan, watching a baseball game or working on my trade spreadsheets, but other than that, I’m pretty focused.

Do you find yourself having much MMO discussion off-line, perhaps with friends or family?

I talk about my gaming with my husband and sons, but not really with anyone else — except when I get together with gaming friends.

Have you ever felt that you game too much? If so, how did you cope with that?

I have felt like I was spending too much time gaming — I’ve even quit because of it. I soon found that I didn’t get much else that was useful done, gaming time tends to be filled by watching TV when I stop. Gaming is no more a waste of time than TV, so I don’t worry about it too much anymore.

Since you started playing MMOs, have you ever taken a break from the genre? If so, please explain.

I have taken breaks from gaming every couple of years or so since I started spending gobs of time on it 10 years ago. I’ve quit a couple of times because I wanted to spend more time on my genealogy studies and those breaks have been well used and helpful. I set a goal for the genealogy studies and work on that until I meet the goal and that works well. I’ve also stopped a couple of times simply because I felt I was “wasting time” playing games — those breaks aren’t as helpful… I usually end up watching too much TV and DVDs and not accomplishing any more than I would have gaming. My total breaks from gaming usually last 3 to 6 months, whether for genealogy or “just because”.

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