Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Stargrace (Chapter 4)

Posted by Randolph Carter on May 1, 2009

MMO community connection:

Chapter 4: Preferences

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

I spend way more time gaming now then I ever did at my play peak, mostly because I do volunteer work online and because I write about video games for a living. It’s hard to write about something that you don’t actually play. My numbers some times embarrass me but then you combine the ‘fun’ play time I get in there too. I’ve learned long ago not to look at the numbers unless you feel as though you’re neglecting life in some way. Then it’s unhealthy.

When during the week are your regular play times?

Again, it depends on what we’re talking about. If I’m playing for work I’m on during the day time, and if I’m playing for me it’s typically in the evenings, when friends are around and we can do things together.

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

A combination of both. I enjoy my quiet time I admit, but I also enjoy grouping up with friends and joining guilds. I enjoy ‘chattering’ to numerous people at any given time even if I’m not grouped up.

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

I’ve made so many lasting friendships I wouldn’t even begin to explain. I’ve met some of the most amazing fantastic people through gaming, both in real life and in virtual worlds. Some of my closest friends are people I’ve met online. I even met my fiancée online first.

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?

Some times I log in with an idea of what I want to do, and some times I log in without the faintest idea and pull from others around me. It all depends on my mood!

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

For fun I tend to just stick with one or two, but my work typically requires four or five or even more. It can get VERY frustrating. I’m still trying to learn how to master the balancing act.

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

I have a wii, Nintendo DSi, and a PS3 (two of those are fairly new) so yes, I tend to play other games along with playing MMOs. If I could get into some tabletop gaming here I would jump at a chance for that too, but the opportunity hasn’t come up yet.

Are you something of an altoholic?

“Something of an altoholic” – sure that could be used to describe me. Now multiply it 1,000 times.

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)?

Yes, almost always. The only way I can do everything I do, and continue to do it is multitasking. If I’m doing something intense in game of course I concentrate on it (raiding, instances etc) but when I’m casually kicking back I have other things going on.

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

Again, since it relates to my job, yes, almost always. My family doesn’t know a great deal about MMOs and I have a lot of fun discussing different aspects with them. Plus my brothers are heavy gamers (mostly console) so we have some great talks. I feel blessed that I can talk so openly about a passion of mine with friends and family.

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

I have been told in the past by people who (for whatever reason) thought they knew me that I game too much – but the way I decided to look at it was: I’m not neglecting anything at all in life. I don’t have children that I’m ignoring while I play, I’m healthy, I sleep well, and I have a fairly active life alongside gaming. What I do with my spare time, be it reading a book, drawing, or gaming is what I decide to do with it. I’ve never been big on television; in fact I haven’t even watched any shows for the past 5 years until just recently. That was my choice with my free time, just like gaming is. I think we need to spend less time worrying about what everyone else thinks, and just concentrate on what WE think about ourselves. Make ourselves the best that we can be without having to feel self conscience that we’re doing to much or too little of something.

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

Of course, I always take breaks here and there. I get bored, or restless, or I just need a change. It is sort of expected I think when you do so much of one thing. Moderation is important and being able to tell when you feel that burn out without ruining the game you’re currently playing is hard to do. If you can manage to pull yourself back you may go back to the game with a brighter attitude when you don’t feel quite so burnt out. Switching to console games or just giving up gaming all together when life gets hectic is also pretty important.


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