Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Jaxom (Chapter 4)

Posted by Randolph Carter on May 4, 2009

MMO community connection:

The Middle-Earth Adventurer

Chapter 4: Preferences

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

At my peak, which was probably the year I took off school I approached 40 hours a week, like a full time job. Most of the time it’s less than that. Now a lot would be 20 hours a week. Currently I’m probably looking at 10, maybe. I’ve settled down the gaming quite a bit. I think there’s only so much gaming one can do before needing a break, and since I have a lot of other interests I can pursue besides gaming, I tend to not play nearly as much as I used to.

When during the week are your regular play times?

We’re mainly looking at evenings here, though lately I’ve show up late morning to early afternoon. When I finally get a steady job evenings will probably be the norm. I live on the West Coast of the US so evenings here will differ even across the US, let alone other parts of the world.

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

I have joined a kin and consider my kinship to be the best thing that happened to me in LOTRO. I think I still play because I have kinmates I like to hang out with, whether that’s just talking or we’re actually grouping and experiencing content together. However, my playstyle is mainly solo, with my socializing taking place primarily in chat.

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

Lasting to the point that I’ve played with the same people for over two years now. I’ve only talked to a few outside of game and because of the distance, via e-mail or other internet communication. I’d like to think that these people are friends not just because we play LOTRO together, but because we enjoy each other’s company. At some point I’d love to actually visit some of them if the opportunity presented itself.

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?

I like to start out with goals before I log in. In the past, when I haven’t had goals, I’ll log in, stare at the screen for a while, and if nobody from the kinship is really on or doing anything interesting, I’ll just log back out again. But, if I have a goal for my play session – complete quests, craft, whatever, I find I’ll stay logged in longer. I might finish my predetermined goal and still long in if I have come up with another activity I want to do. Often this will be finishing a play session with crafting – cooking in my case. It’s a nice relaxing end to change up the typical hack and slash of questing.

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

Lately I’ve been all over the place when it comes to play time. Just depends on my mood since my schedule is variable. However, I’ve also filled my schedule with non-gaming activities as of late which aren’t necessary regular either. As such my gaming is sporadic and to someone who doesn’t know my schedule, unpredictable.

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

Sometimes I’ll play some single-player PC games. I don’t have a new gen console so I don’t play console games. I’ve never done intensive tabletop gaming so it’s just single-player PC games for me. I took a few days break to play Mass Effect when it came out for the PC. I’ve recently bought Heroes of Might and Magic V and was playing that until it got ridiculously hard even on the easy setting. If I get frustrated I’ll move on – no reason to play something that’s not fun. I played GTA IV until the latest patch made it crash before I could even load (was pretty miffed about that). I also play Galactic Civilizations II from time to time as well.

Are you something of an altoholic?

Absolutely not. I rarely play the alts I’ve created. At one time I was playing two alts for crafting purposes but I just got bored going through some of the same content again. I stick with my captain exclusively now, though if I ever had some friends I know locally play LOTRO, I’d make an alt specifically for playing with them. That would last longer – as long as they played and/or until they reached the level of my captain.

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)?

Every once and a while. Sometimes I’ll listen to podcasts while playing. I don’t have a TV in the same room as the computer so that’s out. IMing, no way. I hate alt-tabbing out of the game, especially something that’s “live” and cannot be paused. If the phone rings, I’ll answer of course, except in the most intense situations where getting up would be the death of me or another person I’m playing with. If the person on the phone wants to talk I’ll put them on speaker and get my hands back for playing. That’s rare though and most of the time I’m only playing the game.

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

Not with local friends or my family all that much. Recently my sister started playing WoW so we’ve been trading comparing comments back and forth from time to time. My main discussoin of LOTRO comes in the form of my blog – The Middle-Earth Adventurer. And even then that tends to be me talking a lot with occasional comments.

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

Yes, on occasion. When I first bouth HoMaM V I stayed up till 3 AM playing – because it was new mostly. I regretted it afterwards not just because I woke up too late the next day but also because I felt like it was somewhat a waste of time that could otherwise be more productive. Being unemployed makes you feel like you should be using all the time you can to finding a job rather than “goofing off” playing games. I think I’m just a point in my life where gaming is becoming more of a hobby and occasional activity rather than an obsession. I don’t think I ever reached the point of being obsessed but when I was younger I lived to game.

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

Yes, with the single player games I mentioned above. However, LOTRO has always been something I played since I started Beta in August of 2006. I might take a break with a different game from time to time but LOTRO has the largest percentage of my game time.

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