Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Riknas (Chapter 4)

Posted by Randolph Carter on May 6, 2009

MMO community connection:

Free Play Podcast

Chapter 4: Preferences

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

Collectively? Too much time. This pretty much is my peak, as I’m getting a job next year, I’d say I get in a good 25-30 hours of gaming total a week. It’s kind of alarming in retrospect.

When during the week are your regular play times?

Evenings, definitely evenings, from 6PM-10PM on weekdays, with plenty of breaks in between. As for weekends, nothing is regular about them.

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

Sometimes I’m a lone wolf as part of necessity. It just can’t be helped, because no one is in the low level zones where I start, or I managed to pick a low population server. More often than not though, I am a total chatterbox and grouper, grabbing pick up groups, joining guilds (And more often than not, becoming an officer) and starting a self-help club for the team. Well, that last one only happened once…

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

Didn’t think I would, but I stayed in contact with a couple people back in Star Wars Galaxies. I definitely had my strongest friendships there. I met him nearly a week after playing, and sold him a house in-game. Somehow that inspired us to hang out there more, and we just stuck together from there. I stayed in contact with him up until last year. Not sure what he’s doing now, but I hope he’s doing well.

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?

Definitely. I always know what I’m about to do, if I don’t have an overarching goal I’m usually not doing anything important or useful. And if I’m not doing anything useful I feel compelled to stop playing. I’m very much about planning and thinking. To not know what to do next would just throw a wrench in my whole day for not planning it out ahead of time.

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

I try to be a monogamous gamer. Only recently now that I’ve been trying other MMOs, (And even then, it’s usually only F2P) and that’s mainly because I’m doing a podcast about F2P MMOs now, so it’s somewhat necessary to play other games. I’m almost always just playing one pay to play game at a time, insisting to myself this is the game I’m finally going to stay with forever. Until the next MMO releases.

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

I’m starting to feel like a broken record, but a lot of my gaming habits have just developed or disappeared. In the case of side-gaming, I haven’t lately, though I’ll likely be amending that in the near future as I get ahold of some new console games.

Are you something of an altoholic?

Yes and no, the answer to all of my questions. I was very much an altoholic, which is likely what would lead to my MMO burnout problems, where I try every race and every class in a game and play through the same starting content over and over again. Now I’ve been sticking to having my “group” character where I play with my static team, and my “solo” character where I can experience new content on my own, usually trying to get as far from the group content as I can if the game is non-linear.

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)?

Not really. Sometimes if someone calls me I’ll talk to them while I game, though I try not to (It would be pretty lame to tell your girl friend that you can’t talk to them because you’re too busy playing Dungeons and Dragons Online.) Though I do frequently listen to podcasts if I’ve been lagging behind in the list of ones I’m subscribed to. Even then, I’m only half listening, my mind focused on the game. I’m very much a, “The only way is all the way!” type of person.

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

Yes, very often I would talk MMOs with my father and my friends whether it be about the concept of collision detection, PVP in MMO’s. I’ll talk about upcoming releases, specific features, and whatever I read on the assorted MMO news sites I visit. At the end I almost always find myself exclaiming, “Man! We’re such nerds,” And then talk about women or football, until we get bored and talk about MMOs again until the cycle starts all over again.

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

Oh man. Nearly all the time. Before I was responding to this, I was just playing DDO. Honestly? I struggle to cope, and so I often go through brief periods of mental collapse until I start writing (Be it songs or short stories), go for a walk/jog, or I start gaming again.

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

I’ve had a couple of those stints without MMOs, namely being after Everquest, because I didn’t understand them and spent a few years not understanding them. I also was convinced after Everquest 2 I figured MMOs out and realized how evil they were with their monthly subscription and wouldn’t fall to it again. My final stint was with Star Wars Galaxies where I swore off MMOs forever because I realized I could never love an MMO the same way again. Although I did go back to MMOs this time, there is a grain of truth to my last statement, being that I have yet to find something that could really and truly replicate the experience of openess I felt playing Star Wars Galaxies.

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