Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Ravious (Chapter 4)

Posted by Randolph Carter on May 7, 2009

MMO community connection:

Kill Ten Rats

Chapter 4: Preferences

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

In undergrad, I was doing probably upwards of 50-60 hours per week. It was getting pretty insane. I remember setting my alarm clock for 3 AM to compete in A Tale in the Desert’s Hour of Towers, and then crash back into bed at 4 AM. Now I would say about 10 hours per week.

When during the week are your regular play times?

My wife is currently not a PC gamer (she did like WoW, but our computer/kid situation is not friendly to spouse-gaming) so we worked on a schedule so she knows when I am going to game, and when I am going to amuse her. That schedule is now usually Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday nights after my daughter has gone to bed. Occasionally on another weekend night I will stay up later than my wife to play some more if I can’t get to sleep.

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

Depends. I used to be very lone wolf, but now I have started relying on guild events to play MMOs. I have stopped signing on a lot to just putz around and hope for a group.

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

Yes. The best has been A Tale in the Desert, but that makes sense because the whole game is built around social experiences. My main guild meant so much to me, and chat became very personal almost every time I was on. Sadly I have lost touch with all but one of those guildmates, and the one I am in touch with is another contributer to Kill Ten Rats (Zubon). I have not made such great friendships through MMOs since because most MMOs I played after ATITD were EQ-style, where gaming trumps socializing.

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 used to just hang out, but usually now I have a plan because my time is so limited. Whenever I log on and nothing happens, or I don’t accomplish anything, I tend to get annoyed at the game (and sometimes guild). I’d rather logoff with a happy feeling.

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

I usually play one at a time because they are such time-devouring creatures. I feel I don’t get all the juice out of the orange if I play a lot of games at once.

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

A little, but not much. My wife and I play Carcassonne and I have been teaching her Magic: the Gathering. I do some online roleplaying, and I do own consoles.

Are you something of an altoholic?

Not at all. Same with having fingers in so many games, I feel the same way with alts. I feel like whatever additional “game” I am getting on an alt is much less than the “game” I would be getting on my main. Especially if I am re-grinding content.

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)?

Definitely. I used to watch TV while I played MMOs all the time until it got to the point where I could not watch TV unless I was “muiltitasking” because I felt it was a waste of time. I sometimes also listen to new music or a podcast while I do “simpler” MMO activities like farming. Normally I don’t multitask on my computer while playing MMOs.

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

With friends, yes. Over the years, the friends that I have kept closest (even over distance) play online games, especially MMOs, but not necessarily the same ones I am playing. We have tons of discussions on game reviews, strats, new updates, etc. It is definitely a hobby for us, and one that is nearly unphased by geographic distance.

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

I did at one time when it was my default activity, and I do mean default… say over eating, cleaning, and significant others. This was probably my one and only dark age. The way I dealt with it was to create “gaming nights” where I knew that the night would be for gaming. Otherwise, I would not default to gaming, and I usually play board games or watch movies with my wife or go out. It is the healthiest way I have found to balance life with my “hardcore” gaming. If things are slow, or if my wife would rather knit or sleep, then I do play on non-gaming nights, but like I said… it’s not default anymore.

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

Definitely. My biggest break was about the time that Guild Wars was starting to get boring. I just couldn’t let myself pay for a subscription to a game that I didn’t feel was worthwhile; so, I really had no fun MMOs to choose from. I spent more time with FPS, like TF2, and tried a smattering of other genres. Now, Guild Wars has become amazingly fun in updates, and I also have a lifetime subscription to LOTRO, so I don’t foresee another genre overtaking my MMO play for awhile.

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