Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Brian (Chapter 4)

Posted by Randolph Carter on May 10, 2009

MMO community connection:

Blue Kae

Chapter 4: Preferences

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

My peak was probably 60 hours a week when I was a bachelor and could get away with it. Now that I’m married and a father, I’m usually in the 20 hours range with most of that on the weekends.

When during the week are your regular play times?

I play a little at night after my wife and son go to bed, but my consistent playtime is weekends from evening until whenever I drag myself to bed.

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 a lone wolf probably 90% of the time. I group occasionally when I need to, but I’m very picky about joining guilds and I usually don’t put much effort into tracking one down that would be a good fit.

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

Nope. Mostly being a solo player with the occasional pickup group doesn’t lend itself to developing friendships online. There have been two groups of players, one in DAoC and one in CoH, that I got pretty involved with, but the friendships didn’t last past my time in the game.

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?

Depends on the game. When I log into EVE I usually always have plans, but I’ve found that’s necessary for a sandbox game. With LoTRO, I often have no specific plan and just get on to play.

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 limit myself to one active subscription at a time. As the genre expanded that became more difficult to do. My rule now is two at a time, but I’ve bent that rule a little by getting a lifetime subscription to LoTRO. I’m currently paying for EVE and CoH, which is my one serious and one nostalgia/experiment subscription. I’ll drop CoH sometime soon and pickup EQ2 or something else, I had resubscribed to WoW for a month before CoH.

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

I play PC and console games as well. My PC tastes are mostly RTS games like Warhammer 40k Dawn of War and Sins of a Solar Empire. I play a lot of Xbox 360 games as well like Fable 2, CivRev, and RockBand 2.

Are you something of an altoholic?

Depends on the game. In EverQuest 2, I only every played my Gnome Wizard Mallon, but I LoTRO I have 6 of the 7 characters slots filled. In the original EverQuest I used to create a character, play to level 5 or 6, then create a different character and start over. In DAoC I only played my Troll Shaman Nallas. Usually I just identify too strongly with my initial character and never develop any interest in playing through the starting content again. LoTRO especially has been different because I enjoy pretty much all of the classes.

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)?

I’ll often listen to podcasts while playing, although not if I’m grouping. TV, phone, and IM are too distracting, and music isn’t distracting enough.

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

No, most of my family and friends don’t play games at all let alone MMO’s.

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

I like this quote from Russell Bertrand: “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

I often hear people talk about feeling bad about time they waste playing games, but the question I always like to ask is, “What would you be doing instead?” There’s not much difference between playing a game, reading a book, or watching TV for an hour. Of the three, watching TV is probably the least healthy for you. The level of social acceptance of TV versus video games is something that has always bugged me, but fortunately is changing as more gamers become parents.

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

Absolutely. I took a break after DAoC, but that’s because there was nothing new I was interested in. Since then, I haven’t taken a long break from the genre, but I will occasionally take a few weeks or few months off. Usually in that time I’ll be focused more on console or single-player PC games, or on another hobby like woodworking or home brewing.


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