Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Hatch (Chapter 4)

Posted by Randolph Carter on June 25, 2009

MMO community connection:

Escape Hatch

Chapter 4: Preferences

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

Oh dear god don’t make me think about this. At my peak? I was in grad school, living alone in a strange city across the country from all of my friends? 25-35 hours per week. Now, it’s more like 15-20, depending on if we do a full-clear of Naxx 25 that week, or if I’m trying to fit in time with a beta.

When during the week are your regular play times?

A few weeknights. Weekends it’s variable. Sometimes raid Sunday evening, sometimes spend a Saturday afternoon in BGs or doing instances.

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. I just prefer it that way, but I also enjoy running instances with those in my circle of friends.

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

Yes. One of my guildies happened to live only a short subway ride from me. We became friends in real life. I was reluctant to meet him at first, but he had no qualms because he actually met his wife in Everquest. Turned out to be a really cool guy. Aside from that, I’d consider most of my guildies to be friends, but I’ve learned not to get too attached as people quit, change goals, or leave because of drama. You can have real friendships in MMOs, but they tend to be much more easily broken than real-life friendships. I tend to not get very close to online friends.

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’m the planning type. It can sometimes be difficult to convince me to deviate from that plan. 🙂

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

I tend to get deeply into one rather than playing a few at once. I find that the type of activities I enjoy are better served by focusing just on one game. If you play a lot of different games, you tend to fall behind the curve. I also haven’t really liked most of the other MMOs I’ve tried lately. I may need to revise my answer once Champion’s Online or APB come out.

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

Yes. I console it up with my Playstations (mainly skateboarding games, brawlers, and story-driven RPGs), my Wii (basically anything with “Mario” in its name) and my PC (story-driven shooters like Half Life and CoD4, strategy games like SC, WC3, Sins of a Solar Empire)

Are you something of an altoholic?

Yes. This is mostly because I want to try out and master all of the different classes to enjoy new playstyles and perspectives on the game. I’m weird in that I find exploring the different class abilities more interesting than exploring the game world.

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, all the time. Raiding is the only time I don’t also pay attention to something else. If I’m alone, I PvP with music on and watch TV or listen to a podcast while grinding and leveling. Otherwise I’m talking to my girlfriend in person or on the phone with family/friends while playing. All this is mostly a function of my brain constantly needing stimulation. One part of my brain needs something else to do while I’m talking to someone, and the other part needs something else to do while I’m playing.

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

I constantly talk about WoW with my girlfriend. She’s my GM and co-raid-leader. Online gaming made a short period of time when we were long-distance a lot more bearable, so it’s become something we share quite heavily.

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

I do often feel that way. My response is usually to take a night off to read a book or go out to a bar/restaurant/movie/store, or watch a movie or TV show from home. The other thing I do when I feel like I’m gaming too much is take time out to exercise. I can do this pretty much any time because we have exercise machines and weights in our home. And guys, remember: if you feel like you are playing too much, take a break and go give your significant other some real attention. If you think you’re playing to much, then they probably think you are playing WAY too much.

The absolute best is pure detox. I take a trip to visit my family and or friends out of town, where I won’t have time or connection to play. I find that as soon as I get on the train or plane, I don’t even miss the game, and that’s comforting. It’s more something I do recreationally, and not something I feel dependent on.

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

Nope, not since I started. I only stopped playing CoH because I had already gotten into WoW, and my subscription hasn’t lapsed in all these years. Why haven’t they sent me some sort of “thank you”? I’ll take it in the form of cookies, please.


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