Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

SmakenDahed (Chapter 4)

Posted by Randolph Carter on June 27, 2009

MMO community connection:

Random Ogre Thoughts

Chapter 4: Preferences

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

30-40 hours then, about 15-20 now – if I’m lucky and willing to sacrifice sleep (which I am).

When during the week are your regular play times?

I tend to be a weekend warrior; I play Friday night and usually weekend mornings. I do hop on after 9pm for a couple of hours when I feel up for it. That’s usually when I do my farming or tradeskilling. The guild I am in raids from about 8pm to 11pm Tuesday, Thursday and Friday so I try to make those when I can.

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

All of the above. If I’m tired, I tend to just fall into what ever I’m doing and run about solo. When I’m more awake I’ll group up or build groups to hit what ever or I’ll pop into some PVP, BGs or otherwise. When I’m in a guild, I do try to be social, though I tend to miss a lot of chat if I’m into a dungeon or raid.

(My gaming friend would say I miss tells too, and it’s true. I’ve had to use ChatAlert type mods to put certain chat channels right in my face – the little pings in games like EQ2 doesn’t always work)

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

Hell ya. One I’ve already babbled about (Frank: Airstrike, Damogoth, Kaldonar); met in Quake2 LMCTF when I was organizing my clan’s side and he was on the other team. We were in email contact setting up a time and date. I was a little nervous contacting people outside the clan because I was expecting to get some corpse-humping asshat but the guy was completely polite, understanding and pretty easy going.

The match came about and my side was horribly overmatched (being more in to RA2 and not really being organized for CTF). The end result of a 30 minute match was a 3-0 loss to my clan. It would have been worse but I held their flag through most of the match. They capped twice when they finally got me and a third time when another clanmate was carrying the flag. I got hold of it again and kept it for the remaining time (I think I had it for about 28 minutes).

They were good sports and good winners.

In the following weeks I’d occasionally end up on a LMCTF server (I didn’t play RA2) where he was playing sometimes on the same team and sometimes not. When we were on the same team we’d dominate with me on D and him nabbing their flag. When we were on opposing teams we sort of canceled each other out.

End result was we had a lot of fun and played really well together be it defense or offense. He ended up asking me if I wanted to join his clan and after some thought I did. Eventually we formed our own then went into EQ together.

In EQ I met up with another guy I’m still playing games with today (Chris: various names starting with Cel). Frank had actually met him and we all got along eventually tried other games together.

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 usually have some sort of plan. Farm, tradeskill, explore, PVP or do some instances. I’ve often planned what we’ll do for a session ahead of time and invited people by sign up.

When you have less time to play, you want to spend more time playing and less time waiting or trying to build a group so I like to get that sort of thing out of the way before hand.

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

Yes and no. I usually don’t subscribe to more than one MMO unless I’m starting to get bored of the one I’m playing in which case I’ll sub to another and play it at off times. I’d rather get somewhere in one game than halfway in a bunch of other games – that’s just me though, I don’t force my expectations on others.

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

Again, when I’m getting bored I’ll binge on some other PC game or console game. I play D&D with a group of friends (almost) every week for about 10 years now so my MMO gaming is on top of that.

Are you something of an altoholic?

Only when I’m first starting a game and when I first started playing a MMO. I’ll experiment with all sorts of classes to see what I enjoy. At the moment, I tend to focus on a character until it hits the cap then I might create an alt to play with. I currently have about five alts in WoW but I also have a max level Paladin (Ret/Prot) who raids.

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 sometimes listen to a podcast or music but no, I usually focus on the game when I’m playing (spouse and children permitting). I might have online radio streaming a hockey game to me or I might have the TV on with hockey going in the background, but I’m not watching it (it’d hurt my neck to see the screen from where the computer is).

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

Not so much anymore. I talk about it with my son, in my blog but not so much with my friends.

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

Yup, I have felt that way but I don’t feel it ever goes on long enough to impact work or my social life (generally, I play a lot when I’m on vacation). I don’t? It’s a hobby I enjoy. It gets pushed aside if I need to do work or if I need to go to family events or if I need something more important than entertainment.

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

Yes, I’ve taken a few breaks here and there. The most notable was before the EQ Stromm server was released. I didn’t touch a MMO for several months until my bud got me thinking about it. I’ve taken a few other breaks but never really for any particular reason.

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