Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Are you so silly that you only play one MMO at a time?

I am. Mark Jacobs said in a recent interview: "I play multiple MMOs... the idea that you only play one is really kind of silly." And he talks about research having been done on that subject: "We've done surveys on that, the industry has done surveys… so any comment along the lines of 'well if they're in my game they're not playing in another game,' flies in the face of all research that's been done among MMO players." Hmmm, I wasn't aware of that research. Anyone got a link?

Personally I have terrible problems playing more than one MMORPG at the same time. I am monogameous. The fundamental problem is that these games are designed to suck the maximum amount of time out of you. Playing one game for two hours is a lot more effective than playing two games for one hour each. Of course there are transition periods, where you decrease your activity in one game, and start up the next, and still are subscribed to both. And technically I'm "playing" Guild Wars and Lord of the Rings Online in parallel to World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online right now, plus a number of free games. But only if you consider having a valid subscription as being the same as playing a game, which kind of breaks down as concept with games that don't really have a subscription or where you bought a lifetime subscription. A better definition of "playing" is actually logging into a game and doing more than just emptying your mailbox. Practically for me it is hard to imagine playing several MMOs on the same evening.

So lets add to this research and do another survey: Do you frequently play more than one MMORPG on the same day? How many monthly subscriptions are you usually paying for in the same month?
Playing computer games is just one of my spare time activities and i prefer having more than 1 game to choose from! Even if that means paying more than one mmo sub. I am a strict super-casual player who doesnt 'commit' to a single game. I realize that this attitude may not be ideal for the mmo genre, but in my gameplay time i play what i want, not what i should ' cause my guild needs me on a raid' or something. I'll reserve those kind of work like commitments for RL.

Right now i have a pretty inactive WOW sub (to illustrate casual-ness: one lvl 70, one L61 on that, played since launch) and i will sub to WAR (one R18, one R12) when my free time is up. Although inactive, ill keep my wow sub: i will try out WotLK. So then i will have 2 subs running. But even played extremely casually those 30something Euros per month are some of the most cost effective in my leisure time spending.
God no, I don't have enough time to play a mmo and a single player game let alone multiple mmos.

Once WAR came out I all but dropped every single player game I was playing or was looking forward to playing.

Some people say mmos are ruining PC gaming, for the simple reason that when you are playing something like WOW for 4 years, you probably aren't buying or playing all the other great non mmo games that are coming out. The same is not true of single player games, once you finish one you move onto another. You never finish an mmo and chances are you can and will miss out on all the great single player games that might have been released while you were sucked into that mmo world.
I don't think its possible to play more than one MMO if you do it seriously. I haven't touched any other game since I started playing WoW 3 years ago. Under normal circumstances I would have bought about 6 to 12 other games in that period.
I only play one MMO and only have one subscription at any given time but i always have single player games to play in parallel with the MMO i'm addicted at that moment.
Just the one MMO for me, thanks. I don't really have enough time to play that!
I tried balancing City of Heroes/Villains with WoW for several weeks, but it didn't work; WoW won. Periodic breaks from Warcraft have allowed me to appreciate games like Dawn of War, World of Goo, Armageddon Empires, and the Half-Life series. Currently I'm playing WAR with a friend on Skype several hours a week, and WoW takes whatever other available time WoW wants to take. Potentially tenable, as WAR is a more directly social experience, and WoW is more detached. I play both casually, not scheduled.
I think all my friends who have lifetime subs to LOTRO are now playing more than one MMO at a time. CoH also seems to be popular as a second or casual MMO among people I know (its so easy to log in and join a team for a mission or two if you just want to quickly nuke some baddies).

I never really played more than one at a time, but I am definitely planning to do that when Lich King comes out. In some ways it'll be ideal. Game 1 introduces some boring grind or enters a quiet patch? No prob, boot up game 2.

It'll be interesting to see how many other people plan to take this approach. I don't think it'll be the majority but ... who knows?

I think I could have more fun playing 2 games casually than one game hardcore/intensively.
I cancelled my WoW subscription well in advance, so I guess I'm only playing a single MMO at this time.

In any case.. I usually roughly classify my games into two categories: Those that I can play for the whole evening, and those that I play around 30 minutes or less at a time. There can be several "short" games at the same time, but only one "long" game. That "long" game can be an RPG, a strategy game, an RTS, a single-player FPS, an MMO.. In other words, games where there's a clear sense of continuity and progress. Usually there's also a hook in the form of increasing stats, a storyline or plain exploration.

When Jacobs talks about multiple MMOs, I see him talking about MMOs that allow short-term play. WAR's scenarios are a perfect example of byte-sized gaming. Sure, quests can be done in byte-sized increments as well, but to me there's always the next piece of the story I want to see.

Once WAR came out I all but dropped every single player game I was playing or was looking forward to playing.
I did the same with long-term single player games, but I still play short games like World of Goo, Audiosurf, Super Smash Bros Brawl and UT3. I have to admit that I've neglected worthwhile long games like Okami and Shadow of the Colossus and didn't even buy Mass Effect.

But to each to it's own, I guess. I have a buddy that does play multiple "long" games and just uses the save function liberally.
Lol even one mmo is more time than I can really afford to put into gaming. I have played several mmos and may even have been double subscribed on occasion but I have NEVER been able to play more than one at a time.
Yeah I'm not really sure where he pulled that little "stat" from. Most MMO's are subscription based. I don't see very many people at all paying 2 subscriptions at once.

I'm chopping and changing between WAR and Guild Wars at the moment, but only because Guild Wars has no subscription fee. And this is the first time I've done that, before it was Guild Wars exclusively.

What people DO do is play multiple games at once, just not multiple MMO's at once.
At the moment I'm playing 2 at remains to be seen how long it lasts, but right now, I conside WoW to be my primary game, but if I log on to find we dont have enough to raid (happens a fair bit and has done for the last 4-6 weeks since the wotlk release date was announced) I generally log off and go play lotro instead (and I'm paying that monthly, I dont have the lifetime subscription)

It works for me, and the spending of less than £20 a month (I'm a Uk guy) for 2 subscriptions is well worth it in terms of hourly cost, and far cheaper than any other form of (interactive) entertainment I can think of
As Spinks says I have the LotRO lifetime and am planning on playing Moria and WAR. BUT - this it the first time I've ever tried to play more than 1 MMO at the same time, and I'm not sure it'll pan out or work for me.

Mark Jacobs says some dumb stuff, and some decent stuff. I know what this falls into.
I nearly always play more than one MMO at a time - currently its EQ2 and WAR, but I am subbed to WoW too but my son plays that atm and not myself.

I also have an EvE sub but that is a very casual game for me.
Not play, but silly enough to pay.
I have active:
- brand new sub for WAR
- active 6-month sub for EQ2
- lifetime sub for LotRO

I could easily have had an active WoW sub as well, since I used the 3-month-resub-automatic option. Cancelled it just in time. I feel like, though I have money to pay, I don't have time to play. :(
I currently play WAR and EVE Online. WAR is new and shiny, and therefore getting lots of attention, but I play EVE at least once a week, and sometimes more.
I'm probably an outlier since I only play one mmo at a time and generally play less than 2 months before cancelling. I've never cancelled a sub to move to another mmo. I play for a couple months, get my mmo fix and then don't play one again for a year or so.
I not only play only one MMO at a time, but also play only one character.

Developing a character is what keeps me playing. I try to 'beat' it. That fact, that MMOs cannot be beaten is what I love most about them.
I signed up for a year of Wizard101 when the special offer came up (despite my intention only to try the game for free), and I am playing WoW, too.

I don't intend to play W101 on a daily basis, unlike WoW. In fact I have spent most of my time in W101 playing the mini-games, rather than questing.

Much as I would like to try WAR and LotR, I simply don't have time to commit to them.
The subscription cost is not relevant to my decision; amount of time available is the issue.
The moment subscriptions die, people will play more than one at a time. Silly is to expect people to pay for a service they don't use. My MMO time is limited and i do prefer the one, that is the most entertaining one. Right now the market only offers one option. For me it's WoW.

I won't pay subs for a secondary inferior product.
Though I have bought and installed a lot of different MMORPG, I tend to only play one of them. When a new game comes out I might play two for a short time while I decide which one to play. But then I either switch to the new one, or go back to the old one. So currently I have an active account on WAR and WoW, but I already decided to focus on WoW exclusively.
I've played 2 MMOs at the same time, and I think WAR is well suited to be played in addition to another MMO.

However, WoW I fear is less suited to being played along side another MMO. WoW (at least when I played it), is all about repetition and grinding. If you are raiding, then you are playing the same content several nights a week, on a schedule with other Guild mates. On the nights your not raiding, your probably grinding rep, materials or gold (via dailies) to support the raiding. Additionally, WoW has had PvP honour grinding, arena point grinding, PVE reputation grinding etc etc.

For me, and this is a personal opinion, I acknowledge others experiances may differ, WoW is exclusive. And when I play it, I feel as though the game has been designed to entrap me into playing for more than I wish to play, thanks to the grind mechanic being over used. I've long argued with people that a raiding end game doesn't need pre-requisites such as reputation rewards, enchantments, gems and money to afford food and pots - only Blizzard seem to think it's necessary and thus my logical conclusion is that they want to keep you busy in WoW, and not be sneaking off for an evening in some other MMO.

In summary, IMHO yes you can play two MMO's (or more) at once, so long as one of them isn't WoW :P
Although I CAN play more then one MMO at a time, I only ENJOY playing one MMO at a time.

When WAR came out I wouldn't force myself to play WoW because all I wanted to play was WAR. Sadly IMHO WAR isn't as fun as WoW so after two weeks I went back to WoW with excitment(due to the patch). I still have a few days left on my WAR subscription and I can't force myself to play WAR because I'd rather be playing WoW. Same thing happend when AoC was released and the GW expansions.

I can't really get myself to play more then one MMO in a short amount of time, but I can mix MMO w/ single player games on consoles, or the psp....infact I mix them a lot when I run BG's...jk.
Hmm, now that you mention it, I did pay for a year's worth of Wizard 101 (in addition to playing WAR currently), yet haven't touched it in a month. But since I didn't pay an initial fee, and they wanted $60 for the year, I went ahead and paid for it.

And once in a blue moon, I'll play Puzzle Pirates. I did play some Dungeon Runners over the summer, too.

And I signed up for a year's subscription to which has all the typical "casual" games that are found also on MSN and yahoo. It was like $10 for a year, so I've already got my money's worth.
I've played WoW since launch and have picked up other games along the way.

My WoW subscription has always been active but I've since cancelled all the others including LOTRO, Conan and WAR. They were all good games but I still find WoW to be better.

It's almost impossible to seriously play more than one at once.
It's probably impossible to play more than one seriously, but it's perfectly possible to play more than one casually. Myself being a terribly casual player, I like to switch. Myself also being a PvP-centered player, I also like other kinds of PvP, mainly, shooters (UT3, TF2, BF2142 were the last big ones there).

I usually have 0-2 MMO subscriptions at a time, on and off, back and forth. Right now it's Warhammer Online and World of Warcraft, who'd have thought, but I experimented with TR, HG:L, AoC, Eve, and some minor ones (most free-to-play).

I'd be interested in research links as well though :)
Only one thank you very much. How could you focus... I don't have enough time to do all the things I want in the ONE I play.
I am a one-MMO type. However, some of my friends with lifetime-subs and/or no-sub games (ie. Guild Wars) will play another MMO in addition to those.

For most of us, it boils down to 1-2 subcriptions per month. Having subs to multiple games can add up rather quickly and provide little benefit due to time constraints.
Usually I don't play more than one at a time. I will however make an exceptions with WAR and WoW when WOTLK is released and play both for some time. Sooner or later though I will drop one of them, and at the moment I expect that the one I will drop is WoW.

As you say though, technically I'm still playing LOTRO and GW too, although it's several months since I even logged in there. Damn it they've made a lot of profit on my LOTRO lifetime subscription. :)
He should tell it to all the "hardcore" destro on my server complaining that not enough Order have leveled up to t4 yet. Sorry I have plenty of other things to do, alts to play. Other games.

I have a hard time playing more than one game, but it's my personality. Though I still have a WoW and WAR sub, and my lifetime LOTRO sub, I am only playing WAR. Spore sits unplayed since that first week. I might give it to my friend for his kids.
I have tried so many times to play multiple MMO's
Never happens...feel I am wasting my money, as I will play one more than the other.
I also am playing Xbox 360 games, so, 1 MMO and some single player games seems to work better.

Another stupid comment from Mark..(shocked it was not Paul...who for some reason we do NOT hear from lately as much)
Currently paying for 2 accounts of LoTRO, EVE, and WAR.

Realistically only playing WAR, with a bit of EVE. But also playing Colonization and DoTA regularly as well.

I would love to see the research he talks about, but I don't think it's a huge leap to assume a lot of MMO gamers are not focused on just one game, or one game for very long. That kind of focus gets you burned out quick, and who wants to burn out and leave friends/guilds?
Actively play more than one MMO? Probably not, at least not two fantasy MMOs. I can do one fantasy MMO full time and then EVE as a part time activity.

I think Mark's data makes a bit more sense if you read it as many people "paying" for multiple MMOs at a time.

I know people who leave their account open and pay the fee every billing cycle just in case they want to play.

And for Mark, a paying customer is as good as a playing customer... better, since they probably aren't complaining about anything.
I currently don't play WoW but I renew my subscription every month, and have done for the last 3 and a half years. I know I should do the yearly sub but I simply can't bring myself to spend all that money in one go... which is silly because I plan on blowing it all on one go.

I think it's the fact I 'pop' onto WoW just to speak to people (having completed everything I can in vanilla/tbc twice over) that keeps me paying. I want to keep in contact with those guys in that format/medium even if I do speak to them on Ventrilo also...

I have a 12month sub with Wizard101 because it only cost $60 (£30 for me), which I felt was a bargin. It's a nice 'filler'.

Apart from that I only ever pay for one game at a time, per month. I once did a Tabula Rasa 3 month thing (while back when it was on offer) but only logged 4-5 hours.

Whilst any Codemasters game occasionally gets a months pay from me if i'm EXTREMLY bored and have no other mmorpg to play (did that before WAR appeared).

I didn't even spend a months sub on AoC.

For me I wouldn't mind paying for additional games if i'm going to drop into them, even if it's a couple of hours a month but I don't even spend that sort of time on some so I don't 'waste' the money.

Apart from that I only eve
I do these days. I really like WAR, but my wife does not. Since she left WoW she has been very happy with LotRO and so after the children are in bed I play WAR for a while while she does other things and then I play LotRO with her for a bit as well. Both of those games are casual friendly enough to be fun for shorter times. WoW got monotonous fairly quickly when I only had a short time to play on it though so I doubt there will be many WoW/WAR combo players. WoW needs all your time or none - at least in my experience.
For the shortest period I had an active account with both EVE Online and WoW, but that wasn't more than 1-2 months before I concentrated on WoW. I feel like I'm wasting money on a game I'm not fully devoting my attention to if I'm paying a monthly fee for two mmo's at once.

Of course, now I'm not playing or paying for either...
No, I'm serially monogamous like you in MMOs, and so is the spousal unit (as far as I know! ;))
There was a time when I tried to balance multiple MMOs. For example, I had active subscriptions to City of Heroes/City of Villains and WoW at the same time. However, trying to juggle always failed. I ended up spending LOTS more time in one game until I got sick of it, then switching. I think it's probably true that people tend to subscribe to more than one MMO at a time, but rarely are the actively playing more than one.

Now that I'm a parent and my gaming time is very limited, I keep one active MMO sub and play it (WoW) exclusively.
I play only one MMO, that being WoW. I'm definitely not silly for only sticking to one MMO, mainly because I choose to play on a Mac.

Until more MMO game companies develop MMOs for the Mac, I'll be content playing WoW exclusively. Besides, based on all the "hype" and reviews from other MMO players, WoW still reigns supreme.

So as long as WoW remains the best MMO and one of the few available on the Mac, being a single MMO player isn't all that bad.
I like to have 2 MMOs of different flavors to choose from, though I currently only have one due to financial issues.

WoW is a bad MMO to try and play a 2nd game with because the timesinks in it are so severe. Unless you want to run daily quests, you really can't log in for an hour and accomplish anything. And if all you do is daily quests, wtf are you paying for a subscription for?

I can easily see playing a second MMO in conjunction with WAR. If I feel like PvPing, I want to play WAR which simply has the best PvP game in town right now. If I want to kick back and mindlessly beat up some AI mobs though, I'll want something else because WAR's PvE game is sub-par. I don't feel much draw to have WoW as a second game (see above) but might resub to CoH or LotRO at some point.

Maybe bioware will surprise us all and put out SWTOR next year . . .
I'm only willing to pay for one, and that only for a limited time, which is why Guild Wars and Lotro have the right idea and the other games have the wrong one. (IMO)

Good one.

Me and every MMO player I know has only ever played one MMO at a time. Casuals don't have time for two, and hardcore players want to concentrate on one. Only a designer with professionally motivated reasons would bother playing two.
just one
I nearly always play two MMOs at once. Usually I have one that I have social investment in and that I mainly play on the weekends (when I can sit down for more than an hour), and another that I mess around with during the week. LoTRO has been my "main" MMO since it came out. However I've also spent time in WoW, WAR, EQ II, DAoC, TR, and CoH in the past year.

For me a big part of the fun of an MMO is seeing the overall design of the game. Learning the basic mechanics, trying out the classes, and just generally seeing the sights. I can't imagine being satisfied playing only one MMO for more than a few month. I play MMOs, I don't marry them.
Over the last few months, I've played several MMOs, but subscribed to none of them. I see no good reason to do so, given my limited playing time. As such, if I did subscribe to a game, the subscription model would instill a sort of subconscious demand to play that game as much as possible during the sub period to justify spending the money on it.

As it it, I'm probably spending way too much time with Atlantica Online (an hour a day or so on average), and it's a free MMO in open beta. W101 is great, Puzzle Pirates is phenomenal, and the 10 day version of WoW is fun for a while. I'll try out GW next month. Since I'm not spending money on recurring fees, though, I don't mind bouncing around.

I can see hardcore players focusing on one game, and I can see others playing several... but I just can't see the casual market signing up for more than one consistent bloodletting, especially with the economy as borked as it is at the moment. Then again, I take a pretty hard look at the cost/benefit ratios, and some folks don't bother.

What I'd like to see is some hard data from MMO providers comparing time in-game per month to long-term subscription retention rates (and how many customers overlap). I suspect there's a substantial inertia factor once someone's been playing for a while, even if time in-game declines, but I don't have the data to back that inkling.
I'm paying for three atm. WAR, CoX and LOTRO at Founder pricing.

Only seriously playing one though, which is currently Warhammer.

Shrugs. From a purely selfish standpoint, it is a bit silly to 'waste' the money, but I can afford it and supporting an MMO I like is higher priority to me than blowing it away on some fancy schmancy movie or plasma TV screen.

I fully intend to go back to CoX once they get their new systems going - my main boredom issue with that game was the repetitive layout of 3 mobs (x some factor for however many teammates) at a time.

Love what the devs are doing at both Mythic and NC Norcal, so I'm going to be double subscribed for a long long time.

LOTRO is on shaky ground cos it's so time intensive I can't really justify a full sub. Still curious about the things they are doing with Moria, and attracted to the lore, so the $10 price tag is holding me for now.

So yeah, I play one seriously hardcore at a time, but I like the option to log on to something else if I want a change.
I'm *trying* to play two MMOs at the same time.

Been in WOW essentially since launch and it is still is my primary game. Every time I get bored to the point of quitting, they introduce changes that reinvigorate the game for me.

But I've also been really interested in Warhammer. It looked like it was going to be a strong challenger with just enough of a different approach to not totally overlap WOW (actually I would have preferred a totally different genre for a second game -- say, Warhammer 40K -- but I never got jazzed by games like scifi-themed games like Tabula Rasa or Eve Online). So far, I'm enjoying Warhammer and am looking forward to Mythic strengthening and polishing the game further.

All that said, it is very hard to find enough time to play both the way I'd like. Today's MMOs are just huge time sinks. Just so I have enough time to get things done, I find myself alternating days with the games rather than playing for a few hours and switching. Ironically, levelling in scenarios in Warhammer fits pretty well if you only have small chunks of time available.

I can't imagine most people having the energy or desire to play multiple MMOs (not to mention the cost of multiple monthly subs). I'd guess Mark Jacobs is engaged in wishful thinking if he believes that any but a tiny minority of players are actively playing multiple MMOs.

Unless the very nature of the games changes a lot, I imagine MMOs will continue to be an "either/or" decision.
I play only WoW. I briefly tried Pirates of the Caribbean, Wizard 101, and Kingdom of Loathing. But it only happened once -- it didn't mean anything -- I didn't love them, I promise!

WoW keeps me busy enough. A 70 in a raiding guild, a 68 in a casual guild, and a pair of 67's (mine and my wife's) in our own private guild to make cutesy guild ranks and messages of the day. But most of my time these days is spend on my numerous AH alts (both horde and alliance side), trying to sell herbs, gems, and new high-end enchant scrolls.
i play wow since release with little downtimes here and there. all other games i played only lasted for some days up to 1-2 weeks before i went back to wow.
i never played more than 1 mmo(!) at a time. what i did was playing call of duty or starcraft alojg with wow.

maybe there are people that like to play several mmos extremly casual, but all i know is, it doesn´t work for me. i think that 90% of the people who play wow more than extremly casual just play wow and nothing else (mmo wise).
I play maybe two a day at most, but keep subscriptions to around six at any one time. There are some i just keep coming back to, and if i have a bad time in one i can move to another one.
I play both Wow and Eve at the moment.

Eve i play in spurts, very active from time to time, and sometimes dormant for weeks. Fun thing there is that your character keeps on training ;).
I only play Wow. I've dropped single player games (on PC and PS3) and watching TV. I only watch TV for a few hours on Tuesday night (patch night). I tried to play EVE, during a time when WOW went through a craptacular period where there was constant lag on the Oz servers. I couldn't get into EVE even though it's probably more my genre. I do not think I could play two MMO's for any length of time. I could imagine playing two for a month or so before choosing one.
One MMO a month is mor than enough for me. I have occasionally dipped my toes into Dungeon Runners and other games, but only when WoW was down for maintenance. The only other games I've played at the same time as WoW was KOTOR2 and Puzzle Quest, but nothing remotely MMO.
The one and only wow!
I play EQ2, VG, and SWG all on SOE's station pass. EQ2 is my "primary" and the other 2 are just to kill time if I've got an hour here and there and don't want to log in to EQ2 and have to field constant requests to join instance groups (my main's an 80 coercer, and I refuse to play /anon )

I also play EVE more or less daily. I try to run at least 1 mission a day, so I'm not generally on very long, but I try to get in at least a little bit of time on it.
When we still raided with my wife we played Lotro on the side. So if you're a raider (or in other words seen everything else WoW has to offer) it is very easy to play two games at the same time. Atm we're so blown away by War that we havent had a thought of 2 subs, but the time for 2 subs may come ofc and I think War's PvP might be perfect for that.

Reading these comments I think I can safely say that Mark's comment wasn't so far from the mark as many people would like to think.
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