Tobold's Blog
Monday, April 27, 2015
Colossal time sink

I bought Shadow of Mordor on Steam this weekend, as it was on my wishlist and there was a half-price promotion. On that occasion I noticed that I hadn't bought anything on Steam since restarting World of Warcraft. It isn't that there aren't any good games in my Steam library, I would love to continue playing Pillars of Eternity for example. But World of Warcraft ends up being such a colossal time sink that I simply can't find the time for anything else.

To some extent that is good news, as it means that I am having fun. I had a good time this weekend basically doing all the battle pet content of the Mists of Pandaria expansion: Beating all the pet masters, the pandaren spirits, the beasts of fable, and finally the celestial tournament on Timeless Isle. I also went on my very first LFR raid, with my priest spec'd to holy, as I was annoyed of his ineffectiveness in shadow spec. LFR is silly easy, although we managed to wipe on Operator Thogar by being run over by trains. I did several "raids" and got two epics, albeit for the same slot. Not something that I'll do a lot, as the epics aren't actually better than what you get without raiding from your garrison, but an interesting change of pace.

What I still haven't even really started yet is a grand project to level a character from 1 to 100, while simultaneously collecting pets everywhere. I have a low level hunter and a low level monk, but I'm not sure whether I don't want to start over from scratch with a hunter of a different race and combine the hunting for battle pets with the hunting for rare hunter pets. To get that started I should probably reduce further the time spent on "maintenance" of my 4 garrisons, which eats up too much time.

So as long as I have lots of stuff to do in World of Warcraft, I can't find the time for other games. Technically I am in the beta for Heroes of the Storm, and I have downloaded the client, but never even started it. There is a much higher barrier of entry to starting a new game than to deciding to just play good ol' World of Warcraft. A new game requires you learning controls and what the game is about, and playing a game you know very well is much lower effort. Maybe I'm just in a low-energy phase, but right now this means that WoW is taking up all my time.

I never managed to combine mmorpgs with other games because mmorpgs demand so much time and attention. I have found however that once I stop playing an mmorpg it only takes about a week to flush the desire to log in out of my system.

I really enjoyed Shadow of Mordor. It is completely non canon and gratuitously violent but the gameplay is very polished and a lot of fun. X box controller or equivalent strongly recommended.
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This is something akin to the experience I've had for eighteen months or so with GW2's WvW. There's always something going on, often it feels like something "important" and rarely is there any kind of natural end to activity. Even if no fighting is going on there's always siege to be refreshed, towers to be guarded, yaks to be walked...

I think it would be quite difficult to play an offline game instead of an online game where you feel, however abstractly, a sense of inclusion in a community and where, however meaninglessly, there is always a sense that "things need to be done". By comparison, any offline game is going to feel solipsistic, self-indulgent and ultimately empty.

From a perspective outside gaming, of course, it might be hard to discern any difference.
I admit, I haven't cared much about WoW in years since the "good old days" when I actually had friends in the game, and my first major Steam Sale splurge was shortly after I utterly and finally (for the moment) quit WoW. These days I spend a lot more on console games (at least until I get around to upgrading my PC to better than a core i3 processor) as a result...ah well.

Shadows of Mordor is a fantastic game, but hard for me to get far into because I really have a hard time with Middle-Earth in videogame land for some reason. I try to psyche myself into not thinking about the LotR connection and pretend its just straight fantasy (which some would argue it is, given how tenebrous its connection to Tolkien canon it is).
Same here, I play a mobile game besides WoW and that's pretty much it. Buying like 2 other games per year finishing neither. Before WoW I bought about 6 games per year, most of them ego shooter clones.

Main reasons to stay with WoW: familiarity with the game (that includes loving my 10 year old main character) and the people I raid with. Been in the same raid since the beginning of MoP and know some of them since BC.

About garrison maintenance: I rarely collect herbs/ores anymore, that is just too time consuming. Don't even have garden/mine on every char.

Try addons "Garrison Mission Manager" and "Master Plan" to reduce time spent starting missions. They do comparable stuff but I think both together are better than only one of them. Look what they do on different chars, you'll see what I mean. Takes about a minute per char.

Using the profession cooldown isn't much time, running down to profession buildings takes longer. Considering patch 6.2 will make aquiring soulbound materials easier/cheaper you should only use the buildings if you actively sell goods from them now.
I did a run of LFR Thogar a few weeks ago. Someone had an addon that counted how many times people got hit by trains.

The top scorer got hit 13(!) times and still lived to the end of the fight - that means he got hit by something like half of all possible trains. Pretty amusing, but it did give me a new perspective on why some people dislike LFR.
I saw you comment on Pillars of Eternity. Thought you might like this:
(Hot Pepper Gaming)
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