Finding the Time

World of Warcraft is an old game. This is not meant as an insult as much as it is meant to state a fact. WoW was released in November of 2004. At the end of this month the game we love will be 8 years old, and its success and longevity is the envy of many game development companies.

Something else has aged during that time. WoW’s players. A person who started playing at launch as a college freshman of 18 years would be 26 now, with new responsibilities and different life circumstances than we started with. That college freshmen is either in graduate or post-graduate studies, or perhaps has a full time job. Maybe they have a spouse and a family. One thing is almost certain: free time is hard to find.

The flashpoint for this post is the convergence of exceptional game titles by Blizzard. It is likely that by the summer of 2013 they will have released an expansion (Mists of Pandaria for WoW, and Heart of the Swarm for Starcraft 2) or sequel (Diablo 3) to some of the most successful titles in the gaming industry in the span on a single year. I find my ability to keep up is lacking.

I started playing World of Warcraft in 2007, not long after the release of The Burning Crusade. At the time I was married for 3 years, and my wife had just finished medical school. I was leaving a full time teaching job because of the move required by my wife’s new position as a medical resident, and was going to be a substitute teacher. I was also a women’s basketball assistant coach at a local community college. Things were really uncomplicated. When I wasn’t teaching (which was frequent) or performing my assistant coaching duties (which were really only heaviest from October through March) I could do what I pleased. I read tons of books, exercised all the time, and played WoW as much as I wanted. One week I was able to put in about 40 hours, and didn’t even blink at the number.

Let’s skip the middle and fast forward. Today I have two daughters, aged 4 and 2. My wife is an attending hospitalist who works fewer evenings than before and is not a gamer. I’ve added Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 to games I enjoy playing. I am also the raid leader of my guild, and the main tank, so my out-of-game work has increased. I can play WoW about 4-10 hours a week at most, usually during nap times so as not to miss out on opportunities to spend time with my wife in the evenings. I’m happy, but its a far cry from the days of my youth when I thought I was busy.

I wonder about other World of Warcraft players experiences. How has your game time evolved? I find this evolution really interested, and would love to hear about it.

How are you at Finding the Time?

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2 thoughts on “Finding the Time”

  1. I started the day the game was released in late Nov. of 2004. I had just turned 30, and had a 6 and a 7 year old. The game took up a lot of my time (far too much, esp. during the Vanilla / TBC years) as I struggled with the complexities of guild leadership–I’m in the process of retelling that story now on my blog.

    When WotLK was released, I re-structured both my life and “the game”, delegating more tasks to officership and sticking to a more rigid schedule that allowed for life-related activities to coincide with my guild leading / raid running. I was able to keep that same schedule from mid-SSC until the start of Dragon Soul, which is when my 25m collapsed under the weight of 10/25 locks and the additional burden of LFR.

    I took some time away from “the game” in order to reflect back on those years and felt that, had things not gone *quite* the way they had in Cataclysm, I would’ve been able to continue this schedule quite likely until the end of WoW, which is being predicted at the conclusion of the *next* expansion (the one which will follow MoP), and the schedule worked extremely well. 5 days of the week I was able to get everyone done, from a family perspective, that needed being done, and had two dedicated raid nights to push content.

    Today, I do not raid (at least, not yet), but I enjoy MoP at a casual pace, along with my son, who is now 14 (my 15 year old daughter has no interest in WoW, short of playing with character creation). The stresses of 25m management are now gone, and with that, a huge weight has been lifted, and I’ve been able to devote even more time to things I’ve put off: an excess of games I skipped over the last 8 years, learning to play the guitar, more reading of books, and a new found interest in business management (after having done guild management).

    I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to raid like I did, but not due to life management or scheduling; at our peak, we were competing against hardcore guilds doing 2x our time–and we kept a good pace, and perhaps when the final expansion is released, I’ll make an 11th hour bid to re-build an all-star team from my previous generations, so that we can stick a fork in Sargeras once and for all.

    …he has it coming, after all.

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