This weekend as I was scrubbing the toilet while my character was busy processing some trade goods, I realized how effortless it was for me to keep my gaming while everything else in my life changed. It occurred to me that I’m able to be such an active gamer in large part because of the advent and popularity of MMO’s, and the way they’ve adapted and changed over the years to include a broader spectrum of players, a gaming mecca that has allowed even those who’d never gamed before to find themselves drawn to the MMO landscape.
I adore my console and PC games. They’re how I started gaming, back before the I had my first PC, and much earlier than the internet made it’s way to the backwoods of southeast Texas. As a kid and a teenager, I had plenty of free time, even after various practices and after-school activities, weekend games, parties, and all the other amusing things that younger people do. However, my responsibilities were slim, and if I wanted to devote an entire evening, or even an entire weekend to trying out a new game, it wasn’t a problem.
As I’m getting older, and I have a husband, a cat, a house, and oh yeah, the whole job/school thing, I find that finding a solid, uninterrupted play-time is harder. Raiding that requires camping or insane morning hours to achieve is no longer a possibility for me. However, because raiding has changed and is more accessible, and easier to schedule, I’ve found that I can still make time for it. The number of days I spend raiding has gradually gone down, and I expect I’ll soon be willing to devote no more than a day or two of my week to the activity, and in the (hopefully) far, far away future, I can see myself completely divorced from the activity.
However, I can still see myself having an active and fun time bouncing around in MMO’s. I love solo’ing in MMO’s, because being solo doesn’t mean being alone. With group communication, I can chat with others in similar positions. I imagine for people with kiddos, being able to be home in the evenings with the family, even if you’re doing separate activities, and still being able to have adult conversations is awesome. And let’s not forget, that gaming with your family killing internet dragons beats an evening of cards any day. While I enjoy going out with friends, I also like being home with my hubby, being able to chat, and doing something I enjoy at the same time.
So while I love that end-game remains an important and vibrant part of MMO games, I’m glad that end-game lore is more available to “casual” players, and I hope that game designers continue to remember the alts, the casuals, and the solo’ers in their game worlds when they’re creating and updating content.
I want to be a gamer for life!