I promised you that I’d come back and report on my new plan to juggle several MMOs by playing about three quests apiece before rotating to the next game. I was a little surprised that there was some negative comments on this plan, so I wanted to address the questions I’ve gotten and talk about how it’s gone.
First of all, I’m just experimenting with different ways to handle multiple MMOs without losing focus in any particular one. This is for me, not necessarily for anyone else; I’m just sharing my gaming journey, as always. I’ve noticed that I personally have a tendency to (a) want to play multiple titles at once and (b) allow one of these games to dominate my play time, usually based on newness (or how new it is to me). My goal is simply to balance things out a tad and introduce a little self-discipline to my play schedule. When you have limited time to play every day, I think you have to have a plan to parcel that out or else just stick with one game and be done with it.
So the three-quest plan was definitely interesting. The first night I played it, I went through all three MMOs twice, like so: 3 quests in LOTRO, 3 quests in RIFT, 3 quests in TSW, 3 quests in LOTRO, 3 quests in RIFT, and 2 or 3 quests in TSW. The next night I only had time for one such rotation.
What I quickly found is that a quest is not a quest in all games. An epic storyline quest in LOTRO is perhaps worth 3 standard task quests in the same game. The Secret World’s quests typically take much longer, especially the non-side quests (which have multiple tiers, each of which can be considered its own quest). RIFT was perfect for this plan, especially since the game gives you between 2 to 4 quests at a time through its hubs. So even though each game was getting three quests’ worth of progress, the time investment was wildly varied. It kind of became one of those things where I’d have to eyeball each title individually and figure out an equivalent that kept things competitive.
So I’ve been asked if this was annoying, to log out and log back in constantly. Yes and no; it could get ridiculous, as in the first night, but I tend to use logging in time to check email and do other small tasks, so it’s not a waste.
Another question was, “Won’t you be hurting yourself as you just start to get into a game and then you force yourself to log out?” Actually, for me this was a “no.” My problem was that when one game starts to grab my attention, the other titles I’m playing — as much as I like them — suffer strongly. I stopped playing everything, including LOTRO, for a good month or two when SWTOR came out. I didn’t have a plan in place to encourage me to keep up with my regular squeeze, and let all the excitement of something new dominate. So what I found was that this plan worked akin to starting a strict exercise regimen or becoming way more organized at work. By making it highly structured to start with, it broke me of the dominance and made me more relaxed when it came to entering and exiting different games.
In the end, I’ve transitioned from the three-quest plan to the time block one. Every night now I’m giving each game a set amount of time based on what I learned from the three-quest experiment. LOTRO gets a good half-hour, which is definitely enough time right now to push my character through the last couple of hubs before the expansion. RIFT is assigned a full hour or hour and a half, depending on my available time. Whatever’s left goes to TSW, because I’m definitely not playing that game with an agenda (like “prepare for the expansion” or “get to endgame”).
Really, when it comes to MMO juggling, you just have to find what works for you. For me, it’s having a little bit of discipline and structure without becoming draconian about it.