The three-quest rotation plan revisited

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.

9 thoughts on “The three-quest rotation plan revisited

  1. Alas, I can only manage one at a time. Perhaps it’s my short attention span — I simply forget about all other games while I’m excited about one of them.

    How you deal with MMOs is almost a game in and unto itself.

  2. I’ve only ever managed to have a main game and a single “alt” game, if at all. I’m glad you enjoy juggling. I get to hear about more games. 🙂

  3. I just play what I feel like playing for as long as I feel like playing it. If that means one game gets the lion’s share of my time (/wave TSW) then so be it.

    I resigned myself a while back to the fact that there will be gluts (like now) when there’s far more I’d like to do than I’ll ever have time for and famines when I’ll struggle to find enough to keep me occupied. I definitely prefer the gluts.

  4. These-days I tend to vary games by session. So on evenings where friends are free I’ll play games they also play (DDO currently, soon to be GW2). On other evenings I’m free to do something with guild mates or solo (LoTRO, SWTOR currently). On a weekend if I’m at home I might play one game in the afternoon and a different one in the evening to mix things up – but it all depends what I’m doing outside of gaming as well.

  5. This is an interesting concept, although I don’t think it would work for me personally. I just don’t have enough discipline! I typically pick one game I stick with for the evening, which admittedly does have the risk of ending up playing one game more than the other on a weekly base. I think not abandoning one game totally during a period of time is only due to the people I’m connected to in each game and the fact that I sign up for raids (I juggle between LotRO and SWTOR).

    I like taking a dive and getting into a game and wouldn’t enjoy it so much if I would have to swap between different games all the time during one evening. I’m curious to see if your juggler strategy will stick (not in a mean way, just genuinely curious). It’s cool to hear about how different ‘quests’ are experienced in each game.

  6. I don’t switch between games, I tend to stick with LOTRO, but I do have a few alts that I’m leveling up at the moment. What I’ve started to do is use the day/night cycle in the game as a signal to switch to a different character.

    One alt quests from dawn to dusk, then I switch to another one to quest with from dusk to dawn.

    Maybe you can use that as a way to manage how much time you spend in LOTRO, instead of using an “x many quests” approach.

  7. Jack of all Trades but Master of none?

    I couldn’t do what you have planned, fortunately, I don’t have three (or more) MMOs to play though I sort of consider each of the social groups I participate in as ‘another game’.

    For example I have my PVE presence on Stormrage (yes, WoW) where I cap out my valor points for the week quickly on one character (I’m almost done with needing Valor Points for this toon so this will drop off at that point) then do a few dailies on another (5 mounts away from 100!). Once that is done, I pop over to Bonechewer which is PVP and my toon there is on Horde side with a different circle of people.

    For Group1 I tend to be on daily, especially during the week. For Group2 I tend to be on during the weekends mainly.

    Once I attain what I was aiming for on Group1 server, MoP should be out setting a new set of goals.

    I expect Guild Wars 2 to complicate this somewhat, but not a lot. In all honesty, I expect Group2 will suffer, but then most of them will likely be playing GW2.

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