I’m starting to find it increasingly hard to keep writing a blog post daily. Mostly because I’ve come to the point that I simply don’t know what to write about. I know I can turn to other people’s blogs for inspiration, but right now I’m just not in the mood.
I’ve been struggling with the “schedule” I set for myself for during the week. Mostly because I come home and am really tired. Work is slightly soul destroying at the moment and the only thing I want to do when I get home is sit infront of the TV and vegetate or just straight up head to bed. Most of my gaming “plans” are falling through because of this. Logging into Final Fantasy XIV or World of Warcraft seems like a chore, unless I actually sit down and start playing. Then it’s fine. It’s more the whole having to sit down and actually start playing part that is bothering me. I have the same when it comes to single player games. A few months ago I managed to (finally) finish Kingdom Hearts 3. The reason I managed to do it was because I forced myself to just sit down and start playing. The moment I did that I had trouble putting down the controller and would clock in 6-8 hour play sessions at some point because I just wanted to see where the game went. But just sitting down, starting up my Playstation 4 and start playing for some reason just took me so much effort… And I may think I have found the cause (besides the obvious being too tired to want to do anything).
I’ve been stretching myself a bit thin when it comes to gaming and gaming goals. Not only am I trying to actively keep up with two MMO’s right now, WoW and FFXIV, I want to casually get back into Guild Wars 2. I want to play two single player games at the same time and am actually playing a third on my way to and from work (Final Fantasy IV on my modded Gameboy Advance). Not to even start about the shows I’m trying to keep up with and the reading I’m trying to get done. Every time I try to decide what to do I’m kind of overcome with this “decision anxiety”. Because if I do my dailies in WoW I probably won’t have the time to do anything else for the rest of the evening. The same goes with pursuing leveling in FFXIV or GW2. When I pick up FFIV or Spider-Man I won’t get any progress in anywhere else, especially my MMO’s. As you can see I’m going in circles. I do X and then I can’t do Y. It’s why I try to set up goals for myself on a monthly basis and then need to step away from said game. Right now I’m doing this with FFXIV. I’ve gotten my crafters to the level I want. I leveled my Black Mage to 80. I’m not touching any new crafters for the time being. That leaves me with doing ex-roulette five times a week and half an hour of leves on my Botanist/Miner when I get round to it. If I want I can just set aside a day and powerlevel those to 80 in an afternoon, reducing the time I need to spend on FFXIV even more. I’m working hard to get into this mindset, that it’s okay to roulette in and out of games. It’s okay to put things aside once I met my goals for the month.
I guess it’s still a small part of me that struggles with MMO addiction in a way. I kind of envy the people who just play one game and are perfectly happy doing so. At times I curse the day I got introduced to WoW because it’s sucked me in to a gaming genre that just consumes so much time… And it’s caused me to grow my backlog of single player games significantly. I’m still trying to find balance in these things and although I’m much better at it than a few years ago, I still feel like I’m quite far off the mark.
After having had two weeks off to get settled in my apartment and being back at work for the past two weeks it really changes my perspective on how lazy my life actually was while I was still living at home with my dad. He cooked all the meals, even though I didn’t always enjoy what he’d cook. He did laundry and did groceries while I was working my 40h work weeks. Now I have to do everything on my own and it’s been a real adjustment. Not that I want to complain, I like having this freedom and I wouldn’t want to go back to living with my dad. I just had to rethink how I spend my evenings now, where to shop for my groceries and how much time it takes me to clean my apartment.
With all of this and working 40 hours a week (meaning I’m away from home from 8-18 every day) my gaming time has been limited a lot. Yet when I had all the time in the world to game I didn’t. I watched a lot of TV, I did a whole lot of nothing but I barely touched my games. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle. I want to game more when I have less time but when I have more time I game less. It is a very ironic thing and it’s something that I hear from some of my gaming friends. I’m not sure how to qualify this. I don’t necessarily have a gaming burnout but I do find it difficult just to sit down and start playing a game sometimes, even though I have nothing else planned for that time and I really want to game. I also notice that I’ve been drifting away from the long RPGs and into puzzle and platform type games. That probably has to do with the fact that platformers and puzzle games generally don’t really rely on telling a story but just let you complete levels, like the good old SEGA days. It’s probably the reason I still haven’t finished Kingdom Hearts 3, even though I try to make progress here and there. I’m still in the Monsters Inc world and even though I really enjoy the game and the gameplay, starting up a session takes a few hours out of my day due to the multitude of cutscenes that need to tell the story. I do want to finish it sometime in the coming few months but I’m not sure when this will happen exactly. Maybe I just need to carve out a few hours on the weekend, dedicated solely to that game. Saturday or Sunday morning would be perfect for this because I’m usually up around 9ish anyway and I don’t really do anything else during those mornings except shower and have breakfast. It would be an ideal time to just sit down for 2-3 hours and play the game untill lunch, after which I can focus on other things like having people over or going out into town.
Perhaps it’s time that I start planning things more regularly in my life in general. I’ve been noticing that I’m “wasting” a lot of my time being undecided about what I want to do during the day or evening after which I simply regress to doing nothing. I know Monday evening is always a bit hard since it’s the first day of work and I tend to get home tired. The same goes for Fridays so I want to keep those nights free to just watch tv or read and not really engage in activities that require either physical or mental efforts.
Tuesday through Thursday are ideal nights to play MMO’s. It’s reset day in FF on Tuesday and in WoW on Wednesday so if I want to get any group content done, those are the days to do it. It’s also easier to just get a few things done during the evenings and still feel like I’m making some progress while doing so. On the weekends my time really depends on the plans I have made. So far I’ve either gone out or had visitors atleast one of my two weekend days. I also need to take into account that I mostly need to use my weekends to do stuff like clean, get groceries and do laundry related things. All of this obviously take time, time that I can’t spend on other stuff.
For now though the weekend mornings tend to be relaxation time and I’m planning to use that time to get sessions in on a few games, starting with Kingdom Hearts 3.
I’ll let you all know how this pans out. Let’s hope it will push me to finish off a few games this way atleast!
Alternative post title: Why MMORPG’s work so well for me.
I’ve already kind of mentioned this on our Blaugust Discord but lately I feel I don’t really have the time or energy to really get stuff done anymore. With 40 hour work weeks (that have been extra stressful for the past 3 weeks or so), social obligations and the inability to function in the mornings I’m really left with very few hours to myself. Even moreso considering I set aside atleast half a day on Sunday to get a plethora of chores done like vacuuming, dusting, doing laundry and cleaning my various collections of games/plushies and other stuff. These things are major dust magnets and I’m allergic so it’s important to me that everything stays as clean as possible.
Due to being severely limited in time to spend on gaming, but also blogging, I’ve been making a lot of choices the past days and weeks of how to spend my time because honestly… I just can’t get it all done anymore. As I write this post for example it’s 20.45 local time. This means that, if I don’t want to be a complete zombie at work tomorrow, I have about two more hours to spend my evening on whatever I want to do because around 22.45 I start winding down for bed. I could in theory go to bed later but I’ve noticed that I really need a good dosis of sleep to not feel like a zombie the entire day afterwards and even more tired when it comes to having time for myself.
So “only” having two hours to myself I’m starting to notice that I prefer logging into an MMO instead of starting up one of the many single player games that I own. I do this because I can get stuff done in WoW and FFXIV in less than 30 minutes and still feel like I’ve made some sort of progress. By the time I’ve spent 30 minutes on a game like Persona 5 or HZD I only barely remember what it was that I was doing and real immersion doesn’t really kick in untill the hour mark or so and I’ll already be halfway through my gaming time then. That 30-60 minutes that I spend in WoW also mean some casual conversations with friends while I game/progress, something I don’t get when I play solo. I guess I could fire up one of my platformers and just settle for completing a few levels and I may do that the coming weeks. However seeing as I’m stuck in the beginning of the story in a lot of my RPGs it’s taking me a while to fully get with the story and get to the “good parts” as people tend to say. I already have the good parts in my MMO’s. I’ve seen the stories and done the quests. I’m in maintenance mode and it’s so satisfying to tick off the boxes there. This means casually leveling up an alt or working on reputations where I can say “I played this character for 20 minutes today and it’s gotten me X amount of progress”. It feels nice, nicer than ticking of one or two quests in a single player RPG that basically don’t really get you anywhere yet.
Then again, maybe it’s a matter of me using my MMO mindset on my single player games and just tackling smaller steps. I know that I’m itching to continue Octopath Traveler for instance but I’m hesistant to fire up my Switch due to being in a “grind” phase with no clear goal set. I also want to finish Mario + Rabbids and Yooka Laylee. Both platform/level oriented games where Mario + Rabbids is a more strategic game and Yooka Laylee is a collect-a-thon. Perhaps it’s time that I just fire up these games and set small goals for myself like I do in WoW. Do a level. Level a character to level 20. Kill the boss of this zone. For now though I’m still preferring to log my MMO’s so I will keep doing just that.