Leveling and other Addictions

A couple weeks ago, one of my guildmates said something like, “Ugh, levels 50-58 are SO painful.” Another person who was around 45 or so said, “Oh no! Don’t tell me that!” She said that she’d never managed to get past 50 at all because she always got bored with the characters by then and created new ones. She was determined with this one to finally get past 50. She did make it to 50, and then when she hit 53 or so, she was looking for suggestions of places to level because she was not enjoying the Western Plaguelands.

I asked if she’d done all the Hinterlands quests. “Yup.”

“Un’Goro Crater? I loved that place.”

“Done.”

“Hm… Winterspring?”

“Pretty much done all of those, too.”

“That’s all I’ve got!” I laughed. And really that’s all I did have to suggest because after working through those areas with my hunter, my highest level character, I was at 58 and ready for Outland. In fact, I had many unfinished quests in those areas! I was puzzled for a moment (how could she not be 58 already?), and then I realized: double experience. In leveling up so many alts, I’d wager that when I did all of those areas with my hunter, I was getting rested experience for every kill. This could really add up, and combined with the number of instances that I ran with my hunter toward the end of her time in Azeroth, I was carried further through the game with less time actually playing this particular character.

I often explain my alt-o-holism with “I guess I really just like leveling,” but I am leveling each of my alts at a seemingly faster pace than someone who continuously levels a single character from 1-70. In the end, they may get to 70 first, but I have to play each character less to get them there. Having played my paladin for a full weekend last weekend, I can safely say that I’d get bored with focusing on just one toon from 1-70, too. That’s a whole different game.

I realize that one day I may tire of the leveling process all together, so I am harnessing my noobish energies to develop characters in each of the different classes as I think I might enjoy in the end game.  Maybe that’s the way I should explain the many alts. I feel the same way about leveling professions. Again, I know folks in the guild that wait until they get to 70 and then power level the profession from 1-375, but I really have more fun doing these as I go. Makes it all seem less like work, and in the end, I’ll potentially have maxed out each of the professions that interest me.

====

Late last week I pondered how many hours I actually put into WoW each week. I knew I’d be over the 17 hour average for WoW players reported by the Nielsen ratings, but how much over that? (Double?) To be honest, I didn’t actually log the time I was in game, but I know that I played 12+ hours on Sunday, and have logged in each night after work around 6-7pm, and played until 11p-12am. So, let’s call that 15 hours Sunday, followed by 5 hours/night Monday through Thursday. That’s already 35 hours this week, and we haven’t even hit the Friday night/Saturday all-day marathon. Hehe… soooo, looks like it’s easily going to be more than 40 hours. Maybe this is a bit higher than normal because we didn’t watch any movies this week, but playing 40 hours a week is quite a lot.

This is not so unusual for me with my hobbies. I’m betting I spent the same amount of time on my previous hobby per week by the end of it. Ever since I finished graduate school and have not had to work evenings and weekends quite as much, I have pursued all my hobbies with great intensity. WoW is a brilliant means of escape for me, a way to turn off all the worries about work once I get home. I’d been thinking about this all morning as I considered my total play time for the week, and so Tobold‘s excellent post today about gaming as an addiction completely resonated with me. And why do I play so much?

Clearly, WoW fulfills some need. It’s not just about diversion either, as there are many other interesting diversions available. (I love to read, for example, and my apartment has brimming bookshelves covering every available wall. Every night after WoW, I stay up and read for a bit.) I think it’s about the many small, achievable goals that the game has to offer. That is what makes it so addictive for me. My job is very goal-oriented in the day to day, though very often, the goals are not achievable, so time spent is just time spent. It is the nature of doing research; 90% of what we do simply does not pan out. In WoW, if you put forth the effort and spend the time, 90% of the time it will pan out and the goals will be achieved. The other 10% is waiting for that one piece of phat lewt. I know some players get really hung up on that 10%, but compared to my real life work, the work I do in WoW is eminently doable, and thus overall very satisfying. There are very few truly phat lewtz that ever drop for most of us in the world of research. So, 40 hours of achieving goals to match my 40 hours of troubleshooting and chasing down goals just missed.

And speaking of, I’d better go look at my quest log for work… 😛

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2 responses

  1. I would say the individuals lifestyle is a heavy contributer to how often they play WoW. Married people with non-Wow spouses will play far less than singles (if they want to stay married anyway). I’m going to guess that dual WoW couples wind up somewhere in the middle.

    If I were in college again, and single, I can’t imagine how many hours I would put into the game.

  2. Oh man, I’d have been in big trouble if I discovered this game while I was still in school. Diablo II was bad enough, but WoW almost certainly would have been worse.

    It’s true — we do get a lot of extra game time since it’s a hobby we share. I shudder to think of how much more I would play if I were single. I’d almost certainly be burning the midnight oil every night, and sitting at my desk like a zombie the next day at work.

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