gaming

Gaming on a time budget – how to get stuff done anyway

time_management_101Adult life is time-devouring. I said that several times on this blog, but reality keeps reminding me of this harsh fact. When one-third of your day is filled with a job, the other third with sleeping, you need quite some impressive micro-managing skills to get all the other things done. One of these other things is probably gaming. Sooner or later, however, you’ll notice that you have only an hour or two a day to truly devote to that. That is, if you don’t want too much wife / husband / girlfriend / boyfriend / bootycall aggro or really want to do the dishes today (psh, like you will). Then again, your still-in-university or in-between-jobs friends are way ahead of you, so you want to at least do some catching up. What to do, what to do?

Well, dear reader, it’s time for a compact lesson in gaming time micro-management, inspired by a cool post written by the Godmother (who should just call herself the Mistress of Garrisons by now). Where she gives you tips for a bucket list, I want to help you guys out with three easy tips to optimize your game time!

1. Know your goals

Wanna hit 90 with that alt in World of Warcraft, or do you want to make some progress during the beta weekend of WildStar? Different goals require different methods and different time amounts. Creating goals gives you something to work towards to, including a sense of completion once you reach one. Give yourself clear goals for the week, and see that you work on those.

2. Know your time budget

On a good weekday, I have about two hours worth of consecutive gaming time. This means that I can plan my goals around that, making sure to not reach for the unreachable. Try to track your average daily time budget, and adjust your goals to fit them. Your rare minutes of gaming time will feel less worth if you try to achieve too much in too less time.

3. Get SMART

In the business world, companies like to formulate their goals SMART: specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic and time-related. When creating your goals based on your wishes and available time, run them through these five letters and see if they have all five components. A goal which can’t be measured doesn’t provide a clear finish line, while a goal that is not ambitious enough will not feel rewarding. The SMART-formula is not the alpha and omega, but it is a good foundation for creating strong goals.

Limitations are meant to challenge you, and the lack of gaming time as an adult just tests your time management skills. Yeah, you won’t be able to raid 8 hours a day like back when you were a teenager, but then again…do you really wanna go back to that if it means having acne all over again and being the nerd of the class?

Wait, one of those two never actually changed…

 

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Guild Wars 2 – love on second sight?

ArenaNet celebrated the first birthday of Guild Wars 2 past weekend. Around this time last year, I also started my first character in the game, leveled him like a madman to level 63, and then vanished from Tyria. Now, a year later, my new character is level 64, and I’m not leaving yet. Might Guild Wars 2 be my new MMO home?

I won’t dare saying that just yet, but I’m amazed how the game keeps me captivated. The Living World updates are interesting, the gameplay doesn’t feel grindy or all that repetitive, and I find myself enjoying PvP in this game! Could this be a case of love on second sight?

I don’t know.  I just hope my Tyrian bliss lasts longer and that I can really get settled in this fantastic world. Maybe I should start looking for a guild…

 

Discovering Tyria

the sun behind akinjaIt’s been a while since a GW2 related post, right? No wait, you got some fancy pictures just two days ago. This game really has me in its grips it seems. And why shouldn’t it? So far, my journey through the lands of Tyria has been really enjoyable.

One of the things GW2 just gets right is invoking a feeling of discovery. The zones feel grand and are full of hidden nooks and crannies. Also, by ditching the classic quest log and replacing it with these “renown hearts” on your map, you’re actually encouraged to roam around the map filling up those golden hearts. And you know what happens during those trips? Discoveries! No matter if you discover a hidden jumping puzzle or a dynamic event, you’re not simply walking from quest hub to quest hub. No, you’re actually experiencing a heroic journey full of unexpected twists.

Talking about those dynamic events…I just can’t get enough of them. True, many of them are rather simple and feel like your traditional quests, but some of them are just presented so damn well. Today, I came to a place where there should be a bridge. Thinking I had found the fastest way to the next renown heart, I had to discover that the bridge had been destroyed, and a group of traders couldn’t cross a gaping gulch to deliver their goods. Fortunately, some of the traders decided they would venture into the forest to gather wood, and I decided to follow them. As we arrived in the forest, it turned out dredge (communist mole creatures using sonic weapons and drills) were chopping down all the trees, and so I had to help the merchants to drive off the blind baddies while making sure we would also gather enough wood. Of course, we succeeded, and after a short construction sequence, the traders and I could cross the new bridge, parting ways once we made it to the next crossroad.

Did I expect this to happen? Definitely not! I just wanted to go to the next marked spot on my map, but the random and “breathing” nature of GW2 put this little story in my way, rewarding me with some extra gold and a chunk of XP. This is what makes every session of GW2 so damn enjoyable: knowing that, no matter if you want to or not, you’ll be surprised by a cool discovery.

Sure, the game has its downsides, but so far, I just love to play it for about two hours a day, exploring Tyria with babysteps. How long it will last? I’m not sure, but as long as I can discover something, I think GW2 will not get rid of me…

Adulthood: the great devourer of gaming time

“Father Time” by Paimonerra

One of the things you realize once you’re an adult is how easy life was when you were a teenager, and how arrogant and stupid you were for wishing to be an adult. One of the greatest perks of my teenage years was all the time I had to play all the video games in the world. I didn’t care much for homework, and I didn’t feel the need to do exceptionally well in school. I did however feel the need to finish the latest Xbox game or help my guild in World of Warcraft. I had my priorities back then, and I thought that in the future, I would still be able to invest the same amount of time into my dear hobby.

Boy, was I wrong.

You see, when you grow up, your priorities change. You see that there are more important things in life than just having fun. You want to invest in a future, no matter if it’s the financial, social or professional part of it. You re-think your decisions, and make sure that the ones you make will count. Before you know it, your childish wants are gone, and you find yourself in a place of your own, with the love of your life on the couch you bought from your own savings. After you pay the rent and bring out the trash, you take a look at yourself and you realize you’ve grown up. That caught you off-guard, didn’t it?

Next to this change in priorities and the sudden realization that groceries do cost money, you also find yourself with a lack of time. That’s of course because of these new priorities. You need money, right? Well, that requires a job, and a job devours time. You want to build up a good and strong relationship with your partner? That swallows time as well. A day only has twenty-four hours, and before you know it, you have to get back into bed to be in office on time and awake.

At first, you don’t notice it that much, but during one of those rare free Saturday afternoons, you browse through your collection of games and notice that you didn’t finish a single game in the past six months. Come to think of it, you realize that your total gaming time over the last few weeks is not more than about four hours. Where did the raiding nights go? Where did the Sunday morning pre-breakfast gaming sessions go? Who dared to take them away for you?

Adulthood did, my friend. Adulthood, the great devourer of your teenage gaming time.

Yeah, I’m dramatizing this, especially since I really don’t mind being an adult (with many childish streaks). However, it makes you realize how precious the gaming moments you have are. It’s a hobby I enjoy, and thus I enjoy every minute of it. I want to make the most of the time I have with my games, which explains my gaming / MMO ADD.  No matter how old I grow, I can’t see myself without a good RPG on my harddrive and a controller in my shaky, wrinkled hands.

Adulthood, eat as much as you want from my gaming time. The one thing you will never consume is my love for the digital arts.

When should or shouldn’t you play Guild Wars 2?

guild wars 2 charr starter

Just give him a few more levels and he’ll be a lean, mean, killing machine

After lamenting about not finding a new MMO home earlier this week, I decided to give Guild Wars 2 another try. What followed was a quick and awesome ride on my new Charr Elementalist, before I killed my gaming rig during a harmless RAM replacement procedure. Guees it was just my mainboard’s time to go to hardware Valhalla, but fortunately I had some savings in my piggybank to get me a nice little upgrade out of it. So yeah, now I can enjoy Tyria in its (almost) full visual glory!

After a few more hours in-game, I started to analyze my gaming experience. That’s nothing special, it’s what we gaming bloggers do. Naturally, I’ve come up with a few things I like about GW2, and a few I don’t. However, instead of just telling you what’s good and what’s bad, I’d rather tell you what kind of gamer you should be if you want to give GW2 a try, and when you should save your cash and spend it on something else. Like, for example, chocolate. I heard that many people enjoy that!

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Summer Sale Highlights and a little giveaway!

fry not sure steam sale

Well folks, Christmas in July is over. Today, the Steam Summer Sale concluded, meaning that our purses are safe until coming winter and that we now have the time to play the games we grabbed during Flash Sales and other time-limited offers. Of course, being ahead of the curve as I am, I’ve already played a few of my catches, and I want to use this post to talk about the three best games I got during the Sale, while also giving you the chance of winning one of two copies of Awesomenauts!

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