As we push forward into the festive season time constraints tighten and opportunities to post recede. Well, for me they do, and for a very positive reason: I find I want to play more than I want to write about playing.
That's a relatively unusual phenomenon. When there's something new and interesting moving across the MMO landscape, the urge to share my thoughts on it with an indifferent world runs a strong back-current against my desire to experience it first-hand and when things are quiet I'm even more likely to think of things I want to write about than things I want to do.
Only at the moment it's not quite working out that way. I still have plenty to say, but when I sit down of an evening after work I'm in a rush to log in and play and what I want to play is GW2.
What I feared may be coming to pass.
From memory, never a reliable source, the MMOs that have held the overwhelming majority of my attention for six months or more at a stretch are Everquest (several times), EQ2 (several times), Vanguard and Rift. Lots of others have achieved dominance for a few weeks or months then slipped back - Dark Age of Camelot, Guild Wars, Pirate 101, WoW, The Secret World, Fallen Earth, to name nowhere near all of them. Behind and all around those flit the countless MMOs with which I dabble, flirt and experiment.
What I prefer is to spend something like two-thirds of my available gaming time in one MMO, have a second which takes up a significant amount of what's left and then drop in and out of half a dozen others more or less on a whim. When one gets a grip, though, playing anything else doesn't seem so much like time out as time lost.
I don't like that. I pride myself on being able to pace myself and do only what I find fun in MMOs, which works extremely well for avoiding MMO ennui and a jaded gaming palate, but it's a strategy that falls apart when I find that I'm having fun all the time in one MMO. When that happens, the whole thing flips on its head. Playing other MMOs becomes something I ought to do not something I want to do.
This can stop at any time, although rarely without warning. There will be a period, usually brief, when I begin to feel slightly less interested in The One Game and slightly more in Something Else. I'll wonder what my characters elsewhere are getting up to without me and whether I shouldn't go check up on them to make sure they aren't getting into trouble. I'll start to read patch notes of games I'm not playing but might be and ponder the implications. Next thing I'll be patching them up and just "taking a look" and a week or two later my One Game will just be one of my games.
GW2 is so rich, that's the problem. Each class I play is the best class. Each pass through a map is more interesting than the last pass through the same map. Every climb to 80 just reveals how much I missed last time. I'm standing on two level 80s, a level 70 and a level 50 now and my somewhat fanciful idea of having a max-level character for all eight classes has solidified into a firm intention, one that I expect to realize. And not before all that long, either.
Indeed, if World vs World wasn't so compulsive I might already be half way there. It's not the fastest way to level, that's for sure, although it may well be the fastest way to get poor. The repair costs alone are bankrupting me. Maybe if I learned to play better...
Anyway, I'm having a great time. And the server seems very busy still, with plenty of new players down in the starting areas, whose endearingly eager contributions to Map chat leads me to believe they really are new players not refurbished ones like me. It's all going rather well.
I feel I'm just now coming to the point where I'm ready to start thinking about what I might want to do long-term. I'm very struck by the Necromancer, but then I was by the Ranger and the Engineer. I'm beginning to get into a frame of mind where fully exploring maps feels like something I want to do for myself rather than a cheesy achiever lever so I'm beginning to do a little bit of that.
With WvW becoming a thing, I can finally see a point to upgrading gear at 80th. It looks as though my necro may be the first both to go full exotic and not to enter retirement on dinging 80. Although she's only 50 right now and I thought this the last two times... And Mesmers and Elementalists both look to be having one whole heck of a lot of fun. And really, don't even mention Thieves. Or Guardians.
Okay, maybe I don't know what I want to do long term yet after all. One thing I do know, Storm Legion isn't getting a look-in right now. And another thing - I want to go play GW2 right this min...