I’ve realised over the past few months that my gaming tastes have changed a lot since I left University. At Uni I had a lot of spare time (I did Social Research for pities sake!); I was a bit of an insomniac and never had a roommate or dorm-buddy to worry about keeping up with my late night gaming sessions, I also have a lovely long term girlfriend, so there was never the chance of stealing a likely young wench from the local tavern and bringing her back to my lair. The upshot is that once all of my buddies had retreated to bed, I would have all the time in the world to play games. Games usually meant Guild Wars and Guild Wars meant several hour sessions: vanquishing zones, completing Zaishen quests and going absolutely batshit bonkers in PvP (once the red-mist comes down, my blood-lust is difficult to satisfy).
Since leaving University my commitments have changed. I have a full time job, my own house, bills, taxes and other such grown up things. My gaming time – although very generous (thanks girlfriend!) – has had to change. Mostly, now, it is consumed in bite sized chunks; 20 minutes between when I get home and when I start cooking tea, an hour or so after tea till I begin to feel guilty about leaving the lady alone in front of the telly and then maybe an hour or so once she heads off to bed and before I can’t keep my eyes open.
This disjointed schedule just isn’t conducive to a full-time MMO career, but it lends itself perfectly to console gaming – 15 minute Call of Duty battles, 20 minute FIFA matches or a quick jaunt around Rome in Assassin’s Creed. It’s easier to lounge on the sofa for half an hour and get my gaming fix than it is to find 2 hours a night to sit alone in the spare bedroom hunched over a keyboard.
My worry is that with the coming of Guild Wars 2, I won’t be able to fully commit. If I am going to experience this game, I want to fully immerse myself, I want to have proper time to commit – and I haven’t found a proper way to balance an MMO gaming habit with a healthy home-life.
So, I implore you, good readers; fill me with your wisdom – Have you found that balance? Do you have a loving spouse who games with you (mine is currently addicted to Skyrim, so that means I can steal off and play for a bit longer than normal)? Do you disregard the tuts and sighs which come from a cross-armed partner, as she/he stands in the doorway pyjama-clad and yawning?