The Rule of Two

Last Friday Liore published a post on her return to World of Warcraft that caught my attention. It wasn’t that she was playing WoW again, lots of people do that, but rather the way she described its place in her gaming habits that got me thinking. Liore begins by stating that she always has two games she’s playing at any given time; one that demands a greater deal of attention, usually with an engrossing story and involved gameplay elements, and another that can be played with one eye on the computer monitor and the other on a TV show.

I can definitely relate to this desire to have an engaging gameplay experience as well as a relaxing one, and I think that’s why I’ve settled on playing Blade and Soul alongside The Secret World as of late. One of the reasons I’ve slowed down in playing TSW has been due to the intensity of the game. It’s a remarkable MMO with excellent story and combat but it is also an exhausting game to play. There are nights when I sit down at my computer and simply do not have the energy to complete an investigation mission or battle an army of werewolves (be careful, don’t pull that other one over…crap.) Those are the nights I’ve started playing Blade and Soul with its colorful atmosphere and easy leveling process.

Now that I’ve seen someone else write down this balance in a way that really resonates with me, I think I am going to be more intentional about maintaining that balance. For now, The Secret World will be the game I am engaging more intently while Blade and Soul will be a far more casual affair. And when Black Desert launches I think I will approach it in much the same way, as it sounds like a game where you can just go out and mindlessly grind mobs or spend time fishing on your boat.

I think it’s important to note that “intense” doesn’t mean time consuming, as I can have quick one or two mission sessions in The Secret World. And “relaxing” doesn’t mean I’m not invested, with sandboxes like Black Desert requiring quite a lot of hours played in order to get your characters established. Either way can take up either more or less of my weekly allotted MMO time, depending on which approach I prefer at that moment. Looking back on my gaming habits this past year, I can see how my preference for one or the other type of MMO gameplay has shifted back and forth and back again over time. So I’m going to be more intentional with this “rule of two,” and try to make sure I have a game to play when I want to be focused, and a game to play when I want to put things on auto-path without worrying about which approach I’m favoring more.

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2 thoughts on “The Rule of Two

  1. I guess this very much also fits to me playing TSW and GW2. As you described, TSW is high quality, sometimes quite deep, and generally wants attention. In contrast, GW2 is the popcorn-game. (I earlier called it McDonalds of games, but recently i picked up the Popcorm term from another blog, and i think it fits better. ) In pure technical terms its combat might even be slightly inferior to TSWs, but it covers it up with nice effects. It’s story might be very flat, it’s characters boring and unimportant, but for the way it’s being played, that doesn’t matter. It’s Popcorn, not some high quality menu, and there’s a time for either of them.

    So yes, not only does such a split prolong the lifetime of both games, it’s also true that different games are better for different times and moods. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I saw the same post, because I’ve been thinking of BnS as a ‘popcorn” MMO as well. And it does prolong the life of each game, a lot of times when I take an extended leave from a game it is because I burn myself out from pushing past the point of it being fun. Having a secondary title to “cleanse the palette” can be just what you need to move forward. I’ve definitely progressed much more slowly in TSW the past couple of weeks but I needed the break and eventually I still finished what I was working toward. Now I’m ready to jump back in a little more regularly.

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