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.