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A /Played Unexamined is a Game not Worth Playing

September 23, 2011

Dear Reader,

If you could live a year longer, assuming it was a quality year where your standards of health and living were good, would you want it?  What would you do with that year, knowing it was the last one, tacked on to the end of a life that was already supposed to be over?  These questions began to plague my buddy a few weeks ago when he told me that his /played had broken 365 days.

He was in no way bragging about it, though I suspect a little of it was masochistic bravado that we gentlemen often employ to one-up one another.   It made me think, though, about how much time I’d spent in WoW, so for today, I thought I’d run a little accounting and see what we found.

The accounting is far from perfect, like most business’s accounting here in America.  I’ve had at least three characters that I’ve deleted; a low-level shaman that couldn’t have had more than a few hours on her, a level 40 mage who probably had about as much as my hunter, and a “low level” DK (maybe around 60) who I don’t think had hit Outlands yet.  Those numbers are no longer attainable, but for my 10 current toons, this is what I found.

85 Paladin:  94 days, 22 hours, 15 minutes
85 Druid:      37 days, 18 hours, 56 minutes
85 Priest:      33 days, 6 hours, 21 minutes
85 Warlock: 15 days, 15 hours, 11 minutes
85 Mage:       11 days, 1 hour, 4 minutes
85 Rogue:      8 days, 0 hours, 56 minutes
82 Shaman:  5 days, 4 hours, 15 minutes
75 DK:            2 days, 7 hours, 28 minutes
38 Hunter:    1 day, 19 hours, 31 minutes
23 Warrior:  0 days, 14 hours, 16 minutes

There’s a lot we can take from this, but more on that later.  First, the grand total (if I’ve done my math correctly):

210 days, 14 hours, 13 minutes.  

I’ve spent 7 months of my life with World of Warcraft.

Now, that doesn’t begin to compare to my buddy, who nearly doubled me with our more recent tally, which is about 414 days for him.  He’s carried WoW longer than he would hypothetically carry a baby.  It now makes more sense to me why he feels the burnout so much more potently than I do.  He sincerely has played out the game.

I ran a few other numbers to see if they’d have an impact.  They do.  If I’d spent those hours working a minimum wage job, which would earn me 7.25 per hour here in the US, I’d have made more than 36,000 dollars.  That’s a yearly salary for full time work in some jobs.  My buddy, of course, would have made twice that.

Now, this isn’t a lament of time wasted, dear reader.  While it might be easy to spiral into self-doubt and wonderings about addiction, I instead want to clearly state that I don’t regret the time I’ve spent playing.  Realistically, I wouldn’t have worked those hours.  I already had a full or two part time jobs; I needed time to myself.  WoW provided me with a hobby, be it healthy or not, that sometimes challenged me, sometimes frustrated me, sometimes just entertained me, but always kept my attention.  How many things could you do for 7 months of time and say that about?

Here are some takeaways from all this.  I paid fifty bucks for Fallout 3, which is probably my favorite game in recent years, and it entertained me for about 50 hours.   I’m rounding a bit for simplicity’s sake.  That means I’d have to pay 5,000 dollars to get entertained at that money:time ratio for WoW.  Even if you’ve played since the start and paid fifteen dollars a month, which I think is the top rate, including the purchase of the games and expansions, you’re only sitting around 1,500 dollars.  However you cut that, WoW’s a good deal.

Secondly, we can take away some information about leveling rate.  We can’t count the first few toons because I did a lot of raiding on them, although, to be completely honest, I was shocked by how small a number my “main,” Paladi, turned out.  Since my buddy’s main, his warrior tank, was sitting at 173 days, I was sure I’d be at least in that neighborhood.  Turns out I’m barely in the same state.  At any rate, the first toon we can fairly look at is the rogue, who I hit 85 with and stopped playing (yes, even the warlock and mage got a few raids in, though the lock’s last raid was Kara and the mage’s only raid was BWD).

I think it says something about leveling speed that the last three levels took an additional three days of time for the rogue compared to the shaman.  I used PvP to level the rogue, and clearly it was not an efficient way to level.  I mostly quested and healed dungeons on the shaman, and I will CERTAINLY be 85 in less than 24 more hours of play.  The lesson there is that it’s not as efficient as I thought to level in PvP.  Noted.

The DK is almost as useless as the top toons, since you start at a higher level, but you can see a little progression from Outlands on with him, at least.  Just getting through Outlands and the first half of Northrend has taken him about 2 days of time, whereas just a bit over double that got the shammy to 82.  We can extrapolate, then, that the first 58 levels and the next 25 levels take about the same amount of time, which is less than I’d hypothesized; I had figured that each 10 levels takes roughly twice as long as the previous.  Clearly it has more to do with expansions than levels.  More on that when the hunter and warrior are capped.

At any rate, I’m glad I’ve played WoW, and I’m also glad I’ve only played it half of what my buddy has, since I can still enjoy it.  I wish I could “sucker” him back into the leveling game, but alas, it’s to no avail.  I can’t blame him anymore, though.  He’s sucked the very marrow from the bones of Azeroth (ooooh, that’s pretty good), and there’s simply no flavor left for him any more.

I suggest each of you take a look at your /played and see what it reveals to you.  You might be impressed or depressed, but I would bet pretty heartily you’ll find something surprising in there.

On a totally separate note, I had my biggest Steam Whammy ever yesterday.  Brink went to 20 bucks, so my buddy and I bought it.  There’s a co-op campaign, you see, so we figured for 20 bucks how could we go wrong?

We went wrong.  We finished the “campaign” in about 3 hours.  If you don’t plan to PvP, don’t buy Brink.


Stubborn (math FTW or FTL… only comments will tell.)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2011 10:09 am

    I worked out my /played times around this time last year – as a result of a blog post by Syl iirc. This is the link – you can find the times if you scroll down enough 🙂

    I will state again what I said then:
    “I don’t call that wasted time. Each of those days has been spent making a memory, thinking, learning, making a friend, laughing, and having fun.”

    Dwism says in his latest post, he’s just levelled to 85 in 3 days and 3 hours. I’ve just levelled a rogue to 30 in 2 days 🙂
    I think time is relative.. or something 🙂

    • September 23, 2011 12:19 pm

      The time issue certainly is relative; I know I level faster alone, despite the obvious counter-intuitive nature of that. I think questing is faster than anything else, too, though I may just be flat wrong with LFD. I’m planning on using LFD almost exclusively for my lowbie tank, so once he’s 80 I’ll be able to report on that.

      To be absolutely frank, I’m a terrible afk’er, too. I probably only “log out” of the game one time out of every four, so that’s a big factor in my numbers, as well. Of course, if that’s true for all my characters, the data’s still good, I think.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. September 23, 2011 10:13 am

    I was somewhere at 253 before Cataclysm (of which I haven’t played much at all), pretty much all on the same char. =) That’s starting in 2004.
    Needless to say I agree full-heartedly on the subject, it’s nobody’s business anyway to assume what you should be doing with your time. When I wrote a very similar topic a while back, it stirred quite some controversy (trolls..), but there were also quite a few bloggers coming out, publishing their numbers without hesitation – which was great. (for ref: sorry, no idea how to insert links nicely on WP. 🙂

    • September 23, 2011 12:21 pm

      I wish I’d gotten in on the ground floor of WoW, but I unfortunately missed all of the vanilla raiding scene. I don’t know how many more hours I would have had, though; my friend is clearly well ahead of me, but he only started 18 months earlier. I think it really comes down the the idea of grinding; I’ve done my fair share of Netherwing, Sons of Hodir, Firelands, etc, but he’s fanatical about it; he’ll do every grind on every toon to its full; I usually only focus on one character, whichever I perceive as my “main” at the time.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. September 27, 2011 1:32 am

    Ooh, a toon on The Sha’tar! Say hello sometime 😀

    Let’s log in on Rioriel and see what the magic number is…

    [07:31:43] Total time played: 187 days, 14 hours, 20 minutes, 10 seconds
    [07:31:43] Time played this level: 21 days, 8 hours, 7 minutes, 10 seconds

    Hmm. I’ve definitely played Rio less at level cap than ever before, not finding 85 all that engaging these days.

    • September 27, 2011 6:09 pm

      Sha’tar? Not me, unfortunately.
      I’ve got the same low max-level time as you do, as does my two buddies, my wife, and so on. I really think we’re just getting full of the tasty parts of WoW after all these years. The game’s not really “getting worse” or even drastically changing, but we are. That’s why I’ve enjoyed leveling so much; I’ve been able to see all the different “new” zones, try out different play styles and different leveling techniques.

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