Gaming in a time crunch

Hey guys, sorry for the lack of updates in the last couple of weeks. It’s the end of the semester at my college and that means a lot of things are coming due. When I’d rather have been writing here, I was instead writing about feminism in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. You can see where I’d feel the urge to pop in and say hello today 🙂

Between that roadblock, studying for my last teacher certification exam, and doing the dailies with my wife (as in, you know, errands and stuff) I’ve found myself without much time to play MMORPGs. With three different games to play, I’ve found myself at a loss for which one I’d rather be spending time in.

Have you ever been in the situation where you have too much to play? Right now, I’m making my way through the following:

  1. LotRO (PC)
  2. Fallen Earth (PC)
  3. WoW (PC)
  4. Assassin’s Creed II (Xbox 360)
  5. Dragon Age: Origins (Xbox 360)
  6. Borderlands (Xbox 360)
  7. CoD: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)

I’ll admit, I’m horrible at finishing single player games. I’m not afraid to put them to the side and, as an avid MMO fan, that tends to happen more often than not. Still, at this time of the year I find myself itching for a quick stress release, so I turn to games that will let me have some fun and progress without being locked in for two hours.

I know a lot of you are in a similar situation, so let’s look at our options;console games have a save function, so we’ll leave those on the sidelines.

LotRO: With Siege of Mirkwood, LotRO gained the skirmish system. I’m sure you’ve heard all about it, so I won’t extol how great it is. One little noted fact, however, is that this system is great for grinding XP. I ran the first real skirmish available at level 35 and managed to get a little under half of a level in XP. I’m a Guardian, so I was able to solo it with my healing soldier, so your mileage may vary. Still, the experience and mark rewards here make it a great option for anyone with a half hour to spare. I’ve considered using it to grind levels but, really, I think that would suck the fun out of it. Like Riknas said on our last podcast, even with the randomization it will still get old if overdone.

Fallen Earth: Fallen Earth is great because it offers a few in and out options. Unfortunately, it’s going to go slower than most other options. You can scavenge materials, which is always worthwhile (and sometimes surprising, when you’re going for refuse) and lets you start crafting. You can also quest, which is the obvious option, of course, but, honestly, I don’t think it’s quite so worthwhile. Hold on, let me explain. Quest text in Fallen Earth is worth reading. The game is so much about atmosphere that, by skipping it, you’re only doing yourself a disservice. Except, and here’s the clincher, reading is slow when you’re paying attention to every single quest. Between that and travel, you’ll spend more time wandering around than fighting. Today’s patch, however, might fix this issue as we’ll now be able to gamble in our downtime. I predict horrible luck just like I have at real slot machines.

WoW: I’ve talked about it before, but the new dungeon system is nothing short of fantastic. Within an hour, you can hop, in do a dungeon, and be out. Because you can now get 2 extra emblems for each random dungeon you do, you’re getting about 5 of these a run and sometimes more. Within a week, you can get yourself a decent new ring. If you can play a little more, maybe a great new piece of tier armor. With patch 3.3, WoW has become the goto game for in and out action that really gets you somewhere sooner rather than later.

Each option has its own appeal, which doesn’t really help if you’re not sure which one to choose in the first place (my problem) but, in the end, you’ll have to bite the bullet and just choose one (my solution).

There’s a lot of other games out there that can also help feed your gaming monster too. Try Dungeons and Dragons Online. Free Realms is also great, if you like mini-games.

Take heart folks. No matter what’s causing you to have more time away from your games, it, like all things, will pass.

Until next time, good luck on your exams!

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