Don't worry, this will not be one of my "life is precious" posts that will serve only to preach to you how short life is and how wonderful gaming with others can be.
Well, OK, it will be a little of that.
Just to keep it simple, I want to demonstrate for you how a typical day might go for me, to show how wonderful F2P's are to me, being that they fit my life-style perfectly. Maybe then some readers will understand how F2P's might fit into their lives as well.
So, here we go:
6:30 AM: Get up, start coffee. Let dogs out for potty. (Yes, we call it potty. We don't have kids.)
7:00 AM: Fix some waffles, some cereal, a bagel and sausage maybe? Sit outside with the dogs and watch the day come.
8:00 AM: Make sure Leala is getting up and getting ready for work. (This is day off scenario..on a workday I go to work.)
9:00 AM: After seeing Leala off to work, take a shower and walk the dogs for 45 minutes or so.
10:00 AM-Lunch: Do housework, bills, play with the dogs. Most non-gaming stuff is done now.
1:00 PM: After a wonderful lunch with Roo, start up any one of my favorite games. Even the process of logging in can be broken up into sections like type screen name... go change out laundry.... pick character and hit "log in...." grab a drink and sit down to a character that is waking up in a virtual world. Sometimes, I log in and I'm dead. (I'm clumsy.)
3:00 PM: Take the dogs for their afternoon walk, around another 45 minutes or so. Play with them in the yard for a bit, too. Dogs need daily interaction/exercise, no matter the breed. No excuses. If you have a fat dog (barring any physical problems) it is YOUR FAULT. (Guilt moment over.)
4:00 PM: Play some more. My character stays logged in. For some reason, most of the F2P games allow you to stay logged in, either to maintain personal shop type scenarios or something else. Who knows? Ideas?
5:00 PM: Find a safe spot or a stopping point for my character so I can start supper. I am essentially the house person. Again, I can check in with my character, maintain IM conversations or do something like crafting in between later day activities.
6:30 PM: Have supper with Leala.
The rest of the evening can be spent sometimes at work, hanging out with Leala, or with both of us typing away on blogs, editing podcasts, or playing games. We can chat while we play or talk about people we like or dis-like. Sometimes we have to yell at each other, being that headphones can blur out background noise.
The great thing about the F2P's is that they allow me to stop and start when I want, without stopping the game or stopping the rest of the players. Also, just because they are called "free to play" does not mean that you won't spend any money. In fact, I tell people that they are not "free to play" but "free to decide" games. I can decide when/if and how much I want to spend, and can pretty much customize my experience. I will go more into "advantages" of this system in a later blog, but for now the most I will say is that the biggest advantage the game sells is of a time-saving nature.
And it's all about time. I cannot speak about having children, but having real interactions with your dogs can really set your life into a predictable path. Dogs love a schedule, and so do we. It's been proven that we can benefit greatly from having a schedule and the structure it brings. Perhaps that's why raiding or other organized group activities are so popular with gamers to the point that some players do it as a second job. It's reliable, predictable...even the "chaos" of combat is predictable, which is comforting.
I used to tour with a band and would be gone for some weeks at a time. I used to go to school and have always kind of maintained a roughly loose schedule. Not anymore. I love taking each day and squeezing everything I can out of it. And it's the same with my gaming. I need variety, I need to take a break from one game to discover another, and then have the ability to come back to the original. I have my "home games" but I love nothing more than discovering a new game. I need the choice to go where I want in my real life and in my virtual one. But I want the ability to explore on a tight schedule, without getting locked into spending 4 hours in a dungeon only to do it again the next night in the same dungeon.
So, for me, and in my very particular life-style, F2P games are winning my attention more than a game that takes a 15 dollar a month sub regardless of how much time I spend in it. If I played only one game at a time that scenario is a great deal, but I have come out of the gaming closet to say, proudly, that I play everything.