18 Days And Counting!
If you're reading this the day it's published, it'll be 18 days until Heart of Thorns' launch. 18 days! Only 18 days until we can adventure in the Maguuma Jungle! And, in an odd coincidence, the exact amount of time a young girl survived in an actual jungle in Colombia. At least she didn't have Mordrem to contend with.
Another way 18 days won't seem like much time is if, like me, you look at the total time you've played the game, using the /age command in game. For me, that comes to 2,278 hours and change. If I played nonstop from today until HoT came out, I'd only increase my total time played by 432 hours, or 19%. I'd also probably be dead from sleep deprivation, and if that was the case, do you think ArenaNet would give me a refund on my HoT purchase?
To double my playing time before HoT, I would have needed to start 95 days before HoT launched, or back on July 20... which doesn't quite work, because I would have spent less time in game at that point, but whatever. If we assume I'm at least mildly sane (never a given), and would only play for 16 hours/day, then I'd have needed to start on June 3.
I'm not bragging about my “Internet cred” by talking about how many hours I have in the game. I stopped doing that at least six months ago. But I do find it fascinating to think that I've spent about three full months playing.
I don't feel guilty about it or all, “Oh, woe is me, I've wasted so much my life playing video games.” That sort of thing never registered with me. I can break down 95 days divided by how long Guild Wars 2 has been out and see I've spent roughly two hours per day playing – or, more specifically, doing something I enjoy (feeding rares and exotics to the Mystic Forge notwithstanding). If you spent two hours a day reading or watching sports or knitting, you wouldn't think about how much you've “wasted” your life. The big difference is that I can't type into the air “/ageknitting” to find out how much time I've spent doing that.
We can debate whether other activities are more “valuable” than gaming, but if you're doing something strictly for yourself and not actively enriching someone else, I say it's a wash. I've never tolled the drum of video games' intrinsic value, whether it be to teach hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, or, with more recent online games, social skills. But in the 21st century, being able to work in the digital realm, whether it be in gaming or other “frivolous” things like social media, might arguably be more practical and valuable than reading classic literature or knowing how to craft things. Don't worry, knitters, I still love you, but I'd rather spend $25 on a sweater than 25 hours making one myself – not to mention the (at least) 25 times I'd probably stab myself with a needle if I tried.
Still, 95 days is a pretty solid chunk of time. How does it compare to other events?
It took just 98 days for Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his expedition to reach the South Pole and then get back to his base on the edge of the Antarctic Ocean. Even Nicholas the Traveler would have a hard time matching that pace.
365 divided by four is 91.25, so the 95 days I've spent in Guild Wars 2 account for an entire season. “What did you do last summer?” “Played Guild Wars 2.” “What else?” “That was it.”
Or, I could say I've spent an entire year in Guild Wars 2... if I was playing on Mercury, which takes about 88 days to orbit the Sun. I'd just have to find a nice, shaded crater where there's some water (in the form of ice) and a decent Internet connection. Latency might be an issue.
The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, was built in 93 days, supposedly “by 600 men working 24 hours a day.” Seems legit. Oh wait, they probably mean construction went on all day (and night), but not that individual men themselves worked round the clock. Yeah, that would be harsh.
Finally, it what has to be considered the best use of 95 days, in 1929, an Australian duck laid 92 eggs and then promptly died. But at least it won the “winter test,” whatever that was. No, it had nothing to do with me.
So what's your time played, and how embarrassed or not embarrassed are you to admit it?
Jason Winter is the semi-proud owner of an underwater legendary weapon. You can find him on Twitter @winterinformal. Also, make sure to check out his girlfriend's adorable Guild Wars 2 charms on her etsy shop!