Monday, May 16, 2011

Logging my Time

How much time do you spend each week playing World of Warcraft?

If you're like me, you have had times where you spent more than you were willing to admit.  For a good deal of Wrath, I can say I spent roughly 3-4 hours in-game every night.  Sometimes I logged on for a half hour or so after the kids were on the bus, before I had to get ready for work, while my husband was still asleep.  Sometimes I came home at lunchtime and logged on for a half hour or an hour, depending on how long I had that day.  On weekends, I might play some in the afternoon, if the family didn't have anything going on.  When you tally all that up, it's quite a chunk of time.  But I was having a lot of fun, and the times I was playing worked around the necessities of the family, so it was not really a concern to me.

It was, however, a concern to my husband, who worried about me.

When Cataclysm came out, I, like most raiders, worked hard to level, gear, and prepare for the start of raiding.  I did not have the freedom to take off a few days, so I played my usual roughly four hours in the evening, bit by bit, until I was finally prepared ahead of the first scheduled raid.  Then for the first while, there were things to accomplish--herbs to gather, rep to grind, fish to catch--until my stock was filled and my rep requirements were met.

And then what?

Things got a lot more casual.  (I.e., my main had nothing to do when not in raid.)  My enthusiasm to play on non-raid nights became greatly reduced.  And with my enthusiasm to play reduced, my interest in other things proportionately increased.

This weekend, after vainly trying to assure my absent husband that I don't play nearly as much as I used to play, I started something he wanted me do back in Wrath:  a time log.  He maintained that if I was honest with myself and logged the amount of time I spent in-game, I would be surprised at the number of hours.  (I didn't start a log then because I knew if I recorded all that time, I'd have to feel guilty that I was not being productive.  But he was still playing then, too.)  This log is not to show myself how much time I spend in-game, because I know my time has been greatly reduced, but to show my husband how much time I spend in-game, to prove to him that I meant what I said.

In the last two days--weekend days--without trying to limit my time, I've logged three hours total of late evening play time.  I'm not sure I would have spent that long in-game if I had not been listening to a podcast.  If my husband had been home, I might not have logged on at all.

I simply wasn't that terribly interested.

Three hours in two days, after all the kids are in bed, is an entirely respectable time to play a game.  Sure, on raiding nights, three nights a week, I will log four hours, but given that the other nights show one or two, I think I can make a case to my husband that my game time is not excessive.  Perhaps he will finally believe me.


  1. This sounds like something my parents would ask me to keep track of. I think on their part, at least, it would be because they don't consider gaming to be a valuable use of time, so clearly I should be...I don't know, studying, working (after work?), cleaning, or curing cancer. You have a family, so you obviously have more time commitments than I do outside of work and social outings. However, unless playing WoW is preventing you from getting Important Shit done (work, kids, hubby) or even keeping you from pursuing your other leisure interests, why is it important how much time you spend per week on WoW? Furthermore, how much is too much? Is 4.5 hours per week fine, where 5.5 is too much? Like you said, you know there are some times when you feel embarrassed about how much time you spent. That would be a good way to measure "too much" in addition to monitoring how it affects your ability to do necessary things. But I think if my parents/boyfriend/friends asked me to keep track of my time spent gaming, as if I had to make myself accountable to *them* for my own free time, I would be a little annoyed.

  2. Well, in a marriage, it's a little different than when you're dealing with a boyfriend or friends. (Or parents living far away and not supporting you.) Spouses do have a vested interest in the other person's activities, as they are presumably lifetime partners with a common goal.

    I understand his concern. He needs to know, however, that his concerns are unfounded.