Gaming Budgets and Spending Money

I mentioned previously that I was a little short on spending money.  You see, I was doing a little money upkeeping, budget work, etc.  You know, all that stuff you have to do when someone starts using your apparently stolen card numbers for nefarious purposes.   (On the bright side, there are lots of safety nets for that sort of thing, and in this case I can safely say that this was not my fault!)


Anyway, that along with the summer sales has led me to doing something I hadn’t done in a while, which is seeing how much I spend on games this year.  Years ago it was a pretty set amount – I’d ask for whatever new games I wanted as Christmas or birthday gifts, and just paid out 1 or 2 subs a month for a year.   Back in those days when F2P was not an option.   And I never really got a discount because I could only bounce around month to month and there was always some shiny new game to check out, all of which required a sub.    Throw in some scratch money for the occasional clearance game, and it was a pretty easy number to conjure with.


So I was both shocked and also relieved when I totaled my “fun” spending for this year and encountered about the same number.


*rough estimate.


On the one hand, shocked because the only real sub I am running these days is for Xbox Live and its a bit cheaper than your plain old run-of-the-mill MMO sub.   Not to mention we are only halfway through the year!   And that there is some money not counted there because of gift cards that offset.


On the other hand, our life and job situation is better, and there are some one-time purchases in there (I had to break down and buy a bigger hard drive for Xbox because of my daughter’s purchase and obsession with Minecraft, for example).    And since that money is not only games but also includes books I’ve bought for pleasure and my soccer league fees, I guess its not too bad (though fantasy football season approached with alarming speed).   Part of me is convinced that is a far cheaper hobby total than what some of my peers are involved with.   Like, say, owning a boat – which involves gas and maintenance and such.  Then again, as my wife is quick to point out, at least in that hobby the rest of the family gets to enjoy the spent money in some way (time on the lake), whereas my hobby is cheaper but in not way contributes back to the family.


It would be easy to turn this into a tale of how F2P can rake in more money than sub games, but that’s not the case really.   On the one hand, as I mentioned, that’s a mixed bag of hobbies up there, and the spending on F2P games actually accounts for very little of the overall total (about a quarter of it actually).  So it would be easier to say that in the last couple of years, with the advent of F2P, it has not only allowed me to jump into several different games, but its also allowed me to spread my hobby money around into other areas.   I appear to be slightly less obsessed with games in general and MMO’s in particular.   On the other hand, after looking at the totals, I understand why my wife has threatened to ban me from Kickstarter.


So what about you?  Are you spending the same as you did back in the days of subs only?  More? Less?


And, most importantly, please tell me that some of you are spending about the same as me.   Otherwise I’m going to lose a discussion with my wife…


Help me bloggers…you’re my only hope!

Why do I have nothing to say about TOR?

I have struggled with this thought for some weeks now.  Normally at this point, I’d be writing regularly about my travels and travails, or at least posting progress updates.  But I’m doing none of that.  And I have no desire or impetus to write about TOR, despite the fact that I’m playing it a couple of times a week, much as I was doing with Rift.

Contrast that with my seemingly endless posting about EVE, all of which was happening side by side with my play time.

I’m not sure what to make of all of that, just pointing it out.  It also applies to World of Tanks as well, though I had just assumed it was because a series of PvP matches would seem to leave little to write about, and thus my few posts have been limited to commentary on updates or particular tanks.  But now it strikes me that the disease might be more widespread than that.

Have I lost interest in writing about gaming?  Or is it just that certain games and events lend themselves more readily to blogging?

Westward Ho!

A short while ago, The Ancient Gaming Noob and I shared happy memories of our first RPG experience – in a classroom with an Oregon Trail experience.  Not the one on the computer, but one that involved the entire class in small groups and roleplaying exercises.  This was prompted by his look at Frontierville on Facebook.  Scroll down to the bottom for our comments.

Well today, from sheer coincidence, as I looked for something completely unrelated, guess what I found?

Westward Ho!

Looks like its been updated for the internet age, and may in fact be a whole new program, but it jives alot with what I remember, so its at least based on that core material I think.  I may have to email the “Wagonmistress” and find out the history and origins of  the program.  Its for schools of course, but how wicked cool would that be if the materials were open to the public?

The classroom unit basically consists of five weeks of activities.  The first week is spend on character creation…errr, group organization, supply selection, etc.   The next three weeks are governed by the Travel and Fate cards which give out random encounters for the groups to face and overcome.  The last week is the reunion and celebration where the survivors celebrate their safe journey into the northwest territories.  This element at least is subpar – everyone knows thats the place where the GM is supposed to hand out the loot and XP.  But I suppose for a one-off scenario that’s not really appropriate eh?

Anyway, as they say on the intrawebz…IMMD.

Pulled In Every Direction

We all have those frustrating times, where, as gamers, we feel the crunch of real life.  Sometimes though, we feel the crunch of game life too, don’t we?

I have so much I want to do, so many things I want to accomplish in my games, that I just can’t seem to get enough time.  It’s rather ludicrous I’m sure.  I get, on any given week, about 3 decent gaming nights, where I can log in and play, mostly uninterrupted, for 3 hours or so.  Another 3 nights a week, I can usually get an hour in, sometimes two.  So, I fit into that 11-15 hour a week bracket.  Not nearly as much as some of you, I’d wager, and not as much as I’d like.  But all things considered – it should be more than enough.

EVE works well in this, with its paced skill training.  I can log in or not, accomplish some things in the time period I’m on, and I don’t feel a sense of urgency – like I’ve missed something important and now feel flustered that I have to keep up.  That’s one of the reasons its lasted so long.  Here, I want to contribute something to my mostly industrial based corp, and finish up some personal goals of raising Amarr standings and getting into a Command Ship.

I also used my Christmas money to shell out for the reduced rate one-year sub on STO.  As others have noted, its a good game for an hour diversion, do a mission or two, and then on to other things.  Some of the Casualties guild though have already max leveled, apparently unaware that Cryptic has doggedly refused to follow the models for advancement that some other MMO’s have.  For me, I’d like to get into my T3 ship – probably an Akira of some sort, despite my Science background.  I’m still a good 5.5 levels away though.

And that’s currently it, outside of the 15 minutes a day or so I make with my freebie game The Reincarnation.  And I’d still like to get that epic fantasy empire shared-writing/game thing going.

And I’m feeling a void still.  I had great fun in Star Wars this past month, and it ate into my time in all of the above games.  And I have looked longingly at the new EQ2 expansion, much to my disgust (the expansion, like the last several, offers nothing to players who are not already top level or close to it).  I even have a small urge to take another swing at Vanguard.  Which is leading me to believe I have a fantasy itch to scratch somewhere along the line.

But…if I pick up another MMO, or even dive into a single player game – I get that much more frustrated at not being able to do the things I want to do in the other games.  I’m sure this is a byproduct of stress in my real life.  The more difficult things are here, the more I want to kick back and have fun somewhere else.  And things are pretty difficult here right now.  So much so that even on some of the good gaming nights, I never even crack open my computer.  I can’t manage the emotional or mental energy to commit to even playing a game, I just kinda veg out.  And that just adds vinegar to the wounds.

Anyway, enough of my griping.  Life is difficult, but there are others with much more difficult things to deal with.  And there are people with lots more game time than me, but also people with alot less.  So I guess the message of the day here from Harbinger Zero is this:

Play what you can, when you can, and enjoy every minute of it.  And I’ll try to do the same.