Playing vs reading about MMORPGs

I read a variety of MMO blogs and have done for years now, many relate to specific games that I play or have played. Certainly the familiarity of gameplay experiences that I can relate to often first attract me to a particular blog – I’d point at my blogroll for examples.

But as a fan of the genre I do read blog posts for games that I do not play, especially if they highlight earlier eras and play-styles for the genre or if they cover major ‘gaps’ in my MMO experience. A good example of these would be Wilhelm’s coverage of Eve Online, I’ve never played the game nor have any real inclination to do so, but it makes for interesting reading of a sandbox game that has some truly massive conflicts. Although the super old-school ascii art MUD world can’t compete, for me personally, with modern 3D gaming I do also find his posts about TorilMUD interesting.

Although I mostly follow Inventory Full for the detailed Guild Wars 2 and Everquest 2 coverage, I equally enjoy Bhagpuss’ posts about Everquest 1; a game I’ve barely played and yet I do find fascinating to read about.

I attribute the rather successful if somewhat late-in-the-day run through of the original The Secret World to Syp’s detailed coverage of the game in an earlier blog series. I enjoy reading actual gameplay coverage on many blogs, industry analysis is great and can be insightful but I have a soft spot for vicarious gaming fun.

Finally a regularly updated blog can help me keep vaguely connected with a game when I’m not playing it actively, Shintar’s coverage of Star Wars the Old Republic is one example of a blog that has kept my interest in a game alive despite long periods of absence.

Generally I’d rather be playing than reading; blog reading and writing doesn’t take priority over play sessions. However, with a commute and other ‘downtime’, and the ease of reading blogs and website on a phone these days it’s usually not hard to find some time on a daily basis to catchup on these sites. Although I sometimes watch a Twitch stream while gaming, I’ve stepped back from this a bit of late as I find it too distracting from actually playing. It intrudes on your attention more actively than having an article or post on a second screen to glance through while riding a griffin-taxi or waiting on a load-screen.

Do you have a particular balance between time spent playing vs reading (or watching) about MMORPGs?


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8 Responses to Playing vs reading about MMORPGs

  1. Naithin says:

    I find that I must at least have a passing interest in the title to enjoy reading about it — but otherwise I do find they help me in much the same way you talk about.

    Sometimes to reconnect with a game I haven’t touched in a while (in the case of EVE, probably near on 10 years, for example!) sometimes it’s one I’m considering playing again (FFXIV).

    EQ1 I came to very late, but I enjoyed it. I missed it’s early development as I was in the main competitor – Asheron’s Call. So reading Bhag’s views of it have indeed been very cool. πŸ™‚

    The balance for me is sometimes a bit off. I at times procrastinate playing a game. Go figure. But more often than that I can squeeze in most of my reading during work lunch breaks. The writing is another story and one I’m still looking for a good answer for.

    I’m often up fairly late finishing off a post to schedule and that probably isn’t going to be sustainable long term.

    I managed to finish tomorrow’s post really early today though, so yay. πŸ˜‰

  2. Alunaria says:

    IΒ΄m similar, I read on the go, but play in the evening. Perhaps I read in between flights and such, if itΒ΄s smaller articles etc πŸ™‚

  3. Isey says:

    I do find if I’m really engaged in a game I post less, because posting time is also playing time. (Besides the odd post I sneak in at work πŸ™‚

  4. Nogamara says:

    It depends. Unless I’m in a “don’t want to play games” mood (which usually lasts a few months) I’m only reading on my commute, or when waiting for something or like now, in my lunch break πŸ™‚
    Not playing games means not blogging about games, so while I need to be playing to be writing… I keep up with the blogs I read also in times of not playing. Well, mostly. Cycling to work during summer removes the commute opportunity, so I guess I read more in winter than in summer.

    • Telwyn says:

      That’s an interesting point that I hadn’t considered – if I’m not playing my motivation to post does decline rather and I’m much less likely to have inspiration for posts around gameplay, invariably I fall back on ‘response’ posts to news or other blogs if I’m too busy to game.

      • Nogamara says:

        It doesn’t always match my posting habits, but when I look at my blog.. before the ramp up to last year’s Blaugust I only did 3 posts in Q1-Q2 2018 and there were also quite some draughts before that and I am reasonably sure I didn’t play much in these times. Or I was so busy raiding that I didn’t post πŸ˜› But that era is long gone I think.

  5. bhagpuss says:

    I guess my lifelong hobbies of both writing and reading would come in ahead of gaming in terms of my commitment to them, so perhaps it’s not surprising that I sometimes forego playing games favor of reading or writing about them. That’s partly a function of not having found an MMORPG that’s taken over my life for a very long time, though. That said, when I do get completely wrapped up in an MMO it makes me want to read and write about it even more…

    I enjoy reading about MMOs and other games that I don’t play but I think that has a lot more to do with how engaging and entertaining the writer is. All the bloggers you list and plenty more fit that bill. Wilhelm, particularly, is a genius at making everything he plays sound interesting. There’s no other reason I know as much about Pokemon as I do.

    Some games are easier to turn into amusing stories than others – The Sims is pretty much an open goal, for example, and the recent spate of Dwarf Fortress posts going around are, I’m absolutely certain, far more enjoyable than playing the game would ever be. Conversely, I have yet to read anyone who can make Destiny (1 or 2) sound anythingother than stultifyingly dull. I love reading Belghast on almost anything else – I even read al lhis Monster Hunter posts – but I can’t get through a paragraph about Destiny.

    The bloger I most miss, though,is Tipa at West Karana. She used to post extended accounts of her experiences in games I either didn’t play at all or only dabbled with and it was like reading a serialized novel. I do wish she’d return to blogging, even if she only writes about bridges.

    (And the now-traditional re-submission to get this past Askimet and NoScript, who hate each other with a passion).

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