The Daily Grind: Do you keep track of your MMO gaming time, and if so, how?

    
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A while back, we did a Daily Grind on which MMORPGs we played most excessively, and one thing that I pointed out was that I didn’t keep data for some games; I relied on those games to tell me how many hours I’d sunk into them, and if they sunsetted, they took that information with them.

But the last few years, I have been tracking my gaming time more generally, along with a lot of other things, partly to keep myself accountable for habits I wanted to harden and partly out of curiosity to see where the patterns in my life existed. For example, I found out that while I’m super busy on Mondays, I am actually in a pretty good mood on that day because I like this job and I like getting to hang out with the people who do it and who comment here! Thursday turns out to be my worst day of the week, every single week.

More on point, the tracker I use makes it really easy to see which days I made my personal gaming quota. I can look at my tracker and see which months I was spending less time in games, like last fall and winter, when I was spending most of my time working on buying and moving into our first house and everything that entailed. I can also see spikes in playtime, such as the couple of months right after Bespin came out and I was obsessed and played basically every single day.

Do you keep track of your MMO gaming time, and if so, how? Or is this just information you don’t care about and don’t need to know because you play when you want and aren’t going to let a mental quota get in your way?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Stormwaltz

I can’t believe I missed this. A measure of how busy I was yesterday.

I’m “hardcore casual” about tracking my gaming time. That is to say, I don’t pay active attention to it on a day to day basis, but I like to look back occasionally and dig into the deep details of how I spent my time.

I started doing so back in the 2000s, when Xfire would track gaming hours. I migrated to Raptr when Xfire was shut down. Though both were intended for player communication and matchmaking, I never used those features at all – for me it was always about tracking where I spent my free hours (and how many free hours I had).

When Raptr died, my records died with it, alas. I figured my days of tracking games were over. Steam tracked time played, but wouldn’t cover exterior programs – the non-Steam version of LotRO, for example. Nothing tracked hours across all platforms.

About a year ago, the MMG blogging community noticed Manic Time, a productivity application intended for freelance workers. It tracks when programs run in the foreground – i.e., if you’re playing a game and tab out to check email, it will record that as time spent in the mail application, not the game. It tracks on a spookily granular level. I could tell you how much time I spend in Firefox specifically on MOP’s homepage, or looking at a particular doc in MS Word.

For me, it’s great. I’m looking forward to reviewing my first full year of data on January 1.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I don’t keep records of my playing time. I’m aware of it, I strive to avoid letting it mess with “real life” responsibilities. Mostly. If it’s a choice between doing the dishes or doing even more tedious chores in Ark or Space Engineers, the dishes are going to lose every time.

I’m neither organized enough nor particular enough to try to keep spreadsheets.

Turing fail
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Turing fail

I think the divorce papers went into my time spent playing games at some length…

Seriously, I’m super fortunate to have married a fellow gamer! Neither of us gives the other any grief for how long we play.

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Schmidt.Capela

Only the time lost to forced downtime, and even then only indirectly.

In essence, I never play any MMO without having something else to distract me at hand — usually a few books or comics, and a portable console of some kind. I use those whenever the MMO imposes forced downtime on me. And by how much I’ve read, or how far I progressed in the portable games, I can have a fairly good idea of how much downtime the MMO forced on me.

As for why do I track those, it’s to decide which games I’m going to drop due to having excessive amounts of downtime. I don’t mind having to wait, but I want to have full control over when I stop to wait; having the game choose that for me often results in the game forcing me to stop when I have time to play and asking me to play when I can’t, and isn’t enjoyable at all.

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Paragon Lost

I make use of BGNF* tracking and that’s about it.

*Butt Gone Numb Factor

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Hikari Kenzaki

Well, I for one am shocked that Bree has an in-depth method for tracking insert stat here. Shocked I say!

No, not really. I have vague ideas and Steam tracks some, but I often feel those numbers are off (too low). I know I’ve probably got 100 hours in Elyon at this point, though a lot of that is managing my crafting, doing little dailies, or playing with my virtual house as I pack my real house.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Steam’s numbers are actually way higher for me – I have a “slow compared to ultra high speed” DSL connection, and downloading a big patch for Ark or Warframe is something I pretty much need to do overnight or while I’m at work. I also have a tendency to finally force myself to do the dishes, forget I had the game running, and come back two hours later to find that my character in Ark starved to death and got eaten by one of my pet dilophosaurs at some point.

Well… if I’m *lucky* I got eaten, because they’ll pick up my items when they do. If not, then my character starved and despawned and every single thing I was wearing or holding has ceased to exist. ( OnO )

quark1020
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quark1020

I keep an alarm handy to remind me about commitments, or to keep me from going to bed too late, but otherwise, I do not.

I spend most of my leisure time playing videogames, and I play whatever I happen to be in the mood for. If I eventually break a thousand hours in a particular game, then its to its credit for doing something right for me.

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Toy Clown

You’re ability to track and document everything is staggering, Bree! It’s actually awesome. I feel you might have been an accountant or exporter if gaming didn’t become part of your life!

The way I track gameplay is through an egg timer that the ding is (I guess?) so loud that it vibrates the desk. My cat also comes to life when it goes off in case I miss it because she knows I’ll get up soon and /probably/ head to the kitchen. It only has an hour setting, but has been the tool I’ve used the longest (outside of a notebook and pen) for making sure I leave the pretendy worlds and get into the real world on time.

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Ken from Chicago

Nope. I’m not Sypster. I don’t have a schedule of when I start and stop playing an MMO. I play when I have time and stop when I have time and stop when I have to do something else or fall sleep.

I use my spreadsheet to track my alts biographies, powers, location coordinates, etc. but not time in game.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

Bree, that’s taking spreadsheet gaming to the extreme. It’s time for an intervention.

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Ken from Chicago

Bree be all if there’s a cure for this, I don’t want it. 👎🤣🤣🤣