Massively Overthinking: Do you take vacation time to play MMOs?


Back when Amazon was busy merging several dozen Lost Ark servers, I saw a comment thread where people were grousing about being locked out of their server for most of a day, which also happened to be patch day. “In WoW there are a lot of people that plan their vacation around raid release,” one commenter wrote. Players had other reasons to be grumpy in that thread, mind you; I just want to focus on that particular rationale, one I’ve seen thousands of times over my time in MMOs.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’m asking our writers and readers whether they do this – whether they plan their life and even their work vacation days around MMO content rollouts. Have you done it in the past, and do you still do it? Has it ever backfired? Do you regret it? Just how common is this? Do you take vacation time to play MMOs?

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): This got so real with Overwatch 2, huh? LOL. It’s funny, I’ve taken time off for themeparks (which I’m not big on), but not games. I will work ahead to try to sneak in extra game time, though. I remember I’d been living in Japan for not even a month when Guild Wars 2 came out, and I barely had an internet connection, but while I was unplugged, I spent a ton of learning the lay of the neighborhood and work. I’d pestered enough upcoming co-workers and a few teachers with related fields (mostly the Japanese language teachers) so I could have relevant lesson plans made up for months. I don’t remember launch day at all, but I do remember people being surprised that I was one of the higher levels in the guild.

It doesn’t always work out, though. For one Pokemon GO event, I had to work on the weekend for a convention. I came in early, as booths were first come, first serve, and I got one of the best spots. I’d brought a bunch of supplies and had a lot of things set up, and quickly too since I’d organized everything so it’d be ready to go during the week and the night before. I figured if I did all that, I could call dibs on the second lunch break, as someone had to watch the booth. No dice though. I can’t even remember the excuse, but my boss took it. I thought I might be able to sneak in an evolution at the least during a bathroom break for a special event move in game, but the convention center had terrible service in doors. I missed out, and Niantic’s never brought that move or event back.

Andy McAdams: Trying to think – the only one I can ever distinctly remember taking time off for – and it was only a day – was Burning Crusade. There’s potential that I might have taken time off for the Guild Wars 2 launch or The Secret World as I was pretty excited about both of those, but I don’t remember explicitly taking time off to play them. Nowadays content releases don’t explicitly impact my vacation time. I’ve already had a day(s) picked out and happen to also see there’s a major content release (or a new game release) during the time I had planned to take off — but even then when I have vacation time, I usually have other stuff going on.

While launch experiences have gotten better, they are rarely issue-free, so why spend the cycles being frustrated when I can just play when I normally would? That said, there are people at work who took off the week for the WoW Classic Wrath launch, so there’s that. Plus, playing during launches even when good tends to bring out the worst behavior in MMO players as everyone scrambles to rush and see everything and I end up getting pissed off at the community anyway.

So, I have better experiences not playing at launch, so I don’t plan any vacations around it.

Ben Griggs (@braxwolf): I’ve never understood the rush to play a new chapter or expansion on the day it releases. It’s always plagued with issues, and even if you do get in, the new areas are flooded with other characters and sometimes lag. Then again, I am late to everything. I just recently started playing EVE Online, for crying out loud, and that game is 19 years old! So maybe I’m not the best barometer for this question.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I don’t believe I’ve ever done it, but then my “vacation” days are rare enough anyway that I wouldn’t want to waste them on anything but vacation, and it’s easier when my job is already… all of this. I definitely skipped class to game, though – but never classes I liked!

I realize that time hits different now than when I was 18, though. It’s more precious the less of it you have left. So I’m not necessarily more careful about how much time I spend and when, just about which games I spend it in. And that definitely applies to pretty much all launches, which inevitably suck. I’ll play later when the launch-day woes are done and I’m not busy sailing around on the Massively golden yacht.

That was a joke for the trolls on Reddit. It’s not a yacht; it’s a submarine.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): No, I don’t take time off for releases. I work here. If I’m taking time to play a game on release, that means I’m taking that time to play for this job, which is at best redistributing work time rather than taking time off. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

That said, Bree knows that I am going to be reviewing a new expansion when it comes out and that’s going to be my top priority, so she tends to understand that my daily output drops down to mostly “hello, I’m not dead, bye.”

Sam Kash (@thesamkash): I always wanted to do it but never did. There’s only a handful of games that I loved enough to even consider it, too. But I never had a large enough friend circle for any of them to cross as deep into video games as I did, so I would’ve just been the odd one out.

When I got older, I had a few friends who used to do this, but I think life has gotten the best of them by now too. Even when they were still taking time off, I think I figured I was too old to do it myself. Maybe if I had done it when I was younger, it wouldn’t have sounded like such a hard thing to take time off for.

Every week, join the Massively OP staff for Massively Overthinking column, a multi-writer roundtable in which we discuss the MMO industry topics du jour – and then invite you to join the fray in the comments. Overthinking it is literally the whole point. Your turn!
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