This week's community question is all about time invested in games. More specifically, which game have you spent the most time playing? Perhaps it's an MMO that you've played over the years, or a massive RPG that became a huge time sink for you? Whatever it is, we're interested in hearing about it.
As always, the USgamer team has answered the same question, and these are their responses:
I've never been hooked on an MMO or other online multiplayer game, like Overwatch, being more of a surly, keep-to-myself type. I play video games the way a dog gnaws on a bone: Alone, alert, and suspicious of others getting too near me. Anyway, it stands to reason that the biggest time sink for me has been some sort of RPG… but which one? After thinking about it, I'm going to have to go with Final Fantasy Tactics. It's a 50-60 hour game, and I've played it through (or most of the way through) about six or seven times. I'm pretty sure the only other RPG I've played that many times has been Final Fantasy IV… which of course takes like 12-15 hours to play through (especially the ridiculously easy initial U.S. release). So just by sheer quantity of numbers, Tactics takes the prize. And can you blame me? What a great game — so loaded down with systems, yet nevertheless accessible. Yeah, the difficulty curve is way out of whack (it has a few insane spikes of challenge in its first three chapters, while the enormous fourth chapter moves like you're skateboarding downhill), and the original localization obfuscated both key plot and gameplay elements. But the story is great, the music is great, the game mechanics are brilliant, and it's basically just fantastic. Ah, now I want to go play it again.
When it comes to time invested in a single game, nothing comes close to World of Warcraft for me. I've spent many, many thousands of hours playing Blizzard's seminal MMO, starting the day it launched in 2004. It was pretty much a regular nightly fixture for me for over a decade until I stopped playing this time last year.
I was a hardcore raider for years, originally starting out doing Upper and Lower Blackrock Spire, and then moving onto the 40-man Molten Core. That was a lot of fun, although organizing raids with that many people was a real challenge. There were main raid signups, and a reserve list, meaning that not everyone would be able to play. We also had to use a Suicide Kings loot system, so that everyone had a fair crack at the loot pinata. But even though it was a logistical nightmare, playing with that many people was just something really special that I look back on with great fondness. The hilarious conversations, the drama, the politics - all that combined with what I think of as the best MMO gameplay ever created to deliver a particularly rich, interesting, and involving gaming experience.
I continued the hardcore raiding through every aspect of the Burning Crusade and Lich King expansions, and then moved into PvP during Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. I still raided occasionally when my guild was short of people to fill up their group - but most of the time I could be found in Arenas and Battlegrounds healing my team. I love playing a support role, particularly with my discipline priest, and there was just something about WoW's PvP that I just loved. Not only was I good at it, I just enjoyed the way it worked: More so than any other PvP game out there.
But then the Warlords of Draenor expansion came along, and just didn't quite do it for me. I continued to play quite deep into the expansion, but just wasn't enjoying the game as much as I used to for a variety of reasons, so I quit cold turkey. It was a good move ultimately, as it's given me a break away from the game that I really needed - and now I'm looking forward to resubscribing when the Legions expansion comes out next month. It looks like it's shaking the game up quite considerably, and hopefully it'll reignite my passion for WoW. We'll just have to wait and see.
This is a hard question for me to answer. There are a number of games that I've played a ton: various Disgaea titles, Civilization III/IV, Street Fighter Alpha 3, SSX Tricky/3, Unreal Tournament, Final Fantasy Tactics. With sequels, remasters, and backward compatibility, it's easy to find yourself throwing a ton of time into a single game of the course of years.
But if I had to guess at the title that takes up the most time, it would be World of Warcraft. I've been there since beta and launch on November 23, 2004. I've been there for Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria (I lapsed here), and Warlords of Draenor. I've been Horde and Alliance.
The hours I've put into WoW were probably at their height during Burning Crusade and Wrath, when I was actually a consistent raider. We weren't a huge guild, but my Blood Elf Paladin and I tanked Karazhan, Zul'Aman, Gruul's Lair, Tempest Keep, Crusaders' Coliseum, Naxx, Ulduar, and Icecrown to name a few. I remember the long nights of learning the fights and banging my head against a boss we hadn't figured out or couldn't execute on yet. I remember the run and missed rolls for new gear and tokens. They were good times and bad times.
In the grand scheme of things, I'm dead certain there are people who have played WoW far more than I, but of the games I've played, that's the one I've dived into the most. I still play now, but I'm a filthy casual. I'm not in a guild, I just solo content and run dungeons. I enjoy it and professional requirements of my time, mean even if I wanted to, I couldn't dive too deep into WoW. Alas.
I'm going to omit the possibility of multiplayer-only stuff for this one, seeing as I likely spent a non-negligible amount of logged time waiting in lobbies or having said games idle in the background. So, with those out of the way, Persona 4 definitely takes home the prize. I've definitely spent over a hundred hours on single playthroughs of about a dozen games--Dragon Warrior VII, Fallout 3, and Final Fantasy XII, to name a few--but Persona 4 is the only one of these super-long games I've gone back to play a second time. Granted, I only got about 30 hours into the Vita version, which is still patiently waiting for me to return, but if you tack on these hours to my original Persona 4 playthrough, you're looking at 140 of them invested in a single game.
And that's kinda what worries me about the upcoming Persona 5: Parts 3 and 4 released when I was stuck in unemployment black holes, giving me the time and depression necessary to do nothing but play video games all day. Now that I'm older and presumably much more employable, I'm afraid P5 won't possibly fit into my True Adult life. So, before next February, I either have to self-sabotage my career, or responsibly find a way to schedule a massive RPG into my adult life.
I'll sleep on it.