Of Puppies And Finding Refuge In Single-Player Games Before The Onslaught Of The MMO Storm!

January 19, 2011

Question: Do you always play the games you buy? Because I know I don’t. Damn Steam and their sales. They are the worst at making me commit this travesty. Every holiday season they hook me in with dirt cheap prices and I end up with another half dozen games in my cart, all purchased with a “buy now, play later” mentality. Except “later” becomes weeks and stretches into months until they become all but forgotten, sitting in your games library gathering the proverbial dust, all loaded and installed with nowhere to go.

Part of the problem is the MMOs I play. It almost goes without saying, when you play an MMO you’re committed to it for the long haul. At the very least, if you’re paying a sub you want to be getting the most out of your month. I fit in a single-player game every now and then, but that’s time usually made for new releases that I go out of the way to pay full price for at the store the day it comes out. It’s rare that I can find time for those other games relegated to the “later” pile.

Sometimes it takes some personal changes in your life to break the pattern. You see, I haven’t touched a single MMO in almost three weeks, with the exception of the Rift beta weekend — no World of Warcraft, no Star Trek Online, not even free-to-play Lord of the Rings Online.

Remember a week and a half ago, I mentioned getting a new puppy? Don’t let her face fool you, Mara is a little devil. Her type of coloring, a rich true red all over like that of an Irish Setter, is called “ruby.” The breeder told us there is a myth, that as in the world of humans, many owners of ruby Cavalier King Charles spaniels say these red-heads are more volatile, wild and fun to live with. I’m beginning to question whether or not this is really a “myth” at all. Mara the rambunctious little hellion constantly needs watching — every single hour, if she’s not needing to be taken out, she’s either escaping her puppy pen or trying to chew something she’s not supposed to.

Moral of the story? I can only play games with a big fat pause button. MMOs are out of the question, as there is nothing more embarrassing than having to sit back down to a wiped group, trying to explain “Sorry for going AFK guys, dog got into the laundry hamper and was trying to eat my panties.”

This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for, to tackle those single-player games in my Steam library — games that include titles like The Witcher, Bully, and Bioshock 2…games that I actually really want to play. The puppy’s going to settle down sooner or later (GOOD GOD I sure hope so) and this lull could be my only chance before the MMOs take over my life again with a vengeance:

January 25: Rift Beta #5 – Battle of the Ascended, and Champions Online goes free-to-play. January 29: STO returns with Featured Episode Series 3 (I. Can’t. Wait.)

February 24: Rift head-start access for those who’ve preordered.

March…geez, do I really need to go into it again? March is full of goodies; apart from Rift releasing for real, I’m also heading out to PAX East, and my nose should be buried deep in the new Star Wars: The Old Republic novel by the end of the month. And with luck (though quite honestly, I’m not holding  my breath), SWTOR will come out late spring or early summer, and then it’ll be all over from there.

This is the calm before the storm for me (well, as calm as things can be with a 3-month-old puppy nipping at my heels everywhere I go), and if I don’t start making a dent in that to-play list now, I’ll likely not have another chance until summer.


  1. Don’t forget, SWTOR will be present at PAX East! WOOT!

    • That’s true! I’m hoping Bioware will be making some good announcements!

  2. Dang it! Seems like everyone’s going to PAX East but me.

    And yes, I have some single player games that not only haven’t I played, I haven’t installed them either. At least not yet (ever hopeful).

    • I don’t normally go to gaming conventions either (well, it was mostly because I was in Canada before this year) but PAX East is conveniently on the east coast and conveniently held in Boston where my brother-in-law lives 😛 It’s going to be my first time attending a gaming event of this size, I’m pretty psyched.

  3. man everybodys going to pax east. and i admit, it’s the closest convention to where I live, just can’t justify the expense at the moment. depressing.

    i usually play the games i buy. i can only think of one or two i haven’t.

    • Yeah, PAX East wasn’t all that far from where I was in Toronto when I still lived there, but I couldn’t justify going either. It wasn’t just the expenses either (though for sure traveling and accommodations will cost a lot); there was also the hassle of crossing the border and ugh, going through customs just always drains me.

  4. Speaking of, I was thinking about picking up KOTOR and KOTOR2. Never played ’em. Worth it? Necessary before TOR?

    • Probably not necessary for TOR, but I’d say helpful. I don’t think not having played those games will disadvantage you in any way, but I remember seeing a dev say that having played those games will likely enhance your enjoyment, and I can see that.

  5. I have an enormous library of unplayed or barely played console games. Some of them are really fantastic games like Fallout III, Crackdown, or the GTA series. I played Fallout for one evening, had an absolute blast, and then went back to whatever MMO I was obsessing on at the time. The last console game I played all the way through was Badlands…and it was an online multi-player RPG.

    • Oh yeah, that reminds me, I have a few Xbox games I’ve bought and haven’t played yet either. Not as many as PC games on Steam, but I really should get to those console games some time as well.

  6. I know exactly how you’re feeling. Games aren’t connecting for me lately. But all of the sudden I’m notice all of these books that I need to read. 🙂

    • Oh yeah, books have been my other huge distraction. I’m like hooked on reading all of a sudden, sometimes I find myself preferring to settle in with a good book rather than play a game.

      You should join goodreads 🙂

  7. I’m somewhat more selective in the games I buy or try and if I do pick up or purchase end up playing the game a while.

    Only non mmo game bought in last year was Civilization which do still play occasionally. Only other game and mmo bought on last year and out the box didn’t like and thus didn’t play for long was Final Fantasy with all it’s problems. All other games played in last year was mmo’s. And all those I played I gave them all a solid shot playing and most still play. I’m somewhat of a committed gamer in any game usually pick up to learn and excell at it.

    • I’m quite selective in the new games that I buy — those that I choose to get are usually played right away. Now I need to be better with older games. I’m easily tempted by sales and deals especially on single player games I wanted to play but never got the chance.

  8. She is sooo cute! I know what you mean about having a pause button, it’s up and down every five seconds with young animals in the house. Even my cat caused me many AFKs when he was smaller. ‘Um, guys afk a moment my kitten is on top of the fridge…’

    • Yes, constantly up and down, especially with this pup because she can’t seem to stay still for a second. And I just found out how she might be escaping her pen…I think my other dog has been helping…

  9. I am looking to hit PAX myself this year. This will also be my first gaming convention and I am happy that it is composed of not just video games, but rather games in general.

    As far as the KOTOR games go, I wouldn’t play them just for SW:TOR, but rather because they are quite good games. The ending to KOTOR 2 was a bit rushed, but they are really good nonetheless.

    • Gonna be my first one too, so I just know I’m going to make a botch of the scheduling and get confused trying to see everything. There’s a first time for everything though, and I’m super psyched.

      And playing KOTOR for the sake of playing a good game? Well, that goes without saying 😀

  10. […] WoW in droves, a number of them are leaving MMO’s in general. Pete at Dragonchasers and MMOGamerChick have decided to give up on the MMO genre for the time being at least. I personally can’t wait […]

  11. I have so many unplayed games I need to finish…

    • Ahh, you and me both! So many half-played games I need to finish too *looks at Fable 3*

  12. I just love that puppy!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Mara is just so cute, I want to reach into the picture and give her a hug!

    Since I got into my Sims 3 mood and now also Xbox 360, I haven’t logged into EQ2 in a while. A lot of it is because of my class starting too, but it’s kind of nice to be playing something else besides an MMORPG for a change.

    • Yeah, she’s a cute little thing! But she’s still a hellion 😉

      I guess sometimes it’s just nice to get away from MMOs. I know it’s time to do so when I find I have absolutely no motivation to log into any game.

  13. Taking a break from MMOs can be a good thing and also probably a healthy thing. I didn’t play much during the Autumn last year and it was quite liberating. Sometimes you just need to get away from it all play something else that you can enjoy at your own pace and, like you said, pause it or save it without having to worry about other people 🙂

    • Liberating, definitely. Every few months I go through this cycle, just taking a step back from the MMORPG genre. I can never quit though, oh no…after a few weeks, I just come back to them with a vengeance, and it’s like getting right back into them after a nice, restful break 🙂

  14. […] “well, it looks sort of fun” sentiments expressed, but on the whole, this seems to be the quiet before the storm, with many MMOers taking time off or sticking to known knowns before the release of Rifts, […]

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