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Posts with tag playtime

Study: Singapore teens play 27 hours a week


The topic of addiction comes up pretty often when you're talking about World of Warcraft -- as Dr. Hilarie Cash told us, this is exactly the kind of game that brings out addictive tendencies in people who already have them. They've dealt with it in Sweden and elsewhere in the world before, and the most recent place to step up and face the problem is Singapore. This article talks about a three-year study that reveals some interesting facts about how and why Singaporean primary and secondary school students play their MMOs. The average amount of playtime per week, according to the study, is 27 hours. That's over a day of playtime per week.

Still, while that seems high (and remember, it's just an average according to this study, which apparently isn't done until the end of the year), I like the government's take at the end of the article: regulating it, either by attacking the games or putting unenforceable rules on the Internet, just won't work. If these kids are playing too much (and generally the rule is that if your life is suffering, you're playing too much -- it's hard to believe that a kid going to school can play for 27 hours a week and still have time to do homework and sleep as they need to), then it's their and their parents' responsibility to get educated and fix it. Lots of people play MMOs, but it's up to those who do it unhealthily to get help for themselves.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items

Study: Playing in a guild actually lowers stress


A new study done by researchers at Australia's Queensland University of Technology says that spending time online playing World of Warcraft with others can actually be good for your mental wellbeing -- within moderation of course. Researcher Huon Longman studied WoW players who played alongside guildies in game, and found that players often shared their real-life concerns with their virtual associates, which resulted in lowered levels of "anxiety, depression, and stress." In short, it seems that when you build relationships and share emotions even with people online, it can help you deal with problems in real life as well. That follows what we talked about earlier this week with Dr. Hilarie Cash -- games like WoW can definitely complement real-life relationships and actually help you relax.

But only when used in moderation -- Longman also found that 10% of the sample he studied played considerably more World of Warcraft than normal, and that those players not only didn't experience a bigger benefit to their wellbeing, but actually experienced more "negative psychological symptoms." A good balance of virtual and real life can have a lot of benefits, but falling too much into virtual life can actually cause more problems psychologically, according to this researcher's work. Obviously, this is one study of many about how playing these games can affect how we think, but the results are definitely reflected in experience: in-game relationships, used in moderation, can definitely help you deal with the real world in a healthier way.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Guilds, Blizzard, Raiding

Massively and GamerDNA chart the MMO market in 2008


Our good friends over at Massively have teamed up with the GamerDNA site to come up with some stats of MMO playtime this year, and the results are very interesting. Unfortunately, those results are buried under some pretty confusing charts (and these are all approximations of what's happening from GamerDNA information, not actual subscription numbers), but we'll see if we can pull out the salient points for you.

In (very) short, WoW rules. Two games that most pundits thought might affect WoW playtime, Warhammer Online and Age of Conan, in fact, didn't affect WoW logons in the least, according to this data. And while guest contributor (and GamerDNA writer/analyst) Sanya Weathers says she may have spotted a short decline in WoW playtime right around the release of WAR, that was quickly overshot by the release of Wrath, as WoW's numbers jumped right back up.

But while Blizzard has weathered the competition this year, things might not be so hunky dory for them in the future: while games like Lord of the Rings Online and EVE Online are showing sharper increases, WoW's population seems to be leveling out. It's still growing, sure, but not at the rate that it has been (and perhaps at the slowest rate in the game's life). And you have to think, as we said on the podcast last week, that whatever other expansions Blizzard can come up with, none will be as interesting to their players as finishing off the story of Arthas Menethil and the Lich King. WoW is still the undisputed king of MMOs, but the stats say we're closer to the end of its reign than the beginning.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

15-year-old collapses after playing Wrath for hours on no sleep or food

Reader Danny sent us this article from Holland Sweden, where apparently (a rough translation of the piece, thanks to Google, is after the break), a young boy of 15 was taken to the hospital after collapsing while playing Wrath of the Lich King. He reportedly had played the game for fifteen hours straight, and because he'd only gotten two hours of sleep and had almost nothing to eat the entire time, felt cramps and apparently collapsed from exhaustion.

Obviously, it's a stretch to blame this on the game -- doing anything for 15 hours straight with no sleep or food won't be good for your health. There were millions of people who played this very same game this weekend (some probably even for the same amount of time or more) and had no problems at all -- they realize that to stay healthy, you take breaks, get sleep, and eat healthy. But this kid (and his parents) didn't do things correctly, and as a result, he ended up in the hospital.

Hopefully the kid's all right, and the parents have learned their lesson: they have decided to limit his time in front of the computer, which is exactly what they should do if he can't limit it himself. The article ends by saying that "teenagers" around the world are playing the new expansion, except that the average age of gamers is now up to just under 30, and the average World of Warcraft player is actually older than that. Fortunately, the vast majority of them know how to enjoy the game and stay safe and healthy at the same time.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Leveling

Blizzard gives out a day of compensation for the downtime

Blizzard's been on shaky footing this week with all the downtime, from their forum issues to in-game mail problems, and even their main site has had trouble. But there's good news for those affected by the outages (everybody?): we're all getting an extra day of playtime. Tyren says that they believe the problems are now fixed, and that players will recieve a free day of gameplay sometime within the next two weeks.

Personally, I wasn't affected much, but free gametime is free gametime. The real test will be this evening and this weekend -- if Blizzard can keep their realms up even under the pressure of so many people checking out the expansion, it'll be a feat. But odds are that, considering how many players are likely to try checking out Northrend in the next few days, the shakiness is not quite over.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Blizzard

3 day credit for NA, EU customers


When patch 3.0.2 hit, we had a very long maintenance, shading towards 24 hours for some realms. And since then we haven't always had the best of realm stability; I know my own realm has had plenty of restarts, downed instance servers, and lag spikes in the past few weeks. It would have made raiding pretty hard if they hadn't nerfed the pants off it.

Blizzard knows about the realm problems as well as anybody, and as is their tendency, they're compensating for it by giving us all playtime credits. This time it's a full three days, for anyone with an active account on US, Oceanic, Latin American, European, and Russian realms (so basically everyone except Asia; the Asian realms have a different payment structure).

That's one thing I really like about Blizzard. They may mess up, but at least they try to fix it. Now can I have a Squashling, please?

Filed under: Realm News, Blizzard

Frostmourne replica in action

After waiting three months, Cerenvy of EU Darkspear finally recieved his replica Frostmourne in the mail. He got together with a couple guildmates, and rocked out with "duelling Frostmournes." Pictures included, of course.

According to Cerenvy, the replicas are much heavier than you might imagine. They had to flex a bit to hold the treasured swords aloft. Angrist and Nymeria of EU Darkspear also appear in the pictures with their own replicas, and the chaps spent a little while whirling the legendary weapons around. I hadn't been really interested in the swords. Now that I can get a better look at them, thought, I might find out about getting one to hang on my own wall. While the price seem a little steep, it definitely looks like they had a good time.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor

Australian TV covers World of Warcraft


Fortunately, this "mY Generation" show from Australian TV is a little more fair with WoW than the last bit we saw. Though the stereotyping of an entire generation and the video effects grate after a while, it's a generally better look at what it's like to be a World of Warcraft player. It would be nice to see, for example, these kids going out to a movie occasionally or interacting with other people (since most of WoW's population actually does that), and it would have been good to hear from more than just that scientific woman talking about the average playtime -- why all the focus on how many hours /played these people have and not what it feels like to play during those hours? But as far as mainstream reporting goes, it starts out as a pretty good description of what it's like to be a WoW player.

Part 2 and part 3 start to fall down, though, and by the time an intervention rolls around, the show gets a little more biased. I have to say, it would be fun to see a documentary done in this way for someone who watches TV 20 hours a week -- "We wanted to hang out with her, but she said the season finale of Top Model was on. She's a completely different person now!" Somehow, staring at a screen and doing nothing is still socially acceptable, but according to television itself, staring at a screen and interacting with other human beings isn't.

Thanks, Luke S.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items

One-day credit for Misery (EU)

Firstly, I would like to apologize for the image at right, which is really not directly related. However, the only thing I could think when seeing the battlegroup name was Helium going "Miiiisewy" -- watch these flash videos, especially the first one, and understand.

Now that's out of the way, here's what I meant to talk about. Apparently the realms in the European battlegroup Misery had some maintenance difficulties on May 21st and 28th, and will be compensated by the upstanding people at Blizz with a free day of playtime.

So if you have a character on any of the following realms, enjoy your €0.43 worth of credit:
Aerie Peak, Boulderfist, Eonar, Frostmane, Grim Batol, Jaedenar, Kazzak, Kilrogg, Outland, Ravenholdt, Stonemaul, Tarren Mill, Vek'nilash, and Wildhammer.
Oddly enough, they're also giving a day's worth of rested bonus to affected characters, which is something I haven't seen them do before. I wonder if that's going to be the norm in the future.

Filed under: Realm News, News items

Playtime credit for Bloodlust realms

Playtime credits: they're not just for European realms anymore! Blizzard must have been reading the comment thread for my post on the Bloodlust battlegroup's problems yesterday because, clearly in direct response to the demands of commenters Todd and oniwah, they are issuing a one-day credit to the accounts of anyone with characters on the affected realms.

Once more, those realms are: Aman'Thul, Barthilas, Blackrock, Caelestrasz, Dath'Remar, Dreadmaul, Frostmourne, Frostwolf, Khaz'goroth, Kil'Jaeden, Kilrogg, Nagrand, Ner'zhul, Proudmoore, Sen'Jin, Silver Hand, Thaurissan, Tichondrius, and Vek'nilash. So if you've got a character on one of those servers, perhaps $0.50 worth of playtime will help make up for your troubles. Did they ever fix the latency/disconnect issues, by the way?

Filed under: Realm Status

Breakfast Topic: The best time to play

What's your favorite time of the week to get some good WoW gaming in?

It used to be that I really enjoyed playing on the evenings weeknights -- I'd rush home from work to sign into Azeroth and enjoy the primtime evening crowds. Then, I started raiding, and I looked forward to raid nights every week -- usually Tuesday and Sunday. Nowadays, I'm mostly soloing my way through daily quests and new content, and strangely enough, I enjoy logging on early on weekend mornings. I start around 8am on Saturdays and Sundays, and then play through until 1 or 2 in the afternoon.

Of course, those aren't the only times I play -- I like signing in whenever I have a chance, either to level up or run a group with a few friends. But I really enjoy playing on weekend mornings, with my coffee and maybe a DVD on in the background. What's your favorite time of the week to play?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics

Some EU realms get a free day

A bit over a month ago, all the realms in the European battlegroups Crueldad, Hinterhalt, Némésis, and Nightfall suffered some extra downtime, and players on them received a credit for a free day of playtime to compensate. Looks like it's happened again. In exchange for for six hours of downtime on April 6, members on those battlegroups will once again get a free day. Here's a list of the affected realms:
  • Crueldad: C'Thun, Dun Modr, Los Errantes, Minahonda, Shen'dralar, Tyrande, Uldum, Zul'Jin
  • Hinterhalt: Arygos, Der Mithrilorden, Dethecus, Forscherliga, Norgannon, Teldrassil, Todeswache, Un'Goro
  • Némésis: Arak-arahm, Confrérie du Thorium, Eitrigg, Garona, La Croisade écarlate, Medivh, Uldaman, Vol'jin
  • Nightfall: Alonsus, Anachronos, Bronze Dragonflight, Burning Steppes, Darkmoon Faire, Darkspear, Kor'gall, Lightbringer, Molten Core
Enjoy your free day, folks. I'm just glad I get to use my "1up" image again.

Filed under: Realm News

Nonsurprise: WoW was most played PC game of Q3

The Nielson Company -- the uber-powerful organization which tracks the viewership ratings by which TV programs live (like Lost) or die (like Studio 60) -- has determined that World of Warcraft was the #1 most played PC game during the period of April - November 2007.

According to the group, residents of Azeroth and Outland averaged 17 hours of play per week -- 12 hours more than the nearest competition, players of The Sims. So when my family and friends suggest that I'm crazy for playing WoW more than 15 hours a week, I can point to this and say, "Well, if I'm crazy, then so are at least 4.5 million other people!" Yeah, kind of a lame defense, I know.

17 hours seems like a good estimate to me because it falls smack dab in the middle between your casual players (who probably play up to 10 hours a week) and your hardcore types (who probably play 30+ hours per week).

[Via Massively]

Filed under: News items

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