- Prior to October: Level capped characters in seven different MMO's simultaneously, posting on the blog every 2-3 days (11-18 posts/month)
- Post-October: Level capped characters remain in only three MMO's due to expansions I have yet to catch up to, posting to the blog once or twice per week, +1 infant
I'm happy with this turn of events, but it does put realistic constraints on what I can aspire to in-game during the coming year. A few resolutions, which are more qualitative than specific:
Work on what I have
2012 wasn't all bad when it came to trying new things. I started and capped characters in STO and SWTOR, along with some very brief (often one-evening) visits to Aion, Tera, EQ1, and TSW. That said, it was a tough year to carve out time for anything new, and that does not figure to change in 2013.
I currently have what I need (access and game time as appropriate) for content I have yet to use in WoW, LOTRO, DCUO, TSW, DDO, STO, and SWTOR. I don't expect any of these titles to fold in 2013, but it really makes more sense to focus on my backlog at this point. I'm fine with my budget where it currently sits, but it's pointless to collect more stuff that I don't have time to play - the best sale price is still a waste if I don't use the content.
Learn when NOT to beat the business model
While my time is scarce, I do get enjoyment out of snagging a good bargain. Sometimes, when the payoff is high enough, it can make sense to grind in-game to "beat the business model".
For instance, according to SWTOR Spy's Cartel calculator, I have unlocked more than 10,000 Cartel Coins' worth of stuff by purchasing the relevant unlocks on the GTN for in-game credits. This would have cost me $80 in the cash shop, while species and inventory unlocks I picked up for alts during my last month of subscription time could potentially have cost another $40. I did spend a fair amount of extra time in game sending my companions on slicing missions and farming daily quests (which also awarded several high end pieces of gear for my main) to pay for all of these unlocks, but this was definitely a major payoff for my time.
Even so, cash shops are a reality of the market today, and I should really make better use of them. If an unlock is purely cosmetic, it makes sense to do without or set it aside as a reward for earning the credits in game. When it comes to exp potions and other things that affect the rate of advancement, it's worth asking whether the game is worth playing if it's worth paying to play it less. However, when an unlock actually impacts quality of life - e.g. not being able to harvest materials I encounter in the world because one of my crewskill slots is locked - it really makes more sense to pay a couple dollars and move on.
Focus on my perspective
This blog will celebrate its 1000th post early next year and its fifth birthday in the spring. While limited time has been the most immediate cause for my current drop in posts, the results are somewhat positive.
I don't view reporting the news as one of this blog's strengths. I will post immediate reactions sometimes, especially if I have an opinion I'm not seeing from other folks, but often the "breaking news" of the MMO world does not even come with enough detail to support in-depth analysis. Because I know that most of my posts will not be timely, I'm free to spend most of my limited time working on more of the big picture, such as trends that tie recent developments into past experiences.
I intentionally don't have a set format or schedule for the blog, because this is a hobby and I prefer flexibility to write what I want. That the schedule happens to support the kind of posts that I like to write is a happy coincidence.
Thanks to all of my readers, best wishes, and a happy new year!