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DiscussionAug 24, 2023 8:00 am CT

How much is too much to do in-game?

Diablo 4 Renown

There is an entire science in game design on how to get players to spend more time in-game. In this day and age, spending time in a game also very likely means spending money on it, which only fuels the desire of wanting players to stay in-game as much as possible. That’s fine up to a point — games are big complex beasts of software design, and the developers absolutely deserve to get paid for their work — but there are definitely times when game design feels like it artificially extends how long it takes to achieve an in game goal simply to make you play longer.

Leaderboards, seasonal progression tracks, reputation, etc. — all of these activities are designed to encourage you to play more often. But sometimes the amount of activities that you “need” to do on a frequent basis to keep up becomes an unreasonable burden. Sometimes, game activities are so plentiful (and overwhelming) that they’re no longer something you can fit in around your other commitments.

Way back when, in EverQuest and eventually vanilla World of Warcraft, I remember a number of times where real-life activities were interrupted by in-game ones. If a world boss was spawning, the randomness and competition behind it meant you jumped on the opportunity no matter what — or you let your guild down.

While things have improved in many of those respects, in others, we have more and more ways that games are trying to eat into our lives. Whether it be streams you have to watch to get in-game rewards, or events that only occur at certain times that require you to log on and be at the right place, games are asking us to participate on their schedules rather than the players’. For people with full time jobs and caring commitments, this can be a serious burden.

What ways do you feel like modern games disrespect your time? Do you ever feel like there’s too much to do in-game and it has begun to feel like work? Do you sometimes avoid logging on because you feel overwhelmed with your in-game to-do-list?

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