Grezzk (my first/main character in World of Warcraft) dinged level fifty a few nights ago. Almost simultaneously, he achieved Exalted relationship status with his first faction (and I’m closing in with a couple others). He has his Skinning skill maxed out, my First Aid skill (invaluable for solo pet- and self-repair) is nearly maxed as well (284 of 300), and I’m finally making decent headway on Leatherworking — cranking out some pretty neat magical bits.
That’s all nice, but more important are my play-time stats. WoW lists them in Weeks, Days, Hours, et cetera, but it boils down to 256 hours of playtime to get to level fifty. That’s less than a third of the time I spent on CoH getting Hang Time to 50. I’d have to log in to check, but it’s less than half the online time (at least) that it took me to get Hyperthermian to 50. This has been rewarding time spent, as well: I can’t think of a night of ‘serious play time’ (where I’d play from say seven to bedtime) where I haven’t either dinged or made some really significant headway on some skill or talent or side project or something. In general, every good night of play = a level up or some equivalent. That’s fun. Best of all, there’s a PILE of stuff to do after you hit 70 (which is why they didn’t make leveling progressively harder), and also good: I know I only hit about half of the content available to Horde players during my time playing Grezzk, which means I could level another Hordie up and see very little redundant content… and that doesn’t even address Alliance characters.
All that’s nice, but here’s the important part: those 256 hours of online time with Grezzk were spread out from mid-December (starting the weekend of the First Big Blizzard) to mid-April, which works out to about sixteen hours a week. Sixteen. I can’t even begin to convey what a change in time-involvement that is for me compared to my time on CoH (where something closer to 40 hours was a low week for me), especially since on any given week I’ve got one day that accounts for a big chunk of time. I’m very very pleased with myself about that.
Even if you factor in my other characters (one at level 34 whom I haven’t touched in at least a month), and five characters between levels 10 to 16 that amount to a net effort of maybe 20 hours, total for all five of them… I’m controlling my MMO time pretty damn well.
And having fun with the time I spend.