Games I’ve played for 500+ hours

The other day Wilhelm had a post up about games he has played for at least as long as the developers of Dying Light II claim it takes to play their game to 100% completion. It’s a good read, and thinking about it I realized that it might be interesting to have a look at my own gaming history from this angle too.

The difficulty here is that I’ve never actively tracked how much time I’ve spent with any particular game, so if I haven’t launched it through Steam and the game itself doesn’t have a /played function either I can basically only guess. Hence I will sort them into categories of differing certainty, like Wilhelm did.

So let’s see…

Definitely have played for 500+ hours

    • Everquest II

This one is a no-brainer. EQII is easily my most played game of all time. I was the most active between 2006 and 2008, when it was pretty much the only game I touched, and I tended to play very, very long hours more often than not. Additionally, even before and after that particular time period I’ve spent a lot of time with this game over the years, and I can prove it: EQ2U says I have clocked 1,959 hours on my Warlock alone, so…yeah.

    • EVE Online

I created my first account and main character in December 2005, and while I’ve taken numerous breaks over the years only one of those was actually long enough to say “I’m not playing that game anymore” – and even then I eventually returned to have my longest and most active streak yet. Consequently, even without having any hard evidence, I’m absolutely certain that I’ve played a lot more than 500 hours of EVE.

Most likely have played for 500+ hours

    • Diablo II

As I’ve said numerous times Diablo II is one of my all time favourite games period. I actually wasn’t quite as hooked and therefore didn’t play as extensively as I’d expected right at launch, but by the time I’d burned out on Ultima Online towards the end of 2001 the Lord of Destruction expansion had come out and improved the game in every respect. This time there was no stopping me. It then became and remained one of my most-played games up until about 2010 – in fact it’s one of the very few non-MMORPGs I’ve played at all during that time period. The recent release of Diablo II Resurrected added at least another 30-40 hours to the tally, so yeah, it’s highly likely that I’ve crossed the threshold here.

    • Ultima Online

Speaking of UO, hoo boy, was that game a revelation. My gateway drug into MMORPGs, if you will. Starting in June 2001 I was late to the party, but I more than made up for that by playing every waking moment (literally, except when I was at work) for the next six months or so. Unfortunately I was so into it that I couldn’t stop myself from trying to level up dozens of skills on multiple characters each and every day, so I burned out and bounced off of it pretty hard. I returned after a thorough break and played on and off until a little game called Star Wars Galaxies came out, and that was that. Regardless, in total I should be over 500 hours of playing time, though maybe not by much.

    • Star Wars: The Old Republic

Weirldy enough I almost forgot to include this, although I’ve assuredly played it for more than 500 hours. The thing about this game is, my itinial enthusiasm waned pretty quickly, and I most likely would have quit much sooner had it not been for the great guild we were in. Except for some really well designed and fun raids all good memories I have about the game have almost nothing to do with the game itself and everything with this group of people. Anyway, it makes the list easily.

Probably have played for 500+ hours

    • Star Wars Galaxies

Like UO this is another game I really loved but still didn’t play for as long as I initially thought I would. As much as I like sandbox MMOs, turns out activities like gathering, crafting, housing or (light) roleplaying alone can only entertain me for so long, and unfortunately SWG didn’t have much else to offer at the time (at least to me). Again, just like with UO I played very extensively during the first few months though, so I assume it just about makes the cut.

    • ArcheAge & ArcheAge Unchained

I’m lumping these together because, well, they’re basically the same game with different business models. I’ve played each iteration quite a lot for the better part of a year, so I’m actually pretty certain that it’s been well over 500 hours in total. However, in this case I have next to no “feel” for how long I’ve really played for some reason, and no way to verify it either, hence its appearance in this category.

    • The Secret World

One of the truly great and unique MMORPGs, unfortunately underappreciated by many players and mishandled by Funcom, it never had a chance to reach its full potential. I loved it exactly like it was however, and consequently played it an awful lot.

    • Genshin Impact

My most played game from fall 2020 to summer 2021 by a wide margin, so yeah, pretty sure it’s been over 500 hours.

And there you have it. Which games did you ever play for 500+ hours?

What I’ve been up to lately

As you might have noticed I haven’t been posting a whole lot as of late. Or more precisely, even less than in previous months.

The main reason is that I’ve been looking for a new home. In real life, that is. Finding a place in Cologne – or any other major city, really – that’s nice, located somewhat conveniently and affordable is quite a challenge, and it took about six weeks and almost a hundred applications just to get viewing appointments for a mere handful of places that weren’t complete crap.

In the end I found the perfect apartment though. Still a bit more expensive than I would have liked, but I feel it’s worth it. I’ll definitely show off some pictures once it’s all done.

Which it isn’t yet, of course. Far from it. Tomorrow the keys will be handed over to me, then the real work begins. Out with the flooring and wallpapers, new wallpapers in, painting the ceilings and walls (maybe also the doors and/or radiators), replacing part of the kitchen, in with the new flooring. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget shopping for furniture and of course the move itself. Le sigh…

No, this is not it. Despite what you may have heard we have actual buildings and stuff in Germany

In between all of that I still got a bit of gaming done though, because of course I have.

My main game right now is Arknights, which I stumbled upon a while ago when I went through my favourite Genshin Impact content creator’s backlog.

It’s a tower defense Gacha game for mobile platforms, and it’s surprisingly great.

Why are we beating up a giant tentacled flower, you ask? It’s evil, that’s why!

It’s by far the most complex and motivating tower defense game I’ve played. Not that I’ve played many. Anyhow, I’ll go into more detail in another post; for now all I’ll say is that it’s a lot of fun and also fits my current schedule perfectly because it doesn’t require a big time commitment.

For the record: No, I technically still don’t play mobile games, I use the Android emulator BlueStacks to play it on PC. 😉

The one time we both weren’t dressed like complete lunatics

I initially didn’t intend to buy New World because not much of what I’d seen and heard about the game up until launch made me feel like it’s a game I’d enjoy.

Lakisa and a couple of our friends were pretty keen on playing it though, and once Amazon Game Studios had assured us that we’d eventually all be able to transfer our characters to our friends’ servers I ultimately got on board so Lakisa didn’t have to play on her own until then.

Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing that the server transfers indeed worked out as planned for our whole group, because otherwise Lakisa would now be playing on her own regardless.

It’s not the queues, bugs and exploits that bother me. I mean, sure, those were/are huge problems, but stuff like that can and hopefully will be fixed. The game just doesn’t manage to make me want to play it, is all. Which is kinda weird since, on paper, many of its individual design aspects do seem right up my alley after all. Only, as it turns out, it doesn’t do any of them in a way that appeals to me.

As you know I’m a huge fan of virtual worlds. Having to get to places on foot never bothered me in other games – it even enhanced the experience more often than not – but in New World I got sick of running back and forth while questing well before reaching level 20. I like action combat, but here it feels clunky and cooldowns are too long for the few abilities we have. I like tanking, but aggro management in this game is a complete clusterfuck. I like gathering, but the long gathering times and severe weight restrictions suck the fun out of it. I like the idea of players fighting over towns or regions, but being at the mercy of other players regarding whether or not I can craft certain stuff in “my” hometown and how much taxes and rent I have to pay isn’t something I appreciate.

This could almost be a real photograph though, couldn’t it?

The world of Aeternum looks exceptionally good, I’ll give it that. However, right now that’s pretty much the only nice thing I have to say about it, and that’s obviously not nearly enough. Lakisa and our buddies are having a blast, and I’m happy for them, but I’ve called it quits for now.

Behold the Argonath! Err…no, sorry, wrong game

The title I would be playing the most right now had its launch not been delayed is, of course, Lost Ark.

I didn’t want to spoil the actual launch experience by playing last week’s beta too extensively, but at the same time I was too curious to not play at all. In total I got seven hours in and played two characters to about level 14 or so, the Striker and…err…a gal with two pistols, a shotgun and a sniper rifle. I can’t remember most of the classes’ names, now that I think about it. There’s a Bard on offer though, should you be so inclined.

To be honest, my first hour playing the Striker was rather boring. After that the game fortunately picked up the pace and I started to have quite a lot of fun. Combat, obviously the heart and soul of any ARPG-like, felt pretty good once I’d gotten used to it, and had me coming back for more. I chose to skip the prologue with the second character and consequently had fun with her from the get-go.

Strangely zoom levels are either very far out or very close, nothing inbetween

Had it not been for the fact that all progress was going to be wiped after the beta ended I certainly would’ve tried to get some more hours in, so I was clearly enjoying myself a lot. Can’t wait for the actual launch.

At the end of the day nothing beats the classics

Lastly, we’re also still playing Diablo II Resurrected from time to time. Our duo of Fireclaw-Druid and Frozen Orb Sorceress has just defeated Baal on normal difficulty, and my solo Skellymancer has arrived in Act II on Nightmare, which means that he now finally has a mercenary with the damage-boosting Might aura under his command.

Baal kicking the bucket never looked this good

And there you have it.

As I said in the beginning, posts will most likely continue to be thin on the ground around here for the forseeable future, but once things have settled down a bit I’ll not only be the annoying acquaintance who can’t shut up about his fancy new place with the great view, I’ll probably also have ample time for gaming and thus more stuff to talk about again.

‘Voting with my wallet’ works both ways

It’s no secret that I’d been hoping for and then looking forward to a Diablo II remaster for ages. Again, it is and always will be one of my favourite games period. Even so, with Blizzard being the trainwreck of a company that we now know it to be I initially wasn’t quite sure how to deal with the release of Resurrected.

After the Warcraft III Reforged debacle I definitely wasn’t going to preorder or buy on launch day, no matter how good people’s beta-impressions had been. That much was certain, and I wasn’t tempted to relent for even a second.

But now it’s been officially live for a while and, some server issues during the first few days aside, all reviews I’ve read since then pretty much boil down to “It’s exactly what you wanted, mate. Buy, you fool!!”

So Lakisa and I did just that a couple of days ago. And what can I say, I don’t regret the purchase in the slightest because it is exactly what I wanted.

Which means, the way I see it, that I did in fact vote with my wallet and that, despite rather not wanting to support a company like ActiBlizz for numerous well-known reasons, it still was the right thing to do – maybe not from a moral standpoint, but certainly from a gamer’s standpoint. Not that these are mutually exclusive, mind you, but in this case there’s a big difference in my opinion.

Let me try to explain.

The act of “voting with one’s wallet”, when proposed by gamers to other gamers, usually means not to spend any (or any more) money on a product, thus sending a message of discontent to the developers or publishers – the assumption being that this is the only kind of message that will actually be heard.

For the most part I can’t disagree with this, and I went with that approach myself in some cases, not the least of which when I decided not to give Blizzard – yes, the same Blizzard – any more money unless they’d finally manage to deliver a product again that I’m really, genuinely happy with. That was almost three years ago, right after the infamous Diablo Immortal Blizzcon, and at that point I already hadn’t bought anything with the Blizzard logo on it for at least a year, probably longer. Which means that the forty bucks I paid for Resurrected just now marked the first time in over four years that they made any kind of profit from me.

Of course I could have gone without buying it, thereby not breaking that streak. The original’s still there to play after all, and touched-up graphics, or lack thereof, don’t make or break a great game for me.

But here’s the thing. By not buying any of their stuff for so long I basically told them “You’ll only get my money if you make exactly the game I want”. Now, much to my surprise, they actually went and did just that.

So had I refused to buy this product now, not only would I’ve denied myself the pleasure of playing one of my most beloved games with a really great-looking fresh coat of paint, I’d also have made a mockery of the stance I’ve been taking for years: that I’ll not spend money on their games if I don’t like them, but that I will if I do.

If there’s any hope at all that publishers will continue (or start again) to greenlight and fund the development of games that I want to play, I feel that I’ve got no choice but proving to them that it’s profitable to do so by, well, voting with my wallet.

Here’s hoping that it really does work both ways.