Current Issue: Vol. 7-1 (03/09/2009)



Subscribe to the mailing list to receive notification of new surveys and articles.

[more info / unsubscribe]

DRAVEN: HOSTILE ARSENAL`Crusade GUARDIANS PierceTheVeins Fenris Mastermind Vengeance LEGION ELITE Imperial SUPERIOR Descendants REVENGE AllStars CONQUEROR CONQUEST Renegades Celestial Beings Enrage ... [go]

Ashraf Ahmed : real-world context can be inserted into a virtual world, effectively turning the virtual world into a forum for real-world contexts. ... [go]

Roflmaodoodoodadoodoo: I didn't get it from the generator, but I saw it in Arathi Basin and thought it was the best ... [go]

Keesha: In awe of that aneswr! Really cool! ... [go]

Bobbo: This does look promising. I'll keep cmoing back for more. ... [go]



L10 Web Stats Reporter 3.15 LevelTen Hit Counter - Free Web Counters
LevelTen Web Design Company - Website, Flash & Graphic Designers

Time Spent in the Meta-Game

I then asked respondents to estimate the number of hours each week that they regularly spend in four types of activities:

1) Searching for and reading up on information about the game (i.e., character classes, abilities, quests, etc.)
2) Reading and/or posting on forums related to the MMO I play (excluding time spent on the your guild's website).
3) Reading and/or posting on your guild's website.
4) Guild related tasks such as scheduling raids / managing DKP points / other guild logistics.

Players spent on average 3.5 hours each week looking for and reading up on game-specific information, and 3.55 hours reading or posting on forums. For players who belonged to guilds (about 87% of respondents), they spent on average 2.7 hours reading or posting on their guild's website, and 1 hour managing guild related tasks. In other words, the average player spends about 10.8 hours each week performing game-related tasks outside of the game.

In the sample that this data was drawn from, players spent on average 23.4 hours each week in the game. Thus, on average, the majority of players spend about an additional 50% of their game-playing time outside of the game performing game-related activities. While time spent in the game is the more intuitive and visible part of playing an MMO, this data shows that a significant part (about one-third of total invested time) of what it means to play an MMO happens outside of the game itself.


Posted on August 29, 2006 | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)


I'm not sure the line between in-game and out-of-game time can be drawn quite so sharply. Given that most MMORPGs allow one to 'window out', I would expect the majority of game-related activities to happen concurrently with playing the game - especially in the instance of researching game info itself (ie where does monster X spawn, which mob drops item Y, what's the next step in quest Z, etc).

Posted by: Bigrin on September 1, 2006 10:13 PM

I am gonna have to agree with Bigrin, a lot of this "meta-game" time could definately be spent while playing the game at the same time. It's an interesting subject, but I think the middle ground of doing both together should be addressed as well.

(Although admittedly a lot of my time spent on Killing Ifrit - a Final Fantasy XI fansite - is outside the game)

Posted by: Adrian Rayn on September 2, 2006 12:57 PM

Currently, I run a dual-screen setup in WoW using maximized windowed mode. It's useful for paging back and forth between thottbot/forums and in-game. Very handy, and very efficient.

Posted by: SaxxonPike on September 2, 2006 10:14 PM

What about those people that do their meta-game stuff at work when they can't play the game? My spouse and I are both successful IT professionals.. we browse forums, guide sites, class sites, etc. when we're doing redundant stuff at the office like waiting for files to parse, clients to respond to emails, etc.

I'd be interested in seeing a time-of-day breakdown to compare when others are doing their game "browsing". This would also indicate if players are browsing/playing simultaneously during their gaming sessions.

Posted by: Fokkoria on September 3, 2006 11:14 AM

Fokkoria has a serious point I think, if only because I'm really interested to hear some statistics about the play-at-work phenomenon. I'm a university student and had a computer always available to me at school because of a class I was taking. I'd spend hours browsing forums, faq's, blogs videos and screenshots between classes because i wanted to spend more time playing but couldn't. If , after I told you I spent 15 hours a week on WoW extra-curriculars, you'd asked me how much of that I would rather have been actually playing I'd probably say 12-13 of them, with only guild stuff and certain faq's being more interesting than the game itself.

Posted by: jer on September 3, 2006 4:52 PM

Great points Bigrin and Fokkoria - definitely something to look into in future surveys.

Posted by: Nick Yee on September 3, 2006 4:58 PM

Yup, definitely agree with Brigrin and Fokkoria. Like, I'm almost always browsing during free-time at work, and spend 99% of my time at home actually in-game and playing!

Posted by: Piggy on September 3, 2006 7:34 PM

I agree with the 2 guys mentioned above.

As a GM (or atleast recently ex-GM) in WOW I do much of my guild related admin things while at work. While at home much of my time is spent ingame though some of it involves guild admin once again. Things like the guild bank / DKP updates / Guild Roster Updates ect.

Guild bank things happen while ingame but dont involve actually playing anything. DKP updates use ingame addons to track thigns so I need to be logged in to get it done but Im not playing while I do it.

Forums and other sites can be browsed while moving around the world. For instance while on a flight from one place to the next or while waiting for a raid to start. I actually see a significant increase in our active forum connections while raids are being formed. I like to see it as an optomisation of time: Instead of just sitting ingame waiting people alt-tab out and check other things.

Posted by: Sharky on September 4, 2006 4:55 AM

Like many have mentioned, I do my "meta-game" things almost exclusively at work. Also, I can't help but wonder how accurate these statistics are - If a person is going to respond to a survey like this about the mmo he/she plays (you could argue that said survey is part of the "meta-game" itself), aren't they more likely to be the kind of person that posts on forums regularly, etc? In other words, I can't help but think that the percentage of people who play but DON'T participate in the "meta-game" are actually larger than these statistics would show.

Posted by: Colby on September 5, 2006 1:39 PM

Hmm, Colby has a point here. I found this site because it was posted in a game forum...

Posted by: Piggy on September 5, 2006 6:41 PM

I am really curious how people break up the time spent in a typical fantasy MMORPG, i.e. of their 23 hours a week what % of their time is spent
1. actively killing stuff/questing
2. hanging out socialising
3. raiding
4. crafting
5. training/shopping/trading
6. anything else i missed

particularly interesting if the percentages are constant for high hour/week players and low hour/week players.

is that already covered in one of your articles?

Posted by: Martin on September 7, 2006 8:17 AM

i spend a stupid amount of time thinking about rs while i'm out of game. I don't get to play that often. But it's starting to freak me out. i probably spend more time out of the game.

i hear most kids play by themselves. (Outside of the guild). They just train and stuff. scary. Only the high levels take part in the community and kids don't usaully get that high.

Posted by: Alberto on September 15, 2006 3:22 AM

I find this a very interesting revelation. I don't have the time during my work to look up game/guild related matters, and when I switch on the computer at home, I have this urge to go into the game as soon as I can. Therefore, outside game activities are minimal.
However, for example in the period of raid forming, or while waiting to log into a battleground, I concentrate completely on chatting with my guild mates on ventrillo. But for some reason, I still watch the game screen...
I guess for me part of the thrill I get out of online gaming is the immersion factor, and I don't feel it when I hang out on forums, just when I can see the game itself.

Posted by: Sardionerak on October 12, 2006 6:53 PM

Interesting data. In the past I spent too much time on game forums. First as a way to obtain valuable info on building my class or figuring out quests, and later as a social place. As I work this was done during working hours. I find that alot of these game forums take on a life of their own that can even extend to in-game. Guild fights, player hating and blacklisting, drama of all sorts came to life on a particular game forum that I visited and finally spiraled into a some of the posters forming an "unofficial" forum to say all the things tha tthey can't get away with on the moderated official ones. This out-of-game foum stuff can get so developed that people that don't even play the game anymore still post consistently. /shrug I finally decided it was a total waste of my time and I just play the game now.

Posted by: WomanGamer on October 17, 2006 8:56 AM

And what about the time spent, just beeing logged in to participate the Guild/Party/Map/World chat?
I mean, just standing around at some major place of the game world doing nothing but chatting with guildies or some form of friend users? I assume this takes some 5% to 8% of my whole gametime!

Posted by: Suzy (DDO Lyrandar) on October 31, 2006 3:16 PM
Post a comment

Note: To decrease potential comment spam, comments with a link element will be moderated and will not appear immediately. Comments with more than one link are junked automatically. With regards to content, comments that contain profanity, slurs, or similar words may be censored or deleted entirely. Also, posts that are simply trolls, flames, or personal attacks have a good chance of being removed. The same applies to posts requesting character trades or asking for game-specific help.


Tribal design by snoopydoo. Crusader graphic by Gravity. All other materials available at The Daedalus Project are copyright 2003-2006 by Nick Yee.