Time Spent in the Meta-Game
Playing an MMO is more than just about the time spent within the game. Many players seem to spend time reading and posting on forums, managing guild websites, or looking up FAQs and guides that others have written - activities that are very much a part of their MMO game-play. I was interested in getting a sense of just how much time the typical player spends in these meta-game activities.
I first explored contributions that players may have made to the body of knowledge that surrounds MMOs. While 30% of players indicated that they almost never post on forums, about an equal percentage (36%) post on MMO forums once or several times a day.
And about 35% of respondents indicated that they had created at least one FAQ or guide for an MMO at some point.
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.