02/03/2019

Tracking My Playtime

After seeing it mentioned both by UltrViolet and Wilhelm, I downloaded and installed an application called ManicTime at the start of February to track which programmes I use the most in my day-to-day life. Its paid version seems to be targeted at businesses that want to keep an extremely close eye on just what exactly their employees get up to on their PCs, but the free version is good enough to allow for some easy fun with personal statistics. Unlike some similar services, it also doesn't get confused if you accidentally leave a game launcher up in the background for example - it only counts whatever you're actively engaging with at the time.

Since we're now in March, I thought it would be interesting to look back at what data it recorded for February. Unsurprisingly, I only played two different games all month: SWTOR and ESO. SWTOR clocked in at 66.5 hours and ESO at 63.5 hours. I was honestly kind of impressed with myself for somehow managing to fit 130 hours of gaming into a 28-day month, especially since I was also off for a few days to get married. (Though, saying that, I'm also a bit worried now that some readers will think me a freak for spending that much time at my computer. And that's not even counting the hours spent just browsing the web!) On a normal work day I barely have three to four hours left between coming home and going to bed, and that also includes things like having dinner. Clearly I underestimated just how long my weekend play sessions can get to make up for that. Plus it helped that I had a couple of days off this month I guess.

It was also interesting to see the different patterns in which I played the two games. The biggest chunk of SWTOR's playtime came from doing group content with my guild. On days when I didn't do any of that, I would maybe log in briefly to do a round of Ossus dailies but that was usually only a matter of minutes. Whenever ops night came around however, more or less my whole evening was dedicated to SWTOR.

Meanwhile, my daily engagement with ESO also tends to be short, but nonetheless a little longer than the SWTOR dailies, as I mainly log in to do things like claim my daily login reward, train my horse, or queue some new crafting research, which requires a bit of fiddling. I haven't done much group content in that game however (though I've done a little). Mostly what happens is that I make a point of sitting down for a really long play session on the weekend when I want to make some quest progress, because for some reason the quests feel really time-consuming to me and I worry that I'll lose the plot if I don't spend several hours on focusing what's going on. I don't think that really is a requirement, but with the way I play and still being relatively new to the game, I spend a lot of time puttering about in ways that I suspect most long-time players don't, which makes for very slow progress.

Anyway, it's interesting to have a baseline number to which I can compare future months. Also, I once again feel pleased with just how cheap my hobbies are. I'm a subscriber both in SWTOR and in ESO, and looking at those playtime numbers, the entertainment cost for each game was 11p / hour for SWTOR and about 16p / hour for ESO.

6 comments :

  1. I'm afraid to put up the raw hours spent. My wife, not a gamer, reads my blog now and again and has a sense of how much time I spend gaming... and writing... but I'm not sure concrete numbers would help my cause.

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    1. I figured that a sense of shame/fear played into your decision to go with percentages! I considered copying you there but ultimately decided that for my own tracking raw hours were more interesting and that I could live with the consequences of posting them, hehe.

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  2. Bah, I'm against this sort of tracking. For privacy reasons of course :P

    I know I spend too much time in games, sometimes. Doesn't really help if I know exactly how much. But I can say I'm not totally happy looking at /played in WoW because it's just so damn much, even taking into account that the characters are up to 13 years old... On the other hand I am always interested in statistics and numbers...

    But I am indeed a bit paranoid about these kinds of tools tracking stuff and I don't really want to use them. Because of that I might have written one of them myself at a point, so I could at least try it. After 3 months or so I decided it's not worth my time to analyze this stuff :P

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    1. Well, I was initially concerned about privacy but ManicTime's website claims that all the data is stored locally and not shared with anyone. That sounded good enough for me.

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    2. I watched the app and network traffic for a bit after I installed it and it only seems to call out to check for updates. All that time spent in video games seems to stay on my own system.

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  3. WoW - ~300 Days, Elite Dangerous 5,000 hours, Several games on steam 200-500 hours. Diablo, multiple days on each of 13 toons. SWTOR - I have no idea, but a lot. Time on blogs/reddit/forums - all of the above and then some! I probably put in 100 hours of gaming in Feb, and likely a similar amount every month, for at least the last two decades. I dont want to know more exactly!

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