I think that looking back over 2013 might be the wisest thing to do. It's the most recent complete year, so it should represent my most current state of gaming. I have always moved from one MMO to another, but lately I've been gravitating to a few specific types, games that allow me to jump in and game for even tiny chunks of time and still feel rewarded.
Raptr provides a very handy (and interesting) yearly recap page
that is full of interesting information. When I first opened it up, the graphs at the top sort of shocked me. According to the images, I was above average in each category: hours tracked, games played, and achievements earned. Let's go over each one.
Hours tracked must mean how many hours I logged in games able to be tracked by the client. This is an impressive number -- 392 hours or roughly 16 days of gaming! -- but some of my games aren't trackable, and others can be left running in the background. Many foreign MMOs, like Mabinogi
, for example, even allow for AFK, player-run shops that can keep a client active forever. In other words, while my average is well above the network average of 142 hours (that's right, nerds!), some kid who is playing a shooter non-stop for six hours might be playing much more actively than I am in the same amount of time. I rarely play an MMO in a state of non-stop action, so many of my hours were passive or easy-going.
The Total Games Played number is impressive, as well. I have 75, while the average is only 13. Now, this is a number that can be fudged a bit by the fact that I might try a game for just a few minutes and it might register in the system. It's rare that I jump in and out of a game that quickly, but I do often grab games and run them just to see if they might be good candidates for future coverage. I often find MMOs that aren't MMOs, for example, or games that simply don't function. Still, my average is so much higher than the norm that it depresses me. I know that the average "gamer" is more like a "person who plays a game or two, obsessively." The average MMO player is probably the most loyal player of all. I have literally met MMO players who have played only one title for years
. Is it any wonder MMO development is so dangerous?
My number for Total Achievements Earned doesn't have much impact because of the games I play. I know that the service registers achievements and that players can unlock actual content for specific titles, but I rarely attempt to go after a specific achievement. I know there are a lot of players who see achievements as, well, something to achieve
, but I see them only as a semi-interesting benefit to gaming. There's something a bit sinister about the way achievements prey on many gamer's natural predisposition to slightly obsessive behavior, but in the end there's usually no harm done. My only complaint with Raptr's rewards is that there aren't enough of them to make them really interesting. If many more titles got involved, I might be more interested.
The Most Played list is interesting but highly misleading. This list is the one that really makes me wish I let the service run all the time because I know very well that I played some of the titles on the list for many more hours than it says. Mabinogi
is at the top because of the AFK reasons mentioned above. Age of Wushu
is up there because I covered it during a run of Choose My Adventure
, and my Minecraft
score might be higher because my nephews put more hours into it in during visit to my house than I have in my life. The list under that is probably more truthful; I put a lot of hours into DC Universe Online
, PlanetSide 2
, State of Decay
, and others. You can skip down to the bottom of the list and find Firefall
, one of my current favorites, at only three hours of play! Heck, I usually play more Firefall
than that in a single sitting
, so either I left Raptr off while I did or the service isn't tracking my play accurately.
The Most Completed list is, of course, devoid of MMOs. You can't "complete" an MMO (despite what some players say). In fact, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
is the first game I have "completed" in probably... a long, long time. I can "finish" a title, but it usually doesn't happen for ages. There are more interesting stats on that page, but again the information has to be weighed against the type of games played.
When I look at individual days, I can see some accurate information and some not-so-accurate information. For example, Raptr says that I "managed to fit in a quick game of Stronghold Kingdoms
" for five minutes on Monday, the 17th of February. Of course, I played the game for an hour or so, just during my livestream
alone, so I'm not sure what happened there. I imagine I ran Raptr only part of the day. After I read that information, I went into Raptr's settings and changed it to start when my PC does. The tracking service is useless if it's not accurate.
When I scan my Raptr page, I find that apparently I prefer to play a game for quick chunk between 30 minutes and two hours. I can only imagine that the numbers are not totally accurate thanks to my habit of shutting the thing off (especially when I edit video), but I can vouch for the stats, mostly. I do enjoy short bursts spread over the day, but I work at home and can play that way and still get large numbers (as we can see by my averages).
Raptr has made me aware of just how hardcore-casual I am. While I would love to see far more detailed charts, the Raptr Gamercard shows off quite a few stats. I have added 238 games to my library (a smaller number than reality, thanks to unrecognized browser and other games!) have tracked 991 hours (41 days!), and have earned 257 achievements. Roleplaying is my top genre, and the PC is my preferred platform. While it's hard for me to confirm exactly when I started using the service, I can find email verifications as far back as early 2010. I can only imagine how nice it would have been to see a true record of my gaming, one that actually recorded all of the mobile, browser, and indie games that are not tracked by the system!
In the end, Raptr has been a fun tool for me. It lets readers see when I am playing something and has earned me a few bits of in-game goodies. I can see the service becoming more skilled at detecting games that are not already in the system, so I'll be sure to compare my stats next year. What about you? Do you use the service, and if so, are you surprised by your stats?
Each week, Free for All brings you ideas, news, and reviews from the world of free-to-play, indie, and import games -- a world that is often overlooked by gamers. Leave it to Beau Hindman to talk about the games you didn't know you wanted! Have an idea for a subject or a killer new game that no one has heard of? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!