Cycling between campaigns

As I have mentioned a few times, my gaming group is currently playing through two homebrew campaigns with the occasional adventure path offshoot.  In the first video blog I produced, I asked a question about how, those of you who are playing multiple campaigns at the same time manage or cycle through those various campaigns.  I wanted to bring up that issue again and discuss it a bit further.

The initial idea behind the two campaigns we were running was to give the GM from our main campaign a chance to play as well as time to prep.  Since it is a homebrew campaign it takes longer to prep since they have to come up with everything.  We would play one for a bit and then move back to the other.  This worked fairly well for a while.  However, due to a relatively high kill count in the initial main campaign, and the secondary campaign’s GM letting us spitball it quite often, the secondary campaign quickly became an additional main campaign.

We were all thoroughly enjoying the second main campaign and we finally completed a major story arc (something about stopping a beefed up Glabrezu from destroying our country… you know, typical day’s work).  However, this meant we were playing the second main campaign for a year, without going back to the other one.  On top of that, one of the other players really wanted to run Mummy’s Mask, on the promise that we would only run it for a few weeks to get through the first book.

Image credit: http://paizo.com/products/btpy94vv?Pathfinder-Adventure-Path-80-Empty-Graves
Image credit: http://paizo.com/products/btpy94vv?Pathfinder-Adventure-Path-80-Empty-Graves

Those few weeks turned into a couple months.  While we all still had a lot of fun (well, some of us, two characters I made did die), we weren’t sure which main campaign we would be going back to once our Mummy’s Mask adventure was done.  We took a vote, and since the GM from the initial main campaign was really looking forward to running again, we went back to it.  This brings me to the main issue I had and am looking to get some suggestions or answers to; how long should you go between playing major campaigns?

We went a whole year without playing one of our main campaigns and I am now thinking that that is just too long.  Almost none of us remember what was going on before we broke for the other campaign.  I didn’t remember anything about my character.  We did ask for and the GM did put up a summary of what happened, which did help refresh our memories.  But, again, I am of the mind that a year and a half (we almost went two years we think) of a break from one campaign is just too much.

So, I am personally thinking, and will be bringing it up with my gaming group, that we try to aim for three to six months of sessions (factoring in that we play every week), or shorter, before jumping back to our other campaign.  I think this should allow us to get some stuff accomplished and move the story along, and allow us to keep our other characters and what they’ve done still within memory.  Granted, I am not a stickler that would demand we hop over to the other campaign once the six month limit has been reached.  I just don’t want to go another 18 months without playing one of our main campaigns.

What do you think?  Is this just par for the course when playing multiple campaigns?  Do you think three to six months in one campaign before switching is a good idea?  Do you have other ideas or suggestions on how to handle hopping from one campaign to another?  Please leave a comment and/or share on Twitter.

Make a boring game fun again, play a different character

As I mentioned a bit ago in my blog about taking a break, I had been away from WoW for about a month.  With my vacations and vacations from other guild members, our raiding was pretty much put on hold until the new patch dropped.  To be honest, I really wasn’t even thinking about playing again.  I was just done with the game and my Mage (note: I am a terrible Mage).  However, as one of my friends was thinking about bringing his Mage up to shame me in the dps ratings, I was thinking about hoping over to my only other level 100 character, my DK.  I wasn’t having much fun playing my Mage and with another guild mate bringing up one, I just thought now might be a good time for a change.  So, for most of last week, and over the 4th of July weekend, I spent a good amount of time playing my DK and getting his ilvl up high enough to start seeing Hellfire Citadel, the new raid content.  And I have to tell you, playing something new can make a boring game fun again.

My Death Knight in World of Warcraft
My Death Knight in World of Warcraft

If the prospect of my and a friend essentially switching roles, he currently raids on his paladin, I don’t think I would have even bothered playing again.  However, I had a great amount of fun playing and learning how to dps with my DK.  Since I have almost exclusively played a ranged class since I started WoW back in February 2005, that’s when I rolled my Hunter Kanzto (haven’t played him in four months…), trying out a melee character was a whole new experience for me.

I no longer could plant my feet and cast anything and everything I wanted from as far away as possible.  Now I had to be in the thick of things, constantly moving while constantly trying to stay within range.  Some boss fights, that used to be a snooze fest for me, are now challenging due to the “new” (new to me at least) mechanic I had to deal with.  I even had to change up my action buttons a few times to get a more streamlined layout that worked better with constant movement.  I now have new found respect for those melee classes and players who always manage to do well in the dps race; I’m still not completely sure how you do it.

I also went a different route with how I was playing my DK.  While leveling, I was in a tanking spec and basically just outlived whatever I was fighting.  That’s pretty easy to do as DKs are notoriously difficult to kill.  However, taking things down just took too long.  After doing some google searching, I found a decent guide on how to be a DW Frost DK.  I not as unkillable as before, but I can take things down much quicker…well, quicker than I could in tank spec.  This brought on a new level of different and frustration for me.  Not only did I have to be next to the thing I was fighting, I now had to make sure I was doing everything right in order to survive.

Now, chances are that I am as terrible a DK as I am a Mage, but I do enjoy the challenge of figuring out what I need to do and when in order to maximize my dps as well as survivability.  What switching up a class and role did for me was make WoW different, fun, frustrating, and kind of new again.  If only my friend who hurry up and hit 100 with his Mage (he’s at level 98 right now) and gear them up so we can officially swap out for our raids.  Though, to be honest again, I did raid last night on my Mage and did have fun with it.  Though, the whole while I was talking about how much fun my DK is.

Playing something new can make old, boring games new and fun again, though your mileage may vary.  If I had to level my DK from 55 to 100, I never would have even tried.  But, this does work in other settings as well.  If you do not like or are bored with you D&D (or other systems) character, talk to your GM about rolling up a new one.  It can definitely change how you feel at the table and make the experience more enjoyable.

Have you ever given up on a game only to go back to it and play a different character?  Did it make the game fun again?  How about with a tabletop roleplaying character?  Please leave a comment and/or share on Twitter.