If you were to follow a release schedule over any given year, you often see the fall spike, winter lull and spring/summer oddities. I am sure most people have the most free time in the fall but the other months are a good question.
Being a Canadian, our dogsleds and igloos don’t get much use in the summer. Then again, they don’t get much use anytime. But the summer months, as short as they seem to be, as a prime time to take advantage and step outside. I think if I lived in a more temperate climate I’d have more options but as it is, I have snow season, rainy season, bug season, 2 weeks of ok time, then the fall which is also pretty neat.
Scree brings up an interesting/sad story about the death of a guild. After 10 years, people have simply moved on. Looking back 10 years, I was in the WoW beta prepping some guides. Funny side story actually, I was posting on wow.net forums doing what eventually became known as theorycrafting. I had 3-4 offers to write guides for it and took it up. Considering I was making ~$15/hour at the time, it seemed like a great deal. Over the years, it’s paid for every piece of tech in my house.
So, 10 years ago I was in a relationship, living on the cheap in an apartment. I had a fair amount of free time outside of my shift work. A year or two in, and I got a new job doing some tech support for a pretty decent chunk of change. Without shift work and with more money, I had more free time. Eventually that relationship ended while I was starting a new job with a rather huge time commitment. If I recall, I dropped most everything to do some 7-7 days, along with some overtime on the weekends. Gaming really fell to the side but was used as a de-stressor.
That job evolved into something else and I found a new relationship. Eventually got married about 5 years ago and I guess you’d say I grew up then. I still found time to game a fair amount, while the S/O watched TV or did her own thing. I did however ensure I put some focus on RL commitments as she didn’t share my passion for gaming. A few kids along the way cut even more out of my schedule. I think the largest impact was while playing Rift.
I was in a fun guild and we were trying some of the public raids (big rifts). It’d be 10 at night, they were rather pick up and play, but with a baby crying you’d need to get up and take care. It really changed my priorities. I haven’t really raided in a focused mindset since then, since the call of RL typically trumps any gaming moment. Heck, most social settings require this and I’ve always found it weird to hear about people holding kids and giving bottles while raiding/grouping.
Reading the previous paragraph, I think that’s the core of the issue with people who grow up. While I can set away a few hours to play a game of hockey or a night out with the guys, it’s quite hard to do the same when you game in the same building as your family lives. There’s still a social stigma, as they see it more like TV, where you can just “poof” stop and don’t see the people on the other side. It would honestly be easier to leave the house.
Today’s gaming time is an odd mix of an executive career’s time commitments, juggling kid’s expectations, finding time with my wife, exercise and then finally getting some downtime to game. I could, and have, gone 2-3 weeks without 15 minutes to myself. I’m still working on finding balance and perhaps, once the kids get a bit older, I can share some time with them in a game or two. Until then, it’s best effort.