“You’ve got a group of foul mouthed 13 year olds on the right. How do you want to handle it?”
“I’ve been sitting on this coke shipment for 2 hours now, if we wait any longer we’ll need another player to help sell it. I say risk it, we’ll fight to the last man!”
“You sure mate? There’s only me and you here, and we both have jobs, hobbies and sex lives. These kids do nothing but play this crap ALL day EVERY day……..ah shit!”
“We’ll have to do this tomorrow mate. ‘The Missus’, needs the TV to watch Outlander”
“Outlander?! F**king Outlander?! We’re supposed to be an international drug cartel! And your wife wants to watch Outlander?!”
“Fine, will you be on tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow is Date Night, could do Thursday though?”
“Can’t, need to prepare for a meeting some idiot arranged for 8am on Friday morning!”
For any adult, whom still considers themselves to be a gamer, this is likely an all too familiar conversation. Sure, you may not be as addicted to GTA Online as I am, but it doesn’t matter whether you’re selling drugs, raiding an enemy camp, or about to beat your record on Nazi Zombies, we all know what it feels like when life and responsibilities get in the way. Gone are the days that you and your friends would dash back from school and jump straight on to Call of Duty, or skive off of lectures to play the latest Need For Speed. Gone are the days you could actually spend days (literally) levelling up to claim supremacy over all other players in the lobby.
You’re adults now. You each have responsibilities, you each have your own lives. That can make it difficult to find time to game together, even with the wonders of the internet there to help you. With that in mind, here are our Top Five Helpful Tips for overcoming the online woes of the adult gamer.
Try picking a game where you can do a lot of the ‘grinding’ by yourself. GTA Online and World of Warcraft are great examples of these kinds of games. I can’t tell you the amount of time I’ve spent stealing cars for my vehicle warehouse, or doing supply runs for coke and meth labs by myself. Yes, it’s more fun when you can do it whilst having a laugh with your mates but, just like real life, they can’t always be there and, just like real life, it’ll make the times that they are there all the more fun. If you’re dead set on having some company whilst you play, you can always take your chances in a public lobby. I’ve made a number of ‘friends’ that way.
Plan Ahead and Make the Most of it
Arrange a time in advance when you and your friends are all free for the things you really need a reliable team for (ie. a difficult raid, or the sale of a large shipment). My friends and I aim for a Monday evening, it’s the only day of the week we’re all (more or less) guaranteed to get away from work on time, and ‘The Missus’ gets in a little later, so we can often get a solid few hours in before life gets in the way.
If you can, you should each try to have as many missions lined up as possible, that way you can reap a considerable amount of rewards together in a very short amount of time.
Don’t Forget Your Responsibilities
Perhaps the most important item on this list. The trick is to just do all your adult, grown-up stuff before gaming. Remember when you were a teenager, and your Mum would make you do all your homework before she’d even let you look at the Xbox? Basically that. Cook and eat your dinner, wash the dishes, vacuum the living room etc. Sometimes I get that part messed up, but it feels much better to reward yourself after a productive day, than to sit in a pile of empty pizza boxes and game.
Besides, it doesn’t matter how many times you ‘prestige’ on Call of Duty, Mr/Mrs Right is not going to be impressed when you invite them back to your pigsty for a ‘nightcap’.
Don’t Worry if You Look Like a Newb
I’ve only recently got back into GTA Online after roughly a 2 year hiatus. I’m currently at Rank 68. Back in 2015, that was quite a respectable level. Nowadays, I’m going up against players who rank in the mid 200’s! As an adult, you have to accept that you’re just not going to reach those kinds of levels. I have neither the time, nor the lack of other interesting things to do, to ever get anywhere near that. Yes, some cocky 13 year old will call you a ‘newb’, and brag about how he’s going to ‘pwn’ you, but at the end of the day he’s 13. His hands aren’t big enough to properly reach all the buttons on the controller, which will more than narrow the playing field, and you can laugh heartily as his inevitable, and rather high-pitched, rampage of expletives rain down on you before he rage-quits.
On the off chance that you do get your arse handed to you by a 13 year old, purely because his higher level gives him additional health and better weapons of course (your secret is safe with us), then remember that he’s 13. You’re not. You have a job, a car, a house, and you’re getting considerably more action than he is (at least I hope you are). Who’s ‘pwning’ who now?
Accept that Life is Still Going to get in the Way
No matter how well you think you’ve planned things, sometimes the cards are just stacked against you. You’ll log-on at the agreed date and time, you’ll wait for your mates, you’ll keep on waiting for them, and, due to some unforeseen circumstance at work or in their private life, they won’t come online until about ten minutes before you need to call it a night.
And yes, even on the occasions when you do all make it on at the same time, every now and again ‘The Missus’ will want to watch Outlander. Let her. She’ll only ban you from the games console for a week if you try and put up a fight.
Hopefully this will at least reduce your suffering from the online woes of the adult gamer even if it wont solve them entirely.
Feature image is a screen shot by the author taken during game play of Star Wars Battlefront developed by EA and DICE, and published by Electronic Arts.