Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights:
– How much free storage space have you got on your PC?
– What's the worst internet connection you've had?
– Do you vote in the Steam Awards?
The cycle of videogame discourse loops around again, an ouroboros chewing its own tail and pausing only to vomit up one of the same half-dozen topics we must apparently discuss again and again, until the world's ending. This time, the cyclical serpent has barfed out the subject of how long a videogame should be. Do your best to ignore it. Let's talk about something else instead. Let's simply peruse our libraries, look over our save files, and take note of those games we've decided are worth dedicating, say, to pick an entirely arbitrary number at random, 500 hours to.
What game have you spent the most hours in?
Here are our answers, plus some from our forum.
Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: Tragically all my League of Legends stats have been erased since I played, but in the span of roughly one year, mostly in 2011, I played something like 800 matches. At an average of 40 minutes a match, that comes out to more than 500 hours that year. I played so much it literally haunted my dreams.
Halo 2 and 3 got more of my time on Xbox, though. According to the Halo site's surviving stats, I played 2,969 matches of Halo 2 and 2,905 matches of Halo 3. At an average of 15 minutes a match, that's about 1,500 hours between the two. Not so bad, considering that took place over about five years!
Nat Clayton, Features Producer: It's been five years since the game went offline, and longer still since it was actively played, but bloody Super Monday Night Combat still sits at the top of my Steam most-played with a healthy 1,020 hours logged. An old high school bud got me into a beta just before graduating, and I spent the next two years with little else to do but get really, embarrassingly into a doomed shooter-MOBA hybrid. Nothing racks up game hours like being deeply depressed and unable to find work between school and university, but the community was tight-knit in the way tiny communities tend to be, and I eventually ended up travelling Norway with an American guy from the scene.
I've spent a lot of the last decade hoping something, anything else would overtake it as my most played game. I imagined it'd be Splatoon 2 for a minute, racking up a whopping 720 over the course of the pandemic, but considering I put 700 of my 800+ hours into Apex Legends in the last 7 months alone, I reckon it'll take the podium sooner or later. I'm also completely ignoring my World of Warcraft playtime which, having been an on-again off-again subscriber for over 16 years, must easily overshadow everything mentioned above. I finally cut the habit in 2019, and I'm not going back now just to check my hours.
Dave James, Hardware Lead: My answer really has to encompass a series of games, because I'm one of those Football Manager obsessives, and as such I will plough my available game time into a new iteration of the game every single year. I have deliberately not totted up the overall time I've spent playing FM since it came out, partly because I don't ever need to see that number, but also because I can't find play time stats for its Championship Manager progenitor which I also sank a huge amount of my life into.
But a quick check of Steam shows my most-played version of the game was Football Manager 2019 with a hefty 1,107.7 hours, a little over the 1,062.7 hours I spent with FM2018 the year before, or the 1,007.1 hours of FM2017.
The series is, however, a stark reminder about just how much having children affects the time you can spend gaming. FM2020 has but 841.5 hours of my life, FM2021 a paltry 393.1 hours, and FM2022 just 113 minutes.
The lesson for everyone here is a simple one: don't have kids, they ruin everything.
Katie Wickens, Hardware Writer: Rimworld was my saving grace throughout uni, before I even had many games on my PC at all, because who can afford games while studying? My system was reserved mostly for game design so I literally had two games installed. That way I could concentrate on getting my degree… and drinking. But Rimworld helped me pass the time relatively productively as I could just leave it playing in the background while I wrote my design journal, until the hordes of rabid squirrels decided to attack, of course.
Those 324.9 hours are but a fragment of the true time spent hunkering down in mountainsides with my pawns, though. Another 20 hours flew by straight off the bat, the first time my friend ever showed it to me. He went to bed and woke up the next morning to me, red-eyed, and hunched over his PC like “I built a base, look.”
I clocked up another hundred hours or so on my boyfriend's PC during the year between uni and finding gainful employment, so it's safe to assume the number is closer to 450 hrs. Basically, I've been training in colony management for some time. Can I put that on my CV?
Sarah James, Guides Writer: I'm actually a little scared to think about the amount of time I've spent in World of Warcraft but here we are. My priest sits at 303 days and 19 hours and is the character I created when I returned to WoW during Mists of Pandaria. This is the one that I've played the longest, though I did main a warrior during the second half of Warlords of Draenor and a demon hunter for most of Shadowlands, so good chunks of playtime aren't included. A decebt amount of time was spent raiding, though a lot of it can probably be attributed to doing laps of Orgrimmar/Dalaran/Oribos while chatting to guildies on Discord.
Aside from that, Valheim comes in second at 603 hours played. Errr… go big or go home?
Mollie Taylor, Trainee News Writer: Absolutely nobody on the PC Gamer team will be surprised to know that Final Fantasy 14 is my most-played game. Steam will lie and say I have 1,161 hours logged, but I started playing it on a PlayStation 3 back in 2014 so it's a bit more than that—the in-game timer shows I've put closer to 1800 hours into it, which is nothing in MMO time. I only ever tend to spend around 50 to 300 hours in most games I play, so it's rare for me to hit four digits. I've come close with games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and The Sims 4, but Final Fantasy 14 is the first one to finally hit that milestone.
Lauren Aitken, Deputy Guides Writer: It's more likely nearer 1000 as I had a non-Steam version on the go for a while. I'm pretty sure it was a disc copy? Anyway, it's a classic, what can I say? Either that or my The Witcher 3 PlayStation first playthrough at around 420 hours. I just like Gwent, ok?
Phil Savage, Editor-in-Chief UK: It's Guild Wars 2 for me—really the only MMO I've properly sunk my teeth into. And despite it being one of the most alt-friendly MMOs around, over 94% of my 1,771 hours with it has been spent on one character. It's a nine-year-old game, so those hours are spread out across a long period, with some significant breaks. But with an expansion arriving in February, I'd expect that total to rise dramatically this year. 2,000 hours here we come.
Evan Lahti, Global Editor-in-Chief: I'm feeling dwarfed by some of the numbers on our team, yow. CS:GO still sits atop my humble hours-played pile on Steam with 980, despite not having played it seriously since 2017 or so. For the stretch 2013-2015 it was one of the only games I was playing.
As I've gotten older I think it's only natural that you lean away from games that require skill maintenance to keep up with, partly because the friends around you are doing the same. The other factor is the mindset that our job at PC Gamer instills: covering games creates a pressure to be playing a breadth of different things, to be diving into what everyone's talking about. I'd love to know what future game will supplant the shooters at the top of my permanent record.
Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: I was also going to say Guild Wars 2, but it turns out that those hours don't hold a candle to the number I spent in the first Guild Wars. I have a total of 4,456 hours in the original and 2,045 in GW2. Even combined, they don't match the hours Sarah's spent on just her Priest. I'll just sit on down.
Over on Steam, it's The Elder Scrolls Online, though it only reports 503 hours while my real total from the standalone ZOS launcher is probably double that. MMOs seem like such obvious winners though. My top-played singleplayer game is Dragon Age Inquisition with 337 hours.
Rich Stanton, News Editor: Just over 2,600 hours in Rocket League, tipping 1,000 in CS:GO, and a couple of respectable showings for FromSoft. The tragic thing is that this doesn't include my Rocket League playtime on PlayStation 4, which is where I played it for the first few years, or Switch, where I play it pretty often now. I've spent hundreds of days of my life chasing a ball in a rocket-propelled car. Maybe I need help.
Andy Chalk, US News Lead: I'm feeling like an absolute scrub reading all these numbers. I think my Quake 2 playtimes from way back when would give me a respectable showing but that's all long gone—the big dog in my Steam library these days is The Witcher 3, at 390 hours, followed by Wasteland 2, Fallout 4, and Battletech. I haven't touched any of them except Witcher 3 in years.
Morgan Park, Staff Writer: Between PC, PS4, and Xbox, I have around 2,000 hours in Rainbow Six Siege (though my Steam number is around 1,400). I don't wanna know how many days that is. Runners up include 700 hours in Day of Defeat: Source, 260 hours in Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars, around 200 in Hunt Showdown, and 150-ish in Hitman 2. I don't know how to check Overwatch playtime, but if I did that'd probably be second or third.
Chris Livingston, Features Producer: On Steam it looks like TF2 takes the cake despite the fact I haven't played it since probably around 2010. Not captured by Steam is The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, in which I have two characters who each have 200-hour saved files, and a third with around 50 hours. So I'm gonna say that's truly my most-played game. I have to imagine I spent a couple hundred hours playing Doom 2, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, The Sims 2, Unreal Tournament, and a few more before Steam was a thing.
450 hours in Oblivion felt like a lot until I saw almost everyone else at PCG has over a thousand hours on their most-played lists. Sometimes way over that. Now I'm suddenly wondering: have I just never found a game I really, truly loved? Damn.
Tyler Colp, Associate Editor: Like Mollie and Sarah, MMOs sucked all the time out of me. I don't have hard numbers for World of Warcraft, but I know I have at least 150 days or more clocked into that game. That's at least 3,600 hours spread out across several characters because I'm indecisive. As any MMO player knows, the game becomes a thing to do while chatting with friends on voice chat, so that's where most of my hours come in. I'm still fairly new to Final Fantasy 14, so I'm only sitting at 68 days, or 1,632 hours. I'm sure it'll get worse.
All of these hour counts would be surprising if I went back in time and told my younger self what kind of curious decisions I'd make in the future, but the real shocker to me even now is my Overwatch hours. I remember scoffing at Blizzard making a first-person shooter when it was announced and reluctantly buying it on launch day (which is also my birthday) to join my friends. Now I have over 3,500 hours in it across several accounts. At this point I know too much about the game and its history. I never thought I'd spend so much time in a game that it's infiltrated all parts of my brain, but here I am.
Alan Dexter, Senior Hardware Editor: The surprising one here is Spelunky. I knew I'd spent a bit of time dying to surprise snakes, errant boulders, and pointy sticks, but never realised I'd managed to tip over the 100-hour mark. Quality game though. I've obviously spent too much time in New World, and I'll freely admit that. And Skyrim is just a really great game (with a terrible interface). There are a couple of games that don't appear on this list though, including Cyberpunk 2077 (146 hours) and Apex Legends (1012 hours).
It's another MMO that takes the win: I played WoW for many, many years, and racked up the kind of play hours that puts all of these to shame (we're talking many thousands of hours here). Which makes it a bit strange that I haven't touched it in almost a year and yet don't miss it at all.
Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: I've got over 300 hours in Skyrim, counting both Oldrim and the Special Edition. Since those are separate entries in Steam, it puts Total War: Warhammer 2 at the top of my list. I've got 287 hours in that and still don't feel like I'm close to done with it. Haven't played a beastman campaign yet, and I never did finish my wood elf or goblin run.
I played 219 hours of the first Total War: Warhammer, which is I guess one campaign less? We'll see if the third game knocks it off the perch.
From our forum
mjs warlord: I can't prove I did this but I started using Warframe when it first came out and at the point where I stopped using it I had just over 2,800 hours , I stopped using it because one day I logged in and everything I had bought or fought for had gone! Somehow my account had got hacked.
Frindis: Next to my almost 11K hours in Rust , I got around 3K hours in WoW. That is the most I have ever played in a game. I'm not sure why, but when I look at my WoW transaction history, it does not show anything older than my Diablo 3 purchase from 19.07.12. It might have something to do with the redesign of the BlizzAccount.
Pifanjr: According to Steam, it's Civilization V. I noticed the total hours of Skyrim Special Edition got reset when it updated to the Anniversary Edition though, so I might have had more hours in there, though it's probably similar.
I've never really stuck with any game for very long, so I doubt there are non-Steam games that vastly surpass 500+ hours, though there's probably some that at least come close.
Withywarlock: I don't have the specifics because this was on the Xbox 360, but The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will easily be in the thousands of hours, as I'd played it religiously for years on end. On the PC version, including Morroblivion I have 177 hours clocked. On Steam however, the most hours I've put into a game is with Total War: Warhammer II for the obvious reasons of it being grand strategy with hugely diverse armies and lots of army-fantasy. Might play that in a bit, tbh.
WoodenSaucer: The most for me is 221 hours in Skyrim. I usually play shorter games, and I really don't have that much gaming time. I know a guy on another forum who has over 19,000 hours on Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen. Don't ask me how. He's not lying about it because I just now looked at his Steam profile, and he's currently up to 19,864 hours on that game.
DXCHASE: For those that had read some of my posts, this isn't surprising lol. This doesn't cover the 1,000 hours or so I've spent on the game when it was under battle.net. Id also like to add that there's a good 500-700 hours of idle time in there and to the Destiny 2 community these numbers are rookie numbers lol. So all-in-all, roughly 4.5 – 5k hours. And that's just Destiny 2, I never played Destiny, also I am a leader/founder of a full rostered clan so playing with new players/clan members is all apart of the fun.
Johnway: Path of Exile by a country mile. Just under 1,450 hours.
The leagues just breathe life into the game every time and are quite significant features so it's in my best interest to play it. The end game is strangely addictive. Never beat it mind, but enough to keep me occupied each time. Generally it's probably the challenges of each league with a chance of loot that keeps me going. But if there isn't any good loot or the league is a bit naff, I quit sooner rather then later.
Kaamos_Llama: I just pipped my most played game recently with Battle Brothers at 400-odd (and I'm still bad at it), but if you add together my time in Total War Warhammer 1 and 2 its about 720 and they're the same game really, right?
In the last 10 years anyway, before I really used Steam no way to know and I had more time when I was younger. Pretty sure nothing would be near 11k hours though.
Ryzengang: I could try to check my lifetime Runescape/Old School Runescape play time across all my accounts but I would probably be deeply disturbed so I will refrain from doing that . Let's just say it is well over 5,000 hours and leave it at that. World of Warcraft is roughly 1,000 hours if I only count my main. Other than those two I really don't have a great idea. Some of my most played games were (mostly) on console (e.g., Borderlands 2, Halo 3, OG Modern Warfare).
ZedClampet: I've got 3,550 hours in Warframe. At some point I got exhausted by how grindy some of the new content was (to get this one item, I calculated that the best case scenario had me doing the 15-minute mission 107 times–but that was the absolute best case scenario) and just quit playing.
They have a great community, but I ended up playing by myself most of the time mainly because I was doing things other people didn't want to do and doing them in ways they would have scoffed at. For instance, when people wanted to level a weapon, there was one map they grouped up and went to, and it would take approximately forever to level your weapon to max (they were efficient at killing things, but not at earning weapon XP). Also, you were expected to play a certain frame and fulfil certain duties. But meanwhile I had a way of leveling my weapons by myself in 10 to 12 minutes, and I could play any frame I wanted. Pretty much every goal was like that. Players thought there was a right way and a wrong way to approach everything, and they expected you to follow along, but their methods were actually not the best.