I've realised that what I missed most about not being able to get online for a month in gaming terms are passive gameplay features. The skill queue in Eve, PI in Eve, spell research in EQ2.
That's partly because I'm in an unsociable phase. In a couple of weeks I'll be playing SWTOR with a close real life friend and a promising looking guild so I've avoided the commitment of other MMO guilds for the last several months. I like gaming with other people but I'm perfectly happy playing alone too and this happened to be a period when I was soloing (it would be very annoying to be cut off for a long period when a fresh game launches and everyone is in leveling frenzy).
But it has got me thinking about why I play and what I like. I really like the set something off and come back in a day gameplay. I loved it in Star Wars: Galaxies when running my harvesters. I suppose blogging is kinda similar, one reads or comments then comes back in a day to see if there's been a reaction. I think I'll enjoy SWTOR's companion resource collecting and crafting much more than I ever liked mining in WOW.
And of course other people like it too - it's the essence of most social Facebook games although they're gradually changing.
Yet I can't help but feel that it's not esteemed the same way by many players as active gameplay. Running about shooting someone, that's real gaming, setting a harvester running then coming back with a hauler a few days later is rarely championed.
I never played Farmville and don't think I'd like it because it's only passive gaming and seems a bit meaningless when isolated like that. But as part of a complex and sophisticated MMO? Yeah, give me passive gaming!
(In the time it took to write this my Eve character gained 1000 skill points and my planet farms churned out 30 Transmitters).