If there's one thing that annoys me more than fishing mini-games, it's game mechanics based on real-time instead of game-time.
Having worked through at least some of my Monster Hunter Tri obsession, I returned to Nier this week. Of course, my carefully laid out plants had withered and died while I was away. There is no real need for this. Nothing else in game changes while it's turned off. No one dies because I'm not there to save them, and no one gets annoyed when I leave their errands incomplete for weeks or months. It doesn't really make sense for just one element of a simulation to keep going while the simulation is turned off. It's just a cheap trick to keep me playing, and I don't appreciate it.
I enjoy games, and I hope they can enrich life. But I don't want them to dictate to me how I should spend my time. As someone who often flits between a few games at a time, I don't understand why I should be punished for my preferred gaming behaviour.
Plants in Nier are, thankfully, a minor part of a larger whole. I'm giving up on farming for the moment and focusing on the game elements I do enjoy.
A friend of mine described far worse experiences with Animal Crossing, where events change with the system clock, and the game's inhabitants will get annoyed if you fail to switch on and let them visit at 4 pm next Tuesday, etc. I know those kinds of games can be addictive, but that's just getting ridiculous. It feels like design decisions based on incorrect stereotypes. Something like (1) Gamers are all kids; (2) Kids have no responsibilities, so can spend all day playing Animal Crossing. Or maybe it's something about getting people so hooked they won't bother giving money to your competitors.
There is no way of escaping the passage of real-time in MMOs, thanks to their community of actual people. My days of weekly WoW raiding and the time preparing for those made juggling committments challenging. More casual play was certainly possible, but I most enjoyed keeping on top of the game as best I could, and helping run a guild. At the time, I was happy to make that choice, despite sacrifices in other areas of life. But it wasn't a decision made lightly, and it certainly isn't an option available to everyone. It's inexplicable to me why anyone would want to replicate that committment in games where it isn't required.