I'm obviously not one of those folks who say you have to quit your gaming life the second you have a child, but there are some fairly realistic adjustments that need to be made. Long nights of hardcore raiding are probably off the menu for a little while, and screaming hate-filled obscenities at that cheap rogue who just ganked you for the 50th time is right out. But, still, playing WoW is possible -- it just takes a little finesse.
As I'm writing this now with my own little bundle of snot, poop, and adorableness, I wanted to share to the prospective parental audience what I've already discovered. I am by no means an expert, but this is the stuff I wish someone had told me before I logged in with a 7-pound baby on my chest.
5. If it works you up, it's probably not a good idea.
You know that heart-pounding, mouth-watering thrill you get when you're in PvP? How your breath comes quicker, your pulse races, and you're like "Must kill all the things!" The way you should "Yes!" when you get a kill? Yeah, baby doesn't like that.
Maybe it's just my baby, but I have a hard time believe she's the only one perturbed when Daddy turns into a slavering lunatic. No sooner do I get my jaw clenched than my baby gets that vexed, confused, and vaguely annoyed look on her face. (Pretty sure she learned it from her mother.)
Baby picks up on your stress and will get equally stressed out herself. So try to stick to the chill stuff.
4. Baby gets hot.
Letting the baby sleep on your chest while you play WoW is absolutely adorable. It's awesome bonding time, makes you feel like a parental rock star, is generally great for relaxation.
It's also like wearing a hot water bottle on your chest. In the very least, wear deodorant. But if you have the option, crank down the AC a few notches. By the time you're done a rousing trip through the raid finder, you'll end up with a sweat-soaked T-shirt.
3. Don't do anything too deep.
This tip is probably a no-brainer, but I'm going to put it out there anyway. Don't go main tanking a 25-man heroic dungeon with 24 impatient raiders if you've got a baby on your chest. The best-case scenario will be a merry yellow stain on your chest. The worst case scenario will be lots of tears and recriminations, to say nothing of the baby's reaction.
A newborn sleeps for huge stretches of time, that's true. But it's not like baby has an alarm clock strapped to its belly. On average, my baby's getting an hour or two of sleep at a time, but there are plenty of 15-minute naps and 4-hour marathons before you hit that average. Even going into the raid finder feels like too much of an obligation; I can't imagine trying to head up a guild run.
2. It's fun to read quest text to baby.
This is the tip I really wanted to share. I've taken to reading all the quest text to my baby. Sound silly? I'm sure it is -- a bit. But interaction is good, reading is good, and language skills are good. I'm fairly certain that at a very young age, my baby doesn't give a good gosh-darn if I'm reading from Dr. Seuss or the collected works of Chris Metzen.
And it's fun. I'm paying real attention to quest text for the first time in a while, and I know my baby likes the sound of my voice. It's the best of both worlds, especially since there's nothing terribly stressful about good, old-fashioned leveling.
1. No guilt to be had here.
The best part of playing WoW with a sleeping baby on my chest? There's not an iota of guilt to be had. The baby's getting some awesome Daddy-baby bonding time, and I'm getting to relax with a favorite game. It's the best of both worlds. And, oh yeah, since I'm not doing much but questing around, it's not like there's anything distracting me from paying attention to my child.
So there it is. Those are my tips for playing WoW with a baby on your chest. Oh, I'm sure there's stuff like "you'll die a lot" that many others would say, but I don't think those are the big things. I probably could have just summarized this post with "it's awesome -- do it," but where's the drama in that? Kick back, strap that baby on, and have a good time.