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Five tips to minimize raiding downtime

I'm a rather avid raider, putting in a solid 20 hours a week on my Warrior. One of the major things about the time spent raiding is that it can be very precious. There is only so much time that 24 other people, plus appropriate class substitutions, can be available each week. It's critical that the time spent raiding is used well.

Unfortunately, using raiding time well is about as much of a challenge as is downing Illidan. In preparation for this article, I've spent the past three weeks keeping track of the down time in raids. We raid Sunday through Thursday nights, from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. We experience a downtime of about 51 minutes for each raid, which is about 20% of the time. Down time is defined as the time that my character is standing still, not attacking, not moving, and not being MDed to.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I'm not really sure.

Tip #1: Chain pulling

Personally, I do my best at the main tank to chain pull and push the trash through as fast as possible. This works out 99% of the time, however the 1% of the time it doesn't work out can grind the raid to a halt. Case and point: The trash to Supremus isn't too bad, and is a lot of packs where the MT, OT, and Pally tank each have some mobs to tank. There are also some ranged dragons that the Warlocks tank. These pulls can go very fast, and are very predictable. Pulling slowly we can do this in about 40 minutes, while chain pulling each group, we can push through in 15.

Tip #2: Fully self buffed, all the time

It doesn't take much to buff yourself. Every class has some buff they can apply to themselves, be it food buffs, spell buffs, or shouts. The key here is that you can find a minute or two to always buff at least yourself, if not others. Although, it might not always be possible to buff others as you're going along - and that's okay with most raid leaders for trash pulls.

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Filed under: Tips, Raiding

How to enjoy grinding and read books at the same time

For a long time now I've been a big fan, not only of WoW, but of audible.com, where they have a great library of audiobooks for sale and download to your portable audio device of choice. Without realizing how or when, I have developed a habit of blending these two loves together for a marvelous effect: grinding plus audiobooks equals a great time.

The basic problem with grinding in an MMO, after all, is that it doesn't require your full attention, especially if your goal is straightforward and you've done it before in one way or another. It's relatively easy to just put yourself on autopilot and do the job while your mind does something else. Listening to an audiobook is the perfect companion to this, because it fills up your mind, and leaves your hands and eyeballs itching to do something of their own.

Also, I'm a person that has trouble reading with my eyes. I can do it for short periods without any trouble, but with long books, I tend to fall asleep or get distracted very easily. Through Audible, I might have read more books with my ears than I have read with my eyes by now, and although I know some people must have the paper copy of a book in their hands, there's probably a large number of WoW players out there who find themselves not reading as much as they would like, and would love to know that there's another way to get their literary fix.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Quests, Leveling, Factions, Making money

Immersion or the lack thereof


Jane over at Game Girl Advance recently had a fascinating debate with herself on the level of immersion experienced by WoW players. While on the one hand she says that she often does other things while playing WoW (checking her email, instant messaging her friends) she also says that about 10 percent of the game requires most of her attention. Perhaps, she asks, the non-immersive nature of the game is what makes it so popular?

But then she counters he own argument, stating that WoW is extremely immersive, sucking you in for blocks of hours at a time without you ever realizing it. I suppose I would have to agree with her, err both of her really. While I spend a lot of time alt-tabbing to check email for work while I game, I also find that WoW is the sort of game that draws you in. Not the same way a movie in a dark theater does. I wouldn't exactly say that I tend to forget the world around me, unless I'm in an intense instance group or perhaps a raid.

I think that the variety of gameplay is one of WoW's keys to success. You can dive in as deep as you like when you log in. You can log in, head to the nearest dungeon, and play for hours on end, or you can quest for 30 minutes to an hour and then go do something else. The nature of an MMO means that you will spend a lot of time playing it, but WoW doesn't require you to spend all your attention on it while you play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves

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