Lately I’ve been working stupid hours, which is one of the many reasons I love our weekend night raiding schedule.  There is almost no chance that I will get stuck at work on a Friday or Saturday night.  I can sign up for realsies instead of putting “tentative.”

What I did not expect was for my raiding to suffer so terribly because of my work schedule even without schedule conflicts.

Raiding, I discovered, or maybe rediscovered, is not just scheduling in a 2-3 hour block of time.  It’s making sure that your brain is engaged and firing during those 2-3 hours at the level that it would be … well, at work.

And when I’m working 40 hour weeks, it’s effortless to keep up the level of concentration and step out of the bad.  When I’m working 60 hour weeks, I start doing stupid shit in the first HOUR of raiding.  It’s not lack of sleep.  I’m sleeping ok.  It’s the ability to maintain total focus for that many hours a week. It is sheer force of will to concentrate on the raid.  Sheer force of will that is aided and abetted by caffeine, which leads me to stare at the screen, glassy-eyed, and still make major fuckups.

Heroics?  Haha.  It’s such a mental strain to stay totally absorbed and focused for raiding, I dare not waste that focus-energy on doing heroics.  And trust me, you don’t want me healing your heroic if I’m unfocused.  At this point, I’m better off doing mindless quests, picking herbs, or saying “screw it” and logging off.

Do you find yourself raiding poorly when you’re overworked?  How do you handle it?


The Casual Raider’s Handbook: Working Stupid Hours — 19 Comments

  1. This is truth! The mind cannot handle endless abuse without pulling an ultimate EFF YOU at some point. Fortunately, heavy drinking masks the effects – you get to blame the booze instead of exhaustion.

  2. Yes, I have had this exact problem. What helps me is to get a 5 minute bio at the top of each hour so I can get up and walk around for minute, maybe go outside and grab some fresh air. Of course, for this to work you would need everyone in the raid to agree to 1 small break per hour.

  3. It’s been awhile since I’ve had the time or drive to raid. But I know you mentioned caffeine already, for some reason I find coffee (specifically, not just caffeine) during raids quite helpful. A nice, freshly ground medium roast.

    Or a nice tea.

    Just something to ease the tension because I don’t perform well when I’m too tense.

    “I’m a tipi!”
    “I’m a wigwam!”
    “I’m a tipi!”
    “I’m a wigwam!”
    “Relax, man! You’re two tents!”

  4. I think raiding, especially more hefty raid schedules, are the province of kids and students for this reason really. I know only a few people that kept doing it after working fulltime, not just because it’s too much focus required in one day, but also because they simply didn’t want to force themselves to such focus in the evenings anymore. My mates who have passed from studies to work in the past 5 years, have all stopped with WoW. work has been one big reason for me to do the same. if time is limited, free time simply becomes more precious and there’s only so many hours in a day. especially if raiding isn’t relaxing or fun, but mostly a test of will and focus – no thanks. I’d rather be doing a hundred other things in such case.

    that’s not to say that some people can’t / don’t want to cope with 42+hours/week and raiding 3 times a week – but as you said, it’s sheer force of will. I guess (hope) you must really love raiding then, to do that. :)

  5. I would offer some suggestions, but I never find myself raiding poorly. Go figure.

    • Okay, maybe a serious response now. I typically only play 2-3 nights per week because of RL commitments – mostly to my wife :) Because I play so little, I am super-focused when I play.

      When working those hours, you have probably already cut back your non-raid play time. My suggestion would be to cut back even further. Your brain gets wired into a routine. If you shake up that routine, it might jar you into being a little more awake and alert when you do raid.

  6. It’s odd, but I find that by drinking lots of water – rather than caffeen – helps me concentrate after a long day/week. I find that I stay sharper, and can follow the raid lead’s instructions faster than if I was to sit down with a coffee. Or soda. Or what-have-you.

    • I usually drink some caffeine at dinner beforehand and then chug water during the raid (if I start on the caffeine at raid time, then I’ll never sleep!). The excessive water leads to uncomfortable squirming and probably doesn’t help my raid performance either.

  7. I’m not sure if this would work for you, but for me I usually try to “find my happy place” before a raid. Usually this involves shortly before start time me going afk for 10 minutes or so and putting some tunes on and just rocking out for a few minutes. For me I find it’s a great way to get my mind clear and ready for whatever’s next. Be it tapdancing on Magmaw’s head, playing interrupt monkey on halfass and arcanotron, or really just about any other task that requires more than 1/3 of my attention.
    Ultimately though I think the key is to get your head clear by whatever means necessary, if you can find a way to do that in a short period then the focus will follow.

  8. Yngwe has really hit on something there. Reduce your playing time outside non raid stuff. I work long hours too these past few weeks and this is how I coped. If I play outside the raids I usually do mindless stuff and for short periods (like 30mins). When I do come to raids the game feels fresh and it helps a lot to concentrate.

    • I think I ended up burning out a little just because I was working a lot right during the “gear up” phase where we DID have to be running heroics most nights or we’d never get into raids. Now that most of my gear upgrades are only from raids and VPs (and maybe 1 more rep reward) I can afford to take more time off without “falling behind.”

    • I’ve probably done one heroic in the past two weeks, which has coincided with a decent amount of raid progress. I’d love to pick up my tier chest, but 4 upgrade drops salve that ache nicely.

  9. I’ve experienced that, and my main way of combating it is to reduce the number of things I pay attention to. When I’m rested and relaxed, I’ll watch the whole raid, try to point out things people may have missed or call out a key mechanic coming up. When I’m struggling with the focus due to a tiring week, I’ll reduce my raiding to: stay out of the bad, heal people. Nothing else. Just watch myself and healing bars and let everyone else handle themselves. I find reducing my scope when I’m mentally tired really helps me keep performance up to at least useful levels.

  10. I agree Zel! I come home after work, change clothes, go jog/walk my two miles, come back home, shower, and all I want to do is get my cup of ice water, say goodnight to my friends whom I live with, and go straight to B-E-D. I go to sleep by 10 PM. If it’s after that, I’m destined for a morning of drowsiness. Raiding? Hahahahaha…for now it’s on the backburner to sleep.