The last couple of weeks have been a bit hectic. My committee requested my completed thesis 2 weeks earlier than the original deadline. My desktop attempted to die and had to be rushed to the shop. And then there are the usual day to day issues that come with being an adult: feeding your household, pretending to keep house, showing up for work/school assignments things and keeping the cat away from important documents, glasses, and keyboards.
Unfortunately, this time around, it caused me to miss some raid nights. It caused me to show up and pray for a substitute to be available on others. However, it also brought into to focus how I prioritize staying on top of my raid “chores” when I’m crunched for time.
Priority the First: Show up
It’s easy to carve out 9 hours when you’ve got a regularly scheduled job/school schedule that doesn’t require a lot of outside commitments. It’s a semi-breeze to handle it when your social commitments can be scheduled around your raid schedule Part of the reason I’m enjoying a weekday only raiding guild is that most people use their weekends for social engagements
What? Aunt Susie’s coming into town this weekend? No problem!
It can be a much bigger headache when you’ve got a project at work, school or home crop up (or your kids’ project!). Then you’re looking at those 9 hours on your calendar and trying not to glare.
Over the years, I’ve learned how to explain this to myself. Everyone needs down time. If I want to be a part of a raiding guild with a set commitment, then I have to accept that when it comes to crunch time, I might have to cut my movie night out instead of my game night. When you have family, these decisions have to be negotiated and understood before the commitment is made to be really do-able when it comes to crunch time.
Priority the Second: Fashion
Having your gear up to date ready to raid condition is a must. The important thing I’ve learned is that you never know when a crisis is coming. When I get a new piece of gear, the very first thing I do is reforge, gem and enchant. I try not to log off before this is done, and the reason is simple: except for raid time, there’s no guarantee that I’ll be on. Raid time is a commitment: I know I’m going to be on-line for that. Showing up 15 minutes before a raid and hoping that you can get a piece of gear raid-ready is questionable. It depends on other people unless you happen to be the guy with a profession of every make and model. Even then, it takes time to do the character swap thing to get your piece all ready to go.
Don’t sweat it: just get that sucker primed as soon as your raid is done for the night.
Priority the Third: You can never have enough fish.
Life tends to go through ebbs and flows. That’s the same for hectic scheduling issues as well as our desire and availability to commit to game time over other activities. Right now, I’m lucky. My guild provides my consumables, but when they didn’t, consumables was always a high priority. Whether you want to pay for what you need or farm it yourself, you should always have enough spare consumables in your bank to last for 3 raid nights. This ensures if your life goes to hell in a handbasket, you’ve got time to restock!
I often stockpile mats for various professions, but especially for consumables at the beginning of an expansion when I’m super excited and elated over the newness of the universe. This doesn’t last me forever (or even that long!) but as those Saturday afternoons I used to spend fishing get morphed into a bike ride in the warmer months, I’m not instantly unprepared for Monday night’s raid. When you think consumables, think long-term!
Priority the Fourth: Who’s on the What Now?
Once you can get your character to the raid looking like a rock star, it’s time to actually figure out what you’re doing. When you access your guild’s website is up to you, but it should be done at least 30 minutes prior to any raid night. Ditto on any boss strategy you need to go ferret out yourself. I generally try to keep tabs on my favorite theorycrafters after patches, and maybe give ’em a brief drive thru once a week to make sure they haven’t updated anything.
Everything else I read is pretty much optional. People’s opinions on the Cataclysm Raid Report Card doesn’t actually help my team perform, it just informs me about the game, and make’s me think about content. When you’re crunched for time, that shit isn’t even on the list.
In an average week, just taking into account my own guild site and any websites I might check for strategy or theorycrafting information is ~30-45 minutes per week.
Priority the Fifth: I Did What?
I try to check my logs every time I raid. It’d be more honest to say that I actually get to them at least once a week. You can spend a lot of time on logs, and how much I spend and what I do depend greatly on my time constraints as well as how I feel I’m performing on a particular fight.
Things I check on every fight:
- HoT/DoT uptime
- “Rotational” abilities (i.e. are my percentages per spell where they should be?)
- Specific issues
This won’t help me contribute a lot to discussing strategy with my team, but it will help me identify how I am doing, and what I need to improve on for a given fight. The first three items takes me about 15 minutes for a whole night of logs. If I haven’t checked them after we’ve logged for the night, I’ll often check them as I’m waiting for invites for the next night of raiding. I’m not doing anything else (having already prepped my gear!) and it’s time I’ve already “carved out” for raid night.
I’ve set up my priorities over a number of years (and near disasters) to make sure that I’m meeting what I consider to be the bare minimum requirements for being raid ready.
What do you consider the most important steps to ensuring your character is raid ready? Any tips or tricks for being on top of your game when disaster (or deadlines!) strike?