What to do while playing world of warcraft?
June 11, 2007 9:44 AM   Subscribe

My friends are into World of Warcraft, and I want to get a character on there so I can play along with them. However, it seems like it takes up so much time and requires such constant input that I can't do anything else while I'm playing. Has anyone successfully done other things while playing?
posted by seiryuu to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've played poker online and also watched a bunch of TV on DVD. I've talked to my girlfriend on the phone (not really recommended).

If you're worried about time, WoW might not be for you.
posted by ODiV at 9:49 AM on June 11, 2007

I must be missing something here. Usually, when you start a game, it's because you want to play that game. This isn't like a screensaver that you start and look at once in a while. It requires you to be at the computer, to click your mouse, react to your environment, and, well, to just play the game. That's what it's there for, to be played.

What else do you want to do during that time? Want to watch a movie? Well, just watch the movie, why do you want to bring WoW into it?

Why are you playing the game if you actually want to be doing something else instead?
posted by splice at 9:52 AM on June 11, 2007

Its a serious time-sink and manages to take up most of your attention. Unfortunately, MMO developers dont usually like things like "auto-walk" and the game is designed to be a game of puzzles, exporation, and advancement.

Many players play in window mode and have browser windows open, usually to websites that give walkthrough/coords on what quest they are on. Past that I doubt you'll be able to multi-task.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:57 AM on June 11, 2007

splice: A lot of any massively multiplayer game consists of repetitive, boring actions. You barely need to pay attention, you could get a bot to do it. If you're going to be doing this anyway, you might as well find something to entertain yourself with.
posted by ODiV at 9:58 AM on June 11, 2007

However, it seems like it takes up so much time and requires such constant input that I can't do anything else while I'm playing.

Do you mean that you (a) can't do anything else during an actual game session, or that you (b) can't keep up other hobbies when putting in enough hours a week to pace your friends?

As for (a), I've been playing in a weekly five-person group of friends for a year or two now. I've found that I'm the least engaged of our party—I enjoy playing and skyping with my friends more than I enjoy the game mechanics themselves, and I'm a healer in a robust, high-level party and so often am often a bit of a fifth wheel.

And so I will multitask a little sometimes, following or auto-running or auto-firing and alt-tabbing out and in quickly during the less intense moments. I find that I can reliably get little interruptible things done this way—carry on a conversation in IRC, read an article/whatnot in bits and pieces, check up on the mefi flag queue—but it doesn't allow anything really engaging.

For (b), though, I play about 2 hours a week with that group, and then probably another 2 on average in less structured catch-as-you-can circumstances with those friends and others. After some initial how-do-we-keep-paced stress when I first started playing, I just outed myself from commitments to keep multiple dedicated parties going—I've got a few occasional-play 4-person parties that I keep up with my wife and my brother and his soon-to-be wife, and the three of them have a separate 3-man group they play when I'm not in the mood for it.

You may ultimately find that WoW just isn't that engaging to you—it's a fine game, but it doesn't always hold my attention, either. If you're straining to find ways to multitask while playing already, that might be the case.
posted by cortex at 10:03 AM on June 11, 2007

I would play WOW on my laptop while watching TV with my wife. I could keep up every conversation, pay attention to the show or movie, and do passably well with the game. but I played solo all the time, which I guess isn't the point.

After a few months, I stopped playing (and paying). I found it too repetitive. But I do like other MMPORGs (City of Heroes) so I guess it was just the subject matter that bored me.
posted by genefinder at 10:05 AM on June 11, 2007

Loose weight. (Or if you're already underweight: gain weight--no additional eq required for that one.....)
posted by anaelith at 10:06 AM on June 11, 2007

Once you get used to the mechanics of the game, and particularly if you stick to one character/class, it becomes easier to do other things while you're playing.

I think it's tougher to do other things while in instances and raids, but that might be because I solo a lot. Some classes seem "clickier" than others to me as well, probably for similar reasons.

Something that may be worth a mention, and does affect this: WoW is one of the relatively few MMOs out there now that doesn't have a mentoring system -- where a group can take a temporarily boosted lower level member along to an instance at their level. If your friends have level 70 characters and intend to keep playing them, you may not be actually playing with them for a while.

(I may have remapped it, but my autowalk in WoW is NumLock. Check Interface Options.)
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:09 AM on June 11, 2007

The fun of the game is playing with people you can talk to, and argue about how to improve your group ability to do things which are more or less repetitive.

Chess is repetitive, I don't hear people complaining about spending hours playing that... I just don't get your concern.

Other activities you might consider that are equally repetitive: Spending time with your family, taking care of pets, going to work, shopping, drinking to excess.
posted by ewkpates at 10:15 AM on June 11, 2007

autowalk in WoW is NumLock

Whoops. I mean autowalk as in how the old MUDs did autowalk. You pretty much map out a point from point A to point B, launch the macro, and your little character walks there while you do other things. Instead you spend 15 real minutes walking around, riding transport, etc. My point being that very boring and monotonous things cannot be easily (if at all?) automated. Especially when players have to also look out for aggros while traveling.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:23 AM on June 11, 2007

Don't play it if you really want to be doing something else with that time. The something else you are trying to do will get your half-attention and you won't do that well in WoW either.

For example, trying to have a conversation with your girlfriend? Despite my boyfriend's insistence, it doesn't work.
posted by crinklebat at 10:24 AM on June 11, 2007

When playing solo, i like to listen to podcasts (academic lectures, This American Life episodes). It also has the added bonus of helping me manage my WoW game time somewhat better. I agree that the attention required by an instance or raid group makes it tough to do anything else simultaneously, but YMMV.
posted by Hlewagast at 10:35 AM on June 11, 2007

Unless your friends specifically say that they want to start new characters and play -with- you as a group, do not even bother -- because you will never play with them.

Five groups of friends have pulled this on me now, five different servers, same story every time: we like you, come join our server and we'll help! Help turns out to be a couple bags and 10 gold, get back to us when you're 60-70th level, whisper us if you get stuck on a quest. You will actually end up doing all of that grinding yourself, because every time you could use "help" they will be busy (grinding instances for rep/gear).

If you are stubborn enough to stick it out and actually get to high level, you will then find that your friends -still- don't want to play with you because you're a fifth wheel -- you don't have the gear to handle the instances they hang out in (or possible the rep to even get IN them). They'll play with you when they have nothing better to do at this point, but if you want to really play with them, you then have to play catch up all over again.

By the time you get all of THAT handled, there will be even more layers on the treadmill. An expansion, new instances, new stuff, maybe even a new game... they'll have moved on to something else, and you'll be back to square one.

In short: play if you want to play, or if you have a dedicated group... but don't play expecting to catch up to your friends who have been playing a long time, because unless you get hardcore addicted (please don't), you never will.
posted by Pufferish at 10:53 AM on June 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Pick someone in your group, right click on their portrait, select "Follow". Now you have lots of free time, and don't have to keep interacting except for fights.

Now you can go to the bathroom, read Metafilter, do whatever.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:54 AM on June 11, 2007

I read and play WOW concurrently, and for this, I find the Hunter to be the best class to play as (Warlock too). Just find a Mob, send your pet and quick serpant sting, then relax. Rinse and repeat.
posted by strangelove at 10:57 AM on June 11, 2007

Sometimes you can do other things when running (half-attention on the screen) or flying somewhere, but for the most part things requiring visual attention don't mesh with WoW. I can manage IM/IRC, or listening to music/podcasts, but even then I'll realize that I've zoned out while in a particularly difficult fight.

For the most part, if there's something I'd rather be doing than playing, I do that. But that's easy for me to say, since I'm about the same level as my friends (slightly higher than most, in fact) so noone really feels the need to catch up. We all started at about the same time, and as other friends have joined we've made alts to play with them.

Nth-ing that you should see if your friends are also interested in making low-level characters.

strangelove is right about classes, too - a pet on defensive mode is very helpful. Otherwise you can step away from the computer and come back to find yourself dead.
posted by Lady Li at 11:02 AM on June 11, 2007

Instancing or raiding, I need to pay attention. But soloing has plenty of downtime built into it. For example, I'm writing this response as I med up to full while soloing my Shammy. I regularly read or write while farming with my Hunter. I think the earlier levels take more concentration, though. Once you get to 70, splitting your attention won't be too bad.
posted by headspace at 11:06 AM on June 11, 2007

My roommate does a lot of pot while playing... thats all I got.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 1:56 PM on June 11, 2007

Get a second monitor. Most people aren't as crazy as me but you can definitely like check your email while you're on a wyvern/gryphon. Or read Go Ask Alice. That's a great book for that. I mean, it's a terrible book, but it's in all these bite-size chunks that you have to keep coming back to because they are so very bad.

And yeah, beastmastery hunter would be the way to go, although you may be confused for a bot :)
posted by dagnyscott at 2:48 PM on June 11, 2007

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