Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Would we perform better in a morning raid?

It was 10 am a Sunday morning, Coldarra felt colder and remoter than ever before and as I clicked the summoning stone I was wondering if I had lost my mind. A speed run in Occulus. At this time of the day? I was barely awake and it seemed like everyone else in the party was in the same shape. We had hesitatingly tried our morning voices on vent, shivering at the sound of it and decided to turn silent.

The night before it had seemed like a brilliant idea to have another shot at this achievement. We had been so close (until I died from a bubble) and now that we had practiced we thought we could make it next time.

“Let’s do this again tomorrow! Wait, it’s raid night… And I’ve got people coming over in the afternoon… But we could do it in the morning. 11, that will be fine!” It sounded just great when I suggested it. What I didn’t remember was that Europe was switching to summer time during the night, which meant that one hour of our weekend would be lost. 11 am was in fact 10 am. Not according to my watch, but according to my body. And that hour made a huge difference.

Nightly adventures
To me WoW playing is a late night activity. Outside of my two raiding nights a week, I normally don’t play much before 10 pm, in order to keep my family from suffering too much from me being absent. It happens that I’m online for a stray hour daytime in the weekend, if I can find a hole in the shopping-cooking-cleaning-driving kids to activities-schedule, but I usually won’t do anything more advanced than a little bit of peaceful questing or crafting, so I easily can go log off whenever needed.

And apart from that, playing during the day makes me feel somewhat guilty. For some reason, gaming is a thing I normally do covered by natural darkness, without having to pull down the blinds to be able to see what’s on the screen. When I enter Azeroth, I feel a bit like a vampire or ware wolf, setting out for the hunt. Larísa is a creature of the night.

This was probably the first time ever I ran an instance before noon. And without being able to present any logical reason,, it felt utterly wrong. It was as if I had suddenly replaced breakfast with pizza and beer. Something inside me revolted against it.

At the same time I was a little bit curious. How would this affect the outcome of our mission, would we perform better or worse, playing early in the day? I couldn’t help feeling sort of stiff, in my fingers and in my consciousness; it was as if I was asked to suddenly start playing soccer without having a proper warm up. On the other hand, maybe you could expect the opposite. From a working perspective this was prime time – I should be able to focus much better than in my half-asleep playing sessions passed midnight.

A race against the timer
Not many words were needed. We knew exactly what to do, now it was just about execution. The rest of the party had done this several times before, without success. It was the last achievement they needed for their Glory of the hero mount. I still had two more tasks to go, but was as motivated as the others to get this one done.

The first few trash pulls turned out to be the warm-up I needed. Once the race against the timer started (you have 20 minutes from the killing of the first boss to complete the instance) I was fully awake, present and completely focused on what I was doing, oblivious of the daylight calling me to go out and do some gardening or other grown-up stuff.

Our performance wasn’t perfect, but it was damned good. We had a few deaths on Varos Cloudstrider, but no wipe and we recovered and continued on our mission, as if nothing happened. This fight wasn't lost yet. And before I knew it we were facing the final big dragon.

I honestly can’t say that I excel in mounted flights in three dimensions, especially not when it requires you to be mobile. But I pushed away any tendency to negative thinking “Larísa, you’ll die on the bubbles and let down those guys and deprive them of their mount”. This was NOT the right time to doubt my own ability. I kept focus on what I was doing, emptying my mind from every thought except that we were going to make it. And lo and behold! We downed him with 1.5 minutes to go.

I’m not used to get adrenaline kicks at 10.30 in the morning. It still felt weird, but I enjoyed it as much as I would enjoy any first kill of a raid boss. The same evening we did a complete Naxx clear on 23 man in a little more than 3 hours. It was smooth, efficient and successful, but it couldn’t compare in any way to the joy I had felt in Occulus.

Morning raids?
Before we entered Occulus I had jokingly suggested that we should look at it as a test run. If we succeeded it was a sign that we should consider moving our Sartharion+3d tries to daytime, when people are fully awake. Now I don’t think that will happen – normally most people have real life commitments daytime, so scheduling raids to the mornings would leave us with very few signups. But judging from performance maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea.


Kromus said...

Beautifully written- im curious how a raid in the morning would perform now, Larisa; i think we should conscript a raid in the morning and force people to attend /cackle.

Nah, i think the results would vary player to player- i perform worse in the morning cos i am, i admit- A HORRIBLE morning person; i eat kittens for breakfast- once i get past 11 o clock i stop the murderous onslaught and become approachable.

However, i have no doubt in my mind some people perform much better in the morning, i thinks its research worth ongoing sometime- minus the whole "daytime duties" thing. Could be a majoy problem-

glad you got your achivement!

Anonymous said...

I would expect that while individual performance may increase, the issue would lie with raid availability... whether for whole session, or moments throughout.

Playing at night means I can reserve the sunshine for my family, and the old "household chores", shopping etc.

If I tried to raid during the day, it would be with my son riding shotgun...

I hate to think of the results.

WTFspaghetti said...

Wooo! Morning Raiding FTW!

It is kinda of funny. Over here in teh states, 95% of the morning raiding guilds are filled with people that are not from the states. They are from Asia or Australia and guild chat is usually filled with Tagalog language.

It is no fun for an american like myself. That is why I created my guild, the majority of our memebers are english speaking people that work the graveyard shift or are just early birds. Our main raid time is 8am server and we raid till about noon.

That way I have the rest of the day to do my grown up things and be social during the night. I am up that early because I also work the graveyard shift.

To answer your question, morning raids do just as well as nightly raids. It just depends on the people in the raid. It works out quite nicely for myself and my guild mates.

good read as always

Zakesh said...

Bad Larisa Bad. Morning raiding is not a good idea and just because we got lucky once doesnt mean that it will again. :)

My performance is definitly worse in the morning. Just that by now I can do Occulus in my sleep, which was probably what happend this weekend.

Tessy said...

Weekend mornings is usually my own time, wakes up early by myself, a morning run, a quick breakfast and then some 2-3 hours of WoW-playing before the rest of the family show their faces around noon :-)

I used to run TBC heroics with some friends during those morning hours and my performance was definitely better than when I played at night, I was more alert and more focused.

So morning raids sounds like a good thing to me, performance-wise at least.

Cassini said...

But who doesn't have pizza and beer for breakfast at the weekends?

2ndNin said...

:P Lar, you should know there is no such thing as a 3 dimensional fight in this game (and thus where silly mouse movers go wrong), space to ascend to head level, strafe + turn to stay facing it (though tbh since dragons are imba, facing is largely irrelevant).

Morning raids work fine, but alas most people work so it gets shoved to the end of time and thats that. Basically good raiders can raid at almost any time since the vast majority of play is muscle memory and very little raw reactions (barring a few fights, Patchwerk could probably be done while asleep though).

Works especially badly on EU servers, since we have a far less broad time span (GMT+3 - GMT-1 ish?) than the US servers tend to (GMT-6-GMT+12 easily, and a fair number of GMT as well). Sucks to be in Europe once again, but at least for us (and silvermoon is ridiculously populace), 2pm - 2 midnight / 1am is about it, before or after that is hard territory to go anywhere.

Larísa said...

@Kromus: thanks! Yeah, I seriously doubt we could fill a raid at that point. I wouldn't even suggest it. But I was surprised to see how well it went after all.

@Gnomeaggedon: yeah, I'm in the same position. It's nothing I make normally - and that's why it felt so weired. I've read a few blogposts from bloggers playing early morning before family wakes up, but they normall do solo stuff.

@WTF Spaghetti: Cool! I guess in such a big country there are guilds raiding at any hour of the day. But it's impressive that you managed to form an American guild with those raiding hours!

@Zakesh: that's just what you believe. Wait and see... I've got Gundrak and another Occulus left... another morning run? :)

@Tessy: my family members are all early birds. So that wouldn't work for me. And since they go up early they go to bed early as well. That's my playing window right now. You always have to look for the window.

@Cassini: I may be a gamer, but I haven't gone that far into the stereotype - yet :)

@2ndNin: yay! /wave. You're alive! No update on your blog for 2 months and I've started to consider to take it away from my roll. Now come on and hit me critically with some walls of text! Miss you.

Dw-redux said...

Hello, i play a death knight named redux, ive completed everything in 10 manned raids (and most in 25 -damn you immortal.) or at least my 10 manned group has.
We only raid in 10 manned in the mornings.

Yep. Only.

We raid two days a week 10 manned and that is saturday and sunday mornings. And let me tell you, its great fun. Mostly due to half the raid beeing hung over or still drunk :) We try and behave and plan ahead if we are going for the big things. And usually we always start the raids with a horrible wipe to sort of start us off.
Personally I really really like it. My Girlfriend likes to sleep late, and I do not. So raiding at that time suits me perfectly.

Darraxus said...

Hey, there is nothing wrong with Pizza and beer for breakfast ;)

krizzlybear said...

I am currently in a AM/PM raiding guild that fields teams for both. Before doing the Lent thing, I was healing for the morning raid and healing/dpsing for the evening raid, and I don't see much of a difference. The people on the AM team are different from the people on the PM team, but their attitudes and mindsets are essentially similar, as it fits well with the guild's focus and goals.

It all comes down to a matter of individual preference and comfort. Either way, you will have to concentrate and follow orders, so whatever time a person is most alert and attentive is the time they will be most effective at raiding.

Larísa said...

@Dw-Redux: that really doesn't sound as such a bad idea. If you have family members who sleep long, that can decrease their aggro.

@Darraxus: oh you're a REAL gamer?

@Krizzlybear: I'm curious about guilds with double schedules... Do you run on different ID:s or do you sometimes share it if you're trying to progress through a raid instance with many different encounters (as the upcoming Ulduar)?

krizzlybear said...

For my guild in particular, we actually run double-rosters on top of our double-schedule. So there are completely different people doing the morning raids compared to the evening ones. Most of the time, some of the hardcore members have alts that can fill empty slots if needed.

As for overlapping raid ID's, our guild is primarily focused on 25's, so morning raiders are locked out of the evening raids and vice-versa. However, since 10's are open (and completely free to pug during off-nights), usually you will find guildies from both rosters banding together to take on Naxx or Sarth during downtime.

Mass said...

Forgotten on Thrall-US
Top US Morning Raiding Guild