Was reading some Druid Main just now, and Icedragon had a post about raid prep IRL. This is totally too long for a comment, but I can’t really mention parts about my raid prep. It feels so wrong to not go through with the whole deal, which I guess is a good thing that it’s habit to do it all and not just parts of it.
Food Collection: Noms Away
My guild raids at 8. Well, invites are at 8 anyway, but in order to accept an invite (or in this case, whisper it) you have to be at your computer, and then it’s only 10-15min to the first pull anyway. So at 6, I plan to have dinner or be on my way to getting dinner. 7 is the absolute latest for pickup dinner food.
Why so early? Because eating at my computer, although I kind of do it, is not cool. I’m next to my computer, but I’ve got my chair turned or backed off from the desk or something so me being a clutz doesn’t affect my computer. I hold my bottle of drinkage in one hand, the cap in the other, and the cap is only removed because my mouth is in contact with it.
“Food Collection” however is also snack food. It’s making sure my IRL raid consumables are on my shelf in the kitchen. (Yeah, my shelf, it’s what happens when you share an apartment with people.) My drink of choice tends to be Dr Pepper — I know water or milk or something would be better, but it’s got a bite to it that I like. I also make sure I have cookies or crackers or a bagel or whatever I can just grab from running downstairs before I run back up again.
If I gotta go to the grocery store to grab snacks, I do it by 7. Just makes it easier when I’m not freaking out because I’m not quite hungry now, but there won’t be enough time to run to Subway in the middle of the raid.
Connection Stuff: Hey, I’m Tawkin’ Eer!
That sounds vague, but it’s stuff I need to connect my real life body to the in-game raid.
This means Vent. I try to be logged into Vent a good 10-15min before the raid invites. Just logged in, not necessarily in a channel, just on Vent. So at worst, if I have to afk and come back late, I just have to drop into a channel. No biggie.
Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I keep my main Vent info (my guild only, usually) crap together in a text file with Vent, and then it’s also in my password program holder thingy. Along with things like my authenticator number doohickie and, y’know, passwords. I keep PuG Vents, though I don’t log onto them except for a PuG raid with them. If it’s a guild run mostly, it gets named after the guild; if it looks more like a personal Vent or not really a guild run, it gets named something stupid like TotC pug or Naxx pug 2 or whatever generic name. Haven’t pugged a raid in a while, though.
Vent means…headset. Keep your headset somewhere consistent, in a drawer, on a shelf, wherever. Mine’s on a hook on my desk now. I’ve had a couple of nights where 5 min. before pulling I can’t find my headset, only to stumble upon it later during the afk break.
Connection Stuff also means my addons. I make sure what I want to raid with is up to date, and I use Addon Control Panel to switch my personal profile to “Pone raid,” which loads only what I need for raiding. So no AH addons, no Gearscore, not even Postal, no Lightheaded, no roleplaying addons, no addons I just downloaded to play with, etc.
Make sure if you use some sort of points loot system that you have the addon for it running. For example, Conspiracy uses EPGP, so I make sure that’s loaded in my raid set of addons.
Finally “Connection Stuff” means my me-to-outside-world connection stuff. I close Firefox and only open it for a few minutes if I want to check which raid group I’m in. I close TweetDeck, and make sure it is closed / exited, not minimized to the taskbar. All my computer health stuff — Spybot, MSSE, Malware Bytes, backup schedule, CCleaner, Defraggler, etc. — is scheduled for outside of raid time. If the dumb Windows Update thingy pops up, I tell it not to talk to me for another 4 hours. I make sure it’s just WoW, Vent, and my desktop.
A word on instant messengers: I used to just put myself as “Away.” It worked most of the time. Every once in a while, despite having a “Raiding” away message, somebody would send me an IM while raiding. So the IM window pops in my face, on top of WoW, because I play WoW as maximized window mode. (Yay small laptops.)
So I’d spend half the time going “FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK STOP IT STOP IT GO AWAYYYYYYYYYY,” before the window would finally load into existence (wtb Windows not freezing), then I could click back to WoW, and then find somebody dead or myself dead or some raid leader wondering why the fuck I didn’t move out of the Malleable Goo right away.
Now I close Pidgin entirely, just like TweetDeck. If they really need me, they’d call. Calling = incessant phone buzz; texting = bit of phone buzz. It’s never failed yet.
Mental Zone: Time to Game
This tends to be more in-game than out-of-game, but I focus more on my toon being ready and it gets me ready.
Pee! Especially with a soda as my primary drink, I’m gonna wanna. Yeah, any good raid will have an afk break or two, but start out on empty.
Consumables: Flasks / Elixirs, Pots, Fish Feasts, Personal Food.
I make sure I have enough to last both the entire raid time (~4 hrs worth of flasks covers it and maybe a weekly raid or something) and multiple wipes. My druid makes the flasks: 2 for her, 4 for Pone, per raid. Pots = at least a stack each of health, mana, speed, & wild magic. Usually there’s a few people in the raid also with Fish Feasts, but I try to have a stack of Feasts when I walk in.
I also have at least a stack of my personal food, but probably not more than 2 stacks. Both specs, though I don’t raid on my druid right now, but I still keep around both tree food and bear food. I also make sure I have a stack of non-strudel Strudels. Conjured Mana Strudel is 22.5k health & 19.2k mana; so are Grilled Bonescale, Sauteed Goby, or Smoked Rockin. None of them require spices, and you get these fish while you’re out fishing for Feast fishies, so I really don’t care if the mage isn’t here. I grab 80 actually-strudel Strudels when there is a table, but those are more habit from grabbing food for switching healers than actually needing them.
Yeah, I fish a lot. I find it calming, actually.
On my warlock this also means having a full shard bag. She’s a tailor, so it wasn’t hard to get myself a 32 shard bag. I’ve gotten myself below 20 shards in a raid before, and aside from chain-questing for Loremaster, I’ve never really run out of bag space enough times to complain about OMG SHARDS DON’T STACK.
Gear: make sure it’s enchanted and gemmed properly. Make sure it’s repaired. Also, make sure I have my Pawn scales up to date in case anything cool drops. Look over some boss lists in case I have anything I want as possible drops. I have an index card per boss, usually, with what I like that drops and how much I want it (major/minor upgrade, that sort of thing).
Sheesh, yes, I’m kinda paranoid when it comes to raid prep.
Boss mods: not just making sure DXE is loaded, but being mentally aware of what I’m supposed to do. Knowing boss strategies or at least boss abilities. Targeting macros (e.g. Putricide Oozes) and usable objects (e.g. Jetpack), make sure they’re still working and in easy to find locations. I try out my oh shit keybinds (Demonic Teleport, Soulshatter, etc.); sometimes Bind Pad unbinds it for dumb unknown reasons. Better to find out now than in raid when I need it.
Also be at the raid instance or on the way there. For one, I’m a warlock, and with that stupid phase trick in Icecrown, having a warlock is awesome. I don’t mind, I mean, I have 32 shards, it’s no biggie. I really don’t mind summoning for guildies.
Fun Stuff: Iron Boot Flask, a stack of Noggenfogger Elixir, Blue Crashin’ Thrashin’ Racer Controller, Pygmy Oil, Baby Spice, Unusual Compass, Old Spice sometimes, etc. Things for trash pulls or for cheering up when Putricide is being an ass. I /dance a lot, not because I’m spastic or because I’m being dumb, but because HEY CHEER UP IT’S A GAME ENJOY IT. No need to be freaking out and grumpy the entire raid.
I’m saving for a train set, y’know. Heh heh heh…
So long as it doesn’t terribly affect my raiding abilities, it’s good fun. For example, Super Simian Sphere usually only gets pulled in heroics, because in order to use it, I have to trade one of my trinkets (hit trinket or Illustration of the Dragon Soul). Bad idea on an ICC boss. Outside of heroics, it gets pulled on downtime. It only lasts 5 min anyway.
Actually /AFK: When it’s break time, regardless of whether I need to refill my snacks/drinks or maybe I don’t actually have to pee, I should get up and walk around. Stretch your body, but also just don’t think about whatever is going wrong in the raid. Relax. Breathe a bit. Then come back (don’t be late!) and focus.
Post-Raid: Replenishment & Tranquility
I believe that raiding is like exercise in that just stopping after you do it is a bad thing. You gotta warm up before you raid, and you gotta cool down after you raid. Dailies (including the Random Heroic) are typically done before raid, but in case I didn’t, I’ll go do some dailies to wind down.
New Gear: go enchant and gem that new piece that just dropped. My warlock enchants, and between my warlock and my druid, I can fund gem-buying. Or I can go take the triumph emblems that I don’t need on my warlock and go buy uncut gems and search Trade or Guild for a JC with the cuts I like.
Boss Mods Recap: World of Logs or Recount/Skada or knowing the Malleable Goo was causing me issues, or having some trouble on this one strategy. Look things up on the web, is what it comes down to. What could I do better is my goal.
Flask Monkey: my druid goes and makes a batch every week for a week’s worth of raids plus a few backups for Pone. She keeps a raid’s worth for herself (both specs) just in case, but it hasn’t happened yet. She also makes the preferred battle/guardian elixirs for bear/tree in heroics. Pots too, though she’s not pot-specced.
Go Fish: it really is calming. For me, anyway, some music, or a podcast, or a DVD stuck in my laptop, and…fishing. It’s repetitive enough that I can think, ponder, percolate, but interactive enough to have to be awake to be productive with it. Like flasks I tend to do the cooking as a week’s batch at a time, but I fish throughout the week. Sometimes I just go see if I can catch Mr. Pinchy, or I go read the coins in the Dalaran fountain.
This seems like a lot. It’s not really. The most bothersome is the consumables, because I make my own foods & flasks & pots & the enchanting part of enchants. When new bosses come out, then yeah, it takes a bit to read up on them all and figure out what drops are cool, but that’s only for the first three or so nights you face them.