One of the things that brings me back to my Mage time and time again is the prospect of revisiting the Burning Crusade dungeons. The Dungeon Finder has other ideas: it wants me to queue for a Random Wrath Dungeon. I don’t want to do that. So my wait times in queue have been really, really long.
Last Saturday evening I waited over three hours in a queue for The Botanica. I’ve started to get a bit creative about using that time.
There’s really only one rule: don’t, whatever you do, join a party with a friend (or sell a Mage port, or take a Mage port) or log out or otherwise quit the game. You can enter combat (and still accept a dungeon invitation, I believe). You can die (but you won’t be auto-teleported to your dungeon whilst in spirit form).
1. Gather herbs or mine
Let’s start with a productive use of your time. I’m pretty confident that it’s impossible to reach 450 Herbalism and 450 Mining just by gathering nodes found in dungeons. So while I’m in queue I tend to gather herbs. To that end, I tend to have my hearthstone or live in an Inn near a convenient source of herbs. When I was short on Mountain Silversage I lived out in Silithus and trekked around Silithus and Un’goro in search of that particular herb.
This only really works if you need to collect a herb that grows around creatures in your level range, or lower. As much as I’d like to start gathering Adder’s Tongue there’s just no way I’d survive out in Shalozar Basin at level 70.
So gathering while you’re in queue is a good way to catch up on your gathering profession.
Alternatively, once you’ve caught up and your most desirable herbs at out of your level reach, you could go and herb the most profitable herb available to you. For example, I could go back and herb Mountain Silversage and probably sell it, buy Adder’s Tongue and make a tidy profit.
2. Play the Auction House
In hindsight there’s really no reason why I couldn’t have made Caesandra one of my working bank alts. Or, for that matter, perhaps I should gift my Level 1 Warlock a few Bind on Account items, speed level to level 15, and then return to Ironforge and spend my time browsing the Auction House in queue. I could even wear my banker’s suit right until I’m inside the instance and just swap them over using Equipment Manager.
You’d probably need to be a bit careful about how you manage your inventory. I like to know that every item found in my bank alt’s possession is to be listed on the Auction House. With all the junk, and potentially useful-at-some-later-stage, items you pick up in dungeons things might get a bit confusing.
3. Level your Professions (even the weird ones)
I only have 1 gathering profession so time in queue is also often spent sorting out Alchemy, and less frequently, First Aid. I should go a step further and also pick up Fishing and Cooking. Actually, Fishing would be an ideal method to while away the time – especially if you park your character in Dalaran.
You can fish all the way from level 1 to level 450 without leaving the city!
4. Travel and Collect Flight Paths
One of the most obvious disadvantages of leveling through dungeons and not by questing is that you won’t pick up Flight Paths as you travel the world. However, collecting level-appropriate Flight Paths is an excellent way to spend time in queue. It’s even better if you can combine that with a gathering skill.
The lengthy run from Stormwind to Menethil Harbour is well known to all Alliance players and something I would consider to be a necessary evil in the 20-30 level bracket range. How about the run from Darkshire to Booty Bay? A deadly, also necessary, chore (and that was before they put in that new flight path in the north west corner of Stranglethorn Vale).
Now I look at the gathering of Flight Paths as a trivia game: what flight paths exist in zones of my level? what’s the most efficient way to reach them by foot? what’s the safest way to reach them by foot?
It’s a bit tricky to predict how important, or irrelevant, Flight Paths will be in Cataclysm. On one hand we’re returning to Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor but on the other hand we’ll be able to use flying mounts. Hmmm… it’s a mystery.
5. Try and Sneak into Dalaran
I must admit that once I reached level 68 I was a bit impatient to get to Dalaran and make it my home. Surely once I’d reached Northrend I could run up and use that stupid triangle transportation device in Crystalsong Forest? As it turns out… no (see fail picture above).
WowWiki is full of interesting suggestions on how to get to Dalaran. I think, if you’re playing the game as intended, you quest in the lower half of Northrend until you reach about level 74 and then a bunch of NPCs (depending on where you are) offer you a flight to Dalaran. If you’re impatient and don’t want to wait until level 74 you’re going to need to try something else.
Since I was already several hours into my Botanica queue at the time I thought I would attempt the Death In Crystalsong Forest Method. The idea being: once you release your spirit in Crystalsong Forest you can fly up to the city on your spirit form griffin. Log out, and then log back in, and you should be in Dalaran, alive.
Unfortunately I missed a critical step: once you’re in Dalaran as a ghost you have to run down to the doors of Violet Hold and talk to the Spirit Guide and resurrect with Resurrection Sickness. I’m not sure why you have to log out at all actually.
I didn’t talk to the Spirit Guide. But I did log out. So I returned to Caesandra still dead, in Dalaran, and now back to the end of the Dungeon Finder queue. I jumped out a sewer pipe (still ignorant of the Resurrection Sickness step) in order to get back to my body.
6. Write Tickets to Blizzard
You could go argue on the World of Warcraft forums, but since the whole Real ID thing was announced, I’m boycotting the official forums. Actually in general I try not to waste my time and I don’t believe any useful feedback could survive the trolling on the official forums so I tend to keep my complains as posts on this here blog. Or as “Report a Problem” tickets.
Fortunately, you can write tickets and talk to GMs while you’re in queue! Unfortunately you can only write one ticket at a time.
My long waits for Botanica, coupled with my terrible, terrible match-ups with players who give up at the first hint of trouble, were the cause of several tickets to Blizzard. I haven’t really gotten much out of the GMs who were tasked with replying to me except:
If other players choose to leave it’s their right to do so.
Of course it’s their right. More of the time it’s a healer or tank that quits (mid-1st-boss pull and leave party is a common occurrence) and the entire party disbands. Which means you can’t requeue under the promise that “you are at the front of the queue”. Instead a tank/healer drops the group, 3 others follow and suddenly you’re at the back of yet another hour+ queue. I think I deserve some time of priority when I queue the next time. Surely when you have a perfect record – well except for that one time in BRD – for staying in parties until they fall apart or you’re left alone you shouldn’t have to wait yet another hour for the next group.
The Dungeon Finder wait times are a result of the number of players available to do those instances.
And this is where I take real exception. It’s not that only 5 people in three hours are willing to run The Botanica. I don’t believe that. The problem is that the Dungeon Finder makes it very easy to choose, in fact it’s the default option, the Random Dungeon. This would be fine except that this option is entirely replaced (at level 68 as far as I can tell) by Random Wrath of the Lich King Dungeon. At level 68 you cannot choose Random Burning Crusade Dungeon.
Why are players in the level 68-72 player range not given both choices? Instead we end up overdosing on Utgarde Keep and half of the Burning Crusade dungeon content isn’t experienced at all.
Eventually you’re grouped with a bunch of level 68 players trying to clear Magister’s Terrace (not easy) as part of their Outlands Dungeonmaster achievement. It’s not just DPS waiting a long time in these queues either. Tanks and Healers often have to wait 30 minutes to an hour. There’s just not enough players because they’re cut off once Utgarde Keep is unlocked.
7. Watch TV (Online)
The trick to watching TV while you wait for your queue is to boost the sound volume in World of Warcraft high enough that you will hear the Call-to-Arms/Alert sound effect when your queue pops up over the sound of your TV show. Then you need to make sure that, about once every 10 minutes, you tab back into World of Warcraft and jump around so that you don’t automatically log out from inactivity.
8. Catch up on Your Reading
Of course there are a whole bunch of other things you can do online to occupy your time. I like to catch up on the blogs that I read (all listed on our blogroll of course!). And check my email.
So, are you in a queue right now as you read this?
You’re not? Well, why not?!