WoWing on the Go
Last night I was complaining to my guildies that I’m having trouble with blog posts these days. Now that finals are over, that I’ve flown to the other side of the country and that I’ve moved into my new home for the summer, I do have the time to sit and write blog posts. And I have been doing just that. Unfortunately, said blog posts always end up being:
1) About my trip; and/or
2) Very emo.
Thing is, so much has happened in such short time, I’ve ended up in this gorgeous location surrounded by mountains, ocean and oversized trees, I’ve met dozens of fantastic people and I’m planning two weeks of backpacking around British Columbia. I want to talk about it, dammit! As for the emo side, I dunno, I’m quite happy and bubbly these days. Traveling has got to be my favorite hobby and this trip has been one of the best I’ve done so far. I guess spending so much time with myself walking around, in transportation, in new and fancy coffee shops just sends brings out my pensive side. Pensive side. That’s it. Pensive, not emo. But still, if I say or write anything that might be interpreted as whining, I have this feeling my guildies will have me on mute and /ignore by the next time I log in.
Well, yeah. Even when I’m living out of my backpack, WoW still gets the better of me. I’m obviously not raiding much, I made the raid last night, but that was the first time this week. Mostly I’ve been too busy with transportation and apartment hunting and, just like any trip, there’s that reasonable “I can play WoW whenever I want but I only get to be in this city/town/village/ditch next to the highway once.” Still, it’s entirely possible to do a few quests and brag to your guildies while relaxing after a crazy day of shopping/walking/eating overpriced but so delicious food/wine tours/white water rafting/rock climbing/whatever it is you do on your trips.
And because I need a topic that I actually feeling like writing about, I’m going to talk about gaming on the road.
Getting a decent laptop
If you don’t want your nomadic ways to get in the way of your playing, a gaming laptop is a must. I actually don’t really understand why anyone would want a desktop at the best of times. Gaming laptops these days perform really well, are super convenient and are affordable. Yes, affordable.
Snobs will tell you that you need to spend at least 5000$ on Alienware products to be able to handle the WoW loading screen, but that’s not true. I spent about one fourth of that on a Toshiba that excellently handles not only the WoW loading screen, but also 25 man raids, with tons of addons and my settings cranked up to maximum. Even my old 4 year old Gateway handled WoW decently as long as I kept my settings low.
Even if you don’t know anything about computers, buying a gaming laptop is still easy. Here’s how I do it:
1- Go to Staples and say “I want a gaming laptop so I can play WoW. I also destroy everything I touch so it has to be Bossy Pally-proof”
2- Go to Future Shop and say “I want a gaming laptop so I can play WoW. I also destroy everything I touch so it has to be Bossy Pally-proof”
3- Go to Cosco and say “I want a gaming laptop so I can play WoW. I also destroy everything I touch so it has to be Bossy Pally-proof”
4- Go to small sketchy computer shop and say “I want a gaming laptop so I can play WoW. I also destroy everything I touch so it has to be Bossy Pally-proof”
5- By then I have a good sample of what’s available, I’ve received different advice from several different sales people, enough to draw conclusions and make a decision.
6- Go to store carrying chosen model and make purchase.
The less wordy version is this: be clear about what you want, and want you want is something with a good graphics card and that can withstand abuse (good wireless is indispensable as well, but I’ve yet to see a good gaming laptop with crappy wireless) and get a few opinions so you don’t get taken advantage of or find yourself at the mercy of a computer n00b trying to make a living.
Transporting your gaming laptop
Traveling with a computer case, especially on planes, is a royal pain. It’s heavy, it’s hard to carry and you can’t fit much else in it. I readily admit that the only times I use my computer case is when I need to meet carry on requirements. Otherwise, I just put my laptop in my regular backpack.
If you’re worried about your computer, you can get laptop backpacks with extra padding. But really, a normal backpack is fine as long as you keep your bag with you at all times, don’t drop/throw it and don’t expose it to inhumane temperatures. When traveling by plane, make sure you make your laptop easily accessible. You’ll be asked to take it out when going through security.
If you’re bringing your laptop on your month-long hike in the Amazon rain-forest, you’ll probably want a bag with extra waterproof properties. However, as much as I believe you can WoW just about anywhere, I would advise against WoWing while on a month-long hike in the Amazon rain-forest.
In my experience, your fancy shmancy gaming mouse and impressive headset are most likely to be what gets destroyed during transit, not your laptop. The wires seem to have self destruction properties. Coil them gently and secure them with a tie wrap. If you’re not planning to game in airports, put your mouse in your suitcase with your clothes. Headsets can be placed at the very top of a backpack. They’re great to have around for long flights, far more comfortable than silly little earbuds.
If you have a physical authenticator (as you can see from that picture, I do), keep it in a small pocket on one of your bags, or on a keychain. ALWAYS put it back to the same spot. Nothing is more annoying than thinking you lost your authenticator on the streets of a distant city.
Finding Free Internet
Most hotels and youth hostels have wi-fi. Trains sometimes do. Coffee shops typically have free wireless. I’ve seen bars with it too (why, I cannot say) If you want to spend money, you can probably find gaming cafés around where you can use their computers to play WoW, but I dunno, it just feels…dirty.
When you’re using public networks, play it safe, make sure you have an authenticator. (I have no idea if people would be watching public networks for WoW information, but still, you should have an authenticator anyway.)
Interesting tidbit about hotel internet, it seems like the more expensive the hotel, the more inconvenient the internet.
General rule, if the internet is slow or shaky, playing WoW is not only annoying, but rude. Don’t hog the bandwidth if there isn’t enough to play the game properly.
On Playing in Public
It’s ok to play in public, as long as you’re not hogging bandwidth. Talking on vent in public is iffy. I know it’s a sad world where it’s socially acceptable to yell obscenities into your cell phone while in public while talking on vent is not.
I’ve done entire raids in hotel lobbies before and haven’t even been victim of a double look.
Just remember to enjoy your trip too
Let us forget about last year’s Noblegarden event. The event where I was in Toronto on a school trip and spend my evenings in my hotel room, camping eggs while my classmates were out partying. Let us forget that.
Do play WoW at times to unwind and keep in touch with your friends. Don’t ruin your trip by camping eggs.
Now you’ll have to excuse me, it’s almost time to make my way to the Greyhound station.