Necessary Evil of Character Maintenance and Scheduling

I have already written a couple of other times about the joys and tribulations of character maintenance (least fun part of DDO and ever lasting joy of maintenance).  The first time I talked about character maintenance was how I defined it and how I wished there was an outside application to manage it while not logged into the game while the second post was about how much time I lost due to a “backlog” of maintenance task.  This time, I wanted to talk about managing character maintenance with respect to scheduling and player time.  I’m pretty big on trying to set up schedules and rotations for my playing times as I believe that this will help me play all of characters on a frequent basis.  In the past, the first thing I would do when logging in was to clear up my mailbox.  No matter if I was doing a regular slayer run prior to heading out to work, or getting ready to do a short quest run shortly after work, or for a regular night gaming session, checking my mail was the first thing I always did.  However, I have been realizing more and more how much time I have been losing to this activity which could have been spent slaying monsters and gathering experience.  Especially in my morning slayer runs.  In the mornings, I typically try to log in around 6:30 am or so but I don’t typically get logged in until 6:40 am most mornings.  Once I get logged in, I then head over to the mail box, pull out whatever has been returned from expired auctions and then I head over to the crafting hall to breakdown whatever items have been returned.  I also post any auctions for items that I didn’t post from my questing activity from the last time I had played that character.  In many instances, by the time all of this is said and done, It’s usually around 6:55 am or later, which usually leaves me less than 10 minutes to collect some slayers since I try to logoff by 7:05 am to get to work.

 photo The Crawlers fighting in Madstone_zpsm4swr3ip.jpg

Looking for ways to do more of this instead of battling with my character maintenance needs!!

So, I think I’m going to try something a little new.  I’m going to do my best to ignore that little mail notification icon that appears on the focus orb and save my mail “processing” until the weekend.  Mail doesn’t expire until over four weeks (and returned auctions never get deleted, unless you open up the mail and don’t pull the item from it).  So with this in mind, I’m going to wait until the weekend to “clean up” everybody’s mail and daily grindy maintenance tasks.  I believe that by cleaning up all of my character’s maintenance tasks during the weekend will allow me to gain more questing time in game.  I will still probably pull any auctions that sell because that is quick and dirty and doesn’t require any loss of time besides opening up the mail notification and pulling the money out.  I might run into problems with Erdrique and Hamllin though.  I play those characters much more often than my others, so I can see their mail actually “clogging” up.  This will prevent me from posting auctions until it is cleared up.  However, I’m not sure if this will be a problem yet or not.  It will be an interesting experiment and I’ll be curious to see how it goes.  I decided to start it this weekend.  I figure if I can break up my characters into thirds, then I can catch my maintenance tasks for a third of my characters on Friday night after questing, a third of my characters on Saturday throughout the day and after questing, and the last third on Sunday by logging in throughout the day and dealing with maintenance prior to my regular schedule runs.

I’m hoping this will allow me to get more questing done in the mornings and allow me to hit up my afternoon quests earlier.  It should be an interesting experiment.  So here goes another try at dealing with the character maintenance, the necessary evil!!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

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The Ever Lasting Joy of Maintenance

I believe I have written about this before but when I searched for it on my blog I didn’t come across any of my posts that had “maintenance” in the title or key words. I probably mentioned it more in one of my questing activity posts but can’t remember for sure.  In either case, I wanted to talk about it again.  What is it that I want to talk about?  Good ol’ “character maintenance.”  So what exactly is character maintenance?  I think most of this will depend on the player as I’m sure my definition of character maintenance is different from other player’s definition of character maintenance.  To me, character maintenance describes a number of different things.  I use the term character maintenance when I spend time posting auctions, retrieving and sending out mail, taking care of returned auctions, dismantling random loot into essences in the crafting hall, selling named loot that I can’t dismantle or post on the auction to vendors, selling named loot that I posted on the auction house that expired, restocking my character’s supply of potions, wands, scrolls, ingredients, ammunition, and/or spell components, upgrading my characters equipment via crafting or through purchases from the auction house, and dealing with my reincarnation cache.  For me, the vast majority of the time being spent with character maintenance centers around the auction house, crafting, and dealing with my character’s mail.  photo Time to Craft_zpsz9nnctgo.jpg Erdrique spending some of his maintenance time upgrading his quaterstaff in the Cannith Crafting Hall. In some instances, I can easily spend a couple of hours catching up on these tasks.  To minimize this, I try to stay on top of all of my expired auctions, mail messages, and other similar things however I do fall behind and sometimes it builds up for the weekend like what happened this past Friday when I spent a large amount of time fiddling with returned auctions, breaking of loot down, and upgrading of crafted gear when I hit level 6.  I just wish there was an easier way to handle many of these annoying, yet necessary tasks.  Some of these things are fun to do, for instance upgrading your crafting gear is fun and exciting, especially when you rush out of the crafting hall to see how well they work.  However, other tasks are extremely dull such as sitting at the altar in one of the crafting halls and slowly breaking down a backpack full of random loot.  Now, I could make this easier on my self and just not post nearly as many auctions and not break everything down but then I don’t feel like I’m taking advantage of what the game world has offered for me to use to make money and to craft items, which I don’t like. So, I will just continue to maintain the “grind” of maintenance and to make sure I do my best to keep all of my characters as up to date on these tasks as I can so that they don’t build up.  Like I said, the joy of character maintenance.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Character Maintenance…The Least Fun Part of DDO

I’m a heavy believer that if you play a game, then you should be having fun playing that game.  Now of course in a game like DDO, there are going to be a few things that are less fun than others.  For instance, I find that running quests is more fun than selling items out of my inventory, which led me to this particular topic…character maintenance.  Character maintenance is a broad term but to me it primarily has to deal with three issues: inventory management, bank space management, and mail management.  And these particular categories have sub-categories as well  (I won’t get into those) but in any case I consider this portion of the game to be more grueling than fun.  Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy obtaining loot and selling it to get my just rewards but once your inventory fills up and figuring out which items to keep, which items to sell, and which items to move to other alts takes up time away from questing and before you know it you are trying to figure out what deal with your loot instead of running quests and gathering experience.  Especially when you happen to be a hoarder such as myself  who picks up each collectible he encounters which tends to increase the likelihood of filling up my bags, especially at lower levels.

All of this is compounded even more if you happen to be away from the game from something like a business trip or vacation.  I find this especially problematic when it comes to the mail system.  One of my principles for questing, is to put everything I don’t want/keep up on the Auction House.  If the items don’t sell on the Auction House then I deconstruct them and gather their ingredients.  I also tend to manage our guild bank (not the items in the guild chest mind you) by sending in game mail to my premium account (which was actually made for that purpose).  However, in many instance I will have a good portion of in-game mail from auctions that have sold (yay ) or auctions that didn’t sell and I need to breakdown, or mail that didn’t get “processed” yet by bank characters on my premium account and this is just compounded from a short vacation or business trip.

 photo Erddealingwithmaintenance_zps846b12d4.jpgErdrique dealing with his character maintenance.

One thing that would help with something like this, at least for me, would be to have some type of interface set up that can connect to DDO without actually being loaded into the game that would allow me to check my in-game mail, post auctions, move items around from one character to another, and so forth.  If an interface like this existed, then I could work on these types of things during my down time at work, or during my lunch hour, and so forth.  In either case, its not something we have at the moment so I just grin and bare it and try to has as much fun with the “maintenance” as I can. 

Well that’s it for this blog post.  Thanks for reading everybody and don’t spend too much time working on your character maintenance and get back to questing!!  Oh yeah, and happy hunting too!!