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DiscussionApr 17, 2024 8:00 am CT

Time zones, scheduling, and other headaches. How does engaging with online gaming mess with your sense of time?

I’m writing this from the southeastern corner of Australia. We have just reverted from Daylight Savings last weekend and my sleep is still not right. The days are getting longer and it’s getting cooler outside. But feeling like I’m operating on the wrong time is nothing new to me.

Sitting on the opposite side of the globe from the USA and Europe means that almost all popular media we see is offset by six-months for seasons (we just celebrated Easter down here, a spring festival during the start of our autumn). We watch Christmas specials that feature lots of snow while cranking up the air conditioner because it’s 40 degrees outside (celsius), and we use metric measurements. We sing songs that celebrate a white Christmas or talk about it being cold outside for New Year’s Eve. At some point as a child you learn to separate the seasons we see in popular media and our lived experience. April Fool’s Day is a two day event for us as we get local jokesters and then all the US internet japes.

In World of Warcraft, most of the time I’m playing at “night” in game as our day/night cycle is based on the USA despite there being a datacenter in Sydney for the OCE servers. Even that is an improvement, as when the OCE servers weren’t there and we were playing on US servers with 200+ms ping times – which is our current experience for Plunderstorm. I constantly have to recalculate release dates and times because we are on the “other” side of the International Date Line. I am frequently confused by when in game events are happening because the calendar reports US dates but local time.

Trying to schedule gaming with friends overseas is a challenge, as their prime time is often when I’m sleeping or at work. When I first started playing World of Warcraft the guild I raided with had players in 11 different time zones. My regular raid team now has players from four different times zones to accommodate, two of which don’t observe Daylight Savings.

There are times I swear Chromie and the rest of the Bronze dragons are just a group of OCE players trying to work out what time raid is this week.

Do you ever experience time or dates in a way that feels unnatural? Do you have the bonus difficulty modifier of trying to schedule gamers in multiple timezones?

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