If the title didn't explain it, i am referring to a bad mixture that leads to a topsy world. You see, school term just started here (winter holidays are 2 weeks in Australia) and I have to go teach again, now mixing two toxic substances together to create a fragile concoction that may cause me to crash.
You see, games may help me unwind from work each day for an hour after school, but there is always the temptation to keep going and finish the instance, after all, I can't leave my poor group to fend for themselves can I? Herein lies the big problem with such a mixture, and as with taking any drug it the problem is peer pressure!!!
In offline games there is very little excuse to play past your designated time, you can just pause or save your game... the most you will go is to the next checkpoint or level, at most 15 minutes. In online games however you are dedicated to helping people for the next hour otherwise be branded socially as a bad person to group with.
So how do you face your friends and tell them that you have to go mark the tests, or do homework, or most importantly, spend time with your partner/kids (yes I have had to do this many times). I will go over several guidelines I use, and have used in the past.
When you first group with others, make sure you tell them when you will be leaving. I recommend making sure you warn them even if you expect to finish before the time. If they ask you to say longer, just tell them that you warned them before hand. people often think they will not get into a group if they say this... this is a big falsehood, covered by the next item.
If you are not straight out about having to leave then how can you be trusted in the future? Remember that you may need to find groups later on as well and spinning a lie now will mean people will not group with you later. I often find that a simple truth that I only have limited time means that while I may not get a group now, I will be remembered for being trustworthy and most likely get groups from those people in the future when I do have time.
If you really have to leave unexpectedly because your rich grandmother just knocked on your door with a suggestion to change her will (yeah right!), or for some other important reason, then make sure to leave in a friendly way. DO NOT just log out with no reason. If you have to leave, at the least make sure they are disappointed you are leaving. Say "sorry", suggest you will help them again, and if you had little time to do such then send a mail to the leader explaining your disappearance (especially if disconnected). People remember this and will want to group with you despite you leaving.
Despite the above three points, some people just don't care, they want your life devoted to them. I say "Stuff it up their bums!!!" If people get grouchy that I have to do something in real life even though i warned them I had something then they just don't understand what is important in life. I never group with such people twice because I see them as caring more about the game and less about people. As such the process of group choice is reversed, remember you also have power in this situation.
The reality is that if you don't have long time then you need to prepare beforehand, make sure you are playing with friendly people who understand, make sure you explain beforehand, and be encouraging and friendly.
Sure you may not get to group with people today, but if you follow these simple guidelines then you will at least get a group tomorrow when mixing work and games is not as much of an issue and your hangover is gone.