And when I’m working 40 hour weeks, it’s effortless to keep up the level of concentration and step out of the bad. When I’m working 60 hour weeks, I start doing stupid shit in the first HOUR of raiding.[...] Heroics? Haha. It’s such a mental strain to stay totally absorbed and focused for raiding, I dare not waste that focus-energy on doing heroics.
I'm a working stiff, though not quite to THAT degree. Nonetheless, I play Warcraft rather differently than a lot of college students that spend all their time playing video games. I play an hour here and there in the evenings, and I raid two nights a week for a strictly scheduled three-hour raid.
One thing that helps is, indeed, to have a break every hour or two. The Straw Hat Pirates always raid for exactly three hours, and they have a five minute break right in the middle of it. There are any number of reasons it is good to stand up, check on things around your home, refresh your drink, clear your head, and generally spend a few minutes not staring at a computer. I would imagine this is more important for those of us with many demands in our lives, because we have more things to check up on.
Another aspect of this difference is that those of us who play relatively little will have significantly less developed characters in the World. Our mains will have fewer emblems (excuse me, "points"), we'll have much less gold, our off-specs are so so, and our alts are nearly non-existent. For the most part this doesn't make a big difference. I figure that mains are the most important thing, and that a lot of the other people's time gets soaked up by alts.
Further, there are sharply diminishing returns once you've gotten all the level-346 gear and all the reputation rewards you can. Earning victory-point gear means running a LOT of random heroics, buying crafted gear means farming up a LOT of gold. The bad news is that at my level of time in the game, there's no way for me to do this kind of grind. The good news, though, is that it doesn't help that much. If you spend two weeks earning up gold to buy a crafted item, you've still only upgraded one level-346 piece to one level-359 piece. It's certainly helpful, but you don't really need it for normal-mode raids.