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I've noticed this very recently and I don't recall reading something about in any of the recent patch notes.

I hop on a flying route and, as any normal human being, get bored of watching the bird flapping its wings all the way until I reach my destination 5 minutes later, so I alt-tab to go browse for something (mostly game-related research, such as finding a recipe/npc location -- nothing against game policy!).
Having spent barely 1-2 minutes out of the game, I alt-tab and find myself "disconnected from server". And it's not just once or twice, it really happens a lot and is literally within a couple minutes. Did they reduce the afk timeout or something?

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I've gotten disconnected a couple times during cinematics. The one at the end of Vashj'ir disconnected me and when I got back in I was bugged. Probably just high server load mixed with a few bugs they haven't ironed out. –  Sam Dec 11 '10 at 3:51
    
I've been seeing this in other games, too... although I think it may be my ISP. Or its upstream provider (level 3). In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Level 3 is having all sorts of bandwidth issues due to its addition of Netflix traffic. –  user2974 Dec 11 '10 at 8:48
    
Have had SO many alt-tab disconnects lately... –  Cory J Dec 11 '10 at 18:38
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5 Answers 5

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The answer is no. They have not changed anything that effects AFK. Well, not in the sense that you are referring to. It is caused by high server loads for the most part. That and visiting other sites while logged in to the game.

I have the same issue. However, it only effects certain areas. Example, in Deepholm I was disconnected many times during the Stonehearth quest line. I was guarantee to be disconnected if I switch to surfing WoW Head, WoW forums, etc, etc, while logged in to World of Warcraft in the Stonehearth area and the area just to the north of it. That was because of the amount of data that was sent from the server. The server normally sends less than 2KB with few-second-spikes up to 30KB. This wasn't the case in this particular area. I continually had a 15 to 25KB streaming from the server while in this area of Deepholm. Again, it only happens in certain areas. I can be in Org during prime time with slight lag in comparison of my normal lag.

Other effected areas were two spots in Hyjal. One was the area that everyone is first ported to. The second effected area around the Circle of Cinders.

I found few short-term solutions on the official WoW forums from a Blizzard Blue. One is disable add-ons since of them uses bandwidth to talk to other players. An example would the GearScore add-on. Also, discontinuing surfing sites and limit what other system application that uses bandwidth while logged in to WoW. Here is another, which happen to surprise me, disable the your Combat Chat via removing the filters. Here is a link to the post I refer to.

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This is about lag, not getting disconnected, isn't it? Or are they related? –  aearon Mar 24 '12 at 7:33
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If you're on a comcast server, they have started targetting wow users one at a time, claiming excessive bandwidth useage. They cap port 25, & chokehold your internet, then they claim you are a spammer & want to charge you in excess of $200+ bucks to remove the cap. Ironically they started doing this just efore the "net Nuetrallity" bill was signed in congress. Big surprise eh?

I haven't been able to log into wow since Dec 13th because of this comcast issue. I would switch providers in a heartbeat, that is if comcast hadn't already bought out all the tv, phone, & internet in my area.

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I have found that if I change WoW to Windowed mode in the Video setting then I can Alt-Tab to other programs without the disconnection issue that started with the 4.0 patch for me. Also, I have noticed that if I'm in a party, it's less likely to disconnect me while Alt-Tabbed out. I think WoW is detecting being put into the background by Windows. Setting priority on the process might help, although I haven't tried that.

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Same here - haven't had a problem with disco since I switched to Windowed Full Screen. Also lets me browse the internet on one monitor while WoW remains visible on the other. –  GalacticCowboy Dec 28 '10 at 20:43
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I'm going to throw out that Cataclysm came out a mere three days ago. It's a good bet that most, if not all, of Blizzard's hardware is taking unprecedented load, and will do so for quite some time.

Give it a few days, and see if the situation changes.

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No no... This has been happening since two weeks before Cata –  BeemerGuy Dec 11 '10 at 7:30
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Yes, they definitely have. As of several months ago (well before the 4.* set of patches) Blizzard made some change that resulted in you getting disconnected if you're Alt-Tabbed out in a number of situations, specifically when you land after taking a flight path and also when you complete a "Loading..." display, whether that's on the initial log-in to a character, changing zones or Hearthstone-ing. This happens every single time for me regardless of how long I last interacted with WoW before landing, so it's definitely not an AFK function.

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Alt-tabbing at the loading screen used to kick me off if I was zoning into Dalaran but not anywhere else. –  Anna Lear Dec 11 '10 at 16:20
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Confirming that this is indeed true. If you are tasked out when landing using flight paths, or when the loading screen finishes, you will be disced. –  K. Norbert Dec 12 '10 at 15:32
    
@GreatBigFish - I tested this today and found an interesting fact. Alt-Tabbing while logging into Exodar resulted in no disconnection. Doing it while logging into Stormwind resulted in a disconnection. So that part definitely seems related to activity in the area where you're logging into. –  dlanod Dec 15 '10 at 6:48
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