It’s the end of the world as we know it/ It’s the end of the world as we know it/ It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.
Now more than ever seems to be a time for reflection. This reflection has come in many forms, whether it be reassessing the direction your guild is taking, or contemplating creating a guild to fit your own ideals. There have been discussions of loot management systems, levelling goals, and achievement grabbing. My own personal thoughts have been more focused on looking back, and working out what I enjoyed and what didn’t work for me. My time as a BC raider is coming to a close. With one day left on my raiding schedule, this is my reflection upon my experiences as a raider so far, and the reasons why I will probably not return to 25 man raiding in Wrath and beyond.
I guess the catalyst for a lot of this was talking to a friend who quit playing the game just before BC. I quite often teasingly ask him if he is ever going to take the game back up (knowing full well that he doesn’t have the time – he often isn’t even in the same country for more than a month). He expressed many of the same thoughts that I myself have had, albeit from a slightly different perspective. He would much rather do heroic 5-mans (well, until I told him they just aren’t that rewarding as an end game exercise) and 10 man raids. If he could form a guild with some good friends and raid the 10 mans, he would be more than happy to take the game back up. However, he had no interest in large raids and all the organisation that came along with it.
I have found that a great deal of my experiences echo his own. The disappointment with badly organised people in raids. The inevitable person who afk’s at a crucial moment, the know it alls, the know nothings, and the myriad of garbage that has to be put up with as a result of being in a large group. Especially when it is a group motivated, not by their own relationship with each other, or even necessarily the prospect of having a good time, but by progression and loot. And then there is all the stuff that comes along with that…
A wonderful (yet equally horrible) aspect of WoW is that it enables and encourages us to interact with people from a variety of backgrounds and places, and people that we would not usually associate with. This is often good, allowing us to make friends with many people, but sometimes it lands us in situations we really don’t enjoy. We all know the pain of raiding with someone that we just plain clash with, and with people who do not know how to do their jobs. I have played with some fantastic players who I just can not get along with on a personal level. While we manage to knuckle down and get the job done, they do drive me just a little bananas. On the other hand I know people who are wonderful, lovely people… and just really don’t understand the concept of not standing in the fire, or not moving during flame wreath. Grouping with both these sorts of people in a 25 man raid environment often made the experience stressful and unenjoyable. Most people are afraid to say it, but it’s true. Grouping with ‘jerks’ (people you don’t like) or ‘noobs’ (people who aren’t skilled) kills the experience. More likely than not, I also often fall into both of these categories, and drive other people bananas.
And Run… and Run. Every weekend. All Day. Hours at a time. Raiding does take up an enormous amount of time, and I am really beginning to question the value of this time. Sure, it has been fun. The things that I sacrificed to raid, well, I didn’t enjoy so much anymore. I shop a lot less now, which is great. I don’t go to the gym anymore, which is not so great. Some weekends I am hesitant to do things with my friends, and that is a problem. Ditching real life because ‘They need me this week!’ or ‘But they might get that damned boss down’ isn’t good enough for me anymore. My computer chair has a permanent indent in it, and every week I get slightly heavier, slightly more distant from my friends, and slightly more detached from the real world. Would I say I have a problem? Certainly not. Do I want this to change? Definitely.
…but Epics are her everything. Loot distribution is a gnarly problem in large scale raiding. There’s only so much loot, and so many people who want it! This means that generally, some form of loot management system needs to be implemented. Unfortunately, no system is perfect. Every system I have seen has some potential for exploitation, and none of them will work properly unless they are managed and maintained well by the guild. Ultimately, there are 2 driving forces in end game raiding: Loot and Content. Players want to have shiny loot, and they want to see as much content as possible. This means that every player wants to have the very best loot, and sometimes they will do almost anything to ensure that they do. This causes problems when people exploit loot systems. The person exploiting will feel well within their rights to do so, since it will be ‘by the rules’. Other raid members will feel wronged and cheated.
Sometimes someone will get a great deal of loot. So much loot that they really don’t need anything else from that level of raiding. They will sometimes look for a guild that has progressed further, in their desire for loot and content. This can also leave a guild feeling wronged. While a person may have gear, this gear is sometimes viewed as communal guild property. Too many people do this, and a guild is left stagnant and unable to progress.
I’ve been through both of these things, and in the latter example, been on both sides. I’m not saying that these things won’t happen in 10 man raiding. However, I am hoping to raid 10 man instances with some close friends that I have made over the years, and I for one am going to adopt a personal philosophy of ‘It’s just pixels and numbers’. I have already started as best I can – I no longer run a damage meter, and I try (and unfortunately fail) at not caring about gear. If we don’t get through more than the first level or two of raiding, well, no biggie. I want to learn how to enjoy raiding all the time, whether it be a night of wiping it up or a night of downing bosses and getting loot. THAT is why I am untying myself from the raiding treadmill, come Wrath.