Tuesday, 12 February 2019

WoW: when raiding gets overwhelming

I haven't enjoyed the direction Wow raiding has gone over the years.

In Vanilla raiding was mostly a gear-check. If your raw numbers couldn't crack the boss fight you couldn't beat it. Progress depended on people farming resistance gear and so forth and of course on keeping your players.

Over time and in response to the most vocal raiders this has morphed into a mechanics check. If people stand in the fire you can't kill the boss. The content is gated by the most incompetent person and players have tended not to be gentle with such people.

Over more time this morphed into more and more complex mechanics checks. All bosses have multiple threats and you now have to dodge the fire patches while avoiding the big rolling balls of death while interrupting the Big Spell of Doom on cooldown while dot dot dot.

What players are doing is they're getting ahead on the mechanics on the PTR or by having alts in other raiding guilds so that they can cope. If you're a slow learner regarding such physical tests (and I am) you will stand out as players increasingly adapt so that they're not last. Boss kills depend on mechanics, in fact many bosses can't be killed unless pretty much the whole raid has the mechanics down pat.

I started raiding this time round while my mother was seriously ill in hospital and I had to do a lot of caring and admin tasks for her. She died on 31st January.

I had to stop raiding, there was so much going on in my head that the pastime simply wasn't a leisure activity for me, something to unwind, it was a demanding and difficult activity that I was doing really badly at.

Clearly those circumstances are exceptional but even in normal circumstances raiding has been led to a place which is less than fun for most players.

It's not this particular raid. Battle For Dazar'Alor is one of the best raids I've ever seen and the storyline is fantastic. Fighting in the streets of my home city is amazing, very immersive.

An additional complication is Mythic+. I should have got into Mythic+ months ago but I've been lazy and it's difficult and challenging. As a result the natural method of farming gear outside raids also required me to do homework learning mechanics which I had no capacity for on top of learning the raid mechanics from videos.

I also looked into pvp but that also requires a very specific playstyle, talent spec, addon setup and so on.

So basically I found myself in a place where I didn't want to spend much thought or focus on my game yet the end game options all demanded it.

So after raiding for about 3 nights I've now left my raid guild and am mooching around doing daily quests, AH and alts.

Sometimes the game is just too difficult for the amount of focus one is able to give it.


  1. I know what you mean about raiding changes--I used to be a raid healer in Vanilla and did a little LFR raid healing in Pandaria. In Vanilla it seemed half the raid challenge was getting 40 people to actually show up. I definitely couldn't cope in Pandaria without mods to let me know when I was standing in the pool of BAD. :)

    Sometimes I don't think raiding is supposed to be fun--more like a challenge that is only fun to tell stories about afterwards. It is a hard design problem to make raids interesting to the hardcore but still reasonably accessible. I think WoW has a good approach in making raids that are barely possible at first but nerfed over time so that mere mortals can do them by the end of an expansion.

    Just a thought--you might consider joining a more social semi-casual guild that does some raiding without making it a requirement or even a major focus of the guild. I have been in guilds like that and it was OK for people to move out of the raiding list while staying in the guild. (Or you could try LFR, but be sure to lower your expectations *dramatically*. :)

    Thanks for the interesting post! --Cliff

    1. This was supposed to be a casual raid guild.

      The problem with mid level guild is there's always a crisis of expectations. Some players want the rest to be more hardcore and can get pretty obnoxious when they don't feel "slackers" are doing enough. Some players just want to rock up, put in minimum effort and get cool gear.

      That's kind of where we were and I wasn't in the headspace to tolerate being shouted at by the angry raid leader.

      Usually I'm fine with that, it goes with the territory being midway between hardcore and casual in games like Eve and so on.

      It was very difficult to cope with when my brain was swirling around the long list of things you think about when you lose someone close to you.

  2. I'm right there with you. The main reason I don't raid is because I play these games to unwind. Real life provides me with more than sufficient challenges and social drama, I don't need or tolerate that in my spare time.

    All the years that I have been playing MMOs, I can only think of one instance where the "casual raiding" guild thing actually worked out. It was LoTRO in the SoA era. I would say the reason it worked is that gear you could get raiding was only 5% better (if that) than what you could get crafting or doing PvP. In fact, if you wanted to have a full set of best in slot pieces you would have needed to dabble in all three activities. That meant that a. raids were done simply for the challenge of doing the raid, no-one needed the gear to be competitive, b. a player could get good enough gear to make a solid contribution on a raiding team together doing anything they enjoyed. There was a group of guildies that enjoyed raids and would run them consistently, and a lot more of us that had strong enough gear from high end crafting or PvP that we could step in as alternates if they were a little short.

    On the other hand, in modern WoW (at least as I understand it) getting access to the strongest gear absolutely requires being a raider. When you have a bunch of players who's epeen length depends on being able to beat a raid (and thus nine to 23 other people not f-ing up an encounter that's designed to be challanging), tempers are going to flare. I can put up with something like that if I'm getting paid for it, not so much for a helmet of studliness +10 in a game.

    And by the way, my sincere condolences. I am very close to my mother, I can't imagine what you have been going through.

    1. All true and thanks for the condolences.

      Modern WoW raiding now uses a flex system which allows for varying numbers of players.

      What that means is if they have 14 in the raid and you turn up and they add you they now have 15 in the raid and everything has become slightly harder. If you keep dying to mechanics you're useless but you still made the boss harder to kill. So unlike Vanilla there really is an optimisational reason to avoid bad players.

      I wasn't that bad but there's definitely less tolerance for the "afk autoshot Hunter".

      The relaunch of the Classic servers later this year is going to create an interesting experience.