In the last few days I have been playing Rift and started thinking about what I will do when I get to level 50, which is the games current top level. A couple of months before I started Rift, I left my WoW life behind and part of that was raiding. Raiding can be many things for many different people and in my experience, I seemed to follow certain patterns.
My Raiding History
I started raiding during the Burning Crusade (tBC) as my priest – Bryonis. In my super nifty (or so I thought) Primal mooncloth set! Oh yes I had a couple of Epics! I felt powerful, yet Karazhan prooved that I really needed to pull my finger out. In the years that followed I slowly began to get a sense of how raiding really wasn't for me. I think after about 6 months of going to the same raid and listening to the same people, well lets just say there is only so many times I would visit a themepark before the rides get tiresome.
I was really happy I stuck at it, during the Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK) as my guild and I achieved our goal by killing the Lich King. After that Cataclysm came around and low and behold I was back in Karazhan, just hunting bosses for gear and not really caring who or what I was killing. The fun was gone.
Raiding as I have experienced it, comes with a rather large commitment. I have played many games in my time, they all allowed me to pick it up and put it down as I pleased. MMO's however have other people in them, who unlike inanimate software, will be annoyed if I didn't turn up or I decided that I was not in the mood.
This is a strange new world where computer games for me have gone from something I play when I would like, to having a social pressure associated with playing. Certain people in guilds and raid groups who really want to raid (for gear, achievements etc) seem to be the people I don't fit well with, yet I know they are a healthy part of any group to help keep it going.
I also agreed to 4 hours at a time, something I really don't like. I tend to play for about 3 hours on average before then getting a bit twitchy and having the urge to go do something else, even if it is the washing up! So you can imagine when we hit the fourth hour I am happy to end, with others wanting to crack on and keep going. With a boss like the Lich King where you need to think a little bit, after hours and hours I start to get distracted and forgetful.
As some people who know me maybe aware, I have had some therapeutic training, and in that time I have learnt that boundaries are very important. They help people to feel safe and in a fair environment. Understandably these have not translated into the raiding world I have experienced, even when I try to remind people of the time frame we have set, I have been made into a bad guy for saying "its 11:00pm, its time to stop now."
The idea that if I bang my head against the boss one more time, he will go down. It might happen, but if the first 12 times it didn't, why should it go down now? Its not like the Lich King has some where else to be next time we raid. Although he does have a busy shedule messing up Azzaroth (well not these days).
This is the real crux of the matter. I hate sitting for 4 hours knowing that if I am uncomfortable and really don't want to spend my evening bashing my head against a single boss just so someone can get a pixel sword (That one is for you @Katbond) when really all I wanted to do was have a bit of a go and if its not working move on to something else.
I am aware that because there are so many people involved in raiding, with so many different views on how to approach a problem we have to some how stay united, but there were many times I was prepared to down tools and leave. I mean can I say I have ever had that at any other point in WoW? Probably not. Raiding is a unique can of worms that once I buy into it, thats it, I am in. I even started playing PvP more in my later WoW years for the freedom it offered along side group play. Although I am sure there are hardcore PvP guilds that would disagree.
Being part of a smaller guild (under 25 raiding members), meant that there was a need for most people to attend the raids at least once a week. With individuals like myself who did not like the constant commitment each week to raiding, we would enevitably rub up against those who were very much so commited and needed us to attend so they (or the group) could progress.
I have to say I even became part of this critial group when I had given up my time to fight monsters I don't really care about because I want to help a few friends out. If I am then sitting about for an hour waiting for someone else to turn up, well its like waiting for a bus that you are not sure is even going to show!
I have to admit though, once I did just pull a sickie on raiding. I just couldn't bare it. That should have been a good indicator to stop I guess, I really didn't learn!
I think I liked some of the smaller raids in WotLK that I could get done in an hour. They were more my cup of tea. I think as I get to level 50, I will try a few raids, but it may get to a point where I just leave Rift until the next expansion. I have to learn that no matter what other say to make me attend, raiding and I will just never be that good buddies!