Sunday, October 28, 2012

To raid or not to raid - Can I be casual?

A friend of mine, one of the best dk-players I've ever played with, quit WoW a couple of months back. It's not the first time he's done so and for many reasons, in short because irl was taking up more time and WoW was getting less fun for him. With the release of MoP I was talking to him about coming back to WoW, trying to tell him about all the new cool things there were to do and get him to get into the mood for some mmoprg-action.

"Why not come back to WoW?"
I asked. "Even if you don't have a lot of time for it anymore, you could just play it a little now and then".

His answer surprised me;

"I just can't play WoW a little".

He is not the first person to say this to me, and I used to have difficulty understanding how people had trouble simply cutting down, or changing their gaming habits to suit their irl-needs. If you can't raid, just don't. Right?

But then I realized, I myself was struggling to get comfortable in the "casual" (whatever that means) role - is playing WoW just a little impossible? Or is changing your gaming habits that which is difficult?

As you may or may not know, I too have for various reasons needed to cut down heavily on my gaming. Not necessarily the hours I put into the game, that is still quite a lot in every day standards (albeit a lot less than what I used to play, don't tell my relatives). What's changed is not the how much, but rather the when - most importantly my raiding has been heavily impaired by the fact that I work so many more evening and night shifts than I used to. Raiding three times a week is out of the question, if I manage to sign once a week I consider myself lucky.

For someone who has raided pretty steadily at two or three times a week basis since early BC, this has come as a pretty big change in my gaming habits. I used to consider myself a raider, someone who, although far from top of the line, definitely put a lot of time and effort into being the best I could be for my raid group. I couldn't begin to describe how much fun and frustration I've felt during these years, as any of you who raid surely know all about. Most, if not almost all of that, has gone from my gaming now, leaving leveling alts mostly.

See, I could do dailies on my main of course, but since I hate doing dailies in the first place, I am even less motivated to do them when the chances of me getting into some proper raiding are so slim - meaning all that grinding rep for gear just seems close to meaningless to me.

Leveling alts is not a bad thing at all, in all honesty that is probably what I spent 70% of my gaming time doing while I was a raider anyway. But those 30% of raiding might've just been 30% of my time spent, but probably 80%+ of what I identified my WoW-gaming with. I was a raider, everything else was just peripheral stuff that I did to support my raiding. I love my alts, but a major reason for me to level any of them was to have all professions at my disposal and also other characters if needed for the raid groups.

I've been forced to cut away what probably was the most important thing to me in the game, I have been forced to reduce my gaming to logging on to an alt every now and then and do some dungeons or quests, knowing that I will never really get to feel like a proper raider again in the forseeable future.

And this is no ones fault, things like these happen. I am lucky enough to be in a very lenient guild, allowing me to sign whenever and as little/often as I can, and they bring me if they happen to need an extra healer that run. This has allowed me to do exactly one evening of raiding since the release of MoP, which is definitely far from my old self where I used to be in the number one group, leveling and gearing up together so that we could jump into raiding as soon as possible. I didn't even have to wonder if I was going to be picked and I was annoyed at the raiders that didn't take it as serious as me. Now I am not even sitting on the sideline, I am one of the spectators, watching as everyone else do what I once did.

I'm not even sure if I am supposed to be bitter over it. In a way I can't be, since there is nothing or no one to blame for the situation. In a way I can even feel like I am really done with three-times-a-week raiding anyway. Just thinking about the sacrifices I have done, the time I've spent raiding... I loved it then, but I don't actually want to go back to that, so what is the problem?

I am still having fun in WoW, I enjoy logging on every now and then and just do some dungeon on an alt, log off and do something else. I love the fact that I can read about how aggravated people get regarding the dailies issue, and just shrug about it. It doesn't affect me anymore! I hate the feeling when I actually do sign for a raid and I can't really decide whether I want them to pick me or whether I'd be really relieved if they didn't.

Yet I can't, I just can't help, but feeling like I am really missing out. Like there is not even a point to playing WoW unless you do endgame of some sort, like raiding or pvp. I level my mage and I think "why waste my time, because there will be nothing, nothing, for me to do once I hit max level. Just turn around, grab another alt and do it all over again. And why? For what?". It is a creeping bitterness that I am almost ashamed off, feeling like a washed up has-been trying to be cool like the new kids on the block and failing miserably.

Eventhough I was way less geared than the other healers in the group, and had never done the fight let alone raided this expansion, I did very well during that one raid. I held on par with the best in the group, just laying some percent after the one on top. It made me remember all the theory crafting I used to do back in the day, and I immediately went into it again, analyzing logs, differences in gear, spec and stat choices, pondering whether I should reforge into this and that or choose this or that talent instead, reading on blogs for more information and... realizing it didn't really matter to me anymore.

But I still had it in me, I still knew how to do this. And like a reflex, monkey-brain if you like, I just wanted to go back to how things were. Jump back onto the band-wagon and pretend nothing had changed. Except I don't want to. Or do I?

In the end the question isn't whether I am having fun in WoW or not, I am definitely having fun. The question is whether I can get comfortable in my new wow-persona, and that is a lot more difficult to answer. As it is now, I simply don't have a choice so I might as well start liking it.


  1. Hey Zinn, sorry to hear about your raiding issues. I think it getting to be quite common these days, as a few people in our guild are facing similar issues.

    Hope you get things sorted out soon and get through the turmoil in one piece.

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words, as always :) I think everything will be just fine, sometimes you just need to whine a little

  2. I've been having a slight internal debate. I can't raid, at least not properly because I'm too busy at work to commit a hardcore or semi hardcore guild and my previous attempts at a more casual guild didn't work out too well for anyone concerned.

    Now I log in, pet battle, explore, pvp and do the odd bit of pvp content. I'm definitely having fun but I do miss raiding a lot.

    1. Sounds like you're pretty much in the same place I am then, but we'll find our place in WoW I am sure

  3. I think as an adult there are so many things in real life thats needed to be done lol... I am am mother, 3-4 kids (4th is not my bio lol) and then work, clean and all that crap.
    So when do we play.... I like putting things into rutines... like kids in bed at 19.00 and then i can play to 23.00 lol My times. =)
    But ofc... all the things you can do in wow... which do you pick for your own times? thats the question. what's most important?

    Everything lol

  4. Just stumbled upon this article, and it really hit home for me.

    In Cata, I was at the top of my game raid-wise. My guild cleared Heroic Firelands and Heroic Dragon Soul, ending up at realm 3rd overall. I was the top parsing rogue on the entire server, and I was genuinely enjoying raiding.

    Once my guild hit MoP though, everything kind of fell apart. My guild leader didn't put in the proper effort to find new recruits to fill key positions that had become vacant after we cleared H DS. As a result, we headed into MoP with a weak roster, and I was healing instead of dominating the DPS meters on my beloved rogue. Our guild ended up clearing Vaults, but we got stuck on normal mode bosses in Heart of Fear.

    The fact that we couldn't down normal modes was extremely taxing on the guild members, like myself, that had breezed through normal modes in Cata. I wanted to get through them, so we could start doing Heroics, where, in my opinion, the true challenge lied. 50+ wipes on the second boss in HoF, and my guild called it quits.

    I now found myself in an awkward predicament where I was happy to be free of the drama and frustration, but at the same time still feeling the itch to raid. I got my girlfriend into playing WoW, and she's helped me become reacquainted with being a casual and enjoying it. However, I occasionally get the feeling like I want more. To go from being the top parsing rogue on the server, to doing pet battles and achievements...

    I'm still struggling with whether I should raid or not. I will find myself pouring over my server's forums, looking at guilds that are recruiting. At the same time, I'm reminding myself that I don't want the stress that comes along with raiding hard modes. Maybe I can learn to just be a casual, play with my girlfriend, and be happy; but I don't want to feel like the has-been dragon slaying hero, who is now washed up and only does things that he would have previously thought were beneath him.

    I know this is an old post, but it really spoke to me. And I'm sorry if I have ranted a bit, but I've been looking to get this off my chest, and this post really got me thinking. Thanks.

    1. I love your comment, you pretty much sum up what I try to say in my post. As for myself, I'm actually pretty happy with my current situation. I raid maybe once every two weeks, my guild is fairly good (no heroic modes, but at least cleared most things on normal 10+25) so I do get some action once I do get to raid. otherwise I log on every other day to do some instances on alts, and I don't do much more than that in WoW right now. I had a short period where I loved doing dailies on my main (who'd have guessed?) but that has died out again.

      So while I'm not playing WoW I've finally managed to do something I've been wanting to do for years, put proper time into all the other games that are out there. Currently I am having fun playing Kotor2, MtG, playing through the RE series, Pokemon and I've got Skyrim ready and waiting for me.

      Getting to this point was very uncomfortable for me in the beginning. I loved my raiding and myself as a raider, but I had to realize those days were probably gone, and try to see what good could come out of it. I think I managed to do that and I hope you will too :)

    2. The bright side is that, much like you, I can finally sit down to play other games. My friends are right in saying that when you play WoW seriously, it takes up all your gaming time. It is nice to be able to fire up a different game, and not have to worry about valor capping, getting every single one of my dallies, etc.

      Perhaps, I can begin to work through the giant backlog of steam games I have bought on sale, but have not got around to playing. There is a silver lining to every situation. Thanks for the response.