I stepped away from raiding in WoW for two weeks – due to some real life issues – and to be honest a break from “chasing the purple” was much needed.

I went back to a “casual play style” and it was a lot of fun. Running dailies, maxing up long neglected trade skills and doing some of the heroic dungeons felt like a much needed “holiday”. I finished off exploring some zones I’d not fully seen and even started fishing! Fishing! For five years I swore I’d never pick up that skill, but there I am standing on shoreline of Northrend fishing.

However, my best WoW experience in the last month had to be purchasing the Wyrmrest Accord drake mount. Normally my funds are reserved for epic gems, enchants and flasks/elixirs (all for raiding of course).

But having build up a few thousand gold, I decided what the heck. I’ve always wanted a dragon for a pet. So off Augustine the Paladin went to visit the Wrymrest vendor. I’m glad I did.

The moment I summoned the mount and launched myself from the tower I felt the thrill of enjoyment. I spent a good ten minutes simply flying around Dragonblight – wheeling, diving and swooping. Simply enjoying the feeling of “flight” for my avatar on a cool looking dragon mount.

Did it make me a more l337 player? No. Did I enjoy flying around on my little pet dragon? Yes.

So, my experience of the last couple of weeks has made me think: is raiding fun?

Upon reflection I have to say yes and no.

It’s fun when a you run with a good group and you get to see the endgame content. Blizzard has created some incredible dungeons and intricate boss fights. They’re enjoyable, cinematic and fun. Each raid dungeon advances the Lich King storyline – I’m looking forward to running Ulduar, Ony’s Liar and Icecrown.

I wanted to be there when my usual group first hit Ulduar, but couldn’t be there. So I feel I’ve missed the shared experience.

Still, what is less fun is building your entire game around raiding.

Recently I ran some Naxx 25 man raids. Obviously the rewards for 25 man gear are better – and from a strict gear progression POV necessary for Ulduar – but the experience was less fun. It’s far more impersonal. It’s more about 25 people concentrating *really hard* to get it right, and there is little banter or sense even a sense enjoyment. More a grim determination to “finish this boss” and “get that gear upgrade”.

Raiding requires a commitment akin to  a job. Yes, every commentator has made that analogy – but it’s true. When you spent your entire week focussed on researching boss fights, looking for the next gear upgrade and farming gold for materials it gets, well, repetitive.

It can also suck the enjoyment out of the game if you continually worried about how good your gear is.

Will I give up raiding?

Not yet. I do want to finish Ulduar and the Icecrown fight in patch 3.3.

But after that, I’m not wedded to chasing the purple. I’m looking forward to the Cataclysm expansion resetting the old world. It will allow players to enjoy the levelling experience again, explore and enjoy the shared experience of seeing new content.

Advertisements