The lure of large-group raiding

My casual/raiding guild is start­ing to build up to 25-man con­tent. They’re raid­ing with a bunch of ex-guildies who have drift­ed through a hand­ful of oth­er guilds before run­ning out of options and try­ing to start their own. This splin­ter guild does­n’t have enough peo­ple to raid even Kara, nev­er mind their goal of begin­ning 25-man con­tent, so they pro­posed an alliance to start the 25-man track.

There’s enthu­si­asm in my guild. New con­tent! For many peo­ple in the guild, this will be their first big raid ever. For oth­ers, this would be a way to relive the glo­ry days (cough) of Molten Core/Onyxia. The 25-man track is the big boy raid track! Whee!

There are a few prob­lems, though.

Many of these ex-guildies kind of need their own def­i­n­i­tion. They’re drifters who have swept through oth­er guilds, con­vinc­ing peo­ple that the cur­rent lead­er­ship was­n’t treat­ing them right, that com­ing with them will bring the res­o­lu­tion to what­ev­er prob­lem. “I’m leav­ing! Who’s with me?!” Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the peo­ple who left quick­ly learn that all they did was trade their friends and prob­lems for a new set of prob­lems with peo­ple who weren’t friends, and now they’re out in the cold wilder­ness of gen­er­al chat. Some even learn that lead­er­ship in the game-space is dif­fi­cult and it’s impos­si­ble to keep every­one hap­py. So the new recruits slink back to their old guilds, or are turned away and have to start fresh some­where else. Mean­while, the drifters keep doing their drift­ing thing through guilds, not under­stand­ing how dra­ma fol­lows them at every turn. They’re a hand­ful of per­pet­u­al­ly dis­af­fect­ed peo­ple.

So on a per­son­al lev­el, I think it’s not good to group with them since all they do is try to grab peo­ple to their per­pet­u­al­ly out­cast nation. They’re poi­son to a good sys­tem, and the only anti­dote is being awe­some enough that you resist their attack.

Nev­er mind that in a big raid, you have 25 chances to lose. The choice for these evenings with these raid events is between:

  1. Hang­ing out with 24 peo­ple with whom all the rea­sons raid­ing isn’t fun are mag­ni­fied (more chances for no-shows, more chances for late, more chances for afk, more chances for poor per­son­al­i­ty, more chances for sphos, more chances that some of these peo­ple won’t be friends and it will be some big anony­mous bukkake event and not a journey/triumph with friends).
  2. A guar­an­teed good time spend­ing the evening with my daugh­ter.

Not the hard­est choice I’ve ever been faced with.

I like team­work and group games as much as (or more than) the next per­son, but guild alliances either don’t work and waste a lot of effort or end in a merge, and I could put a lot of time and effort into fend­ing off their approach, but hon­est­ly who am I to stop my guild from try­ing some­thing new? Nev­er mind that the ros­ter is 70/30 in our favor, so it’s basi­cal­ly just work­ing hard to raid with the peo­ple who were a load the first time around and tried to wreck the guild on their way out.

But rather than cause a scene and try to orches­trate this thing fail­ing, I’m just going to fade from that effort and wish hap­pi­ness to every­one there. Although it pains me to not par­tic­i­pate. I was GM of this guild, I did a good job with it. Now it’s leav­ing me behind to try some­thing that I know is going to end bad­ly.

I guess I could take all this to be a (mut­ed, far less emo­tion­al) pre­view of what see­ing my daugh­ter leave for col­lege is going to be like. It’s just par for the course that things like this hap­pen. Peo­ple have dif­fer­ent goals in these games, and frankly Bliz­zard has­n’t giv­en us non-large-raid types much to do if you don’t like are­na. I’ve got a Kara-equipped heal­er, a Kara-equipped tank, a pve mage with gear good enough to swap in for ear­ly raid­ing, and an effec­tive bat­tle­ground hunter. I’ve com­plete­ly drank this lev­el of con­tent dry.

So have many of my guildies. We steam­rolled Mag­is­ter’s Ter­race. The sec­ond time there was relax­ing, not chal­leng­ing. (Going back in hero­ic is still on my todo list.) My friend told me that he just logs in due to iner­tia, but he’s des­per­ate for new con­tent. Where the guild goes for it, he’ll go. I know how he feels. I want new con­tent too.

But instead of hold­ing my nose, I’ll be sit­ting this phase out.

More Words!

2 thoughts on “The lure of large-group raiding”

  1. One prob­lem is that dif­fi­cul­ty scales in mul­ti­ple dimen­sions, simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. Com­plex­i­ty, stats, required indi­vid­u­als. The scale isn’t grad­ual, either, at least not on the peo­ple required front. The jump from 10 to 25 is bru­tal.

    And as long as that next tier of con­tent is avail­able, there’s a class of peo­ple who will be con­stant­ly itch­ing to enter it (even if they aren’t trail­blaz­ers ready to make it hap­pen them­selves). These might be your drifters.

    I was hop­ing that ZA would serve the pur­pose of bridg­ing that gap — giv­ing the groups who had Kara on farm a place to work on until WotLK. Maybe they aimed too high on the entry require­ments? Or maybe the drifters don’t see it as a big enough leap and they real­ly want to see their UI full of unit frames. I don’t know.

    I don’t fault Bliz­zard for this approach, though. In the­o­ry, if there are enough guilds who are in this posi­tion, some form of sim­ple non-dra­mat­ic alliance of con­ve­nience would allow easy access into the 25-man con­tent. Eas­i­er said than done.

    I still think we’re in a dras­ti­cal­ly bet­ter world for max-lev­el con­tent options than we were in WoW clas­sic (and I know you agree, based on ear­li­er posts). So maybe we’ll get even bet­ter with WotLK?

    If not, at least we’ll have fun lev­el­ing all our char­ac­ters to 80, learn­ing new pro­fes­sions, and argu­ing about Death Knights.

  2. But what part of the game­play is hard­er in big­ger groups? The same stat design applies to every lev­el of the game. Large­ly the same com­bi­na­tions of design tricks and result­ing strate­gies apply to 10-man and 25-man con­tent.

    What 25-man event could not be recon­fig­ured to a 10-man event with lit­tle or no loss in fun? I haven’t heard of any. That’s what I was get­ting at by call­ing it the “big-boy track”. It’s not actu­al­ly bet­ter, more chal­leng­ing, or more fun. It’s just more peo­ple.

    In our case, ZA is there and is fun, but the guild accept­ed an offer to try the the big-boy track instead. It’s longer (in that there are more instances), and it’s per­ceived as more elite. I was hop­ing for exact­ly what you describe, that we just progress through ZA and then WotLK drops. Ah well.

    I have anoth­er post in the pipeline com­par­ing TBC with vanil­la WoW.

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