With the launch of Dreanor's first raid instance: Highmaul, we all watched as the top guilds in the world raced towards wiping out the bosses inside. They raided day in and day out to claim the title of “First”. This title denotes that their guild is one of the best in the world and is worthy of our respect. The guilds that can pull this off are, without a doubt, made of players that are something special.
While watching those “Firsts” roll in, I couldn't help but wish that I could be a part of that excitement. We all have probably wished this at one point in time. That, for at least a little while, we could play on a level far superior to the ordinary. However, while getting that World First, Country First, or even Server First, is certainly a grand achievement; it is not exactly all sunshine and roses. In fact, there are several reasons that playing at this level isn't all it is cracked up to be.
When you are competing for the title of “First”, there is no time for fun and games. You are on a solitary mission to win. Forget enjoying the game at your own pace or even taking a night off, that is simply not an option. Raiders who are in top raiding guilds raid often and they raid hard. All other aspects of the game be damned.
After facing hours of raid time and wipe after wipe, burn out for these players is pretty common. Who can blame them? Pressure is high and when you put so much of yourself into the game, you are bound to eventually feel overwhelmed. Even the glory of the accomplishment cannot always stop the feelings of burn out.
If you are raiding among the top ranks of guilds, you are expected to perform. You need to bring your A game every single time you play. No mistakes, no time off, no coming unprepared. If you want to remain at the top, your guild needs to perform and take out bosses. If you don't take out bosses, you are no longer one of the best.
This is a ton of pressure not only for the individual, but for the guild as a whole. While the glory is there, so is the looming thought of failure. Making it to the top is only half the battle. Staying there is the true test and it is not for the faint of heart.
If you are like me, you probably took your good old time to level. I browsed around Draenor enjoying the sights, reading the quests, and overall leveling at my own turtle pace. This luxury is often not afforded to those players who want to be “First”.
In fact, leveling is just one more obstacle in the way of getting this title. Forget enjoying the quest lines, you need to push through the content at top speed. All matters is that you get to max level so you can begin to raid and claim your spot on the top.
Being “First” is a glorious thing. While I have never personally experienced a World First, I have had a few Server Firsts in my time and it was extraordinary. The feeling was like nothing else. However, after rushing through leveling and downing all the major content, you find that there is simply nothing left for you to do. Sure you can kill bosses over and over again, prepare for the next raid, and tinker inside the game, but really the excitement is pretty much over for you. At least until a new raid instance is released or that next world boss drops. Until then, there is just a void of nothingness where you languish until the next push for the top happens.
Real Life Sacrifices
Part of being the best means you have to dedicate a good portion of your time to the game. You need to show up on raid night, read up on strategies, farm for materials, and take care of numerous other tasks to be totally ready to raid. Top raiding guilds raid multiple nights a week for hours at a time. Many guilds expect every member to be 100% present for these raids, even if they are just sitting on the sidelines and waiting.
This can have a serious impact on your real life affairs. Often times top raiders give up going out with friends, family events, and much more to keep their position. While these sacrifices are worth it to these players, they are something to consider when we wish to be part of these achievements.
The reasons above are in no way to take away from those that are a part of the top guild. These players are amazing and do things that always impress. Rather it is to bring to light that even those at the height of game play have their own struggles to deal with. That perhaps even though we may dream of it, being part of “the elite” isn't exactly what we think it might be.
Have you ever been part of a top raiding guild? Been World, Realm, or other First? Share some of the reasons why being the best isn't all glory and glamor in our comments section below!