Updated Fri, Jan 02, 2009 by Savanja
I do occasionally miss raiding, but we're able to field just enough for some of the fun stuff now, and I find that it more than adequately satisfies my cravings. Now, I know my thoughts on raiding, but it's been a while now, so when we recently adopted a couple from a pretty major raiding guild on our server, the wheels started turning and the questions started flying. Many thanks to Tegilu and Xaivtox for their time and patience, not only answering questions, but also for some of the stuff we've all been playing with since they've joined. They've enriched and broadened our guild, and I only hope that we can offer them half as much enjoyment and camraderie as they are offering us.
The first and most obvious question that anyone would ask a hard core raider is: What is your favourite thing about raiding? And no, I'm not more imaginative than that. You can burn me at the stake for it later, I promise. Tegilu states rather emphatically that " I hated raiding. I only stayed in a semi hard core raiding guild for nine very long months because my significant other loves it so much." That's a terribly sweet thing for her to do, don't you think? That brings up the question of what makes a guild semi hard core as opposed to hard core? Tegilu's answer? "I say semi hard core because while we were there, we only raided 3 or 4 days a week as opposed to 7." Totally understandable there too. I know that my guild in EQ raided a good six days out of the week, fighting for rare or contested spawns, setting out scouts for the instant it popped and remaining open just in case so we could hop on it first thing. Server domination was a big part. Still is.
She goes on to tell us that: "There are parts of the game that can't be experienced and quest rewards that can't be obtained without a raid. There will be no prismatic weapon or "Mark of Awakened Intellect" without defeating the final 4x epic mob, and you may have to battle many other 4x epics to get to him or her. There are also times when going into battle with 23 other player characters can be a lot of fun. It is fun when everyone is on top of their game, does their job, and successfully defeats the encounter." This is certainly true. Being a more casual player, you don't get the "uber" loot that the "high end" guilds get, but the EQ2 team has definitely taken steps to make it possible to enjoy "phat lewts" even with a more laid back gaming style, that one simply couldn't get before this remarkable game went live.
The great thing about interviewing these two lovely people is the very different viewpoints. While Tegilu is lukewarm about raiding in general, Xaivtox seems to really enjoy it. His response to the oh so original question? "So your readers know I have been a hardcore "raider" for several years (raiding over 20 hours a week), starting back in EQ1and for most of my EQ2 time playing. I was a member of one of the top three guilds on our server (premerge) as an officer and as "MA" (Main Assist for those of you who still don't know what that is...) for more raids than I can count." He goes on to state: "I would have to say my favorite thing about raiding was having everyone pull together and kill a mob that was tough- as in wiping 3 or 4 times in a row to gloating over the corpse of a monster that we know how to kill from this point forward. SOE has made several VERY tough mobs, and it is just awesome to drop a huge named wyrm or dragon after overcoming almost total wipes and see a nice Master Chest - preferably with an item I not only can use or have a good chance of getting." Well, his motives couldn't all be noble. Even if he is a Paladin. However, after some more chatting, Xaivtox goes on to say that he really likes the skill that a player absolutely must acquire to function in a raiding guild. My personal experiences certainly put paid to this observation. Raiding hones your skill in your class in ways that casual play rarely affords the opportunity to develop.
Naturally with the good comes the bad. There are downsides to raiding even for those who love it. Personally I never liked how it became a full time job. Our guilds ended up raiding a good deal. It became a second job, especially when you are a vital class like a tank, or in Tegilu's case, crowd control. There are other things that go into raiding. Normally nice people become ravening lunatics, gear gets damaged, and people get debt. Tegilu sums it up rather well when she says, "As my old guild GL liked to say "Raiding means death debt and high repair costs, if you don't like it, go join a family guild!" Okay, I might be misquoting, but it was something to that effect."
The personality shifts when one is raiding are legendary, and a large part of what Tegilu didn't appreciate about the experience. "Maybe we were learning challenged when it came to new raid zones or epic mobs, but it was very frustrating to die over and over again while the raid/guild officers tried to "learn" the mob. They may have been trying to work out a strategy, but it often seemed as if they were just throwing the raid at the encounter like cannon fodder, hoping we would get lucky. I don't think that strategy ever worked, but if it did, it was probably because the mob died laughing." At least she kept her sense of humor about it. I know it was always amusing for me when our guild leader in EQ got all tetchy and started yelling at people. But we were old school back then and didn't use a voice chat, so he had to do it in guild chat... You know, it wasn't quite as impressive in print.
Xaivtox chimes in at this point with a little uber raider commentary. "The time spent waiting for everyone to get their respective acts together, the competition over "contested" mobs, ninja AFKers, and those trying to talk over me in teamspeak all would be considered what I consider my least favorite parts of raiding. People need to remember that a lot of raiders also do not have time for a lot of the "easier" quest, time to play alts or with non guildie friends, and what time we have non raiding is trying to make money for repairs, the fast quest we can do for resist gear, and (For some of us) trying to figure out how to make the next time we raid a mob go easier." He makes a very good point. A lot of people who don't raid, and even those who do but aren't directly involved in the planning don't realize just how much goes into it. He reminds me, much to my chagrin, that it's a thankless job putting together and running a raid. I can't imagine how unpleasant it must be to do all that work and have people like me whining about missing the latest episode of CSI because HE just has to raid Vox again!
The worst part of raiding though? Xaivtox sums that up for us rather well to my way of thinking. "Mostly, it's the time you need to invest in just raiding. In a semi hardcore guild you might spend anywhere from 12 to 15 hours raiding, in a true hardcore raiding guild you may spend 40 hours and/or need to drop whatever you are doing to go kill another mob. I honestly believe that many of the severe hardcore raiders have no life outside of the game (no matter what MMORPG), are possibly students that give up time studying or trying to meet others of the opposite sex, if they are parents the children suffer (no way someone can raid 30 hours a week, hold down a 40 hour a week job, sleep, personal hygiene, and be a good parent), and/or have a clue what is happening the real world. For some, the game has become their life, as they just keep wanting to race to get the best gear available in a make believe digital world."