To Gate or Not to Gate: The State of Raiding in World of Warcraft

Updated Fri, Jul 15, 2011 by Saia

Raiding is a fascinating thing to watch. The dedication of those hardcore World of Warcraft like Paragon, Ensidia and Stars who zerg the content like the world is ending tomorrow morning. But why?

Raiding is fun, competitive and great for self-esteem but for some people it’s more than that. It’s not just personal pride, it’s about the kudos of getting realm and world firsts and the associated titles, mounts and loot which goes with it. Rage of the Firelands has introduced Cataclysm’s second tier of raiding - a single raid of seven bosses - and, not surprisingly there have already been several world-first and US-first boss kills.


World firsts are coveted by all the hardcore elite.

Cataclysm’s first tier, the one which came when the expansion shipped, had several raids to choose from Bastion of Twilight, Blackwing Descent and Throne of the Four Winds as well as Baradin Hold. But even that didn’t stop the elite raiders who cleared much of the content within weeks.

The problem with the first tier was Blizzard didn’t get time to adequately test the bosses leading to a range of hotfixes after the bosses fell on live servers. This led to lengthy arguments - such as the one concerning Method, Paragon and Nefarian - about who actually got the world firsts and whether they were justified. These kind of fracas’ should have been avoided but instead they split the community.

The last gated raid was ICC back in Wrath. Gated is essentially the new incarnation of the much-hated attunement process but rather than doing a certain number of tasks or attaining a key, you just need to kill Bosses A, B and C to access Boss D or wait until a specific date.


Top guilds rush through the content leaving the rest of us in the dust.

ICC was all about timing but it also limited progress. Players were forced to take more time on bosses and the experience could be savoured. At the same time trekking through the Lich King’s frozen citadel made for an all the more epic and final encounter. The tension mounted and when he finally fell, well it was like nothing before or since experience in Azeroth and it’s going to be hard for anything bar the face-off with Deathwing to match this.

Personally, I prefer gating. I like the fact that people can only raid so far before being naturally forced to cool their heels. It gives those of us who aren’t hardcore limits to aim for while prolonging the content and making the raid last much longer than it might under other circumstances. Look at it this way, major content patches happen - on average - once every three months. The hardcore will have the Firelands cleared on normal and heroic within a month which will leave at least two more for them to be bored. Yes we will remember their firsts but these are even more fleeting that your normal fifteen minutes of fame.

The lesson here is the story of the Tortoise and the Hare … go slow, enjoy the game, savour the raids and your accomplishments. I think, in the next tier, Blizzard should return to gating major raids and it does need to be raids. One raid with seven bosses just isn’t enough for three months of raiding, not for Ensidia or Paragon or normal folk with a desire to see Ragnaros downed for the final time.

When Cata was released it took roughly five weeks for heroic Chogal and Nef to go down and then one more week after that for Al Akir. Now if you are in one of the guilds that is already working on heroic Rag then IMO you have the right to be a little upset that there is only seven bosses in Firelands, but at the same time everyone complained that 4.0 had to many bosses when it came out, so where is the happy median going to be?

This game is not designed to keep the top tier raiding guilds busy until the next content patch, to think that it should be is just foolish. Most average raiders will finish up normal modes in the next 3-4 weeks I would say and then they can farm some gear and move on to heroic mode if they want to. For the average raider this patch is perfect and that's who I think it was designed for. When cata launched everyone complained about how hard normal T11 was so normal T12 is now much easier and will give almost anyone that wants to see it while it is relevant the chance to, while at the same time people like myself that really don't care if I go 7/7H will get through normals and gear up at a good pace and still have time to mess around with heroics.

I don't understand why the very few guilds that can clear everything fast has any effect on the game you play yourself, does it matter that someone gets server/world first before you? Unless you are in one of these top guild who gives a crap. Its not as if once heroic Rag is killed the game ends for you and Firelands is done. Play your own game and stop worrying about what others have killed and how fast and maybe you can get back to enjoying the game.

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