Armchair Raiding

May 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Posted in General | 4 Comments
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Wotcha everyone

Am I an Armchair Raider?

It’s a question I asked myself as a result of a conversation held in World of Warcraft with an old friend, who’s co leader of a strict 10-man raiding guild that is doing remarkably well (*cough*firstonserver*cough*) in the rankings.

They took a gamble, leaving their respective 25 man teams to set out as 10-man raiders when it wasn’t fashionable, so that they could have more of a hand in guiding their own fate.  They took the risks, they now get to reap the rewards.  Well done chaps.  Really impressed.

Now, I think of myself as someone who enjoys raiding.  I enjoy the challenge of progressing through a raid, and I even enjoy those raids where the challenge is gone, but we’re going out just to have fun in the raiding instance.

I like the sense of teamwork, spending time in game with my peers, and the sense of camaraderie in the face of all those elite odds.

This conversation was a bit of an eyeopener.  Have I become an Armchair Raider, living off past glories and old tiered armour, more content to just sit there talking a big game, yet clinging to any old excuse for why I can’t go raiding just now, rather than get off my ares and go raiding again?

Many raids run a twice-weekly schedule.  And one of those days is usually a Sunday.  This, more than anything else, is my easiest opt-out clause: I can’t spare two nights a week from my hectic social schedule, to devote purely to raiding.  Sundays are a rubbish night to try and organise something, as there’s normally something that I’ll be attending on that day.  Never mind that most of the time raids are finishing about 30 minutes after I need to be going to bed for my much needed ugly sleep, due to my early-morning wake-up.

I am no longer young enough to withstand the slings and arrows of a lack of sleep the night before, especially if I have to go to work and use smarts.

And for all its “sociable, being a part of a group of players” notions, raiding is remarkably unsociable for those around you.  It means headset on and random shouting at the internet, which isn’t exactly encouraging to the lovely lady near me who’s trying to watch telly-e-vision.  Or do anything else in the same room.

Can you teach an old raider new tricks?  Or just new encounters?  I tend to learn better and faster by doing something, rather than just reading something on the internet, or watching a walkthrough on youtube.  In fact, I really hate watching how someone else downed a boss on youtube, because I really do learn nothing from it.  For me, it’s not just the formula required to down a boss that’s important, it’s learning how to use the abilities and skills I have as both a player and a character to their best effect, and that means going and doing it.  It’s about experiencing the encounters, so I can learn how my class, my spec and my nouse as a player will help most.

If I was to join an established raid now, I’d be expected to go off and do homework, so that I could hit the ground running, wouldn’t I?  My life is busy enough, without having to go and study…

Raiding also takes preparation.  It’s not just about turning up and playing.  There’s consumables to bring, there’s enchantments to keep up to date, there’s sockets to be gemmed up and there’s cash required for repairs.  Do I really have the time to get all that together, ready for each and every raid?  I don’t know if I do.  I have a multi-game habit to keep going, after all

Yet I’m also unwilling to let someone else do all of that for me.  If I’m going to be part of a raid team, then I want to pull my own (considerable) weight when it comes to getting everything sorted.  I don’t want to be the idiot that’s constantly asking for flasks, or never putting fishy feasts down, or having any healing or mana potions.  Or begging on Dalaran street corners for enough coppers to repair gear.  Or even worse, having to do favours for sailor goblins…

Of course, all of this is dependant on me actually managing to get into a raid team.  For a start, I wouldn’t know how to begin to find a raid team to join.  The only ones I know of in any real sense of the word are the one I used to be in, and the one that my friends are in.  Secondly, I’m not sure if I want to go through that whole approval/rejection process.  I’m staring 40 down the barrel of a gun, and that means (in the eyes of the law, at least) I am an adult.  It means I care not for the rejection of others, and do not require the approval of others when it comes to finding my own entertainment.

But there is still a part of me that’s 8 years old and desperately hoping that I won’t be picked last.  And it’s enough to make me really wonder about whether or not my self esteem really wants to go through that whole getting into a raid team process.

The indignity of being picked last goes for more than just attempting to join a raid team, though.  It’s about not being picked for the first team, about having to stay on and do nothing whilst everyone else is having fun in the raid, because you’re the reserve.  Because you’re not good enough to be in that first team.

I really hate that.  I have to clear a night: I have to use up some hard-won girlfriend rep to ensure that nothing’s been planned, there’s nothing I’m needed for, and that I’m not going to be told half-way through a boss fight that I *MUST* go and empty the dishwasher *NOW* (or the world as we know it will end, or something).  And then I get to just hang about in case someone else decides to drop out early.  It almost seems like anti-fun.

And that’s the most important thing.

I don’t *need* to raid, in order to be a proper and valid MMO player.  I don’t *need* to do anything, in fact.  That’s one of the joys of a good MMO; multiple ways to have fun.

But the fact is that I have fun raiding.  And I should at least make an effort to stop being an Armchair Raider.  It makes me look like the scary old bloke that’s somewhere in every pub in England.  The one who is convinced that they’re an opinion of note on every subject, yet is sitting in a pub talking at strangers who just want to escape, and smelling vaguely of wee.

And another, equally important fact is that I really, really need to loosen up.  If not, I’m in danger of coming complete with reverb effect because my head is so far up my own ares.  I am not that special.  I’m just one of plenty of players who have social lives, but whom are able to juggle that and playing MMOs.

So that means that if I want to raid, I need to stop being prissy about it, and take the rough with the smooth.  That means reading websites for strategy tips *before* seeing the monsty-boss for the first time.  It means being willing to sit on the bench *because sometimes you have to*.  It means being part of a team effort, and sometimes that means not being the star of the show, in order to shine.




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  1. Do you ever do that thing of wanting to apply to a raid team just to see if you could get in, and not at all because you really want to do it? Or is that just me?

  2. Wotcha Spinks,
    I’m really glad I’m not the only dangerous anarchist that thinks like that. Luckily I’ve never given in to the temptation. I might find it a giggle, but it’s a little unfair to the people who are dealing with guild/team recruitment. 😉

    • Raiding is how I met you, properly. That’s the reason I like it. At its best, it is a great way to hang out and be sociable. At worst, it’s playground mechanics all over again, and very little fun.

      • Wotcha Arbitrary,
        Yes, we did meet in The Rift. Good times.
        You’re right; Raiding has the capacity to bring both the best and the worst out of a game, and the people who play it. The key is to ensure it is the best that is brought out.

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