It occurred to me the other day that I have now been playing WoW's raiding game for a whole two years. There have been occasional short breaks due to holidays, broken computer parts and the like, but on the whole I've been extremely loyal and dedicated to my raid force, raiding three nights a week and never picking and choosing my raids - when I'm available then I'm available, be it for a thrilling progress night or farming old content until my eyes bleed.
There have been ups and downs during that time, moments when I wanted to quit in a frothing rage because of something that I considered outrageous at the time, but then didn't. There were times when I didn't really enjoy it that much and kind of went through the motions more than anything. But never have I felt as utterly disheartened with raiding as I do now.
It all started with Yogg-Saron. We had been making decent progress through Ulduar until we met him and he turned out to be an utter cockblock. We were stuck on him for weeks and months, wiping and wiping and wiping some more. The fact that this was during the summer didn't help either, as we were often short on signups and couldn't always organise enough raids to clear the rest of the instance before the weekly reset, thus not having any attempts on Yogg at all during some weeks. (This was before the ID extension feature obviously.)
I showed up for every raid and got to enjoy the wiping to its fullest. This wasn't a problem; I had made similar experiences during BC, but in the end we always got the suckers down and victory was all the sweeter for it.
One night in August my PC decided to play silly buggers because of the hot weather and I phoned in to ask to be replaced after having experienced multiple shutdowns mid-fight. That night they finally downed him. I was bummed, but more than anything because it was an exact repeat of what happened during our first kill of Kael'thas last year. Still, I tried to remain positive because I had seen Kael'thas die on the next raid, surely I'd get my chance to down Yogg as well, right? Right?
But suddenly... people didn't care anymore. Trial of the Crusader was out and way more alluring with its new and better loot. We were still doing Ulduar, but barely managed to clear half the instance some nights because the raid leaders would suddenly decide to try hard modes on a whim, just to see what they were like. And Yogg had died, so who cared if we didn't make it to him before the reset? I did of course. I nagged. People rolled their eyes and made fun of me.
Still, I continued to sign up for every raid, convinced that my day would have to come eventually. One night about a month after the first kill I decided to sign off because a friend from England was in town for a day - not exactly something that happens often - and I wanted to spend time with him. Guess what the raid did that night? Yep, they went and killed Yogg-Saron.
I facepalmed but still tried to keep my chin up. After all, it was kind of my own "fault" for choosing my friend over the raid, right? I'd just have to make sure to not miss any raids anymore in the future. So I kept signing. And people kept finding excuses not to do Yogg.
One night we were finally in his prison and had made one unsuccessful attempt on him when someone called out "We've got Wintergrasp! Let's go to VoA!" and the raid leader actually went along with it, abandoning Ulduar and ending the raid after Archavon. That was definitely one of those frothing rage moments.
Since then we've been to his lair one more time, but even though we had half the night to kill him, we just wiped over and over until raid end time. The worst thing was that nobody seemed to be particularly bothered by this. They just don't care anymore. Yogg-Saron is so last month. It's just me with my weird obsession with wanting to see all the bosses dead and longing for closure after dutifully attending Yogg wipe nights for several months.
"Ok," you might say, "we get it, you've got some real issues with not having killed Yogg-Saron and it bothers you. But what about all that time that your raid force spends not trying to kill Yogg? Surely there must be something enjoyable there?"
Well, that's kind of the problem. The only other thing we're doing is Trial of the Crusader. On normal mode that's all fine and dandy (though in all honesty I'm already starting to get a bit bored with it after so many flawless clears, more than my guild ever did of any other raid instance I believe), but it's too easy. It takes about two hours maximum, and that's including summons, bio breaks, explaining boss strategies to the new guy and so on. Then what?
Then we try to do it again on heroic mode. I've expressed my dislike for hard mode raiding before, but I'm not sure I've really managed to convey properly just how much I despise it. It manages to combine the worst bits about progression (endless wiping) and farming (the same old fights over and over) without any of the fun parts. The loyal part of me wants to put up with it for the sake of the guild and because there's no other raid to progress into at the moment anyway. Except I'm still stuck at the point of progression where I want to kill Yogg. So all I ever think about during Coliseum nights is how bored I am and how I'd much rather smite some tentacles. It's sucking the fun out of things harder than a vacuum. I've come to the point where I actually dread most raid nights, wishing I could just hide on an alt. But hey, duty calls...
My friends tell me that I should take a bit of a break and then I'll be able to come back feeling refreshed and enjoying it again. I do think that getting away from it all might help and I might actually miss it again, but there's still the problem of Yogg. If the past is anything to go by, then I just know that the raid will kill him again as soon as I'm away, and going by the utter lack of enthusiasm displayed during our last attempts I'm afraid that it will be the last time as well. And then what? Then my last incentive to keep signing for every raid will be gone and I'll feel majorly let down by having missed out on killing one of the best raid bosses of this expansion. I don't want that. I want to feel like I'm back on the progression curve again and be able to enjoy raiding.
So I cling to signing up like a rabid bulldog clings to its victim, simply because I'm afraid of what will happen if I let go, all the time getting more frazzled and distressed due to not achieving my goals and being frustrated with the content we do. I know it's a game, and in a few years I'll probably look back at this and shake my head at how I could ever get so upset about it, but right now I really don't know what to do but despair.
More Than Fun
19 minutes ago