16/09/2011

After four years, I've decided to stop raiding

I've got quite a few people on my blogroll who don't actually play WoW anymore or who have at least taken a step back from it and play less now than they used to. None of them did so angrily, shouting "this is the last straw" and raging about how much the game sucks these days. It pretty much seemed to be a gradual process for all of them, where certain changes to the game bothered them, though never enough to make them want to quit - until one day they suddenly realised that somehow a lot of small things had added up to enough to not make them want to play anymore. All they were left with was a certain sense of melancholia about what they had lost, but they knew that there was no going back.

This is how I feel about raiding right now.

Ever since Wrath of the Lich King, almost all the major changes that were made to raiding have been things that I personally disapprove of: the removal of attunements, all raids having a ten- and a 25-man mode, the introduction of heroic raids, the changes to the badge system, the abandonment of older tiers in order to have all players playing together in whatever was the newest raid, the equalisation of tens and 25s. And yet, every time I just moaned about the changes and kept going anyway. As the Grumpy Elf is fond of saying, complaining about something is not necessarily a bad thing; it shows that you still care... it's when you don't even care to complain anymore that things have gone really bad. I suppose I should have known that something was amiss when the subject of the newest Firelands nerfs came up on our guild forum, and all I could get myself to say was that I didn't think they were a good idea but that I couldn't be bothered to elaborate anymore.

Last night I came home late after having been out all evening. I briefly checked my guild's website and was greeted by a screenshot of a Majordomo first kill, a boss that I haven't even seen yet. I mentioned the sting of missing out on first kills only about a week ago, so there was a brief pang of regret... but it was gone surprisingly quickly. The reason that I hadn't even logged into WoW in two days was that I had been working long shifts, and then spent one evening watching Rise of the Planet of the Apes with the boyfriend (really good by the way) and the other being social with my co-workers. And I wouldn't have wanted to miss either of those things in favour of raiding. In fact, I really enjoyed doing something other than raid on my raid nights for a change.

I've talked about how I generally haven't been that enthusiastic about raiding lately, at least not compared to other activities. It didn't feel like a chore to me, but I wasn't really having lots of fun anymore either. It was just something that I'd been doing for so long that it seemed strange to stop on no particular grounds, not to mention that I didn't want to hurt my guildies by making myself unavailable for no good reason. Ten-man rosters are such a frustratingly fickle thing, and after having helped with the back end of recruiting for one for the better part of the year, I definitely didn't want to be that person - the one who left completely out of the blue and suddenly tipped the guild from rolling along just fine to having to cancel every other raid due to not having enough signups.

However, seeing that screenshot was an epiphany. It was yet another first kill that had passed me by. But you know what? That's a sign of a healthy guild. They didn't need me. If anything, we've been having a bit much rotation as of late, with some people feeling slightly frustrated that they didn't get to raid as often as they would have liked. And suddenly it hit me that if I didn't really feel like raiding anymore, I didn't have to. I could quit without spoiling other people's fun. We have enough healers.

The other day it also really hit home for me just how little I cared about raiding itself anymore when I noticed that I had capped my conquest points without fail every single week since the start of season ten, and that I was in fact getting close to having a full set... but I still hadn't bothered to buy even a single piece of tier twelve. How much of a boon is a raider who cares so little anyway?

Gear has been another little thing that has been contributing to my raid blues in general. I always frown when people say that they don't care about the gear from raiding because I find that strange. It's not all there is to raiding of course, but finally seeing that upgrade drop and winning the roll is part of the fun. Unfortunately Firelands has been absolutely horrid to me as a holy priest. I've seen other people rake in oodles and oodles of gear for both main and off-specs, and the only thing I got after all this time was a BoE off-hand that didn't even drop while I was in the raid, it's just that nobody else wanted it at the time and it went into the guild bank. There is no spirit cloth in Firelands, period. There's something oddly discouraging about a whole tier that drops close to no gear for your spec at all. Completely irrational I know, but it's as if even the developers themselves are telling me that they don't want me there anymore.

And then the recent news about the incoming nerf. Like I said above, I don't even have the energy to be angry about these things anymore, just a little sad. Once upon a time raiding felt a bit like climbing a mountain to me. It was harder on the logistics and it took long to get to the top, but at the end you could look down at how far you had come and feel like you'd achieved something. If I'm still climbing mountains by raiding today, it's only because I'm surrounded by an ever-rising tide and I'm trying not to drown. I'm finding it highly ironic that Blizzard's constant attempts at making the content more accessible to the casual player via nerfs make me feel as if more and more demands are being put on me. Here's the thing, imposing shorter and shorter time limits on people's ability to complete a given task is in fact another way of raising the bar, not lowering it. Seeing tier eleven get nerfed after six months was already hard for me, but as they keep cranking up the pace I'm simply finding it impossible to keep up. Sorry, but I do not have the energy to complete your content within the imposed time limit, and I'm not going to waste my time trying if I won't see half of it until it's only a mere shadow of its former self anyway.

Taken by themselves, I wouldn't even have considered any of these things worth posting about, but without me even realising it at the time, their combined weight has by now become too much for me to keep calm and carry on. I'm not done with the game yet - I still want to quest, level alts and do rated battlegrounds.

But raiding... raiding had me, and it's lost me. I'm sad to hurt my guild leader, because I love him dearly, we've been through a lot together and I know he'll miss me being around regardless. But honestly, I'm done moaning and I think I have to accept that this particular part of the game simply isn't for me anymore. I am glad however to see that my guild is doing fine without me and that my departure from raiding won't hurt its progression. May they kill Ragnaros many times over.

21 comments:

  1. I am sure that your Guild will miss you very much, but when it ain't fun, it is for sure time to move on. Good luck with your non-raiding career, and thanks for all the blog posts!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have taken several breaks from raiding. Some was a few months, one were about a year. Ain't never regretted none of them. Means I missed out on doin' Sunwell and Ulduar in they's glory days, but so what? Someday, I's gonna take a permanent break, and I ain't gonna regret that one neither. Life be too dang short fer ta waste yer fun time doin' stuff what ain't fun no more.

    Go finds yer fun, wherevers that may be. You deserves it. We all does.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What Ratshag said :)
    *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mr Shag says things so eloquently - all the best wherever your whatever takes you :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree with ratshag, you should never do anything you don't enjoy, especially not if you have the choice not to. Will you stick around in WoW though? Otherwise I am sad to see yet another awesome priest blogger leave the arena (although you might stick around to write about something else, and I'd read that too ;) ). Maybe I'll see you in D3?

    ReplyDelete
  6. @BoxerDogs: I'll still be writing blog posts! After all only a relatively small portion of them were actually about raiding.

    @Ratshag: Who knows, I'm not excluding the possibility that this may turn out to be "just" a break and not the end to my raiding career. I just find it hard to imagine, considering that many of my gripes come down to overall game design decisions on which I can't see Blizzard back-pedalling all of a sudden. :/

    @Issy: Thanks for the hugs. I'm actually tearing up about this way more than I thought I would! I mean, it's not like I'm quitting the game, I'll still be around... but I guess raiders and non-raiders don't interact nearly as much as raiders do with each other, and deep down I know that things will be different.

    @Sephrenya: Like I said I'm not really going anywhere, in a way. Still playing WoW, still staying in my guild. But yes, things will feel very different after giving up a three-days-a-week raid schedule that I've maintained for four years.

    @Zinn: Erm, I did say in my post that I'm not done with the game yet - I still want to quest, level alts and do rated battlegrounds. Considering the tone of some of the replies here, I wonder if I should have bolded that or something. XD Though yes, even just quitting raiding is a big thing when you've done it for such a long time.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very well written.

    And it didn't come as a surprise after your last few posts. I think now's the time to switch your 6 month WoW renewal to a 1 month renewal. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I realize this isn't your main point, but something that semi-bugged me:

    "There is no spirit cloth in Firelands, period. There's something oddly discouraging about a whole tier that drops close to no gear for your spec at all."

    There are eight cloth slots. Every healing priest tier item has spirit on it, so that's 5/8 covered (plus some crafted gloves with spirit). There's spirit Valor Point bracers and also spirit crafted boots. The only slot you can't get a spirit item in is belt.

    And even them, a ton of healers are actually reforging *away* from spirit and finding their regen is fine and they want more Haste/Mastery/Crit.

    So I guess I found your comment odd in light of that. I quit raiding myself right before the huge nerf at the end of BC and came back around the 30% buff in ICC, and I'm enjoying raiding currently.

    Hopefully you'll get the itch again and get back into it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'll add one extra comment. There are lots of ways that people's true personality comes though, in times of adversity, how they cope with being wrong, how they deal with the big challenges in life, whether they can be equally magnanimous in victory and defeat. I wouldn't wish to overplay WoW, it's only a game, but still, this is a very elegant and considered leaving post. It reflects well upon you, as pretty much all your blog posts do.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Kring: Actually I already canned my six-month subscription back in May, when the first cracks started to show in my enjoyment. It's been on a three-month cycle since then and is currently running until November. We'll see what things look like then.

    @Anonymous: I was mostly referring to the fact that there are no spirit cloth drops. It feels like all other classes and specs don't have to buy every single upgrade with points and can take some non-tier drops that will still have the right stats on. If killing big bosses doesn't actually provide any extra perks in terms of gearing up, I might as well just run heroics for the points.

    And most healers don't rely on spirit as badly as holy priests do because unlike every other healing spec, they have no passive way of regaining mana based on intellect. In the latest class feedback thread, poor mana regen is actually still one of the major concerns raised by holy priest posters.

    @BoxerDogs: *blush*

    ReplyDelete
  11. At least there are healing drops, unlike MC*. :)

    *) Yes, there was a ring with +healing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think, as others have said before me, that it's important to stop doing something when it is no longer fun. The whole idea of playing WoW and raiding is to have fun, since it's a game after all. If the game or a specific aspect of it stops being fun, then there's really no reason why one should continue - because it will only make you resent the game/that aspect more.

    Do what you enjoy, and have fun :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Right now I'm in a very similar situation. I am not enjoying raiding as much as I did. Part of it is that some people I played with since MC left the game or aren't raiding anymore and as a lot of bloggers pointed out raiding has changed a lot since Classic and BC. Unfortunately our raid leader is depending a lot on me so I'm not yet sure what to do. The good thing is I'm going on a two weeks vacation without internet access starting next weekend. So maybe time will decide for me.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It wasn't until I quit it that I realised how much havoc my raiding played with my sleep - staying up past my usual bedtime two nights a week was definitely not good for me (I'm getting old, I know :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ahh Shintar, what can I say - all so been there, felt that. it's about your enjoyment in the end and while I understand the (sucky) feeling of deserting a long-time raidpartner so so well, it sucks even more to hang around hating every minute of it. before you bring nothing but a dark mood to the rest of the guild, it is the right and noble thing to quit, no matter how sad the parting. =(

    I was at a stage where I truly felt to go on was to "ruin" what I had been to the guild for many years. I didn't want that - I'd rather have people remember the enthusiastic leader fondly, than thinking "man, it's really time she left". it takes a good leader to know when it's time to stop. :)

    also, some breaks are not final, some are. you have all the time to find that out.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sorry to hear that you are taking a break from raiding. To me raiding is the best part of the game at the moment even if I do not get to do it with my main half as much as I would like to.

    Maybe a break is what you need.

    You are not alone with the feelings you have. This expansion has done it to nearly everyone at one point or another so far.

    Take a break, play a little less and wait it out like me and so many others are doing. The hell known as Cataclysm does not have much longer to go if the outline of the next expansion coming out second quarter of next year is true.

    Like I said before, when you stop complaining is when you know things are bad. Seems like you finally reached that point.

    Maybe you could do what I am doing and test the waters to see if there is something else out there that catches your fancy.

    Sad part is, as much as this expansion sucks, it is still leaps and bounds better than anything else out there and that is a really sad state of things for the mmorpg community.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Long, rambling post, goes kind of off-topic, apologies in advance...

    I have also given up raiding, unlike you, I only lasted two weeks into Cataclysm, and quit after having an epiphany along the lines of "why am I here, I'm getting no pleasure out of it?"

    I amicably quit my cross-guild raiding alliance and that was that. I don't really know why I've lost interest in raiding. I can usually analyse my reasons for feeling a certain way, but in this case I cannot. It just seems that at one point I was very eager to join in with my fellows, and battle to overcome challenges, and ultimately defeat Onyxia, Kael'Thas, or The Lich KIng... or whoever. Now I seem to have no desire to do so, it all seems like too much of a bother. It's not just raiding though.. gradually, systematically, anything connected with the current expansion gradually seems to be watering down my desire to play, replacing it with grey disinterest.

    Tried the dailies. They just seem to mindless and bland. A series of dull, and often frustrating chores that seemed to want to suck me into some kind of sunken cost fallacy, forcing me to grit my teeth and do them each day regardless of my mood..... There was a strong sense of doing them because I had to, not because I wanted to.. once again.. I caught myself thinking why am I doing this? And simply stopped.

    Levelling alts. began new characters, filled with enthusiasm... but ultimately It took me three attempts in order to force my way through the revamped 1-60 zones, three different chars, the first two were simply abandoned at around level 30, my enthusiasm sucked dry.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The thing is.....Levelling alts and questing used to be my absolute favourite activity within the game, I'd truly look forward to challenging tasks, such as trying to solo the elites in Redridge, or soaking up the tranquil, mellow vibes of Darkshore and Ashenvale. Fifteen characters, all levelled to 80.. and not one regret, each journey was a unique self-contained experience. Now I struggle to get a character past 30, before utter tedium sets in. In truth (and being honest with myself) I hate the zone revamps, I hate what they have done to places like Darkshore and Ashenvale. All the mystery and magic has gone.

    Seeing those NPCs battling each other around the zones 24/7, and having absolutely no way of making any difference to the battle seems to break the fourth wall for me, reminding me constantly that 'this is a scripted scene', it no longer feels like a living, breathing place, filled with it's own architecture and inhabitants, waiting to be explored. It's more like one of those theme park rides where you pass by a bunch of animated mannequins on a cart on rails, with no method of leaving the cart and exploring on your own.

    Quests are typically completed in a few minutes, each one blurring into the next. Most have some humorous 'gimmick' involved, and any mobs that get in the way can usually be three-shotted. There's absolutely no sense of danger, threat or uncertainty. I remember back in Vanilla, pulling an add during a fight used to place my heart into my mouth! There was no certainty of survival, and only my wits, and native skills could save me by the skin of my teeth! The adrenaline rush was often delicious, that's all gone.

    The removal of the need to unlock a flight path before gaining the route was the last straw.. it's exactly as you described, a combination of things all adding up to crunch point.

    A realisation hit me like a truck that some of the main enjoyment I got out of WoW was actually exploration, discovering stuff.. this could be both physical exploration, exploring zones, and travelling to different locations.. or the exploration of trying out a new rotation, a new spec, a new questing route from 1-60, a new method of downing a boss.... As Cataclysm seems to do it's level best to absolutely minimise any kind of exploration, and present everything on a linear rail, which actively punishes you if you deviate from it.. I must conclude that Cataclysm is simply not to my taste. In fact it has largely killed the game for me. It took me a while to realise this, and I actually feel quite upset about it. I really did try to like it, but it seems to have been developed to appeal to people who's preferred play style is the polar opposite to mine.

    Tried contributing to forum posts, asking for Vanilla (or pre-Cataclysm) servers, and got shouted down and ridiculed, people telling me that I "only wanted this due to dewy eyed nostalgia", and that the game "must move forward". It's not nostalgia, I haven't 'forgotten what Vanilla/TBC/Wrath' was really like, and only remember the good bits.. It's far more simple than that. I just prefer a slower, more exploratory, more open-ended method of playing the game. I miss the little 'RPG' touches that added depth to routine tasks. That's all it is really.

    So, denied raiding, dailies, and alts (never liked PvP much), one thing remains. When you truly don't enjoy a thing, it's best to simply stop doing it. Toward that end I've gritted my teeth, endured the shallow, soulless revamped Azeroth content, and got a character to Outland. Here I shall stay, playing the game I still enjoy. Problem solved.....

    .... Unless they do an 'Outland revamp' (aka dumbing down), in which case I'll have nothing left to play for, and will simply quit.

    ReplyDelete
  19. @Saga: The tricky thing is that it's not that it's no fun at all. It's that it's not fun enough, compared to the time investment. Which is why I found it so hard to draw a line, and it took me taking some time off and having more fun that way to realise that I probably wasn't doing the right thing anymore.

    @Gamma: Who knows, maybe you'll make a similar discovery. Have a nice holiday either way!

    @Tessy: I tend to like staying up late regardless, but I noticed that I like not having to worry about hurrying up with dinner after getting home from work, just to be ready for the raid in time.

    @Syl: Like I commented to Saga, I wasn't exactly hating it... but yeah, I could definitely also see myself becoming a grumpy old fart who just tagged along because it's what she's always done, and that's not a role I wanted to play.

    @Grumpy: I might give SWTOR a try once it comes out, otherwise I'm quite happy to simply invest time in non-MMO activities right now.

    @Anonymous: Thanks for sharing your story. Fortunately I'm not quite that burned out on everything in the game. For me it's just raiding.

    ReplyDelete
  20. > The tricky thing is that it's not that it's no fun
    > at all. It's that it's not fun enough, compared to
    > the time investment. Which is why I found it so hard
    > to draw a line, and it took me taking some time off
    > and having more fun that way to realise that I probably
    > wasn't doing the right thing anymore.

    That, plus the effect that it is very hard to start raiding again. (Catch up with gear, find a raid, get accepted, ...)

    During the beginning of ICC we had massive lags. Lags up to the point where we wiped on Lootship. I would have stopped raiding there within the blink of an eye if I knew that I could get back to raiding a few month later after Blizzard solved their server problems.

    > but I noticed that I like not having to worry
    > about hurrying up with dinner after getting home
    > from work, just to be ready for the raid in time.

    This. And that's also the reason why I will not play any other game where the end game will be raiding. That was the show stopped for Rift for me.

    I don't think there's a way to solve that problem (by Blizzard) without replacing raiding with other end game content. I doubt the LFR will solve that, I can't imagine that there will be many raids formed at e.g. 9 in the evening.

    ReplyDelete
  21. it is very hard to start raiding again

    See, that's not an issue for me at all actually. As long as my guild retains some semblance of stability, I know that I could get back into raiding at pretty much any time. Gearing up is easy if you put your mind to it thanks to valour points & co. But even if my guild fell apart completely, the recruitment scene is currently heavily in favour of individuals seeking guilds. There aren't nearly enough raiders to go around, so you'd have to be exceptionally clueless (or maybe have some very outlandish and specific requirements in terms of raid times) to be unable to find a raid group right now.

    ReplyDelete