01/04/2020

My Raiding History, Part 1: Vanilla

A couple of months ago I listened to an episode of the WoW Killer podcast in which the two hosts were talking about how they got into raiding. I really enjoyed that episode because I always find these kinds of stories fascinating. Pretty much nobody ever starts their first MMO with the intention to raid, so the journey from fresh newbie to seasoned raider inevitably involves a lot of personal growth, changes in attitudes and often humorous detours. It struck me that my own journey along the same lines would be interesting to reflect on and also make for a good subject for a series of blog posts, so here we are.

I, too, didn't start playing World of Warcraft with the intention to raid. In fact, I didn't even know what raiding was, or that it was a thing anyone should know anything about - hell, I barely knew what kind of gaming experience I was about to get myself into that very first night I loaded into Elwynn Forest.

I can't exactly pinpoint when I first learned what raids were... presumably it was through chatting with other players. A friend that was already playing and rolled up an alt to level with me had his main in a raiding guild on a different server and probably talked about it at various points. It didn't really sound particularly relevant to my interests though.

One thing I do recall very vividly however is the day my night elf priest was standing by the Ironforge bank, either just before or a little after hitting level 60, when someone whispered me seemingly out of the blue and asked me to join their guild for a raid of the Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj that night. I assured them that I was wholly unsuitable for such a venture, having neither particularly good gear nor any kind of clue what I was supposed to do in such a setting, but for some reason they really wanted me to come anyway and I eventually agreed.

In hindsight I can only surmise that with the Burning Crusade already looming very close by that point, some people were rapidly losing interest in raiding, knowing that better gear and whole new adventures were going to await on the other side of the Dark Portal soon, which probably made it a struggle for many guilds to still fill their raids, presumably to the point where they were happy to bring in pugs just to make up the numbers. That's just a guess, however.

Anyway, thanks to repeated reassurances on the whisperer's part that it was completely fine that I was shadow specced and had no gear, I did show up to the raid, and even though it was "only" a 20-man, I still remember how utterly overwhelming I found the experience. This was the biggest organised group of players I'd ever been a part of, and everyone but me seemed to know exactly what to do. Mages were conjuring water and warlocks were handing out health stones, all of this seemingly unprompted. It was quite awe-inspiring to me, if also somewhat intimidating.

I remember us killing trash and people dying to it, with some questions about healing assignments being raised. I didn't really know what I was supposed to do and had the uncomfortable feeling that the deaths might have been my fault. Was I supposed to be healing that guy who died? There were no major complaints though, and it was over soon enough.

Kurinaxx and General Rajaxx had already been killed, so we were headed to Buru the Gorger straight away. Tactics were explained, something about running away when he targeted you and killing eggs. Again I remember feeling mostly useless and terrified of getting things wrong. I probably didn't mess up in any major way, or at least I can't remember doing so. I don't recall how many tries it took us to kill him, but we did, resulting in the one screenshot I have of that night:

Dead Buru with his German name tag showing because I was using the German client back then.
We then proceeded to Moam, where I was told that I was allowed to go into shadow form and should just spam mana burn on him. This pleased me greatly, as it was much simpler than anything we had dealt with previously and something I actually understood how to do! Still, I can't even remember whether we killed him or not, just that we didn't proceed any further before the raid came to an end.

I don't think I ever talked to anyone from that guild again afterwards. Maybe I was terrible and they didn't want me to come back. Or maybe they did ask me to join them again another time and I declined. I do know that while it had been a very memorable night, it had also been more overwhelming than fun and didn't leave me with any particular urge to experience more of the same.

For that, Burning Crusade would have to roll around first. To be continued!

4 comments:

  1. When you mentioned this:

    I assured them that I was wholly unsuitable for such a venture, having neither particularly good gear nor any kind of clue what I was supposed to do in such a setting, but for some reason they really wanted me to come anyway and I eventually agreed.

    I know exactly --exactly-- how you feel. I very nearly got into a raid back when Quintalan was a freshly minted L80 and had just gotten used to random instances. Being highly sensitive to the "L2P N00B!!" that is typically thrown about in the GO-GO-GO era, I religiously would read up on instances before getting into them, but when I was whispered to hey, how about getting into a Trial of the Crusader run, I thought there was no way I'd be able to read up that quickly on it. Luckily the PUG fell apart rather quickly, but until the guild I was in at the time attempted to 10 man AQ40 in late Wrath that was my exposure to raids.

    Again I remember feeling mostly useless and terrified of getting things wrong. I probably didn't mess up in any major way, or at least I can't remember doing so.

    I also think you had the perfect raid group to start out. Some are great, some not so much. And since it wasn't, say, a progression oriented bunch, the likelihood of having a real martinet as raid leader wasn't very likely.

    But I'm glad you ended up the way you did!

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    Replies
    1. I think experienced raiders sometimes forget what it was like to be a complete newbie and just how terrifying the sheer scope and degree of organisation required for raiding can seem when all you've done until then is the occasional five-man dungeon. Let's just say I have not forgotten. :P

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  2. Great story!

    Also that's an excellent writing prompt, I might just steal that idea :)

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