Raiding Research Online

Exploring and mapping the MMO raiding culture
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Archive for January, 2010

Did we fail or just not succeed yet?

January 08, 2010 By: Ladan Category: raid leader, raiding

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

Last night I was perusing the global guild rankings on  http://www.wowprogress.com/ last night. For many raiding guilds, these ranking sites–a purely raider invention aided by Blizzard’s mechanics and its habit of revealing every detail on every character on every server–seem to provide a few important pieces of information to this competitive-, achievement-driven subculture:

  • We see how we fare against our fellow server guilds
  • We see how quickly the world’s best guilds down the new bosses (and secretly dream of cloning their gaming skills, gear, and computers)
  • And perhaps most of all, we see where we fit, of how well we’re doing… or, of how poorly we’re doing.

No one likes failure. But more importantly, no one wants to stop progressing. I have casually asked other raiders, particularly any long-suffering raid leader (or former raid leader) who is willing to talk to me, what impacts them the most when their raiding team hits a wall and can’t seem to down a boss. The feelings range from frustration over the lack of progress, to impatience as other guilds seem to pass them by, to anger over repeated and oft-viewed as easily avoidable mistakes, to hints of rage at easily preventable issues like lag or technology getting in the way, to annoyance over the lack of learning and backward movement (ever had one of those nights where it seemed like the entire team who had been doing the exact same thing the night before had completely forgotten everything?), and so on.

And while there is exquisite joy to be felt at that moment when you finally get the boss down (even sweeter if only the tank and a healer both with 5% HP are left alive), I have to wonder if the success at that single boss kill isn’t overshadowed by the satisfaction we derive from a feeling of ongoing, forward progress. So perhaps that’s why it feels like failure more than a lack of success when we can’t seem to move past a certain boss–we are failing the process of progression. And progress is what we’re all about. And while I know we’re an outcomes oriented subculture, we seem process oriented as well. I think raiders are far more willing to see us make steady, consistent progress (even if it means spending a few nights in a row on a particular boss) compared to one glorious kill on one boss and total lack of progress on another.

Do you agree?

The pace of new content

January 03, 2010 By: Ladan Category: Uncategorized

First off, Happy New Year! I hope 2010 proves to be a fruitful and creative year for all.

Well, my latest micro poll results proved quite fascinating. It turns out that there is no dominant opinion on whether the pace of new content is acceptable, too fast, or a mixed blessing. I will admit that I’m not quite sure what it means for the evolving culture of WoW yet, but change does seem to be afoot. It’s a very pragmatic approach for Blizzard to take to make one raiding instance with its bosses “usable” in potentially 4 or more ways. I suppose it’s pretty green after all!

And yet more keeps coming! By Wednesday we will see another wing of ICC open up. Have most guilds even finished the first wing? Or did they struggle over the holidays?