Raiding Research Online

Exploring and mapping the MMO raiding culture

Archive for December, 2010

Watching the ups and downs of early raid progress…

December 16, 2010 By: Ladan Category: Cataclysm, progress raiding, raiding

I assume you’re all tracking it, too–the ups and downs of raid progress at the top. Not all of us are raiding yet but we’re close to starting, even if we’re not quite there yet. Some of us are already making our way through the heroic modes (well, only a dozen or so guilds have done that so far…). I have to admit I’ve been quite excited by the progress so far; I keep checking the Web site and sometimes gasp at the dramatic shift over the course of the day! I like seeing the old faces and new ones staking their claim too. Like a predominantly Australian/NZ guild doing so well and a couple up and coming Russian guilds… and a few other guilds improving their performance over their WotLK rankings. And I’m super pleased to see the regular “dropped names” of raiding fame (Ensidia, Paragon, Premonition, etc.) still sustaining their level of achievement. It tells me that we have consistent skill at the elite level, not just luck. I do know it’s very early days yet and the guys who are in the top right now will probably see some changes over the course of progress raiding, but it’s impossible not to watch! This is our own, virtual kind of Tour de France with its teams, in-fighting, strategic placements, early “leads”, and different types of jerseys! And never mind the injuries–wrists, hands, bums and eyes are all susceptible! And don’t even get me started about the sheer amount of energy drinks being consumed… I hate to imagine what that does to our bodies.

Excitement aside, I still can’t believe we’re already getting into heroic content TEN days after the new expansion, though maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised considering how fast we burn through everything else. And it looks like it’s the drive for competition that makes us so hungry. The current poll I’ve got going seems to be suggesting that with the slight majority of us (40%)  stating that the competition is what they enjoy most about progress raiding.

Do you agree? Take the poll if you haven’t yet and add your comments. Are you following things as closely as I am? Do you have a favourite? I’ve got my underdog guild that I’m rooting for and my “shining star” guild that I always expect to do well. :) Maybe you do too?

New poll about progress raiding

December 11, 2010 By: Ladan Category: Polls, progress raiding

So I know this poll is a bit problematic. After all, my guess is that we could all pick several things and maybe even additional reasons that I haven’t listed here. But polls aren’t about being nice–they’re about making you give an opinion! So think about it–what, amongst all those things, do you find yourself enjoying the most?

Not all of us are progress raiding in Cata yet, so we may have to relate to the WotLK progress raiding experience to make the decision.

Personality test–was hidden but now fixed!

December 10, 2010 By: Ladan Category: Uncategorized

Hey guys,

With Paragon launching their new site, my blog there has managed to go into accidental hibernation. I’m working with them to find it and regain access to it, but as you can imagine they are pretty busy right now! :) I’ll post here as soon as it’s up again but for now the Personality test results are temporarily inaccessible.

Also I expect to have Part 2 finished and posted within the week.

UPDATE: Here’s the corrected link to Part 1 of the personality test results.

Cataclysm launch and the selfishness of levelling…

December 08, 2010 By: Ladan Category: Cataclysm, level 85, levelling

So the results are in and a whopping 64% of you had plans to stay up all night or day and push the levelling. I wonder how many actually made  it through–some of you may still be going strong! A smaller number (18%) intended to go through the levelling content as quickly as possible, but were not planning to burn the midnight oil. And a much smaller percentage (3%) were waiting to see how things were before committing to a specific plan, while 15% were not planning to change any approach to playing in relation to the new expansion. I suppose this might also mean that some respondents have not actually purchased the new game software yet.

But at the end of the day, we’re a community that gets excited about new content and, if at all possible, likes to dive right into it the second it’s available. For some of those on the EU servers, that meant a challenging hour or so trying to get past the login servers (while we cursed the lucky ones who seemed to get in at the first try!) before the mad rush for Vashjir or Hyjal began. And what a strange rush it is. I’ve decided that the levelling up process, especially when you’re going from one level cap to another (such as level 80 to 85), is viewed by a lot of raiders as a nuisance to be endured in order to get to the “better” game content. I also think it’s a time when raiders can exhibit behaviour that appears more selfish and self-oriented than usual. Especially when you consider their approach to raid participation.

We camp out for certain mobs, we ninja kills or items, we race to grab a herb or mining spot… We rarely talk to the people we’re running into in the game and we view each other as a problem, getting in the way of our personal goals. It’s a bit like a huge traffic jam on a motorway somewhere. We’d be home by now if not for the other damn cars.

Does that make the levelling up process essentially selfish? I suppose in a way it has to be selfish–after all, if you’re in an elite or hard core raiding guild, you’ve probably been given a deadline by which to be ready for raiding (in some cases, the deadline might be “yesterday”). That often means being focused and moving quickly to get ready to go. But does it have to be selfish? That is a more difficult question to answer as I suppose it comes down to how we view people in an online environment, particularly when they appear to be a hindrance. Even I, who prides herself on being friendly and helpful in game environments, will sometimes find myself groaning internally when I see a long-ish queue at a respawning boss.

Due to unavoidable circumstances in the past, I’ve never been able to experience the mad rush of launch night. So I was always a bit green with envy when people were racing around a new area that I hadn’t even been able to enter yet. I decided I’d give it a go this time. I cleared my schedule. I got the digital download. I even had stash available (lots of fruit, nuts, and a bit of nougat and chocolate!) and some good tunes queued up. But I was a bit of a fail. See, I actually like to explore and experience new content. I blame this on my background playing a MUD. In a MUD the atmosphere and setting is essential; it tells the story and gives you your framework. I also blame it on my own geographical nature. I like to know where I am and where I’m going and part of that, for me, is acquiring a familiarity with place. Launch night is not the time to aimlessly wander through a new area, smelling the roses. That’s probably going to get you killed (if you’re on a PVP server) or at least trampled on. And never mind enjoying the view. Aside from a few sweeping vistas and an overwhelmingly big tree, I still don’t quite know what’s in Hyjal…. And actually reading a quest before starting it? Forget it!

I also wonder if I’ve managed to transfer my tendency to sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed by crowds  in real life to the game. It’s just too many people all crowded into one place. You can’t even see the quest giver!

Now it’s not to say that I don’t love the zooming around that one can do while working on quests and there is something so delicious about watching your XP bar fill up quickly. And I also love doing dungeons with guildmates. But I just couldn’t move as fast as my guildmates and with some of them already at 85 or almost there, I’m only in the middle of level 82. I reckon it’ll be at least the weekend before I get to 85. But I’m ok with that. At the end of the day the game is a game and has to suit each player who plays it. And Blizzard has always been adept at making it more accommodating and appealing to a wide audience–you only have to check out the new entry level areas in the game to see that. As a friend recently told me, he’s finally really enjoying levelling up a character again.

But in the case of the raider, since the primary focus is on the raiding content, levelling continues to be a challenge where we have to take off our “team player” hat that we use while raiding with our guildmates and put on the “power leveller” hat to slog through the quests and dungeons to get to the level cap asap. And some of us have managed to get around the questing grind to get to the level cap, as our controversial “first to the level cap” celebrity Athene (now Forscience) keeps showing or as our elite or hard core guilds often do by churning through dungeons as their levelling up plat du jour.

The fact that we can now get to the next level cap in a matter of hours. So even you (or Blizzard does it) exclude Forscience and his controversially viewed levelling approach, the first player to level 85 was Owld who got there at 7.34 am EU game time, according to This almost seems to suggest the irrelevance of levelling up. It’s become “too easy” some might say.

Personality test results are in!

December 04, 2010 By: Ladan Category: Uncategorized

So I have two amazing raiders (Nils and Freddy) to thank for why I can post the results so quickly-they helped me design, enter the data, and crunch the numbers in record time. This is a two part report which I am posting on my Paragon blog. Part 1 is up there now. This is the overview and data results. Part 2 will include my analysis and discussion.

Read and enjoy!

Although fair warning, thinking about letters, numbers, and percentages this much may make you look like this: