Raiding Research Online

Exploring and mapping the MMO raiding culture
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And the dash has settled into a bit of a gallop with trolls and stalkers…

July 11, 2011 By: Ladan Category: boss fights, Firelands, progress raiding

I’d not suggest that we’ve slowed down as much as our front pack runners seem to have settled into a comfortable but energetic pace, with more runners (aka guilds) joining the ones who got to 6/7 HC on Friday. We now have 14 guilds (as of this writing) that have cleared 6/7 and are, presumably, working on Ragnaros HC. I spent most of my weekend in the Method and Paragon IRC chat rooms (I know, a bit saddo). They are usually quite mellow and quiet on any other day but last weekend it was quite noisy! We had the trolls (apparently the #1 troll joke was ‘Ensidia disbanded’ with the ‘XXXXX guild just downed Ragnaros HC, congratszzz!!!’ coming a close second–I’d have paid money at one point for a more original troll joke), we had the curious onlookers (‘How is Raggy coming?’ ‘What % are you?’, etc), and the regulars. I talked to one of the guys last night and he said he had lost count of how many whispers he’d received in game along the lines of ‘what %’ or ‘r u on Rag’ (if any of you reading this are familiar with American slang, this last question is kind of hilarious). I suppose we yearn for progress and status updates, like the kids in the car on a long car trip asking their parents endlessly, ‘Are we there yet?’ And the IRC room has often served at the best way of finding out where things stand. And in the case of the elite guild chat rooms, it’s not just where the members of those particular guilds hang out, but other elite raiders hang out there too. It’s the closest thing we have had to a kind of live update. But that’s before Lolisa came into our lives.

Yes, Lolisa: Play-by-play tracker, armchair stalker, and add-on creator. And unintentional research assistant to me! Who is this, you may ask? Well, here is a link to the thread. It started as a quiet bit of information that Lolisa posted on Friday evening and within several hours, word had obviously spread as more people were posting about it and commenting (mostly in a humourous or positive way) about the ‘stalker’ like quality of this tracking–when had they wiped, what class/spec composition was in the raid, etc.  By Saturday afternoon it was jokingly being called the ‘stalker thread’ with people checking up regularly and even members of Paragon and Method joined the fun by giving added updates about their toilet runs or Web browsing habits. The excitement started to die down around Sunday afternoon when Lolisa explained that he or she had found the tracking process a bit boring. I can empathise. Data collection can be quite tedious after a while.

Well, naturally I wanted to talk to Lolisa about why he or she’d done this and what he or she thought about the somewhat bemused reaction in the community. This was fascinating stuff. Progress raiding is, out of necessity, quite a secretive process as each team has to protect its strategies and approach. So giving us all a closer view on what kind of team substitutions and possible progress was being made was quite interesting. This was not information any of us could not have tried to gather before, but for a player to independently collect it and then post it for the raiding community to follow was compelling. I found it intriguing that people were calling this stalking as Lolisa wasn’t doing anything any sports sites don’t regularly do when they report substitutions or time outs during a sports event. But we called it stalking.

But Lolisa was quite hard to track down! I became a kind of stalker myself trying to track down the stalker. Lolisa is obviously not his or her main character (it was a level 1 gnome alt) and while I had a few theories about who he or she might be on Paragon’s server (probably a low level alt), I never could pinpoint him or her or they had opted to ignore my whispers. I can’t entirely blame them–who am I after all? But this was a new and fun element of the progress race that I’ll definitely be integrating into my writing around the Firelands race. :) And Lolisa, if you ever read this, get in touch with me! (My email is on the About page.)

And so it’s Monday and our intrepid elite raiders are getting ready to go at it again. Some may have the day to devote to the venture, others may be resuming later on, but with 14 guilds working on Ragnaros, we may have a world first before we know it! And who knows, it may be one of these ‘dark horses’ that have quite pleasantly surprised us by sneaking into the top 14, it could be one of the predicted favourites, or it could be one of the guilds that is still in the running but has had less success than the previous tier. I suppose we bystanders just get to wait and see!

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