Tuesday, July 7, 2009

To Raid or Not To Raid

I really enjoy raiding. I enjoy working with a group to conquer difficult challenges, overcoming obstacles and most of all, seeing new content. I enjoy learning more about my class from other players. And I enjoy the whole group dynamic - getting to know more people in the game.

And the best way to get involved in actively raiding end-game content is to join a raiding guild. And I enjoy being part of a fun, active guild. Chatting with members of the guild while questing and helping out where I can.

But here are the parts of the game that can frustrate me a bit. Guild politics. You invest the time getting to know a group of people, learning to work with their play styles and then people get upset and leave over loot or some perceived slight or just move on to what they believe are greener pastures. And it feels like you have to start all over again. Like you just lost 10 levels somehow.

Waiting around drives me crazy. That's why I very rarely pug anything. If I'm all your looking for and the group is ready to go, sign me up - but the last thing I want to do is spend an hour waiting around for people to buy consumables, repair, or just find other roles to fill in the raid. I could have done something a lot more productive with that hour.

So is PvP the answer? That little queue button is always there, guaranteeing a group whenever you want and giving you access to high iLevel gear, if you're just willing to invest the time. Or is WoW solo / WoW alone the answer - just doing your own thing, leveling your toons, working on achievements or collections and generally focusing on your own goals in the game.

I think it's a balance. I enjoy the social aspects of the game and the interaction with other real people. It's part of the reason I'm playing WoW and not a console game. And I still do enjoy raiding and want the opportunity to do raids when I can make it work with my schedule (which is not often!) - and that generally means belonging to a guild. But I'm generally very happy with the challenges that go with leveling and learning a new class. It does raise the question of what to do once you've got a player of each class to 80, but I think I'll happily cross that bridge when I come to it.

I often hear from other in-game friends with multiple toons that they're done with leveling alts. That they just couldn't stand doing the quests in Azeroth again. For me, they're always a little different attempting them with a different class. The different mechanics and the different way to approach each quest with a new class still makes it engaging, even if it's a quest that I've done 10 times before.

That does also argue in favor of splitting my 10 toons between Alliance and Horde, because at least that way there are certain quests you'll only be repeating 5 times rather than 10. The downside of that approach is that you lose the ability to stay in touch with a single group of people throughout the process of leveling all 10 toons. If you're truly flying solo, I'd recommend splitting them up. If the connectivity is important to you, go with all one faction (or maybe only one toon from the other faction so you get to see at least one time through of the other faction's content).

I've been a little short on play time this week for various reasons, so no real progress on any of my leveling toons to report. The next several weeks are going to be a little light on play time with vacation schedules and various other travel obligations.

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