Hail, avid gamers! This week’s column is about one of the most challenging features of any MMO: raiding. We all dream of getting fabled loot and defeating mythic opponents, side by side with your guildmates and friends. Raiding can be so exciting (and sometimes repetitive and boring.)
Come along with me after the jump and let me tell you of my experiences and opinions.
The first time I attended a raid was back in 2000. Back then, raiding was so different than nowadays, being quite an epic and so difficult thing to do. I remember going to kill an elder dragon, along with 80 other players. My first dragon kill was unforgettable, impressive and inspiring.
We had to set up a buffing method, because buffing everyone took so much time that buffs started to fade before finishing with all players. We were divided in attack waves. First we had to approach a buffing group, get our buffs and wait for the leader’s command. When ordered to charge, the first wave had to get into the dragon’s lair and do as much damage as possible, before dying. Yes, dying was normal. The main tank used to last for quite a while, but sometimes died too, so second tank had to jump in and take control. Wave after wave, we had to attack like mad. When we died, we had to wait for a resurrection, come back close to our corpses, get our weapons back and start fighting immediately, completely naked.
It was so hard and difficult killing a dragon. Then, if we succeed, waiting for a little chance of loot, rolling against 80 other players for an item. Ah! Those were good times, but I hope they won’t come back.
Time passed and MMOs evolved a lot, with the old games inspiring them. Basically, the new MMOs used to give us more tools, more opportunities, erasing a lot of impediments that we used to have. That in turn made these games easier and perhaps more accessible to a wider range of players. Anyway, lots of good raids kept filling my playing sessions.
One day, we were trying to kill the last boss of a raid zone, but he was a badass. All the players started to die one by one, while the boss was slowly going down. I remember the leader of the raid, shouting and giving orders desperately till only a cleric stood still against the boss. The cleric kept attacking and his opponent was almost dead. We all know what happens when a boss faces a healer, (some even kill non-tanking classes in a single hit) but that day the cleric managed to take the boss down, with only 5 hit points left. That was so epic, we all started to shout and cheer while he started to resurrect everyone. I thought that battle was lost, but the unexpected occurred, for the joy of us all.
Raiding has something special that I really like. It is a mixing of strategy and social activity. Raids are full of people talking, while waiting to start the adventure. There’s always someone explaining how the raid goes to all the newbies (concerning that raid) and you can see lots of spells filling your screen, as everyone casts useful buffs.
Then, the thrill of battle. The endless hordes you have to defeat, before getting to any boss. The story of that place, the goals you have to achieve, the quest related to that raid zone, etc. Raiding is such an impressive, time consuming and epic feature in any MMO.
The problem is, though, you have to be there for the whole raid. You cannot leave in the middle of the action, because your absence can screw up the whole raid. That will make you stay for several hours, attending the raid and nothing else. What if someone needs you in real life? What if several players need to go due to some private issue? Then the raid will suffer immediately. Consider, in addition, that MMOs have no pause feature like normal videogames do, and you add several problems to the raiding formula. That’s one of the things I don’t like.
Another flaw, in my opinion, is that raids tend to become repetitive. After you go to the same raid zone for weeks, trying to get the much desired loot you’re after, you really feel bored and burnt of doing the same thing over and over, killing the same mobs. That’s why I’m so happy to hear that some upcoming MMOs development teams are trying hard to bring new gameplay concepts, to change how we all play forever.
Anyway, I’m sure all you avid gamers have lived really awesome moments attending raids in different games over the years, since these type of games came to shake the foundations of the gaming world. Raids made me feel the rush, as the ultimate MMO expression of grandeur; so I hope the future brings new types of raids, with new ideas, features and playing systems, keeping that massive online experience at the top of the hill for many years more.
What do you think, avid gamers? Do you like raids? This week’s column reflects a few thoughts about raiding, I would love you to post what you think, so go ahead and leave your comments.
See you all next week.
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