Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hostility Towards Raiders

This post about raiding over at Clockwork Gamer is a pretty good summary of why I don't enjoy raiding. It also attracted an insanely judgmental comment from some random poster. The basic gist of the comment was that all hardcore raiders are utter losers that need to get a life.

I don't agree with that at all. MMOs are a huge time sink regardless. I don't think that whether you spend that time raiding, solo questing, or in a crafting hall really changes it. However, the overt hostility towards raiders was interesting to me. It's something you see a lot on message boards and blogs. Now please indulge me while I ramble for a bit....

I personally am not much of a raider. I like to see a raid once or twice, but I don't enjoy doing them anywhere near enough to gear myself and 11-39 of my "closest friends." I'm the guy that will occasionally go on a raid if the guild needs an extra DPS and I happen to be on. I'll have solid gear, but not the best (because, you know, I don't raid). I'm also perfectly happy not to roll on anything. I'm not one of the loonies trying to gear up for raid x in a series of y after all (and to my tastes they are loonies).

However, I also fail to see any reason to get belligerent with others that do enjoy serious raiding. Just because I don't enjoy something doesn't mean that it sucks, or that people who like it must suck. If you enjoy playing a "game" with that kind of focus, more power to you. I certainly put more hours than it takes to raid into much more inane activities when I was a lad (becoming good enough at Super Mario Brothers II to consistently go through the game with any of the four characters the long hard way without dying a single time comes to mind...).

So, where is this hostility towards raiders coming from? It's something you see over and over in "raiders versus casuals" debates on the internet. Raiders usually seem to assume that it's just sour grapes from players that aren't willing to put in the work to get "phat lewts." However, I think it's a little more than that. I'll use WoW as an example, but these comments could apply just as well to EQ or any number of other MMOs that have raid focused end games.

I hit the cap twice in WoW, once at 60 and once at 70. And both times the game fell flat on it's face for me because Raiding was the main activity I was being pushed towards by the game design. Each time I felt betrayed by the designers. The casual friendly game I knew suddenly dried up, and the bulk of the remaining content was for a play style I had neither the spare time nor the desire to seriously engage in.

However, I didn't head out onto the internet with a torch and a pitchfork when it happened. I recognized that I was clearly not the target audience for the existing end game, and voted with my wallet. When a game that did actually have an end game that was enjoyable to my tastes came along, I also voted with my wallet (I've spent more time and money on LoTRO now than any previous MMO).

I can also see where hitting a brick wall at the level cap might not effect everyone the same way as me (shocking!). If you are the kind of simian that hangs out on most message boards, and you hit an endgame that says "screw you casual boy!" in big red letters, it probably seems logical to blame it on whatever market segment the endgame does cater to. Thus you end up with random idgits that troll the web posting "Raiders are teh suxxors! Get a damn life!" every time someone posts on a blog or message board about what "serious business" raiding is.

They aren't jealous of raiders and their gear/ dedication/ spare time. At least not directly. They are jealous and upset that the endgame of WoW, EQ, or whatever MMO caters to raiders instead of them.


  1. I tried the whole raid thing during the Burning Crusade. Some of that was fun, but a lot of times it was just work. I'm not going to denigrate people who enjoy that endgame. On the other hand, I don't have to reward developers for not catering to my tastes.

  2. That's pretty much exactly how I feel about it.

  3. Yeah, that's probably about right. The problem isn't so much that people think that others should spend their free time the way they spend it. It's more that you have these shared spaces (MMOs) that cater to different people with different needs but there's a finite pool of resources (developers, etc.) to cater to them. Casuals pay the SAME $15 as the hardcore raiders, but in games where it appears the developers spend a disproportionate time catering to the minority who raid, the casual base can get upset. And vice versa I'm sure.

    However, heading out to the Internet to post your feelings on the matter is a very valid response. We may all have the right to vote with our wallet, but it's more effective if you let the developers have advance notice that there's discontent that MAY result in lost sales. So I'm quite fine with SOME of the casual vs hardcore debate. It's really just the playerbase giving the developers feedback on what they each individually want.

    That isn't to say that many people don't go way overboard on that type of thing. :)