To raid or not to raid

We always said we would not be a raiding guild.

We also said, that we would try the 20 man instances Zul Gurub and The Ruins of Ahn Qiraj. Those are raid instances. (Upper Blackrock Spire does NOT count as a true raid instance … much too easy!)

What exactly makes a guild a “raiding guild”? On first glance one might believe it is the tight schedule of raids to which members must appear, the enforcement of “optimum” talents, equipment, buffs and the concise commands everyone has to follow during the raid which reduces quite a few classes to “two-buttons-per-encounter” classes – but those are merely the obvious symptoms, those people hate the most. These cause people like myself to abhor raiding and decide to create a guild like ours a “non-raiding-guild” (We are quite exotic in that our bylaws contain this phrase and that we always said we will never do 40-man instances as a guild. Many people on the realm don’t believe when they hear that the first time and then they call us crazy …)

But the actual raid is only part of it. The things mentionned above only occur after the first step and the first step is to develop ambition. Yes in my opinion it’s all about ambition. Once your people develop a taste for the boss kills in raid encounters it’s only one tiny little step further to develop ambition to do more. They know they can succeed one one thing, they want to do the next and more and more … and the game offers incentives as well: items (the only in-game incentive actually). Once you managed to kill Lucifron the first time, you want to go on to Magmadar and woe to those who next cause a wipe with Lucy … well we’re of course not doing Molten Core. We are sticking to the smaller raids as we always said.
Yesterday we – our guild and an allied guild – did our first Zul Gurub run. There were luckily some people who had been to the instance quite a few times before and knew the encounters so we had detailed organization and explanations for everything.
The raid was a huge success for a variety of reasons. The most obvious being the part where we killed three bosses, one of which even on our first try and the other two each with a single wipe preceding the kill. We looted some nice stuff and everyone was quite happy that everything went really smooth. Everybody was totally concentrated and committed to give their best. This was our first time, I didn’t expect much else – well the bosskills were dreamed of but not really expected of course. The players had been waiting for this for some time, many going to a raid instance for the first time and others for the first time with “their” guild.

So now … what now? We’ve lost our raiding innocence if that can be said. One other guildmaster once called our guild the “Island of the Blessed” – blessed to be without ambition, without the drive to always go on to bigger, harder encounters. Many a raiding guild has been broken by their own ambition, the ambition of their members the differences in effort everybody has been willing to put into “new successes”. Just this week the 2 biggest raiding guilds on our server joined forces and got rid of those who had too little ambition and too little drive. There are now quite a few players without guild and there’s a vaccuum left where those 2 guilds were before. A vaccuum that scares some players so much that they even say that this may be the beginning of the downfall of the complete server. (Of course it is not but I wanted to make a point here).

The question is: are we still the “Island of the Blessed” or will our success in organizing a fun, smooth and successfull raid cause us to want more, to develop an unhealthy amount of ambition? Of course the faraway goal is to do more and maybe one day kill the final bosses of both Zul Gurub and Ahn Qiraj. I believe it doable. But I am in no hurry to get there – it’s still such a long time to the add-on. I just wonder wether all my members and those of the allied guild are with me on this “no hurry” thing. I hope. Because otherwise there will definitely be conflicts and it’s not like I dont already have enough of those to solve without raiding.

By Yashima

Writer of code and stories