Hah, yes it's laughable isn't it? The grand majority of raiding I've done in this expansion was with LFR. What was left of Adrenaline was able to finish Mogu'shan vaults, then we managed to down the first two bosses in Heart of Fear. After that the guild had to permanently end official raiding activities; we just couldn't get the people together again.
Back in Burning Crusade I wasn't able to raid due to the time difference and my stubbornness of not wanting to switch to the EU servers. I get very attached to friends, you see. Very attached. But I know that in TBC I wanted to see the raiding content to wrap up the stories told while questing and doing the dungeons. I constantly wished there was some way I could experience those things, and any kind of streaming video service couldn't really provide either.
So now with LFR in Mists, I wasn't too sad about losing raids. Once I get back home I'll probably re-up for a month to see the rest of the Siege of Orgrimmar and wait until the next expansion comes around.
But I'll tell you what, I definitely miss 'it'. Yeah, 'that'. If it's one thing I've managed to realize for myself from this it's the essence of why I love raiding. The story is definitely a part of it. Watching a 'tube video of all the bosses going down, with any RP that goes on between NPCs and the like is one thing, but experiencing it for yourself just brings in that DIY element you can't get elsewhere.
But 'that' is the learning experience.
I suspect that the element dulled on me because I consider myself to be quite competent at raiding. I suck at a lot of video games but I've seen WoW as being a relatively easy game to play when it comes to execution. I learn pretty fast, and I'll admit that it was kind of frustrating when after 25 wipes across multiple raid nights the strategies still don't click with everyone to complete an encounter.
But now I know that what I love about raiding is the social experience of learning things together. I remember now that, despite how high school went for me, I loved to learn stuff. Always a sponge for learning new things. And after an expansion full of LFR I think I'm not the only one that has seen through this. I'll touch on flex raiding a bit later on. First...
What I didn't like and still don't like
I get that professions should have some roll in the game, but honestly I've always disliked consumables. Heck, if there's one thing I'm bad at in MMOs it's handling cool downs. I'm a pretty conservative person IRL (not in a political way) so I feel very walled up when it comes to using buttons with longer cool downs. But that's not the point, I can learn to use that stuff. I'm still pretty horrible at it but I have improved.
What I hate is the preparation. Getting the gold/mats together for flasks, chanting new gear, gemming, food. All this nonsense. I just want to get to the meat of the game. LFR lets you do this, but to my knowledge you need all these things to be in tip top shape for every other form of raiding.
But in regards to this, I must say that Mists has made the best effort to make this part of the game somewhat enjoyable. When being level 90 meant you were hip the game was insanely overwhelming, professions included. But the facilities were there to make your outside-of-raiding-life easier. And for that I'm thankful.
I'm curious to see what they'll do in the future to support these systems. I'd love it if they continue to use the Pandaren farms, it gives the continent that much more relevance in the future of the game. And let's be honest, Pandaria is a pretty cool place to be!
Flex Raiding - Our Savior?
"And they said unto the Lord: "How the hell did he do that?"..."
Really, hats off to Blizzard. Once again the introduce some ballsy system no one thought would work. Flex raiding has, for the relatively short time it's been out, been heralded as a saviour of raiding and probably even guilds. It fundamentally taps in to the philosophy of bringing the player. If you wanted to do 25 man raids you needed 20-23 really good players, 25 if you want to do the more challenging heroics. Now a system is in place that allows you to forgo a diluted experience and instead make something aimed at a very pure experience. This is quite a good development.
When I return I really want to make an effort to do a Flex raid to try it out. It should bring back the element of learning encounters (hell, even trash!) and interacting with people in a more consistent structure. And when it comes to preparing consumables and the like I will just have to bite through the sour apple. That's a dutch expression, in case you're wondering.
Well I'm actually a little stuck on whether or not I should do another part. I don't do PvP. Perhaps I'll dive in to the Legendary quest series once I actually manage to complete it. I've had horrible luck with those Runestones!
If there's a system you'd like me to cover in WoW, I'm totally up for writing about it in more depth. That way we can have some active discussion! Perhaps a question like "Why did Blizzard do this? Change that? Implement this crazy thing?" I love those kinds of questions; I see on fan site forums and the official forums plenty of people that don't get the picture of why Blizzard at least tries certain things out.