I’ve been a raid leader for a long time. Actually, since The Burning Crusade, when I still played Alliance, up through the first two weeks of Firelands in Cataclysm when I finally cancelled my subscription to World of Warcraft. And now, playing Rift, I’m in a raider position. It’s a good change for me, but I imagine that I’m always going to have a sort of “back seat raid leader” type attitude. Not completely, not in the way of, “Well, you need to do it this way,” but in the manner of seeing things that are going on and seeing how they might be fixed. But I definitely don’t miss raid leading. But I know that I need to contribute with the raid and help us get bosses down, and keep going. If no one says it, points out the problems, they don’t get fixed. And that’s one incredibly valuable piece of experience I can bring from having been a raid leader – that people don’t speak up. Someone must needs take that step.

Raid Frames

But, as I said, I’ve led raids for quite some time. Almost three years straight, actually, with only a small break between Burning Crusade and Wrath, and for a bit during late Ulduar/early Trial of the Crusader in Wrath, anywhere from two to five nights in a standard raid week. That’s a lot of raids. A lot. So, when the time finally came that I was taking a break from WoW, I had some reasons for it – the primary being that I needed to remember how to be a raider instead of looking at it from the RL’s perspective all the time. I don’t think one can raid lead effectively without remembering what it’s like for those raiders, and what perspective they have.

Now that I’ve finally officially decided to quit WoW, I can only say that I’m happier in my position now. As much as I’ve loved raiding with Gerudo, Honor of the Goddess and Liberty, and as much as I’ll treasure the memories I’ve had from raiding with them, it’s past time I go beyond that. The funny thing is, I’ve never intentionally gone about raid leading; it’s always just a position I’ve found myself in one way or another. Likely because people don’t want that kind of responsibility. Raid leading is definitely not the most “fun” part of raiding, I can tell you. As Borsk said, your raid leader is the one that “gets to see the disappointed tells and sighs.”

In my own right, I’ve passed this torch, and knowing the guild, to someone very capable of managing it. But… the torch, in my hands, was nearly burnt out. Personally, I was done. And had been done for some time. I actually wrote a post back in August of last year, with some thoughts on raid leading. Aside from my last statement in that post, I still stand by it. Would I raid lead again in the future? Perhaps. But I don’t know that for sure right now.

In a strange way, I miss it. I miss WoW, too, but not for the game itself. The game, I’m done with at this point in time. To tangent a little bit here, Oestrus brought up some good points regarding 600,000 people quitting the game. I wasn’t in the “it’s just numbers” camp, but I also wasn’t in the “sky is falling” crowd, either. There was a definite decline in the number of people playing, and at that severe a degree, it pointed to something wrong with the game itself. And then later, when there were even more cancelled subscriptions, it was a weird feeling to say that two of those accounts were mine. I still feel that this is, in part, due to Blizzard attempting to cater to too many different crowds. I also feel that this is because of this being an era of instant gratification.

I actually was playing a Guardian character a couple days ago, to try to get past my annoyances with the faction, and there was a conversation in the general zone channel. Someone (a trial) brought up the point that it was annoying that there are rifts and invaders killing quest NPCs and generally disrupting gameplay in Rift. To which my response was to the effect of, “That’s the point. This isn’t WoW. Gods forbid there be some thought or challenge to it.” You know what they responded? “That’s why Rift will never be better than WoW.” I beg to differ with the opinion, personally; I actually prefer the challenge, it gives the game some sort of variety while leveling, and disrupts the repetition and tedium that goes along with low-level questing.

This is probably also a reason why there are many subscriber losses to WoW – because things don’t change. After a month or three, the outside world becomes stale and repetitive. Fast forward an expansion or a patch, and in the long run, all you get is a change of scenery. Could the same be said for Rift? Yes, and no. On the one hand, you’re in the same zones, you’re doing the same quests, you’re grinding the same rep, and you’re killing the same bosses. On the other, there are always events that can change this. I don’t know that there’s a set time for the events to begin, but they’re always based on populous in the zone. Moreover, there are different events that can happen at any given time. And this is all excluding whatever world event there is at the time to go along with it.

To bring this full circle, raid leading is its own repetitive tedium. In most cases, you’re calling out the same things: Stack, spread, dispel, DPS swap, Tank swap, etc. The names of the abilities change, but on the whole, what you do from one raid tier doesn’t change much from the next, save for the gimmick encounters. This is part of why I needed to step down from raid leading. There’s no extra reward for raid leading, but you deal with a lot more in exchange for doing so. There’s definitely no experience like it, though. It’s not an experience I’d trade for anything, if I would now trade doing it for something else. And I have – for being a raider.