“The true question, for my kind, is 'what is worth fighting for'?”
Part I: As A Raid Team
Three times a week, for three hours at a shot, ten people from the GoF come together to take on internet dragons and monsters. Three times a week, for three hours at a shot, we hurl ourselves time and again at these dragons, sometimes completing the same fight dozens of times or sometimes wiping dozens of times on the same fight. Why do we do it? Why do we not just say “oh well, I'm going to just go pick stuff from my farm in the Valley of the Four Winds”? What comes out of those dragons and monsters that is worth sinking nine hours a week – thirty six hours or more a month – that we feel is worth the time spent, the frustration, and worth fighting for to stay together as a team?
Ask ten different people and you're likely to get ten different responses.
Some people raid for the pretty purple pixels. Gear is one of the most obvious reasons to raid. People like to have something shiny that is hard to get. It helps you visually stand out from the crowd and proves that you've been there, done that. How many times have you inspected someone standing next to you at the Shrine and looked at their gear, mentally noting where the gear they have dropped from? I know I have. I do this even more if I'm in an LFR and someone is being particularly egotistical – I either scoff in my head that they only have LFR gear, or I sit back and think they just might have the right to be high and mighty because they have gear from heroic (insert current raid boss here).
Achievements are milestones that we can measure our WoW careers by. I find this especially true when the achievement comes with a title or mount. While I tend to use more modest titles – Guardian of Cenarius is my favorite to use – I will strut around town with titles like Savior of Azeroth from time to time because of the bragging rights that come with it. Watching those achievement points tick up and up proves that we're dedicated to playing the game, and playing it well.
The challenge of a raid itself is worth fighting for. To challenge oneself to perform better fight after fight, raid after raid, never gets old. Being able to waltz through a heroic dungeon isn't enough to keep the game exciting or fun...but the challenge of the raid doesn't fade because of the constantly evolving nature of raids. New raid content is introduced more frequently than dungeon content, and once you step in to raids you tend to outgear the new dungeon content fairly quickly and there's little challenge there any more.
There is crackling energy in a raid, especially on a progression fight (or particularly difficult fights you've already beaten) that is hard to replicate. The adrenaline rush gets addictive. To watch the life on a boss you have been working on for days ticking down that last ten percent makes you sit on the edge of your chair, frantically mashing your buttons and hoping for a win. When that victory comes, there's a rush of sweet satisfaction and exhilaration that is hard to equal. In a single player setting, you get that rush – but in a raid with 9 or 24 other people, your energy builds and bounces off each other creating a hard to equal experience.
Some of us raid to be able to explore all the content. Watching the story develop, feeling like you're a part of the story in some small part is so rewarding. I remember the first time my team beat Arthas, and it felt like amazing closure to an amazing story. We were able to see first hand what was built, what stood in the way – and almost more importantly, we were able to end it.
We fight to be a great raider in our own minds, on our server, and part of something greater than ourselves. Again, the measure of a great raider is different from person to person, but to be able to say “Yes, I am a great raider” brings satisfaction. Being able to help other people figure out mechanics, topping the meters, or pulling out that clinch play in a moment to succeed on a raid boss can prove to yourself, your team, or others is worth fighting for.
The glory, the prestige of raiding is the key for many people. Remember the hullabaloo when Algalon was killed back in the day when everyone hung out in Dalaran? I can't count the times I was sitting in Dalaran and saw that beacon in the sky and listened to the soliloquy when someone defeated him. Trade rang with the question of 'who did it'? Which guild did it? I swelled with pride when it was my team and my guild who was responsible for that. It was a rush. That moment of glory is what some people fight for. Watching your guild climb in the rankings on GuildOx and knowing you were a part of it is what keeps them going.
Most of all, no matter what the other reasons for fighting are, I find that friendship is the underlying thing that we all fight for. I was asking around my guild what they fight for in raid. My one guildie had this response, which I couldn't phrase better. “I fight because I enjoy it. I enjoy solving the puzzle. I enjoy the camaraderie that develops as we slog away, night after night. I enjoy the feeling the day after getting past that boss that's pushed us to our limits. That feeling of, 'I killed the Lich King last night!'. But mostly, I enjoy the friendships that develop with people that I would have otherwise never met.” I've personally met several guildies, past and present, in the real world. We had guildies at our wedding, one of whom was a groomsman. We have forged deep bonds of friendship that are just as real as those we have with people we see and interact with in person on a daily basis.
What in life is more worth fighting for than friendship?
Until next time, long days, pleasant nights and happy Raiding!