I allowed myself to be sucked into raiding largely because I drifted into a guild that did LFR now and then, and because I completed part of the Black Prince’s quest chain by accident and thought “wouldn’t it be nice to do something like this while it’s still current instead of outlevelling it by five like we usually do?” There was also the small matter of the Warlock’s green fire quest, which has kept me in the business of raiding long enough to pursue a second legendary quest chain; lacking the hardcore skills to tackle the ghastly final boss of the green fire business means I’m trying to overgear it as best I can while it’s still current. If I have to wait until the Warlords of Draenor launch I’m chalking it up as a failure, but I accept that I ain’t going to be doing it at item level 490 like some of my super-competent friends have managed.
After months of running Throne of Thunder again and again and a-bloody-gain I’m starting to regret my choices. I just don’t think I have the patience for raids. Huge sprawling dungeon environments are fine if you’re a small group of friends exploring them and the environments themselves are dynamic and not all the rewards are arbitrary and random. If you’re doing it with at least twenty people you don’t know from Adam, many of whom are impatient and stroppy and don’t take kindly to people who play fewer or less vidjagames than them; if the environments themselves largely boil down to ‘kill monsters, then kill big monsters’; if the rewards are frequently ‘sod all’ and otherwise ‘well, this is a nice item but it means twenty minutes of sums and relogging while I reforge/gem/enchant to make sure my mandatory NUMBERS remain in the right places’ – in such cases as these the raid is not really worth the bother.
I like the Terrace of Endless Springs for grinding, though. Just enough trash to ramp up on properly, no arbitrary tunnels or huge caves full of randomly wandering trash that someone who doesn’t know EXACTLY how to move through will invariably attract and annoy the entire raid with, and the boss fights themselves are very close together, and their mechanics are all Interesting in some way. If you’re going to have something that’s just ‘boss fight, boss fight, boss fight, loot’, that’s the way to do it.
I also quite like the world bosses – there the onus is on you to choose which ones you’re going to do and whether you can be bothered travelling around all of them, and that’s dandy.
Finally, although I’m slightly weary of it now, I like the first part of the Throne of Thunder in spirit; the huge drifting ghosts, the walkways where the wind blows either down or across your path and you have to stick to the edges or teleport between the pillars, and even the boss fights have some fun stuff going on and some choices to be made. I just wish it were about half as long and didn’t have quite so many corridors full of bloody trolls that don’t really do anything interesting bar ‘be tough enough that you have to stop and start to get through them’.
I’d be a great deal more predisposed to raiding if… well, firstly if I hadn’t decided to do a legendary quest, which will involve doing the same raids over and over and over again, waiting for the stupid random item drops to show favour. That’s on me, though, and owning up to my own failings is par for the course around here. I’d be more predisposed to raiding if the currency rewards were ramped up and the stat-fiddling was less mandatory for even adequate performance, and if you knew that doing A RAID, just the one, would definitely get you SOMETHING that isn’t a ball-ache in disguise. What I’m suggesting is in fact that you go down the dungeon and get your valour points and get enough valour points to buy something nice when you come out of that dungeon.
There’s an aspect of the game which does work a bit like that, in theory, but we’ll talk about PvP some other time.