Why do you raid? To experience the content? To throw yourself at difficult content? To see the bosses, the fights, the lore behind them?
“See the content” is brought up repeatedly by nearly every group I’ve ever spoken to. Bloggers, readers, commenters, guildmates, they all want to “see the content.” What does that mean? What do you mean when you say “I want to see the content”?
I’ll tell you what I mean, because this is my blog and I can say what I want. STRAWBERRY MARSHMALLOW KITTENS.
Raiding, to me, is a puzzle. A strategical and tactical scenario that needs to be planned for, prepared for, and then executed with as much precision as one can muster. What the story is, what the bosses happened to be named, are completely irrelevant.
Last expansion, Magister’s Terrace featured Kael’thas as the final boss so that far more players would be able to see this major lore figure. This is something I can appreciate; there is a great deal of story and lore in this game that many people get quite attached to. I mean, there are die-hard Kael’thas fans out there who were, at best, “disappointed” with TBC.
To me, lore and raiding are mutually exclusive. I don’t raid to see great characters, I have no desire to fight Arthas on the grounds of “hey look it’s Arthas!” I have no interest in fighting Yogg-Saron just because “he’s the old god of death omg!” When I wipe to hardmode Northrend Beasts, I’m not thinking “Gormok is killing us all, this is awesome”; rather, I’m thinking “We’re wiping to a hardmode fight at the pinnacle of current raiding, this is awesome.”
Let’s go back to Kael’thas. He’s a major lore figure, blah blah quest lines character this that and the other thing.
If Kael’thas had instead been a featureless blue cube named “Final Boss” and had abilities called “Phase One Ability” and “Phase Two Ability”, the fight would have been exactly the same to me.
This isn’t to say the lore means nothing to me. I loved the whole Wrath Gate/Undercity thing just as much as everyone else. I appreciate a good story, a good quest chain, just like any normal person does.
But when I raid, it’s not about that. It’s about strategy. It’s about positioning.
When the faction champs fight comes up, I’m not thinking about the evolution of the alliance and horde, the friction between King Wrynn and Garrosh. I’m thinking about how we’re going to handle the resto druid, who we should have the rogue lock down, where to put out our initial crowd control and so forth.
The Battle for the Undercity would have been significantly different if the whole thing was simply summed up in some quest text. The whole idea of “show the player” rather than simply telling them about it is a fantastic one, but when I sign up to raid, I’m signing up for some raiding, not story time with Yoggy.
This isn’t intended as criticism, this is imply how I raid. Flame Leviathan isn’t the big ol’ guardian of the entrance of Ulduar, he’s That Vehicle Fight. Ignis isn’t the forger of an unstoppable army of iron, he’s That Boss With The Interrupts Where I Get To Use Fire Ward A Lot.