WoW: How to Raid Endgame and Maintain a “Life”
MMORPG.com World of Warcraft Correspondent James Alderman writes this quick guide to balancing your real life with raiding in WoW's endgame.
In my last article I talked about how to prepare your character for a raid. This week I’d like to discuss how to raid without raiding taking up all your personal time. One of the most enduring myths in regards to MMOs and specifically endgame raiding in World of Warcraft is that in order to get anywhere in instance progression, you must sacrifice 40 hours or more a week, raiding every night; some have even claimed it is like having a second job, only one that does not pay.
In truth, guilds can (and have) progressed as far as Black Temple and Sunwell with only two or three dedicated raiding nights per week. How far one guild progresses as opposed to another depends entirely on how well the raid members work together as well as how well each individual raid member plays his or her class. The more nights a guild sets aside for raiding, the faster it will progress. For example, it is perfectly possible to progress into Black Temple with only one night per week dedicated to raiding, but it will take a lot longer to do so than if three or four nights were set aside.
The standard raid night for most guilds takes up between three to four hours of time. Some guilds have longer raid nights than that, and those are the guilds that typically tear through raid content the fastest. The more nights a guild spends per week raiding, the easier it is for their members to stay sharp and focused.
The key to being successful in WoW without it taking over one’s life is scheduling raids. Certain nights are typically less socially demanding than others – for example, Friday and Saturday nights are usually spent going out with friends, seeing movies, dates, events, and other social functions. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursday nights, however, are typically less active. Notice that these are sweeping generalizations, so this might not be true of everyone, but they are true of most people. Raids must be coordinated to fit the schedules of either 10 or 25 different people, so it’s important to keep in mind that scheduling for raids needs to fit everyone’s needs, not just a few individual’s needs.
Self-discipline is also important in keeping a distinct barrier between one’s real life and raiding life. There are several guilds on my server that push their members until they physically cannot stay awake any longer and keep raiding. These guilds raid up to 6 nights per week and are extraordinarily demanding of their members. While they have seen much success as far as reaching and pushing far into Sunwell Plateau, raids leave most members drained both physically and mentally.
I point this out to illustrate that in leading raids, it’s important to set limits. While it’s tempting to keep pushing or to re-clear the instance when mobs start to repop so one can get another few cracks at a boss, sometimes it’s best to simply call it a night and try again another night. One problem many guilds face from time to time is that of “burn out,” when players are simply so tired of a particular instance that they stop showing up, or even stop playing.
On one of the loading screen tips, it says, “Remember to take all things in moderation (even World of Warcraft!).” This is something to keep in mind; sometimes to prevent burn out, it’s best to cancel a raid. If many of the regular players in a raiding guild are getting tired of a particular instance, it may be a good idea for that guild’s raiding leader to instead schedule a different instance, or perhaps to cancel the raid altogether and give his or her raiders an off night. This is obviously not a practice that is directly helpful in downing a raid boss nor something that should be done regularly, but it is helpful in keeping morale up, especially if said guild is halfway through a new progression instance and there hasn’t been a new boss kill (or at least reasonable progress on a new boss) in weeks.
One mod that is very helpful in maintaining a regular schedule or in planning guild raids is Group Calendar. It’s a mod that adds a calendar to the clock interface, accessed by clicking on the clock in-game. This allows for the creation of events, with detailed description of said event, scheduling the time, and what restrictions one can put in place as far as who can sign up and who can’t. This allows everyone to keep track of what days and times raids will be taking place, as well as give the raid leaders a head’s up on who will be coming and who won’t.
It is also necessary to decide how high of a priority you wish to make raiding. Some players make raiding a very low priority and consider any night spent raiding free for doing anything at a moment’s notice. Others may choose to keep their raid nights free in order to ensure that they can log on. In all honesty, if you wish to see consistent progress, it is probably best to try and keep your raid nights free. Obviously, things such as dates and important family events are things that would take priority over a raid, but when planning to do things with friends ahead of time, it’s usually a good to consider your raid nights as nights where you are busy.
If you want to see some progression, then you must make raid attendance something of a priority, especially if your guild only spends one or two nights a week raiding. Raiding doesn’t require a fanatical devotion every night in order to make it to the highest instances of progression, but it does require some time spent and effort, so consistent attendance is necessary.
Keeping raid nights under control rather than allowing them to control one’s life is key to maintaining a healthy “real world” life. As long as you maintain a schedule and set limits, as well as goals, there’s no reason you can’t spend time raiding the World of Warcraft without it becoming your whole world.