It’s been over a year since I’ve played the raiding game, yet it’s something that I still think about after doing it for a better part of my 20s.
When I first discovered raiding, it was like I had discovered some sort of fight club. Here were people that were super passionate about a hidden slice of the game, and it was something I could get initiated into with nerds like myself.
The grind within the game justified my focus on the raiding content, because at the time it seemed like the desert you earn for eating your vegetables. Cutting my teeth raiding in Burning Crusade meant that if you were in a raiding guild, or knew someone who raided, you could instantly assume some things about their skill, and familiarity with the game.
At one point, raiding was the pinnacle of content in World of Warcraft, and now I see it as a rote. Stratifying the difficulty and the rewards have made those the focus of raiding instead of the historical high quality of the content. Raiding tumbled to the least common denominator in what seems like a blink of an eye in Warlords of Draenor. In all honesty, raiding has had no major creativity breathed into it for a long while. To me it seems like it has been optimized to death.
I have no idea why I’m even thinking about it still. It’s holds a weird sense of nostalgia for me, but it’s for something that exists so transformed from what I loved about it initially. It could be the caliber of player that the game focuses its attention on, or some other je ne sais quoi. I suppose some of it is the ease of success in the game now relying on diminishing returns of probability, compared to what felt like things that could be overcome by skill or creative thinking.
It’s a situation of “you can never go home again” where I have grown as a person, and I have learned to set aside my toys as I discover myself and challenge myself with new things. A part of me just wishes that the game could have grown with me. World of Warcraft was at one point more than just a game, it was much more than the sum of its parts. Now it just feels like a convoluted caricature of itself, and instead of growing as a medium, it actually regressed into something lesser.
I love you World of Warcraft. I hate you World of Warcraft.