LFR Killed the Part-Core Raid Star
Ive come to mourn. I’ve had three pretty big “revelations” (though probably they only warrant the word “realizations”) recently regarding (unintentional alliteration; accept my apology) my relationship with WoW and MMOs in general. First, though, I promised a tale of a struggle versus dastardly foes, and I’m happy to report that on Monday night, my guild downed the second boss…
…in Ulduar. That’s right. We didn’t even attempt Dragon Soul. The raid comp and signups were garbage, the raid leader had had a legitimately bad day with her dog becoming emergency-room sick, and we couldn’t get the two PvPers (one of which is the good druid healer/dpser) to join us. Right as I was throwing in the towel someone said, “Let’s do Ulduar!” which I grumbled about but agreed to do.
We had 11 interested, so we decided to do 25 man. We blew through FL and XT and decided to go right and visit Algalon, who I’d personally never even seen. He was awesome looking, and the encounter was really fun – except we couldn’t down him. We couldn’t down a level 80 raid boss. Our dps was stupidly low – I as a tank was about two dpsers (out of 7). We had two healers – my wife and the bad shammy – and the bad shammy died to literally every single big bang. He simply COULD NOT get into a black hole. Many of the dpsers were standing in the cosmic slash like it was no big deal, though falling damage is percent based, so they’d still get whammied upon hitting the ground.
It was, honestly, embarrassing. It was also a sign. I’m going out of town tomorrow, and I think when I get back that’s going to be it for this guild, and probably for WoW until the next expansion. We’ll see; I’ll have a clearer head in a week.
Now, the revelations:
1: I don’t enjoy playing games by myself any more, even single player games.
I’ve bought a lot of single player games during steam sales. A shameful amount. I’ve always had a tendency that, when I’m sure I can beat a game, I just lose interest and, eventually if I don’t finish quickly enough, stop playing it. It’s happened over and over; eventually, I get curious and return and finish some of them, but less and less recently. It struck me with Mass Effect 2, then Civ 5. I’ve played so many co-op shooters and great Civ 5 games with my wife that I just don’t enjoy playing alone any more. This is pretty much in line with Koster and McGonigal’s game theory, who state (respectively) that once you learn a game’s pattern, it gets boring (so I lose interest) and that playing with people makes most games more fun.
So that’s a problem, since I don’t really like strangers, because I’m becoming co-dependent on my buddy and my wife for entertainment (or my brother-in-law in Portal 2’s case – finished in 2 nights). I’m not certain if it’s a genre issue in that I’m just sick and tired of shooters and (mmo)rpgs, which may be the case since I did play all the way through Limbo and Bastion, but I don’t know.
2: Many of the things that used to entertain me now frustrate me.
WoW and Civ 5 are great examples of this. I used to take failure in stride, but recently I’ve become very annoyed by various types of failure. My theory is that since I’m not doing satisfying work (I’m taking from McG again here) in my “real” life, I’m more invested in my “play” life and thus feel it’s higher stakes. In NY, I didn’t care about wiping for hours or letting my first settler get killed by goddamn barbarians (I may have restarted anyway, but I wasn’t upset about it, just a bit self-peeved at my arrogance of sending them out undefended). Now, though, I find myself feeling enraged over things that I can intellectually see are trivial but emotionally feel like major losses.
I don’t know if any full-time job would solve this, either, since I’d obviously prefer to work in a job I enjoy (teaching). This situation worries me because at the moment I’m apparently (by local school district’s definition) over-qualified for public school, but (by University’s definition) under-qualified to teach full time at a college. Stuck in the middle, I have few options but accepting my part-time condition or dumping tens of thousands of dollars into getting a PhD that may or may not actually help me in this geographical area.
3: I think I may not be part-core any more, but actually just be casual.
Though I’m fully aware that it may be tied to any of the above situations, I just don’t have it in me any more to raid seriously. In the past, it was easier to find like-minded individuals (and here comes the relevance to the title of the post), but nowadays, it seems harder than ever. I think, and the few people I’ve run this past feel it’s a sound theory, that LFR did this unintentionally. Before I go further, let me say that I have no problem with LFR; I’ve never done it myself (and won’t) and have heard mostly good reports, so unlike my comments on LFD (which I abhor), I’m not complaining about the LFR design or implementation. However, I think its existence has mortally wounded part-core raiding.
Everyone raids for a variety of reasons, but let me oversimplify to keep from making an exhaustively long list. Hard core raiders do it for the achievement (not in the game sense, but in the worldly sense). They do it to overcome a difficult obstacle; to be among the few who could. Casual raiders do it for fun, to pass the time, and to spend time with friends. Part-core raiders were somewhere in between. My and my buddy’s primary reasons for raiding were to see the content, to experience the fights. With LFR, a player can do that without batting an eye; how many people have downed Deathwing already in LFR? Many, I’m sure, since even some of the most baffling bad players in my guild have done so (as well as all of the good ones).
Why struggle? If you can see the content, get the gear (not mentioned above but surely a motivation for people of all raiding classes), and overcome the challenges (as low a bar as they may set in LFR), then why try to do it the hard way in real 10 man or 25 man? There really isn’t a reason, and there you go. I might as well just queue my 10 man raids up for LFR (and it’s been suggested before); we’d get to see the content, we’d be playing together, and we’d have fun and success.
So like video and radio, it seems that LFR has killed Part Core in WoW.
Stubborn (and resting in peace)