No, I haven’t done any raiding yet – I’m still working my way through TBC content – so this is based on what I’ve read on various forums, blogs, etc.

It appears as if one either loves it or hates it.  In order to participate, one must be a fully, appropriately-geared character at the maximum of their ability.

Anything less will either get you kicked from a raid group or not invited to participate at all.

There is no such thing as a “casual” raider because if one does not meet the requirements, there is no chance of progressing through the content.

I’m not familiar with other classes other than the Hunter, but apparently there are only two talent trees suitable for raiding – MM or SV.

Beastmaster is useless because the DPS of the spec cannot come close to either of the other two, so if you want to raid BM must go.  This is a hotly debated issue but according to what I’ve read so far, if you’re BM you’re out.

Here is the problem:

One of the appeals of WoW (to me) is the “freestyle” way it can be played.  I can choose which quests to do, what instances to run, etc.   I can pick and choose which gear and weapons I need at the time, try something challenging or just do a little farming if I want something simple.

Not so with raiding.  The gear, specs, gems, etc. for each class has been painstakingly calculated with spreadsheets and tweaked to squeeze every last decimal point of DPS.  Many raiding guilds require an application to review your Armory and statistics to ensure you conform to your class standard.

If you’re lucky enough to get accepted, then it becomes a huge time commitment of several hours over 4 or 5 days a week not including strategy meetings, performance reviews and post-raid assessments.

Not to mention trying to co-ordinate 10 or 25 players.

Are we having fun yet?

Yes, many players enjoy the challenge and all the related “administration” that gets dragged along with raiding.

But with such narrow requirements and no room for error one must, in effect become a “class clone” to participate.  Player choices get thrown out the window.

Of course, one can choose not to participate.  I don’t have any issues with the players on either side.  What bothers me is not being able to experience content I’ve purchased because the game mechanics force these limitations.

Perhaps I’ve only been reading the negative about raiding (or that is what is written about the most) but it seems to bring out the worst in people, not the best.

Guilds splitting up over hardcore raiders vs casual players, players getting kicked out for mistakes, stress breakdowns, a Greek Chorus wailing “Endgame!” – all sorts of drama.

On the bright side, I don’t play 24/7 so I doubt I’ll ever be “good enough” to join a raid group – I just hope there will be other things to experience in Wrath of the Lich King and the upcoming Cataclysm – something less stressful and – dare I say it? – fun.

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