Blaugust Day 27: The Worst That Could Happen When “Raids” Hit GW2

Yesterday, as all the leaked news spread across Reddit increasing the hype level, I scribbled down a blog post draft at work, reacting to the cheap trigger word of “raids” and explaining why I have an almost illogical and irrational emotional response to the term.

(Bottom line: Old memories of a time when I was definitely less mellow, more prone to acting on obsessive/hardcore behavior that did not prioritize anything but “winning” and concerned with looking good in the eyes of others.

In other words, if you give me a typical raid setup, I’m liable to do my best to climb the ladder all the way to the top, to hell with rl priorities like work, sleep, eating, hygiene, whatever.)

Then I promptly forgot to bring said scribbled notes home to expand into a post.

One TV show, one good meal, one warm shower, one series of guild missions and a nice long streak of Trove-playing plus old TV show watching, revisiting Steam game Recettear on a whim and 8 hours of sleep later, I have mellowed down to the point of almost treating the whole thing like a non-issue.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am still deadly serious on one thing.

If the raids in GW2 are done badly, if they are designed in such a way that they promote increased player toxicity, a worsening community, and a personal impulse to act obsessively at the expense of my other real life priorities, I -will- be quitting the game that I no longer recognize.

But that statement is not meant to be read as any kind of histrionic threat (not that Anet would care, they’re not even a sub game, y’know?) but more as a statement of fact that it would be in my best interests to do so.

It’s just like if, for example, I knew I had a gambling problem – if I was addicted to lockboxes and due to however my brain was wired, unable to control myself from exceeding a reasonable budget at the expense of my real life, then it would be in my best interests to not even come near a game that offered that sort of thing as a design choice.

I did it once before with City of Heroes and Incarnate raids, after all. I just didn’t enjoy the gameplay. I didn’t appreciate that group content gave exclusive rewards that soloers couldn’t strive for, essentially “forcing” players into one style of play. The community had taken a u-turn since the implementation of loot systems and tiered raids were the culmination of that. Ultimately, I just threw up my hands and quit, rather than make myself and others upset by ranting and raving and writing walls of text on why the devs shouldn’t do X or Y.

Part of the fear and gut reaction to the prospect of quitting is this holdover idea that one needs to be “faithful” to a particular MMO, that an MMO is for life, that one has invested -so- much into playing a particular game that it’s hard to let go.

Last night rather nailed it in that there are so many other games that I could be playing and occupying my time and attention with, that I shouldn’t have to even worry at all if I find one game no longer suits me.

So this Saturday morning, as I scramble to catch up with all the belated Blaugust posts that I consciously chose to put aside to prioritize work + games on weekdays, in the more logical light of day, I am finding it all a relative non-issue.

Yes, I would still feel a little sad if the game I loved took a turn for something that I no longer enjoy or recognize. I would be saddened to break social bonds that had formed as a result of the game and leave those communities for other horizons.

But you know, it’s not like it is something that anyone is immune to. Even the big kahuna World of Warcraft has had periods of big sweeping change, and I’m confident to hazard a guess that each time, it knocked loose some people who could no longer enjoy the game it had become.

So, even while I’m hopeful that things won’t be as bad as my irrational emotional fears are making things out to be, an honest, pragmatic look at the worse case scenario that -could- happen reveals that even that situation isn’t the end of the world. Just the end of me playing one game.

(Which does sound scary and final, similar to how the phrase “losing your job” might stir uncomfortable emotional feelings in the pit of one’s stomach. Realistically though, it’s not like that one job was IT, there are many other jobs out there that one could also be doing – and after an initial period of pain aka limited funds, the goddamn job hunt and interviews, etc. – one might find that the next job turns out better than the last.)

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Birthday, Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 27.

3 thoughts on “Blaugust Day 27: The Worst That Could Happen When “Raids” Hit GW2

  1. It’s just funny with GW2: I’ve never seen a game with so many completely different Big Ideas in just a few years. There was the manifesto: no grind, play just for fun. Then came fractals, ascended gear, and infusions, and the vision was now about grinding a narrow range of content for mastery. Then the living story version 1: every day is a holiday! Then version 2: personal instances to grind for mastery achievements, and new zones full of highly structured group events to grind for gear and achievements. Now we get the Heart of Thorns model: living story version 2 plus alternate advancement and raids that gate the objectively best armor in the game. (Best stats, plus respec your armor on demand.)

    It’s amazing, really. I can’t think of another MMO that has managed to move decisively in so many completely incommensurate directions in just a few years. But the upshot is: if the HoT direction doesn’t work for you, just wait 9 months or so for some kind of currently unpredictable new direction.


  2. There is a reason i play GW2 only in a very casual way. My “top tier” gameplay i get in another MMO (TSW), where the experience (as well as combat) are much more consistent, without feeling as grindy as GW2.

    Also on the raids, i am very much amused about the “nobody has to wait for a healer” statement. This is true, as in other MMOs, where you generally not wait for healer but for a tank. Most communities are very toxic against anybody tanking or just trying to tank, making tanking a very unpleasant experience. Then they wonder why there are too few tanks around… But alas, GW2 now from what i gathered (my information may be flawed, so please correct me if i am wrong) two of the nine professions (Revenant and Warrior) will have a taunt available after HoT, along with appropriate “agro mechanics”. So effectively you now two of the nine classes are tank-classes, have fun waiting for them for the raid. (I’ll still be roaming the normal PvE areas with a story mode dungeon once a while and doing my high end content in another MMO, lucky me. 🙂 )


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