Looking in the mirror; the sickness that was WoW raiding.

Recently I was thinking about the time I put into WoW, especially the last year that I played when I was basically logging on to raid or prepare for a raid. At the time I knew it was a major commitment, but thinking back on it now I can’t help but realize it was basically addiction in the worst way. The more I thought about it, the more the rush of feelings and emotions crept back into my head, until three pages later, you have what is below. My goal with this post is not to condemn raiding, or to say all those that raid are fools. Simply put, its just something I needed to get off my chest, to put in writing so I could re-read it and fully realize what happened during that time in my life.

I was one of the main tanks for a top tier raiding guild, as well as an officer. At this time I was a senior in college and had a joke of a class schedule, having already completed my core classes. Our guild would raid 6 nights a week, 7:00pm to whenever we were done, which was usually 1-2am. The one night ‘off’ we did Onyxia/ZG/MC. At this time we could one/two night clear BWL, speed clear MC, 1 shot Onyxia, and we were working on AQ40 4-5 night a week. Along with being an MT, I was also one of the officers running our DKP mod, updating it when it had errors and generally doing all the behind the scenes stuff for the guild along with the other officers. This generally took anywhere between 1-3 hours BEFORE we organized the raid, and during the raid often ran the waitlist mod managing who goes in/out during the raid. My raid attendance was somewhere around 90-95%. The only time I would miss a raid would be if I was on vacation (rare) or due to some emergency (also rare). I planned movies/dates/dinners/etc around raids. If the guild had a good week and had made progress, we would sometimes call for a night off, and I would then fill up that night by going out, otherwise I was online. My character at the time had close to 2000 hours played, and if I remember correctly that came out to just under 4 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s an average of 28 hours a week, basically a part time job, and during the more drama filled weeks being an officer, it certainly felt that way. I maintained this type of schedule for about a year and a half, including close to 6 months out of college, when I was working full time.

And yet at the time, I always felt I could be doing more, that our guild was not progressing fast enough, that we were not learning encounters as quickly as we should be, or that our membership was not stable enough to push faster. I spent a good amount of time on our guild forums discussing ways to improve our progress and increase our pace. I remember getting frustrated with members who would not log on consistently, or who had to leave a raid halfway in. We knew exactly who our best healer/dps/support players were; we had the guild all-stars and we had the rest. I could take one look at a raid and know if we had a chance for progress or not, simply based on how many of our ‘key’ players we had that night. The players who like me were consistently online and put in the extra effort to read up on strategies and farm up potions/buff items. It was a constant effort to find those types of players to replace those that ‘only’ raided 3-4 nights a week, those that did not put in the 2-3 hours to farm up potions or read extensive strategy write-ups.

Whenever I did miss a raid, I would hear about it the next day; and at worst find out that the raid had not gone as planned due to lacking a tank. This guilt factored in heavily in making me log on. I felt that if I take a night off, I would be letting 39 others down, people who depended on me to be there. I prided myself on my consistence. Most of all, I did not want to act like the people who I was trying to remove, the ‘casual’ raiders who did not dedicate 5-7 nights a week to the guild.

At the time, downing a boss for the first time with the guild was the greatest of highs. When after weeks of attempts that stupid little life bar goes to 0% and we got our shiny epics. Vent would explode in a cheer from everyone, and not long after a post on the server forum would be made showing off our latest accomplishment. At the time, that feeling made all the work seem well worth it.

The next night, it would be on to the next boss, rinse and repeat until the instance was cleared. And then we would run it again and again, over and over, gearing everyone up so we would be ready for the next raid instance, to collect our next set of shiny new epics, so we could stand near the mailbox in Ogrimar and have ‘lowbies’ run up to inspect us, ask us where we got item x, or in some cases just flat out tell us they thought we are gods.

Ha, if only they knew…

And then one day, after a week of pure drama over progression or items or who knows what, I quit. I had had enough, and I realized, sadly so so late, that WoW was now 99% job, 1% fun for me. The only time I really enjoyed myself was when we downed a boss for the first time, and that happened perhaps once every two weeks or so. Near the end, everything else was work. Dealing with guild drama, judging new recruits, repeating a strategy in raid chat for the 1000th time, updating DKP, it was all work. I would often sit in our officer channel on vent, away from the rest of the guild, and along with the other officers just bitch about all the shit we do for the guild, and how the guild always asks for more. The phrase ‘if they only know how much effort we put into this’ was said so many times in officer chat it was not even funny.

After I quit, I transferred servers and joined another raiding guild, one that from the outside looked like it was more organized and filled with hardcore raiders. No more dealing with the ‘casual’ raider who misses raids; or any of that at all really, since I was no longer an officer. I figured I could just log on, join a raid, and have fun. Problem was, raiding itself was no longer fun for me. Even though I was seeing bosses I had never seen before, downing them was not fun. I felt like an outsider in the new guild, and really could not relate to them. After having played with the same guild for close to two years, I realized joining a completely different group of players on a new server removed that need to please others. A server first was ‘there’ accomplishment; I was just along for the ride. I slowly logged on less and less, until one day I just stopped caring all together and quit WoW.

It was at that time that I first realized how much of my time was taken up by the game. Suddenly I had all this free time with nothing to do. I would wander around the house like a zombie, looking for things to interest me. I played some other games, but nothing could hold my attention for very long. I started watching TV, something I had basically never done when I was playing WoW, and found it very boring. I would flip around looking for god knows what, and ultimately find nothing. Going out was fun for a time, but not being someone who is social 24/7, I soon found I needed that solo time to myself. That solo time that was now a void. It took a few weeks to ‘recover’ from WoW, to get my life back to where I felt normal. To where that feeling did not creep up that I need to log on, that it was getting close to 7pm and I needed to be home ready to raid. I’ve never been addicted to drugs, but if I had to guess, it feels something like that. That little voice in the back of your head telling you to do something, that itch that reminds you of what you once had, the feeling to log on and once again feel that rush you get from a server first. It’s sickening really.

Months later, I would go back and read the raiding forum, amazed by the pure stupidity posted. Reading about people doing insane things for marginal gain, jumping through a million hoops for a shred of carrot at the end of a very long stick. I would laugh, until I realized not long ago I was that person making the post. I was the one on the inside looking out, looking at all the ‘casuals’ and cursing them for their lack of dedication. And then I would feel sorry for them, because I knew at one point or another, they would realize what the game was doing to them, and that in the end, it meant nothing. All those server firsts, all the things that seemed so damn important at the time, they all mean nothing now. Instead of a trophy of accomplishment, they now represent a sick addiction.

I now look and wonder how many people are still stuck in that addiction? How many guilds with how many members are out there pushing the limits of raid content? Contend designed to be painfully slow, requiring crazy amounts of dedication and sacrifice. Because simply put, you can’t ‘casually’ raid. It’s just not possible if you want to make progress. It’s designed that way, and every developer knows it. They know that in order for the player to see Ragnaros, Nefarion, C’Thun, etc, they must put in the insane amount of time and effort it takes to reach them. The same is true now for the raid bosses of The Burning Crusade, including Illidan, the ultimate prize.

I’m very grateful I escaped that cycle, and would never go back to raiding. Even the thought of it sickens me; the thought of all the things I would have to give up to go back. Yet at the same time, I completely understand why those that raid do it, why they jump through those hoops. I’ve felt the rush of that success, and like anything in life you pour so much effort into, the feeling of success is powerful indeed. But like so many other things in life, it can consume you to the point of addiction. If gaming is a taste, raiding is the overdose.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in MMO design, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Looking in the mirror; the sickness that was WoW raiding.

  1. Ager says:

    It’s terrifying how much a game like WoW can consume you, for me it was really the idea that I was escaping to somewhere i’d rather be. Away from my boring life work 9-5 in an office, all the time I wasn’t playing i’d simply be thinking about the XP and Items I was missing out on.

    On a more positive note though, i’ve uploaded the scans of the Richard Garriott interview to download here. Its a pretty big file ’cause i’ve left them a decent size to look at the screenshots..



  2. Nuyan says:

    Awesome post. Reminds me of an epic topic on the WoW EU forums back in 2005 of someone being totally honest how a raiding game like WoW ruined a few years of his life, I curse myself for not having saved that whole topic, it continued for several months with 50+ pages of people making decent comments to it. It was probably the best thing WoW forums ever produced.

  3. Alec Bings says:

    Hey Syncaine, thanks for posting this. I never got into the raiding game because family commitments kept me from making sufficient game commitments. And although I intellectually knew I probably wouldn’t enjoy it, there’s always been a part of me that feels like I’ve been missing out.

    Now I know I haven’t missed out on much. Oh, I’d love a chance to see first-hand the content that’s been inaccessible to me, but not so much that I would enjoy the WoW raiding “work day” life.

    Oh for a game that doesn’t reward loyalty and time investment with only diminishing returns!


  4. Sean says:

    Great post, I can relate to a point, the month and half I spent with a raiding guild was an eye opener and because I was one of a few warlocks that was ever on I felt like I was being used, especially for the summons, etc…this was before the summoning stones and that…

    It is scary how much of an influence a game can have on peoples lives. I know it had me addicted from the get go, glad to see you came out the other side and can look back on it and learn from it.

  5. syncaine says:

    It’s interesting from the comment above to see other peoples views on the addiction. Keep them coming!

    I would be very interested to hear from someone who was also an officer in a raiding guild, as I really think that pushes the demands a game like WoW already puts on you to farther extremes. I think developers fall into dangerous territory when they try to please the min/max community that are so active on the forums. They make so much noise, yet represent such a small minority of players.

    If you look at the updates to WoW pre-BC, it was all basically pushing raiding farther and farther. As demanding as Molten Core was, BWL pushed that further, and AQ40 after that. It all culminated in Nax, the ‘holy grail’ of raiding at the time. If anyone ever raided Nax, you know damn well how stupidly demanding that place was. Sure it was well designed and the encounters were interesting, but looking back and seeing what Nax demands of you, and it really is scary.

  6. Link says:

    I had issues too balancing raiding with just about anything else. Logging into WOW felt like a job not the good times it once was. To be honest I enjoyed the raiding (sometimes) but the frustrating times outnumbered the fun. Good description of the looking out/looking in attitude.

  7. Drew Shiel says:

    Excellent article. I’ve been observing a lot of people who’ve “escaped” from WoW commenting on the relief of playing games that don’t demand so much time and energy.

  8. Lars says:

    Thanks for writing this great article, Syncaine! Though I am not a hardcore raider myself I know several people who are. And how burned out they are. It is really, really scary. But I wonder more than often if Blizzard shouldn’t be forced to act. Yes, it is the player who chooses how much time to play. But it’s Blizzard who decided to make WoW endgame such a team oriented time sink. The problem is that you must invest as much time as the rest of your guild if you do not want to be left behind. And no one want’s to be left behind in a community.

    BTW. I enjoy myself EvE, too :-) In EvE every player, newbie or pro, can bring something to the table. Even with my little frigate I can be useful as a tackler or scout.

    Maybe it’s time to rethink the whole concept present in todays fantasy MMORPGs in order to focus on a more casual and social friendly design.

  9. Lars says:

    What happened to my previous comment? :-(
    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for the great article. Very well written.
    Personally what saddens me most in WoW is the fact that I will fall behind if I do not invest as much time as the rest of my guild. I do not mind epics. But I do mind playing with other people. WoW, however, separates people imho.
    EvE solves this problem in a better way. In EvE I can be useful and play with the rest of our corp even with my little frigate (scout, tackler).

  10. syncaine says:

    I don’t delete comment Lars, so maybe the filter got it? Anyway you bring up a great point about the community aspect of a game like WoW vs EVE. Due to how EVE is designed, a casual player can remain in a Corp with hardcore players and neither will slow the other down. Not the case in WoW by any means.

  11. syncaine says:

    Seems the spam filter did get your first post Lars, I put it back in. I think you are the first ever ‘real’ comment to get spam filtered, so um… grats :)

    I do wonder sometimes how Bliz views its own raid content, as they indeed must know the amount of time it takes to get through. But I guess as long as they have an audience for it, they will keep making more.

  12. pvthudson says:

    I sympathize with the way you felt, i was in the same boat with a guild that my wife and I started. We have since come back, and we love to raid, but we arent leading anything and we do feel like outcasts in our guild, but we truck on. We just like to raid, but people matter too and we are finding that with our old friends scattered all over it is hard to meet new people

  13. Khan says:

    Great post! I have been an officer in a guild before. We were “casual raiders,” whatever that means. I agree on your observations completely – people honestly have no idea how much their officers do for them to make raiding work. We made sure we had potions, we had food for buffs, there was a viable loot scheme in place with tracking so no one felt burned, having little pep-talks about how we were doing, etc.

    I was also a participant in a hardcore raiding guild. It lasted a couple of months until a string of drama events soured me completely on staying there. I looked around for a little while to find another raiding guild but just saw more of the same. Then I started wondering why getting into a raiding guild felt like I was applying for a job. “Hello, may name is Khan. As you can see on my resume, I have excellent PWNage skills in my last position as Main Tank.” That’s when I decided enough was enough.

    I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’ll raid in LotRO. I’m 47 on my main now so it’s getting closer to a possibility. I’m listening carefully to the other raiders in the kinship though to see what’s involved. If raiding is the worst-paying second job ever (like WoW), I won’t be doing it at all.

  14. syncaine says:

    Hi Khan, great comment. The part about applying to a guild being a job interview is spot-on. We would review applications and basically break them down like any HR department would. “Hmmm yea, only 12 epics, I’m afraid the position you are applying for requires 15, but you can join our sister guild and gear up.”

    Actually, I might steal that idea and make it into a post…

    As for LoTRO raiding, from what I hear/read, its currently a lot more casual than WoW. You don’t need the perfect balance you needed in WoW, or even a ‘geared up’ raid. I would say give it a shot, as some of the stuff looks very interesting.

  15. Khan says:

    Hehe, steal away.

    Ahh, the dreaded “sister guild” offer. :)

  16. Trinity says:

    Great post! I can relate just a little bit because I used to be an officer in a casual guild that me and my friends from other previous MMOs formed. So of course when all of us – mostly casual gamers by your definition – hit 60, we turned our sights to raiding. The guild was split three-ways: 1) those who thought we should turn into a serious (translation: hard core) raiding guild, 2) those who had no interest in raiding, and 3) those who thought we could be a hybrid. In our case, it was this conflict that ultimately led to an implosion. We never made it to any of the 40-man dungeons so the hard-core raiders left for other guilds. I was one of the third set of people – I wanted to see the endgame content myself but a lot of the casual gamers in the guild were my friends so I wasn’t willing to leave them out in the cold. What’s really sad is that friendships were destroyed in the process. Looking back, I realize how childish and stupid and meaningless all the bitching in officers’ chat was and I can only hope that the others realize that, too. I’ll never know because I don’t talk to them anymore.

  17. Like you I was an officer in a raiding guild, I was also in charge of the guildbank and was co-guildleader for ages. I also maintained the signup/DKP site. Over a year and a half I helped guide the guild towards Ragnaros, Onyxia, Nefarian and into AQ40. Then when BC came out we progressed into Karazhan and Gruul but ultimately the changes from 40 to 10 to 25 man raiding meant the guild was becoming more like a job than my real job. Me and the then GM stepped down to let someone else handle the day to day affairs but we kept hanging about to offer advice, which was probably a mistake.
    To make a long story short the guild folded and rather than hang around I transferred to make a fresh start on another server. Now I am just a nobody raiding with a more hardcore guild and only logging on to raid or farm a daily quest or 2 for repair money or potions before logging off if I’m not selected for raids.
    I’ve been reading books like mad over the last month or so and I’m close to quitting the raiding-game entirely. If I do I’ll likely transfer back to my old server and join some old guildies who’ve started a very casual guild, just hanging about talking bullshit once a week is sounding better and better by the day.

  18. Weiss says:

    (Background info: Mage, 6/6 SSC, 3/4 TK before I quit)

    I quit for the same reason as you – raiding felt like work…I work full time and the last thing I Want when i come home after a long, tired day at the office is more work/stress.

    Burning Crusade bosses are serious business, no snoozefest like MC/BWL where you can have 10 people d/c and usually still win an encounter. in BC, even the simplest raid encounters in SSC/TK demand absolute perfection, and if a couple of people d/c or lag, or not focused out of the 25, the raid will usually wipe, even on content that we farmed over and over.

    In the end I simply had enough and called it.

  19. LadyPao says:


    I’ve read your OP a few times now, and feel it’s one of the finest and most truthful comments on WoW raiding I’ve read. I could have written it myself, except for the officer parts. I had offers to be huntard lead, but turned it down due to knowing I just didn’t have the tolerance and time for the drama that the design of WoW creates. But the raiding 5-6 nights a week last summer, in a very abusive, server-first kind of guild – that I did. Why did I ever subject myself to that?? Your title is the answer. I’m still surprised my marrage survived. I have a great man at my side, who saw me through this, and I will see him through anything he goes through (god forbid it’s anything this nutty).

    I haven’t played WoW in over 6 months, and I finally cancelled my account a few weeks ago, after realizing I was hanging on only for nostalgia’s sake. Hoping somehow the good times would come back. Karazhan killed our guild of ‘casual raiders’, and it dissolved. All my in-game ‘friends’ have dispersed, and I’ve realized they aren’t really friends after all, just ephemeral ones.

    After I bring my LM to 50 in LoTRO, I will probably return to single player games. After guild drama, witnessing the crudeness of players, the lack of manners, the self-centeredness…I’m just done. Raiding is so not worth it, altho I will never forget the excitement of my first MC raid – “OMG, this is so cool! 39 other people all working toward the same goal and having a good time! OMGOMG!” I was literally shaking with excitement. A good memory, among all the grind. WoW was a very interesting journey, very interesting.


  20. syncaine says:

    Yea the hard part about the whole raiding issue is that when you break it all down, nothing beats the feeling of a server first kill. The rush is unlike anything you can really experience in a game, online or off.

    The problem is, you have to sacrifice basically everything else for a shot at that rush, and unless everything is lined up perfectly, most people can’t afford that.

    So while I will likely never raid again, the memories of it certainly are sweet.

  21. french wow player says:

    Nothing to add . I just love these post . So true

  22. Casper says:

    I have never raided (too old I suppose) but both my sons are. And I can sense the addiction. Whenever you visit, they sit behind their laptops not able to take their eyes off the screen. What a waste of energy… and they’re both married – who knows what strain this put on their relationships.
    If you could channel this energy into an online business, you would make a lot of money and build a life, rather than wasting it.
    Oh well, just my penny’s worth …

  23. Zeb says:

    I just found this thread and wanted to tell my tale of WoW misfortune. My wife and I bought WoW for our son last Christmas. His younger brother became interested and got WoW in January. My then-wife got interested and bought it in March and by August I was divorced. She began playing for 10 to 16 hours a day (sometimes more). She often stayed up until 3 AM playing. The house became a disaster, the kids started failing in school, their lives became overwhelmed by WoW addiction. Her WoW “friends” soon became phone friends, then email friends, then web camera friends, and now one of them is her “boyfriend” and is moving to my town from out of state to marry her. She still plays WoW locked away in her bedroom for several hours every evening, ignoring our 4 children. This Christmas eve was her night to have the children and she called me to come get them because they wouldn’t clean the house… why would they when their mom just sits in her room all day barking out orders to them and playing WoW? Fortunately my kids have seen what WoW addiction is like first-hand and they no longer want anything to do with that game.

  24. Richard says:

    Scary stuff man – I have had solo-game addiction playing Deus ex, Shogun, and KOTOR II to death (played KOTOR through for 60 hours first time – slept, shoved some food down and started playing again thinking how to do it better). The mad thing is, its being a newbie thats the good bit – it’s never as fun as the first time (okay, maybe the second…).

    Also if anyone put that amount of time into anything other kind of hobby or business, they would be world-class – Olympic standard rowers and judo players ‘only’ train 30 hours a week.

    …Not that I follow my own advice there of course, but still, it’s an interesting thought.

  25. max says:

    Frankly this is one side of the coin.

    At the moment I am in a guild that clears Black Temple and Hyjal weekly.

    I raid 4 nights a week, I log on 20 mins before raid, and raid for 16-20 hours a week.

    I will never raid more than 4 nights a week to avoid burnout. While I will admit that I must play on particular nights to have a chance at participating with my guild, I’ve sort of grown accustomed to it.

    I barely play when not raiding. I’m so used to raids that anything else bores the hell out of me.

    DKP systems suck. We just random roll and loot council, it saves all the hassle of tracking everyone.

    I understand what you’re saying, but with the new badge system and token system, Blizzard is letting people experience endgame with 3-4 nights a week of commitment, which is not overdoing it in my opinion. Its a hobby. And with bosses dropping 3 set tokens, per 25 people, you get geared up about 2 and a half times faster than the old 40 people 2 token system; 1 token per 20 versus 1 token per 8.

    Despite all this I agree that raiding can be time consuming. Farming materials sucks, and farming BT when its easy gets dull. Raiding sucks for the most part, but if you can get in the right guild and invest the right amount of time and obtain a decent level of rewards (to your liking), then it can be quite fun.


  26. flapjackandhowler says:

    I have been out for almost 2 weeks! lol. still going strong and no wish to WOW anymore. I don’t care how they change token systems, as soon as the 80 expansion comes out you will have better gear at like level 72-73, and all that time spent will be for nothing. All my areana gear will be useless. 3 years is long enoug. so long WOW. http://recoveringwowaddict.wordpress.com

  27. Scissor me Tibers says:

    So true flapjack, so true. Just like when BC greens killed Vanilla epics.

    Anyways, back to the OP. I’ve never participated in a raid because of all the horror stories i read and hear about. Being married now with two children would make it too straining and on top of that, I don’t want another full time job. When I get home from work I want to play a game and have a good time, not work my butt off again for another 4-6 hours just for a virtual rush. When 2.3 was released and PvP S1 arena gear was available to BG players, it took my interest and I started doing BGs for about 4 hours a night( I work the night shift so i stay up from midnight until 4am). The honor was adding up and so were the tokens, but under one circumstance: it was strenuous and boring. The PvP BGs just never really grabbed my interest. It became just like a job: you hate doing it but do it anyways to earn your keep. Plus, i guess i’m the type of guy who loves a game for it’s story and lore more than going against others in a free-for-all beatdown. And since WoW’s raids are what progresses the story, I don’t see myself ever progressing, so, goodbye to WoW(since December).

    Recently I’ve been playing LoTRO. I’ve heard several good things about it including that it’s not nearly as gear oriented for endgame and getting uber-gear can be done through crafting and farming rather than raiding or PvP(PvMP in this game’s case).

  28. Sapphiregem says:

    I am not a gamer but do share my life with one. Is Real Life so empty for some of you that you are/were willing to spend near 30 or more hours a week immersed in a game? What about friends, family, real hobbies? For me, pixels cannot replace my real life, however boring it gets.

  29. Gardogg says:

    Rant on all you like, but in the end, I don’t hear anyone complaining that their son who shoots 3 pointers, jumpshots, and layups in the driveway basketball court 6 hours a day after school, then goes to the fitness center and plays 6 hours 3-4 nights a week doing full court pickup games, then shines in his basketball career in school and perhaps goes to the NBA is a big time basketball addict wasting his life. WoW in my eyes is a sport. A team game for raiding. No diff than basketball. It takes practice, communication, and commitment. It takes a lot of time. If friends online aren’t real people playing a real game with you, then why is it you feel guilty when you are a selfish jerk to them? Or a ninja with loot? It’s a video game but that doesn’t make it a waste of your life. It’s a life learning experience no more than basketball. And for all of you saying you should be doing something meaningful with your life like partying, getting drunk, having sex, and making as much money as you can, how is that any more meaningful when you die. Money is not meaningful either. Only the good things you do and the light you spread in others lives to spread happiness is meaningful. And you CAN be a nice, selfless, caring, helpful player on a video game and make someone’s day all the time. That is meaningful. No different than tutoring a fellow student or giving pointers to someone on the basketball court. Who are any of you to judge how someone else spends their time?

    • Vala says:

      Gardogg, you may never read this, but I must admit, your post smelled of pure idiocy. You basically state it would be glorious to die at your keyboard playing WoW.

  30. Phaeth says:

    Ironically, just found this blog trying to find some articles that will help my guild prepare for the transition from the T4 instances to T5. We’ve been in existence for about six months and have through many trials and drama finally gotten to the point that we can start seriously challenging 25 man content.

    I really like all the comments here and find them reflective of various times within my experience in WoW. It is very likely an addictive passion, and have found myself slipping into that before I left my hard-core raiding guild. At that time I almost quit the game, but I agree – there’s nothing on TV that is interesting at all. Instead I’ve been working on building a guild that can be mature in their approach to the end-game content but still have some progression.

    What we do is raid three nights a week, have no dkp system but rather Class Leaders assign based on need, and have a guild membership cap of 40 accounts. Time will tell if this approach will work, but like Max’s comment – you have to limit yourself otherwise you will burn out. I’m not sure if progression will occur or not, it usually takes us two raid nights on any particular boss before he goes down. In any case, if you are to raid with our guild you must be content with being ranked low on the server as we’re definitely not going to challenge for server-firsts with our approach.

    Another observation that’s threaded throughout the comments is the fact that real people are involved here. For every avatar there is a real person with their own set of circumstances, hopes, dreams, lives and life goals. I think we owe it to each other to hold ourselves accountable to make sure the horror stories of people divorcing, leaving school or whatever don’t happen. The night I decided to quit my hard-core raiding guild we actually stopped a raid because one of the raid members wanted to score some ecstasy. The only thing that most had to say about that was – well he’s a better healer when he’s stoned. That’s when I knew we had gone way too far…

  31. syncaine says:

    Glad you found the blog Phaeth, and that it gave you some perspective.

    The class leader idea is a solid one as long as you don’t have major loot whores, which is something a casual raiding guild should be able to avoid. With TBC raiding, three nights a week should be more than enough to make progress (not the case in pre-TBC, especially in a place like AQ40 or Nax, but that’s history)

    As for the final bit, I went through similar experiences plenty of times, looking at RL issues from the perspective of ‘we need him in the raid’. Just shows the power the game has over you when you get in too deep.

  32. supa says:

    Great post, I do raid 3-4 times a week and feel even that is too much, although our guild has a policy to rest once every 4 weeks of raiding and we are on rotation, so I only raid twice in 4 weeks the rest is social raids like 10 mans and Gruul or Mag.

    Thanks for the great post!

  33. Moirissa (Terokkar) says:

    Interesting post, too true. I am an officer in a guild that has recently made it into T6 content (We are 5/5 hyjal, and 5/9 black temple). We raid 5 nights a week, ~5 hours a night.
    Warcraft can definately become an addiction. I am a recovering heroin addict (18 months clean) and I know exactly what addiction means.
    What makes someone addicted to something is the release of dopamine in the brain. When you take drugs, dopamine levels spike, and your brain wants more (Some peoples brains are chemically designed to crave it more, thats what makes drug addicts).
    When gambling addicts gamble, the excitement of the chance of winning releases dopamine. Warcraft (raiding at least) is the same thing. Craving that awesome new item for your character, or the new boss kill is the final dopamine release. The dopamine release of the kill, of the item, of the prestige on the server is the exact same chemical reaction in your brain as someone taking drugs, or having sex, or winning big in vegas.
    Those feelings you mentioned syncaine in your post, the longing for the game, feeling like you should log on at 7pm every day… thats your brain telling you that it wants its drugs. You see, once you wire your brain to respond to certain things (drugs, sex, WoW, whatever) you go through a physical if not mental withdrawal after you are not giving it to your brain anymore. but those symptoms go away after time.
    I probably shouldn’t play as much as I do, but I still love the game. I don’t mind the bullshit of people constantly bitching about DKP, or this or that and the other. If I didn’t enjoy it anymore, I would quit. I dont go into work tired some days from a late night of raiding because I dont enjoy it. I dont go to bed angry when people do stupid shit like stand in fire.
    Bottom line, if you feel like you are addicted to Warcraft, you probably are. If you don’t enjoy yourself, stop playing. I salute you for being honest with yourself and admitting that the lifestyle is not for you. The only person you will hurt by kidding yourself into thinking you still enjoy it is you.
    So thats my perspective on the situation, I’ve mentioned my credentials, I go to NA for my drug problem, and I play WoW for fun. If its fun play it, if its not, don’t.

  34. Moirissa (Terokkar) says:

    Sorry, laptop touch pads sucked, clicked the button didn’t think it posted it.

  35. syncaine says:

    Edited out the first post, no worries.

    If you don’t mind me asking, were you addicted to heroin while also playing WoW? Not to light at all of the drug, but it must have been damn hard to play not only while on it, but also when the craving hits…

  36. Moirissa (Terokkar) says:

    lol, it doesn’t work that way. basically once your body becomes dependent on opiates, you need to maintain a steady level of the drug in your system to keep from getting sick. (after a couple years of steady opiate dependence, maintaining is about all you do anyway) The spike lasts for a couple hours at least, so its not like I had to stop playing every 5 minutes to shoot up or anything. However, the getting, using, and finding ways and means to get more was what killed my wow attendance. I played hardcore before the opiates became a huge problem for me, and once they did, I pretty much only raided one or two nights a week (back when naxx first came out). Shortly after naxx I got arrested and sent to rehab for 6 months, where ironically I missed warcraft more than I missed my drugs! I got out of rehab and once I got myself caught up (the world was 70, and I was still lvl 60 with tier 2 and 3 epics when I got out), I found a raiding guild and started raiding full time again. I do play a lot more than I probably should, but I dont let it consume my life. I work a 9-5 job, I don’t let warcraft get in the way of at least getting 6 hours of sleep before work, and I stay away from the game on off days (friday/saturday) unless its to log on a couple hours to farm for the next week.
    And no, it wasn’t hard to play while high as a kite… Spamming frostbolts pre-bc was not a major feat. Waiting for 5 sunde

  37. Moirissa (Terokkar) says:

    sunders was not hard… staying out of fire, etc etc. I did well, but I do better now that I’m clearheaded. (I usually put out 1300-1400 dps on an average raid)

  38. syncaine says:

    Thanks for sharing, I was really curious.

    It does saying something about MMO’s when someone recovering from heroin missed a game more in rehab, but on a much smaller scale, I know what you mean. When I initially quit WoW and raiding, I had trouble filling all that free time, my days seemed amazingly long (was working a 9-5 as well). Now living with my gf, getting more serious about work, and just generally having more stuff planned week to week, my gaming time is greatly reduced, so much so that raiding seems impossible, but I’m very ok with that.

  39. Moirissa (Terokkar) says:

    Yeah, MMO’s are designed to be basically a second life, it takes up so much time, that if/when you quit it leaves a void, but its not hard to fill. I was forced to quit for 6 months while in treatment, and another 3-4 after that while I was getting my job/living situation in order to have a computer with internet again. I only had issues for the first couple months, and then it didn’t bother me as much, but when I was able to pick it back up I did. I will probably need to quit at some point if I decide to finish my education, but I’m just happy being independent and drug free, so if playing WoW floats my proverbial boat, I am going to play. I still hang out with my friends on the weekends, and frankly saving the money from not going out as much is nice.
    Some people just get carried away, and need to take a break. We spent all last night wiping on Archimonde, with no kill after a solid 5 hours (even though we downed him our second night on him, and then in one night the week after that) and people were getting so angry… Made me think a little bit if maybe some of them need to quit…

  40. Joeschmoe says:

    Yeah, when a game becomes a chore/job and not casual entertainment, you KNOW it’s time to go cold turkey. Even if you’re addicted to it like a drug. I don’t think I could ever feel “obligated” to play the game, even if I were in the guild. The game may be the most important thing to others in the guild, but for me…. Not a chance. I have real life obligations that actually matter, and any game would come very last on the list.

  41. elo says:

    Spot on Syncaine. I absolutely love WoW, play a ton, and the whole raiding burns me like nothing else. I’ve quit a dozen guilds and the game itself about 6 times over it. It’s so infuriating that I can spend Sooooo much time playing the game but because I won’t do the raid thing I’m just stuck. See, I won’t raid because I have a demanding career and don’t get to decide if I’m going to even come home any given night, let alone even the specific 3-4 nights/week that ANY raid guild requires. When I am home, I have a family, and where they can handle me playing the game for crazy hours on end, they can’t handle me on vent totally focused and unable to step away for 3-6 hours at a time. Things happen, you know like DINNER, phone calls, accidents, groceries, etc. that I have to be able to help with. Every night during the week is full of them, and then I have to be in bed by 10pm so I can make it to work on time and put in my 10 hrs there (12 with commute).

    So ok, I have a busy life and just can’t play MMO’s. Wrong. I can squeeze in 1-2 hours for an instance. I get every other Friday off (sometimes, lol) and on those days I play from 8am to 10pm, but again with breaks (lunch, pick up kids, make/eat dinner, etc.). It’s just random when my blocks of time come. But as far as total available time I have a lot. I’ve got 8 level 70’s, 1 in Kara gear (a ‘RAID’ considered a total joke but ruined 2 guilds I was in and REALLY pissed off my wife), and the rest in misc badge/PvP gear. Really if it weren’t for the PvP I’d have absolutely nothing to do in the game at this point, but that’s an aside.

    Sure, there are those that are into raiding, love it, and that’s really all WoW is for them. I would dare say there’s probably a hundred thousand or so that fit this bill… but that’s only 1% of the WoW player base. EVERYONE else is being tortured by this phantom that they want to participate in but can’t, I’m one of them, and I’m frustrated beyond comprehension over it. I would LOVE to even F’ing SEE Illidan but it just won’t happen. I never saw the end boss in BWL or even went into Naxx. I’ve seen one boss in SSC and that’s about it. They released the Sunwell crap and I was like… seriously? They blew all that time on another F’ing raid and then plop out one stupid rehash of a 5man. Sure the gear in MGT was good but what for?

    Everyone I know has alt upon alt upon alt. Every now and then, when a window of time corresponds to a guild Kara badge run going on I’ll join up. Look at the Raid roster… 7 shaman, a paladin and 2 rogues…. Then we discuss who’s taking what, and everyone swaps out to the classes they want to bring or are needed because EVERYONE has at least 3 options of kara ready alts. We’re seriously bored but like has been said, TV is lame, going out is expensive and can’t do it every night anyhow, etc. etc. etc…

    I don’t really think I’m addicted. Hell only played 40 minutes last night and 30 tonight. I certainly don’t feel obligated to play because I refuse the whole raid lack-of-lifestyle. Now, I do feel obligated when I’ve joined a group, or started a kara for instance that goes horribly wrong and drags until 2am. That just pisses me off and I swear ‘never again’.

    See, I need WoW because I HAVE to have something else I’m passionate and excited about other than my job. I love my family and do stuff with the kids, but I won’t dominate their lives either, they need to learn to have their own. Everything else I’m interested in would pull me more away from my family (more time away from home), and would cost 10-100 fold what WoW costs me. It’s like WoW has become the bane of the middle class, it’s the only thing we can afford to do…

    I could easily add 10 pages to what you have here, and that’s from a perspective of someone who’s never done it (ok, I did do the raid schedule for about a month, but that doesn’t really compare. It was just enough of a taste to figure out where it was going). But in the end, Blizz is making money hand of fist with this model and it’s just not going to F’ing change. Along with that they’ve beat the crap out of the gaming market altogether so it’s incredibly hard for anyone else to come up with something else.


  42. Joe says:

    I think you have made a very good post and have made many good points about WoW. I personally don’t play WoW (but I do play a different MMORPG), but for my friends that do play it, they are very involved in it and have had their schoolwork suffer, one had even dropped out of a semester at school.

  43. Jez says:

    It was a pleasure to read, I haven’t touched WOW for 8-12 months & would never go back. I thought I was readin my own post when I read the above. Nice to know I wasn’t alone.

    I must confess I have started playing LOTRO again as a filler, nice story lines, no rush to level… very relaxed.. I play for enjoyment & no real need for progress :) Seems to fit the bill.

    Anyways, thanks again for the above post.. although old now it still rings true years later.


  44. Da says:

    Main thing to take away “If its fun play, if its not don’t”

    What a great post! this delves deep into the human consciousness and what drives us. If you break WOW down into its basic emotional form, it is nothing but an egotrip/competition/addiction(as said above)

    It’s the same old who has the nicest car or the loudest stereo. Blah blah blah. http://www.wowdetox.com is a nice site to read also.

  45. Fenek - Lightbringer EU says:

    Once i was like you were – wanted to be on the top, playing near 12/7, raiding, farming till i get tired.Raids started at 8pm and ended at 2-3am but before them i was farming 3h each day to get gold for repairs and expensive flasks.Then, when the raid started, the most important thing was to get full t7 gear.
    Well one day i got lucky and joined a pug and got 4 parts of t7.5 from one raid.Not later i got almost full naxx gear and there was no reason joining a raid for naxx cause i got everything i want from there.
    Then i started logging in for raids only not to get kicked from the guild and stopped farming, stopped using flasks, didnt care about wiping or failing the guild raid.I realized that WoW isnt the most important thing i must think for.

    Months after i stopped playing this game i searched in google for people like me, who have brains and quit before its too late and im happy for finding this post :)
    Now im going to play Aion cause there are no raids like WoW’s, there is no need to farm and leveling is fun (no more 0.00000000001% drop chance for a quest item).

    Fenek – Lightbringer EU

  46. TalarynFalaris says:


    It’s really good to have read this article, and all the responses, because now I know what I have escaped – just in time I would say.
    I miss only one major element of WoW addiction in this thread – RP.

    I consider myself a good roleplayer. In fact, when I started playing WoW (About 2 months ago) RolePlay became my first priority, above leveling, farming, questing and so on. Because: I started with a trial account. I had 10 days of fun playing as a female Tauren druid, and when suddenly (I didn’t keep track of the days, it was summer vacation when I started) I got the message “Your trial account has expired” I shrugged and made a new trial account.
    Of course I had to fill false e-mailadresses and stuff. I think I played like 8 trial accounts total now.
    While on my second (or third) trial, I realized that leveling as fast as I could, didn’t really make sense: after all, the character would be inaccessible in 10 days. So I concentrated on roleplaying.

    I spent a lot of time RP’ing because it is so much fun to go to Goldshire (Earthen ring server) and walk (not run) around and talk to the people who hang out there. I had an impressive RP story with a in-game friend while I was playing as my human female (I am female in real life) lvl 8: we went through so much together. When I saw the expiration coming, I made up a story about my character being pregnant, and with a lot of preparation I made the step to playing as her daughter, night elf, just like her “father”.

    At this point I realized how much time went into the game. It was the end of the vacation, school was about to start, and I had to restrict my gaming time.
    Eventually, 2 trial characters later, I got an offer of my real-life-friend (15-year old WoW pro – does TotC and stuff easily, he’s the one who talked me into WoW btw.) to make a NON-trial char on his account.
    I was like: Cool! And I accepted.

    Now I have a cute blood elf (unavailable for trial accs) rogue who is second-in-command in our new guild. I did realize the guild (The Firewing Guards for who is interested) was taking something I called my “spare time” too (I knew, I knew, WoW should be called spare time too, but whatever), it was so much fun too. I was level 12 at that moment and some high-levelers joined too. Within 2 weeks we had a guild of 40+ people.
    Anyways, when the partner of my 21-year-old sister stepped by, he saw my guild documents, on paper, lying here next to the keyboard. He played WoW too, he said. We had a talk about addiction and stuff. I see him as the person who “saved” me from all the misery of raiding, guild meetings and stuff.

    Now, I have quit WoW for a while – at least a few weeks. Not only because it’s tentams week (I should spend all my time with learning) at my school but also because I wanted to take a step back of WoW. The friend of my sister insisted on deinstalling the game, and right now it is not installed anymore. I have to admit it – I MISS WOW! I think about my guild while cycling to school. I think about my dearest RP experiences while trying to sleep. WoW has become a part of my life and I am not really comfortable with that.
    In fact I still managed to not install the game again, but I could if I wanted to.

    Now, what do you people think? Should I reinstall the game when the tentam week is passed? Or should I try to sustain my “recovering from addiction” Which I think isn’t really the case?
    Looking forward to see your responses!

    Looking back at my post I forgot to say many things, like how addicting Rp can be (it can make you feel responsible – and makes you care for the other people), and how crappy WoW is IMHO in compare to single-player RPG’s, especially “The Elder Scrolls” games like Morrowind and Oblivion.

    Woah, long post now that I’m looking back.


  47. Anonymous says:

    Tis one of the reasons I have stopped raiding. Looking back it was:

    Learn/Farm Raid A for “X” number of weeks.

    Blizz releases Raid B.

    Learn/Farm Raid B for “x” number of weeks

    Blizz will then release Raids C-E, end of expansion

    And each time you are doing the same thing, farm this crap for weeks on end only to farm a whole set of different crap for weeks on end.

    Now the same can be said about 5mans, you don’t just do a 5man once you will run it again and again. At the very least though 5mans don’t consume as much time.

    Maybe it is just me, the “newness” of WoW is long gone. But I see the treadmill, I see the carrot and I just don’t care for it.

  48. Cliff says:

    When a game becomes a chore instead of fun, you know it’s time to quit. It didn’t matter in the end to me that I had a lot of friends in the guild. I was spending too much time in game and going cold turkey was the solution.

  49. StarOcean2087 says:

    Usually I skim through blogs, but this time I read the entire thing. You were very honest and made alot of open an honest points. Raiding is like an infection, a plague. This one guild trashes me here and there and encourages others to harass me all because on their app I said I had no interest in raiding.

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