Perception of the in crowd

Question for raiders and non-raiders today.

For raiders: Is any of your motivation around raiding being able to show off gear the average player can’t get?

For non-raiders: Do you think raiders are motivated by gaining gear you can’t get?

As a former raider, I can safely say that the opinion of non-raiders was never a factor for me. We competed against other raiding guilds for server and faction firsts, but mostly it was just about gearing up and progressing to move our guild forward and provide our members with stuff to do.

We had an inside joke that I only talked to people with full epics in WoW (back when epics were something you did not start a character with) because that’s how little it mattered. If anything, the /tells we would get from people asking us how we got an item were more distracting than anything else.

As someone who does not raid now, I could care less what epic pony the latest boss drops. In GW2 the legendary grind was foolish to me, and I never looked at someone with one and felt jealous. It would be like looking at a 2000 ELO LoL player and being angry at them for having a higher rank. Bizarro world, or just me?

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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51 Responses to Perception of the in crowd

  1. Mekhios says:

    In my early days of raiding in WoW when we started getting kitted out in MC gear our guild would often have a crowd looking at us in Ironforge. Even more so once we gained BWL gear. I found it slightly amusing but not so amusing when I remember all the 2am raid nights we had to slog through to get to that stage. We were part of the “elite” group of raiding guilds on our server with a number of firsts. I remember we were the first guild on our server to complete a pre-sons Rag kill.

    A distance memory now as .. like you .. I am no longer interested in raiding. PlanetSide 2 and WoT are giving me great “raid” action now.

  2. thade says:

    When I was a raider (it’s nice to say it that way) it was all about seeing the content; getting gear was a means to an end, not the goal; not for me, anyway. It certainly was for some (or at least seemed to be) that I raided with, but many people I knew at least told me that overcoming the bosses and seeing the content was their motivator, not the drops.

    That said, intermittent reinforcement scheduling disagrees with my own assertion :) and I’d certainly be lying if I tried to say it wasn’t exciting to get an upgrade. However, raids I went into hoping for a drop were ones with fragile enjoyment; if I got a drop, I’d simply want another one, while if I didn’t get a drop, I’d not enjoy the run at all. When I started taking pleasure in seeing not just others in my raid group get upgrades, but in seeing my raid group succeed as a team in difficult events, I started enjoying it more over all.

    • SynCaine says:

      Hoping for a drop is completely different than hoping for a drop so someone near the mailbox thinks you are awesome.

      The first is a major factor of raiding. The second never factored in for me or the people I raided with.

  3. Asmiroth says:

    How does this apply when, in WoW’s case, anyone can be a successful raider? Entitlement isn’t to the gear but to the activity. All of a sudden the special snowflake of “I’m a raider” is somehow diluted by having a faceroller succeed on a nerfed copy of your exploits.

    I played top tier as well way back in vanilla and it was a clique. If you didn’t have a good rep with them you couldn’t raid. Now I can set my 2 year old to raid with the same looking purples but different numbers.

    Gear is a means to an end if you want to see content. People who focus on the flipside are in for continual disappointment.

    • Mara Rinn says:

      I was pick-up-group raiding in vanilla WoW. It wasn’t really that hard, the greatest challenge being (a) find people available for four hours in one sitting, and (b) able to not stand in the fire.

      I got a scroll of resurrection recently, and I was blown away by how “don’t stand in the huge pool of fire” is now “don’t stand in the little spot that is lit up for you”. And the game straight out tells you, “we are introducing this Blades of Light mechanic just to make you run around the outside of the room because we think that this makes the game more fun to play.”

      But by far the hardest part of raiding in vanilla was not the raiding, it was fitting into a clique.

  4. Gripper says:

    As a previous raider, I can say it was about the progress and working as a team to achieve the end goal. It was never about the gear, as it just enabled us to get to the end.

    Now I just piddle along and enjoy the ride…

    I want to enjoy the game and have fun – the raider lifestyle looking back on it was a lot of work to get what we needed to get to the end!

  5. reiytwow says:

    From what I can recall from when I was raiding the motivation was very much trying to be that unique and special snowflake that had something others didn’t. If raiding didn’t have unique rewards hardly anyone would do it since it takes so much organisation and time!

    • SynCaine says:

      You have to ‘recall’ how ‘you’ were feeling while ‘you’ were raiding to feel like a special snowflake?

      • reiytwow says:


        • mararinn says:

          You disagreed with Syncaine’s opinion. Thus anything you say is invalid :)

          Never mind that he has used quotations where he should have used italics for emphasis. Or that he deliberately misinterpreted what you were saying.

          I think he was trying to say that he doesn’t respect your motivation for raiding being the acquisition of shiny pixels, since anyone who is playing the game The Right Way™ would be motivated by the sense of achievement, having completed an activity which non-heroes find difficult.

          Of course being a hipster, Syncaine was into raiding before it was cool. Now that he is over it, he can’t understand why other people would subject themselves to the scheduling and commitment pressures of raiding in any game.

          But even when Syncaine was raiding, people who were excited about new gear drops, used DKP or had loot dramas were obviously not doing it right.

        • SynCaine says:

          I can’t tell if you are serious in misunderstanding every word I wrote, or just trolling on a very high level.

      • Anonymous says:

        Lol, SynCaine.
        Didn’t recognize trolling???

  6. bhagpuss says:

    As a non-raider I never gave the slightest heed to what anyone was wearing. Actually, I never really noticed. Occasionally I might look twice at a particularly impressive shield or a weapon with a particle effect but I was never interested enough o try to find out what anything was or where it came from.

    One of the main reasons i was never a raider, actually THE main reason, was that on the first few raids I went on the process of sharing out the loot at the end made me feel physically sick. I found it literally disgusting. I refused point blank to roll on anything, ever and logged out in a foul mood. Just the sight of people scrabbling over the shinies ruined the entire “fantasy world” aspect, something I took MUCH more seriously back then. I had a lesser but still significant reaction to loot in groups and often would refuse to take anything there unless we had discussed it in advance and getting it was part of the “adventure”.

    Seems weird now, but back in those days I really believed in the “reality” of the whole thing and any intrusion of out-of-character stuff spoiled it for me. I’m much more blase about the whole thing now, but the strong distaste for raiding remains.

  7. Rebecca says:

    I would raid even without the draw of loot. I want the experience, the challenge, the joy of overcoming something ridiculous. Vaelstrasz in T1 gear. Twin Emps. Vanilla 4-Horsemen. Any EVE fight. Shadow of the fucking Colossus. Artemis on max difficulty with one ship. I want big, epic, teamwork oriented experiences (ok, SotC doesn’t really count on the teamwork bit, but still). The loot was the least important thing, and other peoples’ perceptions of the loot weren’t even in my mind.

  8. As a raider back in the pre-historic days of MUDs (I remember an 8+ hour City of Brass raid once) my motivation was entirely to equip myself so that I was better, more useful, and more survivable in raids. It was the constant search for upgrades and replacements for items that got nerfed. (Which inevitably happened to the good stuff, as they never raised the level cap, so they had to keep a hard check on equipment.)

    It could be neat to get something really rare. I remember having the headband of 1000 eyes in TorilMUD, a head slot item that people would ask me about. It came from a tough beholder fight. But if it wasn’t the best in slot item for my druid, I wouldn’t have been wearing it, rare or not.

    Later, as a non-raider, I wasn’t really thinking about raiders unless, again, unless I saw something really interesting.

    Tangentially, I have always been a fan of cosmetic slots, and will save gear I like the looks of to wear in those slots. However, what I find interesting for cosmetic gear rarely corresponds to the best item I have.

  9. I will add that, in my 5-person dungeon career of the last six years, the equipment drops have never been anything of a focus. I can’t recall coming out of a group dungeon (or the few EQ2 raids I went on at one point) feeling down because I did not get a nice new piece of gear.

  10. saucelah says:

    Not necessarily about raiding, but there were a number of items in Glitch that just could not be obtained through game play. One of these items could still be received sometimes for uncovering major bugs: it was a musical item that could be listened to or played for others. I received one of these, and the one time I shared it in a crowded public place, the demands and the questions were a pain in the ass. I regretted making it widely known.

    If I’d had to wear the damn thing on my sleeve to use it, I would have just sold it off to someone else. That kind of attention in a video game saps my time to play the game and becomes an annoying burden more than a joy.

    When I see someone with something rare in a game, something I probably won’t obtain, I just think “oh cool,” check it out, and then move on. I think rares and unobtainable “you had to be there” items add flavor to game worlds. I do not demand that everything be accessible to everyone. Mostly because that takes away those “oh cool” moments.

  11. Liore says:

    Before I started raiding I would sometimes covet particularly neat-looking items that raiders wore in Ironforge. (The Will of Arlokk, the awesome snake staff from ZG, comes to mind.) It was almost entirely based on cosmetics and not gear stats.

    Once I started raiding, I never even thought about my gear in relation to a non-raider. Yes, I’d look at my character sheet and feel proud of some of my stuff. This item was won after a million wipes, or that item came from a boss that we weren’t even expecting to kill.. but it was all entirely about my own sense of accomplishment and not feeling better than Player X.

  12. mararinn says:

    My raiding characters would always have cosmetic gear to wear when out in town. Usually that meant a robe from one of the level 20-40 quests (one priestess of course had black mageweave, I am only human).

    The item rewards from raiding were only useful to me for making future raids more successful due to gear check encounters. My favourite gear for my warrior was the Valor set (which I later upgraded to the dungeon 1.5 gear through the quest series). That was her “out in town” gear, mostly because it was coordinated, did not resemble a plate mail bikini, and was only subtly different to Valor. I didn’t have people pestering me to be let into my guild or join my raids, etc. The knowledge of raid progress was entirely in-guild. It was stuff we did for our own entertainment.

    I like the homeless laundry approach to gear of my current characters though :)

  13. dsj says:

    I didn’t give a shit what anyone thought about what I was wearing when raiding…. my motivation was simply to be the best for my class (druid) in any of roles I performed in. The people whose opinions I cared for didn’t form them from looking at a character item/stat sheet.

    The same applies to Eve for PVP. I use the KB as a measure of activity and mistakes rather than an epeen demonstration of “elite” awesomeness both in evaluating myself and others.

    There is always going to be a group of people that will focus on the easiest way to measure something as sign of success or “elite” status — whether that is gold in bank, purples, or win/loss records. In general these people will be those without the desire or drive to really understand what makes someone successful either in raiding or a pvp setting. What made a successful raider in the past wasn’t the gear but the attitude of pushing to excellence. The gear was the result of the effort and skill not the reason for completion of the raids. WoW is what it is today because most people can’t tell the difference.

    Whether you have the “epics” or not it is a failing to assume that what is most visible is any real measure of “elite” status or success.

  14. Phedre says:

    A non-raider here who thinks it is mostly about gear. I never played WOW, but my personal experience with raids is that it involved standing around for a long time gathering the people, and then mostly standing around a long time pressing 1-2-3 without really knowing what is going on. And all that so that in the end you could get a special shiny. Small group content always felt more fun and challenging to me. But I’m glad others enjoy it, and it is nice to see a player with special uber equipment coming into town.

    Interesting side observation. All comments except for two are from ex-raiders. A few posts back was the discussion about the number of players that partake in raid content. It was somewhere between 2 and 10%. According to the comments here it was about 80% a few years back. And 0% at the moment.

  15. In the days before Achievements and Gearscore, gear was an indication of what you had accomplished as a player/guild.

    If you thought beating The Black Temple was an feat, then seeing a player in full tier gear with twin warglaives was impressive.

    Naturally we are all too cynical now to give two hoots about players outside our guild and recruitment pool, but I find it unlikely that no commenter on this blog ever had gear pride/envy. We are social animals after all…

    • SynCaine says:

      But do you think said player in full BT gear got it so you were envious of his twin glaives, or because that gear was part of his and his guilds progression?

      • lostforever says:

        “envious” is very strong word so I will use “show off”!

        For me, “showing off” gear wasn’t the main reason to raid but it was also *part* of the raiding fun. It was momentary childish thing to do but I did it nevertheless. There was no malice intended, hence why I don’t use the word “envious”.I know lot of people who did the same thing as me.

        People do similar thing in real life right? They derive “fun” from showing off?

  16. carson63000 says:

    To the extent that I was motivated by gear in my raiding days, it was all about moving from a state of ME not having certain gear, to ME having it. I really wasn’t bothered who else had it or was capable of getting it. But I did enjoy getting it for myself – I still remember how happy I was to finally fit out 8/8 Bloodfang with Vis’kag and Maladath swords.

  17. Ephemeron says:

    It’s kind of hard to “show off” gear when it’s been transmogrified to look like Burning Crusade blues.

  18. Alleji says:

    I liked showing off. It wasn’t the main purpose of raiding for me, competing against other guilds and other players in my raid was, but wearing leet epix while sitting on top of the latest dragon was a nice bonus.

  19. saucelah says:

    As another thought altogether, the people I know, both in games and in life, who clearly seem to want attention for their rare or expensive things and seem to buy or make things for that attention are also the least likely to admit it.

    So it occurs to me that someone whose motivation is exactly what you claim yours is not would be pretty likely to claim exactly as you (or I for that matter) have claimed.

    The whole discussion becomes meaningless.

    • saucelah says:

      whose motivation is exactly ^the opposite^


    • Xyloxan says:

      @sauceloh: But, it also applies to people who would love to show off and would love to be in the center of attention but lack the necessary skills, time, friends, intelligence, money, or whatever is needed to acquire that gear/stuff/attention. Do they ever admit that they suck?

      • saucelah says:

        Wow. You missed your own point if you were trying somehow to relate this post to mine. For it to make sense, your final sentence would have had to be “do they ever admit that they want to show off?”

        But to answer your totally off the wall question while ignoring the hyperbole, yes, people frequently acknowledge that they do not have the time, skills, money or whatnot to accomplish something they would like to accomplish. Every day. All over the world. But, acknowledging hyperbole, only a fool would think that means that person sucks.

        I don’t think you’re trying to argue with me. But I don’t want support that has the social consciousness of a spoiled preteen.

        • Xyloxan says:

          I’m not trying to argue with you. I just made a comment related to your comment. And you are right. I meant to say “Do they ever admit that they want to show off?” But you missed my point. I was talking about showing off not about accomplishing (your 2nd paragraph).

          “Spoiled preteen”, lol. I wish. I’m pretty sure I’m older than you are. Not that it matters.

  20. tithian says:

    I was a raider in a small-ish progression guild (up until recently) and I honestly never cared about gear, but rather about boss kills. I can safely say that the rest of the guild was that way as well and “loot drama” was non-existant.

    Actually we had the reverse of drama: everyone kept passing on gear to the others because “they need it most”. In the end everyone was sensible enough to care for the end result (dead boss) more than a shiny that would be replaced in the next tier and as such we gave loot to whoever needed it most.

    Of course, having a nice set felt nice, but we didn’t go to any lengths to show off. But then again we did proudly wear titles that showed our achievements in the raids, so maybe our little vanity was satisfied this way ;)

  21. says:

    I raided primarily to see the content.
    Yet the wide eyed amazement at so much purple would always feel nice.
    Or whenever I joined a PUG for Baron45, Scholo or UBRS (or even BRD and LBRS; I liked those very much) I would enjoy the “HEY! WE HAVE A BADASS OVER HERE!” status for that run. People would even try harder so I wouldn’t leave and that felt nice.

    But again, content is king and even on Cata (when I went back to fly in Azeroth) I would join raids in TBC (which i skipped) in order to see the content.

  22. tasossucksballs says:

    in other news, anyone taking bets on how hard df uw will fail?



  23. kennyg says:

    if any raider says they never raided for gear and to look cool and feel whatever feeling it gave them is lying

    • SynCaine says:

      Again, this misses the question. Of course you raid for gear. If you passed on all gear you would never progress.

      The question is did you raid to get said gear BECAUSE you wanted randoms to /tell you or follow you around the mailbox?

      Or if you didn’t raid, do you believe those who did would put in the time so they could /dance on a mailbox and look better than you doing it?

  24. Xyloxan says:

    During my 4-year stint with WoW I never raided to look cool while dancing on a mailbox. It was always about progression and achievements.

    However, occasionally, for the lulz, I wanted to look cool. So I would show up for raids (as a tanking warrior) wearing my farmer’s outfit (straw hat, fingerless gloves etc.), and carrying a farmer’s shovel or a rusted pitchfork.

  25. motstandet says:

    I initially raided to experience content and progress my character further, but gear quickly became a functional ends to help out my non-raiding friends in dungeons and quests.

    I also remember comparing my gear to other raiders as a sort of benchmark for how well I was progressing.

    There was also a bit of prestige involved (i.e. showing off my achievements).

  26. Matt says:

    I don’t think it’s an either-or. People don’t consciously raid for social status, but the the concept of “welfare epics” wouldn’t have arisen if social status were completely unimportant. If raiders don’t care about having gear of higher item level, then why do they object so strenuously when there are other paths to obtaining it? And they do object, very vocally.

    I see no reason to distrust the opinions given here, but we have to reconcile it somehow with the opinions given, say, on the WoW forums.

    • True enough. I try to step back once in a while to reconcile what I tell myself I believe with my actual behavior, as the two sometimes are not in alignment.

      The welfare epics thing is interesting. There were clearly people out there who were angry that other could suddenly earn epic gear without going down the raiding path and the commitment that it entails.

      I do wonder how much of that was anger at the actual acquisition versus anger that, knowing how most players in search of gear will pick the most efficient route for time/effort, it might draw people away from raiding and reduce the pool of recruits.

      And, of course, the “dammit, I just spent all this time raiding to gear up when I could have just run Wintergrasp 50 times” aspect plays into it too. Resentment at there suddenly being an alternative path.

      • pixelrevision says:

        It’s an interesting resentment. Because one I remember seeing before they came into play was people getting sick and tired of dedicating nights to running older content over and over to “gear people up”. In general hardcore guilds have always had a gear requirement to entry but the game facilitates a means to this end you get this reaction from some people. I am guessing the perception of the ezmode gear is much different though between a guild leader and a member.

    • SynCaine says:

      Other paths to obtain the same gear, or other activities that provide raid-quality gear? Back in vanilla people got mad about high warlord gear not because PvPer were able to get epics, but because DPS raiders had to grind PvP to effectively raid.

      If said gear had come out and been worthless for raiding, no raiders would have cared.

  27. Raelyf says:

    It seems odd that you claim you never cared about the opinion of non-raiders while practically in the same breath decrying “well-fare epics”. If you do not care about the opinion of the masses, does it matter that every F1 pressing scrub has gear as good as yours? Shouldn’t you be happy with a sense the achievement/progression/whatever you got from doing the content?

    I don’t say any of that sarcastically. The only MMO I’ve ever been a hardcore player of is EVE – where the closest thing to raiding content (high class wormholes?) were basically just considered carebear A-levels or an income farm.

    To answer the question from an EVE context I do know my killboard stats were important to me. They were a measure of status. People posting fake killmails or, worse, real killmails that were clearly just their main ganking their alt repeatedly really annoyed me. A lot. Part of it is that it’s a pathetic things to do, sure, but I suspect part of it was the feeling that their (undeserved) killboard stats would cheapen mine.

    But then I felt the same way about many null-sec (or blob in general) killmails, come to think of it. 200 people all getting a killmail for alpha’ing a drake hardly seemed like something that should increase your k/d! They should get 1/200th of a killmail! But I digress..

  28. As someone who would qualify more as a “non raider” (I stuck with the guild that struggled with MC over trying to find a solid progression guild) I only questioned if raiders were trying to have gear I couldn’t when the cross realm BG opened up and the Alliance Naxx geared guilds started showing up. In Org it always appeared to me that the gear was a representation of where that guild/player had been and how dedicated they were to the game. In WOTLK it did look a bit different as Blizz seemed to activly encourage being “king of the mailbox” with some of those gawdy mounts.

  29. Ettesiun says:

    As a non raider, without thinking I believed that raider were doing this for bragging right.
    After discussion with a friend that was during one year a top raider of his server, I understand that was more for the joy of overcoming challenge with friends.

    What would attract me – no particular order :
    – cool looking armor
    – more powerfull weapon
    – discovering a story/challenge
    – Achieve a challenge

    What discourage me :
    – everyone saying it is Haaaarddd – i do not like a 70% failure rate
    – fear of being a burden for others

    Conclusion : I will try once the GW2 Dungeon to see what it looks like – when I will be powerfull enough. I do not think I will repeat it.

  30. gwjanimej says:

    I’ve been a raider and a non raider at different times in playing WoW and other MMOs. Generally, if I’m not raiding or otherwise involved in group content, I’m not playing. So for me, the entire drive is for the social bits. This is not to say that I enjoy wiping repeatedly for the sake of company, but I definitely deal with it better in a group of friendly folks than I do in a setting full of anonymous fools.

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