WoW Classic raiding front loading efforts and burnout

Welcome to 15 years ago! You were a little bit younger and had a lot going on. You played the original version of World of Warcraft, or this is your very first time trying out the game with the launch of WoW Classic.

A lot of MMO concepts that we were first introduced to back then are now common place. Purple gear is better than blue, which is better than green.

I have fond memories of leveling up in Azeroth with my friends/co-workers at Best Buy. As we were exploring the world we stood outside of Orgrimmar, waiting for the zeppelin.

We all chattered away on Ventrilo when one of my friends excitedly pointed out a Troll Mage standing next to us. “Look at his purples!” he said.

At this point in the game I had no idea what purple gear meant and how much time and effort was involved in obtaining it.

How WoW Classic is different from later iterations

Raiding in World of Warcraft was originally the hardest form of content to complete. Getting 40 people to work together and perform the steps necessary to kill a raid boss was a huge challenge 15 years ago.

Going back to WoW Classic today is much different. Players that have played MMOs know what is expected of them. You have less people deviating from the plan because they know in general that if they follow instructions, the boss will die and loot will drop.

Addons were not the norm back then

For those that don’t know what an addon is: many MMOs such as World of Warcraft allow their game to be modified by player built programs that run inside the game. These are commonly referred to as addons or mods.

I lead my first guild 8 years ago and the player mentality has shifted so much since then. I used to argue with the players that were anti-addon because they felt that the game was more challenging that way. Fast forward to today where raiding times and announcements of key abilities is built into the base game.

Players now are much more comfortable and more likely to use raiding addons. I also thing the average player has been trained to NOT stand in fire which is a good thing for my healer’s mana bar.

Mechanics are much easier

The raiding scene in many games has changed to one of increased challenge. We have more visual ques to tell us that something is going to happen. We have different tasks for different roles beyond just the normal – tank/dps/heal and don’t stand in fire.

In WoW Classic we are taken back to a time when the challenge was more straight forward. There were 1 or 2 main mechanics in a fight and if you stood where you needed to, or ran out when you were the bomb, everything was great!

Why we feel like we need to clear everything, EVERY WEEK

Obtaining power in WoW Classic is much different from current day MMOs. Its slower, there are fewer catch up opportunities, and upgrades can sometimes be rare.

For the hardcore theory crafters, there are many blue dungeon items that are considered to be better than many of the raiding purple items. Of course this is only a small amount of items.

The purple items that drop in the raids are leaps and bounds ahead of blue items that you will get out of dungeons. Not only are the main stats like stamina, intellect, strength and agility far greater, but you also start to see an increase in powerful secondary stats like hit rating, +healing and +damage modifiers.

For this reason guilds will continue to run past raids even after there is new content to run. Currently we clear Blackwing Lair and then go back and do Molten Core. There are a few large upgrades in Molten Core for a lot of our players and its an easy way to quickly gear up our new players.

Front loading vs. Early Burnout

My guild has been discussing ways to keep our players engaged.

Always raiding

As more and more raid content comes out we have the urge to do it all. This is going to be less realistic as time goes on. Once the gates of Ahn’Qiraj are openned we will have a total of 6 different raids to do, 3 of which will reset more often than once a week.

When I first started raiding 15 years ago, it was very common in the guilds that I played in to do the raid content 4 or 5 nights a week. Now, most players do not have the time or desire to play so much. There is a lot of other fun things to do in the game and playing the same raid fights over and over, week after week can get a bit soul sucking.

Also if we are always raiding when are we supposed to prepare for our raids with the recommended consumables?

Preparing for upcoming patches

Earlier this month, my guild decided to launch a campaign to begin gathering the materials needed for opening the gates of Ahn’Qiraj. Ahn’Qiraj is the next big raid patch and requires the entire server to participate in a War Effort which involves gathering materials such as different kinds of bandages and various other trade goods.

If we are able to stock pile at least some of the materials, this will put us in a good position when it comes time for the war effort. Ideally by spending our time now working towards this goal we will save some of our players from getting sick of playing so much, or at least that’s the hope.

Raiding on multiple characters

Since my guild runs 3 different raid teams, we have our schedule set up so that these groups do not overlap. This way if a player has more than one character at max level, they are able to participate in multiple raid teams.

This is an easy way to jump from a 2 night a week raid schedule to 4 nights. There have been the rare player that even attempted to play on all 3 raid teams, which means raiding almost every single night of the week without a break.

I think it’s fun to play a different character occasionally but I also know how easy it is to get tired of playing and want to quit. Once I commit to a team I do my very best to never miss a night of raiding. I don’t want to over extend myself since I am definitely an all or nothing type of player.

For me I want to make sure I’m playing and keeping the long term goals in mind. WoW Classic is a game and should be fun to play, once it starts getting so stressful that you can’t see a way to get back to having fun, this is when you lose players.

How I play MMOs: My cyclical pattern

I’ve been obsessed with MMOs for almost as long as they have been a genre. Over the years I have recognized a pattern in myself.

Short periods of playing LOT – normally 30 to 60 days

The No-life-wish-i-had-a-minifridge-and-also-a-poop-bucket-for-my-computer-desk phase. I play a LOT when a new game is launched or a new expansion is released. I love how active the game is during times of launch and how helpful other players can be when you’re new.

When WoW Classic was released I played about 30 hours per week and that is in addition to my 50 hours spent at work. I can handle these sprints every once in a while and they’re fun!

Normal periods – normally several months at a time

This is the time when I settle into my general routine of playing the raid content and doing 1 or 2 nights a week of play in the game. On non-raid nights I’ll level alts or run dungeons with my guild mates. I would say this type of gaming is normal in my life and kind of my baseline.

IRL Busy, come back later – normally a week or two at a time

I will really scale back my play when I have a lot of things going on in my real life. Sometimes I need to be an adult and take care of things outside of my virtual world.

Most recently, we bought a house and we had to move. I’ve also had to scale back my gaming time when starting a new job or if I get deep into a hobby.

WTF I quit – Once every few years

I completely quit playing the MMO I was into a handful of times. I normally play the first two raid tiers in World of Warcraft and then all my friends stop playing and I quit.

I also quit playing other games, once recruitment dried up – if I was guild leading.

Dealing with Burnout

It is so easy to burn out when you have a strict schedule to adhere to in game. I try my best to allow both myself and the people I play with breaks. This means trying to keep the number of people on our team at a good level so that every once in a while someone can sit out and not lose progress (dkp in our guild).

Taking Breaks

Its ok if every once in a while you take some time away from the game. A best practice is to let your guild know. This is common courtesy and no one wants to be ghosted.

Playing Other Games

A change of virtual scenery can often improve my mood and reignite why I love the genre. I try to play some of the new free games in the Epic store. Or I will start digging into my backlog of games that I bought on steam sales.

Learning to say no

If your guild is requiring an activity that you find unpleasant, don’t just suck it up for the good of the team. You need to put your own enjoyment first. If your goals in game don’t align with those of your guild, maybe it’s time to find a new guild anyway.

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