Raiding and Diminishing Returns

I had a visceral reaction to a opinion piece I read recently  at WoW Insider by Olivia Grace.


It was weird reading something that I felt I could have written (not as an assessment of the writing chops of Ms. Grace, just as a connection between writer and reader). I know that from time to time that happens as I read the newspaper or articles on the internet, but it was the first time I felt it so acutely while reading about raiding. I wrote in an earlier post about moving into HM raiding and why is was fun for me, but in the comments section it came up that it was difficult to field a full raid team because we lost a key component who wasn’t interested in wiping anymore, and really just wanted to farm normal mode or do alt runs.

As an aside and update, we haven’t even done a HM raid encounter in about 2 weeks between Diablo 3 and some work responsibilities for me. Turns out replacing a HM-ready tank is harder than a HM-ready DPS.

Back to the topic at hand. This weekend I had 48 hours away from the wife and kids who had a family gathering out of town, and I had work that couldn’t be cancelled. I set some lofty goals for myself in that time, committed to capping VP on 3 max level toons (Leodar, Leorad, and Maskaris), leveling my Fire Mage (Tindar) from 84-85, clearing 2 missions in Starcraft 2 on Hard, and playing some Diablo 3. How did I do? Well, I did 2 full run throughs in LFR, did 5 heroics, and did level the mage; but no Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3. So I met some goals, and others eluded me.

The reason for this relates back to how I feel about playing WoW and the article that inspired the post. I simply burned out, because there was no challenge involved in what I was doing (and therefore no fun). The goals I set for myself in WoW had nothing to do with challenging myself, it was like making a to-do list of gaming chores. This turned out to be a bad idea, because at that point the only thing keeping me going was the possibility of loot, which is not my major motivation in playing WoW. For me all of these games are subject to diminishing returns – they simply become less fun the more I play them. I have a lot of ways to ‘reset’ the fun, and that’s what I really should have done this weekend. PvP, soloing old content (difficult, and therefore, fun), switching games, writing a blog post (sorry for the 2 week hiatus, but I really am a slave of quality over quantity) and recharged my gaming batteries. I’m hopeful that this week we have enough to do some heroic boss encounters, because if I have to Death Strike my way through normal mode again I’m going fall asleep on Ysera’s platform. If that does happen, however, at least now I have remembered how to reset the fun.

I have hit this wall at the end of both expansions since I’ve started raiding consistently, and the reason remains the same. The longer I do the same thing over and over, the less value I get out of it. This is the only complaint I have with the Raid Finder, it made the point of diminishing returns in Dragon Soul creep up much faster on me than I expected. I think, moving forward, its going to be important to limit my LFR time on my main character when Mists of Pandaria is released. Instead, my non-raiding characters are going to move through LFR one at a time.

Having learned from my mistake by Saturday evening I went about recovering.

Step 1: Purchase wet-shaving accessories (something I have been putting off for weeks).

Step 2: Watch the Celtics beat Philadelphia in Game 7 while drinking Magic Hat Elder Betty (Elderberry Weiss, try it, trust me).

Step 3: Review PvP strategies for Leodar (Unholy Spec) and Tindar (Frost Spec).

And finally, I’m watching Mythbusters (easily my favorite non-sitcom) running non-stop on Discovery channel and writing a blog post this morning.

Suffice to say, the reset button has been pushed.

P.S. The only hiccup to this weekend was watching “Land of the Lost” on HBO last night. I honestly don’t think I have ever seen anything so bad in my entire life. And I’ve watched a lot of bad stuff.


7 thoughts on “Raiding and Diminishing Returns”

  1. Hello,

    I just wanted to leave a comment about how incredible your blog looks and how happy I am to see someone covering some things related to paladins and DKs, which I haven’t seen very much of lately.

    I decided to start Following you on Twitter, too and I look forward to seeing more posts from you that cover these things and possibly some others. Your take on things sounds mighty interesting.

    Also, I *lived* for that comment you made on your About page about your wife and daughters – that they drive you to drink and play MMOs. That made me laugh. out. loud.

    Take care of yourself and keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! Unfortunately I don’t have much to say about paladins these days after switching mains early in Cataclysm. That’s not to say they aren’t good (especially Holy paladins these days). They are totally capable, just circumstances dictated a change. I’m hoping to have more to talk about when the expansion drops and I can play both classes a bit more again.

      I noticed a drop in the DK community as well, especially with the loss of Gravity, who was kind of my inspiration for starting a blog. The website he created is just incredible. Luckily I’ve seen a bit more activity recently, which makes me happy.

      Be warned following me on Twitter. I’m not funny or clever or even terribly interesting. Although in the past week or so I may have talked about BBQ foreplay and Diplomatic Angry Dicks, but it was totally by accident 🙂

      A few upcoming posts include e-sports and an analogy between gamers and athletes, and thoughts about balance versus equality.

  2. I do think if I have to run DS in looking for raid difficulty again, I may delete my characters. All of them. I’m starting to feel that way about Firelands too!

    Luckily in about a month I’ll have college classes starting up again (I took a semester off) and I’ll be so distracted by that I won’t have time to “farm” looking for raid. When it first came out…I think I was maxing my valor points on 4 different characters….bad idea for the last content patch right? !

    1. Oh man. Yes, that sounds painful. I won’t go through this again. It just makes me not want to log on, and for a game that I love, I need to find a better way.

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