Raiding Life

Everyone’s heard of World of Warcraft, it’s a game that’s consumed many who have tried it and those who have resisted its calls are left trembling at the thought of “what if”.

Those who do play it often find themselves filling a role, and for some that role is of a raider. For the uninitiated, a raider is someone whom enters ‘raid dungeons’ on a frequent basis usually with a guild of likeminded individuals. A raid dungeon is one that houses some of the games toughest boss encounters and as such requires a team of dedicated players to often defeat the mighty foes.

Back when Wrath of the Lich King (the games last expansion) was released I became a raider and my WoW life was forever changed.

This is me in Warcraft form

Big, blue and one hell of a horn.

Just so you can get an idea on how much time goes into being a raider this was my working timetable:

Raid Nights:

  • Sunday: 5pm-11pm
  • Monday: 6pm-10pm
  • Tuesday 6pm – 10pm (off day during non-progress times)
  • Wednesday 6pm – 10pm
  • Thursday 6pm – 10pm
  • Friday: No raid
  • Saturday: No raid

Of course this isn’t taking into account any time spent getting ready, which would revolve around getting all consumables (foods and potions), making sure any new items are ‘correctly’ setup (enchantments, stat increasing gems) as well as ensuring I have the correct armour sets for the evenings activities.

This in itself took time and you’d usually find me logging in at least an hour before a raid to ensure I was fully ready, and by ready that means stood outside our raiding destination five minutes before the start time, lateness isn’t to be tolerated.

The problem with getting ready is not just time related, but also the amount of gold it would cost (virtual currency), so in addition to actually getting ready and ensuring I’m supplied I also have to partake in numerous quests to pay for it all, which means more time added, with average being 30-60 minutes daily. That’s without factoring in the numerous videos on boss strategies and the often essay like worded descriptions on how best to tackle the nasty beasty that awaits you and twenty four of your friends.

Of course the most intense part of the night is during raid time, especially during progress nights. For the uninitiated progress nights usually occur when you have just started attempting a new raiding instance. They often involved spending a good portion of time doing nothing but fighting the same boss over and over again until you manage to kill it, once it’s dead you move on. Suffice to say it can be nothing short of painstakingly soul destroying, even more so when something so out of your control causes it, the server crashing, your main tank suffering an ISP meltdown due to some local yobs cutting some fibre optic cables to all your healers having a laughing fit thanks to something someone said in their private healer chat resulting in pretty much instant death.

The end of the night didn’t finish when the raid finished, for me the next stage of the evening was something of an accountant’s wet dream, it was graph analysing time! World of Warcraft supports 3rd party add-ons, and is mainly used to customize your user interface. However it can also be used to track data, in particular combat data. Using this data both on the fly and afterwards in more depth it would be analysed to see what I did well and what I didn’t do well.

As well as viewing the data locally it would also be parsed to a website where it would be re organised into a more user friendly output. I’d spend a good while just looking through the data and should an anomaly happen (or a boss I was not particular adept at fighting) I would then spend even more time reading fan forums relevant to my character (in my case, Shadow Priests) to find out if it was just a problem with my character mechanics or if I was just missing something blatantly obvious.

Number Crunching

If only my maths teacher could see me now.

It’s not bad though, Friday and Saturday was off days, and more often than not the occasional Tuesday. During which time you may be of the mind-set that It would be sensible and spend some time offline doing ‘normal’ things, that’d perhaps be sensible though.

During non-raiding nights odds are you would have been able to find me doing the next best thing…raiding smaller instances! While as a guild we focused on the 25man versions, on off nights it was customary to have an evening of light hearted banter as we casually strolled through the instance. It was our version of our wind down time, sort of like how a sportsman will have a warm down after competing

Suffice to say raiding requires not only a lot of patience but also a fair amount time and dedication, of course you can enjoy raiding in a nice relaxed environment but should you want to be competing with the best on your realm, possibly even Europe and the World then what I’ve described is probably only the beginning. I’d probably argue that it requires a fair bit of skill as well, especially to be doing in a competitive light.

Parting thoughts:

There’s always been a fair amount of criticism levelled at WoW’s player base, and in particular raiders have found themselves the brunt of many internet jokes. Even in the ‘real world’ situation people would look at me funny when they found out what I did in my evenings spare time, even on multiple times had a University lecturer aiming digs at the WoW players in the room.

Of course it would be a different scenario if someone asked me what I was doing in the evening and replied:

“Going to slouch on the sofa all night and watch soap after soap, followed by a bit of reality TV and probably finish up with some so called documentary on either a) obese people trying to lose weight b) street crime.”

I imagine it would be an entirely different response, but what if I removed the computer game aspect from the response?

“Going to spend an evening socialising with 30+ other people from at least seven different countries, we’ll all be talking to each other via the magic of the internet.”

It puts a completely different perspective on the whole experience and it’s an area of raiding that many people seem to either forget or are totally oblivious to it.

What about:

“Just spent the entire evening playing Modern Warfare 2 all night.”

Yeah, thought so.

It will always be one of my favourite memories of playing WoW, even when you look past the nights where anything and everything went wrong the good stuff shines through eventually. The laughter, banter and the friendship is something that is quite hard to replace in today’s gaming environment.

Raiding…it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

Last five articles by Ben



  1. Victor Victor says:

    I am glad to say that I never look down my nose at my WoW cousins. You giving us a detailed look at the timetable that a dedicated WoW player sticks to, vindicates my earlier thought that I would just be a bad WoW player. I just can’t commit that much time, especially not if others rely on me, because more often than not, nowadays, I will fall asleep on a sofa between 8-10pm. And that is when my gaming starts in earnest.

    But you are right about the sniffy attitude from folk that have no idea what playing a game involves. And for tem to turn their nose up at your hobby? Whilst giving a sign of approval to other activities like watching Eastenders, which are in fact a much better description of what they think videogame playing involves. Sitting on a sofa and gurgling in a Homer Simpson stylee.

    Go ahead and spread the gospel of the MMO. Shout long enough and you might even convert some folk.

  2. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Dood, that’s INSANE!! I know nothing about WoW (or any other MMOs) as I’ve said before… but I honestly assumed you could still play it as a casual gamer. I figured you could go a whole week without playing and nothing would happen, or just nip on one night for 30 minutes and be done with it. That’s so damn involved, it’s mental.

    I like the IDEA of it, and I think it’d be cool to have a kinship with other players like that, but some nights I don’t finish work until midnight or 1am and I’d hate to let people down by not being able to turn up. It’s bad enough with my current IMDB project.. two nights in a row I only managed one movie and last night I didn’t manage any.

    I don’t envy you at all, but I do admire you and everyone else who takes on the same role and dedicates their time to raiding. I just can’t imagine how much stress that can put on you though, even though it’s a game, because of the pressure of having to be present.

    Great read, really enjoyed it and it really opened by eyes.

  3. Lorna Lorna says:

    Fantastic piece and a real eye-opener. I had no idea to be honest that it was that much in depth, from actual timetabling to complex stat readouts afterwards to help improve your game. I can only imagine the things that can go wrong though, relying on 20+ folks to do their parts…the mention of the healers made me laugh but it just goes to show that one or two people slipping can screw the raid for everyone. Don’t know if I could handle all that.

    As for the ignorant attitudes of some people towards gaming when, as you and Victor mentioned, most will be content slumped in front of soaps all night feeding their faces, is beyond contempt.

    I’m loving these insights into games like WoW because it is something that is fascinating but also something that I am never likely to experience, so keep ‘em coming :D

  4. Ben Ben says:


    You could still play as a casual gamer, and if anything Blizzard have made it a lot easier for casual people to see things that two years ago they couldn’t.

    WoW now is about as casual as they come, I watched the other day as Claire played (desk next to mine so is like Chinese water torture) and within the space of three hours she had done things, gained items and seen things that would have taken me weeks to accomplish back in my raiding life. It’s never been easier to play it a little each week and still have success.

    Rest assured though, there are those far more “hardcore” than I was, I’m talking 12+ hours a day raiding, with full 24-36+hours straight on patch days just so they can get world first kills, and with guilds getting sponsored by global companies there’s a lot more at stake than just your e-penis when it comes to success.

  5. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    It’s weird that you guys mentioned the adverse comments from non-gamers to those who play games. I’ve yet to encounter such ignorance myself, but the first thing I’d do is scoff at the originator because you can GUARANTEE they spend their nights with one hand down their pants, can of beer in the other hand and the remote on their knee while they vegetate their lives away watching Big Brothel.

    Bugger them all, that’s all I can say! One of these days, gamers will unite (most of them, anyway) and take down establishment using Wiimotes and Duck Hunt guns and I’ll be there, standing behind Fred :D

  6. Kat says:

    Wow. Just wow. That’s dedication. You’re spot on about the attitude though, a lot of gamers get it but WoW seems to be “okay” to knock more than any other game.

Leave a Comment