I was looking at my gear, and quietly fuming beneath the surface at the abysmal luck our guild has had with certain drops, (namely, the neck, cloak, belt, and until this past week the trinket) and it got me to thinking about why we raid the way we do. I find it interesting that we will go to extreme lengths of repetitive actions in order to min/max our gear. Take for instance the precious Lavanthor’s Talisman. I have now run Violet Hold 27 times. Now in the grand scheme of things and the time that Wrath of the Lich King has been out, that is nothing. I have run Ulduar 24 times and that is a much, much longer instance. But in the end, I have ventured into the unknown that is the Violet Hold in hopes of one measly rare item level 200 trinket.
So once again, i pose the question, why do we do this? Simply put, there are certain people out there who want nothing but the best. It is the competitive nature in each and every one of us. Whether it is the fact that we want to have as much gear as possible to help our guild get through that next progression encounter, preparing for icecrown, or just because you love it when people inspect you in the major city banks, the reason for farming instances is for gear. Now I have to ask myself, what is the opportunity cost of burning yourself out on instances, for that next shiny purple (or even worse in my case a blue!).
Competition and the innate desire to win…
Maybe it was because I was a competitive athlete for most of my life, or maybe it is just pure hubris, but I think that my desire to be better than the person next to me is what drives me to do these things. For 18 years, I spent a good chunk of my life staring at a black line at the bottom of a pool (swimming for those of you who were lost), just for the shear satisfaction of that moment in a race when I took a breath to see the other guy falling behind my pace. It is that primal need to be the alpha male if you will. I feel that this has translated over into my time in WoW.
This means that not only do I have to come to raids prepared and ready to go with strats, gear sets, and consumables, but I have to spend all that time out side of the raid getting those items ready for battle. I believe this is where the truly “hard core” live. For me, hard core guilds and casual guilds don’t necessarily mean the amount of days a week you raid, but more the effort you put in when you are there. How many people on your server have an Anub’arak tanking set? My server: 1 maybe 2. How many people in your guild dropped their professions to get jewel crafting in WoTLK? These are the people that really push the envelope, and these are the true hard core gamers. They are the ones who watch the meters at every point of the fight, not because they want their “epeens” to grow, but because they can not stand losing a race or a fight.
How do you battle this issue so you don’t get a “repetitive stress injury” aka burn out?
I really think for those of us that need to be at the top of their game, it only comes with success. You have to position your self and your raid to be able to meet your goals in a very aggressive time line. If you can combine the pressure of competition with marketable and tangible success, you will be able to keep on trucking. In the end, it is up to the individual on what they want to pursue and how they go about it, but for me, It is all or nothing. If you start faltering and you do not see those tangible results, that is when the burn out starts to creep into your mind. In the end, this is just a game, and you should be playing it because you enjoy it, but some of the time, you just want to be that king of the mountain and you are willing to do anything in your power to get there.