This weekend, with not much Real Life(tm) stuff happening, I spent a fair bit of time in WoW, but didn’t really get anything done. A few quests, a few battlegrounds, a bit of crafting… On a couple of occasions there were two or three friends or guild mates around amenable to the idea of a bit of an instance or something, but never quite enough to actually get started, and nobody (me included) had enough motivation to round up likely recruits and try the search for an alt-of-a-friend-of-a-guild-mate of a suitable class to round out the team. Many of the people I’ve been grouping with over the past couple of months were in Karazhan, or Gruul’s Lair, or heroic instances. Chatting to Melmoth, he came up with a marvellous phrase for the problem: the Raid Event Horizon. Once you get into raiding, that’s your main focus (naturally enough). This isn’t an “us vs them” thing, or a “why raiding sucks” post, some people raid, some people don’t, let’s all just get along, eh? (Group hug, now!)
The thing was, before the Raid Event Horizon, everyone tended to be doing the same things, so there were plenty of grouping opportunities for a non-raider like myself. Working on getting the key to Karazhan (involving 5 man instances), increasing reputation with the Outland factions (mostly involving… 5 man instances, once you’ve exhausted the available quests) and improving gear (probably a few quest rewards, augmented by drops from… 5 man instances). Explorers were seeing new areas, Achievers were boosting their characters, Socialisers were chatting away quite happily. On a Steamvaults run, someone might be after a Karazhan key fragment, someone else is hoping a piece of their dungeon set drops from the last boss, everyone’s increasing their Cenarion Expedition reputation.
After a while, though, a raider will have decent gear with no real upgrades available in non-heroic instances; they’ll have enough reputation to get into the Heroic version of instances; they’ll have the key to Karazhan, and have started making a serious attempt on it. There’s basically no reason for them to do a non-heroic instance any more aside from helping others out (and plenty in my guild are splendid people who are perfectly happy to help others out, but I’m not expecting anyone to be some sort of crazy uber-altruist who frequently forgoes raids or chances to improve their own character).
If I pushed, I guess I could make it over the Event Horizon myself; a few more Steamvaults run should get me to Revered with the Cenarion Expedition for their heroic key, a saunter through the Black Morass and Medivh ought to let me into Karazhan. I can’t summon a huge amount of enthusiasm for it, though, so I can seem myself playing a bit more City of Heroes in the future with Issue 9 (hopefully) out soon. I would have played more STALKER over the weekend, but after restarting the whole game due to a patch, it was particularly annoying to have it crash-to-desktop every time I tried to load a most recent save game, forcing me to re-do an entire level *again*.