There is an ongoing discussion in the Blogging community over the world of optimizing oneself in order to be better at a game and Raiding. The discussion revolves around the value of optimizing your abilities with cookie cutter specs and such. Here are some of the blogs talking about this subject. Some have written multiple posts on the subject.
Now with all that being said I tend to look at the discussion from a different angle. While at its core, I don’t have a problem with a player wanting to be the best that they can be or using available tools to achieve that goal. My problem starts when game design requires a player in order to play even the most basic of raiding content.
Taking World of Warcraft as an example the devs decided to create content designed for those who want a challenge, heroic Difficulty or hard modes. The problem with a game like WoW is that most of the raiding requires a certain level of gear in order to actively participate. By instituting gear checks for your raiding content, you develop a community that uses this as a judging tool for acceptance into a raid. The game design of World of Warcraft encourages Elitist mentality among its player base because it requires those players to be the best simply to complete the content they made.
There should be a noticeable difference between regular raiding and hard modes. Now in WoW there is a noticeable difference, the problem is the lower level raiding is hard as well, just not as hard and it also requires a certain level of gear (optimization) to even be able to play. The average player will never complete raiding content in World of Warcraft unless they institute an Optimization plan or they have friends willing to carry them. In Blizzards defense I do believe they have made some changes, like harder raiding and gear checks on behalf of their player’s requests, but the very design of their game has created a level of elitist thinking not seen in any other game.
As I have stated before, I have given up on raiding in WoW and this system is only one more reason why I have made that decision. I like playing to the best of my ability and don’t mind using tools to further that cause, however I don’t need it to feel like work. I am playing a game after all and I want to be able to decide how to enjoy the game without set requirements.