I’ve never been much of a raider. The part of the game that I find the most interesting is the leveling. Whether soloing a toon or leveling a toon together with my sister or others, what I like most is watching them grow little by little. I enjoy reading new quests, watching the story unfold, and most importantly, playing around with all the new abilities. Heck, I even enjoy re-exploring old content. By tackling familiar content with a new character to see if the new character can handle things that previous characters couldn’t I can gauge how far I’ve come as a player and get a general idea of the strengths and weaknesses of each type of character. Because of this, raiding has never been a glove-like fit for me.
It’s not that I don’t like working as part of a team. Certainly, I do my best work solo, or in a group no larger than 3 (3-manning heroics is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon), but a group of 5, 10, or even 25 or 40 has its uses, too. It’s not that I don’t like new content or more challenging content. As previously mentioned, this is actually one of my favorite things about the game. It’s that even getting a large group of people together can be a challenge. I’ve never been in an environment in which there was a solid raiding team that I could count on week in and week out. At least, that’s part of it. Mostly, though, it’s that raiding attracts a lot of people that are, well, pretty much just jerks. If putting together a group of 10 players is a challenge, finding 10 players that aren’t complete snobs (or worse) is next to impossible. Finding 10 players that are both competent and reasonably kind is something like discovering a unicorn. It’s absolutely amazing to me the attitudes of some players you run across in World of Warcraft. Some of the stories you come across on WoW blogs tell of behavior so horrible, so cruel and thoughtless and petty that the “uninitiated” may well scoff about its veracity. But if you’ve played, you don’t scoff. You know. You’ve seen it. Being exposed to that sort of behavior (or even just the potential to be exposed to it) is why so many people hate PUGs of any size. Because there might be one or more examples of the dreaded “that guy” in the group.