I’ll be the first person to admit that I’ve carried around the same stigma when it comes to raiding that the vast majority of people do; raiding is something nerds do. And maybe it is, but man is it fun. For those that don’t know, raiding is a core component of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). It involves putting together a group of a predefined number of people to take on a series of difficult boss fights. Though it was found in many MMOs before it, raiding really became popular in Blizzard’s World of Warcraft.
Now, many of us will have seen the famous South Park episode on World of Warcraft and instantly been made to think raiding is this super nerdy, weird thing to do. But when I finally experienced it for myself, I found it to be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable hobbies to do for a variety of reasons. I don’t play World of Warcraft though; my game of choice is Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn which is a remade version of the original Final Fantasy XIV. The game was panned on release and taken offline a year or two later, before being remade into A Realm Reborn. A Realm Reborn however is an incredible game, a triumph in the MMO genre and it’s a really incredible achievement that the developer Square Enix managed to turn it around, transforming one of the worst MMOs into perhaps the best MMO running.
Raiding is known as endgame content; raiding is typically undertaken after you have completed most of the content in the game and want the ultimate challenge. Players who want to raid will form “statics”. A static is a group of people (8 in Final Fantasy XIV) who will stick together to take on the various raids. Each person will have a predefined role in the static, of which there are three: Tanks (lots of armour and health to soak up the damage), Healers (tasked with keeping the group alive) and DPS (short for damage-per-second, these players are tasked with putting out the most damage possible).
In Final Fantasy XIV there are 13 raids, known as “Turns”. Just last week my group finally cleared Turn 13, the hardest raid in the game. It was a big achievement for us. While clearing the content is immensely satisfying in and of itself, it’s the process of getting there than makes raiding a lot of fun. Each fight will have a set of specific mechanics that must be learned, repeated and conquered until your team knows the fight enough to beat the boss. Learning the fight is of course an active process, but it can take weeks or even months of learning in order to beat it. This can be disheartening, but it makes it all the more rewarding when you finally beat it after endless attempts.
Upon beating raids you’ll get new gear for your characters to make them even stronger, satiating your thirst for progression and in turn making each raid easier. I started raiding just after Christmas every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for 2 hours a night. It takes a lot of commitment but it’s incredibly rewarding. it’s a great way to meet new friends and make the most out of the games you play.
As someone who has been well and truly converted, I would recommend that if you have any passing interest in raiding you lose the stigma attached and give it a shot. You won’t regret it.