I used to know someone who raided because they wanted loot. I’m sure they had other reasons, but loot was the number one reason and the number one thing they planned for when laying out their raiding strategy. They would play a class that none of the other current raid team played and one that had very little overlap with other classes in terms of armor and stat needs. Then despite gearing up relatively swiftly, they would still bemoan their off spec gear set not being quite up to par or bitch about having to compete for trinkets, jewelry, cloaks and weapons.
This person (and others I have known like them) wasn’t particularly good at raiding in and of itself. They didn’t know how to gem or enchant. They didn’t read strats and considered giving a TankSpot video a cursory once-over all the preparation for a new encounter they would need. Their raid awareness was all but non-existent. And despite frequently being one of the best geared players in the guild due to a lack of competition, they were usually bottoming out on the charts. Any charts. DPS? They barely beat the tanks and sometimes not that. Interrupts or cleanses needed for a specific mechanic? They might get one. Per raid week.
This person wouldn’t be able to explain how to do a fight they had been present for a dozen times but they sure as hell knew the loot tables from every boss in the dungeon.
When Cataclysm drew near, this person realized they would have to start all over in getting the best possible gear they could. To them, that was devastating. Why had they wasted all their time in raiding if they were just going to have to turn around in two years and find that quest greens outshone their epics?
I was both baffled and amused by this mindset. Maybe it’s because I’ve been through a few expansions, and the first jump from Vanilla gear to BC greens had prepared me (though I never got a chance to raid in Vanilla since I started so late) for the fact that people had worked their asses off for gear only to have some demon pig drop something that made their best stuff look like crap. And if it happened once, it certainly could happen again.
And it did. I shed my epics so quickly in Cataclysm that I barely had time to notice it.
The devastation of this person I knew got me thinking: Is there any worse reason to raid than loot?
No one I respect raids for loot
I put an informal poll out to Twitter, asking which of all the factors someone could think of to raid did anyone feel was their number one reason. I got back a smattering of answers, most of them from people I know well enough through blogging and Twitter to know I respect their general mindsets and efforts towards raiding – and not a single one of them cited loot.
Some were in it for the experience of seeing the content. Many were in it for the sense of accomplishment they get from achieving something as a team. Without fail, those also said that the people they raided with were a big part of what kept them going back. Snack said he likes big guts on the outsides of internet dragons as opposed to the inside of internet dragons. Many people just really like killing internet dragons. One jerk mentioned he just enjoyed annoying the RL and/or GM.
And when I asked my follow up question of whether people felt they were actually seeing the things that motivated them to raid actually happening for them, most of the feedback there was overwhelmingly positive. There were some people who raided to spend time with their guild mates who were between guilds, maybe, or in a slump due to some other factor, but when their guild or real life situations had allowed for it, they did feel they were meeting their goals or having their desires met.
But I have never known anyone who raided primarily for loot to actually be happy and fulfilled in their raiding goals.
Thus, I more than suspect that anyone raiding for loot will never find real satisfaction in raiding for any length of time and they may want to give their priorities a good, hard look. After all, gear is only a tool we all need in order to meet those DPS or HPS checks Blizzard likes to put in about mid-way through a tier of content. And a tank without his HP or dodge ratings won’t survive with anyone other than the most exceptional healers backing him up.
Loot is great, but only because it helps each raid team make the next step in progression.
If you’re in raiding for the loot, I think you’re in it for the worst reason ever.