Monday, 12 March 2012

Why hardcore raiders are important

Hardcore raiders get a lot of flak. Those perceived as hardcore are often accused of elitism and snobbery, regardless of whether or not they have personally slighted someone. Yeah, some people earn their reputations, but it doesn't stop a lot of other people from stereotyping the rest of them. What I'd like to communicate is that hardcore raiders are important to any MMORPG, but especially to new ones, like SWTOR.

For the purposes of this blog post, I define a "hardcore raider" as someone in the top 10% of raiding: those who push the edges of raiding, trying to clear content the fastest, on the hardest mode possible. I'd also like to disclaimer that I do not claim membership in this group, I do not wish to gain membership in this group, nor have I ever been a member of this group.

Now that all that is out of the way, my arguments for supporting the hardcore raiding community:

Hardcore raiders prompt and encourage development of tools and features

The old adage that "necessity is the mother of invention" rings true here. Time and time again, the hardcore raiding community has either developed tools personally or has requested that such tools be implemented. Ultimately, a lot of these tools ended up being directly implemented by companies into the game's UI, or into their website.

Hardcore raiders determine a lot of the need, these tools either get developed by them (or at least requested by them), and everyone benefits once the tools become widely available.

Hardcore raiders provide free, limit-pushing testing for new raid content

In order to get every advantage possible, most hardcore raid guilds jump at the chance to test raid content on the public test server. Their experiences here provide the developer with statistics that can be used to fix crippling bugs and balance the content better. Many hardcore raid guilds do hundreds of pulls of a particular boss and keep detailed written or video logs of the results of numerous and different boss strategies.

If the developers play their cards right and use this data, when the average raider gets to the content, it is more polished and less buggy - all thanks to the collaboration between hardcore raiders and the developers. This, in turn, helps to keep the majority of subscribers happy.

Hardcore raiders provide mentoring and guidance to much of the game's community

Maybe you've been there: you need just one more member for your raid, and no one else is available from your guild. You look for someone in general chat and find a well-equipped alt of a hardcore raider. Or maybe you frequent a website that has strategies and tips provided from a well-traveled raid leader or raid main tank. Maybe one of your personal friends is a hardcore raider, and you go to them frequently for advice.

Regardless of the direct impact to yourself, though, it is difficult to argue that hardcore raiders do not contribute to the community. Many of these people love to spend their spare time out of game discussing their hobby, providing advice, and being helpful to those trying to break into the raiding scene.

While hardcore raiders cannot single-handedly make a good community (and while there are always a few who seem to want to damage it for some reason), the result is usually overwhelmingly positive. And, as we all know, a good community is more likely to retain paying customers.

I encourage you to leave any comments you may have below!

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