A raid is a type of mission in a video game in which either a very large number of people (larger than the normal team size set by the game), or a small number of people with exceptional skill, attempt to defeat a boss monster of a higher magnitude of difficulty than other monsters found within the game world. This type of objective is most common in MMORPGs, where the servers are designed to handle the number of users. In RTS games like StarCraft, the term is used differently; see Raid (military).
Usually a boss is strong enough that it cannot be defeated by a team smaller than the designed raid size parameters for that boss, but in some cases, a well-planned and coordinated attack effort can be made by a much smaller group if executed with a higher precision. Increasing the size of the group can help to distribute the boss's damage output amongst a greater number of targets, increases the number of characters doing damage to the boss simultaneously, and increases the number of support characters (healers, buffers, and de-buffers) producing cumulative effects, enabling a greater number of characters to survive the boss's attacks and inflict enough damage on the boss to defeat it. By doing so, the need for skill from each individual member is lessened.
Character types utilized in most raids
Character types typically represented in a raid:
- Buffers augment allies' stats and abilities.
- Crowd controllers render one or more enemies harmless or reduce their effectiveness.
- DPS classes reduce enemies' health by doing damage.
- Debuffers reduce enemies' stats and weaken their abilities.
- Healers restore allies' health.
- Tanks hold off particularly aggressive enemies and absorb damage, effectively shielding weaker allies from attack.
Item drops from raids are often very rewarding, and may include unique items or items that grant exceptional stats and abilities, thus giving players an incentive to participate. Other rewards may include large amounts of experience and in-game currency. The high rewards often come at the cost of high risk to the players. The large number of people in a particular raid group increases the likelihood of individual errors (including executing an action at the wrong time, or failing to execute an action when required) that could be detrimental to the raid as a whole, possibly contributing to the total failure of the raid. It is advisable to have a working strategy prior to starting the raid. A raid leader is often needed to direct the group efficiently, due to the complexities of keeping many players working well together.
Within MMOs are guilds that help players succeed on their raiding progression. There are two types of raiding guilds: casual guilds, defined as spending two to three days per week on average; and hardcore guilds, defined as spending four to seven days per week on average.
Instanced or public raiding
Raids can occur in an instanced zone or a public zone. An advantage to a raid being in an instanced zone is that the raid leader can control who participates. An advantage to a raid being in a public zone is that anyone is free to join the raid when they like, although they may be removed from the raid if they disrupt the original raid group. Disadvantages to public raids are that they are more susceptible to griefing, and sometimes cannot be rezoned, as an instanced raid can, unless the boss is reset by the server.
Health risks and conceptual flaws in raiding
Although relative to differing levels of content difficulty, raid design in most MMORPGs often requires players to play for extended periods of time.
There is much academic discussion[by whom?] about the concept of raids as currently implemented in graphical MMOs. With growing concerns about the addictive nature of MMOs, the fact that raids require 3–4+ hours of constant gameplay leads some to believe they are inherently (and physically) unhealthy. A 2003 study by the National Institutes of Health found that playing MMORPGs for more than 20 hours per week correlates to obesity and nutritional imbalance as well as an increased propensity for bone loss and muscle atrophy.
China has addressed the issue by trying to implement national limits on how long people can play MMORPGs. The measures will impose penalties on people who play MMORPGs for more than 3 hours per day.
Some[who?] game developers believe that the way raids and raid guilds can dominate a player's life (recruitment, planning, guild drama, etc.) could potentially give people a false sense of accomplishment that impedes their ability to care about real life goals and accomplishments
Additionally, many players[who?] have expressed concerns over the predominantly vertical progression found in most MMORPGs. Major content releases may increase an existing level cap, rendering previous raid gear and end-game content obsolete. In return, players may feel forced to complete the latest game content in order to keep up with the curve.
Games with raiding or raid bosses
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- Age of Conan
- Aion: The Tower of Eternity
- Allods Online
- Anarchy Online
- Borderlands 2
- City of Heroes
- Clash of Clans
- Dark Age of Camelot
- DC Universe Online
- Dragon Nest
- Dungeons & Dragons Online
- EverQuest II
- Final Fantasy XI
- Final Fantasy XIV
- Lineage II
- Lord of the Rings Online
- Ragnarok Online
- ROSE Online
- Runes of Magic
- Warhammer Online
- Wizard 101
- World of Warcraft
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Spiral Knights