Playing without raiding
Been slowly leveling up my character(s) and got a paladin to 34 now so I'm not totally invested in the game yet. My question is, is it worth continuing to 60? A lot of my friends want to get into raiding progression but it's just not my thing. Is it worth playing classic without raiding? Will I be missing out on a lot of stuff by choosing not to participate in that?
Would I? Yes. Absolutely.
Would you? No. Probably not.
The difference is, I was bitten by the 40-man raid bug early in Vanilla and have missed the epic feeling ever since. Nothing 25 man or less has ever compared. There's just something amazing about coming together in that large of a group to fell massive beasts and loot the spoils. It's clearly not meant for everyone, though.
If I may ask, why don't you want to raid?
There are plenty of people who don't raid, or if they do, they will join a PUG raid maybe once or twice a month just to say they ran the raid once.
There is a decent amount of things to do outside of traditional raiding.
Collecting. A lot of people make it their mission in game to get all the pets, mounts, specific gear sets, etc.
Playing the Auction house or farming and becoming rich.
Especially if you are on a PVE server, you can roll new characters to explore other zones. Just rolling 1 toon per racial starting zone and going at least 1-30 will take you some time if you are playing casually. But also 30-60, as leveling just one toon to 60 will not exspose you to every quest / all the lore in the game.
The Obvious big one is PVP. You have World pvp and battlegrounds, both are different types. You can do open world pvp, end game BG's, Twinking low level brackets. I know individuals who only do BG's, and never really participate in world pvp. Right now there isn't much reward for pvp, but it will come full force later this year when the honor system is introduced. I don't end game pvp much, so someone else can do it justice with more details, but not only do you have multiple mini games like king of the hill and capture the flag, but you have a whole honor system that lets you purchase gear, consumables, and stuff with honor points. You get the honor of wearing ranked pvp gear stat'd for pvp focused players, and you get titles and ar
Unpopular opinion, vanilla is a raiding game. Everything in the game builds towards raiding which is why raiding is so heavily rewarded with gear. Even someone who chooses to push rank in PvP will be incentivized to raid to get certain pieces of gear that are not available from PvP. The truth is that there is not much content for players to explore outside of raids. Look at the phases. Look at the content that gets released. Its all raid content with a few pieces of PvP content here and there. The 6 phases are designed to slowly release raid content.
There will be people who argue that they are content to level. Some will say they like to sit around fishing for hours on end. You can play vanilla in a lot of different ways, but the game is designed for raiders. If someone told me they were not interested in raiding, I would advise that they should probably play something else in the same way that if someone told me they didnt want to shoot guns in a video game, they probably shouldnt play counterstrike. The counter argument would be the high quantity of counterstrike surf maps where people slide around all day with their knives out. Some people will find value in vanilla outside of raiding longterm, but if you dont want to raid, you probably wont enjoy vanilla, with very few exceptions.
Idk man, I've played WoW pretty continuously since TBC, and I never really raided at all until legion because it was so dumbed down that I could enter a raid through a group finder pug, read the boss mechanics in the dungeon journal while clearing trash, and usually place in the top 5 on meters while not dying or wiping the raid. I only ever really gave a crap about pvp, so that's most of what I focused on. The only reason I ever entered a raid more than once was gear. I would like to raid this time around because it's something I never experienced, and because I want the gear, but my main deterrent is the time commitment. I will never place WoW over real life, and my life and work commitments will never permit me to raid consistently.
All that said, I guess my point is that I've played this game forever and enjoyed it without really raiding, and I am still playing and enjoying it, and probably won't get to raid much. There's plenty of stuff to do if you enjoy doing other stuff.
There is plenty to enjoy outside of raiding. If you want the best gear, you need to raid. If you just want decent gear, you can do dungeons (Especially DM when it is released) and do BG rep grind etc. for good gear.
You don't need to raid. But raiding can be enjoyable and also very rewarding.
There's a lot more to Classic than just endgame raiding, although it must be admitted that raiding really is the core endgame of classic. This isn't an exhaustive list but here's everything I can think of off the top of my head which you might want to try instead:
As others have pointed out, what exactly is it that makes you not want to dabble in raiding? Is it because you don't have enough time or fear that you won't be able to contribute to the group? Or is it simply because you prefer to play alone?
See, this is where my opinion is usually unpopular: I. Hate. Leveling. I hate it. Ever since the first level 60, I swore I'd never take my time on that nonsense again. My character progressing is nice, I enjoy the pride I get in having finished the grind, it feels like a wonderful accomplishment, but it's far less enjoyable for me, with ONE exception. I don't mind leveling with a friend. The problem is, when you're a second-shift adult, it's near impossible to always have someone stick with you, so there's eventually a pretty solid level gap that's almost insurmountable. Either you have to scale back or your friend has to.
For me, the endgame progression is king. I am a "WoW is a game about raiding" guy. Be it Battlegrounds, 40-man, 20-man, UBRS, or even just a fun romp through Stratholme, that's what I enjoy.
Raiding is an important part of the game and very funny, but it is not the only one.
Raiding is the engame, and its a long way until reaching that end. That way in classic can be very long and fun, there are many things to do.
Its all about goals. We can all have different goals, it depends on the type of person you are. You may be interested in the high level raiding or pvp, but the same does not apply to everyone.
Raiders will tell you that raiding is the most important thing, pvpers that in the pvp is where the real skill is shown, everyone will want to get over others and feel better, while many do not know how get juice from their character.
Play at your own pace and do what you want. Enjoy the game, thats the most important thing
I don't raid, love the game and don't feel a bit like I've missed anything. It's a big world and not all about raiding.
I definitely think you can have a fantastic classic experience without raiding. When I played in Vanilla back in 2005 I barely raided; only a few runs of ZG and a single MC run. Yet I had a fantastic time.
If you choose not to participate in the raiding scene you still have the opportunity to do dungeons, PvP, or just explore the world and what it has to offer, now that you don't feel horribly underpowered all the time. Or you can try out a new character! Leveling an alt brings a whole new perspective on the world.
I wouldn't call myself a player that will get into hardcore raiding progression; I'm right now somewhere between wanting to join a casual raiding guild or just joining pugs on the nights I feel like raiding. A lot of players will tell you that getting to Naxx is the goal of the game. But really, it's about having fun. Play for as long as you're having fun!
Raiding is the only thing in the game that requires you to be max level. Therefore I would say there is no reason for you to rush. Just do whatever you want and eventually you will end up at 60, if you keep playing.
WoW became massive exactly because there were so many ways to engage with it. I can't imagine not raiding now having done it, but I didn't worry about it for my first year or two in the game.
I've seen people mention things such as, "there isn't much to do other than raiding," which I find to be an incredibly naive statement; of course it could be true for them and their goals, wants, and dreams which the hope to achieve through playing Classic WoW.
The first thing I'll mention is that Blizzard is a story company. They started with writing great stories and they are here today because of a mesh of great stories as well as the gaming platforms they have built to not only tell but to experience these stories. WoW give us the chance to see a plethora of different adventures people have gone on in Azeroth (assume you're not only playing a single character from 1 to 60 but many different people. Some of the starter quests you do in the first area could presumably take up an entire mortal's life to achieve, also it's unlikely that the same person to clear Scholomance did it on their first attempt and that they are the same individual to slay all the leaders and lieutenants in Molten Core). This is where testing the limits of your imagination can come in handy.
If you rush through the quests I feel you won't get as much satisfaction, wonder, and understanding of Azeroth as the next player who does. If you try to imagine yourself in the shoes of the player you play or even of the NPCs around you, how do you feel at given moments? When you finish Uldaman and go down into the vault and access the platinum Discs of Norgannon and learn of the history of Dwarves, Gnolls, and the Earthen does that chance any assumptions you had going into WoW? Is it interesting to you to experience a world / universe different yet similar to our own?
Have you ever tried roleplaying? I feel that anyone who gives it at least one real attempt with some preparation beforehand will find enjoyment out of it, perhaps eclipsing any such that they've achieved yet in WoW while not roleplaying.
I recommend trying to play sometimes in first person, i.e. zoomed all the way in or at least 99% of the way in, and see how that changes the experience. "It is harder" will likely be realized, but in the right mindset this can feel like a good challenge, as well as totally changing how immersed you can get. Some mobs look pretty awesome (and also terrifying) when viewing up close.
Most people have been running along a river and came to a waterfall (e.g. Eastern Hinterlands). Do you have an urge to run out to the farthest point, not stop, and leap off hoping to land in the water below? This is a great example that I wish people would do more of. Maybe you pause before you jump off to type something like, "Woohoo!", that you copy and paste into /y while in the air.
Have you ever been playing as a stealth class (Rogue, Druid [Cat], <any player with an inviz pot>) and finally teamed up with another where you stealth around together? Yeah it can provide some crazy OP pvp moments but it can also get the blood pumping to try to stealth through a dungeon, cave, or any area with elite or even just high level mobs.
Also, have you tried exploring for exploration's sake? For example, if you complete all of the quests in Darkshore that you can find, what are some parts of the map you don't remember being in? Maybe go check them out. As far as progressing or powering up your character you are likely to be disappointed, except for an occasional well placed and hidden treasure chest. There are gems, like easter-eggs, scattered around Azeroth. Have you seen something cool in the water off in the distance and tried checking it out to see what it's like to physically be there? Well being a Druid with Aquatic for helps many exploratory inquisitions but it is certainly not required. In some aspects it makes it more realistic. In real life we don't have unlimited breath and also cannot just swim forever without getting fatigued. Maybe you dive down into a sunken ship and almost loose breath coming back up, depleting your breath and almost succumbing to drowning just before you reach the surface and gasp a huge gulp of air.
A lot of people like to play the game using only the limits put in place by Blizzard, but I promise you that if you impose other rules upon yourself that much enjoyment can be had.
e.g. maybe you're a mage who is absolutely afraid of spiders, especially giant ones. While playing if you see these not only would your character likely do everything they could to get away but if one noticed you and came charging towards you perhaps you would flee so far away you wouldn't stop running for ten minutes, even if you were in a party of other people.
Or perhaps you're above level 40 and are running around on your mount for a while and see a little pond, stream, or even a water trough (e.g. outside of Gadgetzan). Perhaps you have your mount start walking and walk up to the water where you pause to let him or her to take a drink. Satisfied, now you're ready to travel or perhaps head into town.
While you can spend most of the time doing other stuff, at some point you will have to raid to get better gear. Unless you commit to full pvp to get rank 13-14 but that means months of daily playing, 4-8 hours a day.
Sure you can do other stuff. But to get better gear, at some point you have to raid.