I've recently been pondering if, and when, I should retire from raiding. Playing with 24 other people to accomplish a common goal is a wonderful thing. The teamwork and exhilaration from downing a boss for the first time is something that's hard to put into words – it's fun, challenging, frustrating, and all around a great time.
But when is it a good time to stop?
Everything eventually gets old and dies. Yes, one day our beloved WoW will no longer exist; even though that might be a couple decades from now (although I have my doubts WoW will ever truly go off-line, but that's another article). What I want to be sure happens is that I leave this activity I love so much on a high note – and not leave when it's become a pain and something that I'll look back disfavorably upon.
Right now my life allows me to raid. I have classes and WoW Insider work during the day, and at night I have time to raid for a few hours and hang out with the girlfriend and other folks as well. That strikes a good balance in life – allowing both things that I want to do by myself (WoW), and things that I want do with others (girlfriend, friends, etc...)
If that balance were to ever change where I'd have to sacrifice something at night – it surely will be my WoW time over time spent with my girlfriend. In that case, raiding will have to stop. But I'm not there yet (at least I think, 'she' might have a different opinion).
I have known some people to stop when the content progressed to a point where they were having to work more than they were used to. In other words, things got too hard for them. While my initial and rather selfish reaction is "wuss," upon looking closer at their logic, they do have a good reason. Raiding in Karazahn doesn't take as much work as raiding in the Black Temple or the Sunwell Plateau. If they don't want to put more work into raiding the higher end instances, then that's cool and is their choice. In fact, they've made the right choice for everyone because carrying a person through in high end raid content is no fun for anyone.
Another good time to stop is if the people that I'm raiding with stop. I've got a very good group of people right now that I raid with. They are all dedicated to advancing to the very end of the Sunwell, and several are making plans to power level their way through Wrath of the Lich King and hit the ground running. But at the same time, I know that a few of them are thinking of leaving for various reasons. This has given me pause, and made me evaluate my own commitment to stay if they decide to leave.
In the end a good time to stop raiding is when it feels right. For me, that time might be in a couple months from now or in another year. However the important thing for everyone to remember is to stop before it becomes a burden on your life – be it by sacrificing personal relationships or by doing something that's no longer fun.
What do you think is a good time to stop raiding? What has made your friends stop?