While my focus in WoW is more on PvP, I do raid. My guild is not of the hardcore, world-first variety, we refer to ourselves as casual progression raiders. For the first time ever, in Dragon Soul, we've moved on to hardmodes. I'm definitely not a hardcore raider, and nor would I want to be. My guild's set-up of one or two raid nights a week, one of which is progression, works just fine for me, even if I'll sometimes drop the non-progression night.
What I love about Raiding
Raiding, to me, is a combination of two things, both of which I love. One of those two things is team-work, and the other is problem-solving. When I'm asked to explain what I'm doing online with all these people on a Thursday and a Sunday night, I say that we're solving puzzles as a team. I love working out tactics, understanding how our raid composition and my classes within that can handle the content, what we can do, what we can do better, where we need to adapt.
As a result of this mentality, I'm not super-keen on reading others' tactics online: to me it's as good as an admission of defeat if we can't work it out for ourselves. I can see the logic of doing so to get tips and tricks, and to just get an overview of the fight, but following another raid's tactics to the letter takes all the fun out of it for me. I'm also a fan of learning by doing, by trial and error, rather than hearing lectures on different abilites over Vent. Of course, I don't often get my way!
And I'll try my best to deliberately take on the hard roles in any given fight. When we were working on Heroic Yor'sahj, I immediately volunteered myself for healing duty instead of tanking, for example. I want the challenge. I wrote a Breakfast Topic a while ago on how Cataclysm tanking is getting easier and easier, and I think this is the reason why I've largely shifted to healing, lately.
Farming is where the fun stops
Once the puzzle is solved, sure, there's some satisfaction to be gained from correctly executing the tactic. But that fun is time-limited -- once we've been through the bosses for a few weeks, it gets old really fast for me! I'm not that fussed about god-mode raiding, when it's not hard I quickly find it dull. I'll go through old content once or twice to see it, but I don't find the fights enjoyable, I'm more like a tourist snapping screenshots. Transmogrification has changed that a bit for me, but if a set requires weeks of the Black Temple, I just won't bother.
But, there's loot! Isn't that something to farm for? Yes, of course there's loot, and I appreciate that farming is the best way to get it. And yes, I was thrilled to get my 4-set bonus on my main raiding toons. But, to me, loot is a means to an end, not a goal. Loot is what you need in order to take on greater challenges. I wouldn't ever farm the heroic level of a raid at the end of an expansion -- like Dragon Soul -- because, once you've killed the last boss, what are you farming for? That gear might help you a tiny bit in the first weeks of Mists, but you'll be replacing it with greens. Yes, my paladin was in the top 5 paladins on our server a while back. Yes, it was satisfying. No, it didn't make weeks upon weeks of farm runs worth it. I'm not a collector. I'm not a completist. I'm a challenge junkie.
And a part of me loves the satisfaction of taking down Deathwing with a 378 weapon as much as, if not more than, the satisfaction of being fully geared. It's something like a David and Goliath situation - the mighty Goliath being taken down by David with nothing but a puny slingshot.
We're both right
Like I said, this is not a criticism of Matt in any shape or form. It's simply that we enjoy raiding in different ways. There's no right answer to the question "do you like farming?", nor any similarly subjective one. This is what makes WoW a fantastic game, in my opinion. There's something for everyone, and the activities provided can be enjoyed by so many different people in so many different ways.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.