In the world of online gaming, the simple answer is raiding is the action of getting a large group of people to overcome a piece of content. In World of Warcraft this could be trying to defeat The Lich King with 25 people or in the upcoming Cataclysm expansion, Deathwing. In my EverQuest days, it meant being called at 2:00 am because our server started the “Kerafyrm – The Sleeper” event and they needed a healer. Raiding in EverQuest did not have a max number of participants because all of the events were world events. In a game like Warhammer: Age of Reckoning the raid is more PVP based, instead of trying to kill a dragon or evil lich lord you are trying to kill the leaders of the opposing factions.
Now that we have an idea on raiding and how it works in a few games, the next question to ask is, “Why do people raid?”. For some it is to see “end game” content, but for most, people raid for items. With those items they are more powerful and can attempt to raid harder content. You can not expect to walk into Black Temple and kill Illidan without killing other henchmen first. The Sleeper – an enemy that was suppose to be impossible to kill required that every member of the raid had the best gear possible. Even in the myths (or movies if you prefer), Perseus has to overcome different obstacles before he could kill the Kraken. Each encounter granted him a different piece of gear to allow him to move on to harder “content”.
Perseus had it easy, his raid consisted of himself. When an item became available he was sure to use it. In an online game, you are not as lucky. Imagine this, 25 people get together and finally kill the raid boss after hours of work. You check the body to see what shiny new equipment is available to you and find that even though there are 25 of you, the boss only had 7 items. Ouch. How do you determine who gets the items? That answer comes next week when I discuss what DKP is all about.