Let me address them point by point, there's a lot of information in there. 1. Let me try to explain better. The same structure has to apply to every community --- The underlying principal is the very essence of organisms, and those basic principals will not change no matter what the specific situation is. HOWEVER, the environments are different, even though the principals are the same, so the outcomes are different. Kinda like F = MA is true, but given different M of course you'll get different F. I'm not saying that it'll be EXACTLY the same, but there WILL be differentiation and/or hierarchy if a community would like to function most efficiently. Exactly how that happens and whether if there are extra side-affects is up to the specific situation. I get what you mean by having some strangers that do not really interfere with you, I really do. I've been doing that for quite a while too. But you see, the key here is "strangers" and "distance" ---- You're a very very loosely bonded community, and each probably intentionally keep your own distance so you don't step on someone else' boundaries. There's not much obligation towards each other hence there's not much demand. But even in this case, compromise happen at all levels, if you have to stay and keep someone else alive instead of just run out of combat to save yourself, that's compromise too. It's just that the compromise doesn't need to reach the raiding guild level --- and that is because the sense of community is purposely regulated in these loose groups. If you give it enough time, say a few people who loosely bond together decides to always spend time playing together, and set some common goals, very quickly hierarchy will appear. No matter how you'd regulate yourself, there's gotta be someone who calls the shot, even if you vote there's gotta be someone who says "OK let's vote". And there's gotta be dividing of work or else it's just way too inefficient. What I mean is, it's not a whole different beast, it is the same ultimate system but the variables are different so you end up with different types of communities. Like I said I've been in both very tight groups and loose communities, I can only say that each have its benefits and problems, it's up to yourself to choose. Tight groups take a LOT of energy from you, but at the same time when it pays off it pays off BIG. Loose groups can have very hyper moments too, but not nearly as emotionally overwhelming as that of a tight group when stars align. On the other hand, in a tight group where everyone has compromised so much and cared so much, the tension can quickly rise if something goes wrong. This simply doesn't happen in loose groups, so we get a feeling that loose groups are more "carefree" and "understanding". Literally, a lot of it have to do with "care-free". And like I said, this trend is true for not only raiding guilds, but RP guilds, PvP guilds, so on. Just to different degree and with different focus. 2. You mean like the founding fathers? The "non-conformists" who don't abide by the system are of course, criminals, who are stigmatized... See this is just too general of a statement to make. I get what you mean, but again this is how communities work --- if you are "completely free", you should be able to murder someone. Why don't you? Aside from all emotional/ethical/personal considerations, there's the fact that you'd get thrown into jail. It is the community's way of forcing individuals into compromise, obviously without a justice system/collective effort to keep the community intact, just imagine how the world would spin into chaos. Any community, anywhere, from the USA to tribes in Australia, from wolves to ants, even at a cellular level in your own body, these regulation happens. If one of your cell misbehave (cancerous, or simply mal-function), the immune system kicks in and kill that cell, recycle all the parts, and make a new one. When immune system fail? The cancer spreads and you die to it. I gotta clear the air though, I'm not saying everyone should abide absolutely to the rules that are made up by whoever. But the very act of setting down some rules and attempting to enforce it within a community is not a crime, it is a necessity. HOW someone goes about doing it, and WHAT rules exactly are they trying to enforce, these details will determine everything. 3. Oh OK, makes sense now. I get what you mean. I am perfectly fine with wasting 6 hours of my playing time with noobs who can't stay out of fire as long as those noobs are good people. But I've wasted so many 6 hours to know that this definitely can make me think twice before joining a group. But you see, guilds are better than pugs, which is kinda why in wotlk I eventually just went into a guild (along with my 3 irl friends) that kept asking us to join --- They are good people, and they don't wipe to fire. Also, I wanted to go for server first 'cause it's fun to do, and that just ain't happening with pugs. 4. Exactly, and keeping this in mind, they've obviously tried to make things work for people who do not enjoy the raiding guild environment --- They try to differentiate between solo PvE/group PvE, they really worked at the crafting and did a whole lot with housing and other sandbox-ish features. You gotta know what's a reasonable goal given certain restrictions, which is this case right now. 5. Raids are demanding, they are. They can be very exhausting. I'm not talking about just 1 night of raid, I'm talking about the fact that you gotta plan your whole week's schedule and then whole months of schedule and then whole year of schedule according to it, spare 3 hours 3 times a week, maybe skip dinner, aggro your spouse, give up some sleep, but you've gotta be there at that time, ready to do what you do. You don't have the freedom to do it on your schedule because 24 or 39 other people need to find the same time. You can't be late or skip because 24 or 39 other people will be screwed. You can't half-ass your play because everyone's tense and on their toe and if you mess up people get upset. Stakes are high and pressure is on, raiding time has got to be focus time. This is why I preferred pugging for a while, it just seemed way too exhausting to raid on regular hours again. But see, it's not the "individual skill" that's the point, it is the high pressure and the demanding schedule that makes it "hard" on the individual level. I definitely admire those people who show up months after months on-time, prepared, ready to go (I wasn't, I've been late and I've skipped, although I always inform beforehand). I've got several server first kills and I was frequently on the front page of world of logs healing rank for all encounters, but none of that was "hard" for me, what was really hard for me was having to juggle my life to fit the schedule --- It was hard, yet rewarding. So why do they get the best reward? For all those nights that you could only get 3 hours of sleep before getting up to work, for all the spouse aggro and girlfriend threaten to walk out on you, there's gotta be something quite rewarding at the other end. To me, really, the challenge itself is rewarding enough. But for other people who're perhaps more reluctant, the reward simply needs to be comparably better. You make a good point that all games are pattern recognition, the patterns themselves are relatively easy to find too compared to some of the patterns in the real world. Hence eventually, given enough observations these patterns can be found. But same thing can be said about everything in the world. In ANY analytical thinking about anything, pattern recognition is the underlying mechanism. Science is based on it. Common sense is based on it. Knowledge in general is based on it. Basically, problem solving, puzzle solving, the games that we play from chess to Wildstar are all just puzzles. There are however harder and easier puzzles, which basically is determined by the complexity of the patterns, and how many variables/interweaving patterns are involved. In most situations player versus player provides a LOT of variables and hence are harder to predict, but this is not always the case. Player versus Player also have patterns though, mind you, that's why PvP eventually becomes quite repetitive too. If anything, higher level player are easier to predict since they tend to optimize their decision (computational models have been built on Starcraft to optimize winning chance), whereas new players sometimes perform random acts due to not fully understanding the consequences, which make the other side needing to rely more on reaction instead of predictions. But still, most of the patterns (movements, spells available, likely casting sequence, likely plan etc) are still very much similar (in a distribution sense) across all players. Aside from pattern recognition, there is also reaction and execution, which is the primary source of errors to big groups such as raids, as it gets amplified individually whereas pattern recognition is shared. I wouldn't call one thing necessarily "harder" than the other, it's difficult to define "hard" in this context anyways. But it certainly isn't trivial, especially considering Wildstar's telegraph based action combat. 6. Gotta enjoy the process, and gotta look at the bright side. If your only grudge is that you don't get to work with the best individuals and/or don't get to raid enough, why not consider joining the best? Work towards joining the world top guilds, switch to their server, and try to get in. With enough work I think anyone can potentially get in, especially if you're confident of your own talents. 7. You have to ask yourself that question every second in life buddy. Then you've gotta REALLY ask yourself that question whenever there's a big decision to be made in life. But this is how you distil yourself of all the early fairy tale ideas implanted into you --- By throwing them out one by one, in the end you leave the most important value to you, and this value simply can't be touched --- It has went through many many battles against many many other values and it won. This is how you get to the core of the soul. I'm just saying, don't shy away from those moments where you need to make a decision --- Chances are, eventually you'd need to make a decision between them anyways, better now than never, get a clearer picture of what you truely want and value early on. Now on the topic, competitiveness and tunnel-vision sometimes bring out the worst in me, and sometimes I would be tempted to do things that I would not prefer to see myself doing, so I know what you're saying. Unless what you're saying is going back to the hierarchy argument and saying that you have to bribe the officers, in which case I think that's being unreasonably paranoid. 8. I don't quite get this, yes of course they just bond together and accept the rules/hierarchy that evolves. So is the first multicellular organism on earth. So is any human communities anywhere. And of course they'd be protective of the hierarchy, else things fall apart for the said community. I'm sensing that you're trying to belittle raiders, but I don't quite get how this statement belittles them.