What is a “Raid” in Multiplayer Online Video Games?

The character selection screen in Blizzard's World of Warcraft.Daniel Krason / Shutterstock.com

Raiding is an essential feature of massively multiplayer online RPGs. They’re a fun way to interact with friends (or random players) to complete goals and get rare loots. At higher levels, raiding can be some of the most difficult MMO activities.

What is a raid in an MMORPG?

In massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), “raid” is designed to be performed only by a large group of players working cooperatively. Dungeons and Raids provide a combat experience to upgrade your character and a host of other in-game rewards, from higher level gear to exclusive visual skins and in-game achievements.

In short: Raiding is an important part of the “end game” of massively multiplayer online games, providing top players with engaging content designed for group co-op play.

Dungeons and raids usually occur in “instances”: special, isolated areas in the game for you and your party only. Unlike the “open world” (where all players can interact), instances are able to support enemies with strictly scripted sequences and effects, with each instance stage often building on the previous one and increasing in difficulty. Once an instance is “cleared” all affected enemies have been defeated, rewards can be obtained. Instances are also something players are always free to avoid; no player is required to participate in the progression of the raid!

Raids are instances with exceptionally difficult bosses. All raids have different mechanics (scripted behaviors that occur in response to player action, such as damaging the boss at a certain percentage of health), which are designed to be more difficult as players progress through the content. . Raids are said to be the hardest challenges to overcome in MMOs, and teams could take days, if not months, to conquer the mechanics and complete the raid. There is never a guarantee that players will be successful, and some raids throughout history have only been cleared by a handful of players in the world.

Raids get progressively more difficult

Games with raids often divide their systems into three general categories, which we call levels here:

Level one The content offers limited rewards and is designed to be accessible to players who are very new to the raid, or maybe even new to the game itself.
Level two the content offers much better (and exclusive) rewards but requires better group coordination and player skills. Hard difficulty content often also includes some form of progression system, in which lower level content must be completed before higher levels can be attempted.
Level three the content is meant to be the ultimate challenge of an MMO. Only the most skilled and experienced players will be able to complete this content, and only with the help of a group of players with similar skills and contact details. This content offers the best rewards, many of which are exclusive cosmetic items and mechanics for players to display their skills.

Players new to raid will usually start at level one. Those who choose to train, improve, and progress through lower levels may find themselves taking on increasingly difficult challenges at higher levels and reap the ultimate rewards.

To demonstrate the concept, we’ll explain how the raid works in three MMORPGs: World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, and Guild Wars 2.

What is a raid in World of Warcraft?

World of warcraft World of warcraft

World of Warcraft was first released in 2004 and is the oldest MMO of the three, and raiding has been a part of World of Warcraft since its launch.

All dungeons and raids in World of Warcraft will have many normal enemies (called “mobs”) and bosses to defeat. Raids are optional end-game content for high-level players, while dungeons are intended for all players of any skill level.

To switch from one raid to another, you must first unlock the required equipment. To receive better equipment, you must first complete regular quests and dungeons to obtain equipment that will allow you to access heroic dungeons, LFR (Looking For Raid) system, etc.

Normal Dungeons and Raids

Raids in World of Warcraft always require at least 10 players, and they are divided into four difficulties: LFR (Looking For Raid), Normal, Heroic, and Mythic. LFR and normal dungeons fall into the level one category.

LFR is for players who want to experience the history of raid content effortlessly; it is intended for casual players and the chances of failure are relatively low. Normal dungeons are the starting point for those who want to start the raid, and they’re easy to complete as well.

WoW_Classic_BWL_ChromaggusBlackwing Lair Raid World of warcraft

Dungeons always require five players, and there are four difficulties: Normal, Heroic, Mythic, and Mythic Plus (often referred to as “Mythic +”). Normal World of Warcraft dungeons fall under the level one category because they are easier to complete.

Heroic and mythical +

Higher difficulty means more health and damage overall, and therefore choosing a higher difficulty level falls into the level two category. To participate in Mythic Raids, you must first complete Heroic Raids and get better gear. Mythic + can fall into level two or three depending on the difficulty of the chosen dungeon.

Mythic + is a five-player timed instance that adds increased difficulty from Heroic difficulty. The Mythic + system is exclusive to dungeons, and enemies in Mythic + dungeons deal more damage and have higher health reserves with each level conquered. At some levels, the dungeon gains an “affix” which changes the way enemies will act, adding additional complexity to the content. Mythic + can only be unlocked by first receiving a keystone item of the previous difficulty level (Mythic).

WoW_Classic-ZulGurub-HakkarRise of the Blood God (Zul’Gurub) Raid World of warcraft

Mythic + doesn’t mechanically increase difficulty, but because it’s more punitive and demanding than Mythic content, Mythic + falls into the level two category described at the start of this article. Mythic + is continually evolving higher, so higher level challenges could fall into the level three category.

Mythical raids

Mythic Raid, the hardest difficulty in World of Warcraft, is the only raid with a fixed group size of 20 players. Mythic difficulty for raids is designed to be the hardest instance content available, and it offers the highest level gear and exclusive rewards.

An increase in skills and equipment requirements are necessary if players choose to upgrade from Heroic to Mythic content. Progress races among best teams are on display when new Mythic Raids are launched, and World of Warcraft is exceptionally competitive, unlike other MMOs, with leaderboards and leaderboards prominently displayed on various game servers around the world.

What is a raid in Final Fantasy XIV?

Final Fantasy XIV Square Enix

Final Fantasy XIV was released in 2010, and the first raid content became available in its first expansion, Realm Reborn. To move from one raid to another, you first had to complete level one, and so on to move on to the next raid level. This is called linear progression.

Once players have completed the first level of raid content, they could then move on to level two, and ultimately complete that raid sequence. Once the normal raids have been cleared, the wild raiding mode can be unlocked.

Normal Dungeons, Trials, and Alliance Raids

Normal Dungeons, Trials, and Alliance Raids are the simplest content Final Fantasy XIV has to offer.

In Final Fantasy XIV, players follow a main story quest that will take them through a number of instances, including dungeons, trials, and alliance raids. Dungeons consist of four players and are fairly easy to complete. Players must eliminate enemies and fight their way through the dungeon to a boss. There are usually three to four bosses in a dungeon, and the time to complete a dungeon typically takes between 20 and 25 minutes. Dungeons will sometimes have difficult modes which can be unlocked after completing the dungeon in normal mode.


The events are designed for eight players facing a single boss (with a normal mode and sometimes an extreme mode). A normal mode test can take as little as 5 minutes, and an extreme test can take up to 20 minutes. Trials don’t offer the best gear, but rather novelty items, such as mounts and clothes to wear for your character.

Alliance raids are led by 24 players, made up of three separate groups of 8 players, against a sequence of bosses and monsters (lesser enemy spawns), similar to a dungeon, however, alliance raids take a considerable amount of time to complete – 35 minutes on average. These encounters bridge the difficulty gap between normal 8-player raids and wild content, as they have more mechanical density and require a higher degree of precision in execution, but are lighter and more user-friendly than content. in wild mode.

Hard mode dungeons and normal raids

Hard mode dungeons are an increased difficulty dungeon, which is why hard mode dungeons fall into the level two category. Enemies found in their normal difficulty counterparts will respawn in hard difficulty dungeons, but the mechanics can be more complicated.

Normal raids require a progression system to unlock next level content; to progress, players must first complete the first raid, then the second to move on to the third, and so on to move on to the next boss – this is mentioned above as linear progression.


As players progress through bosses, they will gain rewards that increase their characters’ potency (how much damage they deal, how much health they can restore, etc.), which allows them to cope with stronger and more difficult bosses. This form of gear-based progression is an important feature of most raiding MMOs, and Final Fantasy XIV is no exception.

Content at level two and above is completely optional.

Wild and Ultimate Raids

The Savage and Ultimate raids in Final Fantasy XIV represent the optional core endgame content that offers the biggest challenges and the strongest rewards. Unlike Dungeons or Trials, Wild Raids limit a player to receiving rewards once per week for a period of time after their initial release (usually within the first five months).


The Wild and Ultimate Raid content is for those looking for a challenge. It takes weeks, if not months, to learn the patterns of these fights.


There are a lot of strategies and patterns to learn in these fights, and what sets the wild content apart from the rest is the individual responsibility of each member to learn their respective roles and mechanics in the fight, but a great savage raider knows also the mechanics of others, so they can adapt to any random outliers during combat.

What is a raid in Guild Wars 2?

Guild Wars 2 Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 came out in 2012 with an ambitious “living story” concept, in which the game world was destined to change over time as the story unfolded. This concept was at the heart of the game’s ongoing player engagement, or “endgame,” for approximately the first two years of its existence. This, combined with its fast-paced “action combat system” and flexible class roles, sets the game apart from much of the MMO scene.

In 2015, Guild Wars 2 launched its first raid, Spirit Vale, with the release of the Heart of Thorns Expansion Pack. This release also saw a significant increase in content difficulty and combat system complexity.

Since then, the developers have continued to periodically release additional raids and fractals (small groups, dungeon-like instances designed to challenge players), albeit at a significantly slower pace compared to games like Final Fantasy XIV. or World of Warcraft.

Dungeons, Fractals and Strikes

Dungeons were released when the original game launched and haven’t been significantly updated since. They are incredibly easy and require five players. A dungeon should take around 45 minutes for a party, but experienced players with better equipment can complete a dungeon in 10 minutes. Dungeons will have lots of weaker enemies, puzzle mechanics, and an average of three strong bosses.

Guild Wars 2 Raid

Fractals are a form of raid that requires five players, and they are much more difficult depending on the level chosen. The difficulty can be chosen before entering and can evolve from one to 100; 100 being the hardest, and most fractals can be completed in 15-20 minutes. Fractals are made up of enemies with an average of three bosses per instance.

Fractal content must be completed in sequential order, starting at Fractal 1 and moving up to 100. As you progress to higher difficulty levels, the rewards for completion will also increase. The highest levels of fractals are some of the most difficult content in the game, and the rewards are some of the most substantial as well.

Strikes are newer lower level raids that require 5-10 players to complete. Strikes were intended either as a stepping stone for those new to raiding, or perhaps as a long-term replacement for raids in general. Strikes will have a single boss to kill and can be completed in 5-10 minutes.

High level fractals

Fractals increase in difficulty from level one to level 100. Higher level fractals pose a challenge to most groups of five players. While Fractals are more accessible than Raids because they require fewer players, they are often more punitive in their design, forcing all five players to act without error.

guild wars 2_fractal

In Guild Wars 2, raids are 10-player instances focused on challenging combat and mechanics, designed for max-level characters wearing the best gear. Like dungeons and fractals, raids typically consist of three bosses with intermediate encounters with weaker enemies and puzzle areas.

Due to a significant increase in difficulty, high level fractals easily fall into the level two category described above.

Motes of challenge

Challenge Motes offer the highest difficulty for MMO raiders, so they easily fall into the level three raid content category. Challenge Motes are designed as a system for certain fractals and raid bosses that allow players to potentially increase the difficulty of the encounter.


With an active challenge, a boss will gain additional health, deal additional damage to players, and overlap additional mechanics to their normal form, often completely changing the way players approach the encounter. Challenge Motes offer additional rewards, often in the form of cosmetic items, which players can use to demonstrate that they are some of the most talented in the game.

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