In Star Wars: The Old Republic Operations are described as large-scale multi-group missions, i.e. extended PvE content, the equivalent to WoW’s raids. Shintar already remarked that, at least from a linguistic point of view, the name Operation is not very fortunate because the corresponding verb, operating, does sound rather weird in this context. This is probably one of the reasons why this activity is frequently called raiding in SW:TOR as well. Another reason could also lie in WoW’s market dominance which is further exemplified by SW:TOR’s raid structure, e.g. several versions of the same Operation varying in difficulty. As a strong proponent of the raid model featured in classic World of Warcraft and its first expansion The Burning Crusade, it should be obvious that I do not welcome this approach.
Like Shintar I was unsure whether I should enter the raiding game in SW:TOR at all. My considerations became heavily influenced by real life obligations which simply left me no time for extended playing sessions and the social ties that once were required. (Note that SW:TOR did not feature a tool for automated grouping at launch. It is very unfortunate that the developers gave in to the constant whining and cries for a “Dungeon Finder” – at least it is still restricted to the same server.)
I have no guild affiliation or any other social ties in the game so far. Moreover, I consider it highly unlikely that I will establish any, now that the game is changing drastically into a direction I do not appreciate. My first-hand experiences concerning Operations are therefore very limited. The only time I actively joined an Operation was during the “Relics of the Gree” event for the two World Bosses (Gravak’k and Surgok’k) and the instanced, single boss Xenoanalyst II. If I remember correctly the group consisted primarily of a raiding guild in need of a few more warm bodies. I already had the associated mission in my mission log, so I happily joined as DPS on my Sith Sorcerer. Preparation took some time which gave me the chance to consult Dulfy’s guide and to familiarize myself with all the relevant elements of the encounter. Everything went smoothly and we defeated the boss in the 16-player version on both difficulties (
and Hard Mode). Nevertheless, this
experience did nothing to re-awaken my interest in joining a guild to start
raiding regularly again now that I actually have the time to do so. Normal
Regarding the Group Finder, I was unable to find even a single group to join during a three hour playing session. I did try more than once, though. It may have something to do with The Progenitor being an RP server as I have noticed that players on these kinds of realms seem to have very different priorities. This might also explain why requests for raid groups are far and in between. The very few ones that I do notice, however, share the same illusions that have been prevalent in WoW for quite some time now. In order to join a PuG the raid leader requires potential candidates to already know every encounter beforehand and in addition expects them to be overgeared for the proposed content. Taking a closer look at the Undergeared project should illustrate how ridiculous that is. The easiest way is not always the right way.
Shintar speaks very highly of raiding in SW:TOR (“oodles of fun”) as do others. Nevertheless, I still cannot shake the feeling that – judging by the game’s overall difficulty – the actual raiding experience may turn out to be quite shallow indeed. I must admit, however, that this is an educated guess at best, since I really have no personal (empirical or anecdotal) evidence whatsoever. It's just my impression that raiding (or “operating”) in SW:TOR is not worth my time. This may also have to do with the fact that I am no longer interested in any kind of gear grind.