Tuesday, May 25, 2010

You Shall Not Pass!

The mighty Time-To-Quit-WoW Balrog keeps snatching players from our guild and raiding team. The last couple of weeks we've seen one or two leaving every week, each one taking a fond farewell at our forums.

They've all had every so good reasons for their leaving. Either they have got new priorities in life, a job situation that doesn’t permit raiding, or they’ve simply lost the interest for WoW as such. It’s never about us. It’s always about them. And it always ends in a lyrical Declaration of Love to our guild and its leadership:
“The past year in Adrenaline has been without a doubt the best in this game. I have seen all end-game stuff I wanted to see, I have met great people and I have been able to play this game on a level I never thought possible. The guild has been most of the reason why I have been in here for so long, without u guys I would have lost interest quite a while ago.”
”Adrenaline is doubtless the best-led guild I've ever seen….”
Of course the farewells are sad and sometimes even heartbreaking. I really hate to see people that I’ve been spending so much time suddenly be gone, just like that. At the same time the reads are somehow encouraging since they remind us of what a fantastic guild we are. We’ve got good reasons to be proud and grateful about what we have.

But being a “the best guild ever” isn’t enough. You need 25 people online for your raid, that’s the simple fact. And this time must be about the worst possible in the lifetime of an expansion for recruiting.

I feel truly, truly sorry for our guild leaders. They’ve put so much effort into the guild over the two years I've been in it and I wish there could come a time when they could just relax a bit for a while, enjoying the community, being certain that there will be more than enough players for the next raid. They don't deserve this hassle, which has nothing to do with their own shortcomings.

If you ask me, it's all about Blizzard being too slow in putting out new content. It's no wonder that WoW will be downranked compared to other activities, when you've been stuck doing the same instance over and over again, three times a week, for almost six months.

On a brighter side: it’s not like we’ve been cancelling raids. So far we’re actually doing fine, still working on and conquering the hardmodes of ICC. But I can’t remember the last time I was benched for a raid and that’s somewhat worrying. I’d much rather see a healthy surplus of players.

I know we’re not alone. I know that this is right now on every realm there is. Players are leaving every day, leaving empty spots in their guilds. What you can do is to stick together, keep your raids going and your spirits high even if the margins are slim. Hopefully some other guild on your realm will give up, which will mean that some more raiders will become available and go guild shopping. It isn't pretty, but the fact is that guilds are a bit of scavengers. We feed on the leftovers from our dying neighbours.

We can only hope that Blizzard will get out Ruby Sanctum RSN (yet another expression from the science fiction fanzine community, meaning “really soon now”), which might give a well needed – if shortlived - injection to the game, making people prolong or even reactivate their subscriptions.

I think it’s a little bit too early to give up raiding in Wrath, putting down the weapons, especially since we don’t yet know the release date of Cataclysm. We have a bunch of goals that still remain, deeds to accomplish in company with others who still have the desire to raid and progress in Wrath.

I wish there was something I could do to help. I wish I had some real life WoW playing friends or relatives I could snatch from other guilds. I wouldn’t hesitate a second to headhunt (a nicer word for poaching) if I had some potential candidate. But I don’t. All I can do is to once again mention our existence and recruitment here at the inn, in the hope to get the word out here in Europe.

Please come and join us! Come on your own or why not bring your 10-man guild with you if you’ve decided that you’d like to see something bigger. This is an excellent opportunity to make sure that you are prepared for Cataclysm, already being in a good guild. We’ve got room! What we can offer is some really good raiding. In case I haven’t told you. If you're quick about it you might join us in our upcoming 2-year anniversary event, how about that?

And to you, Mr Balrog, I have only one thing to say:

You shall not pass!
I'm not entirely sure he'll listen to me or to anyone else. But at least we have to give it a try.

25 comments:

Redbeard said...

The guilds I'm acquainted with that have had people leave on our server haven't had the "people leaving WoW" disease, but rather the more traditional forms of guild drama.

Most of the guilds who I personally know at least one member are still grinding their way through their first Lich King kill, so I doubt the exodus will happen until ol' Arthas does his overacting bit of Another One Bites the Dust.

I wonder if the buff was actually too much too soon, because if it helps to get most raiders over the ICC content months before Cataclysm releases, then the exodus could truly be epic.

Anonymous said...

Dont make me dust off my priest and come back....

Cacknoob (the ever living)

2nd Nin said...

Content costs time and money. Blizzard don't have or refuse to spend enough.

Realistically we should likely assume a week of design time per boss (art, how the boss works, tuning etc) for the entire team plus some overhead. WotLK has been out for roughly 2 years so we can assume 53 bosses = 53 weeks solid work + outside... makes a lot of sense really, part of the time though was spent in TBC to give us the release, so we we see the same here, WotLK time being used for Cataclysm.

I think what they need is some kind of faster episodic / lore based work that is released in between their major patches for raids. So for LK something like:

2 Years ago:
Northrend released + Naxx, Magic War, Vrykul and troll saga (the basics of Northrend).

1 year ago: Ulduar Patch
Storm peaks expansion + some new isles off of it.
Ulduar, 3-5 new 5 mans

6 months ago: ICC Patch
Icecrown expansion + Nerubians
Nerubian Tunnels / Sanctuary
ICC

6 months for a major patch sounds about right, lets say 12-15 raid bosses (3 months), 3 5 mans (2 months), daily quests etc (1 month?). It would be tight but doable likely.

Then have a separate Episodic Lore team who are responsible for going back through older areas adding content. So in Zul'drak if we saw a troll raid of 12-15 bosses we might see a new raid with 6 bosses (using recycled models or similar), offering high quality blue gear of the new tier level (so 1 tier effectively behind). We could see daily quests, dungeons, or even just fun little things added.

Unfortunately it requires good tools and structures to add these kinds of things quickly, and I am not honestly sure that WoW has these or the design teams to actually test the game. It was stated once that the test department was something like 3 guys + who ever they could pull together to run a raid. They would need at least a proper test of the 10 man sections to make something like this work.

Larísa said...

@Redbeard: I suppose having an Arthas kill behind you doesn't really help a lot.

@Cacknoob: hehe, is that a threat or a promise? And would you think your priest would accomplish that much in his tuxedo and rocket helmet?

@2ndNin: yeah. I suppose they balance how much people they put on development in the way they think is best. But the content feels slightly slim at the moment, especially now that we know that Ruby Sanctum will only contain one single boss. Of course it depends on how quick Cataclysm will come. If it will be November, as I suggested recently, or earlier. (I definitely hope for earlier!)

Anonymous said...

Lucky you, at least you're a Kingslayer.

I raid on 3 characters and all was going well, first of them got LK to 40%, second just killed Sindra and third guild promised "we'd get Sindra next week". Since then... I don't remember but good 3-4 weeks passed with raids cancelled due to no-shows, or filled with pugs and crap alts and all the progress was lost.

Now suddenly like every second kid "has exams" and every second adult has "job and family issues" which keeps them away, and some make the typical farewell posts "I got bored with wow, cyas". On the other hand, my friend's guild disbanded after they killed Lich King because too many players there "played wow just to see Arthas dead".

Soon summer break will start and everyone will sit packed and waiting for Cata.

I never killed Yogg either because a year ago summer break destroyed my guild. I got two alts in the meantime, but struggled to find a guild and when I finally did it disbanded over some stupidity. Then found third one, but it never killed Yogg because when we got close some patch came out and everyone lost interest.

Woe upon those who can't kill the raid boss in a given time frame.

It sucks to know the feeling we would have him... we just needed a week or two more polish... which was not given us because some of our best people bailed out, and it's not easy to replace someone at this stage, especially if guild doesn't raid 3 times a week but once, which fresh alt is ready for LK, ready to skip all the badges of the week for extended raid lock...?

Gevlon said...

@Larísa: if you want to let your officers rest a bit, there is ONLY one way to make it happen. Be one, share the work.

You can advertise in your blog too to get new raiders.

Things happen not if we wish for them, but if we work for them.

Kurnak said...

I don't think the problem is Blizz not taking out new content yet, but not finding the equilibrium in difficulty to make existing content last.
In the old days the attunement quests were long and painful. You needed several steps that were utterly boring (like getting exalted with a certain faction) or needed a group for a particular quest then to find out you needed a group on the next step. Multiply it for 25 (or 10) and you see why Blizz decided to retire the attunements.
But they failed and decided to run to the opposite side: no attunements, nerfed content... everybody could get in and take a free ride. This is were they failed because they wanted everybody to see end-game content and avoid letting an instance where they've put a lot of work almost unvisited (like former Naxx).
I'm against such painful attunements, but eliminating them completely and putting gear farms up isn't the solution.
Ruby Sanctum won't help much. Won't last long until it becomes another gear farm hole, like it happened with improved Onyxia.
Blizz should add some reasonable attunement processes for end-game content, like the Karazhan key questchain. Back then there wasn't LFD tool, so sometimes was a bit hard to find a suitable group (specially if in a small guild) to get some part of the key or doing the final part. But it didn't take long to do all the chain from the start (unless MC attunement with such a huge instance, that took so long to get to the end back in the old days). Black Temple was another example of long and painful attunement.
If done properly, existing content would have lasted much more without becoming boring to achieve the needed attunements.

Saga said...

I have a similar experience to Anonymous. We were doing well, albeit in 10 man since we'd already lost people. And suddenly people are all "having exams" and whatnot.

Though the best one is the one slacker priest in my guild who actually says straight out that he's gonna watch a movie or tv show instead of raid. *strikes him off the invite list* Some people just don't seem to want to put the effort in. And that's fine.. but then be in a guild that wants to be casual - don't force your current one to be casual because you don't show.

You know, I'm actually on your server Larísa. I thought about trying to get into Adrenaline the last time you posted - but it would pretty much be me and 5 other people from a 10 man guild that never even got to kill Lich King - so I don't think we're geared enough (hence I never made the application).

No matter what happens I hope that things work out for your guild. End of expansion + summer coming up + a lot of various reasons for people leaving.. always sucks for every guild.

Shintar said...

My guild is suffering from this as well; we killed Sindragosa on 25-man about a month ago but since then we've hardly even been able to get to the LK due to cancelled raids or having lots of trialists in the raid that don't know the fights yet. It's quite disheartening.

Larísa said...

@Anonymous: yeah, I'm lucky to have come this far. Buffs or not, I think it will be way harder for many players to get their titles as the numbers of players will dwindle due to summer.

@Gevlon: I do a bit of advertising every now and then. Sort of. Mentioning our need of raiders, as in this post. I definitely don't think it's necessary for me to join the officer squad though. They're doing just fine as it is.

@Kurnak: Yeah, I think you're right about this. The old sort of attunements and requirements was too hard, resulting in very few ever doing Sunwell. But on the other hand now it's probably gone too far to the other side. It's not easy for them to get the right balance, I suppose.

@Saga: you're on the same server? Why don't you at least talk to our leaders and see what they think? As far as I know of it isn't any requirement to have a Kingslayer title to apply to the guild. Honestly. Though we DO have requirements. Well, check out the ad in the realm forum and see what you think. This might be a solution for you.

@Shintar: Oh. I feel sorry for you. I think the balrog has hurt you worse than us.

Dwism said...

I had hoped for a little more creativity in your recruitment posts! ;)

gnomeaggedon.net said...

No one has left my guild yet... but then I am a guild of one.

I have been thinking over the last couple of weeks and days in particular, how much fun I am having in the game right now.

But then I have the advantage of not relying on, or being relied upon by 9-24 others.

I have found a really nice mix of everything.. a bit of this, a bit of that.. drop what I don't feel like one day, go harder the next.

but once again I say.. I'm not focused on Arthas, not in a structure that is demanding, the choice is all mine

Larísa said...

@Dwism: a pigtailed gnome impersonating the mighty old wizard isn't creative enough? Hm... got to put on my thinker hat again. Any good suggestions I might steal, heh?

Evensong said...

I just saw a good friend's guild go from struggling to recruit to trying to find all their raiders new homes. It happened so abruptly. Just a month ago they were fine and progressing, but the last few weeks they could only get 15 people online. It's sad to see, and I really feel for them.

For my guild, we're suffering the people who are starting to get bored (expansion blues and wanting to be outside because it's summer), and they just don't want to show up anymore. They've become flaky - even though they sign up, they're a couple of hours late, or don't show up at all.

My raid leader looks at docking large amounts of DKP to be a consequence of sorts, to show them they can't just show up whenever they want, but it doesn't work on some people. They still don't care - they're just waiting for Cataclysm now that we've killed LK.

Zebb said...

For every guildie who takes his leave for now in favor of non-game persuits, there's another potential recruit out there looking to earn a core raider spot in an established guild before Cataclysm hits.

They're out there, good luck grabbing em.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, how do I convince my wife and mini-Spiritus' that we are moving to Europe so that Daddy can join an awesome WoW raiding guild?
Doesn't look like it's gonna happen. But, then again, I could come back to the States every weekend (assuming that it's not a raid night).

Good luck getting raiders. This current in-game apathy is what is killing the game, not necessarily poor content. Certainly, not everyone who is leaving will come back, right? However, as long as more people jump on-board when Cat releases than leave while waiting for it, Blizz will be happy. Pre-expansion sucks, for sure.

SpiritusRex

2nd Nin said...

Larisa, we have had 53 bosses this expansion, thats roughly 1 every 2 weeks.

The issue is that we didn't really get 2 weeks on each boss due to their difficulty scaling, etc. The aim should really be 1-2 weeks of raiding per boss to make the effort effective.

Adding attunements and similar don't work, those that can do them, will do them in as short a period as is physically possible (1 raid week assuming you need a reset), those that can't will be stuck on them like Kael and Vashj.

More effective tuning, more non-boss blocks and content. Won't help top guilds but it would help the rest of us if we spent a whole week wiping to learn a fight, but doing so means the fights will be significantly more complex and likely long.

Anonymous said...

Never doubt the power of a rocket helm and tuxedo....ppl tremble at my approach....

Cacknoob (James bond..with a rocket helm)

Dwism said...

@lar.
plenty!

I'd love to see you make a rap about it!
Or a pod-cast (brilliant push to finally try that out!)

or if you just want a surefire hit:
Tell of your anniversary-events!

Heiligêr said...

I have noticed this same phenomenon. While I noticed it in Burning Crusade, it seems even more prevalent now in Wrath. A handful of people that I have raided with since Karazhan are now calling it quits- and they are not giving much consideration to coming back in Cataclysm.

I believe the game is losing much of the mystique that it once had.

Spinks said...

"I wish there could come a time when they could just relax a bit for a while, enjoying the community, being certain that there will be more than enough players for the next raid."

Actually, it's one of the truths of running a raiding guild that you can never really stop recruiting. Maybe for a couple of months at the beginning of a new expansion. Maybe.


It's one of the big drives to become more hardcore because only the top guilds really get a constant influx of recruits and even there, its not guaranteed.


I have a lot of sympathy for our raid leaders for example, but you could not pay me to do that job again. It drains all the fun from raiding.

Bristal said...

My guild did our first Ashen Verdict Rep run in ICC last week and we did so well I think we may FINALLY pay Marrowgar a visit in a few weeks.

So, not everyone is bored and out of content...

Some of us are just slow and plodding.

Larísa said...

@Evensong: yeah, I think DKP threats are pretty useless if people just aren't motivated to play the game anymore. I think the problem is that players hit the point of boredom at different times. This will put the ones who still want to play in a very awkward situation, while they at the same time really can't blame those who have lost the lust for the game. You should never play the game to please anyone else but yourself. I think what is important though is to be open and honest. Signing and not turning up is awfully bad manners imo, completely unacceptable and if repeted should render a kick. You want team players in your team. Not jerks.

@Zebb: they may exist but they are rare spawns... Oh well... I'll keep my thumbs crossed.

@SpiritusREx: yeah, the lethargy debuff affecting the online community sucks. You have to be strong not to be dragged down by it. And wtb possibility to transfer characters x-realm! (oh wait, there's the time difference as well... :()

@2ndNin: yeah, it's true that we progressed a bit too quickly in parts of Wrath. To get one new progression bosskill a week is a good pacing imo.

@Cack: oh... The fear strategy. i forgot about that. Your priest has learned some tricks from your lock then?

@Dwism: hopefully the anniversary event will be worth a story. It takes place on June 6 btw.

@Heiligêr: I wonder though if they won't come back for Cataclysm after all? Curiosity will take overhand. But I would predict that they'll burn through that content pretty fast and then leave again - possibly for good.

@Spinks: yeah, the burden of recruiting... I shiver at the thought of it. Not that it's ONLY an officer responsability. Everyone should of course try to help out as much as they can, which I also do. But in the end I think the worries will be worst for the leadership.

@Bristal: that sounds just lovely! Good luck in ICC. You have a lot of really fun fights to look forward to!

Jaedia said...

Aww :< I'm actually looking for a guild at the moment but Horde and on my current server, otherwise I might have considered applying. Good luck finding people. x

Anonymous said...

The "constant recruitment" though has some flaws, you either try "poaching" people from other guilds (or end up being poached), try to merge guilds (but then the clash of different leadership types might occur) or fill up guild with new people and alts, as every day someone levels to 80.

Alts don't have gear. And sometimes lack commitment because "main takes precedence".
Newbies don't have gear AND don't know tactics.

It's sometimes a huge step back when you wipe on farm boss because newbies didn't understand something (happened to me, I thought I explained thoroughly to hunter how to deal with kinetic bombs and that they look like big white balls... and he shoot dark nuclei instead). If there's more of them and it happens every week you can't just clear bosses fast to start learning lich king, and if you plan heroic modes except gunship it's even harder with people who have no clue.

It feels like you're trudging in a spot instead moving forward.