Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blizzard’s message to guilds: Get Bigger!

A few months ago there was a huge hullabaloo about the changes to the loot tables of 10 man raiding vs 25 man raiding.

In Cataclysm the drops are going to be the same, something that infuriated many 25 man raiders, who argued that it takes more effort to organize it, and that this should be rewarded.

At that point Blizzard made it very clear that they didn’t want better gear to be an incentive for players to go for bigger raid formats. They wanted us to go for whatever raid size we enjoy rather than what would pay off better. That’s why they made it even, with only a slightly higher drop rate in 25 man raids, in order not to kill off the bigger raids completely.

Now Blizzard is going in an entirely different direction, as they’re presenting the how the guild levelling will work and what guild achievements and perks we’ll see in Cataclysm.

If you’re a small, tight 10 man raiding guild, you can forget about a lot of the guild achievements, and your levelling speed is likely to be way slower. Blizzard will reward guilds that grow Big. Not just a little big, but Crazy Big. The bigger guild you have, the quicker will you reach the level cap and get access to all the goodies.

And I must say that I’m a little bit taken by surprise. What happened to the “we want you to not be punished for just wanting to play in a smaller group of friends” philosophy? Where did this sudden love for mega-big guilds come from?

Changed philosophy
When the guild levelling system first was introduced, they said that only the XP provided by the top contributors every day would be counted. This would mean that a small guild with very active players would stand a fair chance to level almost as quickly as a guild with several hundreds accounts. Well, probably not entirely since a big guild could organize multiple raids, getting more boss kills and more XP that way. But at least it would smoothen out the advancement pace a little. So not anymore.

In a recent blue post, Mumper stated:

“There is no concept of "Top 20 contributors" anymore. We changed that functionality many months ago.”

Totalbiscuit ranted a bit about this in his last show, and I’m just as surprised as he is. Just when did they change this? And why haven’t they said anything about it until now?

The impression that they’re looking for big numbers is reinforced when you look at the recently announced guild achievements. Many, many of them are about quantity rather than quality. And I’m talking about insane quantities.

Take for instance the achievement “That’s a lot of bite”, which requires you to catch 10 000 fish. Quite a different task to a 15 man guild than it is to a 500 man guild, right?

Some of those achievements don’t seem to give much of reward, except for adding to the guild XP (which in itself actually is a pretty big award. Some of the perks you get at max level are really good.)

But there are achievements that give stuff that probably is pretty handy. We don’t know for sure yet what the recipe “Big Cauldron of Battle” does, but I could imagine it’s some flask equivalence to fish fiests that will bring down the consumable costs for your guild. To get it you need to make 25 000 flasks. What small or average sized guild can do that easily?

Alea Iacta Est
Blizzard has always had a good eye at the legendary guild Alea Iacta Est – so good that they even made an anniversary interview with them. I wonder if it’s guilds like them they’ve had in mind designing this?

Now don’t read me wrong; I like them too and I’m a frequent listener to AIE's podcast The Instance. Randy and Scott are nice to listen to and provides a lot of positive energy to not only their own guild but the entire community. But even if I’m fascinated by their epic size, spotting thousands of accounts, I can’t say that I long to belong to such a big guild myself. I like to be in a guild where I recognize every toon and there aren’t more of us than that I can remember which alt belongs to who.

Adrenaline is definitely not the most social guild you’ve ever seen – we’re fairly focused on our raiding endeavours and outside of it, we’re not an extremely talkative bunch of people. But as I log in I feel that I’m the member of a team and not just an unknown name in a 3 000 headed crowd. Our guild chat is small and intimate. We don’t run our own podcast. But we have other qualities.

Looking at the latest news about the guild achievements and the guild levelling, I’m however asking myself if Blizzard really sees the qualities of the small guilds, or if they’d rather want to see more AIE type of guilds on every server.

Randy and Scott brought up this issue themselves in their last show, admitting that many of the achievements will be a piece of cake to their mega-guild, something they get without even paying attention to it. Within weeks of the launch of Cataclysm they’ll have their guild chat spammed with it thanks to their very size.

Take the Critter Kill Squad, where you’re supposed to kill 50 0000 critters. Any small guild that hasn’t lost their mind will stay away from that achievement. Even the cutest Armadillo pup can’t motivate you to go through the hassle. But for AIE? It’s nothing.

Actually the hosts of The Instance didn’t sound too enthusiastic about their incoming achievements, and I don’t blame them. The enjoyment you get from making an achievement usually corresponds very well to the effort you have to make into getting it. It must feel like a rather hollow, non-deserved victory to get all those treats.

What’s the idea?
For my own part I keep asking: Why? What is Blizzard trying to achieve?

Because surely they have an idea in mind? They don’t give away carrots randomly; they normally have a purpose, trying to make players to play the game in a certain way.

They handed out badges to make us play more five-mans than ever before, and extra badges to make us do it with random strangers. They’ve made us revisit old raid content through the weekly raid quests in a futile effort to revive raid instances we’d left behind.

If they now mainly reward quantity-related guild achievements, they apparently want to give incentives for guilds to grow bigger. If they wanted small, tight communities they could have made up achievements that rewarded the smaller scale. I’m not sure how you’d make up such an achievement, maybe it would be something like: “X percent of the guild members must have killed raid boss NN”.

But as it is now it’s all about the Big Numbers.

The question is: will it work? Will guilds be so desperate to get access to those perks and achievements that they’ll try to merge into server-wide superguilds that gain achievements as by default?

For the good of the game I hope not. In a time when we tend to spend more and more of our online time in quiet solitude, playing with stranger you’ve met in LFD and never likely will meet again, I think the game needs the smaller guilds, where you’re not just a number in the big cooperation, but rather a member of a tight team.

I hope that the playerbase will ignore the message from Blizzard and stick up for the smaller format. Regardless of the incentives to go Big.

55 comments:

Talarian said...

There may not be a top 20 contributors anymore, but instead we have an absolute maximum experience that a guild can earn per day, with the only exception to that being guild acheivements. On the other hand, the XP limit may be high enough that a small guild of less than 20 may never reasonably reach it. If I had more solid numbers I could give an estimate, but alas I don't have that either.

This is the only link I found on short notice:
http://blue.mmo-champion.com/t/26850247758/question-regarding-guild-achievement-xp/

It's not confirmed by a blue, nor is it denied.

Klepsacovic said...

I predict a response something like "if you want to play with friends then you don't need rewards", thereby simultaneously suggesting that only noobs play with friends and only anti-social losers go for rewards.

Anonymous said...

I think the most obvious answer is that, just like with character levels, they expect every guild to reach the maximum guild level eventually - it's just a matter of time.

So maybe when Cataclysm is released the big mega-guilds will have a huge advantage, but what about the guild landscape a year or two from now, when the next expansion hits? And, for imagination's sake, what would it looks like if it took a month or two for even small guilds to reach maximum guild level?

Fitz said...

As a member of two big guilds (and yes AIE is one of them), I cannot help but disagree with your percentage idea. Think about how that flips it back into the favor of small raiding guilds. Heck, raiding guilds could not even carry alts assuming they would add to the count of characters that need to kill a boss for a guild achievement. But that kind of system would really kill my alliance-side guild, which is a nice group of mostly social people and not the best raiders in the world.

AIE breaks everything (guild tab first and foremost), but I wouldn't give up that community for anything. I think that guild has managed the impossible and that is cull most of the douche bags that play wow out of the guild to make a caring, loving and unbelievably huge community.

The real solution to the problem is completely unlinking guild XP bonuses from achievements. You don't get experience from personal achievements and so that's how it should stay. Then nobody would be favored and Blizzard could not be accused of cowtowing to raiding guilds or to mega guilds.

I better stop or else I will have written my own blog entry in comments! Cheers.

Grimmtooth said...

10,000 fish a big deal?

Seriously, my guild has altoholics that have more than that between their alts on one server alone. I just saw some guy's 4th string alt get 1,000 without even trying (there's a cheesment). Not to pick nits, but that's not a big deal at all.

So far I'm not seeing much to favor one size over another, but it's all theory until it's on my display, anyway, and I refuse to get excited about in-progress features. (potential misinterpretations of numbers around same, another story).

Perdissa said...

I also belong to a fairly small guild, and it's a bit worrisome looking at some of the achievements that require the guild to make what, 10,000 flasks? I mean, we might get there by the end of Cata, but it doesn't sound like something we'd grind our way towards.

Sure, people may argue that achievements aren't mandatory, as they aren't mandatory now. But large guilds have a lot of advantages making achievements trivial simply by being large, and that does not make sense. Like you, I prefer the cosy feeling of my small guild, where everyone knows one another, rather than an online list I need to scroll through for a few minutes when I log in.

It's nice that guild achievements are implemented, but this surely seems like the wrong way to do it.

Anonymous said...

Suddenly I realise why our rival guild went on a massive recruitment drive and how has hundreds of casual members.. so they can "win" on guild achievements :P

Dyre42 said...

My guild has between 75 and 100 actual players (lotta alts though)atm so some achievements like 10K fish can be knocked out in a day (Guild Fishing Contest)while 10K Flasks will take forever and a day since we only have 6 or 7 alchemists.



The numbers game favors the very large guilds though an d having to manage a guild large enough to complete those in a reasonable time frame is not something I'd want to do.

Redbeard said...

Considering that my main's guild is seeing growth from people who don't want to be in a) a hardcore raiding guild and b) a huge guild, this whole push seems to reward the guilds that our recruits are fleeing. There's nothing that takes the place of playing with friends, but at the same time Blizz is pushing two extremes at the expense of the rest of us.

Jape said...

I personally like the smaller raid concept. Being a raid leader myself, I get frustrated with trying to fill a 25man raid and people's attendance. My guild is just large enough to run a 25 man, so if 3-4 people can't make it, it dampers our efforts. 10man raiding is much cleaner and easier to run and maintain, in my opinion.

spinksville said...

"I think the most obvious answer is that, just like with character levels, they expect every guild to reach the maximum guild level eventually - it's just a matter of time."

I agree with Anon. These achievements aren't supposed to be things people get in the first week, or even the first month.

And I'll continue to boggle at anyone who looks at the achievement list as a set of things they MUST do rather than being optional. There will be plenty of ways to get guild xp.

spinksville said...

Oops, forgot to add. It'll be more urgent for progression raid guilds actually, because little cosmetic things like having a guild armadillo pet might actually affect recruiting and they need to recruit constantly.

So if you are in a guild like that, you may want to encourage a lot of social members to come kill critters and make flasks :) (Tell you what though, flasks are going to be very cheap on the AH this expansion!)

Leah said...

I'm a little sad about this direction, because it means that I might as well forget getting any leveling done for my personal guild.

I don't like big guilds either, I'd rather know everyone in the guild and be able to have some sort of coherent conversation (even SAN at some point just got too hectic :/ )

But its rather sad when your desire for more intimate atmosphere conflicts with your desire for cute pets and other flavor items... I hope that blizzard reconsiders some of the number requirements..at least a little bit :(

Olga said...

I can see a simple solution to this issue - they could just implement a week cap for guild experience, as they are going to implement for individual points from pvp and pve activity. They are going away from grind in any form, so i think it would be quite in line with other changes.

Nils said...

Here is my guess:
Blizzard tries to re-create (server) community feeling. To do that they need big guilds, not small ones.

Of course this way they sacrifice small guilds, which is not very prudent.

It might have been better to e.g. introduce alliances of guilds.

falc said...

Bigger guild = more management issues.
More management issues = more grey hair on Officers heads.

Managing a bigger guild deserves to be rewarded - not penalized by saying - hey we don't care if you can manage 50 raiders and 2 raiding groups - we will only count top 10 of those people.

There has to be an incentive for the officers of a large guilds - and i see the faster guild leveling being it.

All guilds will reach the goals that are outlined by doing a task over and over again eventually. (say making 10000 flasks or killing 50k or 500k critters).

Syl said...

@Nils
the odd thing about that is however, that the community feeling is bigger in smaller guilds and less present in mega-guilds; just like living in a city is more anonymous than in a town. so from that pov it makes no sense to me.

and it already makes me cringe when I think of all the bunnies and squirells getting killed by players blasting AoE through wherever they go! what a disruption of peace =/

Nils said...

@Syl:

The community feeling in smaller guilds is different.

In a big guild you can still have a feeling of 'beloning', especially if there are other big, 'rival' guilds on your server.

However, I agree that small-scale communities should be supported, too. That is the reason why most MMOs that rely on strong communities (all exept for WoW?) offer guilds and alliances of guilds. Sometimes in addition to the server-community.

Anonymity harms MMOs. Blizzard finally understood it and struggles to reintroduce community feeling (not just 10-man cummunities) into WoW without removing the Dungeon Finder/ Cross server content / accessibiliy of raids via PuGs

It will be hard.

Edawan said...

I thought they just wanted to avoid a situation where, in bigger guilds, a handful of people contribute to the guild while others just wait for the rewards to unlock.

Larísa said...

@Talarian: Yeah, it’s true that they’ve talked about an XP cap, but as you say – smaller guilds will not reach it, while big guilds still will be able to even exceed it as they get XP for achievements.

So I still think that big guilds are heavily favoured in this system.

@Klepsacovic: Maybe. I haven’t seen much of complaining yet. I suppose many players haven’t noticed this yet. I can imagine there will be more discussion about it further on once we see the consequences of it coming live.

@Anonymous: yes, they’ll reach it eventually. But there is still an element of competition on wow, at least for many players and among guilds. You compete for good players. You compete for realm ranking. And if some guilds level up way faster, which will give them access to perks such as instant-summoning, quick-resses etc, which will grant them way more tries on new bosses than guilds without them get, well… then it’s really starting to affect the game. And the answer that the small guilds will get the perks in two years isn’t much of a comfort then.

@Fitz: That was exactly the intention of this example! I wanted to show that Blizzard has decided to only reward big guilds. If they wanted to they could reward small guilds as well, offering something adjusted to their particular model and strengths. But they’ve decided against this. And I still can’t understand why. Why do they believe that the AIE model necessarily makes more happy, loyal customers than an Adrenaline-sized guild?

I think taking out the XP isn’t enough to even the odds. They need to make the achievements size-neutral. Or if not – add achievements that are better for small guilds, to balance it better.

@Grimmtooth: I’m not much for speaking too much about the future either, but actually in this case I think it might be a good idea. Now is the time to raise our voices if we want this system to be size neutral. If we don’t say anything, this will be implemented this way and I think it might be a bit tricky for them to change it around. My hope goes to the Beta testers, I hope they’re vocal about it.

@Perdissa: Exacly. And the irony in it is that when you need that cauldron is in the beginning of Cataclysm, while you’re learning the boss fights, gearing up and might be struggling a bit to support wipe nights with the gold for consumables and repairs. When small guilds finally – if ever – get that recipe it might be a tad late for them. It doesn’t matter that much anymore.

@Anonymous: That’s interesting. I wonder if we’ll see more of that. It wouldn’t surprise me with those incentives.

@Dyre42: ” having to manage a guild large enough to complete those in a reasonable time frame is not something I'd want to do.” I agree. I wouldn’t like our guild to aim for 500+ members just to get cheaper flasks. The price of the lost community would be too high.

@Redbeard: It remains to see if the chance to get all those benefits will be enough for people to stay in those mega guilds. I know for sure I wouldn’t swap mine for a super-sized guild. But this doesn’t change my view that it is a strange how they favour big guilds with this change. Strange. Possibly even a bit unfair, even if I try to avoid jumping into heavy qq-ing.

@Jape: In the new world, 25 man raiding guilds will be small. It appears as if they want us to form guilds of 500 players, that can run several parallel raid teams. I have no experience from what it’s like to be in such a guild. But I think that the game should support guilds of all sizes, not just big ones.

Larísa said...

@Spinksville: As I said to anonymous: the guilds actually get some advantages by doing those achievements. It’s way more than just a flash on your screen and some points. And that’s when it starts to matter how quick you get it. It’s a huge difference if you get it the first week or in two years time.

The list isn’t a list of things you have to do. But when the achievements give stuff that helps you, like recepies for cauldrons and certain patterns, then it IS a big deal.

Is it fair or wise to give incentives to raiding guilds that want to stay competitive to bring in hundreds of social members in order to remain competitive?

@Leah: Well, to be fair I don’t think that 1-man guilds should get guild perks. That wasn’t really what they wanted to do with the guild levelling thing. The idea was to encourage group play and the phenomena of real guilds. But even if I don’t see why personal guilds should get perks, I can’t quite see why 3 000 player guilds should be so much better off than a 50 player guild.

@Olga: If I’ve understood it right there will be a cap – with exception for achievement related xp. However the cap needs to be so low that a small guild stands a chance to reach it.


@Nils: Yes, I think you might be right in your analyses. I think it has become apparent by now how the local communities more or less have been destroyed by LFD and something needs to be done. I’m a bit surprised to see though that they don’t seem to value small guilds more than they do. In the case of raids they’ve rethought and started to value 10 mans as much as the 25 mans (which you may have opinions about; I’m one of those who is a bit sceptic to the development, but I think we’ve discussed that topic to death so I’ll leave it there.) But when it comes to guilds they don’t seem to understand the idea of small guilds at all. It’s so strange to me. For all I’ve seen in the game, it’s the smaller guilds that build the community on the realms. The big “social” guild I’ve been in didn’t have that stabilizing community building effect at all! You were pretty much alone and alienated in it.

Are the Blizzard devs all IAE players who imagine that this is the way all guilds should be?

I think they’re right about the problem and that encouraging guilds is the way to go. It’s the size issue I don’t agree with Blizzard about.

@Falc:…. Well in the case of raid sizes they barely listened to that argument. They gave the same loot to 10 man raids as to 25 man raids. In the case of guild… hm… I’m not so sure. There are guilds and guilds. I’m convinced that there are some big guilds where the officers certainly get grey hair. But other big guilds are big just because they invite anyone and the people there don’t care enough to bother to leave it. The officers of those kind of big “social” guilds don’t necessarily put in more effort to it than the officers of a tight, serious raiding guild.

But let’s suppose that it IS harder to have a big guild. Does this necessarily mean that this should be rewarded? Why would Blizzard want guilds to be big? Does it give us a better gaming experience? If it’s too much hassle to have a big guild, maybe the big guilds should just split up into smaller ones, where the chances are bigger that everyone will be noticed and get to know people within their guilds.

Yes, everyone will reach it eventually, but the amount of fish everyone has to captures varies enormously depending on guild size. They could form the achievement like this instead: “We are fishermen: Every guild member must catch a minimum of 100 fish”. That would be neutral to the guild size, but would reward guilds with active members over guilds where there’s a lot of dead meat with people who haven’t logged on for months. I’m not sure it’s optimal. It’s just an example. I just want to show that there could be other ways to go than to just reward quantity and size straight away.

Larísa said...

@Edawan: Maybe. They avoid that situation but will fall into another one. It’s not easy to figure out how to make this system work. Someone will always get an advantage. In this case the big guilds.

spinksville said...

I was thinking about this. I guess that the problem with scaling the achievements to different guild sizes are that it's too easy to game the system (i.e. start with a 10 man guild and burn through those achievements, and then invite everyone else over) and also guild sizes change over time.

And yet, having guild achievements that people can contribute to even if they don't raid is a great way to help social members or soloers feel part of a larger organisation. I know we have some very casual members who will probably be looking forwards to contributing their flasks and suchlike to a guild achievement.

I'm honestly not sure what type of guild Blizzard is trying to reward. I think they don't know themselves.

Larísa said...

@Spinksville: I'm not sure it's such a good idea to try to lure pure raiding guilds into admtiting social non-raiding members just to advance as a guild quicker. All I've heard about guilds that are trying to cater to both categories - raiders as well as social/family&friends - is that they face huge problems. Tensions. It's hard to keep it together and very painful too. The raiders feel gimped and misunderstood. The non-raiders feel excluded and neglected. You have different goals in the game and it's hard to live together. I don't say it's not possible. I just say that a LOT of the guild drama we hear about in blogs, columns, forums etc is originating from this: guilds that try to be raiding guilds and social guilds at the same time and failing miserably.

I'm not so sure it's a good idea by Blizzard to enourage this kind of guilds by offering them a way quicker way to guild advancements and perks.

sam said...

My guess is that people are most likely to leave the game when thier guilds fall apart. Small guilds melt down with more regularity than big guilds do.

I've been saying for years the problem with the philosophy of smaller guilds is they did nothing to increae the number of good managers to run them. I suspect they've finally got enough data to convince them that more smaller guilds means more poorly run guilds. That hurts retention because bad guilds are worse than no guilds and no guilds mean no real end game unless you like pvp.

Lume said...

The amount of experience your guild can earn per day is capped.

I'm not sure if the cap in place now will remain the same, but when my guild was more active in questing and instancing, we were able to keep up with the daily cap no problem.

So, if the cap remains small or close to small, there should be no problems with smaller guilds keeping up with larger ones.

And I imagine the messenger was simply ill-informed of the new way they're trying to even the playing field.

Anonymous said...

Wolflore
I was once in a guild that topped 260 players, it was not a cool experience and that was even in the days of 40 man raids. Those days we did not even know what a guild was about. I do think it is strange what they are doing but I think they are going to have to put in a whole lot of thought into this guild leveling system to cater to all types of guilds.

BTW Larisa you may be happy to know that TPPI is banned in China.

Hugmenot said...

Some of the achievements heavily favor large guilds.

Why is this such an issue?

The new guild rewards may create a shift towards larger guilds initially. However, I expect the guild rewards to have less and less influence over time and most players will reassess their priorities and rediscover what they want in a guild is something other than shinies.

In other words, hardcore raiders will prioritize the raiding sucess of a guild before joining, not the guild rewards it offers.

Yet, some large, top level guilds will remain and be very successfull at accomplishing their goals, and be more advanced level-wise than many much more successful raiding guilds.

What's the harm in that?

Selyndia said...

The “Everyone contributes” thing is a bit of a disappointment, especially with how potent some of the rewards actually are. I liked the idea of “Top X Performers” would drive the guilds progression. In a small guild, it allowed easier contributions, and in a large guild competition to be in those “Top X Performers” would drive the numbers up appropriately (Especially if the guild rewarded those Top X Performers for doing the achievements).

But this doesn’t even actual create loyalty to a guild; it just has you want to have a big “Brand Name” over your head to reap the benefits. Not being in a large guild results in not having the better rewards until much later, and since guild reputation causes people to not want to jump guilds it discourages people leaving these mega guilds to go to smaller ones that have the benefits, because even moving to the new guild doesn’t result in having those same benefits for a while. If a player were to choose between leaving the much larger guild they already had rep with and the benefits with and a much smaller one in which they get no benefits until they grind out the rep; why choose to leave? If you want smaller social networks, you can just use a Real ID chat, or set up your own Password protected chat channel and have just your friends in there, effectively creating several cliques working loosely together only so that they can receive the guild benefits.

The ‘quiet’ solitude is a bit daunting now. I noticed it much more so with Brewfest starting and the new ‘improved’ way of doing the boss. Is it much more efficient to do the holiday boss using the RDF interface? Yes. Will I ever get screwed because some guy started it but already used their summon, just so they get an extra shot at a mount? No. But, is queuing in, appearing in the room, triggering the boss, and dropping group 5 minutes later after the boss dies really the experience we want for a holiday boss?

Celendus said...

My main is in a small, old guild. I love it and wouldn't leave them for all the pets in the world.

That said, one experience I've had on many of my alts is where I get invited to a small casual guild, and a month later all the active players have left and there's maybe 2 people on at any give time. It's terrible boring, and I can't help but wonder if all the people in all the little dying guilds out there would be happier if they were "guided" towards one big casual guild. More people to run 5 mans, BGs, you name it.

I wonder what the ratio of people in active small guilds to inactive / ghost town guilds are? There might be a lot more ghost town guilds than people realize.

lonomonkey said...

One thing I distincly remember reading in a interview a few months ago is that Blizzard was looking at ways to bring back community into the game and that they felt that the current multiple guilds model with a lot of guild jumping wasn't working out great to build community.

I suppose they figure bigger guilds like we had in Vanilla could be a way to do that and that there's nothing preventing said guilds to keep doing 10 man raiding in a casual way.

Or it might be something else entirely.. who knows.

SpiritusRex said...

I think that this is a perfectly reasonable approach by Blizzard. Without going into the whole 10s v. 25s raiding debate, I believe, strongly as a matter of fact, that the days of the 25-person raiding guild are numbered. Up to this point, there really has been no incentive in Cataclysm to continue with a 25-person raiding guild. Loot will be the same, managerial headaches will be greater, so why bother? Instead, get 11 of your core raiders and start doing 10-person raids.

The problem with this approach is that the game (guilds) will become highly exclusive. This in turn will further fractionalize the player base into the “haves” and the “have nots”. This, of course, has a number of negative repurcussions, not the least of which is how does a new player break into an established guild? The answer - they don’t. Which means all new players quickly become disenfranchised with the community at large because they are not included and ultimately decide that the $15 a month their paying for an online, social game (say what you will, there is a LOT of socializing in this game) which is anything but social, is really not worth it.

Finally, let's be totally honest here, the benefits of the earned achievements are not going to make or break guilds. Nor, are the going to make or break raids or RP or anything at all. Quite frankly, I think that this is merely an attempt by Blizzard to throw the larger guilds a bone and to encourage them to actively welcome new players into the fold. In the long run, welcoming new players is good business as happy, included players are players more likely to continue paying their subscription fees month after month.

Gronthe said...

I think so many things could come of this, it will be, imo, one of the most fascinating social experiments we've seen in this game since LFD tool was introduced.

It would be nice to have some tiered achievements, like one for 500 fish, then 2,000, then 5,000 and so on. That way smaller guilds can easily obtain many achievements and will not be left wondering if they should compromise themselves and add greater numbers to their ranks.

The devs can create mechanics that can determine our talents, spell rotations, etc, but they really shouldn't determine how or where or when we socialize. They tried it in the past with RealID, you'd think they learned their lesson. Let the community evolve how they see fit, it's more natural that way.

Hugmenot said...

Don't give up
'cos you have friends
Don't give up
We're not beaten yet
Don't give up
I know we can make it good

Don't give up
You still have us
Don't give up
We can kill everything
Don't give up
'cause Adrenaline is the place
Where you belong

Andenthal said...

First, players have always "raced" to complete certain milestones in the game. First to max level, first to clear the intance, etc. These players are in the ultra-minority. Most players just want to do XXX event, and don't really care when they do it in relation to everyone else. I don't see why this would change just for this one tiny part of the game.

Plus, you figure after a short while (6 months, 1 year?) nearly every guild will be capped out anyway. It's just like some players will hit level 85 within 30 hours of Cataclysm's release, while some will take a month or more to do it. In April, no one is going to remember who leveled first, second, or last - because everyone will be there and it will be irrelevant. In July, no one will remember which guild was first to have , as everyone will have it.

Secondly, I don't see this being of any value to recruitment. Do guilds currently advertise their guild bank assets to potential recruits? Do recruits even ask? One might find it odd if their new raiding guild had no guild bank at all. But even having a 1 or 2 tab bank probably wouldn't make a player leave the guild on that basis alone.

I really don't see players actively seeking guilds with any specific achievement or perks. "Oh ur guild dunt have insta-rez? LAWL, im leaving 4 a real guld."

Thirdly, as others have all ready said, those that play in 10 man, or smaller guilds now are all ready making a *conscious* desicion to play with their friends at the cost of not being able to attain the greatest rewards. I don't see how the guild leveling system is any different, nor do I see these types of players jumping ship solely because of it - espeically when you consider the other small guild friendly changes coming for Cataclysm (loot parity, etc)

Kauzmo said...

Took this one on, my response was to long to type here. I posted it up on my blog.

Kauzmo

Ratshag said...

Hrmmm. Ta me, this kinda sounds like the latest Blizz implementationalizing of "throw some crap up in the air, and see what sticks." I thinks they wants guilds of various sizes, but they isn't the least bit sure hows ta keep it all balanced. So they's gonna try a little buff here, a little nudge there, and then prolly throw half of it out in 4.1 and try agains.

TM said...

It's a tough situation where I think they're trying to balance a lot of different pressures.

I know 25-man HC raiders who are incredibly upset about the changes to 10 man raiding because it will force progression-minded guilds to split up their raiders to focus on 10 mans first for server-first achievements.

This assumes that 10 mans are still improperly balanced and easier to accomplish quickly. It also doesn't touch on the fact that Blizzard is perhaps CONSCIOUSLY trying to destroy that mindset where progression/achievements > all considerations.


But then 10 man guilds are feeling left out (justifiably) that these guild achievements will be easier for large guilds than small ones, and hurt their ability to recruit.

For a 25 man raiding guild who just makes enough flasks for our modest schedule, it'd take us 33 weeks to use 10,000 flasks. For a guild that's very casual, raiding one day a week in 10 man, it'd take 250 weeks! For a huge serious raiding guild like STARS, running 2 hardcore ten mans, it'd only take 10 weeks. 25 times harder! Wow.

Maybe they're just trying to even things out so that some systems support small guilds, and some systems support large guilds, and in the end, people can choose which matters to them most.

Copernicus said...

The most fun I had during Wrath was when my guild had two ten man groups raiding Ulduar. The light-hearted, friendly competition was amazing to see. It broke down because there was a ton of pressure to form a 25 man group for the loots. It was a sad day.

Being a less than social person, I could only handle leading 25 people or so. Anything more than that left me feeling overwhelmed. If I was a more social person, I could easily see managing a 25 man raid and a couple tens. The key is to have good officers and raid leaders, and not feel like you have to do everything yourself.

People join smaller guilds for intimacy and friendship, but I think that also means they are trying to avoid the jerks, idiots and assholes that tend to come with larger guilds. If joining larger guilds was the norm, recruiting would be easier and leadership would have more freedom to remove the unwelcome elements, rather than have to put up with them because you can't quickly find replacements.

Ultimately though, I have no idea what affect the guild leveling model will have until it is implemented. I think it will really depend on the leadership of the guilds, just how effective they will be.

Dyre42 said...

I think where smaller guilds can make up the difference is by making a point of pursuing a wider variety of activities. So a small guild with a 10 man raid team that makes a point of also forming a rated BG team and/or a 5 man arena team could in theory level their guild as fast as a guild with both a 10 and 25 man raid team.

Anonymous said...

At first, guild perks were only going to be cosmetic. Then they would be within reach of all but the smallest of active guilds. And now... now, the message is that the sort of social group I want is subversive. I will be left off the gravy train if I stick to it. The message I'm hearing is that if you play in a small guild, you're doing it wrong.

Blizzard might think they want bigger guilds, but WoW's guild management tool box is very primitive and the member's means of guild participation is even weaker. I wonder what we'll think of this at the end of Cataclysm.

Inno said...

I'd think that all of these guild achievements would have the side effect of lowering prices in the AH. Take for instance the flask reward. It's not that big a deal if you're collecting items then making the flasks and posting on the AH. Not sure if the 'free' guild money would help support this either.

Pascal said...

I'm not in a guild. The two I've tried have been bad for different reasons.

One had too much focus on their raiders, ignoring everybody else in guild chat. And the other had an officer core that thought it was acceptable to LFD with other players, being bored and then purposefully wiping the group. And bragging about it in Guild Chat.

Both guilds had great members, but with just enough of an asshat quotient that staying in them was painful.

Now? I just don't see the point. I can group and chat to my friends, use LFD for dungeon runs and raid in the server wide raids.

But what will happen to the guild less with this new mega guild system?

Hagu said...

Personally, my opinion is that smaller guild, except for real life friends/family, are doomed. People grinded for dozens of hours to get exlalted for a slightly better enchant. They paid dramatically more for +10 vs +8 stats pr +4 on a gem. And then they are going to join a guild with sub-optimal benefits.

The idea the smaller guild will catch up eventually is false if they lose people and cant recruit. In fact, it is not so bad when all guilds are going to get it: But when someone sees the fancy guild mounts and benefits that BigGuild has and smallguild may have in a year, there is great pressure to go big.

This seems so obvious I assume it s a very deliberate policy of Blizzard to get rid of most of the smaller guilds.

Falc said...

I agree with you in a sense that the "make X quantity of item Y" is not the best way of going about things. Especially considering that indeed some large guilds are about just inviting anyone and officers i doubt really do get that much grey hair.

However i cannot think what in current WoW could replace these achivements that would benefit more tightly run guilds. And would consider the size of a guild.

Perhaps more pvp and raiding achivements?

I know some of the pvp ones are quite extensive - for instance the whole guild pvp rank achivements a'la "Guild gladiators" -> http://db.mmo-champion.com/a/5431/

However i don't think i have spotted extensive Raiding achievements myself (or might have missed them).

Then again large leveling guilds which might be the target of these Gather X items - might be what they are mainly catered for - as i don't see leveling guilds really achieving the same amount of progress in raiding / pvp as dedicated raiding / pvp guilds do.

However this again implies that the guild XP earned from members leveling up shouldn't be the main avenue for earning Guild XP and should be normalized somehow.

Seems like a damned if you do - damned if you don't situation tbh to me.

Larísa said...

@Sam: The thing is that I even if they want guilds to be big you need smaller guilds too, if nothing else as a recruitment source for the bigger guilds. Where will the leaders of the big guilds come from if they can’t get any chance of practicing and learning leadership skills in a smaller scale?

Big guilds may last longer on average, but the question is of course the quality as well. Are they good or are they so big and impersonal that they become just like a third public chat channel like general or trade, aiming at a smaller proportion of the players on the realm.

@Lume: OK, that sounds promising. I have no idea of where the cap goes. But achievements will go outside of the caps, mind you.

@Wolflore: Hopefully they know what they’re doing. I’m just a little worried because it might be as some commenters suggest that this actually IS their vision, that they want the game to go in a direction where smaller guilds are something historical and the mega-guild is the norm.
About China: as we said in guild chat it might have to do with Blogger. It’s possible they don’t like it.

@Hugmenot: I don’t think this blog post is railing and screaming and crying that the sky is falling, is it? I’m just calmly asking what the purpose is of buffing mega-guilds, letting smaller guilds fall behind. Is this really the vision Blizzard has for how the realm communities should look? On what ground? Does big equal good? Do they hope that all guilds will turn into IAE clones?

And thanks for the poem! <3

@Selyndia: “The ‘quiet’ solitude is a bit daunting now.” Oh, tell me about it. I did the brewfest thing the other night, thinking that one of those helicopter transporter things would be cool to have. But since you insta-teleport to BRD these days, is there still any point in trying to get them? The boss kill took us 30 sec or so. I looted my bag and found a mount I didn’t have. But for some reason I felt nothing at the look of it. Nothing at all. The group disassembled. I don’t think anyone bothered even to say “hi”. This is not the world of warcraft I started to play once upon a time.

@Celendus: You have a point. There are a lot of ghostowns in the game right now I’d dare say. But on the other hand if the guild consists of thousand of players, how is it any different from the /general and /trade chat? Sure there might be a few “guildies” online, but what says that you know them at all?

@Lonomonkey: It makes sense actually. Maybe it isn’t just thoughtlessness. Maybe this is their idea of reinforcing the realm communities. Make there just be a handful – at the most – of guilds on the realm and have everyone join those.

@Spiritusrex: I still think it’s sad to sacrifice the 25 man size the way they do. The way they’re forming the guild levelling doesn’t help 25 man raiding guilds a bit. But yeah, let’s leave the 10/25 debate.

The question is if those mega-big guilds really will answer to the social needs of the new players, who as you say, really have a problem finding friends and networks as they enter the game. When you arrive at a guild with thousands of accounts and don’t know anyone, where there are numbers of already fixed 10 man raiding teams – how do you establish yourself there, how do you socialize? It sounds a bit scary and intimidating to me. I think I’d end up watching it from the sidelines, feeling more as if I was a pug-stranger than a guildie. But maybe I’m a bit strange in this. Hopelessly introvert.

Larísa said...

@Gronthe: Yes, there could definitely be more ways they could form this. It will be “interesting” to follow as you say, although I also hope – very selfish, I know – that our little guild won’t be at a too big disadvantage compared to others.

@Andenthal: Well it remains to see how it turns out. Now we can only speculate. I too find it unlikely that a small tightly knit guild would break up due to this, players rushing in different directions just to get perks. But I wouldn’t count it out completely as one parameter among others when you’re recruiting. There’s always a shortage of tanks, why wouldn’t they be picky and look at the discount for repairs as well as they look at other fringes they can get from different guilds?

I think this might affect the guild structure in Cataclysm. Not immediately so much perhaps, but over time.

@Kuazmo: thank you for that! Always nice with follow-up posts, even though I don’t quite agree with you.

@Ratshag: Maybe. Who said that social engineering is easy? Sometimes things will backfire a bit though. Like the side effects of LFD. I hope they have a clue what they’re doing as they’re experimenting.

@TM: What seems to be best from a min-max perspective now is to have a mega-guild hosting elite 10 man teams. I think 25 man guilds currently are a bit worse off than others. I wonder how many of those there will be around a year into Catacslysm.

@Copernicus: Oh, that kind of race is so fun! Regarding the thinking-big-guilds… I honestly haven’t got that much experience of it. I was in one 300+ account guild once and we couldn’t even down the trash leading to Attuman… It was completely chaotic. But sure, there are certainly others out there that have a good structure and keep the morons and jerks at a good distance. The leadership is a key. But who will be fit to become the leader of a 500 man big guild if you haven’t even tried to lead 25 before?

@Dyre42: The size doesn’t matter for all achievements. But for some they do, the quantity related ones. I can’t see small guilds getting access to the cauldrons for making flasks.

@Anonymous: Yes, it looks like that right now at least. Maybe they’ll change it though, it’s still in the beta. I hope people at least will discuss this as they give feedback to the devs.

@inno: Well, it depends on how big part of the server population that will end up I guilds with access to the cauldrons. But yes, it’s definitely a possibility. Don’t know if it’s for good or bad. Maybe alchemists will find comfort in the mount?

@Pascal: I think you’ll be able to keep playing, but yes, it will not be quite as advantageous as it has been before. With the shared lockout for 10 and 25, raiders will be less likely to pug the other format during their offnights. So less pugs around. And then there are those added incentives to belong to a guild. They’ve openly declared that they want to give incentives to players to guild up and they seem to stick to this.

@Hagu: Doomed you say? Oh dear. You have a more black/cynical view on things than I do. I hope people will say: “screw the min-maxing” and stay loyal to their guilds, regardless of size. But we’ll soon see how it turns out.

@Falc: well I suppose they could aim for some sort of proportional thing: that x amount of your players should have completed Y. But this will have some strange effects, even if you manage to sort out and disregard of alts. What do you do when someone takes a 3 month break? Kick him not to get a worse proportion for achievements? While it’s hard to find achievements that are specially made for small guilds they should at least think twice before introducing quality achievements that only benefits big guilds.

As you say: either way you form it, you’ll buff someone. And now they’ve decided to buff big guilds for some reason.

Olga said...

I think that the cap would be tuned exactly for 25m progression guilds. They are going to do the same with points, they already stated that if you raid 25m, you will not need to run heroics for points.
That list of guild acievements looks quite close to list of player achievements. And we know, that achievements of WotlK raiding content provide a huge part of that list. So i think there will be a lot of achievements that could be done by successfull raiding guild, and cannot be done in a huge friendly guild. Eventually gold will be looted and fish captured even by a guild with 30 active members, but i doubt that say something like Glory or Bla-bla-bla Raider will be complete by friendly guild by that time.

Linedan said...

And then there are those of us who are doubly screwed by this. Not only are my characters in various relatively small and relatively casual guilds on my RP server...our 25-man raid is not a guild raid, but an alliance of people in several small guilds (some even guildless). No one guild makes up a majority of our 25-man. Blizzard, despite pleas from folks like us, refuses to support the concept of guild alliances. So I haven't been paying attention to guild leveling at all, I doubt it will end up mattering to me. The big raid guilds will get the perks, and the small casual guilds and multi-guild raids won't.

SpiritusRex said...

@ Larisa

Following up on our discussion. I think it is quite natural to feel as an outcast when first entering into a "mega-guild". However, I think the same is true in today's system when first joining a guild - kind of like the first day at new school/job, feeling kind of lost and scared to ask where the bathroom is.

What I kind of foresee a year down the road in Cataclysm is large mega-guilds dominating servers. However, within those mega-guilds, I think you will find multiple cliques, think corporate divisions if you will, a raiding component (with 3 or 4 teams), a social/rp component for those that gravitate towards that sort of thing, a leveling component, and, finally, an achievement/farming component - each with their own autonomy to conduct their affairs, but still able to enjoy the resources of the parent guild - a sort of economy of scale.

I also kind of perceive it as a large family. You will have cousins (or second/third/fourth cousins) that you don't really know, but, nonetheless, they are still part of the family. I think with the larger, mega-guild, a person actually has a better probability of finding someone with whom they can relate and still enjoy the benefits of the larger structure. Further, as a marketing tool (your specialty), wouldn't this provide a better way to attract new talent? I mean, think of the advantages of being able to say, "We are Guild X. We have 5 10-person raid teams, 4 5-person Rated Battleground teams, RP groups, farming teams as well as "X" non-level capped members who can help you get to end game.

Of course, I also think that under this system it will be quite frequent to see "factions" of the mega-guild splinter and break off to form their own guild. Thus, the primary job of the officers and various "managers" will be to make sure that each sub-group of the mega-guild continue to be happy. Also, there will be serious repurcussions with the new mega-guild system, not the least of which will be the opportunity of the large guild to affect the server economy. However, smart leadership will realize this as an opportunity and will recruit those people who gravitate towards the auction house game and create a Accounting Department within the guild.

As you can see, in my post-Cataclysm world, I foresee large, mega-guilds becoming the norm - kind of like large corporate conglomerations. But, even so, I also think that there will be plenty of room for the smaller, specialized businesses to survive. Pretty soon Blizzard will be introducing a Curriculum Vitae page to go along with our character's armory page and gear score to help us decide on new members! :)

SpiritusRex said...

Triple post, fail. I don't know why when I create a wall of text the system feels that it should post it 3 times. Maybe, I should take that as a hint to just shut-up?

Larísa said...

@SpiritusRex:
1. Wow... that's an interesting prediciton. It sounds a bit... demanding to run it. Sometimes we say that we shouldn't treat WoW like a job, but running such a guild surely sounds like that.

2. Don't worry abuot double or triple posting. I fix those things. It seems as if the comment system has some hickups currently. I think it might have a little to do with a new spam filer they've installed. Maybe it puts a bit of strain to it. However it's worth the trouble, since it's become way easier to deal with the spam. A lot of it never even get published in the frist place. Anyway: I hope they'll sort out the comment issues soon.

Talarian said...

@ SpiritusRex
That's actually largely how the guild I'm in now currently works. It's a large primarily social guild - My guess is about 300 active accounts - with seperate PvP, Raiding, and Social components (with a fair bit of overlap, mind you). We're a meta-guild that's actually split across three guilds in game, one guild for active 80 raiding/PvP players, one guild for leveling players/casual, and a 3rd guild for new recruits on probation. It *is* a lot of work (I'm not an Officer, but I run one of the most advanced raids in the guild, so I have a fair bit of insight into the process right now), but we have good leadership who's willing to delegate, and a very well thought out and enforced charter.

To further reinforce your theory, we do have many subgroups of people who hang out together more often than with others, we have one 25 man raid (well, had, it just folded due to inactivity, even megaguilds can't get away from the end of expansion blues) and five 10 man raids (3 ICC, 1 TotC, 1 Ulduar), we don't have a very large PvP subgroup, but there's a few people pretty dedicated to it. And yes, we've had two or three groups of people splinter off and form their own smaller guilds when they don't agree with the leadership team. We had a 25 man raid group that did that, as well as others who just didn't think the social group fit them as well. Quite a few of them do find their way back to our guild, but there's still a couple splinter groups running around :)

And the megaguild thing affecting server economies is already seen on some servers. An example is Taint on Proudmoore US (not my guild, but I've friends there). They're so large that they make up some absurdly high percentage of the Horde population on the server. We're talking literally thousands of players - over 5000 active accounts. They easily influence the tone, economy, raids, etc. of the server.

Perhaps these changes will encourage further megaguilds, but reality is they already exist, despite the poor support Blizzard has traditionally given guilds of greater than 500 members (thanks, Guild UI and APIs!).

Honestly, I'm hoping the XP cap will be low enough that 20 dedicated players could reasonably hit it. As excited as I am for the guild perks, I'd rather not see a few guilds hit the max level in a couple weeks. This content has to last us another 2 years, likely, and I think a slower rate of levelling will make each guild level all the sweeter.

Carra said...

It's of course still possible to get 10.000 fish with a 30 men guild. It's just a hundred times easier with a 3000 men guild.

You're right, these quantity based achievements don't seem to be any good at all for small guilds. Let's hope they still change their minds.

Cheap WoW Gold said...

In my opinion the big mega-guilds will have a huge advantage when Cataclysm is released.