Tobold's Blog
Friday, March 23, 2007
Peer pressure

An anonymous reader posted a comment late on my Is the Burning Crusade reshuffling guilds? article. To rescue that comment from obscurity, I'm quoting it here, because I think it is very interesting.
Our guild started out saying no pressure to level - lets take time and explore and enjoy the new content. (There are quite a few couples in the guild with small children, so we are limited on time sometimes to play.) Soon I began to feel the pressure to level level level, and despite all our resolve not to, we sprinted to level 70, about 2 weeks behind the "inner circle". Before we even reached 70, the pressure to attune became really strong. We both play key classes for Karazhan, so the pressure was heavy for both of us to get attuned, and quickly. We finally made it through the attunement process, and we are regularly trying to help our friends that we actually enjoy playing with, get attuned also by running the different instances and dungeons needed in between the raiding schedule.

We've been reluctantly pulled into what I refer to as the "inner circle" and although we are among the lucky who've been included on all the karazhan runs so far, our friends are beginning to think (and realize) the guild is focusing on this one team. We are worried that we will get blocked in with this inner core of people that we don't enjoy playing with; but also worried that if we say no, we won't get to raid at all. Now that the "inner circle" is attuned - they are only helping the classes get attuned that they need to fill out "balance" their "A" team, although I've been told we are going to have two equally balanced raid teams for Karazhan.

It's really irritating not to have any choices about whether to go on a raid or not or which team i want to be on. But we are afraid if we turn down a raid, or don't sign up, we might not be invited on any raids. Our guild is on the medium to small size, so it would be hard (not impossible though) to form our own team, but I am honestly here to play and have fun with my friends, and this situation is making me want to form my own raid team within the guild, so we can have a reasonable schedule and actually enjoy going there, instead of having to group with mean people who only want us there because we are "this" class or "that" class. We've also got the problem that the "inner circle" likes to split my spouse and I up and I worry they would put us on two different raiding teams.

BC has made people crazy. Definitely made it hard to just log in and have fun. So I guess we are stuck in between the people who are way aggressive and way out front and the slower group who hasn't even hit 70 yet. Yup, stuck right slam in the middle...I wouldn't really worry too much about it, 'cause we like to do the instances and dungeons, but eventually we'll want the challenge of raiding the larger areas, so we are stuck going with the flow until some more of our friends get attuned. We are working earnestly to help them, but in the long run - unless we disband, we won't have any control about who gets to play with who if they form teams instead of continuing our guild's policy of having open signups for all raids, and running numerous raids. ~sigh~ oh least it felt good to vent...
A certain amount of peer pressure has always been part of World of Warcraft. You raid when everybody else is raiding, or you don't raid at all. But do you think that the Burning Crusade has made matters worse? I remember that on some raid days every single level 60 online from my guild was in Molten Core. But now raids seem to have become a lot more selective, with often just one group going to Karazhan, and everybody else online doing other things. We aren't raiding all together any more.

On the other hand the Burning Crusade introduced a much larger choice of 5-man instances to go to after reaching the level cap. Many of them are already good for level 70 groups, and those that are a bit too low can be played in heroic mode to make them challenging for level 70 groups. Thus playing together in 5-man groups definitely has increased from the level 60 endgame to the current endgame. Which has the nice effect of having less peer pressure, as organizing a 5-man run is a lot more flexible than organizing a raid. You don't feel you have to log on at a certain time to be able to play at all. And you don't regret "missing" a group, because there are so many of them around.

How has the endgame changed for you? How do you spend the majority of your time? How much do you feel pressured to play by your guild mates?
The end game has greatly improved for me, because I work early, and cannot stay up late for 4-6 hour raids during the week. My guild has organized an early start time for Karazhan, and we add/drop players whenever someone has to go. It works remarkably well, leaving little "pressure" to play constantly.

As for people getting left behind, the people who arent in Karazhan are working to gear up so they will be more effective once they get there. This process usually requires rep grinds and/or instance farming, most of which occurs in instances where Karazhan key fragments are... There is never a shortage of people willing to help, and only a select few people that raced to 70 who were unwilling to help and unsatisfied with how things were progressing, left the guild.

We are however in the process of starting a second Karazhan group on the weekends for people whose availability is limited to that time frame. This will likely impact our current raid setups quite a bit. It is necessary, because we now have enough people 70 and keyed to support 2 groups. We are trying to find a way to get a decent class balance for both groups. We are not going to have a skill based A and B team, we are going to base the groups on availability, and raid time preference, because that seems like the best way to organize 2 groups without alienating anyone, while keeping raiding situations fun. We allready know that neither group will be as good as our current one, but that will change as more people becone familiar with the encounters. This also seems like the best way to progress the guild into 25 man content by eliminating the gap between an A and B team.

As for raiding together as a guild, we usually run old content for pure fun on fridays. When people log on and see 15-20 people in MC/BWL they always want to join (even if its with a neglected lvl 60 alt.)
My guild's way behind other guilds in terms of instance progression. We don't have anyone attuned to Kara (me and a few others are just lacking Black Morass), and some of us, including myself, want to go there soon. We're mostly a casual-player guild, that enjoy the occasional raid (naturally some of us like raids more than others) but lately there's been the distinct impression some people have been having regarding the division between players, even for 5 man instances.

I must say that I can definitly agree with there being people who avoid certain other players, never grouping with them. And that's not very correct, imho. I mean, I prefer to group with certain classes (even so, not being extremely picky as I enjoy some variations so it's not always 'sheep that mob', 'sap that one'), and have a share of friends (RL or virtual) that I enjoy playing with more than with others. But I make an effort to help out the excluded players whenever I can (at least the ones I personally like - not a matter of how they play, but the ones that are friendly and pleasent people) so they manage to progress a bit and eventually be part of the guild raids further ahead.

A lot of others, including out GM, simply don't bother. They seem to be focused only on getting their own gear up, doing instances always with "efficient" players and class combinations, and leave a large ammount of people behind. I'm guessing that will continue to happen until they realize they need the other people to be attuned, geared and generally feeling happy about playing so they can do the raid instances. Our GM (and some others of the more prominent players) is failing miserably, and I can just guess who he's going to try to get for Karazhan when we start it: me and a few others who are reasonably well kitted, attuned but who have bothered to extend a helping hand to others. The problem is, that I fully intend to proceed with what I've been doing so far - alternate "sure win" groups with helping "weaker" groups (same goes for a few other guildies we fortunately have) even when we do Karazhan, which will make it an interesting thing. I'm guessing some nights we'll end up saying "no thanks, are helping X get Y done", and then the "A Team" won't be a full, or as"efficient".

Maybe that will be their wakeup call, but somehow I doubt it...

Meantime me and a few other guildies are looking for alternatives that allow us to raid, that don't include leaving the guild, simply allying ourselves with people from other guilds that are in the same situation. I do forsee some people leaving if things don't improve and I'll be sorry if some of them do.

PS - Not signing this particular comment because one of the said guildies might read this and it's best to avoid drama. :P
Well... from going to PuG-ing the level 60 dungeons to leading raids through Karazhan, the end game's considerably different for me. I guess it's more similar to when I was raiding the 40-mans... but I haven't done that in over a year.

We formed our guild specifically for BC raiding though about a week before the expansion was released. I guess we kinda had the advantage of knowing what was coming, and we've kept the guild small. Most of our 70's have keys, and we have a casual attendance policy (75% over a month's time) so our progression doesn't stagnate... something I became all too familiar with in the last guild I was in.

As far as me being pressured to play... if I don't there's no raid. We're lacking tanks :-/
MMORPGS promote the worst and most predictable aspect of Human nature; the desire to fit in, and these beast aren't called skinner boxes without a reason, either.

Penny Arcade and PVP Online have done so many great strips about power leveling/raiding that I can't remember them all.
The first portion of that comment sounded eerily similar to my guild. Medium-small size, not a heavy emphasis on fast levelling, but pressures built once KZ came into sight. I felt the pressure to level fast, that is very true.

Our guild recently set a team of 10 for clearing content and learning the fights with the focus on fast progression and preparation for a second team to join the first by dividing the first team into two groups, each group helping the other lead. It's risky in dividing the team, but people have supported it thus far.

Sure, there were some of the initial frustrations, but I think now those that aren't on the team are focused on gearing up so that they're fully ready once the call to arms is made. I didn't make the cut, and have used the extra time that I've had to increase my factions and work on gearing so that I'm not behind the 8-ball once the time comes to clear KZ and Gruul.
I play a priest.

I'll let you guess whether or not I feel pressured to play by my guild mates.
We're actually a guild that was a casual non-raiding guild before BC. We have by now lost all our "early" 70s. Some quit the game out of frustration the others formed a new guild to be able to go on with heroics ... we had asked them to sometimes play with the rest of us, too.

Now even though we are still not a raiding guild we said we would try Karazhan which turns out to be a really trouble. We're low on warriors and all of the priests are by now moved to alt-status as their players enjoy other classes more. The dps really wants to go to Karazhan and have already started whining in the forums about it. I am a druid, I just turned 70, I hate doing instances ... guess what quest chain I'll be doing next?

BC has cost us dearly, though luckily we have mostly recovered from the worst blows. I love the expansion, but I never thought it would be like it is.
The new content, and particularly that Karazhan is a 10-man on a 7 day reset, is completely messing with our guild. I have spent so much time getting people attuned that I'm maxed out on exalted rep with Keepers of Time, and revered with all the other places on the road to the key frag. And yet I've only gotten to go to Kara a couple of times. We were trying to get two groups of 10, but we can only ever get one going.

The major problem is the lack of tanks. Our guild was raiding 40-mans before the expansion, and needed an abolute maximum of 3 tanks in those 40. Now Kara needs 2 tanks. So if we're doing two runs, that's 4 attuned tanks (prot warriors or bear-specced druids) required with the right pattern of attendance over the course of the week. That's what we haven't managed to accomplish.

And while the "inner circle" is raiding Kara, what should the others be doing? Running 5-mans of course. Getting people attuned, doing heroics, gearing up. But wait, every 5-man needs... a tank.

My husband is a guild officer, so I'm sortof in the "inner circle", and it's my 5-man runs that actually get people attuned. We prioritize tanks, then paladins, then other healers. I feel sorry for all the random dpsers coming into guild chat begging for a key frag run, but I only have so much time.

I'm convinced that after much drama, many people will quit, we'll try to recruit more tanks, and it will settle down. Then as we start doing 25-mans it'll be all up in the air again.
Hi there! Pressure has risen for sure with BC. My guild took the same approach like so many: let's take it slowly, enjoy the content and so on. But now there are many on 70 and I (for example) can't catch up with a fulltime job, familiy, kids and other things to worry about than WoW.
My solution: I'm leaving the guild, though it's hard. I think I'll enjoy the new content with my hunter and set the pace for myself. Speaking about my own pace: I feel that there are many players nowadays doing the same thing. Soloing seems to be "up to date" again and even people obviously on the same quests as me, don't ask for grouping - and I don't either. Is it a kind of retreat? Maybe.
Our guild was always casual. People levelled at different rates, but it didn't matter to much. Since BC, our guild has fallen apart. The lv70s have all left to join raid guilds, and our little guild of friends has been left high and dry.
Looks like I will have to find another guild soon. :(
There is way too much work involved into endgame raiding. However I dont feel pressured to participate in the endgame raids simply because I prefer to pvp and mess around instead.

I have roughly 100K honor to work for to equip the freebie purple loot, and really 140K+ if i want cool looking weapons bigger than my dwarf paladin. Now a big reason I dont really wanna hit 70 so fast is that the original WoW gave me a year worth of content to play with (off and on subscriptions) and I prefer to pace out BC so that it will be he same and actually have some content I will have to learn versus simply tag-along for.

If i were to criticize how well the endgame is going so far? ~not terribly surprised soo many ppl complain about the difficulty and timesink/grind involved in the process... its waht the forum whiners were askign for anyway pre-BC. This is how blizzard accomidates to the %10 of he playerbase which is hardcore-to-themax and leaves the other 90% to fend and forum battle tille they become the new hxdcore (1year+ effort, eventually playing enough to reach endgame) only to have it happen once again in a new expasion/patch and they will see the new drama/QQing/whinerfest.

It is also too bad to hear ppl that feel forced to stay logged in, neglecting RL in w ays. Looking at it from an addiction point of view, that is a very obvious sign you need a break from it or less involvement overall.
I cancelled my account a couple weeks ago. The real reasons aren't very nice, but they're honest and potentially interesting, so...

I was in several raid alliances. One of them I had high hopes for, but they started requiring consumables. I object to that based on prior experience. Mandatory farming always ended up sucking the fun out of the game sooner or later.

At first I thought I'd leave the hard-core group and run with the larger, more casual raid alliances, but I was no longer patient enough to group with them.

I still felt pressure to upgrade my gear and run as many 5-mans as efficiently as possible. It wasn't just social pressure after I stopped raiding. I was no longer happy with my gear. Going from Tier 2 and a few better pieces to quest blues didn't feel right. I came to expect certain crit percentages, my hits taking a certain portion of the enemy's healthbar, etc. I felt much weaker at 70 than I did at 60. But there isn't anything as good as Tier 2 (at 60) in the game yet, so trying to upgrade is futile. Heck, I'd rather be in Tier 3 than Tier 5. Not as much AP, but more crit, more stamina, better set bonuses, more balanced stats overall...

Whether due to social pressures or some desperate hope that gear would make me enjoy playing again, I got frustrated very quickly in "casual" groups. What should have been 45-minute runs of Shadow Labs or Steamvaults kept turning into 4-hour fiascos. There were often quite a few lost tempers in these groups. Everyone in the group was frustrated, and there were many complaints about the content being too hard. I found this strange, since I personally felt that the 5-mans were "just right."

I really enjoyed the 5-man content (except for Blackheart) in a good group, but I wasn't having any fun in casual groups. I wasn't having fun anymore with the same people I played with for almost a year in vanilla WoW.

BC changed my gaming preferences in a way that left me nothing to do. I was too casual to raid and too impatient to group with more casual gamers. I'm just not quite sure how it happened. I never refused to group with players due to competence (as opposed to social skills) in any MMO before.

I noticed a trend towards "A-Level" teams which blew through an instance with no trouble. And other teams that even if they were guild teams or raid alliance teams, felt as bad as PUGs. BC filters the players by skill level and time committment far more than vanilla WoW. It seems like good and bad players used to mix more, and that led to groups that might not be perfect, but were still able to get the instance done without too much trouble. After BC, it was either all great players or all bad players.
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