Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Have guilds in WoW grown bigger?

One of the really nice things of me rejoining World of Warcraft was getting tells from people that remembered me, and rejoining a more casual guild I have been part of in the past before playing in a raiding guild for some months. Although I am not principally I friend of guild hopping, I obviously feel more at home in a casual raiding guild (doing ok in Karazhan, probably just right for Zul'Aman) than in the hardcore raiding guild I left (where I would have problems catching up to them, as they are already in Tempest Keep). But one thing I noticed while looking at guilds was that apparently there are now less of them, and the surviving guilds have more members.

So I was playing pen & paper roleplaying last night, and as always WoW was discussed as well, as I had turned them all into WoW players in early 2005. (I'm a bad influence.) And one guy had this interesting theory about smaller, casual raiding guilds: Guilds are regularly losing members, because they either quit WoW totally, or just quit the guild to join another one. And more often than not the people who quit are at the better equipped end of a guild. People who are already geared up well, but feel that their guild isn't advancing fast enough for them to get to the next gear level are more likely to quit or change guild. People less well equipped often get a decent number of epics in their first raids because everyone else already has them, and are thus more likely to stay. So now what happens if you have a relatively small guild, with relatively few raids per week? The number of epics you lose from people leaving becomes large compared to the number of epics you earn every week from raiding. Thus small, casual raiding guilds can become stuck at some point of the raiding process, because their better equipped people don't stay around long enough to get everybody equipped for the next level of the raiding circuit. Ultimately the smaller guild totally disbands and people join larger guilds with a better raiding progress. Guilds that don't paddle hard enough simply sink. Thus the average number of players in a guild and the average number of raids guilds do is going up.

How does it look on your server. Did you observer guild consolidation, with less guilds being around, but having more members?
And there, in two long paragraphs, is a summary I've often posted about as to why this game - to old-timers and anyone who's enjoyed the non-raiding aspect of guild life - is a soulless abomination.

Fun from 0-60 (or now 70) then, in the utter absence of anything else to do, it's raid or nothing, with the so-called "strong" cannibalizing the weak. Roll on its long-overdue demise.
I have to disagree with anonymous above - there is so much to do at Lv 70 (apart from raiding), the only difference is you don't level anymore. Long-overdue demise? Get serious.

Re: Guilds. My current alt is in a big guild. There may be 40-50 people playing on-line at any one time.
My alt is only lv 46 though, so there aren't that many characters in the guild my level, and of those that are, I have never spoken to most of them, never mind played with them.
Guild chat is very sparse; it tends to be maybe the same 10-12 people talking, while the rest don't say anything.
People join the guild and leave the guild on a daily basis, with barely a word spoken. Very strange.

If this guild expects that it is suddenly going to turn into a successful raiding guild all of a sudden (ie 25 man raids), I'm afraid it is mistaken.
Its current Kara raids are so typical of guilds that fail - an A team of the best/best equipped players, and a B team, which struggles to make a worthwhile team.
I won't start to look for another guild, though. I'm happy with levelling at my own pace, and I don't feel that I'm being left behind.
As for my main - can't wait for ZulAman and daily heroics. Bring it on!
I witnessed mainly raid-specific guilds die, and die by the hundreds. New guilds didn't really come, but more established guilds grew in size and formed more raid teams. My guild, even with a raid focus, kept me the non-raider without question. I may stick around and just talk and argue about rogues all the time, but I'm still welcome.

All the talk of Kara killing guild is true, but it wasn't such a negative thing for the core playerbase. It really seems to have solidified guilds that built wisely, in an era where guilds started to form for all the wrong reasons.
Also, there is a ton to do at 70, or hell a ton to do from 60-70. I am happy to still be sub-70 and able to find new things to do aside from just leveling.

70 will be even farther away as I dabble in nostalgia mode in Dark Age of Camelot for a month before coming back casually to WoW. Casual = a couple hours a week.
As one of the better progressed guilds on our server, we keep a fairly small player base. We normally have between 30 and 32 active members and we don't tag friends/family as non-raiders. Many of the raid guilds have a larger population than we do, but I'd say that the casual guilds are growing by leaps and bounds while the raiding guilds stay fairly static.

I have a friend in a casual guild who was just trying to get started into Karazhan. I grabbed one of my guild mates and we went in to help them to understand the pulls and the general strategy for the first couple of fights since it's different than what they'd been doing. While I was talking to my friend he asked how many we had in guild and I told him. He told me that most nights his guild has 120+ online, and they had trouble getting 10 people to finish the Kara key attunement.

After hearing that I checked around and some of the casual guilds have amazingly large rosters. I'm guessing that the failure that is the current LFG tool (which I think would work great if people would use it) has people guilding up in clusters in order to maximize their chances of finding somebody to run a heroic or to group with for daily quests.
Many of my friends simply burned out after about 6 months of hardcore raiding. The old raid guild I attended, had about 300 members, and many of them hadn't logged on in 3+ months.The leveling guild that I joined with my warrior has 200 members, but when you cut through the non active members, the actual number is closer to 25.
Less guilds, yes, larger numbers? Not necessarily in my opinion.

It ist quite normal that a so called "harcore" raiding guild has a small but effective roster. In the old AQ40/Naxx Times my Guild had 55 active accounts and we had 5-6 raiding days per week.
Guilds that are about serious raiding TBC have a roster of approximately 34-38 people. That is a 25-man raid + 1 standby player of each class or 2 players for key slots like tanks and healers.
Smaller guilds with active players mean you dont struggle with the Team A & Team B issue and you have as few raid-spot-rotation as necessary which results in a tight knitted raidbond where everybody is familiar with the playstyle of the other and you can equip your players way more quickly so you can advance faster.
What you describe happens at the lower end, but what also happens is that people drop out from higher end guilds as well and either go into the "recovery" phase, where they play more casually, or they reform into other raiding guilds. Many guilds are constantly reforming and rebuilding. My own guild suffers the occasional loss, but we have a tightly knit core of people who have ties beyond Wow itself, so that helps keep things stable. It also helps to not stress about the occasional loss. If they don't have the loyalty to stay with you, they weren't really worth keeping in the first place, in my opinion.
There seems to be a lot of people who subscribe to the
alone together mentality. There seem to be a lot of people who join a guild to have the green chat scrolling by for when they are on a zepplin/hippogryph ride but mostly ignore it otherwise. For that a large guild is pretty good, that way there is still someone to talk to even while some guild members are running around in an instance and can't 'talk'
Due to population maturity, WoW below level 60 is more of a single RPG. Because of that there is nothing new for me to experience. Bring on new classes and areas to level them, then that might bring me back.
Very true. I watched many guilds fold when my server started to become populated with level 70 players.

I blame Blizzard for this and their lack of foresight in creating the crazy and extreme requirement system for much of the end game content.

It wasn't about Kara only!

I observed obvious stages to the destruction of my guild.

- Expansion released.
- Guild members rush to 70.
- Some members get there 1st due to having more time to play.
- Players at 70 work on Heroic Keys for equipment and attunement.
- Players not at 70 get less group assistance as a result and progress even slower.
- A week or two passes and level 70 players start to trickle out and move to another guild. It is soon apparent that these players start to tempt other level 70's away to join up with them.

- New guild and some players are now ready for Kara.
- Others in the guild are not, and the kara attuned are not interested in aiding other members.
- Kara attuned members break away for another guild because they lack class requirements for the runs as well as players.

- Next Guild.
- This one isnt good either as we can only run once every 3 days and I'm not getting invites as class 'x' as the guild already had 5 of them. We don't have enough members for another Kara group.

I hope you see what I'm trying to point out... that the original mechanics of the game, post 70, were designed to destroy guilds. Perhaps not intentionally.

Crappy linear game content with absurd requirements and attunements.

What I don't understand is this. Why wasn't a 20 man raid ready for 2.1? With no attunement, and got progressivly harder with each boss.

Surely this would have given content and goals for guilds and thus kept them together. It would have supported players with no time to attune and the players that could.

Instead with 2.2 we got the Black Temple for a handful of players and now with 2.3 another 10 man that I am sure will be as futile to attempt as Kara with happy-go-lucky-guilds.

I swear this... if 3.0 goes down the same route of attunements, multiple rep factions, forced repeat content and linear game play... then I pull the plug for good.
For my guild, size has been a major factor in creating a semi-casual guild that can still foster successful endgame raiding. Putting together Karazhan raids is much less of a struggle when you have ~350 accounts and well-organized guild forums. I think at one point we had over a dozen Karas running at once. In a large guild, dynamic turnover as people gear up and move on isn't so much of a problem - the Karazhan I was leading finished in June, and half of us were done forever, while the other five took up roles as fill-in raiders on their alts for other Kara runs.

25-mans are a bit more of a challenge, but with the help of a guild alliance, we've got two in-guild and one cross-guild 25 mans, two of which have downed Vashj, and one of which is just making some first attempts on Void Reaver in TK.

With a large guild population you can actually have semi-hardcore raiders playing alongside folks who just don't have the time to raid any more than casually. At times this can be both a blessing and a curse, but it we've found a way to make it work for two years running.
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