Tobold's Blog
Saturday, January 10, 2009
 
Gearing up oneself or one's guild?

Gevlon, the Greedy Goblin, is the most selfish blogger I know. And I mean that in a completely non-judgemental way. His unique philosophical outlook makes his blog posts interesting, especially when they clash with somebody else's blog. So while Matticus is complaining about a paladin who stopped raiding because he had enough gear for himself, instead of helping the rest of the guild gear up, Gevlon defends the point of view of that paladin. The underlying question is whether we raid to gear up just ourselves, or whether we raid to gear up our guild.

While I'd normally lean towards seeing raids as a guild activity, and thus loot being best distributed for the maximum good of the guild, last night something happened which made me rethink that position. We did Naxxramas in heroic 25-man mode for the first time, and cleared the plague wing, which isn't half bad for a first night. And some epic dropped which lots of players wanted (not including me). And suddenly our officers decided on a new loot distribution rule, and let only those players roll for the item for who it would replace a blue item. People already wearing epics weren't eligible. That caused some consternation with some players, including me, who had invested heavily in crafted or boe epics from the auction house. I have a crafted epic robe, gloves, and ring, and bought epic cloak, plus a trinket I bought with emblems of heroism. So all other things being equal, a hypothetical other priest who didn't spend that much gold and emblems on epics has a significantly higher chance of getting an epic loot assigned to than I do, while at the same time contributing less healing, due to lower stats. That not only doesn't seem very fair, but it also creates a bad incentive structure. If the least prepared reap the most rewards, then nobody will want to take the time to farm the money or materials for crafted epics. Having a guild policy which basically punishes people for acquiring epics on their own doesn't seem very wise to me.

Distributing loot without checking for whom it is the biggest upgrade leads to the most active players being "full" with epics faster, simply because getting epics then just becomes a matter of statistic probability. The more often you are in a raid, the more likely you are to be present when some loot you could use drops, and thus the more epics you get if loot is distributed with random rolls, or nobody else wants that particular item. On the one side that is good, because it rewards the player for showing up often to raids. On the other side that is bad, because sooner or later the player will have all the epics he can possibly get from that raid dungeon, but the guild can't move on to the next place, because the less active raiders are still missing too much gear. The situation Matticus describes, the paladin taking a break until Blizzard releases Ulduar is only the latest possible effect of that. In earlier times the player with full epic gear would instead have been likely to quit his current guild and join one further advanced.

So we end up with a conundrum: Either we reward people with epics in proportion to the effort they put into raiding, and risk losing them. Or we distribute epics there where they do the most good, which ends up rewarding those players the most who prepare and raid least. While I'm far from celebrating selfishness in the way Gevlon does, I nevertheless am not so naive as to believe that we could arrive at having guilds in which all members are completely unselfish. Epics (and legendaries) remain the biggest reward World of Warcraft hands out, and thus the way in which they are distributed creates strong incentives for behavior. Having to decide how to distribute epics is not easy, if you realize that either you reward doing less, or you push those doing more towards taking leave or just plain leaving. The only other alternative is to assume that people with a full set of epics will want to run the same raid dungeon over and over, just to equip the other players in their guild. That amount of selflessness is unfortunately quite rare, as experience shows.
Comments:
This is were a well-crafted DKP system comes into play. In my guild you acquire points every time you go on a raid so even if you have full epic gear you can still "bank" those points for the future. This provides incentive to keep playing because if you are several thousand points ahead of everyone else, you will essentially be uncontested for several drops when the guild does make it to a new instance. DKP systems come in thousands of flavors, and your mileage may vary, but the zero-sum system my guild uses is both incredibly fair and able to show each individual player why a specific loot decision was made. Of course, just like real world money, trust in this fiat system is also important, once a player believes the guild is no longer able to advance, the incentive to accrue DKP is gone.
 
I can definitely see both sides. For example, one time when raiding the exact opposite situation happened to me than did you: A piece of loot went up, me and another person both wanted it, and though I never once acted like I deserved it more or argued for me to get it, I felt better entitled to it. For I had a blue in that slot that I had been waiting to replace for quite some time and the other person had an epic an it was an overall very very very minor upgrade (though was indeed an upgrade). I felt that, overall, it was in the guild's interest to give it to me. Me and him roughly put in the same contribution, and all things considered it would increase my DPS more than it would increase his and therefore it would increase the raid's total DPS on me more than on him. But I obviously see your point: I sure as hell don't FEEL like I was lazy and slacking off by having a blue in that slot; I simply did a simple cost-benefit analysis. I could run a certain heroic X numbers of times with X chance to win the item for an X benefit, or wait until it dropped in a raid and try and win it. To me, the later was the better choice, though part of that has to do with the fact that I am in a casual raiding guild, not a hardcore one.

Overall the best answer is simply to raid with friends and, more importantly, determine the loot distribution before you ever set foot into the raid. As long as people are aware of and choose to still raid knowing the loot rules, and they are followed, you can't really complain. Drama only starts when rules change.
 
I don't play WoW anymore, but back when I did I got kicked out of not one, but *two* guilds for going on raids with my friends that were in other guilds. The kicker is that those raids weren't raids my actual guild was doing, and I always did my best to help my guildmates out with whatever they needed help with (quests, instances, whatever).

After the second time I got the clue and was very upfront with any future guild leaders - I played WoW to PvE with my friends and while it was nice if some of us were in the same guild I didn't hold it to be any kind of requirement, but on the flipside I would (and did) obey all posted guild rules, so if you wanted me to do X with only the guild and nobody else you better be upfront about it. And I wasn't going to stick with any guild that I wasn't a good fit for anymore.

After that I never had any issues with guilds. I never liked to guild hop but for the times my personal progression was ahead the guilds I continued to guest in my friend's raids (as I had a rep. on my server as being a good healer) but since I'd spelled it out ahead of time how I operated it was never an issue.
 
The conundrum, as you call it, only exists because of the angle in which you are viewing this issue, Tobold.

WoW is a rewards based game. But it is such on a personal level, first and foremost. Guilds make up the social aspect -only- after they decide to start functioning as a group in their endeavors. It's funny you never hear about such topics when it comes to 5-man runs, especially heroics, where the player starts getting some nice epic rewards for their efforts. The drama only ensues when you have a group(read: social aspect) of people who choose to extend the drama beyond the confines of usefullness or good taste. On a personal level, one plays for the rewards and the enjoyment of the encounter. On the social level, one commits their time and energy to helping the 9 or 24 other players reach their own "personal" rewards and enjoyment of the encounter. Whether people realize it or not, everyone in a raid encounter is being -selfless- so as to allow their other fellow gamers the same opportunity for personal rewards as they, themselves are seeking.

We all make a personal decision when it comes time to react to a perceived injustice, and we know all too well how the social dynamic can warp or otherwise influence that decision when whispers/tells/forum posts have taken their toll on our ability to remain focused. If a player decides to take a break, then so be it. They shouldnt take any flak for doing so regardless of the guilds raid status, or lack thereof. I dont know about anyone else, but I realize that there is a living, breathing, autonomous human being behind that avatar on my screen, and as such I can place no limitation on how they play. Nor should I have any perceived authority over how someone else plays the -game-.

Let Matticus complain. The fact that he even mentioned sharding the plate gear(even though he would never consider it?...wtf??) to artificially lengthen the Paladins raid time says it all. This also underscores a vast problem that I see in WoW raiding. Where individuals, through some ego mechanism or something totally Freudian, decide to carry the burden of managing raid encounters, and all of a sudden forget that they are dealing with individuals with real lives. Sorry to break this to you Matticus: Real Life wins out everytime. WoW is just a -game-. Nothing more.
 
The new rules your officers tried out may be based on this new tool. I hadn't thought through the implications of using it to distribute gear since it is mostly useful for higher level players, not the 30-50 level characters, and in our house we solo WOW.

http://gear-wishlist.appspot.com/

Is there any truly fair way to distribute gear except by a random draw?
 
DKP is something I will never take part in... that system you describe is slightly fairer than that IMHO.

The fairest system... and the only one my guild will use is... if it is better than your main gear you currently have... you can roll for it regardless of how many raids you go on or how much tongue licking you give the raid leader.
 
When I was raid leader we tried very hard to introduce a culture of selflessness. I think these things can only superficially be solved with hard rules. The only way to distribute loot in a way that benefits the raid is to introduce a culture that despises everybody who wants something just for himself. Our efforts were rewarded then - although it took months for most casuals to start to think in these term.
 
Practically any DKP system is an attempt to address these two extremes. If each player has a limited resource on which to spend for upgrades, they will be less likely to spend on items that are very minor upgrades if there is the hope of large upgrades for other slots that they could potentially get. This is especially true in an open bid system since it lets individuals assign the value to each item. The player stuck with a quest blue will assign a much higher personal value to an upgrade than the player looking for a minor upgrade and bid accordingly. Even more ideally, the player for whom it is a minor upgrade might inspect the other player and decide to let it go to him. Altruistic? Not really. Players may decide that they will advance faster as a group if they ensure their raidmates are adequately geared.
 
You're dealing with three different situations here. As with most things in life, you can't approach them from an absolutist perspective.

If your guild suddenly changes loot rules without the input of the members, then you have every right to complain. There was an implicit, pre-agreed contract about how things were going to work that is being revoked by fiat. Frankly I think it's just a failure to work through the details on behalf of the guild's leaders. Would you feel as bad if the rule was that people who specifically had a Naxx-10 item (not just any epic) in that slot got second shrift, and if getting passed over for that slot put you first in line for any slots where you didn't have a Naxx-10 item?

If your guildies suddenly stop trying the way Gevlon's did, then you have every right to quit. They are wasting your time. I tend to think I would try speaking up and seeing if things improved over a week or two. But it depends how much fun you're having in the guild.

Finally, the paladin handled things wrong. If he was feeling burnout, that's what he should have said. It's what I would have said even if I were actually just feeling selfish and lazy. And I would offer to rotate in on backup duty, then not show up unless I felt like it that night. Call me manipulative, but I think it wouldn't rub the guild leader the wrong way nearly as much. Additionally, I would not expect a starting spot back automatically come Ulduar. You bench yourself, you go to the bottom of the priority list. I would bet that the problem is amplified a bit in Matticus's mind because spellpower plate is the one remaining type of single-spec loot in the game, so I bet this pally was much more geared then the rest of the guild.
 
The more experienced guilds I have been part of "gear out" a main tank/ot and primary healer, usually officers, to guarantee that raids have a core base that will always be attending. When these people quit, there is a period of raid "grinding" to equip equivalent replacements. All other gear is DKP based distribution. The idea of random loot systems or round-robin fail in all the ways that a coherent system tries to avoid at the single raid encounter level. Decisions about fairness in skipping people who cannot attend or lack of rewards (through randomness) leads to fracturing (people joining the raid to make up for absent members) and more absentees in general, until the raid has fallen apart due to a LACK of geared replacements. This is what all guilds suffer. An experienced group determines rules BEFOREHAND or changes them for FUTURE runs or you are guaranteeing people drop from the run and permanently from the raid. There is no incentive to do so, once you acknowledge that raids are not important in-and-of themselves. The raids will go on for damn near decades, so making a big deal out of a little deal (who cares about people who were /gquitting over a corehound's tooth NOW?) is not constructive or wise.
 
There are only 2 things to say to that:
1. NEVER EVER CHANGE loot rules DURING a run. Always do it only between raids.
2. This is a perfect example of how rewarding those who've done less only penalizes those who work harder. Will they also go out and buy mats for crafted epics like you did? No they will say to themselves "If I put in work for the guild I will get punished instead of rewarded"
 
Yet another reason why I think gear should be a bit more realistic stat-wise. If gear wasn't so stat heavy then a lot of stress from DKP/loot systems is negated. This means a weapon determines damage type, attack speed, phallic symbolism, but won't make up for lack of skill. This may cause some people to lose/change their interest in raids, but it would also mean that groups that have a bad run of luck loot-wise can still progress on skill alone.
 
Good post! I saw exactly the same issue in a former guild, and as someone who plays a lot and contributes a lot to the raid, because I make effort to get gear, it drove me crazy to see occassional players get to roll on top of me... and I left that guild, partly because of it.

In my current guild, we'd never get to a place where the tank has all the loot, and noone else does. There's no special loot privilege for tanks, so people tend to gear up at similar rates, and tend to be "done" with an instance at similar times. Plus, all our tanks like to play, so they'll continue to raid just because they like to play. It sounds like the pally in question is quite an unusual individual to me.
 
Life was so much simpler in classic ... you essentially *had* to use DKP due to the number of members and scarcity of epics. The loot drama was far less than it is now or was in TBC.

I do prefer the flat out DKP rule though. As long as a player pulls his or her weight, let them use DKP however they want. On my priest in TBC I spent almost all of my badges on healing gear and only rolled on healing gear in 25's when no other priests needed. That meant I was able to heal just as well as any other healer in the guild, but I could use my DKP for shadow gear since that was the spec I preferred.

Some people bitched of course, but I did my part so there wasn't much they could say about it.
 
NEVER EVER CHANGE loot rules DURING a run. Always do it only between raids

actually I'd go a step further and say once you have a system in place leave it alone.

I've seen many guild melt down because of a minor attempt to adjust loot rules to speed progression. There is no way you can change the rules without punishing someone who has been following them. And nothing ruins the attitudes of member more than feeling they've been punished for following the rules.

A good real world parallel would be if your employer promised a bonus if certain benchmarks were met and then at the last moment changed the rules. Or if the evaluation criteria for your yearly review completely changed the month the review was due and you got a yearly review on things that hadn't been your responsiblity all year long.

Wow is all about rewards. If you mess with the rewards system you are messing with peoples virtual paychecks. And they react accordingly.
 
Agree with everyone above. A lot of guild leaders just dont have a clue imo - this is just plain silly, and destructive to the cohesion of the guild as a whole. If you dont in some way either reward your strongest players, or allow everyone an even chance based on some pre-arranged criteria, you are doomed to a guild leader life of strife and conflict.

Changing loot rules after a piece drops is plain idiotic. I wouldnt be surprised to see this behaviour in a crappy pug raid, but in a guild, its just ridiculous.
 
WTB more solo content plz? kkthxby

Did I do that right? I'm not much of a leet speaker. As long as guilds are the only way to attack raids, there will be drama. If players could grind up their own gear, then raids could be fun social events, not gear grubbing drama plays.
 
What I have seen from other games for raid rewards is taking the items that drop and doing a bidding system. If the gear isnt needed by more than one char, no bidding is needed. If for example tanking plate drops and pally/warrior/DK all need roll for it, then with master loot let them /roll 100 to see who bids first and let it go from there. I do find it rather stupid the amount of time argueing over loot in WoW, as there obviously isnt enough reward for teh time spent in that case. Take for example a contrasting system, diablo 2, where items are not BoP and generally drop at a rate well enough to keep people adequately geared for the pve content. This created a much more social trade for specialized items and kept everyone happy generally. Doing boss runs was very addicting and rewarding unlike WOW where doing raid bosses is very redundant and eventually a waste of your own time.

They really should revamp all the loot so that it is not class specific for all instances 1-80, and make it so you are rewarded with your efforts by some form of token that you can spend at any of the reputation vendors you already work with. The advantage of this, it promotes doing non-endgame content and it alsois very easily scaleable and can bring a much more social atmosphere to the instance/raiding task at hand. I find it absolutely rediculas that ppl shout "paying 30g for stockades run", when blizzard explicitely is against RMT and because of the time/reward is not reciprical to the higher lvl chars efforts that this sort of blackmarket for peoples effort is a symptom of poorly designed content rewards and itemizations.

~Tenmohican
 
If I was running a raiding guild, the best solution I can think of is to make it a binary system. Those that raid with the guild X or more days per week get first grabs at items, if those items are upgrades to what they're currently using. If none of these 'group A' players need the item, it's then randomly assigned to one of the other players, again choosing only those for which the item is an upgrade.

Yes, the 'group B' players will fall behind the item game. If there are a large number of these players in the guild, the value of 'X' should be diminished to try and gear up as much of the guild as possible. Inevitably the hardcoredness of the guild will slowly increase, and X can then be increased accordingly.

Obviously, this is not perfect. At this point I reiterate my catch-phrase that item-driven combat systems are terribad :/
 
The problem exists because of the game design of WoW, right?

There's not really a fix here you can make - Blizzard would need to do something like moving to a more personal system. Let's say you're in a raid, and you down the boss! At present, he drops some junk, which gets divvied up. Now, if they changed it so that the boss downed junk for everyone (perhaps retaining some randomness and restrictiveness, but individually so) then turning up to a raid whether you've invested time or not is rewarded by the game system, not a judgemental system of your peers.

The natural conclusion is that people who raid the most often will still get the most loot, but everyone who raids gets loot which I think is the important bit. Problems occur at the moment because the game doesn't deliver loot consistently to all participants, and it's a loot based game - this makes the Baby Jesus cry. The system I've just proposed, whilst not without flaws I'm sure, still rewards those who invest the most, the most, yet allows all participants to come home with a share of the glory based on their investment for a specific run.
 
56k, isn't that the essence of a badge system? You know, everyone in the raid earns 50 badges or what have you, and they can spend them on whatever gear they want? I'm all for rewarding everyone who pitches in, rather than the "terribad" item lottery. (Thanks for the term, Melf!)
 
No problems :p

Badge systems really do go a long way towards countering this kind of problem, I concur.
 
I don't think your "leadership" actually understands that there are currently three grads of "epics". If you've got crafted epics, you're most likely sitting with ilevel 200 items. The other guy has ilevel 200 blues (which are a little worse, but it's not a huge seperation in most cases). When a ilevel 213 or 226 item drops... it's a pretty big upgrade from the 200 purple, just as it's a slightly bigger upgrade for the 200 blue. If we were talking Naxx10, I can more see the point, but not in Naxx25.

The guild I'm in operates under a "spread the wealth" SOP. People that are onspec for an item and haven't won anything that night are given preference. If more than one person fits that criteria, a /roll solves it. People that are onspec, but have already recieved loot, get second choice. Finally, offspec and nonspec (backpacks, loot bags, etc.) items are thrown open to a /roll by anyone interested. Not everyone gets an item every night, but it works very well in the long run. We also give no preference to guildies over PUGers (and recieve the same courtesy from some other guilds that we sometimes fill in for).

As our guild leader said while dressing down someone that had created some drama over loot: "You need to take a step back and realize that you're getting upset over some purple pixels on a screen." It's just a game, and every single item can and will drop again.
 
The best solution is to simply stop playing a game that's just a pointless loot-whoring merry-go-round.
 
My opinion is that a raid or guild for that matter works to the benefit of each other, because the guy or gal standing next to you might make the difference, if that person is raiding with you and they are under geared, then it's to your benefit that they get better gear, especially if they are the ones that will be saving your ass in the near future on other raids.

Now, I do agree, Guild raiding loot rules, should never be changed in the middle of a raid...that was very bad form. Always inform your members of any changes before or between raids, so they can make an informed decision as to whether they should even attend if they won't get the possibility of loot. Now, people in a guild should also work towards helping each other...this is my biggest beef with guilds and their cliques. The cliques worry too much about equipping them and their friends rather than the whole guild. If a person is in the guild they should get the same assistance as anyone else to get l33t gea, period, their is no in between. Either your in the guild to be selfish or to work as a well honed raiding unit, meaning everyone body should get the same chance at gear as anyone else, no if's ands or buts. If that gear doesn't drop the first run, then farm it till everyone who participates and is a good member of the guild gets the gear.
 
It's interesting, my first reaction to that "only people with blues are eligible to loot epics" system was complete and utter revulsion.

Yet the last half dozen epics I've looted, it has been after I said I'd bid on it ONLY if nobody needed it as an upgrade from a blue.

Directing the gear where it will do the most good is a fine idea for guild progression. But enforcing such a system only encourages people to avoid making any personal effort in buying/crafting gear or running heroics, and is thus detrimental to guild progression.
 
Time to start wearing white gear, lol! How do they know if you truly own something better? Sounds like people could just swap to lesser gear if they want to "roll on phat lewts"!
 
Sumdum, people aren't that stupid. Every time something like this comes up someone says that, but the reality is people are not that stupid.



I take exception to the paladin's attitude simply because he isn't the only person in the raid. 24 other people went along in the raids he got geared up in, and by god having the luck to get fully kitted out before anyone else does doesn't give you the right to say "up yours" to the rest of your guild and quit the game until 3.1.



Hell, I have no idea why ANY guild would even stand for such an attitude. I wouldn't stand for it. My current GM would stand for it. My past 2 GMs would have booted him on the spot.
 
And as a second post, I would like to state that I dislike Gevlon's entire worldview VERY intensely. People like that need to find some dark corner of the world to disappear in. The rest of us wouldn't be sorry to see them go.
 
Tobold, please reexamine the terms you are using. You are equivocating on the word "selfish" (and its opposite, "selfless"). Selfish simply means to be concerned with one's own interests. It's really very simple: If you regard WoW as a classic, ultimately zero-sum game, with definite, limited achievements available, e.g. with gear being the prize at the end of the game, then, when you've acquired the best gear, you've won. You've beaten the game. And you can stop playing.

There are two possible implied premises that might alter that logic. The first is that you aren't playing the game for your own personal enjoyment. If you aren't, then by all means, please, stick around to make the game more fun for the rest of us. Personally, I hold this to be an untenable ethic because it leads to your own death (in whatever context you care to apply it - socially, psychologically, economically, physcially). Selfishness, properly understood, must be applied to the widest context. You are playing the game for your self, and at the end of the day, if you aren't having fun, what possible reason could there be to continue playing?

And lest you object that the fun of others can contribute to your own fun, let me hasten to point out that this does not deny the ethically selfish end, it simply uses socialization as a means to justify it.

And, secondly, what about the social aspects? Are you truly regarding the game in a classical sense? Are all the guilds and chatting and team organizations formed, ultimately, for the singular purpose of beating the last boss and collecting the best gear? Of course not. Tobold, you are critical of so-called "selfish" players, and you shouldn't be.

But you do recognize that the social aspect of an MMORPG is most (or even all) of then game. Well, Tobold, why do people come together to socialize and play games? Is it, ultimately, to make others feel good at their own expense? Is it to make themselves feel good at other's expense? Neither.

If it were either of those, groups would rapidly fall apart. And it can be argued that this failure is being played out in guilds where one or the other is occuring.

In fact, though, society is the recognition that although our own benefit is the goal of all our actions, it is through cooperation with others that the greatest benefits can be achieved. Tobold, I like your analyses of WoW and other MMOs, but when it comes to ethics you don't go deep enough.

The solution to the so-called problem of guild looting isn't to discourage selfishness (unless by selfishness you mean predatory behavior, but that's ultimate self-defeating, so it isn't truly selfish). It is to recognize the truth that each individual comes to an MMO seeking his or her own enjoyment and that incentives need to encourage individual enjoyment. And groups (guilds, pugs, friendships, etc.) are only formed because each member recognizes that his or her own interests are better met through cooperation than through preying on each other.

I've not yet reached level 80, but when I do I'll apply the same ethic to raiding as I do to grouping while leveling. I'll stick with my guild because, in the long run, I won't be able to enjoy the content, part of which is indeed gear (but not all of it), without them. I'm making friends in my guild and we enjoy discussing our latest achievements and discoveries in the game. We enjoy griping about how bad the ganking is this week (even while refusing to pick up and move to a PvE server). We help each other's alts, and the lower level mains. But if I didn't enjoy doing these things, I wouldn't deny my self-interest and help the group anyway. I'd move on.

If all I wanted was to be able to claim that I'd beating yet another video game, I'd join a guild that works toward that end. And when I had beaten it, I would quit. Don't ask such a person to be selfless. That will only add more misery to the world; and, more importantly, deprive it of joy. Just let such people go their own way.

Tobold, you can be a "carebear", and help your guild, and set looting rules that benefit the collective ability to beat dungeons and bosses, but please acknowledge that this isn't selfless. You enjoy experiencing the content, old and new. And you enjoy meeting new people, and socialization with friends. You aren't playing the game for the same reasons or with the same purpose as those who get the best gear and then quit. If you were to betray these interests, then you would be selfless. And the same is true of those playing to "beat the game". If they were to play your way, they'd be selfless, too.
 
Tobold, in response to your post:

I believe that the answer is to structure your guild in such a way that it assumes the selfish motive and plans for it.

By that, I mean it assumes people are gearing themselves up and not the guild, and makes sure that

a) desireable behavior (bettering gear on your own, raid attendance, good performance) is rewarded

b) loyalty to the guild is rewarded personally

Just structure the rewards in such a way that the person's own incentives lead them to behave in ways that are in the guild's best interests.

This plan meets it's toughest challenge when a character is geared up and "done" with current content. I have a two-part solution for that:

1) cultivate a guild culture that they don't want to leave. Have funny, entertaining, and friendly/cool people in your guild (it's easier to recruit them if you yourself are funny and friendly). Also, have good players. When someone is considering leaving, make them think twice about maybe ending up somewhere where the players may have better gear, but they aren't as good. Or they aren't fun to hang out with.

2) Take care to make sure that if anyone reaches that point, it's a number of people at the same time. That way, this group can just start moving on to the next instance a bit, at least enough to keep them motivated to stay in the guild and keep contributing to the raids they would have otherwise stopped attending.
 
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