Tobold's Blog
Friday, October 23, 2009
How is your guild doing these days?

Most people, me certainly included, are not constant in how actively they are playing MMORPGs. One is more likely to play at high intensity levels just after new content came out, and there are dips in activity at other times. Of course not everybody is on exactly the same schedule, but there is some correlation. In a mature guild in which the overall number of members isn't moving very much any more, any such decrease in general activity results in less people being online at any given moment.

In World of Warcraft and games with a similar raid endgame, this causes a particular problem: When activity drops too far, the number of guild members online can drop under the fixed minimum number of players needed for a raid. If normally 10 to 12 people turn up for raiding, but now its just 7 to 9, raids get cancelled, and suddenly nobody can raid any more. That puts some strain on guilds, often resulting in players leaving to join another guild, where the number of raiders is still high enough. Which isn't really a good solution, because once activity goes up again, the initial guild still hasn't got enough people to form a raid, while the other guild now suddenly has 15 people fighting for 10 raid slots.

I'm writing this because I detect a lull in activity in my own guild, where some of the regular raiders have gone to play DDO instead or, like me, reduced their raiding activity. Reading through various World of Warcraft blogs, I see quite a number of the typical "my guild is imploding" blog posts, so I was wondering if the decreased activity and resulting guild problem was widespread. How is your guild doing these days? Would you say there are less people around? Did that lead to any problems?

Of course the more interesting question would be whether we could come up with a system to solve the problem, but Wolfshead already beat me to that.
Great! I'm in a mid sized corp in EVE and they are just a funny bunch of guys. We have a group that PVP's, some that scan for sites, trade and some that just do missions. We all just get on every so often on eve chat, crack jokes and have a great time.

That's all the reason I game for. I do not like guild drama, competitiveness within my guild/clan/corp or feeling I'm "under pressure" to be somewhere at a certain time in order to progress. :::raids:::cough:::

You can label me carebear, casual gamer or whatever. I am just having a good ole time.

That's why we play these games, right?
My guild has been going through this over the past few months but we've been recruiting pretty regularly to offset the people who have left the game. We figure that if everyone was to come back at some point in time we'd just have to assemble a second raid group.
My guild exploded spectacularly a little while back. We were a mostly-Oceanic guild on a non-Oceanic server, because we'd been playing there since 2005 and had a bunch of USA-based friends there. But finally it just got to be too much to try to recruit and keep things going for raids in Aussie primetime, and the officers and core raiders jumped ship to an Oceanic server.

I decided to wait and see, and lucky I did, because that turned out to not work out so well for them. Now they have transferred again to a different Oceanic server, and are trying to get things back together, for 10-man raiding initially, hopefully to recruit back up to full size later. I'm planning to transfer my priest over and give it a go. But with four level 80s and various other high level alts I'm not keen to move everything, not at $US25 a character!
Before WOTLK, the guild I'm in hit a rock bottom of 4-6 people online during peak periods.

After WOTLK, we jumped up to 40 online during peak periods, and we have slowly declined to about 25 online lately.

One thing that I think that has really kept us going is that we have always tried to keep raiding casual (scheduled raids almost every day but if not enough people to form a raid, no biggie, try again tomorrow). We also limit raids to 2 hours each night. As a result we still have a lot of content to cover (consistently clearing Naxx now, 3/4 of the way through Ulduar). A couple of days each week, our 10-man raids are cancelled due to lack of participation but our saturday 25-man is very popular.

The main changes I've seen lately are:
- people playing main's less and giving their alts some TLC.
- people trying out other games.
-more interest in non-advancement raid activities like BC raiding and such.

One thing that has people excited about are the guild advancement content that was announced for the cataclysm expansion. Playing as a group (or solo) to advance the group (not the individual) has been something that has been missing in WoW as a community building tool.
My former guild, which had been raiding since Molten Core in WoW has just imploded after completing ToC 10-man Heroic and getting the Twin Val'kyrs at 25-man. Some of the more active members have already created a new guild, but it's telling that the former guild master has all but quit and the main tank flat out refused to take any administrative role in the new guild. Considering that they were moderately successful with 25-mans until ToC, it seems like attendance problems were the main cause.

On the Eve side it's the relative calm before the storm. While there is constant fleet action, people are already preparing for Dominion, which is probably going to spark a new recruitment drive.
My guild's been doing pretty okay, though there do seem to be fewer people online outside of raid times, and a lot of them are alts.

As far as raiding goes, I can see many people being stuck in a "content hole" like we are at the moment: either farm content you've done dozens of times before (Ulduar, normal Totc) or wipe all night on heroic Northrend Beasts without making any progress. I can completely understand why that's not encouraging anyone to play more.
I've seen a sharp increase in the number of applicants to our guild, with very little attrition or shrinkage. Instead of the occasional 25-man raid during the summer, we're running them 2-3 times a week.
Half a year ago, before I stopped playing WoW, we had the same problem.

As for my guild, there were a few choices:
1) Do hardcore 10 men content.
2) Massive recruitment.
3) Join forces with another guild.

I quite liked the first option. The second one wasn't feasible. It's not easy to find ~10 good players to join your middle of the road guild. Eventually they ended up doing the last one. Two guilds deliver 12-13 players for the raids.
The guild is doing pretty much the same as always. Just the usual ebb-and-flow.
Nope, Silver Hand's Leftovers is going as strong as ever.

Community raiding is teh awesome.

I haven't looked at the front page summary lately, but probably doing 100 raids a week with close to 2k characters.
We're doing OK, but my guild only asks people to raid one night a week so easy enough to work around with casual play.
Our guild is small, with about 8 "core" raiders who show up three nights a week and a few people who float in and out.

So far, we have had the biggest trouble getting 10 people for Ulduar. It turns out that most people would rather be carried through Trial of the Crusader and Onyxia, which give great loot for minimal effort.

Since Blizzard turned the heroics into Emblem of Conquest farms, a lot of player have diminished interest in doing anything that drops less than level 232 loot. Our "core" group goes into Ulduar for the fun and challenge of trying to hard modes. We do have fun, it's just hard to find people geared enough to do hard modes who are interested in doing so with little chance of loot reward.

On ToC10 nights thirteen people will be online, so three people who only ever show up for ToC10/Onyxia will sit out. On Ulduar nights, eight people will show and we'll have to dig through our friends lists to fill the raid.

It's harder to get quality recruits now, it seems. We've signed on a number of people who were in subpar gear (no gems or enchants either) informed them that they needed to work on their skill level and gear before being invited to raid, only to see them wait around passively for loot and get angry when we didn't pick them up and carry them to our highest level raids.

I imagine it'll only get worse once those dratted heroics are dropping Triumph badges. Then nobody will be interested in any raid content that can't drop 245 and 258 gear... and they'll expect to be invited to do such content in level 200 blues.

The thought of entering a heroic again for any reason makes me ill. Ugh.
We have a small guild, mostly of people who know each other from work. Because of this we tend to be a little less progression focused, and more focused on playing together.

In naxx/uld, we had 10 - 12 people on regularly for raid nights, and we would swap people in part way through the night so everyone could go.

I know some people found uld too easy, but for us it was just about the right challenge level. We had a no spoilers rule and tried to learn the content ourselves. There were a few bosses that took a while to learn (mimi, yogg), but we did eventually finish, and it was a lot of fun.

However I think the push on uld at the end burned everyone out a little. Some people were ready to slow down on raiding, and most of us didn't find the colosseum raid all that interesting. We are now raiding one night a week, just long enough to kill ony and voa.

Hopefully when icecrown hits that will get people interested again. At the very least, some new 5 mans to run when it's not raid night will be a nice option.
The guild I'm a senior officer in actually became the beneficiary of the implosion of another guild. That other guild had a couple old members of ours, and when they couldn't hold the guild together anymore, they came back and brought a bunch of folks with them.

Unlike another guild merger I went through, this one seems beneficial to both groups and it might stick as a result of that. It helps that it seems everyone actually gets along, too.
How does 10 people qualify as a "raid"?

I'm really not a raider. Never enjoyed it, particularly the organisation and the waiting. But I learned what little Iknow about raiding in EQ, where a typical casual guild raid would bring 30-40 people and a real raid guild would routinely muster 72.

Over time that 72 dropped to a standard 54, but when it was mooted that the maximum raid size would fall again to42 there was uproar and SOE backed off.

To my mind 10 people is not a raid. It's two groups. Two groups is not a raid. Even four groups (the EQ2 standard "raid") barely qualifies.

Until I read this post I hadn't really taken in what the term "raid" means in WoW. What's the maximum? Twenty people (4 groups)?

There really should be some other term to describe a fight with two groups, though, because whatever that is, it's not a "raid".
Self-correction: I see the max is 25. Still very small, isn't it?
@Bhagpuss: Over the last 5 years in WoW I did 40, 25, 20 and 10-man-raiding. I had most fun in a 10-man. In a 40-man you never got to know all the people you were playing with, but with our 10-man I knew the real life names of everyone, what they did for work and things like that. Also for me the amount of cooperation was greater in 10-mans.
We're a guild raiding wow since MC. THe summer hits us hard, but i think the trend started earlier, since the "wow is too easy" meme. From that time, people don't tolerate to wipe, and any week when we didnt kill at least two new bosses made us lose a few people. Currently starting again the 25 raids (at anub' normal), with a 10 good raiders core and about 15 decent raiders. Progress in slow because of turnover, but it is here.
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