Gossip! How are easy raids affecting servers?

I was writing last week about keeping in touch with server news, but I did miss out one way that I track guild moves on my server.

I check bboards of other guilds.

I can never decide if this is fair game or whether it is just one step up from cyber-stalking. In either case, it’s a habit I got into back in the days when I was the priest officer in a 40 man guild. The guild leaders used to get on my back any time we weren’t able to field five priests on a raid night so I spent a fair amount of time trying to second guess how many I needed to recruit and who might be planning on leaving and need to be replaced.

You can see where this is going. Initially I tracked the application boards of more progressed raid guilds so that if a good priest applied to them and was rejected, I could contact the player in game and ask if they were interested in a tryout with us.

But sometimes what you found was that a player from your guild had applied to ‘move up’ without letting anyone know. We were never a guild who took punitive measures when this happened. It sounds wacky to read now but some guilds would boot a player just for applying to another guild. Maybe some still do. If you do, you’re a bunch of nutters by the way …. just saying. Anyway, we didn’t boot people for that, but I took it as a sign to start looking for a replacement.

It was quite common for officers to scan other guilds’ public bboards at the time. ie. not just my freaky gossip-herding habits. So word got around. A lot of the more hardcore guilds started to take private applications – they knew that some of the players they’d want to recruit didn’t want to risk punitive action from their own guilds if they applied and were rejected. But fortunately, on my server this was not the norm so I was able to enjoy keeping tabs on guild movements in peace.

From the non-officer point of view, keeping an eye on the public forums of guilds which you aspire to join can also give you an insight into what they are like, and what they look for in recruitment posts. eg. If guild officers mock applicants who don’t write in full sentences and use good grammar, it’s a very different type of guild from one where everyone uses txtspk.

It isn’t just a WoW phenomenon either. Scanning guild boards in other games is just as useful a way to keep up with what’s going on. If nothing else, it’ll tell you whether the guild tends to use its public boards or not.

That was then, this is now

These days, we care less about the application boards. Also, there are more raid guilds around in WoW. It’s harder to know who the more influential guilds are. People in general fuss less about ‘server firsts’ and more about who runs raids on their preferred schedule, or which guild likes or dislikes achievements,  because they assume that most raids will be running most content. Sarth+3, whilst the hardest encounter in game at the moment, is not one that everyone cares about.

And even just scanning bboards from the older hardcore guilds, you can see this in the applications that they receive. There was a time when a server first guild never had a shortage of applicants for any class. That time is gone, at least on my server.

Partly I think most people don’t know or care which of the various raid guilds is better or worse. This comes down to Blizzard having scaled the Wrath raids such that most organised raid groups blitzed through them.

But I know what I’m seeing is guilds listing which classes they are looking for, and getting some … unimpressive applications. I’m not talking about hilariously bad here. Just people who wouldn’t normally be applying to high end guilds — new 80s, people with no previous raid experience. The kind of people we’d take if they had friends in our guilds! And I mean no disrespect to my alliance (who rock), but one of our strengths has always been in teaching new people how to raid. It’s not so much what I expect to see from the more hardcore groups.

So my scuttlebutt at the moment is that easing the difficulty of raiding has smashed server coherence. There are very few gradations between a hardcore and a midrange raid guild right now. And no reason at all for anyone to be raiding more than 2-3 days a week (I see people advertise 5 raid nights – WHAT DO THEY DO ON THOSE 5 NIGHTS? I really want to know! Or maybe I don’t.).

What’s worse for the hardcore guys is that because they have fewer ways to demonstrate their skill/organisation, regular players cease to care. And without any external pressure to funnel more hardcore players into those guilds (why bother, when you can raid all the content in your current guild), they’re struggling to replace turnover. This may be healthier for individual midrange guilds. I know it is more comfortable for us to not be losing our best raiders at a continual drip. It’s probably also a much better situation for individual raiders. It’s nice to be able to raid with friends and not be frustrated because they don’t progress as fast as you’d like.

But if Ulduar isn’t hard enough to let the hardcore guilds pull ahead, expect them to start dying.

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5 thoughts on “Gossip! How are easy raids affecting servers?

  1. [Not sure if you prefer to avoid names of guilds, alliances, but since you haven’t mentioned any names, neither have I. FWIW, I’m in another guild in your alliance.]

    I’m very interested in all of this – it’s a change in the ‘normal’ curve of MMO difficulty, I think. Other games have seemed to add more and more content at the same or increasing levels of difficulty.

    I’ve been following the regard people have for the more elite guilds on our server as well – it used to be that the two or three guilds/raid communities running top-level raids were nigh unto gods in their precedence Hordeside. Nowadays, the raids the alliance run are at level pegging, and while I’ve lost any interest I ever had in raiding, it’s very nice to see a group of three not-that-big guilds ranking level with the Big Dudes.

    But I’m also seeing that there isn’t that level of achievement anymore for the Big Dudes – there isn’t the feeling that they’re ahead of the pack. And while I can’t bring myself to be sorry about it directly, since they only ever made up a very small percentage of the overall playerbase. But it seems to have an effect on the server community – reducing the hero status of those guilds, and making everyone ordinary.

    I’m wondering if there won’t be some ways for those guilds and organisations to shine written into future patches – not something that denies other people content, but does allow the dedicated folks something to mark them out.

    • I’m not going out of my way to avoid naming guilds/ alliances (I mean, if anyone checks Spinks on the EU armoury they can see what guild she’s in). And it’s certainly not like I’m embarrassed of my guild or alliance, I think they’re both great.

      Just I’m never sure if naming them will make things seem more specific, when I wanted to write about general trends.

  2. We’ll see how fast the “hard modes” go down. Especially considering that hard mode drops a higher tier of gear and the actual realm first achievements are tied to their hard modes I think that the uber-guilds will be challenged enough.

    That said, I’ve never been particularly enamored of them either. Experience tells me that they’re not heroes as much as a bunch of over-achievers who are only tied together by the promise of being number one. If your guild breaks up because that’s not enough any more, maybe you should have spent less time worrying about being number one and spent more time cultivating camaraderie and friendship.

  3. My guild boots people whom app elsewhere. When it comes down to it – its a sign that they don’t want to be with your guild anymore. Don’t keep giving them items & raid time that could go to someone who is going to be staying in your guild.

    I’ve written about the difficulty in recruiting anymore, and the low rewards for high risks of changing guilds – but this was another good perspective to read.

  4. Hard core guilds were conceived to create environments where every iota of performance could be squeezed out of the gear the players wore, and this was the only way to see all the end game content. There is no place for them any more. Personally, I won’t regret their demise much- their officers were in entrenched positions of “power” and were mostly people that weren’t fun to deal with.

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