Thought of the Day: Why random dungeons won’t kill guilds

I’ve decided that I don’t really enjoy tanking in random dungeons. Between the gogogo raid geared nutters who will die of an aneurysm if the run takes even a minute longer than necessary and the sub-900 dps death knights (sorry, death knights, I know you aren’t all like that), it’s just a little too …. random. Yes, the vast majority of groups are perfectly fine but it hits me harder when I’m tanking if they aren’t.

But if I take at least one guildie along, the chances of my group being fine increase astronomically (or at least I’ll have moral support if I do decide I want to boot someone). So my standard procedure now on Spinks is to log in and immediately ask on guild chat if anyone is interested in coming along to a heroic as moral support.

It improves my enjoyment of the new tool hugely, it’s great for them because they get a fast instance also, and probably good for the rest of the group too. Guilds aren’t going to die.

(I have also decided that I don’t really mind if the group gets bouncy and people pull extra adds as long as they’re putting out enough damage to deal with it. Once I adjusted, it’s actually quite fun. I just won’t encourage it deliberately.)

The clash of server cultures

Oh, East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet…

–Rudyard Kipling

One of the interesting pieces of fallout from the new cross-server dungeon tool in patch 3.3 in WoW is that players can now easily mix with people from different servers. And wouldn’t you know it, some of them do things very differently indeed.

In groups I’ve seen, we’re gradually moving towards to more multi-server-cultural understanding, but it isn’t always an easy journey.

So, do you need or greed on Frozen Orbs? (We’re moving towards everyone rolling need, but it is a server specific custom. On mine for example, we usually roll greed on all BoE drops. On other servers, it’s more normal to roll need. Once everyone stops accusing each other of being ninjas, I think we’ll shift to all rolling need.)

Do you say Hi when you join a group and Bye or Thanks when the instance is finished? (My server is polite and we usually expect this, if only to show that everyone is ready to start. Others seem to run silently. I think the trend is towards the Hi/Bye because it is a convenient way for people to show that they are awake and speak English. And whilst Gevlon would hate it, I suspect people are less likely to boot someone who seems friendly but is sub-par than someone who hasn’t said a word and underperforms.)

Do people on your server normally ask if it is OK for them to roll need on offspec gear before they do it? (They do on mine because we’re all so polite, but actually it drives me nuts to have to keep saying ‘yes, just roll need if you need it’. I know on other servers people assume that it’s fine to roll need on any upgrades, and I think that’s how we will trend. After all, with instances so easily available it isn’t the end of the world if you have to run a few to get ‘your’ drop.)

The server custom which boggled my mind the most was the death knight who swore to me that it was completely normal on his server for people to deliberately pull extra patrols from halfway across the room “just in case the tank hadn’t seen them.” I did my bit for cultural understanding by telling him that if he did that again while I was tanking, he’d be out and that he was lucky the healer wasn’t making him pay repair costs.

Have you seen any interesting server culture clashes in your 3.3 dungeon adventures?

The changing role of guilds in WoW

Tipa joins the ranks of players who are having buckets of fun with the new WoW random dungeon tool, and she comments that she no longer needs a guild to have fun grouping in WoW. I don’t see this as a sign that guilds will die out in the game or that people will stop playing with their friends. We already know that Cataclysm will bring with it a surge of new guild related content, after all.

But I do think that the success of the new dungeon tool will make people ask themselves what they want out of a guild. Guilds are not actually gatekeepers to 5 man instance runs in WoW, although it can seem like that if you run solo. Still, for those players who felt forced to join a guild because they wanted to have people to run group content with — they’ll be free to leave.

It won’t matter any more if the other people in your guild have a very different playing style. You’ll be easily able to find other people to play the instance game with. I think that in Cataclysm we will see the rise of two different types of guild; the social guild made up of people who have some interests in common, and the hardcore guild of raiders who want to focus on hard mode raiding. The inbetween guilds, the social guilds that feel that they have to act more and more hardcore, the ineffective subhardcore guilds where people only stick around because they need the group access … those will probably dissolve.

I think it will lead to a healthier guild scene in the long run. People who don’t want to be attached to a guild won’t have to do that, they can still get their game in using the dungeon and raid finding tools (anyone not think that Blizzard will expand the raid finding tool across servers?). People who want to be part of a friendly guild but get frustrated at being with less hardcore players will be able to hop into hard mode groups easily and still socialise with their guild friends. People who want the full hardcore experience will still be able to do it, and will be able to pick up random groups for their alts or in off hours easily too.

Unshackling the social side of guilds from the group game may be one of the most long sighted advances any MMO of this generation has accomplished.