Thought/s of the Day: Guild Rep in Cataclysm, and can you have too much of a good thing?

How are you all feeling about the new guild xp/ levelling in Warcraft?

Like any largish, active guild, we’ve been picking up levels at a reasonable pace and are currently somewhere between level 6 and 7, which I think is roughly where most other largish active guilds will be at the moment.

In a smaller guild with an alt, we haven’t quite reached level 2 but that’ll happen soon and people are quite excited about it.

I’ve seen posts wondering if there is any future for smaller guilds if the larger ones will have all the levels and reputation and achievements early. Whilst we’ll all get there in the end, an xp cap designed around active guilds full of high level players can feel overwhelming for a small guild of low level friends just starting out. I suspect strongly that Blizzard will do what they usually do and nerf guild xp in a couple of months or so, after the first rush of larger guilds have gotten to the max, and stopped obsessing about being first.

But one of the perks you get (at level 6 I think) is a 10% bonus to xp. Later on, there are heirlooms that players can buy which will add an extra 15% bonus to any alt who wears them. And if you have Wrath heirlooms too, that could be up to another 20% on top of that. (That makes 45% so far, if anyone is counting.) I think it’s almost guaranteed that there will be another way to get heirlooms in Cataclysm, probably involving badges in a future patch although these will probably be upgrades from the Wrath ones.

So imagine levelling a new alt with up to 45% bonus experience, and possibly rested xp, in a game where people have already commented that it’s easy to level out of a zone just from questing. I guess it’ll be great if you want to just rocket those alts up to max level.

In fact, since heirlooms are usually account bound, if you have one alt in a big guild that’s going to get the levels fast, you could even send the guild stuff to alts in other guilds, Or in other words, if you are big on efficient levelling, it makes sense to level all your alts in a big guild since you can take advantage of the xp and reputation perks without needing any guild rep (gained through instancing, questing, etc). But if efficient levelling was not your goal, then the guild perks might actually work against your playing style.

Another quirk is that you get a fair bit of guild rep from running heroics, and rather little from other sources. So small levelling guilds, even if they do get the levels, may still find that most members are struggling to reach revered or higher and buy the more desirable perks.

I’d say: nice try on the guild levelling. It still ended up being more tilted towards larger active endgame guilds, and I think a tweak to guild reputation earning would help more casual players a lot. There’s no reason why anyone shouldn’t be able to have high rep with their own guild if they’re committed to it.

Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day

cata_day7pic

(Oops, can’t remember if I’ve used these shots before.) These are a couple of pictures from Uldum, the Egyptian themed zone. It’s rather lovely. And … yes, camels.

Some screenshots from Lord of the Rings Online

lorien

My burglar rides through Lothlorien, the Golden Wood. This is more of an achievement than it first appears because the elves won’t allow anyone in until they have earned enough reputation, which you do by running some regular and daily questlines.

Some people love this type of gating, others hate it. I was impressed that Turbine had tuned the amount of questing that you needed to do to a semi-reasonable amount. I had a handful of sessions of fairly relaxed questing, which involved some orc slaughter, some collections, some arrow delivery – in other words a reasonable spread of things to do. And I’m coming to the content long after most other people are off to Mirkwood.

So although I can see how people might have been frustrated when the Lorien patch first dropped at being herded through repetitive quests just outside the zone, I found it all quite relaxing. I enjoy the chilled out pace of LOTRO and this worked for me.

I was very glad that I had been advised to head out of Moria and start on the Lorien quests at level 58 though. I think that made the whole experience much smoother.

loriencity

You can tell that you are in Lothlorien from the graphical bloom. I rather liked the effect.

In this shot, my character is outside the gates of Caras Galadhon, the treetop city in the heart of the Golden Wood. And because this is LOTRO, you need even more reputation with the local elves before they will let you in. This was slightly more annoying because within that city were all the conveniences of auction house, vault, and so on.

Again, I was impressed with how the reputation grind was tuned. You get reputation from just about anything you do in Lothlorien, and I gained access to the city just before my character hit 60, which meant that I could bind there before heading off to Mirkwood.

Again, I know the Lorien quests weren’t universally popular. They are weighted towards exploring, gathering, collecting, and talking to NPCs rather than pure slaughter (although there are plenty of opportunities to kill orcs on the outskirts of the golden woods also.) I found it a breath of fresh air – maybe even literally compared with the claustrophobic orc-slaughterfest of Moria. Moving to one zone after the other was a delight, and certainly a change of pace.

So, I enjoyed my time in Lothlorien. It does feel strange to be questing in an almost empty zone. They do also go totally overboard with all the various different reputation items that end up in your bags. Bag space continues to be a huge and ongoing issue with this game.

In the end, I spent most of my tokens on Lorien-styled cosmetic clothing, because I knew I had no intention of hanging around long enough to grind out tokens for more useful gear. Especially since I imagine it gets replaced quickly in Mirkwood anyway. I peg this as one of the things you learn from having played a lot of MMOs, knowing which parts of the outdated endgame you can probably skip.

And in an oddly immersive way, it reminded me of how the fellowship in Lord of the Rings picked up elvish cloaks and clasps  to take on their way.

geode

And one last shot of Moria. In this screenshot I’m inspecting a giant geode.