Bring out your dead: Profiting from the demise of other guilds

otters

In which we pore over new recruits from dying guilds like otters waiting for their fish.

It is a sad day when a guild or a raid community dies. Not just for the players involved – although by that time, many of them will probably be relieved to be free to find new homes – but for the wider community and even the game itself. A guild can represent so much combined effort from so many people. It isn’t just an in-game identity, it’s also a virtual home. And when a guild fails, all that effort goes to the wall.

Some guilds have an actual end day when everyone ceremonially leaves and the (ex)guild leader does the equivalent of falling on their sword and dismantling the guild. Others simply fade away over weeks or months of fewer people logging in, fewer events being organised, more raids being abandoned due to lack of interest, and players drifting off to join other, more active communities.

On a tight knit server, others outside the guild will notice the loss too. Some well known guilds spawn long, surprisingly sympathetic threads on realm forums where other players (including past members) voice their memories. A long running, well known guild is simply a part of the server history, a history that could be measured in the rise and fall of guilds, with all the associated drama ….

When my first raid guild in WoW split up, I was gutted. I was an officer at the time, and a class lead, and I’d ridden through both the high and low points with the rest of the guild. But by the end, I was so very tired of it all. I asked if the GL at the time minded if I left my character in the defunct guild, while I took a break from the game. When I logged in several months later to take stock, I had several whispers from people who just wanted to reminisce about my guild tag even though many of them had never been members themselves.

So when a guild dies, what happens to the now homeless players? If players had been very invested in the guild, it’s a time of grieving. Some will transfer servers to be with other friends, others will look for other guilds on the same server, and still others will spend some time as free agents, or even take a long break from the game altogether. Occasionally new guilds spawn from the ashes of old ones, but it’s never quite the same.

Good news everyone! Applications are looking up!

In WoW at the moment, things are winding down towards the next expansion which will not be for several months (no, we don’t yet know the release date). Many raid guilds are struggling for numbers as players get bored and decide to take a break until Cataclysm.  The ennui is hitting guilds which I had thought to be immune. Maybe things are really worse now, or maybe just older guilds have hit the point where the game itself has changed so much from when they were created that the leaders don’t want to keep changing with it. Or in other words, they don’t much fancy the idea of raiding in Cataclysm anyway if it carries on the way it has in Wrath.

In any case, we can tell that other raid guilds on the server are breaking up because we get an influx of new applications. And since the hardcore raid guilds on AD are … well … more hardcore than we are, those applicants are generally well geared, well disciplined, well spoken, and any raid guild would be delighted to have them.

It feels like a reward for hanging in there, because we’ve also been struggling for numbers but (much credit to all the comm members and to the long suffering raid leaders) have still managed to keep raiding and keep the progression just about going. But raiding has definitely slowed, and if we take on some of these guys, it would be a shot in the arm.

It is a risk also. Can someone who was a mainstay of a hardcore guild really be happy to raid on a more casual basis?  Maybe they can, if what they really wanted was a virtual home.

One thing is for sure, whenever one raid splits up, many other struggling raids will suddenly get an injection of much needed raiders. They died so that others could live.

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?