Surviving the pre-expansion slump?

So, we’ve hit the point in WoW’s expansion cycle where people tend to get bored, have RL issues pop up, or otherwise get tired of their current guild’s progress and want to abandon ship. It happens about the point where we hit the last raid instance every expansion. Actually, in Vanilla & BC, Blizzard “fixed” this slump by releasing additional raid instances (Naxx & Sunwell).

However, this time, Blizzard has chosen to not bail out the guilds who are struggling to keep their members interested. The only thing we have coming in the future is a tiny dungeon, which I expect will hold people’s attentions for about a week or two before they go back to being bored.

Now, a LOT of guilds haven’t killed the Lich King yet, and only a very small number of guilds have killed the Lich King on hard mode. So, you would think that guilds would still be going strong. However, I’ve spent the last week or two recruiting for my own guild, and watching ALL the guilds around us having the exact same recruitment problems. Conspiracy is only staying afloat by constantly recruiting and having multiple people tirelessly working to keep a full raiding roster, even though it’s a really awesome guild to be in (really friendly, does make good progress – but doesn’t do hard modes, no drama). We’ve actually been pretty successful in recruiting new people, though we can’t ever stop recruiting from this point on. I expect Conspiracy to make it, but I expect a lot of other guilds out there will not survive the pre-Cata slump, and knowing that makes me sad.

So, what’s the problem with WOW’s pre-expansion raiding slump? A lot of people are just raiding in PUGs, and so they don’t want to bother trying to even join a guild to raid with, so those people who would normally join guilds are just… not joining guilds at all (or are being part of a guild without raiding with their guild). As Stacy & Clinton on TLC’s “What not to wear” would say, “Why buy the loaf of bread when you can have the slices for free?” Since people can raid without being in a guild, they just don’t bother joining. On the guild recruitment forums, 90% of the people posting there are looking to skip ahead in progression and join a guild that has killed the Lich King already, and are currently working on hard modes (which means they are looking to be in the top 5% of guilds, and the other 95% of guilds are pretty much left struggling). The vast majority of people who you would normally recruit through realm forums just aren’t trying to find a new guild after theirs dissolves; instead they are either quitting or PUGing in larger numbers than the people who are joining new guilds.  Some of the pre-expansion slump problems happen every expansion pack, but the fact that people are able to PUG even the first handful of bosses into ICC is going to make it almost impossible for a lot of guilds to survive the WotLK to Cata transition, even though Beta testing for Cata hasn’t even started yet. The pre-expansion slump hit early, and it’s hitting harder than it ever has before. And I really feel sorry for everyone who is struggling right now to recruit and keep their raids going.

As someone who loves raiding in a guild, I wish Blizzard cared more about guilds in this game, and I wish Blizzard hadn’t abandoned guilds in WotLK. I’m working hard to keep Conspiracy on track, because I love my guild and I want my guild to make it through this transition period. I will keep recruiting & trying my best to keep things afloat as best I can, to support the officers in my guild. However, at every step of the way, I feel like Blizzard abandoned guilds and encouraged raid PUGs to dissolve the game’s guild structure, and they are making it hard (or impossible) for good guild leaders to find replacements when people get bored and leave their guilds. I also don’t think Cataclysm will fix it. I think people will just keep PUG’ing raids, and making it difficult or impossible for raiding guilds to function, except at the top 5% of progression.

So, now that I’ve painted a grim picture of the future, how do I propose fixing it?

  • The guild leveling system isn’t enough, unless they can discourage PUGs in some other way. Since the guild leveling system isn’t likely going to give good raiding advantages, then there will still be little (or no) benefit to raiding with the guild.
  • Raid content seen as “easy & accessible” encourages PUGs over guilds. If you don’t have to actually work together with your group, why does it matter if you raid with your friends or strangers? Having to understand strategies & coordinate with each other (for non-hard mode fights) is something that was really missing from all the raid dungeons except a handful of fights.
  • Hard modes suck in WotLK. Hard modes need to actually be interesting progression that people want to do, rather than being boring and uninteresting. Or, ditch hard modes all together and find a happier middle ground.
  • Change the raid size to 10 & 20. A big problem is that a 25-man guild will also run 10-mans, and 25 is not a number that is divisible by 10. So, people have to be left on the bench every week, or rotated in/out to have inconsistent groups every week. When you combine this with the problems that hard modes have created for the majority of raiding guilds (ie. not the top 3%), I’m really amazed that there are any raiding guilds at all still left in the game.
  • Release enough content to keep people interested. There have only been 4 real raid dungeons released in all of WotLK. They haven’t released enough content, instead relying on Hard modes to try and keep people’s attention. The problem is that hard modes are just the same bosses, but require more work for little reward.
  • Make recruitment easier. I don’t know how they can do this, but it is really hard (and sometimes impossible) to recruit new players to a guild. I’m not sure how they could fix their broken guild recruitment system, but something needs to be done.
  • Or, just do nothing and continue to make guilds something that isn’t important for raiding, and they can further trivialize guilds by implementing a random raid dungeon cross-server system that makes needing a guild to raid a thing of the past (I really don’t like this option, though).

Conclusions: The thing I like most about WOW is raiding with a guild, who are a group of people that I become friends with. I enjoy being able to work together with other guild members to achieve a common goal. I really don’t enjoy raiding with random PUGs where I have no social reward for getting to know them. The months before a new expansion’s release is particularly hard on raiding guilds, and it is hard to watch SO MANY guilds around me struggle to maintain their memberships and trying so hard to keep their members interested in a game that isn’t designed to be interesting during the pre-expansion slump.

I really just wish Blizzard cared enough about guilds to fix these same problems that happen expansion after expansion, and make it easier (rather than more difficult) to keep raiding guilds alive during these transition phases. I’m going to just keep constantly trying to recruit new members to my guild, and work at helping to support my guild’s officers survive the pre-Cata slump. I know my guild can make it, if we are able to keep recruiting new members and finding new awesome people to come join our ranks, along with finding new ways to keep our current members interested in the game  (and we have had a handful of REALLY great applicants join our ranks recently, so it IS possible to find great people!). I hope your guilds can, too (but if they don’t, you can come join mine, lol).

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24 Comments

  1. Posted April 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    We have a small guild that we have tried to get off the ground. Several of us left our last guild because of differences with the management. Our guild is more social oriented at the moment and we PUG raids. That being said, the best raiding group I have been in, was a PUG group that kept getting back together. We came from different guilds but had a lot of fun together. I still say hi to some of the people from time to time.

    I like the changes, though, from your perspective, I can see the problems. I do like the fact that I can raid with different people, and meet new people.

  2. bluewire
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I’m sorry you are having such a tough time. However, I’m not sure your perspective is universal, or that guild raiding is in any way broken.

    You seem to believe that everyone is PUG’in and can get all the raiding they want that way. I’ve never seen a PUG down an ICC wing boss. You want to discourage PUGs — why? Some people like to raid at set times, with the same people. This is good for guild raiding. Some people do not have a schedule that permits that kind of set-time raiding, so they PUG. I’ve never met anyone who prefers to PUG. During the times when work/life did not allow me a regular gaming schedule, I PUG’d and hated it. Sure, I got to raid, and more in WOLTK than before, but its not the same as Guild raiding.

    Special non-PUG’able content. Same thing – some people don’t have time or inclination to guild, so why deny them access?

    20man raids? I don’t know about yours, but its takes at least 30 to form a good 25man raid. Not everyone is on every time, etc. Easy to make 3 10mans from a 25man guild roster.

    Not enough content! Really! Have you got your rusted drake? I don’t. Tribute to Insanity? Not me. Lich King? not me. I love my guild, and we progress well (10/12 icc now). Still plenty to do.

    “Make recruitment easier.” Huh? click “invite”. done.

    I do feel your love for your guild, and that you appear truly upset. But, I think your resentment is totally misplaced. Bah, I’ve never responded to one of the 1000′s of posts in my feedreader, but … wow … this one seems so wrong. I just hope Blizzard does not take any guidance from your rant.

    Still, I sincerely wish you good luck with your guild. There is still lots to do, and as long as your team enjoys raiding together, you should still be fine.

  3. Posted April 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    @bluewire you are forgetting permutations of 10&25 man raids.

    In 25 you have 2-3/5-7/15-18 Tanks/Heals/DPS

    In 10 you have 2/2-3/5-6 Tanks/Heals/DPS

    That means for your numbers to work that 30 needs to consist of 4 tanks that don’t tank most of the time to support the 3 10 mans.

    What Blizzard needs to do is make the 1/1/3 rule a true scaling rule of 1/1/3, 2/2/6, 4/4/12 for 20 mans. or 5/5/15 for 25 mans. Dual spec has helped a little but the content design is the main issue. I will get into a more in-depth discussion about this on my blog but Blizzards needs to work on considering the discrete units of play groups.

    1 Solo, 5 Group, 10 Raid, 15 Raid, 25 Raid, 40 Raid. Not counting solo the common value across all is 5. If the trinity in the group is in a ratio of 1/1/3 then that ratio needs to scale across all levels of group play. Anything else shafts 1 of the 3 player roles. Tanking and Healing is a pain in the ass enough already and they also end up being the ones that get crapped upon in poor content design.

  4. Vyll
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Great article! I really think you’ve hit on a growing problem for WoW.

    I also enjoy raiding with my guild more than anything in the game. Unfortunately, I think we’re in the minority. Raiding content has gotten so easy and “puggable” that it has made guilds only a social structure within the game and not something that is needed to progress and see leading edge content. Sadly, this seems to be working for Blizzard so I don’t expect it to change any time soon. Most of their subscriber base seems to enjoy the easy “gimme phat loot now” system that WoW has become.

    I think we can definitely call the hard modes in WoW a failure. Progression guilds ONLY do them because there is nothing else to do and the “I’d rather pug than join a guild” crowd doesn’t care about the hard modes because it’s the same content for very little reward. The differentiation between a player in a good guild and one who can spend alot of time pugging has become to blurred. What is wrong with a system that has differentiation between players according to their skill level and ability to commit the time and effort to belong to a raiding guild?

    I don’t think discouraging pugs is necessarily the answer. Pugs definitely have a place in the game, but not at the leading edge of progression. Kara and ZA were perfect examples of what pugs should be able to do. 10-man raids without a 25-man equivalent. Blizzard has trivialized the 25-man content by making it so that too many people are able to get the gear too easily. They need to realize that there is nothing wrong with having content/gear that only the top 1/3 or 1/4 of players see before it is outdated. I used to love checking out the top guilds accompishments and gear in EQ evenghough I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get that gear for a long time. Seeing their accomplishments and gear kept me driven to improving to the point where I could compete.

    Blizzard just needs to release enough content that keeps guilds interested longer and focused on progression. If they’re going to make the content this easy, then it definitely needs to be released at a quicker rate, even if that means in smaller chunks. There needs to be a certain amount of the content that pugs can only handle in rare situations. I don’t like how easy it is to reach max level or get decent gear, but I can accept it if they make a certain amount of the content hard enough the it keeps the serious raiding guilds challenged.

    I REALLY like the idea of 20-man content vs. 25-man. It just meshes with the whole 10-man raids much easier.

    Hopefully, Blizzard will see this article. Good stuff!!

  5. bluewire
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Good point, but the dual-spec feature has handled the tank need very well. We have several who offspce tank with great success in 10s. Fury warriors going prot, holy Plai’s going prot, and tree’s going bear.

    Still, its one point point in the bigger picture of guild/raid relations.

  6. Lissanna
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Bluewire – For some of my “rant” posts, I exaggerate & generalize precisely to get other people to think, talk, and argue with me. ;) Also, this is the beginning of what is going to happen over the next 6 or 7 months or so. It’s “just the tip of the iceberg”.

    For people who want to PUG, the world is a happy great place right now. It’s not such a happy great place for guilds whose main purpose over the last # of months/years has been for raiding.

  7. Imalinata
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    @ Bluewire – Clearly you don’t recruit. Recruitment is far, far more than /ginvite. The guild invite happens only after hours and hours of constantly bumping your own threads on numerous forums (WoW horde & alliance, MMO champ, WoR, and if you pay for membership on TankSpot and EJ), reading the threads that individuals post and posting in their threads if they’re a fit, reading & critiquing applications, doing vent interviews, and waiting for them to transfer. Only after all that do you get to do /ginvite. And that’s just to get cross-server applicants; it doesn’t include any additional activities to recruit from your own server. So yeah, recruitment is broken.

    I recruited since Vanilla when it was all one WoW recruitment forum and that sucked. Separating it into Horde & Alliance forums cleaned it up a lot, but that only lasted, what? a year, maybe 2, before they opened up faction changes. Now it’s just as big of a mess as it was before. At the very least I’d like to see the WoW recruitment forums changed into “Players LFG” and “Guilds LFM”. That would at least make them easier to read.

    Regarding the issue of content, redoing the content a different way doesn’t necessarily keep guildies interested in raiding. Not everyone is in it for the achievement points. Hard modes are only content when everyone within the guild is interested in showing up to work on them. Honestly, we’re 5/12 ICC25HM at the moment and the hard modes I’ve seen so far are lackluster compared to the hard modes in Ulduar. Minimal lackluster changes combined with more hit points doesn’t make a hard mode more interesting, and it certainly doesn’t make it new content. Uninteresting content means that people are more easily swayed to go out and do other things than raid.

    I agree that it would be far easier to have 20m content versus 25. It’s also a throwback to Vanilla when we had ZG and AQ20 available. It is easier to handle the “role” requirement that way compared with 25m raids. Sure, dual spec has helped some, but it’s not the be all end all because people choose their secondary spec to be something they enjoy and that’s not necessarily what’s best for splitting the guild into multiple 10m groups. Sure trees could go bear, but then you don’t necessarily have enough healers. Same thing with holy pallies going prot. Pure DPS classes can just dps so you’re not gaining healers or tanks that way. And dual spec doesn’t take into account the fact that outside of raid times, not everyone is interested in or has the time to run 10m content.

    Honestly, I think that the 10m/25m content was ruined in Wrath. I really enjoyed having 10m like Kara and ZA because it was something different so people didn’t get burnt out. I thought it was going to be pretty neat to have 10m content that mirrored 25m content. But the truth is that having 10m content identical to 25m except in size has burned people out. You spend however many hours raiding the instance on 25 (assuming you’re a 25m guild) and then raid the same content again on 10m (or in the case of ToC, you raided it 4 times a week!!! 4?!). I miss the 10m instances that were different and unique. I think it would have been better if Blizzard had included random 10m instances that were only available on 10m (like Kara or ZA) in addition to making the “standard” raids available in both 10 & 25m versions.

    The pre-expansion lull would happen no matter what. However, I think that it is made worse by the release time. We consistently have to deal with pre-expansion lulls as we’re going into summer which is typically a high attrition time of the year already.

  8. Posted April 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Ouch, ouch, this post hits home, because as you know, my raiding guild just fell victim to this problem. And it wasn’t a bad guild: it was #2 in Alliance-side progression on its server when it started falling apart, in a happy place socially, with pleasant well-run raids. But people got bored with the game and wandered off, or turned their attention to alts, and suddenly raids weren’t happening. And recruitment could not keep up. (With Conspiracy, I think you have a shot because people will be willing to transfer to your server. With my tiny way-behind-on-progression RP server, nobody was willing to jump.)

    My solution for the moment has been to join with the core of my now-dead guild (the raid leader, the main tanks, the leadership crew, and a few excellent players) in transferring to a higher-population PVE server. The plan is to be excellent in ICC10 and perhaps recruit up to running 25s again. We’ve now got to play catch-up on progression, but I think we can do it and move into hard modes. Bumping up to the 25-person raids will be much trickier, I think. The leadership has the management skills for it, but will the player population be there?

    How do you find them even if they are? Was pondering the raiding guild info threads that every server forum has these days. Why not make that information searchable in-game? I want to find a guild that raids ICC25 on Pacific time, say, on weeknights, and is recruiting resto druids. Why must I leave the game and search through a zillion different web sites to find guilds that match?

    Here’s another question: has a PUG ever killed Sindragosa? Or any of the upper spire end-wing bosses? This is why I want a raiding guild full of people who like each other, trust each other, and know how to work with each other.

  9. bluewire
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    It is admittedly a tough subject. The burnout factor in ToC doing the same content 4x/week was brutal. However, at this point for my guild and many others, there is still challenge in regular mode ICC – gotta get the Lich King. Plus, there are hard-modes in Ulduar and ToGC for extra challenges/achievements, plus Ony/Sarth for fun now and again and to mix it up a bit, or just take a break from wiping. Still, it is hard to get people to do Ulduar or Naxx because they are too long to do just for kicks. No one minds the 45min for a run thru ToC for trinkets and chuckles.

    But, I recall being in a smaller guild in TBC feeling stuck to Kara and ZA. Letting 10s into 25man content does give more to more people.

    I do like the idea of their being more (and more varied) content, but I think it is important to consider the needs of big guilds (25man + a roster on the bench every night), small guilds, and PUG’ers. Not just each group’s need to have raids to do, but successes to achieve. There isn’t a lot of motivation for 10s if the pinnacle of their raiding way below the pinnacle of 25man.

    Overall, its clear Blizzard keeps trying to find the right balance for this, and the WOLTK approach, of letting everyone have a try at killing the Lich King (in 25, 10, or even HoR for 5mans) is pretty great.

  10. Posted April 2, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I think that Ulduar stands as a shining example of what hardmodes could be: interesting, different, challenging, complete with a hardmode-only boss. ICC took a step in the wrong direction by having a simple toggle that ups health and damage and changes a few mechanics around.

    I agree that raid sizes should either scale smoothly and allow any number of people up to 30 or so (with mechanics requiring a scaling number of tanks as well, probably along the lines of stacking debuffs and/or cleaves split amongst the front targets), or else be offered in multiplicative sizes to avoid the problem of five leftover people.

    Having both a 25-man and 10-man lock out leads to burn out in the 25-man raiders who also feel compelled to do 10-man. Blizzard had initially (way back) indicated that they wanted 10 and 25 to both be viable progression paths, but didn’t really come through on it. At the least, I’d suggest having a single lock out each week (gotta choose 10 or 25), and having the two drop the same tier stuff and be of equivalent difficulty.

    I’d also suggest giving guilds something else to do. The guild leveling system is a good start, but it needs something to encourage teamwork and purpose. I’d suggest guild quests. Each faction could give out a guild quest line that would take at least 10 people working together to complete. It would all be raiding, by any means, but would take you all over the world to discover a hidden secret in the faction’s past or recover a lost artifact or right some wrong the faction committed ages ago. If the guild eventually succeeded, all members could get a title out of it, perhaps a daily or hourly port to that faction’s main city or camp, and perhaps even access to phased portion of it with an additional monument or vendor or something.

    I think it would be a fun change, a way for Blizz to reuse a lot of old content, and a way to add a lot more depth to many of the factions and make the players feel like they were more a part of the game world. And, of course, give another reason for players to get invested in their guilds.

  11. Maor
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I think part of the problem with the 10 and 25 man being the same bosses is that they are pretty much the same fight with a few mechanic tweaks. If they designed the fights differently for each size (which would help with some of the “this boss is easier on 25 than 10″) it would help for some of the burnout since the fights would at least be different.

    But as for separate 10 and 25s, that shouldn’t really happen. Nothing sucked more than being stuck in Kara for months because you could never get enough people to do a 25 man, and you end up missing out on large chucks of lore. At least with this is you are stuck just doing 10 man you can see all the lore in the raid content.

    As for boredom, I’ve got it to an extent myself. It’s not so much that I’m bored of the game because I love raiding 10 man ICC with my guild. But outside of that, I can’t being myself to sign in everyday and do a heroic for frost badges on every one of my characters because it just doesn’t seem worth it and I’m not hurting enough for gold that dailies are something I feel I need to do.

  12. Bailey
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I think the changes in 3.3 were initially intended to help guilds. Thanks to the emblem-fest of random dungeoning, it became rather easy to gear up new players for cutting edge content. This definitely expanded the pool of players available for raiding.

    Unfortunately, perhaps this led to an over-saturation of guilds attempting high end stuff (on my server at least). What I’ve witnessed over the last couple months is an exodus of “serious” players from half-hearted guilds. People are starting to realize that it’s about more than the gear. You need time and commitment to get bosses down.

    Personally, I’ve never seen a successful PUG in ICC 25 man. I’m sure the increasing buffs will change that. Still, I think what I’ve witnessed is a natural process as more people have become “raiders.” Over time, serious raiders will band together and a new equilibrium will be achieved.

    Of course all this is occurring as people get bored with the game and step away for Cata. It’s interesting–in the past Bliz was accused of “catering to hardcores” by only releasing raids. Now that everyone can raid, they need to focus on raiding again.

    Hopefully a new ‘looking for guild tool’ in Cata will help people quickly group up into like-minded guilds with similar expectations and time commitments.

    Oh, and as noted above, the daily heroic is killing the game for me. They should make it every 3 days or something. Maybe tie it to an achieve or something? I dunno

  13. Treeboi
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    My guild is 11/12 ICC25, and we are dropping like flies too.

    Aka, 1 boss left, and yet many long time raiders are packing it in.

    And while we’ve been on a recruiting binge, the new recruits are nothing like the guys we lost.

    All of the recruits are pretty much green around the ears rookies, even those from other 25 man raiding guilds, and it will be months before we shape them up into competent veterans.

    We are the third best alliance guild on our server, and it seems like there is a huge talent drop off after the fourth best guild.

  14. Chezza
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Great article, and best of luck.

  15. Bennet
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this article! Although I’m usually a lurker on sites I read, I’ve been sticking my nose out a little to comment on what the new emphasis on PUGs has done to guilds like ours (not much good) only to have it mostly bitten off. It’s a relief to know that our guild isn’t alone.

  16. Nimizar
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Didn’t I read somewhere that Blizzard were going to include in-game guild recruitment and “Looking for Guild” tools for Cataclysm? (i.e. more than just throwing “Look, guild talents!” at the guild system)

    As far as the scaling problem goes, Blizzard have discussed that several times in the past, and pointed out that it just doesn’t work. Occasional 25-man fights that need more than 2 tanks work, but coming up with them consistently while still keeping them interesting isn’t feasible.

  17. scaresome
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting article and comments.
    I agree that raid-centric guilds will struggle to survive over the next six months. With that as the one focus in the game and most fun for the raiders; there simply isn’t enough to keep them engaged. The question posed is; what to do about it?

    Over all, I think some of the noobs (like myself) are new to raiding and are totally engaged. However, there is also a part of me that thinks “I’ll do my frost dailies for a month and get some better gear, the content is still waiting for me.”

    On my server, the weekly is a mostly a pugfest especially in Naxx. I’m saddened to see Naxx locked out for a week and I can’t go see all the stuff in there. I wonder if shortening the lock out to, say, four days might encourage guilds to try the raids.

    My guess is that during this loll, some guilds might have to redefine themselves. Maybe a new emphasis on achievements, rep, collecting, exploring older content might prove to be a guild’s strength.

    I am almost never bored in WoW. I was in a non-guild group for a while doing AQ40 with just a few of us. It was quirky enough that I enjoyed it as a goofy thing to do.

    I agree, pure raiding people are going to start to bail out of the game. The pvp guys and the arena guys are probably happy as can be. The loners who enjoy doing achievements, collecting rep mounts, fishing up turtles and running an odd heroic or raid pug will still be active for a while.

  18. Treeboi
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    @scaresome

    Your belief that non-raiding guilds will do better does not hold water in my experience.

    I’m on one of the original PvP servers, and the only guilds that have managed to make it longer than a year are the 25 man, progression orientated raiding guilds (even if it’s slow progression).

    The 10 man guilds, the leveling guilds, the PvP guilds, the hang out guilds, and even the 25 man guilds that don’t try for progression, they go defunct in all but name within a year.

    At least that’s what has happened on Shattered Hand.

  19. Posted April 5, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    The problem comes from long time ago. It’s not the fact that we’re raiding end content. The problem for last two years or so is that the raids are TOO easy. And if it’s no easy, Blizzard will help “giving away” tier items, global buffs (ICC anyone?).
    They have stated several times that they don’t like to work for months in new raids, bosses, maps… if they are only going to be enjoyed by 10% of the players.

    So we’ll never have another Sunwell or BT. Blizzard will only design raids for 100% of their players. And the hardmodes will be the most similar thing to good old Sunwell or BT.

    And as developer, I personally understand their point of view… but as a player, going into 10man, then 10manHM and 25, and finally 25HM is not funny, it’s a nightmare. You end up doing the same 10 bosses for months, day after day.

  20. Jon
    Posted April 6, 2010 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Here I was reading this post a few days ago thinking to myself: Good thing this isn’t happening to my guild.

    Then came Easter.

    I went away for a few days. Upon my return yesterday our guild is completely falling apart. So much can happen in 5 days. Crazy.

  21. Lissanna
    Posted April 6, 2010 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Jon – It happens this time every expansion cycle. ;)

  22. Jornk
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Good post, as usual Lissanna.

    Guild leveling will solve alot of recruitment issues IMO. One of the first things that I would do before shopping for a new guild would be to check the progression on my current server. Seeing the “rank” of a guild will only aid people in deciding whether my guild will be an upgrade for them or not.

    Every guild travels at a different pace and it all depends on the personality of the people in the guild. You hardly ever see a person in a hardcore guild saying, “Go ahead and give it to the new guy, I’ll take it next time it drops.” These guilds typically speed right to then end of the content due to the “overabundance of WoWtosterone”. AND these are the types of people that only last a day or 2 in a casual guild.

    You are absolutely right though, casual guilds tend to suffer more with recruitiment. Guilds like ours (also named Conspiracy, haha), need to rely on social aspects and keeping things interesting and fun. RL friendships are formed, and success is not measured by the GearScore that we can post in trade. We run a weekly lottery, monthly raffle, and pretty much some social event every night. People are in the guild not because they want gear, but because they are amongst friends.

    I do think that Blizz is doing a good thing by making the content available to everyone. Even though it is easier than ever to PUG, hardcore guilds will always progress faster than casual guilds, and casual guilds will always be left with the people that can’t handle a hard core raiding schedule. I have never seen the inside of many raid instances, and it is nice to be able to go in and witness the lore.

    I guess the main point I’m trying to make is that:

    1) If you are an officer in a casual raiding guild, always keep your door open to new recruits, people will come and go, but when the dust settles, you’ll have about 25-30 people that really like eachother and won’t care about how fast or slow you progress.

    2) The game is what you make of it. For most people it is on having the best gear. This holds true for both end game facets (PvE and PvP). The minority are the people that actually play the game for the social aspect. I fit in this second category.

  23. Nimizar
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Lissana,

    I think it may have been Blizzcon screenshots where I saw the comments on in-game recruiting tools coming in Cataclysm.

    Specifically, check out the multi-tab guild pane on page 17 of the WoW magazine preview they posted:
    http://cde.cerosmedia.com/1K4ba774d664cbb012.cde/page/16

    They only show previews of the guild info and guild talents tabs, but you can see that the second tab is for “Roster” (since they gave that space on the info tab to the guild news and info fields) and the fourth tab is for “Recruiting”.

  24. Nimizar
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Jornk: don’t bet that you’re in the minority. You may in the minority of people that frequent WoW blogs and forums, but that group is a tiny, tiny fraction of the total WoW playerbase.