Raiding guilds in WOW need more support

My leadership background:

I first became an officer of a raiding guild in Vanilla. I was an officer on and off thru burning crusade and wrath of the lich king. I’ve been an officer of the same guild since we formed Undying Resolution at the end of the ICC raid tier. We kept together a 25-man raid team all of Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. We still have a roster of about 25 raid members today to support our 20-man mythic encounters.

One of the reasons why our guild stayed strong and we never fell apart in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria is how we built a reward structure to reward our raiders and keep them motivated during long periods of time during which we had new content (e.g., a year and a half in the same raid tier). We have many of the same members we started with, but we often have new recruits in our raid team. We often have to recruit people from off server because most of the rest of the raiding guilds on my server died in Cataclysm due to their inability to support 25-man raiding teams anymore (and then the 10 progression teams dwindled over MOP).

Rewarding Raiders:

Our guild incentive reward system is all about positive reinforcement. We give positive things to people for hard work. One of these incentives come in the form of having a well stocked guild bank full of raiding supplies. Another is the use of raid repairs. Higher ranks in our guild have more access to repairs and more access to raid supplies. Getting a promotion in our guild is a big deal. People look forward to being promoted to a higher rank in the guild, and losing your rank is a big deal. We even have a Crusader rank that we made so that people who had gone above and beyond for the guild could be rewarded with a permanent life-time rank even if they left the game or quit raiding that rewarded their lifetime service.

Having a functional guild bank and repairs is a costly, but important, aspect of our reward system. We primarily do loot drops in the raid with Master Looter and the EPGP point system addon. This EPGP system (combined with guild ranks) are the primary tools we have available to us to reward people for attending raids and following our rules. The BOE drops from raids is often the primary way that we run our guild bank and provide our guild with rewards.  In 2013, when we didn’t have access to BOE drops, this was really harmful to our ability to continue offering our guild bank and repairs. I documented this problem that many people were experiencing in a previous blog post on this topic:

However, Blizzard solved this problem by re-introducing BOE drops in Warlords of Draenor after a full raid tier of guilds complaining about raid drops. This background is important because I feel the need to explain that my guild is full of amazing people before I talk about the problem.

The 6.2 problem:

In patch 6.2, Master Looter only works for boss drops. Trash drops are now personal loot only. The BOEs can be traded, but it is not a trival problem to have to ask your raiders to hand over loot from their inventory to put in the guild bank or hand to raid leaders. It’s not trival to have to ask your friends to hand over things that dropped for them in raids.

So, guilds like mine that fund their activities by selling BOEs that drop off trash now have to make a decision. One option is to basically punish your raid members by forcing them to hand you loot they won off trash mobs. It’s one thing to just never hand them the loot. It’s a totally different thing to ask people to hand over things from their inventory so that they can be given away to other people. We could do this, but it would basically negate all the subtle positive reinforcement we had been giving them. It sucks to have to hand over an epic item you personally won because you picked up off the ground and give YOUR loot to someone else. When it always just belonged to the master looter officer, the members never had any time in which those items belonged to them. In the short-term, we can ask the guild to donate the BOEs they win in raids. But, this is really a poor usability design problem. Our current members might be willing to donate all the BOEs they get in the raid to the guild, but this isn’t fun and it sucks to have to track who is or isn’t donating their stuff.

The other solution is to close off guild repairs entirely (because we can’t afford them without those BOE drops). We could still theoretically have the guild bank run entirely on individual donations. While individual donations can work, this means we have much less to offer our members. This puts more burden on the people who stock the bank to keep lists of things we need & post the lists to our guild. This puts more burden on the individual guild members who go out and collect the items we need.

Most guilds at this point are opting for just not having guild repairs or a guild bank because Blizzard didn’t supply guilds with good ways of keeping our guilds happy, healthy, and running. Trying to offer more “friendship” as a reward for being in our guild only goes so far in convincing new players to spend $60 to join us. The health of our functioning guild bank was a tool we could use to show potential new members the fact that we were good at organizing our group. Now we either give up the health of that guild bank or we tell new players they will have to give us all their stuff if they come join us.

Either way, guilds greatly lose out by not having a functioning income that allows us to offer perks for membership. Membership perks are part of how you convince strangers to join your team and give you a chance. In College sports, they give scholarships to new team members as a recruitment tool. In our guild, we offer guild repairs and a functioning guild bank much the same way that colleges offer scholarships to join their team.

Guilds need more support.

With the change where BOEs no longer belong to the guild officers, we either have to tell our guild members to give us all the loot they won, or we have to offer fewer rewards to our guild members directly ourselves. While many of our guild members would be happy to hand over their loot, this still reduces their fun and increases the administrative burden for officers. A guild is basically a sports team where the team leaders have a really hard job. Anything that makes guild leadership harder is bad for the game because it makes our friends get tired of being leaders and makes them want to give up.

If guilds are no longer in control of BOEs that drop in our raids, we need to find new and better ways support our raid leaders and guild officers.
The BOE drops were really a band-aid on the problem of guilds lacking a good income to support our team. If BOE drops are no longer a good way to support our team, Blizzard needs to give guild officers better recruitment tools and income sources so that people will want to come play on our teams. I love my guild, but we need a better way of supporting how hard guild offers work.

There are plenty of other ways to give more gold to the guild to support the leadership (such as offering more guild-level gold for killing more bosses in raids). We could also have guild bonuses that reduced repair costs. We could have more cauldrons and feasts to reduce the cost of raiding materials for raiding guilds. I’d be happy giving up BOEs and having other shared resource options instead.

Guilds also need better recruitment tools to support forming new guilds and helping to keep guilds happy and running. In the end, guilds need more support. Taking away what little support we’ve been given is harmful to the health of our families we spent so much time working to build.

Posted in Guild Leadership, Patch 6.2, Written By Lissanna

10 comments on “Raiding guilds in WOW need more support
  1. Navimie says:

    The lack of funds has concerned me especially with this move towards personal loot that my guild wants to embrace. Now I have to wonder how I am going to fund our raids and perhaps make people pay for their own repairs. I liked BRF and Highmaul’s BoEs and I will miss them…

  2. Lakh says:

    I think there is a broader issue of Blizzard not designing for long-lasting social groups.

    All the focus seems to be on connecting individual players-to-players (eg. battletag), temporary groups of convenience (eg. the various group finders, CRZ), or improving the short-term gameplay of an instance group (eg. arena, dungeon & raid team).

    But there’s been a serious neglect of the long-term social structures that rise up to support individuals & instance groups. Ongoing raid groups create support structures that Bliz just doesn’t support.

    Guild funding is an obvious example. But think about something as basic as letting an officer council know the you will be available tuesday, but you’ll be 30 minutes late. Calender can’t handle that, in-game mail heavily restricts mass mailing & so many people use their mailbox as a storage mechanism that you can’t be reliably sure the message has got through. For a purely game-related information exchange, social groups are forced to maintain 3rd party website (and then you have to try and get people to actually jump out of game and use them….)

    More examples. We raid for 3 hours on 3 nights. I want to give everyone access to 3x flasks for free. Rather than being able to fine tune gbank access restrictions, I need to make tabs filled with stacks of only 3 flasks. And even then, by giving them access to remove a stack I also give them access to move a stack, so some helpful person can try to stack them to 20. Oh, and I only want people to be able to withdraw stacks on raid nights – so now the GM needs to manually turn on & off withdrawals for every relevant guild rank for every raid day we’ll ever have, and this role cannot be given to another officer. GM wants to go on holiday for a week? Either no one gets gbank access during that window or everyone does.

    Want to turn repairs on purely for guild raid? Same issue.

    And I haven’t even touched on the additional social issues that long-term groups face. Just to touch on the big one:

    The Bench is a problem unique to organised groups. By having to maintain additional players to cover real life schedules, joining a guild nearly guarantees that at some point you’re going to have to not-play. Unlike a football team, you don’t get to spectate or otherwise help out, and injured/subbed players don’t share the trophy after the grand final – you’re just out in the cold.

    I have never even seen Bliz talk about this major guild-only problem. I’m not sure it’s even on their radar, everyone’s so use to thinking of it as “the way things are”. But benching is directly responsible for an incredible amount of social tension & misery in-game.

    And don’t even get me started on the sudden gameplay related decision of 20 player mythic… “Hello thousands of H10 guilds, double in size or die”. It might be great gameplay, but it’s been social carnage that’s rippled through to even guilds that maintained 25+ raiders prior. I have never seen this many GMs and officers quit the game, and they are/were the unpaid community support staff that keep these groups running.


    So yes… Bliz can design well for individuals. Bliz can design well for casual temporary groups. Bliz can do great gameplay for instances.

    But the larger long-last social groups that make up the core social experience of WoW have been totally neglected for years.

    PS. Many similar issues are being experienced on server-wide levels too. Look at the number of servers who can’t support a competitive mythic raid scene (i.e. most of them), and look at the skill-drain that’s occurring towards the top 10-20 mega-pop servers.

    And as the top players go, then gradually the next ones down the line start to go too (cos their goal was typically to be the next generation of top players), and the social contagion spreads. Suddenly the server just can’t support vibrant social gameplay & the tools don’t exist to form cross-server social groups to make up for that (cos all the new cross server tools are individual-to-individual & short term). Now everyone who’s left on the server is unhappy, because their gameplay experience has gone to crap due to the exodus of all the “aspirational raiders”.

  3. Jabari says:

    You _do_ understand why that change (BoEs being personal) was made, right?

    Now, I do understand the guild fund problem – we’re having it ourselves. Swiping all the BoEs to sell wasn’t the solution, though. I don’t at all know why the guild perk was removed – that seemed to be working fine.

  4. Berdache says:

    I am not sure why BoEs have been made personal .. can someone explain.

    The cash guild perk (if that is the one you are talking about) was removed for very good reason. It led to leveling guilds being set up with the prime reason to generate money for the guild leader. New players would join them and generally be treated quite badly.

    • Jabari says:

      I am not sure why BoEs have been made personal .. can someone explain.

      Because EVERY SINGLE GROUP being formed in the group-finder was marked as “BRF Heroic, going X/10, ML MS>OS, BoEs on reserve”.

      • Tam says:

        This might be a stupid question, but would it have been too difficult for them to make it so BoEs can be master-looted for guild groups only?

        • Lissanna says:

          They didn’t have the technology to do a different loot system for BOEs for guild-only runs. That’s why my post mostly focuses on trying to find alternatives that COULD benefit guilds without encouraging bad behavior otherwise.

          Since BOEs were only added back into the game to be a source of gold for guilds, they could instead find a DIFFERENT source of gold for guilds.

  5. Tam says:

    The title of this post really says it all.

    In my personal experience, being in a guild with people that I enjoy doing content with has been the main thing that keeps me subscribed. Not the content itself, but the social aspect of the game. It is an MMO after all, so I don’t think this should be particularly surprising. Of course it helps having good, frequent content (otherwise many of the people I’m logging in to play with end up leaving to go play ‘fresher’ things) but content is not the main thing that keeps me subbed. For example, I really liked MoP, but I unsubbed for most of 5.2 from about a week into the patch even though there was a heap of new content, because the guild I was in at the time was dying and barely anyone was logging on.

    With this in mind, it baffles me how little support Blizzard offers to guilds and guild leaders. Because from where I am standing, all I can see is happy, healthy guilds = people staying subscribed. Which can only be good for them? Surely I am not the only person who plays an MMO for the social aspect? I have no problem with Blizzard catering to more casual playstyles (so long as they don’t put effort into catering to people who want to play alone, because really, single player games exist, if you don’t want to interact with people then don’t play an MMO?). But I do feel like giving more support to guilds will end up with them having more consistent subscribers. Then again, the way WoD was marketed ended up with them having +3 million subs and then -3 million subs over a short amount of time, so perhaps their business model revolves around getting a huge injection of cash at the start of the xpac rather then trying to keep people subscribed for the long haul.

    In any case, I understand why they removed guild leveling and guild perks. I also somewhat understand why they made BoEs personal only. The problem, as you say, is that they didn’t replace these with anything.

    • Lissanna says:

      The guild leveling had problems (I posted about those problems elsewhere) because it made it to start new guilds. They still need to actually provide supports that make it possible for guilds to sustain themselves and find better ways to recruit in members.


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