And on the WoW Front

There were two rather important items I would absolutely have been talking about by now, if I was still playing WoW.

First, guild levels are being removed in Warlords.

Since the introduction of the guild system in Cataclysm, the nature of guild leveling and guild perks has shifted from being a reward for dedication and collective effort, to effectively being a penalty and barrier to entry for new guilds.

To be quite frank, there was never any shift; guild leveling has always been a penalty/barrier to new guild creation. You could trace the exact moment when my old guild (Invictus) was on its way out: the night when we no longer reached the daily Guild XP cap. Everyone knew people weren’t logging on as much anymore, but that shaded bar in its purple crassness had a way about it that pierced all illusions. Not only did we understood that the guild was dying, we became acutely aware that we were falling behind. And yet, in a cruel twist, you also didn’t want to leave either. Sure, you could join a more active, new guild… and lose all the bonus Honor/Justice Points/goodies in the meantime.

I am not entirely sure whether any particular MMO has gotten guilds “right.” By that I mean crafting a system that both encourages social activity and doesn’t encourage abuse of its own systems, e.g. in zerg guilds. The most we seem to be able to hope for is for guild systems to get out of the way. Anyone have examples of where guilds were done particularly well?

Second news items is the merging of Alliance/Horde AHs on each server.

This is certainly an interesting decision for Blizzard to make. Some of the detractors focus on their lost gold-making opportunities, while still others take offense on an almost RP angle. My own opinion on large AHs have shifted considerably over the years. While it is always fun to play the big fish in a small pond, small ponds tend to dry out and kill all the fish. There is perhaps nothing as discouraging as seeing a barren AH, as that wipes out entire swaths of gameplay: the AH baron, the farmer, the crafter, the guild selling BoE raid epics to fund guild repairs, and so on. In this sense, I believe it’s a good idea.

On the other hand, something I have found equally (if not moreso) discouraging is seeing the effect of a vendor+1c economy. Guild Wars 2 was my first experience with this phenomenon, but Wildstar has creeping elements of the same thing. The cause is rather simple: bot farmers dumping mats.¹ While even the tiny Auchindoun-US had its share of bots, it was clearly more profitable to peddle their vendor-for-a-profit wares on the bigger servers. In a centralized marketplace, all it takes is one bot to ruin everyone’s day.

In any case, what is somewhat amusing is remembering back to my WoW days and how I very nearly kept a second account running purely for the cross-faction arbitrage possibilities (even on Auchendoun-US!). I have to assume things like the faction-specific mounts will remain faction-specific, but I imagine those hedge market items like green-colored Winter Clothes and such will tank. Meanwhile, I wonder what they intend to do with the goblin AHs…

¹ In fairness, there are likely several other things going on simultaneously. For example, making mats too plentiful, not having enough sinks, having crafting systems that encourage the pumping out of hundreds of identical goods, and so on. Bots will still ruin your day though.

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Posted on July 3, 2014, in WoW and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. GW2 doesn’t have a vendor price+1c AH because of it’s size but because of higher supply then demand. Check the WoW AH for things like the stones you gather together with Ore to see what I mean.

  2. I think the guild system in UO was pretty effective. Granted, it was not overly complicated but it enabled some cool gameplay features.

    First, guilds allowed guildies to actively spar with each other without flagging as a criminal. This also allowed sparing in towns. For those not too familiar with UO, its a skill based game, so no levels and the more one uses a skill the better said skill becomes. This was an essential part of gameplay for most players.

    Second, guilds could declare war on other guilds. For those focused on pvp, this is straight forward. I was in several guild wars, which meant always be on your toes for a fight, anywhere. It was also enjoyable to watch other warring guilds, because guild wars could be fought in safe zones such as cities. Always thought this should have been a feature in WoW. Would be cool to see warring guilds within the same faction battling in towns. Great bragging rights were won through guild wars. Guilds could also declare a faction, which was in essence a large scale pvp war.

    Third, guilds really created a senses of community, especially when combined with housing and crafting. It was always great to be in a guild with a master blacksmith or alchemist for the cheaper goods. Guild towns were a great place to hangout, and fight!

    I guess the game really made the guilds, as apposed to the guilds making the game.

    • That does sound interesting. I could imagine being very entertained walking around town and witnessing the equivalent of a gang war going on (provided there was no collateral damage, of course).

      • Yeah, guild wars had no impact on those not participating, and guards would mind their own business. Loved just hanging out at the bank and all of sudden a big fight broke out.

  3. And now the huge news that Rob Pardo is leaving Blizzard. I fear this implies nothing good for what is about to happen to WoW.

  4. Nowhere for WoW to go but down. MMOs are on the way out. WoW has inertia just from being so old and grabbing the imagination back when MMOs were shiny and cool, but even the Instance podcast guys recognize that it doesn’t excite the kids and is unlikely to start anytime soon.

    Getting rid of guild levels is smart though. Now get rid of guild perks. It seems a lot of WoD is shedding the bad baggage of Cataclysm and MoP. Has a single new-for-MoP ability not been cutlisted?

  5. It seems a lot of WoD is shedding the bad baggage of Cataclysm and MoP. Has a single new-for-MoP ability not been cutlisted?

    Yes, the entire active mitigation mechanic for tanks is here to stay, and it’s a very very good thing.
    For me they are removing a lot of irrelevant stuff which they tried and which turned out to be uninteresting.

  6. “Anyone have examples of where guilds were done particularly well?”

    I’d say that EVE, despite its faults, qualifies in this regard. Your choice of corporation (and possibly alliance and coalition) has great impact on your gameplay, yet no single option is automatically the best one. Smaller groups are more flexible and focused, yet vulnerable to predators looking for easy targets. Larger ones have greater reach and power, but have a proportionally longer list of enemies with a grudge against them. Each additional player joining a group can be a valuable asset or a dangerous traitor, and you never know until it’s too late.

    It’s an interesting choice with consequences that lead to more interesting choices, and isn’t that what a game is?