Blog Archives

How to Lose Friends and Mismanage People

The r/ClashRoyale subreddit was going through a revolt over the “Clan Wars 2” update, and the Community Manager was, uh, not managing well. In one of the early threads that highlighted the fact that small clans are stuck facing the same large clans for five weeks in a row, Drew said:

to play devils advocate here (i know the sub won’t like this opinion) but shouldn’t the solution here lie with the clan themselves?

if you have an inactive clan maybe the clan needs a shake up and more active members?

just asking some hard questions that i would like some opinions on!

Do you even need context to understand how monumentally stupid this was to say?

Context makes it worse. The old Clan War design made it so that the people who did Collection Battles were the ones that needed to do attacks on War Day. The system was opt-in and every clan you were competing with had the same number of attacks. The new design just gives everyone in the clan four attacks per day and matches you against clans of varying population. This leads to situations where you can be in a 20-person clan with the highest-skilled players in the world who win every battle, and still lose every race for five weeks in a row to a 41-person clan filled with people who AFK lose every battle (losses still award some progress).

So while Drew tried to back-peddle with the “just playing Devil’s Advocate!” card, it’s hard to read the Clan Wars change as anything other than what it appears to be: a concerted effort to destroy small clans in favor of zerg clans. Drew all but confirming that with his “question” did not help anything.

Know what it reminded me of? Guild Leveling in WoW. Remember that? If not, here’s a post from six years ago when Blizzard finally removed the “feature” that was the death knell of my own tight-knit guild. Like this Clash Royale update, it essentially penalized smaller guilds and rewarded large ones, as if that is something that ever needs additional encouragement. “Everyone can earn rewards… eventually! Just choose between getting them immediately, or hanging with your friends while knowing everyone is paying an objective, tangible price for being together.”

Don’t worry though, Drew has the easy solution: get a better bigger clan!

To be entirely fair, Drew released a new Reddit post titled “Quick Update from the Dev Team” on the subject as I was typing this out. It’s not a roadmap, but he does highlight just about every complaint from the community that Supercell received in the past week, e.g. since the update, along with some potential fixes. The relevant section:

SMALL CLANS NOT BEING CONSIDERED IN MATCHMAKING

WHY IS IT BAD? (COMMUNITY FEEDBACK)

  • Small Clans can’t finish the race
  • Small Clans getting outmatched by bigger Clans
  • Small Clans matched against maxed Clans
  • Small Clans not getting rewards so can’t level
  • Not fair/equal footingvDamages close knit small Clans/family & friend Clans/IRL Clans

WHAT CAN WE DO?

  • Introduce “small Clan Wars”?
  • Have smaller rewards but also smaller Fame thresholds
  • Matchmake based on Clan Size
  • Introduce new Clan creation stats (10/25/50 member clans with different rewards and leaderboards) and make separate system & leaderboard for them (like boom beach task forces)
  • Give extra War Deck resets for players (like extra attacks in Clan Wars 1)

Hmm… yep, that’s a pretty accurate assessment of how terrible the update has been.

None of this is particularly relevant to me anymore, as I left my clan and uninstalled Clash Royale already. Do I miss it? Eh… not really. As with most things in life, holes get filled in with random crap if you let it. I find myself on Reddit more, or lowering the bar even further for random trashy manga via Tachiyomi. It’s not as though I got any extra time in the day after I left WoW either.

Nevertheless, I do find it infinitely amusing (and annoying) about how Time is a Flat Circle when it comes to developers making the same sort of mistakes, over and over, forever. When the forums are in revolt, don’t play Devil’s Advocate. Maybe never play Devil’s Advocate at all. Don’t go out of your way to reward big zerg guilds, as they almost always have an advantage already. And when you inevitably lurch away from an immensely dumb design decision, take a look around the table and see if there wasn’t anyone who was warning you about how dumb the idea was at the time.

If there wasn’t someone there at the table, well, maybe you need to add a few more chairs, eh?

Zombie Guilds

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a zombie guild?

When I started playing GW2, I joined the 5-6 remaining members of my ex-WoW guild. Saying “5-6” is a bit charitable consider only three of us were still playing by the time I turned off the sub last year. In any case, we started a GW2 guild and… one month later it is back to 3-4 “active” members. “Active” in quotation marks because we have different schedules most of the time, different levels¹, and different goals.

We have not recruited any more people because… why would we? It is a guild of friends! Just like with relationships, it also seems rather irresponsible getting other people involved if we don’t have a clear idea what we want. After being a guild leader for 3+ years, I just don’t have the stomach for recruitment or the trappings of obligation anymore. And as is the usual case, if I don’t do it myself, it doesn’t get done.

We have been discussing joining a zerg guild or at least an active one. But how? How would I know what guilds exist on my server, what the social environment consists of, what kind of people they are looking for? Should we just keep joining one randomly? I got into Invictus 4+ years ago by pure happenstance: I tanked a Scarlet Monastery run back in TBC. It was a leveling guild that beat the odds and turned into a raiding guild under my benevolent dictatorship. I never handled recruitment, leaving that to the members with the proven ability to somehow be at the right place at the right time picking up the right people.

So… I feel trapped in a zombie guild. If I didn’t know my friends, chances are I would have let myself get absorbed into whatever guild blob I ran into first. But since I do know them, I care about getting absorbed into a hypothetical guild I’m fine with but they dislike. Or vice versa. There is also a residual social guilt knowing that we would be joining as a premade clique, something I hated with a passion when I was a guildmaster.

Maybe in the zerg, none of it will matter. Maybe once I take the initial plunge back into the “social pool,” so to speak, the water will feel fine. I just know the status quo is unsustainable, but it can be worse.

Ugh. I’m going to play some Steam games.

¹ I will talk more about this in the 1-month GW2 post, but suffice it to say, running low-level content with my main character actually feels worse than the traditional system of you just one-shotting everything for them. I had been under the impression that XP/Karma/rewards would be scaled up to your own level, but obviously that is not the case. So you exist in a pseudo-OP mode where you are powerful enough to make mobs trivial until they suddenly aren’t, all the while earning less than you could be. Nevermind if you have already completed those same zones.