A guy we've been playing with for years left our guild this weekend because he was annoyed that he never could find any guild groups for 5-man dungeons. Pretty mild stuff as far as guild drama goes, but it made me think about guild groups. And in a way he is right, "Looking for guild group" (LFGG) is becoming harder and harder.
As usual when looking for reasons for player behavior, it is worth while to look at the risk to reward ratios. Normal mode dungeons are easy enough, but most people don't really need the loot from there any more. Following the advice of my readers I did some more Black Morass that weekend with my warrior, but none of the pickup group people involved needed any of the loot, it was just about the reputation, and about helping out somebody with his Karazhan key. I also did a guild group to Steamvault, which was the daily dungeon quest, and again most items got disenchanted, except for a chest piece for our pally, and me rolling a lucky greed roll on an Ace of Blessings. So with few people interested in the rewards, it's hard to get a normal dungeon group going.
Heroic mode dungeons are even worse. Either I'm extremely unlucky, or I always get a combination of too hard dungeon and too weak group. I tried Auchenai Crypts heroic this weekend, with a competent but not epic equipped guild group, and we failed miserably. We totally hated the place, with its invisible adds, 1-minute unbreakable possessions, getting kicked of the bridge by random explosions that can't be stopped, and we never managed to even kill the first boss. But the same people have no problems getting epics from PvP or even contributing reasonably well to a guild Karazhan run. So why go heroics when there are easier options that give better rewards?
The principal design problem here is that raids, PvP, and heroics should run parallel, so people can decide what they want to play and in all cases get similar rewards for similar effort. But in reality the rewards from heroics are somewhat below those for PvP and raids. Sure, at the start of TBC going to heroics first to gear up for Karazhan was a good plan. But a year later it is easier to find a "mixed" raid, with some better equipped people helping guild mates through Karazhan, and heroics are a far worse option. Heroics would be easier if you could get those well-geared people to help, but why would they want to do that? After a couple of Karazhan runs, nobody needs loot from heroics any more, and the few badges aren't worth the time. And if you can't get your guild to run you through Karazhan, PvP is now a better option than heroics, because PvP rewards improved and heroics rewards didn't.
Added to that is the problem of organization. World of Warcraft doesn't offer a guild very many tools to work with. Guilds need to find their own forums, their own event calendar applications, their own DKP or reward systems, and organize everything outside the game. Finding a guild group would be a lot easier if there was a LFGG functionality or an in-game guild event calendar for planification of raids and 5-man groups. The only thing a guild has is guild chat, and that isn't really a good tool to organize something. You can just state your request and hope that enough people are online who are interested in the same dungeon or just willing to help.
I love the small group content of World of Warcraft, small groups are so much more personal than big raids. But I think the concept of adding heroics dungeons to gear up for the first raids wasn't perfect. Given the competition from raids and PvP now, either heroics would need to be a bit easier, or the rewards would need to be increased to make them attractive even for people in raid / PvP gear. Are you still doing heroics regularly? And how do you find a guild group for them?