Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guild hopping and WAR

Lots of interesting discussion in yesterday's open Sunday thread on the subject of guild hopping. On the one side there are people who think that guild hopping should be discouraged, by hitting the player, the guild, or both, with some penalty when somebody leaves a guild to join the next one. On the other side there is the argument that the system can't tell whose fault the separation is, so any penalty would be unfair.

My thoughts on that is there shouldn't be a "penalty" for guild hopping, there should be a bonus for not doing it, for both the guild and the individual player. Something which rewards the player for sticking with a guild for a long time, and something to reward the guild for having lots of loyal members. Of course in the case of separation both sides lose the bonus, so there is some sort of penalty after all. But as "lost bonus" it is easier to digest. Yes, there is the possibility that the separation was purely the fault of the guild or purely the fault of the player, and with both sides losing the bonus, one side gets punished for nothing. But then players should choose their guilds, and guilds their players, more carefully. And as the only thing you lose is a bonus you wouldn't have had if the player hadn't joined the guild in the first place, you can't really say losing that bonus on separation is unfair.

I don't know enough about the Living Guild system of WAR to say how player separation is handled there. I just know there is some kind of guild rank with certain benefits. But from what I read on various sites, the system is more a general guild rank, giving an older and bigger guild more options. Doesn't look as if the guild would lose something when a member left, and the member could regain the same or better benefits by joining a bigger guild as far as I know. Something to look at closer when the NDA drops.

But then I don't think guild hopping will be as much of a problem in WAR than it is in WoW, because WoW guild hopping is very much connected to the raid circuit. People leave their old guild and join a new one mostly because the new guild is somewhat more advanced in raiding. By a mix of luck and higher attendance one guy gets more epics out of the guild's current raid dungeon than the others, and instead of using that better gear to help his guild mates to get theirs, he selfishly uses those epics as entry ticket into the next guild and next raid dungeon. Now imagine in the next WoW expansion all the raid dungeons had the same difficulty level (the beta is currently limited to level 77, we don't know much about raid dungeons yet). If there was no clear raid progress, then leaving one guild to join a more advanced one would be less prevalent. And that is what I think will happen in WAR. If you are in a WAR guild which is strong enough to take a keep, why would you want to switch to another guild? The ability to capture a keep is the only measure, there is no Black Temple or Sunwell Plateau after that.

Furthermore in WAR guilds can be bigger than in WoW. If in WoW more than 25 people turn up on raid night, that is a problem, because then somebody won't get a raid spot. In WAR, the more people turn up on keep raid night, the better. In WoW, if you play not quite as well as your guild mates, have less good gear, and are of some less needed class or spec, you're not always welcome to the raid. In WAR it's the more the merrier; even if your contribution to the success is less than that of the other players, there are no "he wiped the raid" situations, and your contribution is always a positive one. So I think WAR will move towards larger guilds, with a more stable membership. Being available at the same time as the others will be more important than having exactly the same tier of epic gear.

Sometimes I wonder how much people really love PvP, or how much of that love for PvP games comes from the social aspects just being more inclusive. Half of the guild dramas of WoW simply can't happen in WAR, because the very purpose and gameplay of a guild is different. Any "living guild" system is just a cherry on the top of that, the real advantage is WAR guilds having naturally better possibilities to play together, with less restrictions based on progress.

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