We have a new guildie who joined us last week. A nice guy, he came raiding with us in Ulduar the other night. He was professional, respectful and highly skillful. He came on his healer, but it turns out that he has four fully geared level 80’s. It seems that he was booted from his last guild for not being available for two weeks to raid due to real life commitments. His ex-guild is one of the higher-end raiding guilds on our server.

Their loss is our gain, but it got me thinking on the future of guild direction. I don’t think that guilds are going to be able to behave like this for much longer. The reasons are varied, but I think that the more sought-after guilds in the future will be like the one that I’m presently in – a casual raiding guild which allows you to see high-end content and get loot without the requirement of being fully committed. But not just that. We are also a personal guild – we take the time to get to know our members, to boost them if they need it, to encourage them to start raiding if they are thinking about it, to help them become better players not just gear them up. We like to have fun in there, not just get the content down.

Everyone agrees that WoW has been dumbed down for various reasons. The game is changing and taking new directions, yet many raiding guilds still behave as if this was Vanilla WoW 40 man content. Achievements are flawed when it comes to raids. Guilds and PuGs look for people to do Ulduar who already have Ulduar achievements. Which came first – the chicken or the egg? The tempo of the game is crazy now – more and more content being introduced, Tier 8, no it’s Tier 8.5 … wait! Tier 9! New raids, new achievements, changes to this and changes to that. As it stands now, if you have to take a break for just a few weeks then you’re “behind”, and you may find it difficult to catch up so that you can still compete with the players at the high-end range.

Which means that the guilds that take time to invest in their people are the ones who are going to have success. I doubt that high-end raiding guilds are going to be able to chew up and spit out players as they have done in the past. Because those “high-end” players cannot exist in the present climate outside of a high-end raiding guild, the content is changing too quickly for that. It’s the chicken and the egg again. So unless these guilds start poaching from other high-end guilds, where are they going to find those players? Not from guilds like mine. Either our gear is not up to their exacting standards, or our players are just happy where they are. We’re seeing Ulduar content now. Sure, we didn’t see it as soon as it came out, but we’re not that far behind. And with more and more casual players in the game who are starting to raid, there will be more players for casual raiding guilds to choose from.

It’s an interesting time in WoW. There is an old Chinese curse however, which says; “May you live in interesting times.”