I can remember a few episodes from when I was in high school were we organised to meet the kids we didn’t like after school ‘behind the bike racks’. Your good old fashioned rumble. I was usually the one directing the action from beihd the scenes, calling out commands, manouvering my troops and keeping a sharp eye out for the school caretaker. Fun times. Wouldn’t it be great to have that type of antagonism in World of Warcraft? There’s bound to be some player that you don’t like on your faction. You don’t like him, he doesn’t like you, the stage is set for an epic battle. But lets take it a step further – what if you started to call out his fellow guildies?

“I see you’re in the same guild as Deathkiller. He’s such a moron, you must be a moron to hang around him.”
“Who the hell do you think you are? Those are fighting words!”
“Yeah, so what are you going to do about it??”

Answer? Nothing, because there’s nothing that you can do. But what if there was …?

Imagine if your guild was able to declare war on another guild from the same faction. This would permanently enable pvp combat between the players of each guild at any time, anywhere. You would be able to stalk and harrass them, gang up on them, use espionage and infiltrate their guild, calling out their location to your own guildies. Imagine the real time battles that could happen in the streets of Stormwind – rumbles with real meaning. Epic battles outside the auction house or by the Onyxia summoning stone.

Yeah, yeah, that’s all well and good, I hear you say. But at the end of the day it doesn’t mean anything much apart from the risk of being ganked.

I suppose so, but what if we add another twist? What if you had a situation where if you killed a player from a rival guild you were able to take one item from them and equip it yourself?

Now it opens itself up to some interesting possibilities. You would have to walk around with an escort if you had some really nice gear, or else be really sure of your own pvp abilities. Or it would involve a lot of walking around naked. Either way it could definitely get the heart pumping. And a good deal of trash talking. And bring a level of diplomacy and political subterfuge into the game that is entirely missing. And of course, this would be possible on PvE servers. I think that it would be ten flavors of awesome. How else could we refine it?

In yesterdays post, Sid responded to me with a well written and articulate argument – that the new epic-gear system is good because of the trouble that it alleviates for new players. I quote:

” … I’ll tell you what happened to me: I reached level cap for the first time (lvl 70) at the end of the BC, a month or two before Wrath.

The way progression worked then, was Normals -> Heroics -> Kara -> etc, etc up to Black Temple and Sunwell. You couldn’t “jump” from Tier 4 to Tier 6, you had to do it all in order. Sounds logical and fair right?

Now, going on with my story, When I hit 70 I didn’t have good enough gear for heroics, I had to do normals. Nobody did normals at that time. I had to be carried by my guild through Karazhan for badges but it was hard to get a spot since everybody in the guild wanted to steamroll Kara for “ez-epikz lol”, and my gear level didn’t allow me to PuG it.

So I couldn’t start raiding, because I was “too late”. Imagine if we had the same system now. How many guilds do you see doing Naxx nowadays? …”

I agree that new players who wish to raid need to be geared up. And he does have a valid argument in a lot of ways. But what Sid went through in BC being boosted by his guild, isn’t that what a guild is for? This is a MMORG, right? So it’s supposed to be a multi-player game. If you get boosted by your guild through Naxx you are guarenteed a few drops. And if it coincides with the weekly raid, then they’re in for a big haul of 10 badges as well, (as are you.) Plus they might do the run with just 8 or 9 players for an achivement. There are a lot of incentives already to get players to go back through those runs.

” … People that doesn’t raid has raid-level gear (not the same as “raid gear”). How is that bad for the game or the community? If the reason you kill raid bosses for is loot, then you miss the whole point of raiding: “You don’t raid to get gear, you get gear to raid” the motto of almost every dedicatesd raider.

And I still see people bring up these point of “better gear to differentiate us (the raiders) from the rest”. I feel really sorry for those who need to jerk their e-peen and show “superiority” to others in order to feel acomplished.

It’s no different from the idiot in real life who buys a Ferrari just to get other people’s attetion and show how “successful in life” he is.

“I haz Ferrari lol, Im better than U”

Isn’t that what Gevlon calls a “social”? …”

But the rest of the argument is facetious – this is a gear based game. When I play any game for a long period of time I do it for the pull. The pull here is the gear. The rarer the gear, the more special, the more I want to get it. Not to “wave my e-peen”, but to get satisfaction from the way the game has been set up from the beginning. This was the challenge – to get the rare gear so as to be able to perform well in raids. There has always been a small percentage of the player base from the beginning who wanted this, and Blizzard catered for them. Because these are the players who stay with the game for the long haul. They are the rock-solid base on which the company making the game, in this case Blizzard, can rely on to pay their costs month in, month out. The other players are the socials, those that flit in and out, those that were never video gamers but came in because maybe they saw it on South Park. And both groups were happy. Until the general mass began to complain about the raiding situation. They wanted that gear too but just “didn’t have the time to raid.”

I don’t have the time to raid either. I never have. My absolute maximum number of nights that I can raid a week is two. Sometimes I can stretch it to three. This has been the case for me all the way through WoW. And I have managed to keep up with the gear. It was a challenge, don’t get me wrong, but that’s the whole point.

Not any more. Blizzard has left no challenge that leaves a feeling of satisfaction because they have redisigned their game away from its core beginning. Iron bound protodrake? Please. I have to be honest with you, I don’t even know what that looks like. There are so many mounts now that they’re all beginning to look the same.

The idea of making blues the new purples, of getting this content down without having one epic, this is a challenge. And what’s more, it feels like I am stepping off the epic-band-wagon-merry-go-round that raiding has become. I just hope that they don’t catch on on our realm and jack the price of blues.

Yesterday I pulled the plug on our guild. It was like turning off some guy connected to a machine that had run out of power a while ago. It needed to be done. What got me moving my butt to do it was the fact that there are some really great raiders in our guild. You know what makes a really great raider, right? They turn up on time, wipe without complaint, know their class, know their job, don’t stand in purple circles, and don’t pull panda pets out to impress everyone. So I owed it to these guys to pull it now. Because now they are in demand, big demand. Because a lot of guilds have been having big troubles putting bums on raiding seats over the last few months. But all of that is going to change this week when the big 3.3 patch drops. A lot of players are going to come back to the game and raid spots with top guilds are going to become tough to get.

So I pulled the plug. Our guild had started off really well, we were raiding and had great members etc. But we hit a wall over the dreaded summer period. Our attempt to correct that in September was to join up with another guild to do 25 man raids. I was personally against this idea. I wanted to get our core 10 man group up and running again. I felt that running with another guild would be problematic in certain ways. If they don’t raid the way we like to, who are we to complain? But more importantly, with raiding with another guild we were filling up their empty slots that they were struggling to fill in this difficult period. This, I felt, would not be a long term option for us. Events unfortunately proved me right. The other guild informed us last week that with all their members coming back for the patch they would be unable to keep raiding with us.

This was however somewhat of a moot point as in the last raid that we did together our guild managed to field a grand total of two members to the cause. 6 weeks ago we lost three of our core raiders to other guilds, a dps hunter, a priest healer and one of our best raiders with his healer and tank. This dropped our core raiding group from 7/8 to 4/5. If you have 7 or 8 players on then you can fill the other 2 or 3 slots pretty easily. 4 or 5 online is a different story, however. Our 4 or 5 core raiders remaining are great players, but 10 man raiding is in a sense harder than 25 mans as 25 mans can carry 5 or more underperforming players. In 10 man runs every single person has to perform. So beginning with a core group of 5 means that you are almost guarenteed a night of wiping even if you manage to get 10 players together.

I myself have to accept a good deal of the responsibility for the guild ending. My own online presence was bad over the summer due to work commitments. Normally in September I am able to bounce back but this year in September I got married. Somewhat of a small commitment. Then work hit me hard in Autumn when normally I have a pretty quiet time of it. Plus, I lost interest in WoW due to various reasons, many of which I have spelt out on this blog. My officers kept it going for as long as they could. But in the end it was better for all concerned to wrap it up.

The other guild we had been running with has offered to merge the two guilds and I have taken them up on this offer. It’s good for the people in the guild who have been left out in the cold on this one. I am not going to join as I have decided to go solo for a while. I think I like the idea of not playing with a guild. The lone rogue, roaming the lands. I may even transfer off to an RP-PvP server. I do not like the idea of leaving all the friends I have made behind. But the majority of the core raiding team have joined a high end raiding guild and while my play style would be good enough to get me a spot, my time commitment would not.

Things change, life moves on. One door closes but another opens. Wisdom is letting the door close with grace and being able to see the other one that has opened.