Is Blizzard keeping you in guild by threat of rep?

Is Blizzard keeping you in guild by threat of rep?

Last time I posted, I broke the news that I left my guild and home of 6 years on Zul’jin, Unpossible. I actually wound up moving servers completely, and now reside on Ner’zhul a US PvP server located in the bloodlust battlegroup. I am now a member of the Conquest guild, and attempt to harass Matt (otherwise known as Russelcus) daily. Making the transition was quite daunting. It involved leaving everything I knew behind, transferring servers from PvE to PvP, getting used to new guild structure, raiding roles, other healers, loot system differences and generally getting adjusted. I can say to that effect that the players in Conquest have been nothing but top notch, and really welcoming. They’ve done a damn good job of making this displaced shaman feel welcome while I adjust to my new environment. While on that topic, I’d like to give a big shout-out to all the crew, thanks for helping to make the transition a little bit easier. I’m having a blast raiding with them, and I’m looking forward to seeing a large group of them again this year at Blizzcon 2011.

Now to the meat and potatoes of today. When I transferred I went from being exalted with a guild, to starting back at scratch. That means I lost the ability to purchase any of the guild vendor items that required any sort of rep at all. At first I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but then I rolled an alt and really could use that heirloom helmet to speed up the leveling process, but I can’t buy it yet because I don’t have the rep. Or the fact that while our guild got the achievement Guild Glory of the Raider, I can’t cash in on the sweet sweet Dark Phoenix quite yet. It’s sort of this constant nagging reminder telling me that I haven’t really earned my keep yet. Having hit maximum level and completed all the quests besides dailies and a handful of quests in Vash’jir, I’m climbing up a pretty steep hill right now.

So I got to thinking, is this a deliberate design mechanic to keep people in their guilds? Before Cataclysm, recruitment was pretty steady. You could post on various sites and forums, send out twitter messages or put out a new video and you’d get at least a few nibbles. Now though, recruitment is pretty arduous. I know plenty of guilds that are having a hard time filling in certain classes or rolls, and others that would have to beat away applicants with a stick now are seeing a steady slowing in the trickle of new applicants. So I have to wonder how many people are staying in their current guilds based on their guild rep and the level bonuses? By adding in guild bonuses and guild rep, they’ve bread in a certain brand loyalty based around personal desire. Sure you can leave your guild and join another one, but you’ll have to grind that rep out all over again! Sure you can join that other guild, but they’re lower level than your current guild so you’ll loose all those nifty bonus abilities!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not all about guild hopping or anything like that. But from where I’m sitting, we used to get a ton of emails about finding the right guild, questioning if the guild you’re in suits your needs, things like that. Those emails have dwindled quite a bit since Cataclysm was released. I know a couple of people, who the idea of doing the grind all over again was just the last straw, and instead of switching to a new guild and maybe having their love of the game renewed with a different group of people, they just stopped playing all together.

I think Blizzard recognizes this a little bit and in Patch 4.1 we’ll be getting Heirloom Tabards. The Illustrious Guild Tabard allows you to gain an additional 60% guild reputation from your questing and tasks, while the Renowned Guild Tabard grants an additional 100%. I’m fairly confident that the Renowned Guild Tabard will be something you can pickup at exalted for alts, and the illustrious tabard might almost be enough to ease the burden. It just depends on what rep level you’re required to have before you can purchase it. Both tabards have the added bonus of being bind on account items and can then be used for your various alts as you level them up to help cushion the rep crunch.

The question still remains though, with all these new perks and bonuses coming out for being in a guild, and the things like guild rep being a factor now, do you think that this has contributed to the dwindling returns on recruitment? Are these incentives enough that they keep people in their current guild rather than potentially finding a guild that may be a better fit for them? So what are your opinions on the topic?

By the time you read this I will be heading to PAX East in Boston. If you happen to be heading there as well, or will be in the area, feel free to contact me here or through Twitter. There are no formal meet-ups at the moment, but I will be partaking in a Live Podcast on Sunday March 13th at PAX, tentatively scheduled for 12:30 in the Manticore room. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

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About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.

Comments

  1. Just do guild heroics and you will max out easily each week. The addition of the tabards will make it require even less runs.

    I do feel your pain however as someone that did every quest I could do. If I where to switch guilds working my way up would be left to running content as a guild as the only way to get rep (and the tiny bit from dailies).

  2. My shame is deep and wide that I am the GM and I leveled an ALT to cap first so the GM toon is fairly low ranking with the guild. UGH!

  3. @EnvoyOfTheEnd says:

    With myself not having been in a guild since pre-ICC due to various issues I do feel that the level and perks are an additional barrier getting in my way making the decision harder.
    I am finding it difficult to find a guild focused on the people, the community a guild should be providing instead of immediately bragging about their level or the potential perks I could have.
    With having been without a guild for such a substantial amount of time I find the emphasis on perks rather a turnoff since based on previous experience there is a good chance I would not be around long enough to gain sufficient reputation to benefit from many of them.

  4. One of the reasons I left WoW. Would love to come back and play by shaman, but the development team has gone way to control freak this expansion.

  5. The vast majority of the things you get from guild rep are things that you buy once and keep forever, though. If you own all of the guild rewards and then change guilds, the only major thing you lose is the ability to get flasks from cauldrons and use the mobile guild bank, and that’s only until you hit friendly. So re-grinding isn’t going to be a big deal.

    At this point when not every guild has unlocked all the rewards yet the system might somewhat discourage guild hopping, but in a couple of months when everyone has everything it’s not going to be a big deal.

  6. Honestly, I have to agree. I don’t think it was an intentional move by Blizzard to dismiss legitimate guild transfers (though I could see discouraging ninja-looting guild hoppers as a potential benefit), but I do see it as a personal barrier.

    The only reason I haven’t gone around looking for a more serious raiding guild is because I’m waiting until we hit level 20 to buy the heirloom helms, as I’m almost revered on two toons anyway.

    At the same time, the perks for being a higher guild level really discourage new guilds from being formed. Who wants to join a level 1 guild when you can have 10% more honor, reputation, experience, justice points and gold?

    What about when guilds start hitting level 23/24 and getting more tradeskill materials and paying 10% less for flying training?

    I think one of the biggest mistakes in the guild perks system was making it so hard (impossible, really) for a new guild to catch up. This means whatever guilds got the headstart are going to be around for a while, poor leadership or not, while fresh new ones will be left out in the cold for quite a while.

    Most of the guild perks should have been player-specific based on how long you’ve been with a guild, or how much you’ve done for them. Then it wouldn’t matter what guild you were in, just that you put forth some effort.

    It doesn’t look like Blizzard has any plans to fix this.

  7. For reference, can you imagine if you were trying to find a raiding guild, and you wanted one that:
    1. Matches your server and faction
    2. Works with your schedule
    3. Is recruiting your class/spec
    4. Has the traits you want in a guild
    5. Has all the standard guild perks
    6. Will invite all your alts so they get perks too

    It’s just another barrier to the already-hard task of finding a “home” for your character.

    • The perks of higher level guilds can sort of hold you hostage.

      I personally worked very hard on the cauldron and fish feast achieves. Even when I feel there might be guilds that are more suited to my current needs I am reluctant to leave the perks that I’ve personally worked my virtual tail off for (days in a row of hours spent fishing) or really enjoy (honor bonus, exp bonus).

      There really isn’t a lot of people playing on alts outside of guilds now either. The thing you would do to get a break from people asking for a healer/tank whatever now you don’t do because even that alt benefits from the exp bonuses.

  8. It feels like just another thing making running a 10 man guild harder and less casual-friendly than it should be. It’s harder to recruit, and much harder and guilt-ridden for key members to leave if they’re not meeting their raiding goals.

  9. non serviam says:

    A friend of mine didn’t escape our nightmare guild before the expansion, and is now stuck with some serious class-A jerks because he doesn’t want to grind that rep all over again. The result? He’s spending more time on alts that aren’t in that guild. I told him to chew his leg off and get out of there, but losing all that rep keeps him in.

    It’s *eerily* like battered women who day they can’t leave their husbands because they have no way to support themselves. Not an exact parallel, but listening to him talk sounds like stuff I hear at work.

    • I’m sure Blizzard haven’t intentionally motivated us not to change guilds as this would cost them money in lost realm/faction transfers.

      For me half the fun of WoW is playing with friends and having a good time. Why play a game for fun and then be miserable because you’re guild with jerks?

      The earlier you move the faster you gain rep with your new guild, ultimately you’re delaying the inevitable. People not moving guild “just for the perks” are fools to themselves and really should just take the hit and move.

  10. I’ll be honest, there’s not a sigle purchasable guild perk that would make me think that I shouldn’t guild hop. I don’t care about the pets, the phoenix, etc. Are cauldrons and 3 or 4 hour flasks nice? You bet. Extra rep and such? Sure. Do I care enough to have that weigh on my decision to move? Not at all.

    I want a group that matches my personality, goals, etc. Guild perks are just that, perks. If I’m raiding every night I’m scheduled to, have good leadership, and we’re downing bosses – that’s about all I’m concerned with. I’ll put my alts or other toons I dork around on with my friends in a giant social guild if I want perks. For my raiding main, they just don’t really matter.

  11. I agree with Suzushiiro. This is a prominent concern right now while the rewards are new and people haven’t had time to earn them all but once you have all the rewards in one guild, rep offers you nothing at all in any future guild (at least not above Friendly, as Suzu said).
    Also, rep has no effect on your contribution to guild performance. Exalted player = Neutral player in terms of raid performance or PvP or whatever. An exalted player leaving is no different to a neutral player leaving, so those decisions are still, as always, down to the connection you have with your guild and the gap you’d leave in their roster (i.e. your gear, role, knowledge, etc). On the player’s side, if you hate your guild, getting a phoenix or a cooking recipe or an heirloom for an alt isn’t going to make up for your mental wellbeing.

    Perks are a slightly different matter, perhaps worthy of their own separate discussion since the problem there isn’t keeping people in an existing guild but forming new ones, as Johnny said. Either way though perks are great but non-essential: stuff’s a little cheaper, or a little faster, that’s generally it. You can still clear the same content or kill the same enemy players in a brand new guild as you could in a level 25 guild.

  12. Logan1275 says:

    Being that I am
    In a similar situation u will be honest and say I am looking forward to the tabard option if/when I change guilds.

    It is holding me back a little from guild hoping partially because the current guild Is so sparse I have been leveling my 5th alt (rogue). Mostly cause I need to finish having a toon maxed with all professions(skipping JC though).

    Right now the rep and leveling bonuses are making the decision that much harder, years in a guild are hard to put behind oneself, losing rewArds earned adds another layer.

  13. I defiantly think that the new guild system is having a negative effect on recruiting and moving guilds.
    As the GM of a small 10man guild I find it very difficult to find new recruits because of people not wanting to lose their existing perks and that as a small guild our Level is not as high as others and as such we get over looked for the bigger higher guilds.
    My concern is that over time as people get even higher in guild rep it will be even harder to get recruits and lack of recruits also dampens raiding so we can’t win over people with progress when we have to PuG if two people can’t make it.

    If (knock on wood) it got to a point where it would be beneficial for the guild to disband and look for new homes then the system would screw everyone by making them start from scratch with the new guild.

    I can see what they were trying to do with the system but I think there needs to be some other features like; a guild merge function that lets you keep your Rep or the ability for a GM to pass members over so those leaving on good terms with the guild can move to a new guild and say start of at Friendly Rep etc.

    At the moment the system works great to punish those who are in the wrong but there is not enough reward for those who are in the right but need to join a new guild.

  14. I believe it -is- discouraging to leave a guild based on the perks, however I believe there’s a far bigger problem in the issues smaller and newer guilds have in gaining momentum, which a lot of other commenters have also noted.

    How able are you to start up your own new guild in about 6 months time?
    And how much does your guild need to be focused on the conventional gameplay now, and not say roleplay, trading or other types of affairs that are not strictly aimed at raiding or PvP?

  15. I think I’ve been extremely fortunate with my guild. We are very active for a small guild. We don’t brag about our Guild Level, but what we stress is community participation. We have a lot of activity every night, and we do not have that “dead zone” that happens on raid nights (where it’s only raiders on. Folks are doing dailies, running heroics, leveling alts. I even had one of my “casual” players team with my raid lead and together they got us the Dragon Feast. I have several players madly brewing flasks for our cauldron. All of this is volunteer effort.

    We’re now starting a program where each month we’re going to recognize the top point earners, aggregating “main” and “alt” contributions (so my Co-GM may top the numbers on his one toon, but my altaholic raider who has 5 max-toons, each making major weekly contributions).

    I tend to see that most people, if they log in regularly, can get to “Veteran” pretty easily. We have enough going on. It also helps a lot that many of us either like achievements or like helping others get achievements. But ultimately, we respect people’s choice when it comes to content and we do not treat our non-raiders as second-class citizens. Every effort contributes to the betterment of the whole, so everyone’s personal choice of content matters.

    I would say don’t be afraid to leave a guild if it’s truly not a fit, but also make sure you invest wisely, do your research and find a guild who will appreciate *you* and not see you as guild-level farmer.

  16. I don’t see why everything thinks they should keep their guild rep. It’s rep, with that guild. If you were an officer in your old guild, would you expect to be one immediately in the guild you just joined? No, that would be ridiculous. I don’t see too much of a difference.

  17. You seem to have missed doing things with your guildies as a source of guild rep?

    That’s kind of the point – you do things with your guildies, as a guild group. And they made that easier with instances only needing 3 players to start granting rep. I think the weekly cap is a unnecessarily small gate, but you’ll still hit friendly in your first week in a new guild if you are active in that guild, and really that’s what guild rep is trying to reward.

    For those who know/are people who don’t want to leave their guild because they’ll lose the perks, you should probably reassess how much value you are placing on them vs the benefit of being in a guild that you enjoy far more. Rep might take a while at 3.5k a week, but are those few weeks of being with a new group of people you enjoy playing with really not worth it?

    It’s not Blizzard’s fault if people are placing a distorted value on ‘perks’ vs their own personal enjoyment. Guild rep is an incentive to do things with the people you’ve chosen to be guilded with. Not a punishment system for stopping you moving guilds.

  18. I’m really not sure why people are so aggrieved that they lose reputation with a guild. The things that you earn with a guild are perks, which by definition are not game breaking or changing.

    If you really want to be in a better raiding guild or just really need a change of scenery for whatever reason a perk shouldn’t prevent you from finding what you need. After all, if you’re active and do the things with your guild mates you would normally do anyway you’ll earn back your guild reputation at a steady pace.

    Guild reputation rewards those who stay in a guild, but doesn’t hinder those who change guilds in anyway shape or form.

  19. Instead of seeing it as mandatory. See it as an extra. It didn’t exist before. You can do without. And you cannot have everything in life.

    If you feel you absolutely need to change guilds do it for different reasons than the perks or how big their guild bank is. Because if that is the only thing the new guild has to offer you won’t be happy in there anyway.

  20. BogGhost says:

    I looked over the purchasable items and honestly they aren’t that great. I don’t level alts so I’m not drooling over the heirlooms…and I’m not in a guild that’s going to get Glory of the Cataclysm Raider nor would I likely move into one.

    What I think the perks do is stop people from making new guilds more than anything. Who would want to join a new burgeoning guild? Who would want to start one? You’d lose all of your perks, and you’d start at total bottom basement. After getting used to flying faster, running back to my body faster, taking less durability damage, etc. I don’t know that I’d like doing that so much even if I was unhappy with my current guild.

    I honestly think the new perk system is dumb. You’re in a guild…that’s your perk. Your perk is that you don’t have to pug, your perk is that you get a spot in a raid that reoccurs weekly, your perk is getting access to the resources and knowledge of a large group of people. We don’t need perks on our perks so we can perk while we perk. But of course now that there here there’s no way they’re getting taken away.

    Oh, and they’re not even stopping either. I’ve heard in 4.1 there’s going to be “guild quests”…oh yea that’s something I want. Hellz no! Guilds are already a barrier for most to get into serious raid content and now you have to be in a guild just to do a damn quest line!?

  21. I think one just needs to remember that “reputation” with the guild goes far beyond what a little bar in-game represents. Someone could be exalted with the guild, for example, and still not be well-liked. Reputation definitely has multiple meanings.

  22. Recruiting has dropped to a trickle. My guild is level 16 with a good core of friendly people. We raid AND we help people level and get geared. We mentor people on how to raid. Before Cata, I had my alts in other guilds. Once Cata dropped some of the guilds demanded I choose between them and my guild. I now have all my toons (6 85s) in one guild. The only exceptions are my low level bank alts.

    Blizzard has made it almost impossible to recruit new members.

  23. Katherine says:

    “I know plenty of guilds that are having a hard time filling in certain classes or rolls…” “…they’ve bread in a certain brand loyalty based around personal desire. ”

    Really? Did you do this on purpose? Nevermind, it doesn’t matter, I groaned either way.

  24. Araahaiel says:

    I personally don’t mind the rep system as rep grinding is easy with dailies and guild heroics. What I don’t like is how it’s very easy for high pop guilds to level versus the smaller ones.

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