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!