Shouldn’t guild groups be the norm?

Last week when Blizzard announced more upcoming changes on the PTR for patch 4.0.6, one of them was a change in the definition of a guild group.

  • If 3 out of 5 players in a group are members of the same guild, they will now be able to complete guild achievements and earn guild experience at 50% of the normal rate.
  • If 4 out of 5 players in a group are members of the same guild, they will now be able to complete guild achievements and earn guild experience at 100% of the normal rate.
  • If 5 out of 5 players in a group are members of the same guild, they will now be able to complete guild achievements and earn guild experience at 125% of the normal rate.
  • Also note that Heroic dungeons offer a 1.5x multiplier on all guild experience earned.

I thought that was an interesting change.

Then I was puzzled by the reaction from a writer at WoWInsider…

This is all well and good, but if more guilds are running dungeon groups, this means less people using the dungeon finder and longer queue times for those who have to wait.

I thought that was an odd consideration.  Then I read the comments on that post and most were in agreement.  In fact, the majority of commenters seemed to think that Blizzard should be somehow fixing the LFD system to reduce the queue times.

All around the blogosphere, voices started complaining about the LFD system – mostly about the lack of tanks and healers in LFD, and how its a shame that the LFD has long queues.  A lot of people seem to think that this is a problem for Blizzard to solve.

I know I’ll take some flak for this, but I disagree.

Since the LFD system was introduced, it almost seems like its taken over the game.  When people decide to run an instance, often their first instinct is to queue in LFD rather than asking in their guild.  I wonder how many of the players do most of their instance runs through LFD?

In my opinion, that’s not really the way the game is structured.  When I look around Stormwind, I see that almost everyone has a guild tag under their name.  Why aren’t they running in their guilds?  What exactly is the point of being in a guild if not to do things with them?

My vision of the game is that most groups should be guild groups, and that pugs of randomly grouped people should be a last resort if you can’t get into a guild group.  For that reason, I don’t really think that the LFD system needs to be changed.  In fact, the difficulty of heroics really promotes the effectiveness of guild grouping.

Guilds are one of the hallmarks of MMOs.  In Everquest, being guilded was all but mandatory. In vanilla WoW you almost had to be guilded to run instances or raids.  In BC there were more pugs but they were hard to put together in the trade channel.  Guild groups have far outweighed random grouping through all the years of WoW.   Has the LFD channel improved the game?  In Wrath it certainly made it easier and faster, but then again I think that the speed and easiness of Wrath has nearly destroyed WoW.

The more the game de-emphasizes guilds, the weaker it becomes.  As a single player game, WoW is just OK.  As a multiplayer game its enormous fun.

Also, I don’t think that there is a shortage of healers and tanks.  I think that there is a shortage of healers in tanks in the LFD system.  Players who have healing/tanking off-specs won’t use them in LFD out of fear of being berated or insulted. That’s a reflection on the people in LFD system, not on Blizzard.

For those who have continued to persist in frustrating themselves with long queues and bad pugs.. why haven’t you run with more guild groups?  Small guild?  No one in your guild will tank?


14 Responses to “Shouldn’t guild groups be the norm?”

  1. January 24, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I’d say that back in Wrath you were right. But now in Cata the vast majority of players are probably doing runs with their guilds over pugs. This is probably especially true for tanks and healers who can’t be arsed to bust their ass with twats (as puggers often are) or people who generally don’t know their class, or just a group in which communicating will be more difficult. I know in my guild most people want to be able to use TS when doing heroics, something that is difficult to set up for pugs. So the reason the LFD system isn’t working very well right now is that most people are doing guild runs, as you say. So isn’t that working against the multiplayer idea of WoW?
    “As a single player game, WoW is just OK. As a multiplayer game its enormous fun.” By emphazising guilds blizzard are actually moving away from the “multi” in my opinion. They’re allowing for people to being rewarded to cluster and not bother with 99,99% of the rest of the players in the game. If people should run guild runs over pugs, you have 15 people doing everything together. Pugs are the true multi-part of this game, if that is what you want. You can do tons of stuff with your guild, but pugs are one of the few ways to hang with all those people you don’t know in the game. Personally I enjoy both pugs and guild runs, so I don’t care about these changes either way. I just think it is wrong to say that guilds are the “true part” of an mmo. Guild runs are a bunch of friends hanging out, you can do that in Mario Kart as well, but it doesn’t make it an mmo.

    • January 24, 2011 at 10:45 am

      I lost you when you said, “By emphazising guilds blizzard are actually moving away from the “multi” in my opinion”

      Guilds are multiplayer. I would say that LFD is not multiplayer. In fact, a lot of the dedicated puggers I know treat the people in LFD as little more than NPCs with glorified AI. There is no conversation. Heck, no one even uses names. In pugs I am referred to as “rogue” rather than Dinaer.

      In a guild group there is conversation. There is discussion and strategizing. There is cooperation. That is multiplayer. If you don’t see that, then we have vastly different definitions of what “multiplayer” entails.

    • January 24, 2011 at 11:00 am

      Continued: honestly, I do see your point, and PUGs do let you play with a wider base of players.

      I think that pugs back in BC were a good example of that. To get in a pug you actually had to interact with people, whisper them, ask for invites. You might even type their full name into the chat pane. Sometimes you even used vent! Often you would pug with the same people over again. New guilds even formed out of pugs.

      With the LFD system now, you can queue up, get put into a group, run the instance, and then disband without ever interacting. Yes, you happen to be in a group of other characters, but are they really people? Would you even know the difference between that and a sophisticated script running the character?

      Good pugs are fun. I feel like most pugs are actually solo efforts dressed up to seem like multiplayer.

      • January 24, 2011 at 11:40 am

        Haha yeah I totally agree with you that pugs are mostly mindless (or used to be), but that isn’t the fault of the pugs, but how people use them. Or rather how Blizzard allow people to use them. If people couldn’t do guild runs, so they actually -had- to do those tricky heroics with people they didn’t know they might actually also -have- to communicate. The heroics of wrath where so easy that stopping to say “hi” and use peoples names only slowed you down. You didn’t interact because you didn’t have to. And now you still don’t have to because you can cuddle with your guild instead. Is that really multiplayer? Wouldn’t it be awesome if people could behave towards eachother in pugs as they do in guilds? Only the voice communication could perhaps be some trouble, but is my vision really that naïve? Why encourage people to move away from strangers? That is not Mmo to me. It is what will keep pugs mindless because only people who are too annoying to be in guilds will go do pugs 😛 It’s like “can’t communicate and socialize like a normal person? Got trouble getting into guilds? Join the lfg-queue now!” It scares the good and nice players away from pugs, like Nowiamtree wrote a good post about recently – http://nowiamtree.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/its-a-vicious-circle-and-i-dont-want-to-be-bitten/

    • January 25, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      Would you rather raid with a guild group or 9/24 random other people from some type of LFD system? Guilds are part of the MMO – the LFD actually encourages the opposite. You don’t have to talk, communicate, or even be polite. In, out, gone.

  2. 6 Ellyjobell
    January 24, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I definately pull from guild whenever possible. I tire of running into self-important douche bags that may or may not ninja my class’ gear. Sadly, I am in a very small guild.

    I also totally agree about there being more tanks out there than the LFG system makes it seem. I rarely queue up as a tank on my leveling pally because it makes me want to reach through the screen and throttle my random group nine times out of ten. I’m honestly scared to try tanking difficult content in a random group. It’s a shame because I otherwise like tanking.

    My guilds main tank randoms all the time and my hat is off to him. I snag a DPS slot in his groups whenever he comes on.

  3. 7 JP
    January 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I completely agree with you. I a MS Fury/OS Prot warrior who has raided since vanilla and your comments about LFD are dead on.

    I have no problem tanking guild heroics, but I only LFD if no guildies are on and I need a valor run. I don’t tank LFDs because the tank typically has to explain every fight to the noobs in LFD and/or call out baddies. After a few times doing this, if I have to resort to LFD I typically go DPS and ignore the other players.

    If LFD had a way of ensuring a basic level of compentency (ie, rehiring achievements before use) it would make them leas painful.

    WoW isn’t a single player game an they need to atop catering to neverwinter night rejects.

  4. 8 Backer
    January 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    As a thought experiment, what would happen if Blizzard stripped LFD out of the game tomorrow, replacing it with a random heroic dungeon for Valor badges mechanic in which you form the five man party yourself? Would this be a good or bad thing?

    • 9 James
      January 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm

      That would be an atrocious idea. Isn’t the whole point of playing a game like WoW to play with other people? Go play Elder Scrolls or Fallout if you want a single player game.

      • January 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm

        But… that’s exactly the way the game was for the first 4+ years of its existence.

        If you wanted to play with other people, you played in a GUILD.

        If you wanted to pug, you were in the /trade channel asking for people to form groups. I would claim that under that system WoW was just as much a multiplayer game as it is now.

        In fact, with the way that quests used to be harder, it was even *more* multiplayer. Right now, quests are almost impossible to fail. Then there were quests that you *had* to get help for.

        I consider those the good old days. Right now, I consider WoW almost entirely playable as a single player game. Back then you couldn’t do it.

  5. 11 Katherine
    January 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    If you are planning to raid with your guild and found a guild that has the majority of people online when you are online, sure. For all the people that don’t want to raid, or are in a guild with their friends who might not always have blocks of time free when they are, it’s not that simple.

    (Hmm maybe I won’t include my rant about the people in the dungeon finder. Suffice it to say that I usually run with my guild anyway, because of the people, not because of the queue time. If you’re DPS, you just need to find something else to do while you’re waiting. Tidy the house. Learn to play a musical instrument. Cure cancer.)

  6. 12 nordveien
    January 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I might represent the minority, but I dislike doing things with the same people. I also don’t like asking for favors. And if I did heroics with my guild at the time of the day that suites me, that would mean doing so.

    I just like the sense of true anonymity (that doesn’t mean I behave like an ass with strangers). I’m a fan of the concept: get together, do common business, walk away.
    I enjoy that I can simply use LFD and not depend on anyone. This approach has its drawbacks, but currently it suites me the most.

  7. 13 Marek
    January 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I use LFD because I’m not on at the same as my guild except scheduled raid times.

  8. January 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I use the LFD if I need to a) hone my healing/tank skills, or b) am desperate to get my VPs for the day. I’d much rather run with my friends, because that’s fun. Running as an anonymous person in a LFD doesn’t foster any kind of well being. Unless you land with someone from your server, the odds of seeing them again are slim. The reason freindships formed originally was that you were on teh same server with everyone from your group, and acting like an idiot would quickly get you a bad rep on the server.

    LFD is nice, and I’m glad they added it, but it’s not the only way to do things. Using other methods just requires more work on your part.

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