WoW: Guild Activities

Oleari’s current guild in has suddenly started doing raids. There’s one scheduled for every Tuesday and Thursday until the end of the month. I think this is happening as a push to get guild XP and consequent perks, and, perhaps more importantly, to reach the guild level cap and get people to stop being concerned with guild leveling. (The whole system of guild levels is a recent addition, and there’s been some complaining on the guild chat about it, how Guild Experience distorts the guild experience.)

Now, to the extent that I’m playing this game to understand the WoW phenomenon, going on a raid or two seems essential. Raids are a big part of the WoW image. Even if you only have a vague understanding of what a raid is (and my own understanding is kind of vague; I gather they’re like dungeons, but with multiple parties acting together), you’ve probably at least encountered jokes about raids as the dedicated nerd’s one unshakable commitment. So I definitely want to experience that firsthand. Also, raids done as a guild activity help the participants’ guild Reputation, which is one area where I’m sorely lacking: I’m still only about 1/6 of the way to achieving Friendly status, which locks me out of most of the guild perks. Which is fair, I suppose, considering how seldom I have anything to do with the guild beyond the chat.

Raids seem to be rare these days, so this is an opportunity not to be missed. Except for a couple of problems: the raids scheduled for my guild all require the Cataclysm expansion, and they’re calibrated for level-85 characters (the current maximum). Oleari, by far my most advanced character, is not quite 60.

It seems like there’s a bit of a newbie lock-out problem here. There’s been a little bit of guild chatter about the newer members’ lack of activity in the guild, but how can we participate? There are other guild activities, often spontaneous, but they’re mainly about doing “heroic” versions of dungeons, similarly too high-level for me. It seems like people are just expected to be at or close to the level cap with at least one of their characters, with the bulk of the game being just a hurdle you have to clear to achieve this normal status. Once such an attitude is entrenched, it may become self-reinforcing, with people power-leveling who otherwise wouldn’t. Or maybe it’s just that the non-power-levelers drop out after a while. There are guilds specifically described as “leveling” guilds, but I don’t see any “stop and smell the roses” guilds.

3 Comments so far

  1. Merus on 5 Apr 2011

    There *are* “stop and smell the roses” guilds, in that they go back and revisit old stuff, but WoW bases its long-term social aspects around every player being the same level – max level. There’s only one RPG series I’ve seen that’s managed to have characters of wildly different levels be able to meaningfully participate in battles (and that’s because in that series gear is so powerful). It’s an unsolved problem, and instead of tackling it, Blizzard sidestepped it.

    That said, you can earn guild rep if you convince two other people to go to a dungeon with you. There’s also a guild-wide achievement for finishing the dungeon, so long as it doesn’t have a heroic mode.

    “and my own understanding is kind of vague; I gather they’re like dungeons, but with multiple parties acting together”

    Sort of; it’s really one very large party, which introduces dynamics you don’t see in dungeons, such as tanks having to tag-team bosses, characters having to spread out but not so far that the healer can’t reach them, and having to ensure a proper mix of classes so that you get as many different buffs as possible. Generally, the bosses are significantly more complex and lethal than they tend to be in dungeons, and the margin for error is very slim indeed.

    There is currently a ‘newbie’ raid dungeon in the form of Baradin Hold; it changes hands between Horde and Alliance every couple of hours, which makes it inconvenient for guilds to schedule a visit. The boss in there is a little tricky but well below the standard of the others, so it’s ideal for public groups.

  2. malkav11 on 5 Apr 2011

    Raids below level cap are no longer relevant to WoW, generally speaking. They still exist for people who feel like running them just for nostalgia’s sake, but gear and challenge achievements are the main carrots for raiding and anything other than the current expansion’s raids (and, as of Wrath of the Lich King, really just the most current tier of raiding content) no longer provides equipment that’s worth the effort, nor is there much prestige associated with accomplishing challenges geared to levels well below cap with a gear standard to match.

  3. Boris735 on 6 Apr 2011

    Although I’ve not played it, I have a friend who is an ardent City of Heroes/Villains player. As she explained it to me, when people of different levels come together to do someone’s quest, lower level characters are temporarily boosted (“sidekicked”) to one level less than the quester, and higher level characters are reduced to that level.

    It’s not a perfect meshing due to the skill adjustments, and equipment, and I don’t know how well it would stand up under raid-levels of participants, but it sounds a lot better an approach than anything else I’ve heard of.

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