Friday, January 22, 2010

The Hour of our Discontent

If you have played World of Warcraft for any length of time you may have noticed there are cycles. An ebb and flow if you will to individuals reaction to the game. We are now at the point I call the Ebb. Conversations abound about how "Bored" individuals are with the game, how it is not longer "filling the need", long dissertations are given on all that is WRONG or "broken", hope expressed that PERHAPS the NEXT expansion will FIX it all so all eyes now focus on THAT.

When this starts to happen attendance begins to drop off. Individuals begin to come up with other ways to spend their time. Once vibrant guilds can find themselves struggling for survival or in places they have not seen in months like pugging to fill spots or canceling raids all together. Those that DO stick around and continue to participate can come to resent those that only show up for the progression runs and then disappear. The feeling  they are being taking advantage of by those who no longer participate in the larger scope of the game or show little desire to build comradarie, spewing forth in snide comments or cold shoulders.

So what can you as a guild leader do about it? Well first you need to realize that while you can provide opportunities you can NOT force people to participate or do as you wish. (No matter how much you want to.) Second you need to listen to the people that are STILL there. Find out what THEY are looking for and what keeps them coming back. Third, focus on the POSITIVES not the NEGATIVES. (For some of you the rest of this post may seem like a Pollyanna outlook but after almost four years of guild leading it has worked so far.)

One of the things I appreciate most about my guild is that chat is a POSITIVE place. Even when people are complaining about the "bad pug" they are in SOMEONE will help them turn in around and refocus it or try to brighten the moment. We have had some petitioners complain about our "rated E" language but you know what? You can still have a TON of fun without getting into language that small children shouldn't be reading over your shoulder, let alone be able to understand.

So right now we are facing these things I mentioned. We had to cancel our Dragon run due to not enough people showing up and last night for 25 ToC we had to pug as well as off spec in order to fill the roster. This means that rather than using our loot system and gearing up guild members we are free rolling. Tonight we have ICC and last I looked we were still short even for that. So we talked amongst those who WERE there and asked what were some things THEY wanted to do.

Big thing that came up was several of them hated the fact that we had never finished Ulduar. When ToC came out Ulduar kinda got pushed to the way side because it was just SO much easier and the gear was better. So that is what we are looking at next week. Finishing up Ulduar, getting some achievements done maybe even getting our healing lead her mace.

We also discussed how burned out we all were on the Looking for Group system so it was declared that now, when you log on ask in Guild Chat FIRST and try to get a random together before you automatically que up. Last night we had three random groups going after ToC and EVERYONE was enjoying it again.

While some people are not motivated by achievements, others DO enjoy getting them so that is another thing we have been doing. Encouraging people to set up runs to just farm achievements. We did that last week so that several of us could FINALLY finish up our Glory of the Hero and walk away with our Red Protodrake. Those that know how to do the achievements are now happily lending our expertise to those who are attempting to get it.

The final thing we are doing is preparing for our four year anniversary in March. We have a big event planned which we hope will encourage a lot to participate even if only for that night. It is like nothing we have ever done before and I think it will be a blast!

Times of transition, those times of waiting for the NEXT big change can bring out the worst. The hording or whining, the griping, it is easy to see all the FLAWS in the game when we have been playing it so long and can compare it to new toys that are out there to grab our attention. Try first to change your OWN perspective and look at what it was that FIRST got you excited about the game. I STILL remember the jaw dropping feeling I got when I came over that hill in Storms Peaks and saw Ulduar for the first time. Learning that the Argent Tournament was originally suppose to be taking place in Crystal Song Forest but was moved to Ice Crown as a result of to much strain in one area with Dalaran over head made me reconsider my complaints about Dalaran Lag. (Could you IMAGINE what it COULD have been like? *Shutters*)

Yes, World of Warcraft is showing its age, no denying it. Yes, I am excited to see what is in store with the next expansion, but that is still months off and I have YET to finish things in THIS expansion, heck I still have Sunwell sitting there mocking me. It really is not a case of there NOT being things to do, it is a case of are they things you are INTERESTED in doing or not? If you take just a LITTLE bit of time you can find OTHERS that share those interests and want to do them to. Start in your guild and work from there.

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