Monday, January 4, 2010

Is the New LFG Destroying Guilds?

In the Ghost Town that was guild chat just after the new Dungeon finder system went live a quite a solemn conversation took place.

"Where is everyone?"
"Running Pugs. Need achievements, want the pet."
"...Isn't anyone going to TALK to each other anymore?"
"...Hop on Vent."

So that is what we did. Despite being more raiding focused now our guilds roots are in the social and that still effects our interactions even today. The majority of us LIKE to spend time with each other. We role play in Guild chat and on vent. We tease and joke with each other. Over all we try to remember that World of Warcraft is a GAME not a second Job and should be treated as such.

So when the New Dungeon Finder system hit and our once active guild chat turned barren there was quite a bit of concern on the part of some. As a good many of us are over achievers, taking the opportunity to work on not just our MAINS but long neglected alts and get THEM up to speed became a driving goal.This ment that fewer and fewer individuals were available for "guild" runs.

Having played this game for over four years I tried to reassure everyone that we just needed to let the "fad" stage happen. Sure things would be a little quiet for a bit but no it wouldn't STAY that way. We also as guild leadership made sure that there were still guild EVENTS taking place even over the holidays that we knew would bring guild members together. Our annual Secret Santa event, raids, Christmas Party, etc all of them helped to contribute to a continued sense of connection even while we were running separate dungeons.

We also encouraged people to get on vent and chat with each other. With the hectic pace of most instances in this day of the "over geared" run, few actually have the TIME to type out a comment let alone attempt to hold a conversation. How can you accomplish this? All it takes a is a co conspirator. For us three on vent with a "Miss Type" of SOME sort of funny comment in guild chat followed with "Oh talking on vent while we are pugging" would usually bring more on to join in the fun.

By this time ALL of us have funny or annoying pug stories to share. Telling them AS they happen brings a whole new feeling to the experience. It also allows you to hear more POSITIVE pug stories rather than just the negative ones which are frequently all people think to share after the fact.

Now that things have somewhat died down due to many finding themselves burned out on the whole "LFG" system this is a PERFECT time to re introduce the idea of guild runs. You can do them as randoms so everyone can get the frost badges but you can avoid many of the "negatives" of pugging. Another option is to  chose specific dungeons like the new Frozen Halls dungeons or ones individuals may have achievements they still need in. The added bonus is if you CAN'T get a full group even just getting more than one to run with can help. The only negative is unless you manage to get yourself a Tank/Healer combo (something My husband and I enjoying doing) it can lengthen your que times.

By this time the vast majority of people have gotten everything they could possibly want on their mains and are running on alts or secondary specs so the que times are slowly increasing. Soon, as more wings of Ice Crown Citadel open more will drop from the ques as even the incentive of Emblems of Frost starts to erode. For the casual or guildless player this may cause more of a hardship than those in established and active guilds.

The thing to keep in mind is this system is here to stay and the popularity of this feature in usage is going to ebb and flow. I am certain once the next expansion hits the new system will again increase in activity as people begin to level at different rates than their guild mates.

What will be interesting is seeing how the proposed "Guild Ranking" system will fit into all of this. Guild Leaders just need to be proactive rather than reactive. So having a basic plan and communicating effectively with your guild will help you to weather the storm. The LFG system is NOT a guild breaker but it CAN erode on your guild cohesion if you allow it. Just a little work on your part can reap big benefits in countering it.

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