Sunday, October 25, 2009

When Is A Small Guild A Bad Thing?

Stargrace's new guild just hit level 50 in EQ2, unlocking the larger-sized tier two guild hall. As part of her post, she writes:
I have heard multiple times on channels (especially on Oasis) that there is no room for small guilds, that there are too many people who choose that rout and that they should be merged into larger guilds. I do not think any of that holds true. Smaller guilds have just as much value as larger guilds, and when they work towards a common goal pretty much anything can be accomplished.

Personally, I'm behind her 100%. Two of my three guilds are of the smaller/less-hardcore variety; my WoW guild is actually large enough to raid tougher content, but I don't think they would fall apart if that wasn't possible anymore. So who are these people who hate on the small guilds?

Too Many Guilds?
Feldon's got what seems to be a summary of the complaints in his treatise on EQ2 raid populations. Though SOE has exacerbated the situation with a debuff-curing-heavy raid game that is apparently contributing to healer burnout, the broader population issue applies to just about any game out there. Feldon's guild has 2/3 of a full raid force, and is one of "over 15 semi-casual raid guilds each about 4-8 players away from having a full raid force" on his server.

This leads to a frustrating situation, though I'm not sure it's entirely fair to dump it at the developers' feet; you could fix the debuff thing tomorrow and guilds with 16 raiders still won't (or at least shouldn't) be able to beat 24-man content. I think the point that people miss when they complain that there is "no room" for smaller guilds is that many of the people in those guilds are in a small guild for a reason, and, indeed, would not be welcome in larger, more dedicated raid forces.

(As if to prove this point, Feldon quotes a forum post by a raid leader complaining that he had only two applicants from a specific healing class over a three-month period, and that neither of them could hack it. Is it really a failing in the game's design that the few people who have the skills to heal top-end content and the desire to play high-demand, rare classes choose to join guilds that an actually field a full raid? I mean, yes, technically the holy trinity plus fixed group size are design decisions, but that's not some minor balance issue or content design priority that you can fix with minor tweaks to a launched game.)

Different Solutions for Different Priorities
The bottom line is that the types of guild group you form are going to depend on your goals. If running the latest, fanciest full-group raid is a priority for you, then you should be looking for a guild that can accomplish that goal (and you should probably either be in the top tier of your DPS class or a healer, since most guilds have the requisite 1-2 tanks and at-least-average DPS). If you're going to have fun doing whatever happens to be going on, whether it's at level 20 or level 200, and your small guild supports that goal, there's no fundamental reason why you should have to change.


docholidayj said...

Interesting post, I've been on both sides of this and I think you sum it up pretty well. Figure out what you want to do in the game and find a guild/kin/whatever that matches that goal.
Also to figure out is which is more important - the people or the accomplishments. I've been in kins that I've really enjoyed hanging out with but then raided with a totally different group. And now, I enjoy my kin and do a bunch with them (including raiding) but also PUG a lot (raiding too) due to my screwy schedule.
So whichever path you chose, if you want to accomplish something there are ways to do it - large kins are not the only answer.

Stabs said...

It's interesting that these players seem to be saying the deal-breaker is lack of loot.

That seems to be saying, in these days of raids becoming more accessible, that designers must never let players access it all.

I've been there with WoW and capping out on gear, it does feel very discouraging.

Magson said...

I've been in guilds large and small. Current guild is extremely small, and it actually rather sucks and as a result I haven't played much EQ2 at all the past few months. Biggest reason it sucks vs Stargrace's guild not sucking is that while her guild is small, it's and active static group.

In my small guild I'm lucky to even see another guild member online, and since I'm level 50+ on all my alts, with 3 level 80's and 3 others in their 70's, while the highest level otherwise in the guild is in the 50's.... I'm not grouping with guildies unless I'm mentoring. Which I have done and it's been fun, but still -- I'd also like to get some shards in order to upgrade my gear too, ya know?

The larger guild was fun becuz we could (usually) field a full raid force at the appointed times, there was a lot of in-guild grouping, generally at least 20 people on all the time across alll elvels, so we could help lowbies, or others could help us with our own lowbie alts, etc.

Frankly, those were the best times I had in EQ2. I'm still friends with many in the old guild, and very much considering rejoining it. TBH, I don't think my current guild (small group of IRL friends) would even notice I'm gone.

This saddens me, because "back in the day" when we all in the small guild were more active and often all on tat the same time we had tons and tons of fun then also, but as we got farther apart in level, even with mentoring.... it just never really gelled.