My Kingdom for a Fighter!

Posted: December 12, 2007 by Kendricke in Everquest 2, SOE

Fight!

Last night, I was surprised to find that we had three full guild groups running. It’s not that we don’t have enough members online to form groups, because we’re usually running 20-30 members online most nights. It’s not that our members don’t want to group, either, because there are constantly members online looking to set up groups. No, it’s the fact that lately, our fighters haven’t been logging on nearly as consistently as the rest of the guild.

When those fighters do log in, they’re immediately assailed by the rest of the members online who want to form up groups. This puts pressure on the fighter, of course, but also introduces an interesting dynamic to the rest of the guild, creating additional competition within the ranks that simply wasn’t there 2 months ago.

The obvious issue, of course, is that we only have five dedicated fighters within the guild. Of those, only three are currently of a level to make high level dungeon crawling a realistic option. For a guild of more than 60 members, that’s a lot of members left twiddling their thumbs or looking elsewhere for groups.

Is this our fault though? Is this a case of bad guild management or perhaps an interesting side effect of game’s design philosophy?

The answer, of course, is a little of both…


Now, it might seem that the easy answer is to question why it is we only have a handful of fighters in our guild in the first place? If every fighter was logged in and ready to group, we could only realistically form five groups, after all…and our guild roster numbers more than twice that.

Some saavy players might suggest that the issue falls squarely upon my shoulders as guildmaster, since it’s apparent I haven’t recruited our numbers correctly. Perhaps we have too many non-fighters or not enough fighters in the first place. Some players might even suggest that I should go out and start recruiting new fighters right away.

To which my response would be, “…and then what?”

Then what? It’s a simple enough question, really. Assume that I go out and start recruiting new fighters to help my members form more groups. In the short term, this could even work out fairly well. We get some new blood in the guild and more of my members get to group together. Some of the members of our support classes may even get a chance to level faster, and everyone should have more of a chance at the new legendary armors and items we want to help get set up for the new raid zones.

Of course, what happens when we actually start hitting those raid zones? As most players know, fighters don’t stack particularly well in raid forces. Our own raids only require a couple of fighters, and frankly, we don’t like to bring more than 3 or 4 fighters at all. If we recruit another 3 or 4 fighters to the guild, I have to deal with the eventual possibility of either benching longtime members or telling the new members that as much as we appreciate them coming onboard to help us level and gear up, we don’t really have a spot for them in the raid force.

To be honest, neither option is particularly desireable to me.

We can try to play the “hindsight game” and claim that 60 members is too many, as well. Of course, we’re not a full time raiding guild, either. We maintain no strict attendance requirements and we don’t run raids for longer than three hours, either. We’re admittedly more casual in that regard than more serious raid guilds, but it doesn’t mean we’re not serious about the time we do get to spend raiding – just that we intentionallly limit ourselves to 3-hour outings which are completely voluntary affairs.

So, though we have 60 members in the guild, we don’t tend to have more than 25-30 members online at a time, and it’s relatively rare that I have to bench members who show up to raid because we’ve run out of spots. More often, we tend to have just about 20-23 members ready to go right away, which is just about right. So, though it might appear that having 60 members for a raiding guild is too many, it actually works out almost exactly where we want to be.

So, again, we’re back where we started, with too many members looking for too few fighters.

How does this situation even happen, really? In my opinion, it’s an effect of the raid system interacting with the original archetype system. On a raid, you generally don’t need (or even want) more than a few fighters. At most, you’re generally only going to want two or three. This means that at most, 12.5% of your raid force (not your guild roster) is typically composed of fighters. Yet, the group system in the game practically requires a fighter “tank” to take on the damage. The entire spell and combat system seems designed around the idea. That means you require at least 16.7% of your entire guild roster be composed of fighters to maintain a proper ratio.

In a guild with 24 members, that’s not that bad of a difference, really. It means you have about 3 fighters for raiding, but require 4 for forming groups most nights. However, once you get up to around 30 members, you’ll find yourself still only needing 3 fighters at most, but now you require 5 fighters for forming groups. At 60 members, you now have 3 fighters for raiding, but require roughly 10 fighters to maintain the ratio for forming groups.

Right now, in our guild, fighters are being treated like rock stars. They get first pick on group members, first dibs on dungeons, and we’re even giving them the first collectible “shinies” we come across – just to keep them logging on and having fun. Because the last thing any of us want to do right now is to burn out the fighters.

When they’re not on, we’re looking outside of the guild – first to friendly guilds, and then to anyone with a taunt and a pulse. In the case of the former, we end up exacerbating issues for the guilds we’re friendly with (because they’re generally having the same fighter issues we are) and in the case of the latter, it can lead to some”interesting” groups.

Yes, we are recruiting fighters as well, but we’re keeping it unofficial and off of the server forums. We’re looking for just one or two quality individuals who our current fighters wouldn’t mind losing the occasional raid spot to. We’ve already turned down three applicants who seemed to be poor fits.

Each night, more members hit 80. We’re taking a few weeks away from raiding for the holidays and to allow members to take more time grouping together. Soon, we’ll be levelled up and raiding again and this phase won’t seem like such a problem. In the meantime, our fighters seem to be enjoying the attention.

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Comments
  1. Illuminator says:

    It’s a shame that fighters are practically required for heroic content. 6-caster groups in KoS were a crazy fun time.

  2. Kendricke says:

    Even compared against old Everquest, I find that the groups in Everquest II are far more strict on the required fighter/priest combination.

    One of my favorite static groups in old Everquest was myself (a cleric) with 5 Beastlords. That could be a very, very fun time.

    Another group we’d run frequently was myself along with a druid, a bard, and three mages. The bard would run out and grab a gaggle of bad guys, bring them back, and then the enchanter and I would AE stun everything while the rest of the group AE’d the group to death.

  3. Loredena says:

    I know it seems counterintuitive, but have you tried focusing on recruiting fighters who enjoy groups, but don’t want to raid? I know that I myself like to group whenever possible (though I mostly find myself duoing with my husband) but I don’t actually have any interest in raids. You might find someone like me to be a decent fit.

  4. Kendricke says:

    We’ve been looking for such players for a while now (another reason we have 60 members). The problem seems to be that whenever we end up picking up such fighters (and we do/have), they inevitably become interested at some point in raiding (particularly if they’re online when we’re bidding on loot).

  5. Loredena says:

    Too bad I’m on the wrong server/too low level :p After all the years of avoiding full-blown raiding in EQ, it’s a good bet I’m not going to get enthralled with it now! Though perhaps raids aren’t as irritating in EQ2 as I found them in EQ — I did enjoy it on an exceedingly infrequent, relatively casual basis, so perhaps your recruits are discovering that your guild minimizes the irration factors (though I’m a bit surprised that the loot rolls are a draw — in my experience, raid gear is for raiding, I never found much reason to covet it for my preferred 1-2 group dungeon crawls).

  6. Laldail says:

    Loredena, that is another part of raiding in our guild (Kendricke is my guildmaster) that sort of exacerbates the issue Kendricke just mentioned. Our raids are very smoothly run and have set time limits. We start on time (usually) and end on time (always). We even generally take a five minute AFK about halfway through. And we have very little drama (at least that the guild proper sees – Kendricke might see more than us due to his position).

    So, even people who might not be interested in raiding when first joining tend to become interested because, well, we have fun and get loot.

  7. Loredena says:

    Well Laldail, I’d say that speaks well for your raid leadership — that certainly isn’t what most raids I’ve participated in have been like. So, the good news is you have well-run raids; the bad news is, that doesn’t solve the initial problem as posted by Kendricke. 😉

  8. Laldail says:

    You are correct that my comment does not address the problem outlined by Kendricke. I was simply providing you with a bit of anecdote inspired from your comment #5 above, specifically “…perhaps your recruits are discovering that your guild minimizes the irration (sic) factors…”.

    EQ2 raids are definitely different than EQ1 raids, in size, organization, planning, execution, strategy, pretty much everything except the desired end state – dead bosses dropping interesting trinkets.

    And I’m afraid I don’t have a solution for the initial problem here. Wish I did, Kendricke would likely be the first to hear it and he might even include it in a nice writeup.

  9. loredena says:

    Oh, I didn’t mean it as a criticism of your response — more as a bit of a joke since my suggestion had actually been tried, and failed due to the reasons stated. Very much a good news/bad news scenario.

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