Archive for July, 2009

For years, I’ve always instinctively felt that MMO players who joined guilds tended to stick around in games longer than those who did not.  Oh sure, I track my own membership numbers, but that only tells me a small part of the overall story.  I never really know what’s going on with other guilds or whether or not players who don’t join a guild are more or less likely to stick around.

So, for years, I’ve rigidly stuck to my assumptions because I could remember hearing about studies that showed guilds were beneficial.  I could recall discussions at conferences and conventions which supported that position.  I could recall seeing occasional posts about the subject.  Sure, it feels logical to me that a player would stay in a game longer if they feel that additional investment to a guild, but that’s not really a fact I can point at with any degree of confidence, now is it?  In any event, it wasn’t something I thought about a great deal during any given week. 

Certainly, MMO studios have likely parsed the millions and millions and lines of logs they have access to to glean the data on whether or not guilds bring in the money, but they’re not likely to share that information publically.  As players, we can only guess at their conclusions when we see games releasing with more and greater guild functions included and when we see existing live games introducing more guild features over time.  However, that’s still largely conjecture as opposed to fact. 

Apparently, I wasn’t the only person who’d wondered about this topic, but it wasn’t till recently when I found out exactly who else was doing the wondering.  It was only this week when I became involved in a rather impassioned discussion regarding whether or not guilds should be better supported in 38 Studios’ eventual Project Copernicus MMO.  At one point in the conversation, one of the participants actually stated:  “The truth is that a more robust guild system is probably a bad target for developer resources…”  Well, that statement really got me to thinking. 

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The Server of Greener Pastures

Posted: July 17, 2009 by Kendricke in Everquest 2
Tags: , ,

Throughout the forums (official or otherwise) players and even guilds have uprooted and moved to the Antonia Bayle server.  Everywhere I turn, a new blogger has packed up a truck and then moved to Bev-er-ly…Bayle that is.

Why not?  Isn’t Antonia Bayle the server where dreams come true?  It’s the virtual land of milk, honey, and perfect roleplaying.  Every street is paved in gold and every LFG is answered within seconds by the nicest group of strangers you’ve ever had to chance to group with.  On Antonia Bayle, levels do not matter because a veritable army of level 80’s stands at the ready just waiting for a call to Mentor your level 12 through Blackburrow.  The channels are filled with the most helpful and thoughtful voices you’ve ever heard – this must be what angels sound like, right.

The reality is that Antonia Bayle is bursting at the seams, apparantly.  Common complaints seem to indicate that server lag of 5-6 seconds is widespread.  That means that it probably took longer for your heal spell to actually start casting after you pressed the button than it did to read this sentence.  Other repeated complaints indicate that entire chunks of guild rosters are being kicked out of the game regularly as Guildhalls crash or take to long to load.  Other players are upset that they’re unable to actually log into the server in the first place.

Me?  I’m back here on Guk with my guildJaye‘s here with her guild, too.  We didn’t follow Cuppycake, Tipa, or Stargrace to those “greener pastures”.  We’re doing just fine where we’re at.  Feel free to come visit us over here on Guk…just not all at once.  We’d prefer it if you kept your dirty lag out of our clean server, thank you very much.

 😉

Most guilds tend to track player characters differently depending on whether or not it’s a main or an alt (in my guild, we refer to these as “primaries” and “secondaries”…because, well, we like to complicate things).  For many guilds, mains are treated differently than alts – voting rights, loot rights, guildhall rights.  If someone leaves or is removed from a guild, then an officer typically has to go through the entire guild listing to hunt down all of the different characters that belong to a particular player in order to keep the roster clean. 

I’ve had to do this function in multiple games and I can say that within Everquest II, this is a pain. In Everquest II there is no indication of which character is a main or alt.  This in itself isn’t really an issue since no games I know of actually make this distinction.  So long as there is a notes function that I can sort by, I can set up the roster to take care of this concern for me. 

In Everquest II there are notes, but these are a function within the same column as character names.  We cannot actually sort by these notes.

Ideally, Everquest II could have mimicked the old Everquest method which had a separate column for “Notes” in the guild window which could be filled in by officers.  Since you could actually sort the entire list by just the Notes column, it was very easy to enter “Kendricke Primary” or “Kendricke Secondary” in the Notes column to very, very quickly identify all characters for the same player. 

Even if such a thing were not something SOE would want to include as separate column, I think there could be tremendous value in something as simple as allowing the current guild window to be sorted by the “Notes” and “Officer Notes” fields. 

What other features could be implemented to help players track their rosters a bit easier?

Guild LFM

Posted: July 10, 2009 by Kendricke in Uncategorized

If you’re interested in trying out a different kind of guild experience, let me know.  On Guk server in Everquest II, the Legion is currently recruiting both casual and more serious players.  Anyone who’s read this site for any amount of time understands that we try to balance time limitations with a more dedicated internal raid force.  If it sounds like something you’d be interested in trying out, let me know.

A Raid Leader’s Manifesto

Posted: July 8, 2009 by Kendricke in Guild Leadership
Tags: ,

I saw a post by Suzina over at Kill Ten Rats that reminded me of a post I’d made within my guild’s forums.  In Suzina’s post, she talks about how monsterous she felt after she asked a particular underperforming player to sit out on a raid and he refused.  Later, the raid failed and she felt guilty – guilty because she didn’t kick the player when she knew she probably should have, guilty because she asked the player to leave and he felt badly over that, and guilty because the raid later failed. 

Raid leadership is tough.  It’s one of the hardest positions in any guild, but it’s particularly hard because it requires a cold, calculating aspect that many people find hard to pick up.  It’s truly a thankless job much of the time and it can be one of the more stressful ways to play an MMO. 

I wanted my own guild to understand what it’s like to lead a raid.  I wanted them to understand the pressures I place upon myself and the realities they place upon me each time I form up a raid.  I conveyed these facts to my guild in the following way:

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