Additional news about the impending World of Warcraft Burning Crusade expansion was made available last week. Some of the links from Blizzard’s front page: Joystiq (less ad-riffic) and GameSpot (flashy! shiny! sometimes there’s hoops to jump through!). The Joystiq article has a photo of Mrs. Kaplan’s son, Jeff, more popularly known as Tigole, and I know what you’re thinking — you’re thinking you could take him out easily. But that’s really uncalled for in a civilized environment.
The major announcements were the revamped PVP-honor system, scalable dungeons, and the expansion’s raid instances, which will only allow 25 or less players. Let’s talk about the raid instances as this is quite a change in direction for our beloved, oft-maligned, World of Warcraft endgame. I’ll state at the outset that max-25 instances don’t necessarily mean less of a time commitment. Not even less guild administration, come to think of it.
Here’s a sample opinion from an endgame guild posted on the WoW forums recently: By the Guild Master of Death & Taxes. I know, whatanego — this isn’t 2002 when gamers on another server know who the hell you are, buddy. (Their guild page is a lot of the same kind of tripe.) However, he does raise some interesting points about the transitions that lie ahead for endgame guilds.
Succinctly, endgame guilds have previously recruited for a nightly raid force of 40. Post-expansion, when guilds are mostly level 70s and the current 40-man content is trivial, how to downsize with the least amount of pain?
No one, in their right mind, should want to run dual, concurrent raids. We tried this a few times with the 20-man raids on off nights, what a nightmare. (Remember at recess in elementary school where two kids would be captains and choose up their teams for soccer or whatever? Ya, real similar to that.) A few pulls into the zone, the other team is bitching because they’ve wiped three times already and they need Team A to send over some of the healers and some DPS because they chose an almost always-AFK raid. I mean, what did they expect? Choosing those almost always-AFK people is like choosing the fat kids for basketball. It’s just not gonna work out.
My own guild’s preliminary plans are: Step 1 – Let attrition work its magic for a few months. Guilds are always losing people here and there to that real life thing you’ve heard so much about — we say, let deaths, births and bankruptcies naturally reduce our numbers. After that proves somewhat ineffective, then will come the pain — the forced layoffs.
Step 2 – Artificial attrition. Guildmates don’t want to spend every raid night sitting on the outside, and I don’t blame them, so they’ll start to bitch. Why can’t Foton sit outside some nights? (Because Foton is a valuable member of the team. Duh.) Why can’t Blowtard sit outside then? Ok, Blowtard can sit out tonight. Get out, Blowtard. Eventually, the blowtards will get the message and seek game employment elsewhere. Our primary worry? Not enough of the blowtards will get this message and we’re forced to implement Step 3.
Step 3 – Firings. I really hope it doesn’t come to this, because what a pain in the ass this would be, but probably we’ll have to /gkick a few of our more trouble-prone members. Let’s see, off the top of my head, I can think of two officers who stealth AFK all the time. Ok, probably can’t /gkick them. Hey. We have this one priest that talks too much in /gu and in Ventrilo, I’d like to see her gone. She’s just not amusing enough.
We have a handful or more of people who are horribly under-geared for our raids. They’re saving up their DKP to scoop up primo loot, that old chestnut. We can safely fire them AND protect our primo loot. A two-fer!
There’s a few warriors who have raided with us for-flippin-ever but haven’t improved, tank-wise, even one iota. If the fight deviates at all from our plan, they’ll stand around admiring the chaos with all their special abilities available and unused. They’re long-timers though, ergo, they do wield some political power. Probably too troublesome to fire. Damn.
There’s another priest I’d like to boot. She was always somewhat worthless, but after a disappointing loot streak, she respec’d to a shadow priest build (read: more DPS) in protest. You read that right — she respec’d to a DPS build because she was mad that the mobs didn’t drop the loot she wanted. Now I consider her entirely worthless. (And yes, I realize that talented shadow priests are very valuable to a raid, but she is not one of them.) Unfortunately, she’s hooked up with our main hunter puller, would be a shame to lose him, so as long as she continues fucking him, she can have sanctuary.
Of course, her plan could be to sleep her way to the top, which would mean permanent sanctuary, but this is just speculation on my part. (No, you can’t join my guild and be an officer.)
My own personal Step 4 – Launch new gaming career: Outside guild consultant. 2000 Warcraft gold, game-mailed to a gold-laundering character on my preferred server will buy a guild two days of my game time, that is, approximately eight hours spent observing their raids including raid chat, guild chat and voice chat. At the end of my observation period, I will game-mail a list of characters that should be cut from the roster. It’s clean, unemotional, all business, nothing personal.
I won’t care that Sally Warlock helped someone once upon a time in Upper Blackrock Spire; I will be unmoved by Tyler Paladin’s anecdotes about the guild’s first Ragnaros kill. Save it for your Myspace, Sally and Tyler, I care not!
I’m sure you can see why this will be such a valuable service. Choosing a scapegoat is one of the most important decisions a guild can make.