I read an interesting post this morning from the Greedy Goblin. In it he makes several good points about the life cycle of a guild. He points out that, in The Burning Crusade at least, guilds tended to reach a certain level of progression and stagnate there.
If I am reading it correctly he states that the leadership and it’s attitude were the primary cause of the stagnation. Therefore, he reasons, that once you personally are done with an area of progression you should move on to a guild that is at the level of progression that you are looking for.
For example, you managed to get all the gear you need from Kara while the guild was still working on the instance, it would be time to /gquit and move on to a guild that is doing the early 25 man content. In this way your personal progression would be sped up quite a bit. The reasoning is that while you may be leaving the guild you are not preventing others from following you up the progression ladder, so no one is hurt in the deal.
My thoughts are a bit different on this subject, then again seeing the last boss of TBC go down was never one of my goals. Would I like to down Arthas in Wrath? Of course I would. Will I? Possibly, we shall see.
I think that the stagnation of guilds in The Burning Crusade was more brought on by design decisions within the game than anything else. In my opinion, the stagnation of guilds was brought about by two things, format change and lengthy attunements.
The attunement system was designed to be a time sink. Since some folks were not able to dedicate the same amount of time to grinding out the key to each level of raiding people started getting left behind. I know many people who will say right out that you are not a “real” raider unless you have done your attunement quests. Personally I think that’s a bit silly, especially now.
Take my priest Morham for example, He has never done the Kara key quest. He has not done the attunement to SSC. He has not finished the attunements to BT and MH. On the other hand he has healed his way through Kara enough times that he is exalted with the violet eye just from the rep from mob and boss kills. He has taken down Magtheridon several times and Gruul more than a few as well. He has logged a few trips to SSC as well, with a few boss kills under his belt there. The quests did not make or brake his ability to do his job in raiding, just effected his ability to go.
Where the attunements were a time sink that caused the stagnation of an individual, the format change from 10 players in Karazan to 25 in Mags, Gruuls, and SSC was the real brick wall for many guilds.
I have seen many guilds go through an endless cycle of gearing up people through Kara and badge gear only to have people slowly trickle away to higher progressed guilds. Was this because the guild had failed to advance? No, it was because the guild was tasked with getting 25 – 30 players geared and ready for 25 player content with only Kara and heroics to gather gear from. Many of these guilds would lose their better geared players to other guilds that were more advanced causing them to repeatedly have to start over with gearing up.
Do I fault the players for leaving? No. They want to progress through the game not farm Kara for 6 months until everyone has finally gotten their drops. As I said it was not a failure by the guilds or the players, it was a failure in game mechanics.
Fortunately I don’t think it will be the same in WotLK. The addition of both 10 and 25 player versions of complete paths of raid progression was not an accident. By doing that and not placing lengthy attunements or rep grind requirements on access to the various instances they have taken away one of the wedges that drove guilds apart, instead replacing it with a reason to stick together.
In short, I think in WotLK guilds will become more of a place to stay and progress together, rather than stepping stones to ever more advanced content. Will some people stay while others go? probably. Will new people come to fill the gaps? Most certainly. Will I still be there when it’s all said and done?
Thats stability, and in my book it’s a good thing.