I was thinking

This originally started as a comment over on The Wayward Initiave. We were discussing WoW (go figure) and touching on why Cata does not really seem to be doing so well. It ended up graduating from comment to blog post at some point, so I moved it here.

During the Wrath life cycle we saw the introduction of the LFD. This was a wonderful tool for those (like me) that take their WoW in short segments when it can fit into their day.

The downside of this tool was that the servers “PuG” community of those that would put together a friends list and build 5 man groups from it all but evaporated. It was quicker and easier (at least in Wrath) to queue up and go run something than it was even to build a guild group in many cases.

The LFD was a huge success in getting people to run instances instead of sitting in Dalaran bored. It was also an unmitigated disaster from a social standpoint. People lost that connection to the others in the game.

In my experience, it actually encouraged people to be asshats. Well, asshats, Silent Bob, and the GOGOGOGOGO kiddies.

I have always said people come to WoW to play the game, but stay for the friendships they have found. Thats the only reason I still play to be honest.

I also think that with guild leveling and the perks that go with it Blizz (unintentionally I think) encouraged people to abandon small friend based guilds in favor of larger ones. It became easier to find a dungeon/raid if you were in a larger guild. Actually, I have heard (but can’t confirm) that some guilds are requiring members to do all their heroics as guild only activities to maximize guild leveling.

Take away (or just weaken) those in-game friendships while making the game more time consuming and less accessible all at once and you have a recipe for a segment of your player base to get frustrated and leave.

The people that were mostly there for the social network.

Yes, I understand that there will always be people who are not happy with the game, there are simply too many of us to please us all. What I think they did not realise is how much the willingness of people to continue to pay $15 a month for a game is very dependant on that underlying social network.

Maybe they should call up that Zuckerberg guy and ask for some advice.

I hear he’s pretty goo with that whole social network thing.

7 Responses

  1. My sentiments exactly. I’ve been playing the game since EU beta, but now I feel like I just can’t be bothered with it anymore. Of course I’ve taken breaks in the past, but now I think it’ll be my final break from WoW.

    With the introduction of the LFD-tool, cross-realm battlegrounds, guild reputation, … the social aspect of the game has become but a shade of its former self.

    The whole game just…doesn’t feel right for me anymore.

  2. It’s weird – since I hit max level all of my groups have been nice. Sometimes everything doesn’t go super and sometimes there’s been a teeny bit snarkyness but mostly… it’s been all good. Even heroics – every one I’ve been in people are not complaining about wipes – they’re learning to expect them, now.

    I would also say I’ve talked more to people in instances than I ever did before and people have been more willing to ask / tell tactics. Once people got past behaving like it was Wrath, they seem to have become friendlier again. Harder content does, to a small extent, encourage interaction imo.

    As for the guilds thing… I’ve not been tempted away from my small guild that I am in with a few friends. There are only two of us active most of the time, we’re only at level 3, but I wouldn’t give it up because, well, it’s my friends.

    However, I do feel that the perks within really are a little… unfair. ‘Just perks’ means someone can travel a lot faster than me between mine / herb nodes, can get faction faster, and take less durability when they die as well as being able to hearth sooner and gain a higher chance to skill up on tradeskills. Each on their own these aren’t much but when you add them all together it means a person in a big guild really has a great deal of advantage over someone in a small one – and is likely the kind of person who needs it least (I am the only person in my guild with several professions, for instance, so extra chance for skill ups would be nice…)

    I really wish they allowed guild levelling to scale to membership, though I get how that’d probably cause problems, too, if they didn’t balance it well.

    So, basically, I don’t think that social bonds will be broken except within guilds where content / gear > social already existed, but I do think that the guild system as it is isn’t great – just for a slightly different reason to your thinking.

    All in all, I’m actually much happier as a ‘casual’ in Cataclysm than I was in Wrath.


  3. I quit for while and the only reason I came back was because I missed my friends. I’m much less in love with Cata than Wrath. I feel like the guild perks punish small guilds. It’s upsetting to see people leaving our small, social Level 3 guild for the perks of anonymous Level 12+ guilds, destroying part of what I came back for.

  4. I started a comment then decided it needed it’s own entry too. {8^)

  5. In Wrath, after a great LFD pairing, if I ran into someone from my own server, I would add that person to the friends list. However, I soon realized that I never saw that person again. It’s mostly because I’m a shy person…

    Hmm… this makes me think that I should whisper the last friend I met. I haven’t talked to her in a while but they were always good at whispering me and asking how I was.

    Back to the topic; This probably has been mentioned before but to help encourage same-server friendships, it would be great if Blizz could fine-tune the LFD so that it searches for dungeon partners in your own server first. If no matches found, then it could move to search the battlegroup. I have a feeling that this would probably make dungeon wait times even longer … which would hurt those people with limited play-time again.

    In Wrath, I found that I became more familiar with people in my server from PUG Raids. I know that Regis met some friends that way. Of course, meeting people in PUG Raids require a time committment for that raid, not to mention being geared enough to pass their GS checks, which in turn means an additional time committment to grind the rep and VP/JP/whatever points up…..

    Guess the conlcusion is that – if you’re a limited time-player then creating new social networks isn’t going to be easy.

  6. […] 15, 2011 by Brokentree Dechion recently posted an entry that started as a comment on this blog. I started to comment on that post and decided that my comment needed a post of its […]

  7. I loved the lfd introduction and took most of my then 80ms through to get the pug but with cataclysm dungeons being longer and needing more coordination, I find that the buffs to the guilds through their leveling and gaining perks a step in. The right direction for bringing a bit more of the population of a server together at a time. As for small leveling guilds, if you want to be in one, there is no stopping you from being in one and most of the perks grom the guild leveling that are passive come at odd times in the cycle of the perks. Our guild would be considered small/medium and we are no where near the guild level for the perks to raids (mass rez) and we are still doing just fine.
    As for the guild rules for groups to gather exp, it makes sense to use the buffs for the 3,4,5 person guild run to the max you can but our guild doesn’t.

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