20 Apr 2010

A Snipe at the Socials

I was out at a bar recently with a few friends, discussing the many trials and difficulties endured by Warcraft players today… Heck, who am I trying to kid – my fiancee and her sister were trying to tie fairy lights to each other, while I tried to work out if a Havana Zombie wanted to be friends with me. All in all the night was a bit of a blur, punctuated by aggressive singing in Welsh and mourning over the lack of a kebab.

In one of those rare moments of clarity that you get when drinking heavily in a strange location, I remember realising that there were different types of groups there. You had the guys at the bar who were trying to drink as much cheap stuff as possible before heading on to a nightclub. You had a small group round a table, trying to make their rum and Coke last as long as humanly possible. And you had us lot, being as rowdy as hell and making sure we had fun whatever we were doing.

Fast-forward 24 hours and I’m nursing the hangover from hell. I’m drinking coffee and Mountain Dew Throwback in order to persuade some neurons in my skull to get off their arses and start firing. I’m eating fried everything between two slices of bread because my stomach didn’t get it’s promised kebab the night before and it’s sure as hell going to remind me about it now. I’m fidgeting with a biro like it’s a cigarette, subconsciously forgetting that I quit four years ago and that sucking on a pen lid isn’t going to help.

I fire up my laptop, click away and find myself on one of the Realm Forums. My eyes are immediately drawn to the top post of the day. “Get rid of RP Guilds” it proclaims. I’m thinking that maybe it’s one of those ‘strong headline to make a point’ kind of posts. I’m wrong.

It goes on to say how we should get rid of all guilds unless they’re dedicated to PvE or PvP progression. After all, the new Guild Levelling system means that unless you’ve got twenty raiders earning points for your guild every night, you’re just going to be left behind. Progress or die, that’s what the new system means.

Only it doesn’t.

I do some digging to see if I can validate this forum poster’s point and I find this excellent series of articles on what guild levelling will involve. There’s surprisingly little that actually involves endgame raiding. I can gain XP for my guild from a number of different sources including daily quests, battlegrounds and regular dungeons. Even levelling my professions helps out!

Now I might be a little slow here, but I thought that there were a number of reasons that you might join a guild. It might be because of the endgame raiding they offer you, or because they help put together arena or battleground teams. It might even be because you’ve played with them in other games or know them from other places and appreciate their company. It might even be because you like to just hang out and have fun, and it beats trekking across the country to see them.

I mean, imagine if someone came up to you in a bar and told you that your group were drinking wrong. That you should be in a larger group in order to take full advantage of the discounts on offer. That you should only drink certain spirits so that you spend as little as possible before you get plastered? If it were me, I’d try to strangle them with a strand of twinkly fairy lights.

The point is that just like with bars, we all play Warcraft for different reasons and get different things out of it. Some of us want to ensure that we don’t waste any time, that we go in there to do what we want to do as quickly as possible then leave. Some want to use it to meet new people, while others just want to kick back, relax and have a bit of fun with friends. It’s different strokes for different folks, with no right or wrong way about it.

The social players might not have a level-capped guild immediately, but they’ll get one in their own time. And they’ll be sure to have a ton of fun on the way.

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