EQNext Discussion And Debate

Everquest Next is still a long way away from our screens, but the unusually open development process is keeping the blogosphere debating its choices.

Today, we’ve got two really great, lengthy discussion posts – if this sort of debate keeps up, it bodes very well indeed for the game.

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A Taxonomy Of Guild Members

You know that guy? Or that girl? In your guild?

Well, the chances are that if you spend enough time in the world of MMORPGs and pass through enough guilds, you’ll see their like again. And again, and again.

It’s ground that bloggers have covered before, but this week Shintar’s put together an entertaining summary of the Usual Suspects in so, so many MMORPG guilds, from her not inconsiderable MMO experience. From the Quiet Leader (which has been me at least once) to the Class Clown, I suspect most of these will be familiar to most of us…

The Quiet Wingman (or -woman)

Okay, so the laid-back leader may or may not be doing any actual work, but if they are not it’s because they can rely on their quiet wingman or -woman to do so. This person is probably an officer – but doesn’t have to be – and usually quiet during social gatherings, but they are always listening and taking note of what’s going on. They are the person the guild leader can go to if he needs help, and will often also serve as the guild website administrator. In short, they do all the boring jobs that nobody else can be bothered with, and for some strange reason they seem to enjoy it. The rest of the guild usually has some fondness for this person, but nothing close to actually appreciating all the work they do.

The Passionate Guy (or Girl)

The passionate guy (or girl) only ever wants what’s best for the guild – but unfortunately they frequently find themselves disagreeing with the leadership about what exactly that is. It’s not that they like to argue, but they are just so damn passionate about their opinions! Their frequent headbutting can get tiresome to the officers (though the rest of the guild secretly enjoys reading the long rants on the forum), but at least it keeps them on their toes and prevents them from becoming too apathetic. Properly directed, this guy or girl’s passion can be funnelled into making some very useful contributions to the guild, but if handled badly it will likely lead to drama and/or a ragequit.”

Read the rest of Guild Stereotypes

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WoW Roundup: WoW As Single Player, Druid Healing Woes, More…

Why do we like less-populated areas in WoW? Where should personal responsibility to a guild begin and end? And are druid healers just totally boned right now?

Read on, and all your questions shall be answered…

  • Bob at Altaclysmic defends preferring zones that are less crowded, rather than super-busy Cross-Realm Zone madness“I have made a decision that it is worth spending my limited time going to personally obtain the ore, but I need to be able to gather sufficient quantities in a certain timeframe for it to be worth the effort.”
  • Matticus ponders the question of where the line should be drawn between players having to provide their own resources or having those resources – flasks, food, etc – provided by the guild“I notice a strong correlation between player performance and their ability to provide their own character improvements. In other words, the players who farm for their own materials or purchase their own augments tend to not die as much and will consistently perform well in their roles.”
  • And Beruthiel updates us on the state of healing in MoP, including a stirring takedown of the ubiquitous “it’s not the class, it’s you” argument“In all of the back and forth and arguments happening, I saw the statement that if you are struggling to heal and perform as a druid “it’s not the class, it’s you” thrown about several times. It was enough to make my blood boil, because it is an inherently FALSE statement.”

If you’re in the US, enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend!

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Tips for Finding A New Guild For Pandaria

It’s a time of new beginnings in WoW – and with that, a lot of people will be looking for a new guild. Handily, today several bloggers are offering great tips to find one!

Whether you’re looking for a new guild because your old one didn’t survive the 10 months of WoW’s inactivity very well, or because you’re looking for something new in your gameplay, a new expansion’s a prime time for jumping into a new guild. But how do you make sure you find and get into one you’ll love?

First up, Rank 4 Healing Touch has revamped their old post on guild application, which remains a complete, useful and accessible guide to avoiding guild application problems

“Spelling – I’m not going to say that typos will get your application denied up front because we all make them and not all of them are caught with a spell checker (believe me I know this first hand from my blog). Keeping your application mostly clean means you took the time to write your response in software that has a spell checker and double/triple checked your work. Avoid using any net speak or childish abbreviations like “ur” (your) or “healz” (heals).

Links – Most applications will request some form of Armory link, UI screenshot and if available a World of Logs parse. Please double check the link supplied so there is no unnecessary confusion. I have seen youtube links where a character armory link was supposed to be and while I thought it was amusing at first it didn’t help the application any.”

This guide’s definitely targeted at people applying to more serious raiding guilds, and it covers pretty much everything you could think of in a guild application on that basis. For less experienced people or those looking to play more casually, some of the sections on theorycrafting and gameplay might seem a bit intimidating – remember that not all guilds will want you to be able to do calculus in order to apply! However, even if you’re looking for a more casual guild, a lot of the advice here is very useful, and if you are looking to raid competitively, this stuff’s gold dust.

On a slightly different tack, Quori has an excellent guide to finding a guild, too – this one focused on figuring out whether you really want to be in that hardcore raiding guild before you apply!

From your personal background to your playstyle, Quori’s looking at how to avoid guild-joiner’s remorse

“This is a big deal. You should really separate out into 2 columns what are absolute inflexible NEEDS versus the things that would be nice, but not truly necessary stipulations.

If you truly NEED to be in a ranked guild, then perhaps you should also know you will need to worry about min/maxing your toon and being graded and judged on your performance.

If you NEED a casual environment, then know you cannot stir up drama by whining and complaining that no one cares about heroics.

If your socio-political views are so important to you that you wear them on your sleeve, then do not join a socially diverse guild where odds are opinions will vary along with mileage.

This last one is an important factor to consider. There is nothing wrong with being a Republican, Democrat, Atheist, Feminist, Born Again Christian, etc etc. Any label you choose to wear proudly on your sleeve is not something to cast shame or derision towards; however, perhaps you should bear that in mind when seeking a new guild.”

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the “how” of any task, and something like finding a guild’s particularly susceptible to hidden assumptions. I really like Quori’s “fun first” attitude, too – the guide’s very non-judgemental and focused on getting you to a satisfying environment to play in, even if there are some bumps on the way.

Do you have any tips for people looking for a new guild as MoP approaches?

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Where Do You Learn To Raid?

So, imagine you’re a new raider, and you’ve got a nice, friendly guild. Where on earth do they take you to learn the ropes?

That’s the interesting question Tzufit’s posing today. She’s looking back on her time in Wrath, using Naxxaramas as a training ground for new members of her guild, and asks “where would I go now?”

LFR? Blackwing Descent? None of them are exactly perfect for the task

“Where do new raiders learn how to raid now? Tier 11 was the exact opposite of Naxx in that it was the first tier of the expansion and also the hardest. Many of its mechanics were entirely unforgiving and it suffered from having several fights in which a single player’s mistake could wipe the rest of the raid. While this makes for interesting and challenging fights for seasoned raiders, it is not an environment where you want to train anyone.

Cataclysm’s Heroic 5 mans (the ones that shipped with Cata, not the Hour of Twilight heroics) do a lot of the work to prepare players to make the jump from dungeons to raiding. Cata’s heroic bosses are more challenging than any we’ve seen in prior expansions because they each have several complex mechanics to test players. Learning to juggle adds, and a debuff, and a boss who enrages all within the same fight gives us some opportunity to experience the sort of multi-tasking we’ll have to do when we fight a real raid boss. It’s one reason why I enjoyed the difficulty of Cata’s un-nerfed heroics at the beginning of the expansion. They were challenging, but they warned us about what was to come in the even greater challenge that was tier 11.

No 5 man dungeon, however, can ever prepare a tank or a healer for the experience of having to work as a part of a tanking or healing team. This is something that happens exclusively in the raid environment or, now, in LFR. A lot has already been written about whether or not LFR is a tool that properly initiates people into the raiding world. I believe that LFR is an important tool for a new raider because it exposes them to the scale and complexity of a raid – but let’s not kid ourselves into believing that any new raider would come out of an LFR experience with the slightest notion as to why anything happened the way it did. On the rare occasions when anyone bothers to explain any aspect of a fight in LFR, no context is given because there isn’t enough time to do so before someone gets antsy and pulls. The most information that is given is what to kill, where to stand, and (maybe) when to hit that illusive button on Ultraxion.”

Tzufit gives us a good rundown of the history of “training raids” (although I’d add Zul’Gurub in Vanilla to Kara and Naxx), and she effectively highlights a real issue here. Assuming we have some hopes of recruiting new players into WoW, rather than merely running out the meter with an ever-decreasing number of veterans, where are we going to teach them the basics?

Does Mists have a raid that’s shaping up to be a training ground? I’d love to know.

What do you think?

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All Around The MMO World – Weekend Links

Loads of fun, useful and generally readable stuff from the blogosphere from this weekend! Whether you’re hanging on in Wurm, observing TERA in amusement, or could really use a laugh after an awful LFR run, we’ve got something for you:

  • Tobold considers the current “guild size” discussion from a game design point of view“There are other ways, for example in games like A Tale in the Desert. Not only can you be in several guilds in that game, but also everybody can contribute in his own way to the guild’s projects. If the guild needs a huge amount of bricks for a project, for example, everybody can contribute at his own pace.”
  • Avatars of Steel provides some quick tips for Wurmians still avoiding the game’s forums for virus reasons
  • Rohan at Blessing of Kings observes some strange behaviour in TERA, as players proceed to mostly ignore the ingame LFG tool“Because queues are instant, the choice as a Lancer is very binary. You either run the dungeon or you go questing. But maybe after doing a few quests, you’re sort of wavering between continuing questing or going for an instance. Seeing a request for a tank can tip you over to one side, and might even allow you to feel altruistic for helping out an existing group.”
  • And Bravetank offers some more cheering alternative definitions for popular LFG and LFR terminology“In ancient times huntards were esteemed for their wisdom, strategic minds and military prowess. Only the truly gifted could ever hope to reach such heights. If you are called a huntard then you are playing your hunter class flawlessly. Do not be surprised if some people leave the group after calling you this – it is simply that they do not feel deserving enough to be in your company. Forgive them.”

Enjoyed those posts? Please consider sharing them!

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Thursday Randomness: RP, Star Trek and starting a guild

It seems to have been guide week this week, and it’s not over yet, with The Grumpy Elf taking on the pedagogue’s role today. Plus, Green Armadillo continues to find STO interesting, and Azeroth Observer’s been trying something tricky, starting over in WoW…

  • Reliq at Azeroth Observer took the brave step – particularly late in an expansion – of starting a new guild in WoW, and writes up his experiences and what he’s learned“There’s one thing I’ve found from doing this, and it is I think an insight into how strangers interact: you can have an awesome idea, and others may see value in it, but they will not generally commit to that idea without seeing that others have already.”
  • The Grumpy Elf comes over all helpful with a lengthy guide to starting roleplaying in MMORPGs“Just because these things are listed over a persons head in the game it is not a license to assume you know them. If someone does not tell you information you do not know it.”
  • And Green Armadillo provides a detailed, interesting and personal account of his ongoing voyages in Star Trek Online, now up to the high levels“How much these upgrades matter is open to debate. It’s possible to run the duty officer system at the basic 100 slots, but you will have to ditch low quality officers, and may not have the slots to keep a full contingent – i.e. there will likely missions you cannot do for lack of versatility.”

I can’t believe I’ve not used a “to boldly go” gag in an STO post yet.

What are you playing at the moment?

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The Future of Guilds, The Pitfalls of Legacy Points and Why to Make a WoW Trial Account – Links from the Week

It’s been a stonking week for blogosphere discussions, between the Scroll of Resurrection, Blizzard’s post-mortems, Apple Cider Mage’s fantastic posts on harassment and more. And it’s not over yet.

Here are a bunch of posts that caught our attention in the last few days of the week. Have a great weekend, everyone!

  • Vidyala at Manalicious continues her discussion of guilds in the Cross-Realm era, as she explains why your guild still matters“Your guild is your family. You can like and hang out with every person at the party, but it’s your family you see most every day, or sit down to hang out on an evening when nothing is planned. “
  • Matticus asks a damn good question – why are the Caverns of Time instances so very Alliance-centric?“There are so many crucial moments in the Warcraft RTS that I feel would make an awesome instance to explore. All of us players who are old enough to remember Warcraft 1 (I think I was like 6 or 7) and the subsequent releases can remember some of those chilling moments in the game where… it just got real. I think we could use some Horde representation in there too.”
  • Rades at Orcish Army Knife wins this week’s “I never thought of that!” award, with a list of neat things you can do with a WoW trial account“I made a trial account for a different, very simple reason. A servant.”
  • ANd in SWTOR, Njessi of Hawtpants of the Old Republic looks at the upcoming Legacy Perks system, and is getting more than a bit concerned“The legacy system creates a tiered community where people who are there first are privileged and have access to significant benefits.”

Have a great weekend!

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Of Newness, Newbies, and New Roles

There’s a bit of a “new” theme running through the WoWoSphere today. New roles, helping newbies, and whether or not to correct ignorance. So, without further ado…

  • Divine Plea has been considering the plight of the rookie in LFD: ” Behind the keyboard (usually) is another person, and that person probably has feelings that they’d like to keep intact. Even that hunter doing 4k in your 85 heroic might not just be a turd, but someone who has never had anything explained to them.”
  • Vidalya at Manalicious has moved from playing a mage to playing a paladin, and is feeling the challenges: “The biggest shift is a mental one, and it’s taken some time. I’ve had to teach my brain to recognize mild stress as ‘the norm’ and not freak out and just do its thing.”
  • Windsoar at Jaded Alt is considering what to do about peopel who display ignorance in guild applications: “My gut reaction remains, “It’s not my job to teach you how to play. You applied for a position, you get in on your current knowledge/ability/bubbly personality.” But even as I thought about typing that, I realized, it’s not always true!”

What do you do about guild applications that reveal, erm, a less-than-stellar understanding of the game? Have you swapped roles, and how did you find it? And do you help or kick in LFD?

All quotes taken directly from their respective source articles.

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Valor Point Capping Makes The World Explode

Wow. Or indeed WoW. The argument about Valor Point capping has really kicked off in the blogosphere – and rightly so, because it’s an interesting topic.

Here’s a round-up of some of the key posts that have hit the blogs:

  • Killed In A Smiling Accident is getting his allegories on: “If each guild represents its own “nation,” then we’re discussing the virtues of having a state mandated religion. Namely, forcing a particular playstyle, a certain subscription, upon your guild members. “ (Also, +1 for the point about spending time on learning and tactics)
  • Looking 4 More is firmly on the side of less tightly-structured play: “I wonder, people who schedule their WoW time and run heroics for VP on a tight schedule, do you get annoyed with me when I have to afk for two minutes to change the toddler’s diaper?”
  • Stories of O feels people who say they don’t have time to Valor Cap are usually just inefficient: “I’m not really sure what runs people are doing that are so time consuming, but I work 50 hours a week, raid two days a week, maintain a social life, an active sex life, a family life, a blog, a podcast, and I still find time to be Valor Point capped each week.”
  • The honourable gentlemurloc (seriously, I love that tagline) from Murloc Parliament is pacing herself for a marathon, not a sprint: “No huge gaming sessions right after a patch release, but no totally slacking off a few weeks in, since I will still be needing stuff. “
  • Priest With A Cause warns of the dangers of Point Madness: “You don’t want to go crazy grinding them because you’ll burn yourself out, you’re putting yourself at an exceptionally high risk of getting grouped with rude and stupid puggers right now, and also… have you thought about 4.3 yet? There have been no news about that patch yet, but I reckon that it’s going to be at least another six months away.”

    • And Raging Monkeys believes that outcome is what counts: “Please, do me a favour: go see for yourself. Whatever someone else is telling you, take it with a pinch of salt. Do your best, but don’t let yourself be fooled or intimidated by talk and so-called guidelines.”

It’s an interesting debate, and highlights a common theme in the blogosphere – if you really want to get a lot of people arguing, suggest that they have to do something specific in their game time. (Tobold provoked a similar debate a while ago by suggesting that all tank-capable classes have a duty to tank in PUGs).

What do you think about the entire kerfuffle? Are you on the “screw that, this is a game” side or the “if you didn’t cap you’re letting your guild down” side? And have we missed any great posts?

All quotes taken directly from the relevant blog post

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