Cataclysm recruitment: how hard is it?

Cataclysm. No PUGs raids. Dungeon PUGs strictly on an anonymous “we’ll never see each other again” basis. Heavy encouragement to only do any form of activity within your guild.

A number of people predicted that Cataclysm would see guild recruitment become staggeringly difficult. I know that in Herding Cats, we’ve experienced this personally – the wide network of people we knew in Wrath and TBC from dungeon running and PUG raiding has vanished like the morning dew, and frankly the idea of having to recruit anyone new right now fills me with terror.

Shintar at Priest with a Cause is finding the situation equally frustrating:

I used to have plenty of contacts outside our guild, but they have mostly dried up. Five-mans used to be the big thing to do with people outside your guild occasionally, but the dungeon finder has mostly killed that off too. So it’s not until you’re short on raiders that you realise that you’ve got nowhere to turn. I keep thinking that I should make a point of running the daily heroic again and ask in general chat whether anyone wants to join to get to know people, but seeing how I’m a healer and healers are exactly what we’re missing, that strategy wouldn’t really achieve much.

How much longer can this continue, I wonder?

Does this mesh with your experience? Is your guild panicking about what will happen if they lose a key tank or healer – or even DPS? Or are you finding recruitment as easy and fun as ever? (And if so, can we have some tips on how you’re doing it please? )

_Quote taken directly from Shintar’s post.

You can find Priest With a Cause’s homepage here_.

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The whole “player versus character” discussion

Lots of interesting discussion  on both Tobold’s blog and Syncaine’s blog about character ability versus player skill, which appears to rather be the topic of the moment.

I’m actually going to link to Syncaine’s follow-up post intially, which is an excellent discussion of the recruitment strategies of average WoW guilds, top WoW guilds, and guilds in other game styles like EVE and, yes, Darkfall.

Mental exercise time: if you are a guild leader, what criteria do you use when recruiting?

If you are an ‘average’ raid leader in WoW, you look at level/gear/achievements, exclude the psychos (unless it’s a healer, then you just pray the psycho can be contained long enough to progress), and you are good. Come raid time you hope the new recruit knows enough not to cause a wipe, but beyond that no real test of ‘skill’ is needed or considered.

He’s making the argument that Blizzard seem to be trying to get back to a more player-centric model in Cataclysm, which I would tend to agree with – but the entire discussion, particularly that of recruitment strategies, is an interesting read. (It’s certainly true that in previous guilds Rebecca and I have prioritised player personalities and skills over character gearing, and that’s worked very well for us).

Meanwhile, Tobold is addressing the question of what, exactly, we’re talking about when we talk about skill, revisiting a common thread in his journal of gear and “passive” skill (tactics guides, etc).

But once we admit that there should be *something* to do for the player in a MMORPG, we need to decide what exactly. What other kind of video game should a MMORPG be like? One school of thought bases that decision on the history of role-playing games, which evolved out of war games: Thus it would make sense if a MMORPG would play somewhat like a strategy game, and success would be based on your strategic or tactical decisions. But that sure isn’t the only option: MMORPGs like Puzzle Pirates show that a MMORPG can be based on puzzle mini-games, where it is your puzzle game skill that determines success. You could theoretically design a game in which your success is based on your skill in solving differential equations, but presumably there is no market for that.

He’s got a very interesting model of the design of WoW, one where, quite deliberately, as your character gains “skill”, the player requires less skill in various forms (reaction times, strategic knowledge). It’s a read I’d not seen before and one I found distinctly thought-provoking. Some of the comments are also very interesting (look for some martial arts nitpicking from yours truly), although others are, ah, of varying quality.

It’s nice to have a meaty topic to dig into in these quiet times, and I’m looking forward to seeing more discussion on the subject!

What are your thoughts on the player skill versus character skill issue?

Quotes taken from http://syncaine.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/the-value-of-the-player-behind-the-character/ and http://tobolds.blogspot.com/2010/10/character-skill-vs-player-skill.html

You can find Syncaine’s blog at http://syncaine.wordpress.com/ and Tobold’s at http://tobolds.blogspot.com

Read more →

The whole "player versus character" discussion

Lots of interesting discussion  on both Tobold’s blog and Syncaine’s blog about character ability versus player skill, which appears to rather be the topic of the moment.

I’m actually going to link to Syncaine’s follow-up post intially, which is an excellent discussion of the recruitment strategies of average WoW guilds, top WoW guilds, and guilds in other game styles like EVE and, yes, Darkfall.

Mental exercise time: if you are a guild leader, what criteria do you use when recruiting?

If you are an ‘average’ raid leader in WoW, you look at level/gear/achievements, exclude the psychos (unless it’s a healer, then you just pray the psycho can be contained long enough to progress), and you are good. Come raid time you hope the new recruit knows enough not to cause a wipe, but beyond that no real test of ‘skill’ is needed or considered.

He’s making the argument that Blizzard seem to be trying to get back to a more player-centric model in Cataclysm, which I would tend to agree with – but the entire discussion, particularly that of recruitment strategies, is an interesting read. (It’s certainly true that in previous guilds Rebecca and I have prioritised player personalities and skills over character gearing, and that’s worked very well for us).

Meanwhile, Tobold is addressing the question of what, exactly, we’re talking about when we talk about skill, revisiting a common thread in his journal of gear and “passive” skill (tactics guides, etc).

But once we admit that there should be *something* to do for the player in a MMORPG, we need to decide what exactly. What other kind of video game should a MMORPG be like? One school of thought bases that decision on the history of role-playing games, which evolved out of war games: Thus it would make sense if a MMORPG would play somewhat like a strategy game, and success would be based on your strategic or tactical decisions. But that sure isn’t the only option: MMORPGs like Puzzle Pirates show that a MMORPG can be based on puzzle mini-games, where it is your puzzle game skill that determines success. You could theoretically design a game in which your success is based on your skill in solving differential equations, but presumably there is no market for that.

He’s got a very interesting model of the design of WoW, one where, quite deliberately, as your character gains “skill”, the player requires less skill in various forms (reaction times, strategic knowledge). It’s a read I’d not seen before and one I found distinctly thought-provoking. Some of the comments are also very interesting (look for some martial arts nitpicking from yours truly), although others are, ah, of varying quality.

It’s nice to have a meaty topic to dig into in these quiet times, and I’m looking forward to seeing more discussion on the subject!

What are your thoughts on the player skill versus character skill issue?

Quotes taken from http://syncaine.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/the-value-of-the-player-behind-the-character/ and http://tobolds.blogspot.com/2010/10/character-skill-vs-player-skill.html

You can find Syncaine’s blog at http://syncaine.wordpress.com/ and Tobold’s at http://tobolds.blogspot.com

Read more →