Editorial: Casual Raiding Guildings - Trials and Tribulations
Darren Bridle looks at an issue dear to the hearts of many guild members
There are many different reasons why guilds exist in MMORPGs. To give but a few examples:
The initial goal was to raid two nights per week, while still maintaining a casual guild atmosphere. This is a goal of a great many guilds in all MMOs, even between friends and relatives, raiding is split down the middle. Some want to raid, some don’t.
To iterate on this goal, here is a breakdown of some of the requirements for each side of the coin.
They like to meet new people. They don’t need a level requirement in order to get along with anyone, but rather enjoy grouping and have fun with players from all levels. Casual Gamers also like to play different kinds of characters, lovingly known as “Alts”, without feeling the need to power level and attain a certain level above all else. For the most part they do want to see the high levels of the game; they just are not in a hurry. Casual Gamers typically have real life commitments such as kids, job, and other hobbies. Gaming is not always their number one priority in life. Raid and Power Gamers
Obviously for the most part complete opposites of Casual Gamers, but typically they are more goals orientated. Raiders are interested in seeing zones that are only accessible to the most elite of players. These zones are typically extremely difficult and push the skills of the player to its fullest. In order for these zones to be attainable, raiders look to be the top of their game, in both level and equipment. They want to group with people similar to their level and constantly push to get that little extra juice out of their character. Alts are not such a big part of a power gamer’s schedule. They would rather work on a quest of epic proportions or play with friends in intense zones.
So with a good picture of the two sides, how do you get them to mesh? The answer is very carefully and very tactfully.
The best way to achieve this is with balance. If you give something to the raiders and power gamers, think about how it will affect the casual side. If it has a negative impact, then make something that the casual gamers can benefit from at the same time. For example if you want to implement a level restriction in the guild, make it so that it’s only for players coming into the guild that you are actively recruiting. If a casual gamer meets a low level player and gets on well, offer to invite them into the guild. This is just an example of how to balance out the two sides.
Just like power, politics and nature, balancing will come with its fare share of disasters and arguments. People will inevitably leave one side or the other. If a power gamer isn’t see the content he/she wants to see they will join a stronger guild. Likewise if a casual gamer feels they are being pressured too much, they will leave to join a more family orientated guild. These are things that a guild leader cannot control, but can limit with the use of balancing.
An important note for a guild leader to remember is that casual players do not have the same time as power gamers they have much more restraints. They do not have the time to spend posting feedback and suggestions on the forums. The best way to communicate to your casual gamers would be in guild chat or tells. A great idea for the casual’s is to have a few sessions where you can get everyone in a channel and just tell them what’s going on.
The power gamers of course, have more time and are usually the more vocal on forums and you can demand that of your raiders, since communication is more needed. However, the casual side cannot be demanded to check the forums, they just don’t have the time and don’t really care for the most part.
When Casual Turns Raiding
This scenario happens when your lower ranks of casual players attain the higher level of the game. You have to be careful as a guild leader and almost plan for it. If you recruit too many higher level players, casual players may feel left out and feel like it’s impossible to finally raid. Personally I try and find a balance using lower end raids. For example, we raid twice a week, one night we try to do some lower level content, like in EverQuest II, the Prismatic quests. Another night we do some Deserts of Flames level 60 raiding. That way there is something for everyone.
When it comes to recruiting, you need to recruit the right type of player for your guild. Do not promise a raiding guild, when you only raid new high end content once a week. Make sure they are fully aware that it’s a family atmosphere guild that promotes raiding twice a week. Try and get a feel for the person you are recruiting. But above all, don’t over recruit and push the casual gamers out of the raiding scene altogether, or the balance will shift and you will end up with a full blown raiding guild.
Ultimately, there will be clashes. Personally I have led both raiding guilds and casual/raiding guilds. The casual guild that likes to raid was by far the more stressful of the two. You know exactly where you stand with a raiding guild, they know what they need to do and get the job done. With a casual guild you need to rely on tact and balancing. The constant struggle between the two sides can be draining, but if you get it right, you will find yourself in a very fun, enjoyable and loyal guild.
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