Monday, January 12, 2009

The service of the guild

I've wrote a post that attracted more comments than ever before (deleted trolls excluded). You can read it if you really want, but it's no longer my opinion. Thanks for all commenters and those who have posts in this topic.

It all started as a response to a post of Matticus, who is disappointed because a holy paladin stopped raiding until Ulduar comes out, until he can get no more upgrade. I found the paladin's action obvious and was surprised that anyone finds it wrong. People kept telling that he owed much to his guild which he failed to return. A commenter even told that there is an untold, since obvious agreement between the guild and the member "We'll get you some loots if you promise to keep raiding with us".

I found it complete nonsense. The "guild" cannot give you anything, since it's an abstract term. While it's obvious that without the other raiders you cannot see any raid content (except in ghost form), it has nothing to do with "the guild". If the same 25 people would enter the instance as a PuG, the outcome would be exactly the same. Assuming you are not a slacker or a useless noob, you "get" nothing from the other PuG members. You do 1/25 of the work, so you deserve 1/25 of the loot, you owe them nothing. While unfortunately the loot cannot be distributed evenly, if everything happened according to the previously agreed loot rules you can blame no one if you end up with no loot. If 10 rogue loot drops, the only rogue owes you nothing, you can only quote Telestra.

And surprisingly everyone agree with it in a PuG. However if the people have the same guild tag, things magically change. People have obligations, loot is not distributed randomly but either by DKP which represent effort in previous raids, or the arbitrary will of the loot council. In a PuG the very same behaviour (giving the loot without /roll to someone just because he raided a lot before or because the raid leader thinks he needs/deserves it more) would be considered blatant ninjaing. I was sure that this guild-thing can be nothing more than survival of ape-subroutines, the irrational will of the people to belong to a group, to believe that they are among friends and than waste resources according to irrational group-dynamics.

However a very good question arises: if the guilds are just bunch of ape-minded people, how come that guild raids do the first kills and not PuGs? While there are such worthless guilds "Social raiding guild lf friendly peeps we have tabard and guild bank and have lot of fun /w me for inv", something plus must be in the good guilds or only social kids would gather into them and hardcore players would run with PuGs. LarĂ­sa wrote that "There’s a saying that 1+1 isn’t necessarily always 2, sometimes it makes 3. And that’s what a guild is about". I have to agree now that it must be true somehow, but "somehow" is not enough for me.

The first question is "who provides this magical service to the raider?". The "other 24" cannot be the answer, since there are other 24 in PuGs. The "raid leader" is also wrong answer, for the very same reason. Since I don't believe in spirits, immaterial answers like "team spirit" or "coordination" are unacceptable too. There is one person (or group) remains: the guild leader and the officers. They don't have to be present in the raid, still their effort somehow makes a difference between a good raiding guild and an average PuG.

But what is the service they provide? Deciding strat, distributing loot? Every PuG raid leader can do it (better or worse). "Inspiring the people?" People join PuG-s without inspiration or mandatory raiding since they want to raid (or at least the loot)!

The answer is so simple that it hurts. To find it, one have to ask only one question: "why do PuGs go bad often?". The answer is obvious: because of morons who stand in the fire, damage less than the survhunter's cat, go out of mana after 2 mins and have no idea about the strategy. So what does a good guild's leader and officiers do? Keep the morons out.

What you get from the guild leadership is the amount of time you would need to fish out such skilled people as your guildmates from the wast ocean of fire-loving, CC breaking, autoattacking morons. This is a very useful service therefore deserves payment. The payment is usually time spent "boosting" the new or unlucky members of the guild. You don't owe it to them, you owe it to the guildmaster and officers.

The best way to ruin an otherwise fruitful business is making implicit agreements. Obviously the parties have very different opinions about what they implicitly agreed. If everyone says in advance what he want, no such case can occur. I still think that the paladin has the right to stop raiding, since he never agreed otherwise. I think the reason why the agreements are not explicit is that the people feel that the guild leadership gives the raiders something, but can't tell what, so they can't offer or charge it explicitly. Now it can be changed: "I save you from morons, you raid for me 3 times a week".

I still think that the paladin owes nothing to the other raiders. They had the same chance to loot as him. If they couldn't, go after Telestra!

I still think that the servers are full of ape-minded people who demand everyone to serve everyone in the name of "loyalty, friendship and humanity". They do hate you if you dare to voice that you have needs and wishes. I still think they are stupid.

I still think that people do not keep (and without numerical records incapable to keep) records of the efforts of others, and later they claim "you took more than you deserve" without any ground, or threat you equally with someone who did much less than you.

I still think you can and shall prevent them from using you, even by using dirty tricks agains them like purposefully having crap gear to get "help" from them.

What's changed is that I don't think that Matticus got what he deserved. He gave something to this paladin and got nothing back (granted, he did not asked for it before giving his services). I don't think anymore that guild is just another PuG. There is hard work behind the roster and this work shall be properly payed. I don't think now that a guild leader who request certain raid attendance upon inviting is abusing you. He is just charging for his service. You don't have to accept it, you can go find other guild leader, or be one yourself or live without this service (PuGging). But if you buy his service, you have to pay the price.

I don't think that loot council is hopelessly wrong. It is one form of price for this service. The contract is "I guarantee that you can raid moron-free, in return you you accept that some loot that you would get in a PuG goes to someone I want to gear up for my own reasons".

Tobold wrote the dilemma "Having to decide how to distribute epics is not easy, if you realize that either you reward [those] doing less [effort], or you push those doing more [effort] towards taking leave or just plain leaving [the guild]. The only other alternative is to assume that people with a full set of epics will want to run the same raid dungeon over and over, just to equip the other players in their guild.". No, this dilemma is wrong, and the alternative is absolutely wrong. If there are serious differences between player skill and raid attendance, than the guild leader and officers failed to provide their services. They failed to fill the roster with good players, forcing the good ones to raid with slackers and idiots. Since they failed to deliver their service, they have no right to demand service from the good players. If they give the loot to the good ones, they stay and boost noobs until they get enough gear to get into a better guild. It's not a "risk of losing them", it's for sure. If the leadership give the loot to the noobs, the good ones leave right now, unless they have "use me like a tool" written to their foreheads.

One thing remains: if the purpose of the leadership is to make a moron-free roster, what would be the "perfect" guild, and why is it impossible? The perfect guild would accept all and every non-moron player. Practically it would have every skilled player on the server, so they could always PuG anything anytime from the guild roster. No one would be required to raid where he doesn't want to, since there are plenty of people who want that raid. Why is it impossible? Two reasons: at first the leadership would have to work much more (checking all these people) for the same reward. Most guild leaders do this work to have a good raid team for themselves. If they have the team, why bother getting others. Secondly people have ape-subrutines that make them biased for people they like. Eventually morons got in and the "perfect" guild would be no better than a random PuG. Only competition prevents it. If the leader tolerates nice morons, the guild will progress slower and the good raiders leave for another guild.

Yet something could be done: cooperation between good guilds to save each other from bad PuGs. If the guild tag of these guilds would be a mutually accepted guarantee for player skill, benched players could easily set up good PuGs between each other "LF2M healer and caster DPS 10 man Sartharion 1 drake, must be Guild1,2,3,4,5 member". This way people would try to get into these guilds even if no starter spot could be guaranteed, just to get into these elite-PuGs. The same way even small guilds would be viable as long as they contain only skilled players since other guilds would accept their guild tag as guarantee of quality.

Still I'm sceptical about this cooperation thing too. Many good guilds tolerate bad players in "non-raider" rank and badly geared alts. To make the guild tag a guarantee of quality, guilds must kick all the non-raiding buddies, undergeared alts, semi-active old players, leaving nobody inside but the real raiding staff. I doubt if any guild makes that move, leaving us where we are: PuG-ing needs lot of time organizing, and there are only a few good guilds with no recruiting of our class/spec.


Daniel said...

If that's how the Paladin felt as well, then maybe he would be better of joining PUGs? It's not about you owing anyone anything. Or paying anyone back. It's called teamwork and the willingness to help your guildies continue to run those instances so they are able to get the loot they want, just as you did.

If you (and I use the term "you" not directly, but abstractly) only care about yourself to the point where you neglect the other people in your guild, you should not be part of that environment.

It's easy to say things about joining PUGs now, but there are far fewer successful PUGs killing 25-man Malygos than clearing 10 or 25 man Naxx. And there will be further still once Ulduar is released. And the instance after that.

What incentive does Matt's guild have to bring this Paladin back again when Ulduar hits?

None. Like you said, there are other good players they could replace him with. Ones that won't forget that the RNG Gods didn't smile on their guild mates as frequently as they did for him.

That kind of attitude will kill progression. It may not happen in Naxx right now, but it will. For example, our guild had the same problem towards the end of BC. We cleared Black Temple and lots of us wanted to finish tackling Sunwell. But when a player leaves, quits, or whatever, the spot must be filled. And equally geared raiders don't go on trees. Add in enough people where you have to continue to gear them and your guild stagnates. We had to continue clearing old content to bring their gear level up to par with the content we wanted to run.

Sure, people get burnt out from raiding. But this early into the expansion with a brand new guild filled with new faces? I call bullcrap. He got the loot he wanted and bailed so he would no longer have to help anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Hypothetical Situation;

You have 79 eblams of heroism, you need 80 for your T7 Chest, so you go and PUG a heroic.

Do you drop out after the first boss because you've gotten what you wanted, or do you feel compelled to complete the instance for everyone else.

What if it's not a PUG, but friends or guildmates... you're almost sure to finish the instance, despite getting what you need.

Raiding guilds are the same thing, except that instead of measuring it by -an- instance, raiding guilds are planned over weeks and months of raid resets, since thats what it takes to get an entire guild through the content enough times.

Sure the paladin could ask to be benched as often as possible, and that makes sense. But if the guild NEEDS a healer for a raid, and he refuses because he doesn't need any loot, then he's prioritising his own gear above his guild. Most guilds have been together enough to be friends.

As I said in my comment on the other thread, he's not the sort of person I'd want in my guild.

Gevlon said...

@Daniel you did not have to "clearing old content to bring their gear level up". You have chosen to do so, instead of joining a guild where people are already at your gear level. Just because you was a pushover, don't expect others to be on too.

@Anonymus: I don't finish the instance for them, I finish it for my own extra badges and rep.

"raiding guilds are planned over weeks and months of raid resets, since" What you plan is your business and I don't have to bother about it. Of course we can make an agreement where you get something from me and I get something from you. A guild leader can come up with the offer: "1 epic/raid, if you get 2, you have to run a raid without loot". If people agree, than it's a deal. If there is no deal just implicit expectations, don't be surprised if you don't get what you want.

Pzychotix said...

I think you hit it on the mark, but didn't see it.

Matticus did get something from this paladin: the month or so of raiding performance from this paladin. Obviously if the guild didn't need him, the paladin would've never gotten to raid and get such loots. Therefore the guild did need his performance, and was thusly rewarded.

Matticus established a contract with this paladin. The paladin then broke off the contract, and neither party owes anything to the other once the contract is broken. Certainly there are always regrets when someone breaks a contract, but it should always be known that there is zero obligation from either side to continue with the contract indefinitely.

Mokhtar said...

Want to think everything in business terms ? Then what this Paladin did is nothing short of a breach of contract.
Yes it's a moral contract but I don't know any guild that doesn't have a charter you're supposed to abide with, this charter is the contract. Ours specifically says that you're recruited in the guild to raid, short of real life obligations or leaving the game you're supposed to raid, if you don't, act like this paladin and play in burst : you get the kick.

Tobold said...

Are you, personally, as good a raider as the guys from Nihilum? I guess you are not. Thus if you were in a Nihilum raid, *you* would be the "moron and slacker", and it would be the duty of the guild leader to remove you.

Now I'll further assume that you don't think of yourself as a moron and slacker. Why? Because you compare yourself to some other group than Nihilum. Although you are a less good player than the very best, it is totally possible that you are among the top in your lesser guild. Your guild master and raid leader would be stupid to kick you out, although your *absolute* level of moroness and slacking hasn't changed.

And the person that you consider to be a moron and slacker again might be one of the better raiders in an even less good guild. Skill and dedication of any raider are relative.

You might be right that it is the duty of the raid leader to gather the right people together and exclude those that aren't suited. But there are no "morons" and "slackers" in absolute terms. He doesn't and can't provide a "moron-free environment", he can and should only gather a group of similar skill and dedication. As long as that group find a particular raid fun and challenging, and is having fun doing so, everything is fine. If Nihilum or you consider these people to be morons, and that dungeon that is fun and challenging for them to be way too easy, that isn't the problem of the less skilled raiders; it's your's.

Or as some wise man said: Everyone who plays more than me is a no-lifer, everyone who plays less than me is a slacker.

Klinderas said...

Hello Gevlon!

I must admit, your ideas are intriguing... and not usually mainstream. It's interesting and refreshing to see someone who can articulately and consistently argue and idea that isn't considered the "norm".

@ Tobold

I think I already know Gevlon's answer to your first question. He would want the guild leader to /gkick him because of his incompetence. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Back to Gevlon

Thing is, we can argue about the solid facts, about science and so on, for eternity. We can talk about ape subroutines for a whole century(and many people have!) about how humans manage to co-operate. But psychology isn't a real science: people can continue to surprise anyone. People can be intelligent, stupid, crazy, anything at all.

I respect your beliefs on people, but here's a little food for thought...

People cannot be measured. They cannot be scientifically proven. They can be guessed, but they cannot be certain. Human being have no scientific quotient.

Why do some people help those in need? Because we feel the need to. I help people because I think that the world is now a better place thanks to me. That I have contributed to this person's life makes me happy.

To you, this is a loss of time, and time=money. To me, I find I have lost nothing.

I am curious to see what you think about what I said.

Keep writing! I do enjoy your blog, and like I said, it is very interesting!

Klinderas said...


As a quick example, why are you helping us learn how to make money?
Teaching is different than boosting you say, but really it's not.

Teaching takes time.

Time = money.

So why are you boosting us? ;)

Chris said...

These opinions are generally shared with me-first members who expect more of their officers than they provide as a member...who likely have not been an officer or GL in a successful guild for any period of time.

Remember this - it's a game. The officers and GL are *playing* this game too - they don't exist to provide you with the perfect environment that you demand. You should be actively contributing to the environment as well.

Anonymous said...

I am a long time reader of this blog, compliments to Gevlon for his wits and acumen :) (that being said I disagree a lot with what he says often, I am nearer to Larisa in my vision of the game/life). I apologize for eventual mistakes, I am not an english native.

I am surprised at the reasonment that the Goblin brought here, so I will try some goblin thinking.
I will use what happened to Matt and his paladin as an example.

It was said a lot of time concerning market (read: the posts about monopolism) that the common (market) good is not prosecuted ( killing the monopolist market) but it's rather a byproduct of the goblin personal interest: global interest is propelled by the advantage of the single as a secondary effect.
Here I would have expected a similar thinking of Gevlon.
It is true that you can easily gear yourself pre naxx, but it is as well expected (from what blizzard is hinting) that Uldaman will be tougher, probably requiring naxx gear.

Now, the second point that matters here.
What is a (raiding) guild?
It's a group of people that want to enjoy -progress- in PVE endgame.
Now, I totally agree that the partecipation to a raid entitles you to a share of the lot as a right for your effort.
So it seems that the paladin is right in saying "I raided for X months, I earned my gear, no obligations exists, I have what I need to raid and I do not want to boost others in naxx".
But consider this: gearing for naxx is doable and expected to be done outside raiding ( crafting, heroics etc). Gear for Ulda will come from naxx though, and to defeat Ulda you will need 24 geared people or it won't happen, and since you want to progress endgame you want them to be geared.
Ofc you can say "loot council/luck blessed me, I can find another guild since I am geared for it".
The problem is, how that guild you are going to got the gear?
Forbidding some unbeliavalbe RNG with drops, it happens by doing what you deprecate: by sticking together and "boosting" each other in sight of further challanges.
So while deprecating a behaviour you look for a better "group", whose results are actually coming from that behaviour you criticized in the first place.
Benefit for the group: benefit for the single - sometimes it happens the other way around too.

Marco said...

First thing I have to comment on here is what you refer to as ape-mindness of people. It is in the very core of a human being to be social and as such we create social groups. It is not something we should try to throw away.

Secondly, you say you throw away `coordination' as a valid argument as to why certain raid groups perform better than others. Now, I do not know what your extent of raiding experience really is, but let me tell you - coordination is one of the most important things that make a raid successful. You might not be able to see it in this joke of content we have in WotLK, but it is obvious on any Sunwell boss - from Kalecgos to Kil'jaeden.

Obviously, not having retards that stand in fire is the premise to a good raid group and I cannot argue against that.

Next - gear. That is the thing that makes us (guilds) able to progress. The paladin in question already got (all) the gear needed for Ulduar, but his guild mates, the ones he's planning on doing the new content with - haven't. For a new instance everyone needs the top-notch gear. Stopping raiding just because you've got everything and then coming back and doing the new content with the same people is something you shouldn't really expect. You call it `boosting', but how is it one's fault if the RNG didn't favor him, but rather his guild mate. Ultimately, you should be happy when anyone in the raid gets gear upgrades as that will help you kill content easier.

To finish, the basic goal for every raider should be to see all the content and have fun while doing it. Obviously, farming for countless weeks (think Black Temple) is not a whole lot of fun, but it's what allows you and your guildies to experience the higher tier of content.

bodphrah said...

Comming from a raid leader/organiser/arse kicker of drama llama's point of veiw I also would have kicked the guy out and replaced him, truth is when your in a guild and show you mean business, if you show weekness and let them get away with too much, drama breeds drama, which to the point as you said "Apes" or what I've always called it a sheep mentality.

It depends on the person ofc, I co-lead a rather sucessful social guild (been about 2 years and seen quite a bit of raiding content, although slightly slower than most hardcore raiders), now the problem is if everyone had this attitude the game would never work, people would fight for just them and it just wouldnt be fun.

There are solutions ofc, to the point I feel inspired start my own blog on ideas of guild leading as it would be too much content to list here.

but to the point, building a good social side can work in favor, speaking with quiet people, doing stupid or fun events...even going out for beers IRL, though ofc for some this works, for some it doesn't.

Also regarding to loot: try a token rule, people hate DKP, token rule is working well for us basicly its like a loot council and /roll light with a token people get priority for, one token per raid or week in roll order:
Token roll
Normal need roll
Offspec roll

I takes some getting used too but its a good idea.

Gevlon said...

@tobold good ideas and will be answered in a post later. Quick answer: I wouldn't even apply to a guild where I wouldn't be able to hit the standards.

@Klinderas: I share my ideas with people for two reasons. At first I learn from their replies (personal gain), secondly the world becomes better place and I live in it (long term investment).

Teaching IS different than helping, because the knowledge is able to multiply while items not. If I give you my one hour salary, I lost the money, you gained it, end of story. If I teach you for an hour, I lost my one hour salary, you gained the information and EVERYONE else, you will teach will also get the information.

I've never met Isaac Newton. Yet his teachings reached me.

@Chris: NO, I'm not. I'm supposed to be on time, with consumables, knowing the strat and to heal according to the assignment. It's not my job to maintain any environment, besides not making drama.

@Anonymus: believing that people need help is actually denying their ability to reach anything on their own. Any 25 people who gathered their pre-Naxx gear and have proper skills are capable of clearing and therefore gearing from Naxx. They DON'T need boosting from already Naxx geared players.

So in Naxx there should be people on the spectra from Naxx-ready to 90% Naxx geared.

Those who NEED 100% Naxx geared players in the raid are the NOT Naxx ready players, who either run in unenchanted greens or just useless morons.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid I disagree, my experience (BT/SWP raiding) that kind of reasonment is good in Naxx (Kara). Hitting Ulda (TK-SSC probaly) undergeared can be done but it is a bad idea and again, what happened past Uldaman? Your reasonment is sound.... for Naxx only. After that, it loses value unless things are totally different from the past, because you will need an overall good gear level.

Anonymous said...

hasty comment from work, bad for "grammer"

Fish said...

you have a real gem here goblin. I will advance one other reason why guilds function better than PuG's. Knowing the other players in the group, their preferrences and tendencies gives you a tactical advantage. It allows you to play up strengths and minimize weaknesses that PuGs don't allow.

Hagu said...

1) Might I suggest moron does not best describe what you are trying to avoid. My SAT/GRE scores, and trade chat, suggest I am brighter than 99% of the people in WoW. Yet I am a keyturner who did have great reflexes even when younger. I spent 15k gold on gear when my alt hit 80, read EJ, but you would not want me dancing with Heigen. But don't turn your back on me in the AH!

2) Have you thought about a business opportunity? A "Good House Keeping Seal of Pugability" (With apologies to Rand and Crane - The Red Badge of Objectivism). So people can keep their guild with friends, alts, and scintillating guild chat. But when it comes time to PuG, you would want someone (who has paid GG to be) certified. Maybe not a gold back guarantee but perhaps a website where you can see members WWS and leave comments, good or bad. So PUG leaders would like some assurances and people would want to assure so as to be picked. I suspect it is too logical and guilds too entrenched.

Daniel said...

@Gevlon Hardly a pushover. We still had a large chunk of players. More than would be effectively merged into another guild. Having a core group of players you enjoy playing with is integral to enjoy raiding.

But the attitude of "Me above everyone else" might work in some situations, but not for progressive raiding. No one wants leeches and that kind of attitude towards helping guildies is being a leech.

If you are joining a raiding guild, there should be multiple reasons you are doing it. Simply wanting gear for yourself is not sufficient. One of them should be the desire to be part of a competent team capable of progressing.

Lupius said...

Funny how several commentors here think that you're implicitly obligated to give back to the guild more than you get. If you decide to give no more than you're receiving, you're suddenly labeled "me-first", "me above everyone else". Another fine example of the ape-subroutine?

The current situation in my guild is such: loot distribution follows a modified DKP system (EP/GP ratio). I am fully Naxx-geared because for 2 weeks in a row I had RL stuff conflicting with raid schedule, so I ended up pugging and had RNG work in my favour, costing no GP.

Now I face two choices:
a) Attend raids as usual and accumulate EP to get priority on Ulduar gear, and watch hunter drops get d/e'ed or passed to shaman offspec
b) Take a break and give my raid spot to lesser geared hunters in the guild

So my situation is the exact reverse of what is talked about in your post. If I keep raiding, I do it for personal gain while boosting guild members. If I stop raiding, boss drops will not be wasted and the overall gear level of the guild increases.

This of course has to do with the market for different roles in the raid. While there is always a high demand for healers, dps roles are always high in supply.

Pzychotix said...

The thing about "team spirit" is that 99% of the time, it doesn't apply in PVE. It's not like a sport where players must be in sync and mesh together.

Certainly, if a guild can mesh 25 players together, they would be a top tier guild, but the majority of the time, this type of performance is not needed. Everyone only needs to do their own job to the best of their ability in order to down bosses. There's very little in the ways of teamwork, as most jobs are independent of the other.

Everyone only needs to perform the task assigned to them in order for the raid to complete the encounter.

@Daniel: You're looking at it from the perspective of the guild, and not the player. From the perspective of the guild, certainly they wouldn't want such a player. However, for the player, it is in his best interest to find a guild that has as best gear as a possible, to do the least amount of work.

Yes, this is a selfish viewpoint, I realize, but that's the facts of the matter. Obviously, this viewpoint switches the moment he gets into good geared guild: he'll want as few other leeches as possible while he's around.

Amava said...

Useless fluff to start the comment: love your blog. fun to read. agree with lots. disagree with some.

One thing is missing from your analysis of Wayne taking leave from Matticus guild...what if it is not a guild of morons who Wayne is expected to boost?

What if it is a guild of players who work equally hard as Wayne, do all the nice things (flasks, show up on time, know strategy in advance, do lots of DPS, make mana last long time) same as Wayne, make equal investment in enchants/gem/inscription/arcanum/leg-armor as Wayne, act in goblin self-interest same as Wayne?

However, Random Number Generator dropped Wayne's gear first.

If the others in the guild were under-geared because they're mouth breathing, time wasting dumbs who say "lol, run me thru deadmines, kthxbai", I would agree with you that Wayne needs to get out and not boost.

RNG favoritism does not build any debt upon Wayne, however a team of apes becomes stronger than a group of individual apes due in part because of trust we build that we will help eachother through dry-spells of Random Numbers.

The whole insurance industry is built on that foundation. A group of people "working together" (via payment to insurance company) can more readily absorb random events than can any one individual on his own.

Shameless link: another analysis of the topic can be found here: Bribe vs Reward

Pzychotix said...

@Amava: Obviously, if he wants to continue raiding with that same guild in the future, it would be in his best interests to boost other people. However, this is something that was addressed in the first post:

If he really did get lucky with the RNG gods and is geared up the wazoo now, he's got the gear and the goods to go to any other guild that'll take him.

Your analogy only goes so far; in WoW, it is far easier for someone to change guilds than it does for a person to jump ship and start working for another insurance company.

Gothica said...

Thanks for another thought-provoking post, Goblin, I enjoy your blog a great deal.

I think you're wrong here. I think it's a mistake for an economist to view complex matters purely in economic terms.

There is a value in a raiding guild that is greater than the sum of their individual skills plus loot. When my guild was wiping over and over on Kil'Jaeden what kept us going was belief in each other. We had played together for some time and knew that we were part of a capable group of people despite the prime facie evidence suggesting the fight was impossible (we wiped over and over). Real progression through tough content requires a dedication not only to raiding but to your team.

This is a widespread mechanic visible in many other elements of human life. Countries instill patriotism in their children so that those children will grow up to support the country regardless of their self-interest. Imagine if bomber squadrons could be "purchased" by any nation offering a more lucrative deal.

Many sports teams assemble a galaxy of expensive stars and then fail against opponents of less skill but more grit. To get a sports team functioning at the highest level you need both quality and resolve.

Even businesses rely on their employees feeling comfortable and secure in their roles and not job-swapping too much. If everyone jumped job from day to day based on some existentialist appraisal of where the money is most organisations would flounder.

That being said I have a lot of sympathy with the paladin in question.

First, and a point no one seems to have considered in these posts, is that the guy is probably just new and didn't even think that his decision could impact the guild. After all we all turn down invites to instance runs etc all the time when it doesn't help us and no one minds. What he is doing is no different to what a lot of other raiders do - I remember the raid scene dying at 60 when for the last few weeks High Warlord weapons were available for a few days AV grinding. The majority of raiders stopped raiding for exactly the same reasons as this chap - the gear wasn't worth it.

Next point is Paladin healing loot is over-represented. The typical Naxx 25 boss drops 3-4 plate items of which 1-2 have spell power. The average 25 man raid will have about 2-3 plate wearing tanks, 3-4 plate wearing melee dps and 1 plate wearing healer yet the loot is handed out 33%/33%/33%

That's poor game design.

So I feel quite sorry for both Matticus and his Holy Paladin. Neither has deliberately gone out to cause problems for other people but the nature of the game is pushing them into conflict.

Anonymous said...

Hey there,

I'm the guy who posted the first comment on your other post.

About the guild vs PUG thing.
As you already mentioned a guild provides you with a moron free environment. For me this is about 70% of the reason to stick with a guild. The other 30% are about the people. I mean face it, WoW is an MMO and therefor other people are a big part of it.
I find it hard to understand what you want from this game.
Of course you want fun but what makes WoW fun for you?
Just like me you enjoy playing with the economic part of it.
But what do you expect from the rest of it?

You have to understand that it's a give and take situation for raiding. I agree that DKP is probably the most fair way of giving out loot. But it's also one of the harder ones to use for progressions when you get to a point where new people come into play.
Since i'm in a guild that pushes hard on progress we're using loot councill so we can gear up what we need. Tanks are to squishy, tier tokens for them. Raidhealing a problem tier tokens for the healers. Hitting enrage timers (lol) tier tokens for the dps classes.

We can basicly devide guilds into 3 category's.
There's the hardcore guilds who try to clear everything as fast as possible.
The average guild that raids alot but somehow gets stuck on bosses for quite a while which i think is the majority of the raiding guilds.
And there's the casual / friends guilds. Usually guilds with little groups of friends in it. These guilds have a lot of members.

So it really depends on what you want. All of them have their ups and downs and there's usually not much you can do about it.

Since you bought quite some crafted gear and BoE's when you hit 80 i assume you want to be in the first category.
When it comes to gear there you should compare yourself to other ppl of your class on your realm and not to your guildies.
Yes that tank might have 3/5 T8 and you don't have any tier items yet. But keep in mind that gearing your tank makes progress and clearing easier thus giving you faster loot in the end. (I'm assuming here that the tank will be the weakest link... it might be your healing and you'll have 3/5 T8 while your tank doesn't have any tier pieces yet)

What i'm trying to say is, just ask yourself what you expect from raiding and guilds and than find a guild that fits your needs.
If there isn't any just ask some people in the better guilds on your realm if you can get a spot in their alt / casual raids and stay unguilded.

Just don't forget that a guild is a group of people and not everyone agrees with everything. It's all about finding that thin line where everyone is happy although they don't get everything the way they want it.

As for the pally, I won't change my opinion about that. He should've made his problems clear earlier and acted accordingly to what ever feedback he got.
Yes he might've gotten the same loot if he was lucky enough to join PUG's with brains and no other pally's but he chose not to.

Anyway, i wish you good luck with finding a nice guild and keep up the good work :)

- Zeph

The Standing Dragon said...

Goblin - I'm right there with you, actually, in this one.

@most posters:

Y'all think in social terms because we /like/ social groups - we are, well, ape-minded. We like family, community, and group interests. We enjoy being around like-minded folks. That doesn't change the simple fact that as soon as you add goals, time requirements, and focus to a simple group dynamic you're entering the space of the economist.

The most valuable commodity you have is time. Period. It is the ultimate metric by which all endeavor is valued. In fact, in the Real World, a 'dollar value' is ultimately related almost explicitly back to time.

What /is/ a dollar? What does it mean? When you hold money in your hand... what are you really holding? Simply? You are handling the physical representation of the value of your time, based on your training, willingness to work, social circumstance - any number of a dozen different factors.

In a barter economy - as raiding guilds are in the absence of skilled labor pools available for common currency - you trade TIME for CONTENT. That is, you put your time in with the group to see content you'd not otherwise have an opportunity to see.

To do this, you need gear. Stuff. Interestingly, the stuff enables you personally to do more - the currency in which your work is measured is /gear/. Rather, it is the effect of that gear on your avatar - a sort of virtual wealth. Additionally, you need people around you that also have stuff of equivalent value - the content cannot be seen without it.

(Which leads to 'Mudflation', but that's something else entirely.)

It does mean, however, that the same lessons that apply in real world business can be applied here: put it all in writing. Make your expectations clear. Limit your exposure. Maximize the utility of your time.

That's really all it takes: put your expectations in writing. Make them reasonable. Show what virtues you support, and let people know before they commit. Above all, have an exit clause: 'how can you quit without generating bad blood?'

Above all, you must understand that you are all operating from an assumed demand for Content. The Paladin is not currently in the market for more content. He has no impetuous to gear others, no need for the guild-as-a-group. His motivation to spend time on this endeavor - a valuable commodity - is gone.

Burn-out? Probably. It's a good word for it. Burn-out is, economically speaking, when the value of the return on your time drops below a threshold that makes you want to continue the activity.

(I used to play Warhammer 40k all the time. I got pretty good. The local players actually quit challenging me, as I was one of the top players in the area. The fun began to evaporate: if you do all this work to play, but you don't get many games anymore, what's the point? I burned out. Now I hardly pick up the models - why? There's just no return on investment here, right now.)

The Goblin's right. The economic analysis, while using very focused, charged language, is spot-on. The solution is simpler than it seems: be forthright, be upfront, and make no assumptions.

But don't think you're immune to the market. You're in it every day, yes - even in WoW.

Broodthorn said...

"You do 1/25 of the work, so you deserve 1/25 of the loot."

I find this a hilarious line to be taken by an ostensibly Objectivist writer. Both parts are false.

First, not all participants in a raid have the same output. Second, there is no absolute value to the different types of outputs. Thirdly, compensation for output is always negotiable.

Using the word "Deserve" is usually where everyone goes wrong.

Kevin said...

I'm suprised that a fairly astute business blogger doesn't recognize a business when he sees one. A raiding guild is simply a business (as are most others but to a somewhat lesser extent). The type of business is a co-op. The players are agreeing to work together to acquire assets they cannot acquire in any other way.

The problem Matticus had was two fold: the terms of the co-op were implicit and the paladin didn't live up to those terms.

The implicit terms of virtually ever raiding guild is that the guild will help you acquire gear at the cost of you helping the other members of the guild acquire the same level of gear. If you leave a guild (or stop raiding) when you have a higher level of gear than the average guild member, you have not met the (implicit) agreement you made when you started to raid with them.

People get upset at people like this paladin because they have broken their promise and taken in a larger amount than they contributed.

Charlene D. said...

Facinating stuff, all of it. To me, it comes down to this. This is a game, and people's various behaviors are a constant.

I run a guild. We raid endgame. I have people who gear up, get tired, stop and come back when they're in the mood.

I have people who want more power, and who show up to gain guild promos, and demand rewards equal to their ambition.

I have people who show up for progress and fun. If it's not fun, they don't show. If it's not progess, they don't show.

I have people who just plain old like us. They show for loyalty and friendship.

Rule 1 in my raid leading: WoW is not a job, and if you make it one, you're wrong.

Rule 2: You won't change the basic personality of your players. They are what they are when they join. So decide what you want when you accept a player.

Rule 3: You accept losses (people who move on, people who quit) and get over it. They're not bad people. They pay the same 15 bucks you do. They should go where they have fun for their money.

As a raid leader, it's my job to know the fights, know what it takes to win the fight, and guide the group in that direction.

We succeed even with so-called 'morons and/or lazy people' because we let 'em practice or we coach. We expend resonable efforts and resources to help them.

I hate gbanks. Hate 'em. A guild bank with one item in reserve is drama waiting to happen. A guild bank accumulating money is a waste. To that end, we have reasonable restrictions so a hacker can't clean us out. But we pay for repairs, we give away everything. Flasks, enchants, gems.

A good guild leader thinks of the guild as a collection of people after one thing: fun. Accept that and the drama just...stops.

We started our guild about the time of this post. As of this moment, we're clearing the same endgame content as the best on our server; and it isn't because we expect people to do things they don't want to do.

Subscribe to the goblinish wisdom