Guild Direction

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Guild Direction

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:34 pm

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Anubis
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Now that the server vote is well and truly underway, I figure it's as good a time as any to raise another issue that I feel we should probably discuss before the game launches - guild direction.

When I think back to our most successful group - WoW:EU - it did a lot of things right. But that said, it did one large thing wrong. I think we kind of went into the game without giving enough thought to general long term direction, something which came back to bite us later on in the guild's lifetime when large fractures began to emerge between the views of different factions within the SSX as to what direction the guild should take. Whilst I don't think it's possible to go into an unknown game with a fixed ruleset as to the overall direction our guild would take, I DO think it's possible to go in with a general vision and/or foundation which we can build upon in order to hopefully prevent the aforementioned fractures forming this time round.

So with that in mind, I think it would be useful for us each to share our views on, and discuss, how we feel the guild should orient itself - taking yourselves and everyone else into account whilst doing so.

My own view for a few months had been that we should define ourselves as a casual guild. I do not feel that a "Raiding guild" fits what the SSX is - a view that has not changed since I voted against that prospect regarding the fate of WoW:EU - but felt that treading in between that option and a Casual guild would put us in danger of falling to the same fate as WoW:EU did. Having a confused identity, which different people saw as different things and ultimately caused a split.

Having said that, a few months ago a few of us chatted about the topic in IRC and Ava managed to convince me otherwise. He successfully argued with me that the guild realistically needed to cater to everyone if it was to have any chance of success, and that occurring would not necessarily create the fractures that killed WoW:EU. The importance would be clearly defining how we would approach the split.

What Ava suggested, which I liked the idea of, was that individual 'raiding groups' be formed by members if that is the content path they wish to proceed down. Since it is highly doubtful that WoWesque 40 man raids will be in the game, it's feasible that we could get (for example) four 5 man raiding groupsa (should 5 man be the standard) set up each comprising of different people, and each feasibly operating at different tiers of content.

For example, should Ava start the first raiding group within the guild, they can slowly work their way up the tiers at their own pace. A couple of weeks later, if Ash has just capped and wants to start raiding but his gear/skills are not suitable for the raids Ava's group is now doing, he can form his own five man group and start off the same process. Feasibly, some people from Ava's group could drop down and help out on the lower tier raids if they wanted to do so, but they wouldn't be forced to - thus circumventing the need for everyone to be permanently running the same instances over and over, which ended up hurting WoW:EU quite a bit in and of itself when many people tired of the same content after 300 runs through it.

If through this process the people in Ash's group then get their gear/skills at the required level for the instances Ava's group is running, this system would also side step another great problem with raiding - people being left out. Sure, if the groups wanted to trade people amongst themselves that's fine. But because we're running with multiple groups (more than likely without 'reserve members'), all members of those groups should get a chance to tackle the content on a fairly regular basis. There should realistically be no "we don't need any more Inquisitors tonight", because the groups would have been formed and operated as a balanced party since their establishment.

So what would this system mean? Effectively, it would hopefully allow everyone to play the game in their own way whilst catering to as many as possible. Those who want to play casually needn't get involved if they don't want to, but the system would hopefully provide the necessary support for everyone to raid should they want to, without being too unfairly reliant on specific individuals in order to do so. The issue that the system will run into is initially gathering enough people for the first couple of groups, though hopefully guild recruiting would take care of that! Once they are established though, the system would hopefully be somewhat self sustaining.

What do people think, and do you have your own ideas that you think would work better, or differing views on the direction the guild should take?
"Perhaps this is what I have always wished for since that day. The loss and destruction of all. That's right, one must destroy before creating. In that case, if my conscience becomes a hindrance to me, then I will simply erase it. I have no other choice but to move forward....therefore!" - Lelouch vi Britannia/Zero, Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch

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Re: Guild Direction

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:08 pm

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Ash
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Nice post Anny and I agree with Ava in his opinion about catering for all.
The one point we may be missing is the way that TOR will be dealing with end game content.

Just a quick recap from my understanding of the PvE setup.

The base group is 4, Flashpoints have been geared towards a group of 4, whether 4 players
or 2 player/2 companions or a mix thereof.

Operations (Raids) are going to be 8 and 16 man.
From what I understand the final decision on loot distribution has not been decided BUT
they were talking of player specific loot and a token system for the 8 man Operations
and player specific loot/token system and some sort of unique drop for the 16 man.
Although they also have a difficulty setting which may also determine the quality of drops/ number of tokens.
But note the game itself will be dishing out loot, which means no DKP system required and hopefully less arguments.
(Hallelujah, praise the lord and pass the ammunition.. :p )

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Re: Guild Direction

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:37 am

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M.Steiner
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I think with WoW being the biggest group we've ever had we can be let off slightly for not thinking about our long term direction and endgame before we got into that game. I don't know about the other guys who founded the group but never in a million years did I expect us to be running 40 man raids, clearing and farming many of them. Never entered my head.

Now we've had that experience, both good and bad, we can hopefully prepare better.
The type of community we are can make life difficult in games like that. Trying to keep things fair and include everyone in the guild but when you look back on it wasn't exactly fair on the people running those when there were so many who either couldn't be bothered or didn't have the time to put some effort in yet expected to join in. It became our focus as a guild and regardless of whether we tried to avoid it when recruiting that was all some people cared about when it came down to it. Expected it given on a plate, all past instances run for them so they could catch up to everyone else etc.
I remember Ava making a comment on IRC at the time of our last chat on this and he was bang on. All that time & effort people like him put into doing that for those individuals and where are they now?

Honestly, I had no idea about how we should tackle the subject of raiding & things like that but I do like the ideas put forward. I don't think the guild as a whole should be labled as having a particular "focus" but the idea of having set pvp/pve groups within the guild seems like a good idea. Thankfully there won't be any crazy 40 man but 4/8/16 which should make life a lot easier. I also believe a companion can be a substitute for a player too if the party isn't full. Though probably not as affective as a RL player, well some anyway lol :p

None of us will be raiding any time soon with the 200 reported hours of gameplay for each class but if when we get to endgame a number of us are interested in progressing further as a group this seems like a good option. Group 1 is formed & starts running those together and then if in some weeks or months later some other members cap and are interested in doing the same there's no reason why those individuals couldn't take the initiative and set a group 2 up for themselves. Or the same if some people want to start a pvp group within the guild together.
Tbh we've already done this in the past to a degree. In Neocron whilst we all participated in OP wars, caving, RP and hunting WBs together but there was only ever a small selection of us who farmed AreaMC5 together. On occasion Biggie and a few others may have joined us but 9 times out of 10 it was myself and/or QD PPUing (healing for those who didn't play) Rah and/or BD. Later on I believe Gryph and a few others attempted the place in their own little group but it wasn't an activity which everyone in the guild took part in and not one they expected to either. You needed to be properly prepared for that place so we didn't take just anybody. Yet there was never any problem with this and it worked very well.

In a way I'd see the group1/2/3 etc running similar. Give the people who are running & arranging those complete freedom of who tags along for the ride without worrying about what is and isn't "SSX" like. If there's no space left or if they aren't properly geared for it or whatever they'll just have to get off their bums and try put something together themselves with some of our other members. No difference to calling out over guild chat to see if anyone wants to run Gnomeregan with you is it?. Or arranging to run a set instance together some other day?. - Hopefully with a system like this new people who join us won't be expecting from the get go that they can leech off any raiding groups already established and is possibly a better way to try and cater to everyone.

Be interesting to hear others thoughts on this subject too. We've made some mistakes in the past, myself included, which I wouldn't wanna see happen again so I'm open to suggestions. - I do think we should take each day as it comes when we get ingame but it's probably for the best that we have an idea of what systems we'd put in place should the need arise. Until I get to this point myself I don't know whether I'd want to be doing endgame pve, pvp, both or whether there will be anything else that players can invest their time in like there was tradeskilling in NC. I do know I'll be wanting to do something like that though rather than just rolling alt after alt. :)
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Re: Guild Direction

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:33 pm

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Anubis
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Ash wrote:The base group is 4, Flashpoints have been geared towards a group of 4, whether 4 players
or 2 player/2 companions or a mix thereof.

Operations (Raids) are going to be 8 and 16 man.

Ah, right. I was unaware of those numbers. I think 4 and 8 would fit in well with the suggested 'group' system, though unless we combine groups at the higher level I think we might struggle to make up 16 player groups for at least a little while (though, as MS said, it's not like we'd be wanting to run 16 man instances on Day 1).

It's also a very good point that companions can be taken along too - which should help the system along a lot, should we choose to follow that approach. I really like that idea from Bioware - effectively meaning that we only need half the required numbers per raid with appropriate companion choices. Very helpful, especially whilst we'd be getting the system established.

Just with regards to something MS said, I'm not necessarily saying "oh, all those people who started WoW:EU did a terrible job by not considering this". Not at all. It's easy to judge with hindsight, but you're right when you say that I don't think any of us would have imagined how successful the group would be when we first started it - and similarly, having never really been in a similar situation in a group before, we didn't have past experience telling us "we should probably think about this".

What happened to WoW:EU should be looked at as a learning experience, and used to ensure that we don't end up in the same situation again - hence this thread. Please don't take it as criticism. That was not my intention at all. I just wanted us to have discussions with a view to avoiding the same pitfalls now we know they're there.
"Perhaps this is what I have always wished for since that day. The loss and destruction of all. That's right, one must destroy before creating. In that case, if my conscience becomes a hindrance to me, then I will simply erase it. I have no other choice but to move forward....therefore!" - Lelouch vi Britannia/Zero, Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch

Forever an eXile and proud of it!

Re: Guild Direction

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:24 pm

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Zephir
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Currently an operation can be run as 8 man or 16 man, and can be run in normal or hard mode. They do plan on adding different modes at some point.

Also operations are end game content and as such are available only at level 50.

The other group content comes in as you level the first flashpoint is available when you leave your origin world at around level 9/10, and there are 2+ and 4 man group quests available on every planet.

There is a stickied post on the swtor forums that collates all information released by Bioware.

As for our direction, I play for fun, if a guild makes doing content feel like work or an obligation it ceases to be fun. I have always felt that if you want to run group content then YOU need to get off your ass and find a few like minded members of the guild. While I like guild events and participate when I'm able I really do not want a guild to tell me I have to do X and Y in order to participate in group content.

So I'm firmly behind the idea of allowing members to create raiding groups as needed, with the guild just facilitating that process.

Zeph.
"You're scared of mice and spiders, but oh-so-much greater is your fear that one day the two species will cross-breed to form an all-powerful race of mice-spiders who will immobilize human beings in giant webs in order to steal cheese." - Spaced (1999)

Re: Guild Direction

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:59 pm

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As Zephir stated, I play to have fun. When it stops being fun then I stop playing or find new pastures that make it fun again.

I have no issue with people wanting to play casually, play hardcore, only PvE, only PvP, only raid, or a combination of however they feel makes the game fun. The guild should be used as a place to coordinate and find those like-minded people to do the activities stated above. The guild should not, in my opinion, be used to spearhead any specific actions/activities or steer the membership base towards a specific direction/goal. Everyone will have different goals going into the game and I'm sure it won't be difficult to find those with similar ideas to partner up and play with. Nor does it seem that there will be a problem with finding people online during their preferred play times to get a group going.

Should groups begin the process of raiding and looking to participate in end game content then those groups should have every right to take advantage of that content. Those groups should also have the ability to try and achieve the goals they set out to do and that often means becoming a bit more 'exclusive' in the people they choose to group with to run the specific raid. It's the hard truth about raiding. While it would be nice to see those already involved in the raid content offer a helping hand to those just starting, I wouldn't expect too much as those that are currently running had to learn everything themselves and had no help during their trials to understand and defeat the instances. Raiding isn't a casual aspect of any game and as such I don't expect to see as much help and coordination going on between the newer groups and the established groups. That's up to the raiders to decide how to handle that, not the guild.

I myself am going to enjoy the ride to the end and try to play alongside as many of our members as is possible because I enjoy group dynamics that different play-styles bring. I hope others feel the same way. Hell, I may even try a bit of raiding in TOR should the desire stir. The one thing I don't want to see is the guild starting to dictate how others should play or try to shoehorn people towards a specific direction. The guild is a unified body of people who want to play for fun and camaraderie and some people won't agree with others about what that fun is. As long as everyone respects the wishes and desires of everyone else I don't think there will be much of an issue about what the membership does and with who. If it does become an issue and drama develops as a result, then there should be precautions put into place to ensure it is contained and resolved quickly.
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Re: Guild Direction

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:02 pm

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Anubis
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I think that we all accept that fun ultimately comes first. "We want to be a part of a group where friendship, fun and honour come first", and Ed's "If it stops being fun, stop doing it" line remain as true as they were when they were first noted down. Of course, what's fun is a very personal thing - whilst Raiding was not particularly fun to me in WoW to some others it IS. As a result, I'd suggest that non-interference in the way people play the game, and letting them play it however they choose to, is somewhat non-negotiable. I cannot think of a group where that hasn't been the case, and therefore I don't necessarily consider it as part of our 'visionary direction'. It's who we are already, not where we want to be. It is extremely good news that everyone has voiced support for this from the getgo!

In general, it seems like we have support for the notion of raiding groups - at the very least as something we should work towards at first for those who wish to participate in them. As I've said, actually experiencing the game's content may change our plans somewhat, but I'm happy knowing that we have at least some form of broad agreement that we can build upon. More thoughts are still welcome though :)
"Perhaps this is what I have always wished for since that day. The loss and destruction of all. That's right, one must destroy before creating. In that case, if my conscience becomes a hindrance to me, then I will simply erase it. I have no other choice but to move forward....therefore!" - Lelouch vi Britannia/Zero, Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch

Forever an eXile and proud of it!

Re: Guild Direction

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:01 am

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Kon
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At first I felt it wasn't my place to comment on this, as there's only realistically about a 20% chance of me ever playing this game beyond a trial. However, this topic is already starting to enter the "circular arguments" phase, so I'd like to lay down a compromise.

According to Zeph, even end-game group content is going to be on a much smaller scale than WoW. I see no reason why we cannot have a thread or two stickied for the organization of scheduled raiding groups, while not having it consume the entire group. This isn't like WoW where half the guild was needed to participate.

On the flip-side of that, we could also organize the more casual players around certain events like scheduled group storyline progression. We could also have some events that cater to both groups, I'm sure. This is a different game from WoW, and given the reduced raid size, along with the allegedly improved leveling play, I see no reason why this should be such a contentious issue, with no room for both styles in the group.
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Re: Guild Direction

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:24 am

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M.Steiner
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The only problem I see with stickying threads for scheduling raids, if I've understood correctly, is that it probably wouldn't be a big enough change to how WoW's were done except in thread form. That would come down to it being like a "sign up" system right? and as we get bigger it's inevitable that more and more people are going to want to start posting to sign up for those whether they are prepared for them or not. Possibly leaving people disappointed when an invite doesn't come their way and like in WoW I see that putting more pressure on the same people organising them as they've got more people to pick from. I would worry that we'd be in danger of entering WoW territory later down the road even though the groups are smaller. In the early days this would probably work out fine, just taking into account of when our guild has grown much bigger and how this would work as a permanent solution. Then again if more and more threads for those get added (or we list it all in one) I suppose it'll evolve into the idea below anyway;

Like, stickying a thread with a list of the activity groups as they are formed may be a good idea as people will be able to see when a group has already been filled up.
Just as an example here - Say myself, Anny, Mech and several others are the first to cap and we decide to go do some pve/pvp raiding together. We're all starting from the same point so we create "Group1" and our list of participants goes in the sticky thread. This wouldn't necessarily mean that nobody else could tag along with this group, say for instance one of us is unavailable and are swapped out for another guild member if their character is prepared for it (companion if not) but the basis/default of Group1 would be this group of people.
Ava, Mech, Zeph & more decide some weeks later that they'd like to do some raiding too. Instead of them posting on a thread to try and get into Group1. Which has already been formed, is likely ahead in progression now and probably won't be able to accomodate for so many others without the existing members of group1 having to leave, these guys take the initiative to form "Group2" and they progress at their own rate.
Another group of members fancy focusing on pvp together rather than pve?. They create their own pvp groups and go and do that together.
Of course things could be relaxed now and then but the basis of the idea does seem like a good one to me. Everyone (hopefully) gets to do what they want in the game but rather than some people expecting the same 1-2 officers to organise everything for the guild as a whole they would only be doing it for the 1 group they had formed together (though that doesn't stop them from organising other things ofc). The other activity groups would require other members to pull their finger out and help put something together and not rely on someone doing it for them, which could only be a good thing imo. Shares the workload, gives more people that experience, the same mods don't get burned out like WoW and as our clan gets bigger a system like this should scale and accommodate for everyone and what they want to do in the game to have fun.

Thinking of the entire group I think TOR's world pvp will be at least one activity we could all do together whatever our personal focus may be and I'm sure many of us will be questing and doing the lower level instances together throughout the game too before we even get to endgame. I'm sure there will be plenty of things we can arrange to do together as a guild.
Also I think we're all being civilised here, I don't really see any circular arguments starting tbh. It will be better to have a plan of action before we go in and all of our opinions are valid. :)
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


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