People that play together…..

…. stay together

Hi all, time for a blog post once more.

This time I’d like to talk about guild cohesion.

There is an old saying, usually related to marriages which I’ve quoted in the headline and first line here.  “People that play together, stay together”.

Now, in its marriage context it’s used to encourage couples to do hobbies, holidays and activities together rather than apart as this helps to cement the closeness and complete the relationship and prevent people drifting apart.

In the context of a guild it could be said to be about how who we interact with defines our position in the guild and how we are perceived by others.

Weekend Warriors is a pretty big guild these days.  Thanks to the hard work of its officers and the choices we’ve made on widening the focus of the guild from a pure raiding guild to its current Progress/Flex/Social incarnation, this has lead to more people joining, attracting friends and the guild enticing other players drawn to its obvious broadness, successes and longevity.

It’s a lot of work at times and we don’t always get the balance or recruitment decisions right, but over-all we’re happy with how things turned out.

There is one area however where Rag and I are increasingly concerned that despite our best efforts we’re not really seeing the progress we’d like and that is in the integration and cohesion of the different aspects of the guild into one community, linked by common activity and a sense of community.

Flex was a means where this was largely catered for in the past when we were smaller, the opportunity for main team raiders and social players to get together into lower difficulty raids and get to know one another and have fun together.  However, due to the success of the flex raids and the growth of the flex team regular member rank and social side of the guild this has had to change with Progress player participation very limited and that’s fine as the growth of flex as a real self-sustaining entity was always the ultimate aim.

So, the next place we looked to try this approach has been with the Mythic plus events that we’ve been holding every Tuesday and Wednesday evening for some months now.  With Mythic plus increasingly important and accessible to more and more players and the guild getting larger and larger it made sense to look for a way to satisfy the needs and desires to run weeklies in the most efficient way possible as a solution for those who joined the guild and asked 30 people online “anyone for a key” and got silence as their only reply.

At least now we can point them to the events where officers are on hand to help in forming viable groups from those that are available.

Now, both Rag and I have written on the subject of Mythic + and it’s problems for a community based guild like ours at other times so I don’t wish to repeat myself, but suffice to say we all know the main issue is that it breeds tiny “cliques” of enough players to get the job done efficiently and then these cliques shut themselves off increasingly to the rest of the guild as they get deeper and deeper into the zone of pushing themselves and the content as far as they can take it.  

They’re in the guild, but not really part of it is the feeling it creates.

This is understandable from a human nature point of view, indeed the game is itself portioned up into various blocks of activity we can do alone or need other people to help with and so we tend to portion it into arena team, M+ team and Raid Team for maximum efficiency.  If pushing high key M+ is the only focus of your gaming it’s hard to argue you should not be doing it, but it has raised more than a few questions over time as to whether a guild like WW should be where this should be happening.

Our view has come to be that as we can’t effect Blizzard’s design choices or dictate what our members do with their time, that as long as these groups cause no issues in guild then we accept them even if those players have little interaction with the guild outside their own small group and single focus of interest.

Where however we do have an issue is when these groups come into competition with the guild itself.

By this I mean not just not signing for these events despite being online, but by running their own groups at the same time and even worse, taking players that were previously part of the guild event effort away for self-focused activities instead.

We’ve more recently seen a number of Progress Raiders form a team and cherry pick the people they run keys with, whilst theoretically at least they have 20+ people that they rely on on for Mythic raiding week in and week out and are of a similar standard they could choose from, they’re instead running multiple key runs with pretty much the same team throughout the week exclusively.

This activity has over time had a knock on effect on the guild’s M+ activity as we see players who previously always used to attend the guild events on one or more characters now no longer attend at all as they get their keys done in this setting instead.   Losing even seven progress team players of various roles, sometimes with alts, to a single group makes these events much harder to manage and the numbers of groups have fallen from multiple runs of four groups or more to struggling to get more than two more or less viable groups running at once.

Now, as I’ve said before, we can’t really effect what people try to do in their own time, it’s your sub, your time and if you want to spam keys with the same 5-7 people over and over and not attended guild events at all then that’s your prerogative.   I’ll be honest, I certainly think a lot less of you for it, but it’s your choice.

What however we won’t accept is these groups competing with the guild runs during the times where these runs are being held, what started with poaching players from the waiting room into a private group on a private Discord developed into those players no longer signing for events that we put up for the benefit of the entire guild.

This focus on self has led to the point that it is now just officers and flex/social players signing and running these events where the progress players who used to participate are spamming keys in their own groups at the same time as these events.

This is not OK.  Rag, I and indeed the guild as a whole deserve more than to see players that are part of this guild make our jobs harder in finding available roles and players for events that are there to increase guild cohesion, get at least a weekly 15 done for those players that don’t have their own team and that are held for one to two hours on only two night out of seven.

I’m actually really saddened I am having to write this, and even more surprised at some of the people that have made it necessary, but I guess it’s testament to how much M+ can suck you in and enclose you in a bubble that it has seemingly not occurred to those doing it that it’s a dick move.

So, smarten up, these are guild activities in a guild that provides you with more than just the opportunity to meet people with which to do this single activity.  

The progress team is a team of 25 people and we’re a guild of over 100, nobody is telling you not to do what you want to do, you have most of the week to do as you want, but spare some time to think of others as well and help us out when we ask for guild participation in events rather than hinder or don’t be surprised when there are consequences to the choices we make.

Thanks for reading.

 

Founder and Warlord of Weekend Warriors.

3 Comments

19/05/2020
I'd like to echo the depth of thought that's gone into this post, speaking as someone who has been a bit too cliquey in the past. I love playing WoW, it's a fun game which can challenge you as much as you wish to be challenged. Where it ceases to be fun for me is when I can't do the content I want to for whatever reason. So like Scabb says you can't force people to like you or to even want to play a game with you, but you can have a sense that what we have here is worth nurturing, Weekend Warriors is a great place to call your home and for one I will be making far more of an effort to do cool stuff with my guildies in the future. I know I make mistakes, and that i'm probably just annoying as f*ck, but there are said to be those who find these traits endearing. No? Oh. This is awkward….
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19/05/2020
As a frequent myth+ event attendee I'd like to leave my opinion on this. Personally, I see no problem with other people pushing their keys with their own small groups. Mythic+ is also a progression, that on high keys requires well-organized group management and it is mostly achieved by playing together. Although somewhere deep inside I'm salty that no one even tried to poach me to do a key during guild event, forcing an embargo on doing your keys while guild event is up sounds unfair. Requiring progress people to come (i.e. making it obligatory) with social/flexs might not benefit the event environment, as it would inevitably create a feeling that one has to boost others. I've been in the guild for two patches now and just from my observation the mythic+ issue is very seasonal. I've seen many progress team members at the beginning of the tier, but as the time goes by they somewhat progress further than what the guild event can offer. I'm no progress raider so I can't speak for them, but that's just my conclusion. Currently we have huge influx of new players in the guild and I assume some of them are afraid to join our runs since our current bar is 14-16. Heck when I joined the guild I was instantly invited to a 10 KR and as I had no experience with the guild's expectations it was kinda stressful. Why am I bringing that up? In one of our previous runs I witnessed the same thing from one of our newcomers. I'm not saying that people forming their own secluded groups have no effect on the guild event, but trying to control it is kind of authoritative. I'm suggesting maybe the guild should also consider focusing on newcomers? Although this would put people who were never poached and still need their 15s done potentially at an awkward position, I don't think the situation is that bad that 15 is not manageable. But lowering the bar temporarily and raising it up again as the groups progress might be for a greater good. I mean 15s are not easy and kinda require to nourish people's readiness to do them (not only in terms of gear, but also the mentality). Regarding how to connect people from different levels of content... that recent community transmog run was a good chance to meet different people from the guild. We actually had different representatives from social, flex and progress as far as I remember. Or the herbing party as it facilitates donation participation. It's not "the solution", but still something. To build a social bridge between different types of content might require social activities, if people are interested in having those activities obviously.
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19/05/2020
Thanks for the comment and indeed, as I emphasised I am not asking people not to form groups, it happens anyway so not something that can be prevented anyway. It is different to ask people not to compete with the viability of a guild wide event during the time that event is running, there are plenty of other times when this is possible without endangering viability. Focusing on new-comers is all well and good, but we need the people to help introduce these players to M+ and move through the lower keys to gain confidence and knowledge to be able to tackle the harder. When the runs started Wednesday's runs were always for +10s as this was what the majority of players needed and could handle, this increased over time due to gear and familiarity to the point where now +13 to +15s are where the main focus is. Sure, if we get a weaker set-up the sometimes a lower key is run, but it's the exception rather than the rule. For all this again, you need guides and capable players to help and this was the case in the past but recently it's reached a point where the officers are all forced to attend or groups cannot be effectively made. More social events are very nice, very welcome, but again they need people to run them, not rely on Rag or me to do yet more work so that others can just do what they want to do, at some point you need to give back as well. There has been a Social Officer vacancy since Christmas and nobody has stepped up and offered to help so until they do I am afraid that other social events are unlikely, we already have enough to do. The rest I said in the piece, being able to do exactly only what you want to do with whom is a luxury that officers of this guild can't afford, I see no reason why this privilege be extended to all members without challenge.
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