Monday, December 13, 2010

Contributing to a guild - Materials

I've been in many a guild in my day (old lady Zinn talking here), although I've spent the majority of my gaming time in one, and I can safely say I've tried out most types of guilds by now. Everything from the guild that invites anyone (in one guild we had over 500 members at one point, so everyone didn't show in the roster which had a 500 character limit back then), the exclusive but casual guild, the exclusive but raiding guild and now finally the serious raiding guild. Any of these guilds are fine as long as they meet one simple requirement; the goal of the guild and your gaming goals have to be able to co-exist. You can't be casual in a serious raiding guild (well there are always exceptions) and you can't be a serious raider in a casual guild, without there being trouble occasionally.

It seems the casual, invite anyone guild, is the easiest one to be in. Everyone knows exactly what they're going to get when they join one. I sometimes join these kinds of guilds on my alts, mostly because whoever is inviting asked so nicely, and I know exactly that I can't expect to be helped, get to do instances or raids or have a guild bank that can supply me. I can hope for these things, and quite often get them too, but I can't expect them. They're not part of the guild goal. The goal of a casual guild is simply to be a place where people can vent their thoughts. Often these guilds have a high movement of people, since many want to move on to new things once they ding endgame, beyond the nice chatting once in a while.

But I've often noticed that when joining serious raiding guilds, people have a less certain perception of what is expected of them, and what they can expect from the guild. Eventhough this usually is a clear part of any invitation rite, a lot of problem arises concerning how far to go for your guild. This has happened in all the raiding guilds I've been in (3 to date), and I've been a part of these discussions in varying degrees. In my first raiding guild I was one of the casual people who wanted to raid occasionally, but in that guild they used an exclusive raiding group who didn't let casuals raid. I didn't like it, since no one had said that when I joined, it was something that kind of formed by itself while I was in it. In my second guild we had big trouble between balancing wanting to be a homely guild filled with irl friends, and serious raiding. I've talked about it before, and the clashes were between the people who wanted the emphasis on "homely" aka no invites, and the ones who wanted more raiding, aka more invites.

And in my current guild discussions have yet again arisen around how, what and when you're supposed to be there for your guild. It is clear that the guild is aiming at being a serious raiding guild, but as I understood it they've stepped it up somewhat since before I joined and everyone didn't like the new, even more serious attitude. Some think that you can't combine having fun and playing serious at the same time. I disagree, but that is a matter for another post. This time I wanted to talk about another part of being in a serious guild - the contribution of materials.

I've rarely had a problem with mats contribution. I'm not a farmer so I rarely have anything to contribute in the first place, but most of the time this hasn't been an issue since things drop into the guild bank all the time anyway nowadays. Just taking all the things that are disenchanted and cloth that drop during a raid would keep a guild bank fairly filled. People usually throw in loads of meats and enchants and whatnot while skilling and questing as well. Guild perks will add to this. Gone are the days of hours of grinding to prepare for a raid. But now we have a new issue; new expansion means new mats that won't come from raiding, but from the guilds members while questing. So would you want to send all your mats to one specific player or prefer to skill your own profession first and foremost?

To me the answer is fairly simple. Whatever the guild wants me to do, I'll do. If I didn't like the way they handled things I wouldn't be in the guild, and it's not a bad idea to focus on a couple of people getting their professions up first to the benefit of everyone. But there could be a problem as to how best go about doing this. My guild suggested sending everything you collected to the proper crafter. Cloth to the tailor, greens to the enchanter and so on. I didn't agree with this approach however. I argued that as long as we didn't aim at having any realm firsts in our guild, which we didn't, our only time limit would be our first raid start, at which time we would want to have high skilled professions to boost our advances. During this time I thought it would probably benefit people more to sell everything they got while questing the first 1-2 days on the auction house, and then buy whatever was needed a couple of days later. This way the same mats would generate alot more mats because most of the prices will have gone down.

I agree this is a gamble. It requires the prices to actually go down in the first place. If they don't you won't have lost much except time of course, unless they go up which is rare. But skilling a profession once you have the funds usually goes really fast. If you can buy all the mats you need from the auction house, whatever the price, it'll be a matter of an hour at most. You'll also have to hope the mats are still around once you decide to start skilling. If you sell all your cloth and there are none left when you need them, you'll be in the shitter. Fortunately what I've been able to tell so far, this hasn't been the case. As more and more people start to level it seems like more and more mats are gathered (woah, that weird), which are lowering the price on most goods.

But to some people this was outrageous. The mere idea to want to make money on something instead of willingly just give it away was a betrayal to the guild and clearly showed my commitment level. The fact that I did it to be able to contribute more to the guild later on didn't seem to matter. People were hung up on the "acquiring money" part, eventhough it came with a "for the guild" tag.

And I had a similar problem in my previous guild. Any and all talk about gaining new gear was considered "loot whorish" (pardon my french). As soon as I talked about how I wanted some piece for my gear, some people frowned and said that "well I've never needed gear anyway, I enjoy the game for what it is". What they fail to see is not that I want the gear just for the pretty pixels (although in some cases that definitely is the main reason!), but because without gear there will be no progress. No matter how skilled I would be, when I oom, or my heals are too weak, or I die too fast, I'll be limited in how far I can go in a game, and this affects the entire guild of course. I won't deny I enjoy getting new gear. But it is mainly because it allows my character to advance into places where skill alone won't take me. I believe there are people who mistake this reason and attribute the gear alone with awesomeness. They're thinking progress for gear, not gear for progress, so I can see where the frowns are coming from (although progress for gear doesn't have to be an all bad thing either, does it?). But I know I'd never want any gear piece ever again if I knew it wouldn't take me anywhere. And if I could progress without replacing gear I'd do it. I actually think experiencing content must be the main reason most of us are playing the game.

The point of this post is to show that eventhough people are aiming to hit the same goal, problems can still arise as to how to accomplish those goals. Who is right? Should I just do as the guild says, although I believe I have a better way of going about aqcuiring the goal? Or should I stand up for my way because I sincerely believe it is the better way for the guild? In the end it probably depends. It depends on my role in the guild, how the guild works and many other things. In this particular case I explained to my guildies how I felt, what I had planned and although it might seem like I'm just after doing alot of profit (which in a way is true), I'm after the profit for the benefit of the guild.

Getting people to let go of their prejudices when it comes to the way of handling certain things is not an easy task it seems.


  1. I agree with you totally! Sell now buy later IS the smartest thing to do. Atleast it has been for every expansion and major patch since the dawn of WoW so far and I believe it will be for this expansion aswell.

    I used to be in a serious raiding guild and had about the same problem. I decided to take the easy way out and do what the guild wanted me to do even though I didn't agree at all and even though I though it was stupid. I ran away from the conflict.

    The result was that anything I aquired with my main went to the guild and everything I aquired with alts (even alts I vad in the guild) I sold with a bankalt noone knew I had. I was grumpy and therefore I kept the money I earned for myself wich might have been wrong, but my guild didn't pay for repairs so I really needed the money to raid.

    I don't like conflicts, if I can get around them somehow I most likly will try. I don't think the relationship with the guild is worth risking over what they see as greed, even though you are right.

    In the end you decide on your own... something deep like... You are the master of youre own destiny.


  2. @Luma
    Yeah maybe in the end it should be up to anyone to decide for themselves if they want to handle their own raid preparations, or if they want the guild to contribute to it. I've always gotten my own gear, enchants, gems, flasks, repairs etc. But some people like to get it from the guild and maybe they should be the one who contribute instead. I don't know... as long as it works I suppose ^^

  3. I would go further and say you always want to sell the materials rather than keep a guild bank, not just right now. If the guild is going to support some crafter in leveling up, then buy the mats back using guild bank money.

    Over the long haul, it's not clear whether the guild will gain or lose. If you insist on leveling up crafters right now using guild money, you'll lose money compared to if you wait. However, one thing is clear. There will be vastly less complexity and drama managing a single gold balance rather than managing a number of mat balances.