Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Anatomy of a Mega Guild: Part II, It Was the Best of Times...

Welcome to the second post in my "Anatomy of a Mega Guild" series!  The previous post described my motivations for joining the mega guild and what I knew about how things would work when I joined.

This post will discuss the advantages of the mega guild structure.  The previous post in this series is Part I: Joining.

Is Anyone There?
There are approximately 580 individual characters in my guild (I'm not sure if the /ginfo is working correctly, but it's currently reporting 210 accounts - a PLAUSIBLE number at least).  I have occasionally seen fewer than 5 people online, but only at weird times such as 6 am on Saturday morning.

With this number of people, I can almost always find someone for whatever I need.  I can ask in /g and almost always get at least 2 other people so we can get guild rep for a heroic (if not a full group).  I can easily find a crafter for whatever I need crafted.  Folks are always doing arenas and pvp (not me, I'm terrible with it).

Specifically for Raiding
As a player it's easy to find groups to sub into on my alts.   My alts are actually doing about as much raiding as I did at the end of ICC.  Both my mage and healing pally are 4/5 in BWD and 2/4 in BoT.  Progression on my server is pretty terrible (we're ranked 115 as a server; no one had Light of Dawn until March 2011 or so).  My server is just not running PUGs right now, so having the opportunity to see these raids through the eyes of my alts is quite amazing. 

As a raid leader, it is much easier to find a sub for last minute (or unannounced) absences.  With the proliferation of alts carried over from LK, it seems that everyone has several alts.  It's a lot nicer to pick up a sub and only have to say "so, as [role] you need to worry about [extra ability]" rather than having to go over the whole fight, since they raid regularly on another character.  

Guild Perks/Achievements
Also quite obviously, it's easier/faster to have access to the guild perks.   We reached level 25 on April 7.  We had the Big Cauldron of Battle (3k flasks) on March 23. I'm not sure when we had Fish Feasts (the interface is only showing our progress towards 50k fish, we have 30k caught).

At this point it's not a terrible advantage.  The leveling perks aren't as big of a deal for a raiding group compared to the recipes (cauldrons, feasts).  If a significant number of my raiding group decided that we didn't want to be a part of the guild any more, we would take those recipes with us to the new guild.   I think a lot of the leveling perks are quality of life improvements (rep gains, faster running when dead, mass rez, etc) and aren't quite such a big deal for raiding progression. 

So, I think leveling in a large guild is only going to be a big deal at the beginning of an expansion when a bunch of things are added.

Dealing with BoEs
The only good thing (in my mind) about the extensive amount of trash in BoT are the epic BoE drops.  Obviously different groups do different things with their BoE, but selling them and funding the raid is a pretty common thing to do.   

One thing that's nice about our guild is that the raid groups often trade BoE loot to help equip their groups faster.  It's roughly equivalent to selling a BoE and then buying the other item, but by keeping trades in guild we avoid AH fees, which is definitely a plus.

Identity and Change
My raid group is being affected by summer attendance woes.   This problem is pretty common, and I was chatting with the leader of another group who has having the same problem, so we're currently in discussions to combine the two groups.  We aren't facing nearly the number of problems as when I've read about guild mergers; we already have an identity as a guild, so there's going to be a minimum of drama.

Also, as people's schedules change and their ability to raid changes, they can change teams fluidly without learning a whole new guild's worth of people or culture (there are culture differences between teams, but it's not as severe as guild to guild culture differences in my experience).

External Management
No one in my raid team has to worry about website or vent management.  When we formed, we were given a sub forum on the website and a channel in vent.  I throw $10 at the guild leader every now and then to cover costs, but reducing the number of people responsible for support functions not directly in the game means that my team has more time to actually play.

Unfortunately, All is Not Sunshine and Roses
That's a pretty big list of advantages for the mega guild structure, but there have also been problems.  I'll cover those in my next post.

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