Mar 302011

This started as a personal quest to figure out how to unstuck my guild. We’re mired in the mid-40s and have been for months. There was a belief that we were too big; if we only pruned our size we’d be able to start advancing again.

Time to do the math. Fortunately, Turbine provides us with a flawed yet very helpful data source: the myDDO guild rankings. I captured the data Friday 3/25. It is quite fluid, in fact Over Raided gained another level while I was cutting and pasting!


  • Almost all of the largest guilds are also high level
  • The vast majority of guilds in DDO are low level and are also very small

Conclusion one is not surprising to me at all. Regarding #2, I suspect that the vast majority of guilds are also inactive orphans, but cannot prove that; there are no activity metrics in the guild leaderboards.


  • Most of the very highest level guilds are very small

I am marking this as an observation rather than a conclusion because there are only 12 guilds at the very highest levels.

It may be easier to manipulate renown when you have a core of players in careful coordination. Or it may be that the small/tiny guild bonuses are overcompensating and are not working exactly as intended. I cannot present evidence proving this one way or the other.

And now, the gory details.

Total Guilds:

This chart shows the total number of guild ranking pages per server. Multiplying by 25 gives the total number of guilds.

Guild Pages per Server

Khyber wins again 🙂

90th Percentile:

This chart indicates where the 90th percentile falls for each server in terms of guild members and guild levels. In other words, 90% of the guilds on each server have this number of members (or less) and are this level (or less).

90th Percentiles by Server

Again, these numbers do not account for inactive guilds; the leaderboard does not include activity metrics and it is not feasible to research them in myDDO individually.

By Level and Members

This chart includes all guilds at level 50 or higher. In other words, these are the success stories.

Guild Levels by Size

Note that the vast majority of these guilds are small. Is this because the small guild bonus is over-compensating? I don’t believe we can state that, especially as the vast majority of ALL guilds in DDO are small. It seems logical to expect to see that trend in this chart too. But it remains a possibility.

Detailed Examination of the Top Ten

Note how many of the most successful guilds are small, or even tiny. This could be explained if there is an issue with the small and tiny guild bonus; in fact, I believe that is the case. But ten is a small sample, and some very large guilds have attained top-level success as well.

Top Ten Guilds by Level

If in fact the bonus is an unfair advantage, this would have the effect of pressuring competitive players into divvying up their larger, more inclusive guilds into into very small, very exclusive fragments. I doubt that Turbine is intending cliques by design. But again, I don’t believe this data proves that the bonus is unfair. It does indicate that it MAY BE but that is a different point.

On the other hand, examine the list of the largest guilds:

Top Ten Guilds by Size

Every single one is also high level. This trend holds for larger samples, by the way, the vast majority of the top 100 guilds are at least 50th level.

A Case Study: The Halfling Commandos

We have about a dozen active players who are on most nights. Some of them play outside of prime time too. Another dozen or so participate regularly but not nightly. Another 40 play rarely*.

* This latter number used to be much higher but we have been pruning inactives to try and increase renown retention.

We zoomed through levels, regularly appearing on page 1 of the leaderboard, until we hit about 40. This was many months ago, quite soon after guild leveling was introduced.

We have been painfully fighting against decay ever since and have only managed to struggle our way upwards six more levels in the intervening months.

There has been some sentiment amongst some members to jettison the rare players so that we can qualify for the small guild bonus. Except, we like the rare players, and we like being a casual guild with few rules. This is actually causing us some stress.

I suspect that our real problem is not our size at all, but rather the fact that we allow our players to have characters in other guilds.


If you want to have a high-level guild, your best bet is to start a very large guild. But if you want to have the very highest-level guild you may be better served with a very small guild of very dedicated players.

This analysis does not disprove the “small guild is better” theory. It does prove that larger guilds are good too, and in fact are the only “sure” way to attain high level.

  7 Responses to “Doing the math: Guild Size vs. Renown”

Comments (7)
  1. I must say, just by coincidence I browsed the guild lists yesterday.

    What i found remarkable, was the sheer amount of 1 person guilds at ca. 30% of the total (with about 50% of guilds being 4 or lower). The highest of these was up to level 26 or something like that.

    And there is an enourmous amount of guilds with no renown at all.

    As for guilds with good renown. I think it is mostly a matter of having a core group of people, like you describe. But to get to the top you need very avid players.
    Having more of them, makes it easier to have a decent amount raiding all the time (but you need to mobilize them and you have the big guild factor).

  2. Our guild, which is on Khyber, is at 10 Active players, but there are only 3 of us that log on EVERY day, and only two of us that run a bunch of stuff daily, so the Renown moves up very slowly even with our small guild bonus. We have made it to level 38 and I can’t even see level 50 and that larger ship on the horizon. The problem we run into now is getting people to join and KEEPING them. Since we are small getting a guild run together is basically impossible, and once a newer member PuGs with a group and gets that ship invite to a ship filled with +2 shrines and a multitude of other buffs it’s usually goodbye.

  3. My guild is on salona and it was good size guild but with the guild decay we cut anyone that dont log in all the time. if you are gone for more then 4 weeks you are kicked out. if you come back after that time we take you back. this has shrunk are guilds numbers but we get no decay in points. this is the resion for the smaller guild sizes.

  4. On Argonesson, we have a relatively small guild, there’s a core of about 15 of us, with perhaps 6 out of those being very active. Now, we still have other people, who are in because we’re a friendly guild that is welcoming of anyone nice, provided they log in at least once every 3 weeks. This, so far, has worked very well, and we’re now at level 49, about to hit the level 50 and new ship.

  5. @balica and @darksable: we don’t kick people until six months. We didn’t use to kick people at all.

    I wish I didn’t have to.

  6. I thought I read that inactive accounts don’t count against you for renown after a certain amount of time (1 month?). If so, it seems kicking people after six months doesn’t help with renown decay.

  7. That is correct. Purging @ six months only helps if there are players who are still in the game but are no longer playing their Halfling Commando.

What do you think?

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