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.
This chart shows the total number of guild ranking pages per server. Multiplying by 25 gives the total number of guilds.
Khyber wins again 🙂
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).
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.
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.
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:
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.