Oct 312012

Slightly above average

Turbine has applied some changes to guild renown. They are labeled as “temporary“, but they’ve been re-applied once already and look to be here to stay.

1. Renown decay no longer takes guild size into account. This should ease the pressure for guild leaders to “kick” members from the guild to offset daily renown decay rates. Renown decay now only takes a guild’s level into consideration rather than its size.
2. Renown ransack has been increased. Previously when a guild earned levels in a day, it would gradually reduce the renown drop rates. We’ve increased the rate so that a guild can only earn roughly 3 levels in a single day. This should prevent large guilds from completely dominating the field in terms of levels per-day.

This is a right change, but it is not the right change. It addresses the wrong problem. But at least it addresses something.

Let’s talk about why.

The very worst part about being a guild leader is booting inactive players. The second worst part has been explaining to people why they can’t be in the Halfling Commandos even though they are Halflings.

Neither of these are by design. The guild is supposed to be casual, inclusive, and all about having a good time. For years, we got by with only one rule: Halflings only. Just the one rule, it was enough. We had people in the Navy or who only played during winter or who had characters in many guilds in addition to their Halfling and that was all okay.

Pugster is constantly trying to sneak in a Warforged but that is just him and not really reflective of any real issues in applying and enforcing the one rule.

But then came guild airships and guild renown, and things changed.

We have never been a large guild, but we are fairly active, and for the first few weeks after the airship launch we were always found on the front page of the guild ranking leaderboards. Not that it mattered, we weren’t intentionally competing.

But then we hit level 50 and guild renown decay began to be an issue. Renown decay reduces your guild level over time according to a complicated formula that is based partly on the number of Turbine accounts that have at least one member in your guild. The math is complex, but if you are curious, DDO Wiki does a good job of explaining it.

Decay just killed us. Because of the nature of our guild, most of the members have characters in other guilds, even the core members. Lots of members had only a single Halfling Commando. They count 100% against our decay even though the renown they were earning was applied to other guilds.

We stopped progressing entirely.

Other guilds soon had better guild ships, and a few of our folk drifted off in search of the better buffs. Not wanting to abandon us, they’d leave a Halfling character behind, often as basically a bank character. Except this only worsened the problem.

We were never about being the top guild. Not that we aren’t competitive, but we recognized right away that the rules were stacked in favor of guilds that were focused on renown. We were focused more on fun, and we were willing to lag behind. But being completely stuck in place was unexpected.

So we adopted a new rule and started booting characters that hadn’t logged in within six months. This helped slow the renown decay but at a cost. I hate – HATE – booting friends. Six months seems like a long time but there were still times when the person returned to find we had rejected them and were hurt. No one had depression-inducing histrionics, but some people were negatively impacted and made sure I knew about it.

We have always been a drama-light guild but no guild is entirely drama-free, and normal turnover took its toll, except now it was much harder to replace losses. Our numbers dwindled.

And still the renown decay ate us up. No exaggeration – a year went by while we struggled to get from level 51 to level 52. The blue progress bar would give us some love and then immediately take it back: it was deliberately mocking us.

So we made another new rule: all of your characters have to be in our guild. Halflings in the Halfling Commandos, non-Halflings in our sister guild Torchwood, no other characters anywhere else.

We lost some more people over that one. And had to turn down others. I began to dread people asking to join.

Running the guild became a bookkeeping exercise where my main function was to boot people. This is not fun. I don’t write about my guild anymore: I used to have an entire blog category “Care and Feeding of the Guild”, but when I noticed I hadn’t written anything in that category in over a year, I booted the category from the blog. Buh-bye.

And even with my merciless bootery, we’ve only progressed two more levels in the last two years.

And now back to the present day, where Turbine is announcing changes to the guild renown formula: guild size is no longer part of the decay calculation.

You cannot imagine how welcome this change is, even though it is the wrong change. I no longer have to boot anyone! I can invite new members even if they have characters in every other guild on the server!

Yes, this is fixing the wrong problem, because the problem is not how decay is calculated, but rather, decay itself. It is unnecessarily complex and by nature, un-fun. There will never be anything fun about earning something and then having it taken away. Regardless of why.

Even the word “decay” is itself a negative. Decay reminds one of death, or maybe dentistry, and neither is a topic one wants to encounter while enjoying their escapist entertainment.

No fun. Not even a little.

But until Turbine realizes this, I am totally okay with the fact that they’ve lessened the penalty for having a casual guild full of casual people. And best of all, no more booting.

As of this change, I have booted the boot. I hope to never see it again.

🙂 😀 🙂

  5 Responses to “Guild Renown Changes: Booting the Boot”

Comments (5)
  1. Question: the renown ransack count in the first level? if you decay a level and obviosuly get it back soon, it counts against you?

  2. the ransack should really only count at low levels, when you’re likely to be ABLE to get multiple levels in a day. I would suspect that gaining a level won’t do anything; gaining a second level will reduce renown worth (or possibly reduce the amount of renown dropped – rather than getting a Tales of Valor, you’ll only get a Heroic Deeds); gaining a third will reduce it even more. If you gain a level, decay hits and you lose it, and then you do a guild ToD where everybody pulls Legendary Victories in the end reward and regain your level… you’ve still only gained one level.

    Mind, this is simply a guess as to how it will work.

    And this is simply an interim step that they could input without shutting down the server while they work on a more long-term plan. Hopefully one that might help out my guild of 5 or my guild of 9 almost as much as my guild of dozens…

  3. @Thor – I think yes. Lose a level, regain it, renown cooldown hit. It would be complicated to this test so I am just guessing. But it would be super complicated to code the decay cool down any other way.

    Yet another reason why there is no formula that will make renown decay fun. Because it isn’t. Ever.

  4. There’s actually two guild rules, the second rule is that Pug is never allowed to leave the guild.

  5. This points out 2 problems, ransack and decay. Both of which are idiotic.

    First, ransack: Three of my friends and I started our own guild. We took our brand-new toons and our brand-new guild on a Korthos run and in about an hour hit the guild ransack. The problem is that big guilds need too much renown to get ransack and small guilds can hit ransack in an hour. It really needs to just go away.

    Second, decay: Turbine has gone out of it’s way to tell us time and time again that the social aspect of the game is a priority. They prove it all the time by making hirelings worthless to for people to pug, and by never deleting an account. You can’t even email them and request that they delete your account. It can’t be done. So, if they want players to join guilds, and if they refuse to delete inactive accounts, then the least they can do is to end decay. Our 4 person guild has hit 61 and along the way we’ve made a lot of friends. Some still play and some don’t. But the core of us are only bringing in as much renown as we loose. We’ve booted all but the daily players and still hemorrhage renown.

    Seriously, Turbine, I fail to see the point to decay or ransack.

What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: