Jul 242013

My poor guild – the Halfling Commandos – has been so wrung out over the years. It is dessicated, a pale shadow of its former self, limping along, barely breathing.

But it is still breathing.

Much of the damage is just the effects of time, but not all. The guild renown system was very hard on us. I’ve written about this before, if you are familiar with the tale of Why I Hate Guild Renown Decay you may want to skip ahead. But in case there remain one or two people who may be curious about this:

The original guild vision was a rule-free way for many compatible people to play together. We didn’t care how often someone played or how they played or even how many other guilds there were in.

We had only the one rule: must be a halfling. That was it. Log out for a year? Your character will still be there when you get back. Use your Halfling Commando as a mule or placeholder while you really play other characters? All good, you could even raid with us on your non-halflings.

We just didn’t care.

Then came guild airships and (cue the ominous music) guild renown. Suddenly your guild structure mattered. Suddenly, guilds that had tighter rules could get access to powers that seemed very helpful. Suddenly there was a reason to stop being so casual.

Guilds everywhere tightened up. Not us though, we still just wanted to have fun. This cost us some members – we were quickly outpaced by more serious guilds and people wanted access to the new features.

It took awhile but eventually some of our core members wanted to try and get to higher levels too. Nothing extreme, they just wanted a level 55 ship. But we were stalled, barely able to keep up with the drain of guild renown decay.

Analysis suggested that it was because we had too many players who didn’t play very often. Most especially, we had a lot of mule and placeholder characters, people that wanted to stay connected to us but spent most of their game time on other characters.

The guild renown decay math was relentlessly punishing on guilds that had active accounts that didn’t contribute renown. We could make no progress. None. We kept hovering in the mid to high forties, and it was extra disheartening when we would go backwards.

So we very reluctantly started dumping characters who weren’t logging on. I hated doing this but felt like I had to. I started out as conservatively as possible, dumping only people who hadn’t been on in a year. It didn’t help enough. So I cut the inactive time down to 6 months.

So now we had two rules. Had to be Halfling, and had to log in every six months. But it wasn’t helping at all, we were still stuck in the forties.

Developers have posted that inactive accounts stop counting against your renown decay math once they have been inactive for three weeks. But we had a large number of people who did not have inactive accounts; they had inactive Halfling Commandos. Not the same thing.

So we added another rule. That I also hated. But regardless, we required everyone’s non-halfling characters to be in our sister guild Torchwood. That one cost us a lot of players, all of the people who had a Halfling just so they could play with us now and then were no longer welcome and they moved on.

Combined with this effort to remove inactives, we stopped recruiting. We were never big recruiters, but we stopped completely. We felt that the only way to get ahead was by getting a guild size bonus.

Eventually we succeeded. We got the guild down to a stripped down core of people who played regularly enough that we started moving up the renown levels again. Slowly, v e e e r r r r r r y slowly, it took us a year to go from level 51 to level 52, but actual progress was occurring.

Except now we are a tiny guild and when one person takes a break it has a big effect.

And yet, even with all this self-evisceration, we did not manage to hit level 55 until this spring. We are just too casual. We’ve gained two more levels this summer, now that guild renown decay has been turned off. I fear we will just lose them if it gets turned back on.

I hate guild renown decay. Really. Just hate it.

Last night was guild night and there were only five of us. Which is not as bad as it sounds. There have been times, especially over the summer when everyone has so many other things to do, we don’t get anyone on guild night at all.

But last night we did. Everyone is TRing and happens to have characters at the Gianthold phase of their development. So we ran The Reaver’s Fate, just the five of us, at level.

The Reaver has learned a new trick
The Stormreaver has a surprise waiting for us

No one had been in this raid in awhile, quite awhile, and it has changed: the Stormreaver is much tougher although conversely the air elementals are a little bit easier. The Reaver has a new ability too: his sword has a built-in telekinesis and now when he hits you, off you go, flying backwards to who knows where.

The Reaver got a little stuck, standing there inactive. We ran around the room trying to agro him from different angles and get him moving again. Suddenly it worked, he’s moving, and reversing gravity. One of us was in the middle of the fight area when this happened.

Now we are down to four.

The Reaver’s telekinesis is a deadly ability when combined with his reverse gravity. I was thrown into the middle of the fighting area just before gravity reversed.

And then there were three.

No worries though, people used to duo this raid all the time, on purpose. The three survivors continue whittling away at the Reaver; eventually one of them gets the Fly ability and heads out to the kill switch. Once pulled, he decides to try and get the two dead people out of the penalty box. Except that is a much more difficult path and he doesn’t remember it very well …

And then there were two.

My Gamer Girl and our cleric remain, and they manage to take down the Reaver. But the puzzle is puzzling, neither of them have ever done it before, and worse, the air elementals are swarming them and they are both out of mana.

They figure out the puzzle but not the elementals. It is a valiant effort. But time runs out and we are defeated.

But not for long! A quick regroup and we are back in. This time we know about the telekinesis and know how to avoid being thrown into the middle. This time we are better prepared for the air elementals. This time we are simply more practiced at the quest. And this time we win, easily.

Eventually, Victory!
Eventually, Victory!

Most people will probably laugh at me for being excited about beating the Reaver. But I was. We just aren’t the powerhouse guild that we once were, and being able to defeat anything significant without outside help is a plus. I’m proud of us for persisting through the defeat. I’m proud of us for winning.

Mainly, I’m proud of us for still being here, still doing things, all these years later.

Maybe it’s time for us to start recruiting again.

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  7 Responses to “A Shorthanded But Meaningful Victory”

Comments (7)
  1. Great story πŸ˜€

  2. I feel your pain, having recently posted about how my guild is suffering from player necrosis, too. It’s always interesting to find that the devs will quietly modify an older quest just to give us veterans something to keep us on our toes. The Shroud blades, dragons that call you snacks and drop out of the frickin’ sky to binge on you. The list goes on. I still don’t know if what’s happening for you and I is a harbinger of the demise of the game as People Move On, but nothing lasts forever. I’m a little annoyed in that, game-time wise, I just got here. πŸ™‚

  3. *cough* Destiny *cough*

    hehehe – BTW, you do know you’re welcome to invite your gamer girl and/or anyone else you’d like into our little Cannith guild, yes? If not, well, let me make it official: You can invite your gamer girl and anyone else you like into our little Cannith guild.}


  4. Hooray for halflings! my guild on Thelanis is pretty halfling-centric too & all my own characters are halfings… although admittedly some of them wear iron man suits, or have these weird medical conditions where they end up fat & beardy, or tall with pointy ears πŸ™‚

    We’re a pretty small guild too, it’s quite tricky to get more than a couple of us in a quest together but occasionally we do quite well (we’re currently trying to get MOTU epic elites done, mostly its harder gathering us together than actually completing the quests to be honest) & luckily seem to have a bit of a reputation with some of the power gamers as being at least semi-competent – where they manage to get that impression i don’t know though.

    Will have to see about checking out the changes to reaver, they look interesting… wonder if they’ll amend some of the other older raids too to take into account some of the new capabilities of both players & the tech.

  5. I’m really sorry about missing the past few Guild Nights. Disability has been disabling… And painful.

What do you think?

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