LFG: PUG or Guild?

Having finally returned from my hiatus to discover a few hundred unread posts from various places I tended to browse rather than read.  However, one forum post tag caught my eye over at Plusheal “What good is a guild anymore?”  I’m gonna be honest and say I didn’t read the entire post, just the initial question, but I thought I’d take a stab at a response here, where my detractors will quietly smirk and wander away.

With the new Looking for Group tools and the ability to quickly gear up a toon, I am beginning to wonder why somone would need to be in a Guild anymore. Add in the increased availibility of Enchanting mats and the ability to buy pretty much any Enchant on a scroll in the Auction House and well, what are Guilds for nowadays?

The reason I am asking is that I am in a Guild that I am just not happy with anymore. It was a social Guild that ran good Raids (which is what I was interested in) and is now (thanks to some of the newer members) attempting to transform into a “hardcore raiding” Guild. Almost all of my friends have left and I keep finding excuses not to run with them. I am thinking of leaving and running without a Guild since right now I do not want the drama and see few reasons for belonging to one at all.

This is partly venting and partly an attempt to provide some discussion on what a Guild is for.

Thanks in advance!

Talexei – Bladefist

Do You Need a Guild?

Short answer: No.  Being guilded has never been a requirement to enjoy a whole bevy of activities within World of Warcraft.  Want to craft–buy your own mats.  Want to hang out and RP–start your own conversations in inns and around the city.  Want to kill baddies–whatcha waiting for?  There’s hundreds of them to choose from.  A guild is in no way shape or form a requirement.  While harder, it was possible to be pugged into guild raids in vanilla WoW, and it is so much easier now.

Long answer: It depends.  People join for a guild for a combination of factors, but the biggest two are

Companionship

While definitely possible without a tag, having a ready made group of companions makes guilding for social reasons very appealing.  You don’t have to be guilded to form bonds and friendships, but it often makes the process much easier.  Guilds have firm goals or niches that they cover in order to attract like-minded people, so instead of searching the entire realm for your type of people, you can have them pre-packaged and ready to consume *ahem* as it were.  Must be hungry, don’t know where that food analogy came from.

Progression

There are honestly two types of progression: personal (gear) progression, and boss kill (group) progression.  The first you can achieve on your own to a certain extent with badge gear and the like.  However, if you seek to have the very best gear in every slot, it becomes more and more difficult to accomplish this without a group of people helping you.  While you may luck into a few pieces in random groups, regular raiding schedules and times, that is part and parcel of many guild structures, will help you realize those goals faster.  The same applies for boss kill progression.  Heroics can be done with any number of random people with limited difficulty.  Some raids can be accomplished with minimal fuss; however, the longer the dungeon (Naxxramas, Ulduar) the less likely that you will be able to see the content as a PUG member.  This doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.  Some very high-end guilds charge non-members for slots in order to fill their repair coffers, meaning a diligent and dedicated non-guilded person could conceivably see all the content without finding a guild.

Do You Want a Guild?

On this portion of the exam, I’m going to say, again, it depends.  Personally, I wouldn’t run around Azeroth without some kind of tag, but what type of guild I’m in may change from month to month or year to year.

I think the biggest detractor to joining and staying with a guild will always remain Drama!

However, the obvious question that follows this one is, “Do you experience less drama when non-guilded?”  In my experience that is simply not the case.  Yes, it is easier to just *sigh* and drop group, but that also means you are more likely to be spending time looking to do the things you want instead of actually doing them.

Let’s take heroics for an example. The new LFG system takes the burden off guilds to provide regular groups to field these often mal-aligned smaller dungeons.  While forming and joining groups is easier than ever, even in a heroic, the synergy between you and 4 friends (guildies or not) and 4 randomly pooled players is very different.  I often find myself doing a single dungeon just for my frost badges; however, when I’m partied with friends, we experience more — we work on achievements, we chain several instances together, and we get to chat, because, well, we know each other.

Why do I limit myself to a single dungeon?  Most nights its just not worth the aggravation of “fitting” in with a group, even for a short 15-25 minute run.  Will the tank go squish?  Will the dps stand in the fire?  Am I on auto-pilot and can chat with friends while running, or am I forced to ignore my /tells because I’m having to work my butt off?

Raids are infinitely worse.  Some random person is placed as your “leader.”  Yes, they clicked the little *Willing to Lead* option, but you don’t know them from the NPC who starts the quest.  Are they a good leader?  Do you trust their raid instructions?  Even worse, does everyone else?  For every successful awesome PUG raid I’ve had the pleasure to be the part of, their have been at least 10 that failed to form, or dissolved within 30 minutes.  Trying to coordinate follow-up raids to complete the dungeon are a logistical nightmare that most pug raid leaders are not willing to coordinate.

To Guild or Not to Guild

Why do you play Warcraft?  If it’s for progression, you’ll still want a good guild beside you.  If it’s for purely social reasons, a guild can be a boon, but is not a requirement.  If it’s for exploration, leveling (alting) or holiday achievements, it is irrelevant.  If you want to be a lone wolf with a few carefully selected people on your friends list that you keep in contact with–that’s your Warcraft, and enjoy!

For most, however, I think the guild experience helps shape their view and enjoyment of the game world–everything is better with friends after all.

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