Monday, February 2, 2015

The Natural Ebb and Flow

The Natural Ebb and Flow: Does you guild experience roster churn at the start of an expansion? 
The lead up to the Warlords of Draenor release was an interesting time for our little casual guild.

By September of 2014, we were in a holding pattern. Garrosh-N was on weekly farm to maximize heirlooms and ensure that everyone in the guild who desired the Feat of Strength could get it. Right around this same time, membership applications shot through the roof. Something was happening.

And it wasn't due to a recruitment push. We'd ceased advertising on our realm forum the month prior, yet we'd see three to five new applications each week. This continued up until the week of Warlords' release. The common element in each of these apps was that the applicant was friends with a current member. Clearly, the something happening was inactive players coming back to the game, possibly in staggering numbers. Our guild grew by several dozen members in a matter of months solely from word-of-mouth recruitment.

Once Patch 6.0 went live, we were running 30-player Siege of Orgrimmar flex raids. This interest continued into our first weeks in Highmaul---and then slowly began to taper off. Newer faces dropped in for the start of the expansion, didn't find anything that grabbed them, and quietly slipped out. We've also had a handful of veteran members hang up their raiding gear due to life conflicts, burnout, or boredom.

As I surveyed the landscape while planning for this week's raid, a realization hit me: the last (and only) time I was in a stable guild for an expansion launch was Cataclysm. And even then, I was just a cog in the machine and had little control over the direction the guild was heading. Now that I help steer the overall aim of our guild, the churn is much more visible.

I can't help but wonder if it's part of the natural ebb and flow of player population. An expansion looms, players re-subscribe to get a feel for how things will change with the new content. They pick up the expansion, work through the content, but choose not to dedicate themselves to a certain activity in game, like raiding. Sooner or later, they stop logging in. Some offer farewells, others disappear without a trace. Even with long-time, constant subscribers, the start of an expansion is a great time to ask one's self, "Do I really want to do this again?"

Has your guild roster shrunk since the Warlords of Draenor release?

1 comment:

  1. My guild shrunk during Cataclysm after I had already bowed out. Raiding changed and I didn't get on a raiding team soon enough and I just couldn't face the grind again and didn't want to raid with crap-tastic players.

    I came back at the end of MoP randomly not even knowing WoD was coming out soon. I just missed the game and wanted to see what had changed. I still read some of the WoW blogs I always followed and knew there were changes I'd enjoy, so I stuck my toe back in to test the water... but one of the agreements I made with my husband when I came back was not to raid hardcore again. He doesn't want to come back and doesn't even want to be tempted to do so, and me raiding would do that. It would also take a lot away from our time together.

    As it is now, I don't even do 5 mans that much. I know the world is finder-happy and I could run whatever now, but I don't want to be a poor contributor, so I just don't do them. And the remains of our guild, well, we still like talking to each other, even if there's only a hand-full of us left.