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BlueDestiny's Avatar

12.16.2012 , 08:27 AM | #4
Thanks for reading the entire material, and for your post. Though the initial response seems to be paraphrased as, "can't do much about those," or "not sure I see it that way", I might suggest you give it some more thought. Alot of the responses skim the surface without asking for the root causes, or what the opportunities are - which makes sense with a first pass. I think the material might resonate more with the devs, who as leaders should know what a sacred cow is (what with TOR full of them).

I'll touch on one of the response points as an example, and selected Guild Tools (Section VI) as it matters to any MMO more so than any other gaming genre. You didn't see the value in helping guild leaders provide more clarity for their charters, that ratings might be rigged (abused) by guild leaders.

Remember the needs that the guild tools would be designed to address:

  • Help leaders better clarify for themselves and for their members - what they want for and of their community

  • Help players better define for themselves what they're looking for in a community

    (Fair to say that both stakeholders in the two points above could use a little more clarity in MMO's today, to help find better community fits)

  • Help players search for guild communities

  • Help players land in better suited communities

  • Help leaders and players, both, be among like-minded players with like-minded needs

That said, here are some considerations to your points:

  1. With the above purposes, all stakeholders would benefit from the system. This means that it would be appreciated for the value it brings for all involved, better thriving guilds of like minded players having better clarity of what their guild is designed for, and likewise what it's not designed for. To misuse (game) the tools would be counter-productive to the success of the entire guild, for both leaders and members.

  2. Learned in business long ago that you don't forgo "providing great service" or suboptimize the "design of systems to provide great service", for the sake of abuses. Yelp and Tripadvisor seem to do just fine. I contribute to both. While I don't believe we'd need more than self-monitoring of the tools, since the search would be on charter points, not ratings, leaders have the opportunity over time to effect the outcome of ratings, and the final accountability or consequences of gaming the tools would be by departing players, see next bullet ...

  3. Example of how it would benefit all stakeholders and why trying to game the tools doesn't work: Joined a guild once that was rare in that it did have a lot of material speaking to its activities and purpose (case of abuse by false advertising). It didn't live up to any of it. After some time and observation, being an adult in a guild of adults, I discussed this with leaders. They said, "well, its a work in progress" or "we used to do that" and alot of other reasons why the charter material was not remotely accurate. What they did was post alot of things that "sounded good" as a charter, with no tangible plans or attempts to execute. So, they had a revolving membership door like any other guild, with alot of unsatisfied members, and were not thriving as a community. They had stated their charter, they just didn't deliver on it - might have been more acceptable if they were delivering on any of it.

    This period of time was a "learning moment" for their leaders, having a good charter and getting feedback from many, and their go-forward success derives from their ability to learn from those moments. Kudos to them for putting a clear charter out there, and hopefully they learned from setting expectations, underperformance, and feedback. At least they had going for them that they started from a base of like-minded players who all wanted what the charter described.

With each of so many clans and guilds I've endured over the decades, the tools would have "spared" me and infinitely countless other players months of dissatisfying MMO experiences (hey, if we log off dissatisfied from the game, from gameplay or from guild experiences, it's still a dissatisfying feeling on logging off that reflects directly on the enjoyment of the game itself) if we had known that before joining. Fact is, after decades of clans and guilds, I've been without a guild for ... oh, six months or so, and gave up looking.

It's a huge shame, and huge missed opportunity related to TOR and endgame, but I'm so tired of the blind guild "jumping in." Talking to others ingame without a guild badge, they say the same thing. A huge suboptimized group waiting for better service, as well as the countless other players who are in guilds, but are not satisfied. Wake up, MMO developers.

Believe you me, I have no compunction in sharing my ratings (as an avid Yelp and TripAdvisor user) and constructive thoughts. Why? Because by doing so helps make everything "better", raises the bar for all stakeholders. More clarity, accountability, opportunity to see weaknesses and address them, more visibility, promotes better communication on charter tenets. As a leader, I'd be a fool to circumvent such valuable tools, or not take advantage of them, as it would be to my own detriment.

Frankly, these tools would revolutionize guilds and MMO satisfaction for any MMO, and would blow your minds after seeing the effects on player satisfaction surveys. It would give those thinking about starting a guild a sense for expectations and what leading a guild means - to get ready to learn and evolve as a leader! If some developer wakes up and provides these services, the landscape and success of guilds would change dramatically.
Support the TOR DEFINITIVE ISSUES thread to raise the bar for TOR players.
Support the GUILD CHARTER TOOLBOX & SEARCH TOOL thread to raise the bar for guilds and their players.