/failcheck: To guild or not to guild
That is the question! Or, to be more specific, how does being a new player being in a guild from early on affect their growth? I don’t think anyone would disagree with me when I say that being in a guild (or at the very least, having a higher level friend helping you) makes leveling MUCH easier. What concerns me, is that making leveling too easy could lead to stunted growth as a player.
Let’s lay out some scenarios, to get an idea of where I’m coming from:
- Erin starts playing WoW because her best friend Jamie is an avid player who convinced her to give it a try. After making her first toon, Erin is immediately invited to Jamie’s guild, and Jamie personally sets out to help Erin level. Through the course of leveling 1-80, Erin is helped and/or carried through the struggles of leveling and never really develops a real image of how her class works and becomes dependent on Jamie’s guild. After reaching 80, Erin joins the guild raid team, but because she’s not used to being in a situation where she’s a contributing member of a team, she struggles to find her place amongst the rest of the raid.
- Sheila starts playing WoW because she saw it in a local store and decided to give it a try. Through the course of leveling from 1-80, Sheila develops a strong sense of how her class works in different situations, where her limitations lie, how to be self-reliant, etc. After reaching 80, she decides she’d like to give raiding a try, makes an honest effort to scrounge up some effective gear, finds a guild with whom she can raid, and ultimately becomes a fine raider, who clearly understands her role and how best to fulfill it.
Now, to be fair, there are countless factors, both seen and unseen, that contribute to a player understanding and becoming good at a game, but for the sake of my hypothesis, I’m assuming that classic “trial-and-error” will lead to a more knowledgeable player. I feel the contrasting argument to my hypothesis would be that it’s easier for a new player to learn by watching skilled players.
Personally, when I leveled Nehmen (Nehmen wasn’t my first toon, but the rogue I had initially created didn’t really click with me, so I deleted her and began anew with Nehmen), I was subjected to both sides. I did regular, hub-based quests almost entirely alone, occasionally grouping up with another similarly leveled player, for group-specific quests. For almost every dungeon I did, however, my friend and guild leader (who convinced me to try WoW) would either lead me through herself or arrange for another guild member to do so.
Since I don’t have a perfect memory, I can’t say I remember every moment of my first couple of months as level 80 (I do remember the last struggle to get to 80, but that’s a story for another time), but I do remember this: I knew almost nothing about Vanilla WoW dungeons and raids. Because I’m an achievement horder, I decided to myself one day “wouldn’t it be easy to get [Classic Dungeonmaster]?” I quickly realized that I knew absolutely nothing about these old instances, and it was only through the careful examination of dungeon maps/guides and good ol’ trial-and-error that I managed to navigate my way through dungeons and pick off the correct bosses for the achievement.
I don’t have the time or materials (two people who don’t play, but are willing to try, WoW) to see an appropriate experiment through on this topic, but at the very least, I find it food for thought. My current method of dealing with new players is thus: don’t. It seems harsh… because it is. And I feel that’s the point; if a new player can make it to 80 by their own force of will, then I suspect they’ll be much better off than if I had carried them there. Muscles get stronger through appropriate workouts, yes?
And for the record, whenever I mention an experiment in a post (which won’t be all of them), I will refer to it as a /failcheck. After all, what is an experiment but a sophisticated /failcheck? Until next time!