66ers, Vrookies, and Members of Gamer Nation,
We, the officers of The Order of 66, recently met for our first official meeting over Vent to discuss the goings-on in the guild, and how we can make, what we agree is already an excellent community we have built, just that much better. This post is meant to inform you what was discussed, some conclusions we came to, and most importantly: what your expectations should be going forward.
Here's the short version. The long version follows immediately after:
The Long Version:The Upshot:
- What we are as a guild: A fun community of diverse players that wants to support all playstyles; Trying to minimize drama
- What we aren’t as a guild: A hardcore endgame guild; Able to satisfy everyone, 100%, all the time; Shunning people who aren’t “hardcore enough”
- Since our guild supports all playstyles, by definition it focuses on none. However, we'd like to help where we can.
- Some people feel like we’re "too hardcore."
- The perception of “too hardcore” comes from our progression-focused players being some of the most vocal in the community
- We’d like to do more to engage social/casual players who are not interested in endgame, PvP, or RP.
- We have some ideas for events that appeal to this set, but would appreciate feedback since it’s a hard group to get the pulse of.
- We realize some people just want to solo/alt and be left alone. That’s fine.
- Some people feel like we’re "not hardcore enough."
- The perception of “not hardcore enough” comes from people who want to do ops not being able to on a weekly basis.
- There is a large skill gap between playing your class well enough to hit 50, and being able to succeed in ops. We want to help people close that gap in a stress-free way.
- Weekly World Boss Takedown needs more support; we’re working on it.
We feel that the amount of out-of-game community involvement is low for a guild our size.
- We can’t make anyone engage in the community out-of-game, but we want to make the ability to do so as visible and accessible as possible.
- Guild chat is all well and good, but it only gets seen by people who are on at the time.
- More improvements are coming to the guild site.
- We feel that Vent is fine where it is, given the inherent factors of TOR’s design (voice acting, etc.)
- SW:TOR should not be a "second job" for anyone - officers included. We're all here because we enjoy it and want to have fun.
- We don’t want to put any more restrictions/structure on how you play the game than we generally have to.
- We are a guild of mostly employed, post-college-age players. Most of us, officers and members, have too many other responsibilities to do things any differently than how we are.
As a journalist by trade, I’m not a fan of burying the lead. So we’ll lead off with the most important thing you, as members of our guild community, should know.
We are a very large guild with a diverse range of players that all want to play the game a different way. Due to the fact that we are community-centered, and not based around one or more types of gameplay, it is going to be truly and literally impossible to satisfy 100% of the expectations of 100% of the players in our guild, 100% of the time.
This does not mean that we will not try. This does not mean that we think no adjustments need to be made right now. We are still dedicated to satisfying all playstyles to the best of our ability, and are in agreement that certain ones are being underserved at the moment. We also believe there are certain demographics that might seem like they are being underserved, to whom we would like to communicate otherwise.Let’s talk about Operations and endgame.
There seem to be two vocal groups that believe opposite things about our guild: that we are not “hardcore enough,” and that we are “too hardcore.” Obviously, these can not both be true.
Are we “too hardcore?” It is the feeling of the officers that no, we are not. This perception probably came from the fact that some of the people who have been the most vocal in the community are of the “not hardcore enough” camp, and we have been devoting a lot of words and energy trying to assure them that their playstyle will be supported. At the end of the day, we are not an endgame guild. We will not treat people who can’t or don’t want to participate in endgame any differently.
Additionally, we are not trying to seem overly serious or exclusionary about who we will allow to participate in endgame. The fact of the matter is that there is a large skill gap between leveling up to 50 (especially if you leveled with one or more friends), and being ready to take on Normal-mode operations. In order for us to succeed at these higher-level challenges, it may be necessary for us to critique and advise new 50s on what they need to be doing differently. Our goal will never be to make fun of you for not knowing how to play your class well enough or anything like that. We just want to give you the information you need to be successful in endgame to make things more fun for yourself and your guildies.
On the other side of the coin, we agree that at present, endgame Operations progression is not being adequately supported as a playstyle, which is something we want to address. We only have one regular Ops group that runs with any regularity, and even they are struggling to hold onto members. We have had multiple players leave the guild outright due to frustration over our lack of endgame support. In addition, we have a significant number of level 50 players who can’t, currently, find their way into an Operation run even once a week.
Our goal is that all players that want to run operations once a week should be able to, at minimum, do that. We are discussing ways to make this work, but are also open to suggestions from the community. One idea was to hold “training runs” to get 50s who currently do not feel comfortable with operations up to speed. Another might be to partner with other guilds on the server to form regular groups.
Additionally, we would like to reinvigorate the Weekly World Boss Takedown event.Social/Casual Players
Another area we feel we could be supporting better are the social/casual type players that are not interested in endgame or RP, putting them in a niche that is often looked over in MMOs. Some suggestions we put together were “Chapter graduation” ceremonies, and similar events that can let casuals get the feeling of being part of a large guild event. Ultimately, this is a hard group to cater to in terms of gatherings and planned group activities, so we are open to hearing how we can be more engaging to you if you are this type of player.
There are, of course, those casual players who just want to solo their class stories and chime in to guild chat now and then. They don’t want to attend scheduled events, and they don’t want special attention. This is fine, and we take your silence to mean that you are enjoying playing the game your way unless you tell us otherwise.Guild Communication
We have discussed the fact that, for a guild our size, the amount of community involvement outside of the game (on the forums, on the wiki, podcast contests, etc.) is quite unusually low. A vast majority of our members do not participate in the guild beyond the bounds of the game and the guild chat channel at all.
Our goal is never going to be to make people engage in the out-of-game side of the community, but we feel a significant portion of our membership would get more out of the guild as a whole if they did. One of the limitations we face is that the game client doesn’t allow us a lot of room to communicate with you guys. Things said in guild chat are only seen by those who are on at the time, and the Guild Message of the Day is far too short to convey the amount of information we would like to.
We plan to make it a goal in the future to make communication from the guild organizers to the general member base a more fluid and robust process. We can never force anyone to check the forums, or the wiki, or a blog or Twitter feed... but we want to get to the point where we’re sure that, if people are not doing those things, it is not due to any failing on our parts to make them easy to find and accessible.
In terms of Vent, the numbers we’re seeing are somewhat typical for a guild our size. A pretty large majority of any given guild’s players tend to be mic shy. The lack of actual discussion seems to be largely due to the prevalence of voice acting and the use of the mute feature in the game, and we don’t see it as something we need to take action on at the moment.
Improvements to the wiki in terms of readability, finding information, and general organization are on the way.What to Expect From Your Officers
There seems to be some debate on what the role of the officers should be in the guild. The way things were originally envisioned, we set ourselves up more as organizers than leaders. We don’t want to make and enforce any more rules than we need to for our extremely diverse range of players to have a fun time.
While some in the community have expressed the desire to have the officers become a stronger guiding hand on the tiller of the guild, we feel it’s best to keep our roles as close as possible to the original intention. The fact is that we are a guild of mostly adults. The majority of our active community members are post-college age, and most are employed full-time. This applies to the officers as well.
The point we came back to multiple times is that none of us want running this guild to become a second job. Not a one of us would have the time to make it that way, in the first place. That being said, we do feel like increased officer visibility and interaction would help the perceptions that exist among some members that we aren’t “active” enough, and we plan to take steps in that direction.
Thanks for reading, and we would love to hear your feedback!
The Order of 66 Leadership Team