Burnout and boredom are real killers in a game. I once tracked our member turnover and found in the worst of times that we would lose about 20% of our members per month. There were a lot of things working against us. The raid content was completed and most of the members have done the fights at least 30 times, some of them had done it a lot more than that on alternate or alt characters. We were a guild primarily focused on raiding which are large group content and normally the hardest group content in MMOs. When the raids stopped being exciting we had to find ways to keep our guild members happy and engaged.
Good ol’ raid/character progression is one of my favorite ways to play a game and keep everyone engaged. We were rewarded with better armor and weapons each time we killed the bosses, which also made the fights easier. Every week we get a little bit better through repetition and we complete things a little bit quicker. This allows time to learn the new encounters and eventually we experienced the thrill of a fresh kill. Of course this only occurs in a time with new content that we haven’t completed.
Sometimes I didn’t have to do much to keep players engaged because everyone would self entertain. We always played with competitive people that wanted to do the best that they could and beat the next best player on those damage meters. For those not familiar with damage meters it is a ranking of who does the best on any given fight. This would lead to individuals spending their time researching ways to better play their class, grind for that item that would result in a small increase in productivity and lastly taking more risks in a fight to squeeze out that extra small amount of damage. Sometimes all that stood between you and the next person was one more spell being completed.
In the weeks prior to a big game release we once had A Great Level One Race, which was a type of event that I always remember fondly. We all create brand new characters and gather together in a giant group. We had everyone start in one place and gave them a finish line. We offered up a pretty substantial prize for the winner, so even if you had no interest in playing the silly game that we created, that prize encouraged you to give it a try. We all twittered on our voice chat while we raced for the prize. There was only a little bit of cheating. It was a great time.
Testing the new content before it was released to the public was another great way for us to bond. If there was new large scale content available for the players to try out I made sure that we were there. I would send messages to the developers and offer up our services for testing to make sure that if they needed people to test, that our names would come up. It was such a thrill to be part of an exclusive group that got to check out content and offer our opinions and expertise as gamers to the creators of the games that we loved.
This week we decided to do a little extra tracking as we worked through a raid that we have just completed the week before. It took us a total of 4.7 hours to complete the whole thing, this week we decided to use that as a bench mark and work on shaving minutes off of that time. I had this plan to do things differently. Maybe clear non boss mobs more quickly, time before a boss encounter could be shaved down to 5 seconds from 10. When we can see ourselves improving each week it keep us motivated to keep the momentum going.
Guild Meetings are one of my favorite ways to keep up with players, especially if you are planning on playing something that has yet to launch. I don’t schedule our meetings past 30 minutes. The goal is to get people talking to eachother and hopefully creating friendships and bonds with others in the group. After all we are here to have fun.
What activities keeps you playing with your guild?