Imbalance of power

Stormglory Bolt

I can’t speak for other countries, but here in the U.S. there’s often outcry about the wealthiest people having loopholes so that they aren’t taxed as heavily as their poorer counterparts.

There’s something similar going on with DDO guilds. It used to be that all guilds level 26 and higher were subject to daily renown decay. The amount of decay was determined by the number of unique accounts in the guild. The more accounts, the more decay.

To me, this was a GOOD thing. It encouraged players to be active and earn renown for their guilds. And it encouraged guilds to be – I hate to use the word “selective,” because it tends to have elitist connotations. But yes – selective; selective in that it benefited a guild to put together a group of like-minded players who worked well together and enjoyed each other’s company rather than just indiscriminately adding whoever they could find.

Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, renown decay was suspended on June 20 and was supposed to remain so until the release of the Shadowfell Conspiracy. Even more unfortunately, decay is STILL on hiatus with no official plans to bring it back, according to the DDO Wiki guild renown page.

Maybe you’re wondering why this is such a bad thing. Yay, no more renown decay! Let’s all celebrate! Right?

But there are a few problems with that approach. Now, guilds are being rewarded for going out and recruiting anyone at all, because every last little bit of renown earned is renown kept. So there’s a lot more shady stuff like people lurking in the Wavecrest spamming blind guild invites on unsuspecting newbies.

And it punishes smaller guilds, because now the decay that once helped keep the playing field level is gone. Our little Thelanis guild is basically Slvr and me; Comic plays with us Tuesday nights as part of a static group and Shin occasionally signs on but hasn’t been active lately. Having just a few people who are active and do a lot of stuff together works well for us, but with so few, it takes us a LONG time to level up. I joined the guild full-time about a year and a half ago, when it was level 27. We’re now within about 100K renown of level 50 and looking forward to our next airship (even though I’ll miss the green paint job I gave our Stormglory Bolt, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story).

There’s Vey, who has, through a LOT of hard work, gotten his guild – not a lot bigger than ours – all the way up to level 94 at present. That’s one hell of an accomplishment for a small guild like Riddles.

There’s a guild that I’d hardly seen around before decay was suspended. I doubt they were out of the 20s guild level-wise at that time. Now they’re well into the 80s – in a matter of a few months. Go to the social tab, search all, and sort by guild, and there always seem to be at least 20 or 30 of them, because they recruit anybody and everybody. They have people who troll the Who tab looking for unguilded players – I know, because when I rolled up Sere, my iconic Shadar-Kai assassin, I was leveling her up to 15 and got TWO tells from different people in that guild asking me to join. Sorry, but even if I were looking for a guild, I wouldn’t want to be part of one that would do stuff like that.

And then… there’s the guild I was in before I joined Slvr’s. Account-wise, they’re one of the largest guilds on Thelanis. I used to be successor and roster keeper, back in the day when they had applications and recommendations and tryouts to see how someone would fit in before they were invited to the guild. When I left, they were at level 72. When renown decay was first suspended, they were maybe 77 or 78, I think… but boy, has that changed. Now the only criteria to get in, so I’m told by a couple of members who aren’t too happy about the policy change, is to get an officer to invite you.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an asset to the guild or not; all that matters is that you’re one more person who might earn a little more renown, because that’s what pays off – that guild is now level 99.

Quick side note: I’m not naming the guild because, for starters, naming and shaming is a totally classless thing to do, and because, even though I vehemently oppose the new policy of “invite anyone,” I still have some AMAZING friends in that guild, people who are some of my best friends in DDO.

But when you invite just anyone to your guild without regard to how they’ll fit in, you might not have to worry about renown decay, but you ARE going to have to worry about your guild’s reputation. I saw that firsthand tonight during FoT with Abs, Ninja and the very awesome gang from Clan. I was on Jall and was assigned to the TO tank. We had one other healer, a cleric from my old guild, who was assigned to heal the rest of the party and keep an eye on the SR tank if needed.

Somehow, the guy managed to blow through 3400 mana in no time flat. We didn’t even have the first giant/dragon pair down before his blue bar was empty, and it was obvious he DIDN’T blow it on heals. So Ninja asked him to please save his SP for healing rather than casting a lot of offensive spells. She asked him nicely. And he replied, “Go f*** yourself,” “F*** you,” “I was f***ing healing” (trust me, he wasn’t – a couple people were scroll healing and I was trying to throw some heals when I could get within range, which wasn’t a lot since Abs was doing a great job keeping the TO away from the party). And he didn’t just say it once and stop. He kept at it. Even after Abs decided to call it and get us out of there before anyone could use more resources on a lost cause, the guy was STILL swearing at Ninja.

Yes, he was a total jerk. And he also made his guild look REALLY bad. The party re-formed (without him, of course), and there was much talk about that guild, none of it positive. But I guess if all you’re after is the next guild level, that stuff doesn’t matter.

To be fair, guilds with less than 50 active accounts do get a bonus to renown earned. The bonus varies based on number of accounts relative to the guild’s size classification. Slvr has a couple of alt accounts to keep us at six total for the maximum renown bonus of 300%, so for example we get 3,000 renown for a Legendary Victory while a guild with 50 or more unique accounts would get 1,000. But we have really two people actively earning renown on a daily basis. A guild with 50+ members, even if a full third of those members aren’t active, is going to earn a lot more renown than we do. Without decay as an equalizer, the high-membership guilds are leaving little guilds like ours in the dust, especially as more and more renown is required for each successive guild level.

Even if they bring decay back, the playing field will still be slanted. In a post from October 2012, Tolero explains a Turbine policy change that states, “Renown decay no longer takes guild size into account. This should ease the pressure for guild leaders to “kick” members from the guild to offset daily renown decay rates. Renown decay now only takes a guild’s level into consideration rather than its size.”

I see nothing wrong with kicking guild members for inactivity. If someone hasn’t signed on in a long time, why keep them in your guild? When I was still in the old guild, the policy was that inactive accounts were booted after one month and one day of no activity, but were ALWAYS welcome to rejoin if they returned to the game. That’s a pretty simple and fair way of doing things.

But now, the easiest way to level up your guild is only simple, not fair – just go out and recruit everyone you can.


10 thoughts on “Imbalance of power

  1. Keavaa

    My dearest Even,

    I’m so sorry. In one of my last posts on my blog, before I pulled it, I commented quite strongly about a number of issues in DDO and I was told I had the wrong attitude. lol.

    Clearly though I was right. Turbine don’t care anymore, not like they once did; and yes I’m certain they really did at one point. You could see a trend in the development to make players happy. Thats gone now.

    DDO is a money making machine and little things like decay to help keep things in check are gone. A friend who still plays has received numerous seals and shards from quests, but only if he re-rolls for loot. Really hammers home the pay to play system – pay for loot too. I know DDO is a business ofc, but the blatant grab for money is ridiculous.

    Our guild is small too, was just the four of us and the ship was mostly a holder for the navigator. I always thought there was little point to guilds, especially high ones. This became more apparent after MotU came out. Really, a 30 acid resist only helped you live an extra minute tops. In quests where environmental dots were in the hundreds you had a measly 30 resist. Gear drops that gave 40 or more became the norm. It was handy as private chat channel where we could ask for advice mid quest.

    What pains me though are the absolutely amazing people like yourself stuck in DDO. I know you said on a few occasions you’d not start another game and I know you have very good friends in DDO land; I wish you could all come to Guild Wars 2. I respect you and your decision. Should you ever change your mind though, I’m here to help.

    The worst is yet to come. Turbine are in a state of managing the demise of the game and what we see is its complete collapse. There’s nothing quite like killing off a product than driving your players away, as when you pull the plug no one will be left to complain. For now they squeeze every penny out of it that they can. It be nice to be wrong on this occasion.

    I leave you with a picture here of my Ranger in Guild Wars 2 and the sincerest of hopes that one day you and your amazing friends come and join me and my guild leader from DDO there. We have a little guild here and welcome you all.

    Sorry, you’ll have to copy and paste the URL. Im not a html wiz.

    Warmest regards,
    Chris (Keavaa)

    PS. I received your message via a trusted friend regarding email. Hope you get it fixed soon. I miss you. Maybe a gmail account in the interim, or as a backup. I don’t know, its 2am and I’m rambling. Take care my friend.


  2. Luedwig

    We’ll balance, reasonable. I like it.
    For everyone else: Anytime a policy goes “Walmart: Throw-the-doors-wide” the Takers in each of us have an opportunity to throw flavour and avg. quality into the Shyte-hole to, well, Take! Some resist, some don’t. The guild I run in currently has three active members, lvl 78 and making head-way primarily because of the new policy. Despite this I am actually in favor of having a form of decay.
    For a beginning to a solution I might find a member range on the “perfect guild size” (yeah, Right!). Eh, say The ability to run two full raids plus two four-‘mans. Now decide on a healthy adult-responsible hours of play per day or week(unless this IS actually a game for f2p teenagers or live-at-home daddy-can-I-have-your-platinum-card types. I could agree to two hours per day or even twenty per week. Note: time spent in areas with renown drops, not the market, the vendor, or role-playing in the Pheonix time.
    Ok now, based on Turbine’s passive renown drop rate we have a possible formula. For our part we take half the heroics and ALL! Renown higher than heroic, to say that Guild-Perfect-Size should hit lvl 100 in X months. For those of you that like to lose your focus on the larger picture I shall endeavour to provide you with a bullet: 30! Don’t like that? Too bad. (Learned that in the biz’ness schoo’ of Miz the ever awesome) Your solution of levelling quicker would simply require you to rise above the avg. Don’t be afraid, people do it all the time both in real life and in games. Exact details on how to do this will include a pair of excellent role-playing episodes from TV sitcoms. Go back a few years for the Southpark WOW version. More recently I suggest you visit Penny’s excursion into online almost-dating-Howard.
    Now the decay. Would it have been so hard to simply create a coded guild levelling schedule that states no matter how large the guild is that x renown/day based on perfect guild size (yeah, right!)cannot be exceeded. Ie. I’m sorry Mr. guild but it seems the populace have heard all they’re gonna hear from you for the time being. But what can you tell me about that cute little red-head over there? 😉
    Ps. How much of this did I really really mean? Not sure but Luedwig says Geoff Hanna invites dissent and I just got mine in the mail.


  3. Hey Even. I understand your point, but I have to disagree. I loved that guild reknown decay was turned off. I’m the leader of a very small guild of 5 active accounts. The other 4 accounts log in occasionally and don’t gain much reknown, but that’s their playstyle, so np there. I log in every day and am responsible for 70% of the guild’s reknown. When we had decay, leveling the guild was slow. I would take 2 steps forward and then one step back the next day. But now, at least without the decay, we have are steadily evolving, having just reached lvl 46.

    I don’t spam invite people, and the guilds that do will probably earn their deserved reputation in time.

    Oh, and without guild reknown decay it also takes the pressure away during holidays, when some people have less play time (like I do) because of familiy gatherings and whatnot. The decay would always lurk in the back of my mind when I couldn’t log on, making me feel kind of guilty.

    So I hope we can agree to disagree on this one 🙂

    Have a good day


  4. I have to agree to disagree with you on this one too. I hate guild renown decay more than anything in DDO. I don’t even use the word “hate” very often but I totally and completely hate renown decay.

    I guess I sort of hate Dungeon Alert too. So there’s that. And pretty much any change that takes the game further away from the original D&D 3.5.

    Nonetheless. Guild renown decay was the worst thing ever and I hope to the gods that it never comes back.

    Nice post though, I don’t have to agree with you to appreciate your take on the matter and the skills you used to present it 🙂

    p.s. Unrelated but I want to use your ratings widget. It seems way less obtrusive than the one I was using.


    1. @Keava: I don’t see myself going to GW2, but got the issues with my main E-mail straightened out and one of these days, I really AM going to get you your long-overdue reply. And still miss you on DDO! ❤

      Everybody else: I'm absolutely fine with people disagreeing with me respectfully. And y'all brought up some very good points. 🙂

      I think I do need to clarify a bit. It's not that I "love" renown decay. I don't, and our little guild has benefited from not having to make up the decay amount every day as well. The problem I have with the current total lack of decay – well, let me use an example. Suppose there's an art gallery that starts out renting space to artists based on the size of the space they want. So an artist who wants, say, a 20×20 space pays more than one who wants a 10×10 one.

      But then the art gallery says, hey, here's a thought, let's stop charging more for bigger spaces. Instead, let's give discounts to artists who display more pieces of art. Some artists are going to care about the quality of their work, and thus are going to have fewer pieces of art on display. But some artists are only going to care about cheap space, and they're going to put anything they can out there… and even though they may well fill their space with a load of junk, they're going to pay less than the artists who put out less stuff, but focus on quality.

      It's not a perfect analogy, but it's what I could come up with on the fly. I'm not asking so much for guilds with a lot of accounts to be punished. But when guilds basically are being given a break for going for size only, that punishes the little guys who DO care about what kind of people are in their guild. If Slvr and I just wanted to go for a high guild level, we could start spamming blind guild invites, advertising in genchat, hanging out in the Wavecrest, etc. But the price we'd pay for having a lot of people to level the guild up would be… having a lot of people. We're not elitist; we really don't give much of a fig for playing ability, but we DO care about being with fun, friendly, relaxed folks.

      I'd just like Turbine to NOT reward "bigger is better no matter how you get it" guild strategies.


  5. Empress Mizzaroo

    @ludwig I don’t remember that blog, but that attitude does sound like me! XD

    On that note, I can understand people spamming blind invites is a pain in the ass. Those people who are more focused on renown over playing with people they like are in guilds for the wrong reason.

    In my opinion, renown decay sucks and is stupid. It’s one of the reasons I gave up playing my orien guild.

    I’m too tired to think about what I was gonna say next so ill just leave it at that! Haha


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