Countering “I am bored”

As part of the shared topic of BlogAzeroth and Twisted Nether regarding guild retention, I will be looking into various alternative ways of keeping your guild entertained. Yes, hard raids and PvP can keep your people occupied, but people might have to sit out raids, things can get cancelled, and sometimes evenings with nothing to do haunt the officers as people quote the overused “I am bored”.

What’s going on?

When people join a (casual) raiding guild or PvP guild, they expect a certain measure of “entertainment”. They expect to be able to join in the activities for honor, badges, loot and experience, and it usually falls on the guild leader and officers to arrange it. When people are not very active, some of them will find it difficult to get something going. Either they don’t want to PuG, do the daily heroic again, level yet another alt, farm another good or join another battleground without friends.

This is a sign that these people want companionship, and also that they are not very good at keeping themselves busy (other people, me included, are so busy and have so many pans in the fire we cry out for time rather than things to do). This is where it pays as an officer or active guildy to have some things in store that can entertain yourself and others.

This will make people feel valued, draws them closer to the guild, and makes time seem to fly.

Leveling Group

Get some people to make alts, and make an agreement to only level those alts when playing together. Keep a tight group, about 3 people seems right. Any more and you risk never playing due to conflicting agendas. Even more entertaining is to build a character with a different role than you usually would. Also set yourself a limit; for instance “Our characters will level together until level 20. After that we each go our own way until level 60, and we level together again in Outland. Whoever reaches 60 parks his toon until the others catch up.”

By setting such limits you give a clear goal, and prevent people lagging behind or never showing up.

Rep farming

Everyone loves to have factions at exalted, but no one wants to farm for it alone. Get some friends together and clear Strat and Scholo (+quests) for Argent Dawn rep (make sure to have an enchanter with you for the BoP items), or harass the Twilight Cultists in Silithus for Cenarion Circle rep. Help your Druid in farming the Anzu mount, and get everyone exalted with Lower City in the process. A solid run through Molten Core takes less than 5 people half an hour to an hour to complete, and gives nice-looking Tier sets for RP as well as rep.

Friendly boost

Something I have done is when one of my friends needs a boost (say, in Zul’Farrak which is a favorite) I always ask if any guildies want to come along. The loot is current for them, but having 3+ people in the group also gives a larger amount of XP. It takes half an hour of my time, and the people involved can get themselves in pretty hilarious situations. For those who say “I hate boosting” don’t forget that if you take turns, everyone profits. Both my warlock and my Warrior gained 3 levels in Strat and Scholo thanks to my friendly neighbourhood Paladin. When she was leveling her own Warlock, I returned the favor.

Roleplay

Get some guildies together (on alts, for instance) and set up some RP for yourselves. Avoid guard/criminal themes or the like, but getting some interaction going as mercenaries, priests, or having your local gnome do something zany can spark quite the reaction.

Foxhunt

Another interesting game I have seen played once is the classic “Fox Hunt”. You get a list of items to gather (grey items usually), and the first to return with all of those to the “host” wins. Make sure that these items are not found all over the world (Wowhead is a good source to find what drops per creature), and limiting the list to 5 items is the best. This is, because 5 items fits exactly into you trade window, so you can see instantly if the list is checked.

Make sure to have a small prize for the winner, and the runner up. This way there is some competition. Keep it small and fun, like a non-combat pet that is available from a common vendor, fireworks, maybe a stack of food or a “fun item” like the leather ball. It may seem childish, but hey, we’re already playing a game, right?

Naked Gnome race

Practiced on various servers and in various variations, this involves having a series of Level 1 Gnomes (any class) running from the starting area to Menethil Harbor in Wetlands. No equipment is allowed except what you pick up from mobs along the way. Whoever reaches there first wins. Usually the characters are deleted afterwards, but some have grown into ful-fledged and very loved toons for their players.

A variation of this is getting people with non-epic mounts complete the racing course over at Shimmering Flats. Booze and gratuitous starter girls are a bonus.

Pet show

Specific to hunters, announce that hunters have a week to tame what they consider the most beautiful pet. After the week, hold a pet show (for instance in the mining guild building at the northeast corner of Stormwind’s Dwarven District). Select three impartial judges to judge the pets and give them grades. People with a sense of humor are great for this (anyone seen “Groomer Has It?”) as well as having someone to announce the winner in some nice fashion.

Have the pets perform, which could include having it go through the typical pet actions and announce its emotes, or possessing it with their hunter abilities and making it do tricks themselves. The possibilities are legion.

Again, make sure to have some small prizes, although pet biscuits, food, snacks and similar “fun” items generally appeal the most to hunters.

Naxx Speed Run / Hard Boiled Run

Due to a lack of members, we often ran ToC, Onyxia and Ulduar with a team of 8 people instead of 10. This takes a bit of careful judging, but try and underman an instance that you have on farm, or if you do have enough peeps, announce a speed run. This involves power-pulling (pulling continuously until your healers cry in agony), AoE’ing trash packs and generally getting through an instance fast, without rezzing, without explanations.

The experience is awe-inspiring and can be loads of fun. To quote Eliya on the subject: “Powerpull, powerpull! If you die, you suck, and you have to corpse run!”

This can make a great time out of a Naxx badge farm run.

Alternative PvP

Yeps, with enough people you can make a Premade and roll over Battlegrounds. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. Get your people together and discuss alternative goals for your next BG. “Kill as many Trolls as you can, and count them on Vent. First to get to 50 wins” or “Whoever survives the longest against 2 or more foes next BG wins” can be valid suggestions. Make sure to have someone not busy killing on standby (over Vent, for instance) to keep score.

Old World Raids

Not just the indoor ones, you also have 4 dragons roaming around. Doomlord Kazzak and DoomWalker are still going strong, and the BoE epics dropped by them are good for alts. Trust me that some of those old Dragons are still tough at level 80. A breath that diseases you for 25% of your health over 10 seconds (or whatever it did) will still kill you quickly now. And no, they are raid bosses, so Resisting that ability is not guaranteed in any way. Good if you like a challenge.

Since the achievements are up, more raids are made on BT, Sunwell, SSC and TK than before. Everyone wants the achievement for clearing those raids, and the shiny phoenix mount from Kael’thas keeps bringing people back for more.

Nostalgic Runs

Level 60 raids can be fun, but how about actually doing that while wearing contemporary gear? Try and do Blackrock Spire and Molten Core wearing level 60 gear. You will see that despite being 20 levels higher, it will increase the difficulty rating by quite a margin (especially the hit rating one). I have no experience myself in this, but just the lack of Hit alone will make sure that your 8K DPS mage has to fight again for his damage.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do even if you have no raid that evening and want to try out something different. And when you keep the spice varied, the people continue eating. And when there are things like this as entertainment and relaxation in between raids, you will find people actually looking forward to it after they get used to the idea. And when people look forward to being with your guildies, you know they are keepers.

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One Response to “Countering “I am bored””

  1. Thanks for this post! It can be difficult to maintain your guildies attention…we don’t have a lot of trouble with gquitting due to boredom, but after a shiny patch wears off, some people will disappear for a few months.

    We’ve utilized some of these ideas…some are new and sound like a lot of fun! I especially like the Pet Show idea…now I wonder if our hunters would be willing to listen to me squee over their pets…hehe.

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