Have Group, Must Summon: the removal of a favorite guild perk means more responsibility for individual raiders

People are upset about this change.

This afternoon, I listened to most of the latest episode of the Twisted Nether Blogcast, in which hosts Fimlys and Hydra discuss the opening of beta and the massive wave of Mists of Pandaria information following the press tour back in mid-March.

During the podcast, they talked about the upcoming removal of the popular guild perk, Have Group, Will Travel, and its relation to the announcement that there will be three raids in the initial tier.

Hydra, in particular, felt that this was a big negative, as she explained to Fimlys and a roundtable consisting of Rades (Orcish Army Knife), Poneria (Fel Concentration/WoW Insider) and Nevik (Nevik’s Notebook):

If they’re getting rid of the whole ‘Have Group, Will Travel,’ it’s gonna make this really annoying.  I mean, this is one of the things which, when they put out Cata with the three different raids, at first it worked out great, because . . . you’re not plowing through it; you’re working at it, you know, doing four or five bosses in the raid and then . . . the next day, maybe, you’ll go to the next one.  But when you were all geared up, after two or three months or whatever it takes, and you’re plowing through it and it only takes you an hour and a half or so to get through it, and you have a three hour raid [session], then you’re spending twenty minutes, a half hour, or whatever. . . between breaks, getting everybody over there, getting it all together, and then starting on trash again, and that interruption. . . I don’t like the fact that it takes like twenty minutes in between raids.

Blizzard claims it is removing this perk as a way to address player concerns that there aren’t many people out in the world doing things; that Stormwind and Orgrimmar, like Dalaran before them, have become lobbies where players sit around queueing (or waiting for a mass summon, in this case) for instances.

In Wrath of the Lich King, Dalaran sat in the center of the continent, while, for raids, players flew southeast for Naxxramas, south for Obsidium Sanctum, northeast for Ulduar, north for Trial of the Crusader, and west for The Eye of Eternity and Icecrown Citadel.  I don’t know where the hub will be located in Pandaria, but the experience in Mists will be similar to how raid summons worked in Wrath.

Personally, I’m not as annoyed about this change as many others seem to be.  In Cataclysm, I didn’t really start raiding until guilds had T11 raids on farm, and I never felt that it was a huge deal to fly Northwest from Stormwind to Blackrock Mountain for BWD.  Following that, a hearth to the Dwarven District and a very close portal to Twilight Highlands or Uldum meant that BoT or Tot4W was theoretically reachable in just a few minutes.  Of course, this is from an Alliance perspective.

The wasted-time problems come when other team members don’t show the same initiative.  Often there is a break between raids in these situations, since it’s a natural place to take one.  Then, you run into issues where So-and-so is afk for an extra six minutes, Someone is declining or ignoring his summon because he’s gemming / enchanting / reforging new gear, and Somebody went offline to fix an addon and hasn’t logged back in yet.  And of course, You-know-who decided to pug the second raid on all of his toons earlier in the week, so you have to find somebody to replace him.  This takes more time than the active summoning process, in my experience, because those doing the summoning have to do so around all of these other distractions.

Despite the fact that the 80-85 zones were scattered across Azeroth, the raid instance portals were fairly easy to get to.  In Mists of Pandaria, from what I understand, the first tier of raids will be confined to Pandaria itself, meaning that, with flight available at level 90, it shouldn’t be much more difficult than it is now to get a team to a raid portal, providing the individual players are responsible: on time, ready to go, and willing to get themselves to the instance or help others get there as quickly as possible.

Have Group, Will Travel is undeniably a sweet perk, and we will all definitely miss it.  The problem, though, is not with its removal.  Rather, the problem is an individual one: if your raid team doesn’t have 10/25 individuals who are proactive about getting to the instance quickly – or, at the very least, about accepting a summon when it comes – then yes, not having this perk will suck.  However, in my experience, getting everyone into the raid instance is not a Blizzard problem – it’s a raider problem.

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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc.  Comments are welcome!

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