We all know Blizzard makes some apparently arbitrary and inexplicable decisions sometimes. Other times, we get the reasoning behind what they do, and have to grudgingly concede there is a point. But maybe we have a point too.
What I’m talking about is the removal of certain guild perks. I only know of two of them, one being Chug-a-Lug, the other being Have Group, Will Travel. The former used to increase cauldron buff lengths by 50% and an upgraded version of 100%, which was very handy for raid teams. Maybe there are some astounding Alchemy secrets to be revealed in Mists, but at the moment I can’t really understand why this one was removed. If anyone can shed light on this for me, please do!
The other perk removal is more contentious. Have Group, Will Travel’s mass summon had so many uses. If you were levelling an alt out in – say – Nagrand and asked in guild chat for some sympathetic soul to come help you do the Ring of Blood quests, the additional offer of a summon meant you were likely to get an ‘OK’ more often than not. If someone has to travel all the way to Nagrand to help with a few quests – and the journey might take as long as 15-20 minutes, depending on where they are, hearthstone cd situation and so on – they have to take a big chunk out of their game time and whatever they happened to be doing when you asked. Northrend is probably even worse, since you have wait ages for boats or zeppelins unless you’ve left your hs in Dalaran, (as many still elect to do), or have one of the few other quick means of travel to get there.
HGWT was great if you needed to get a few people together quickly for whatever task. Guildies could be summoned instantly to help, without inconveniencing them too much. I’ve also used it, when playing lonely alts on another realm to my main one, to summon main realm guildies into the beginning of an instance to boost me through it. There are literally dozens of other examples I could give where that guild perk was used by me or other people to get help quickly or to gather people up for an event. We do mount runs sometimes, and those are spread out all over the place – Onyxia, Tempest Keep, Malygos. HGWT was brilliant for those evenings. It meant we spent more time killing bosses than travelling to get to them.
That’s before we even mention the convenience of herding people into a raid. How we cheered to see the back of the days when two people had to stand there at the meeting stone and summon everyone individually. Pain! It was almost as bad if we had a tame warlock in the team. You couldn’t summon everyone en masse and that again just wasted time.
For our more casual raiding activities, such as old content on a Friday night, people kept logging on as the evening progressed and could be summoned quickly to wherever we were. Now, as those guildies log on, we’ll have to say, ‘oh we’re right in the middle of Black Temple/Ulduar/insert out of the way, old sprawling raid of your choice. Really don’t want to run back to the start. Can you make your own way over?’ That’s surely going to go down well.
If we’d never had the perk, we’d never miss it, but it’s a different story when Blizzard gives us such a huge quality of life improvement and then just snatches it away. But there has to be a reason or reasons for it. My own conclusions concern three issues in particular, given the scant things I’ve read about it.
1. Blizzard don’t want people summoning lower level players to Pandaria. Fair enough, but a warlock and two friends could easily do that too. And really, why would anyone want to do that and why would it matter if they did?
2. World bosses. Perhaps this is the main reason. If the perk remained, big guilds could have had scouts out every evening searching for the world bosses and the minute they spotted one they could have summoned an entire 25 man raiding team to its location. I can see that Blizzard would want to discourage that. It would mean that it would be much harder for smaller guilds, or guildless people who’d have to join pugs for such fights, to even get a look in. At least not until the big guilds lost interest.
If this has contributed greatly to the loss of HGWT I think that’s partly down to the way Blizzard are implementing the world bosses. To me, it would have been better if they’d emulated the Rift take on it (and I believe Guild Wars 2 has similar, not tried it yet). Public events are exactly that. In Rift, if you are near to one you get an invite on screen to join a public group, which you can accept or decline as you wish. You don’t even have to ask to join a team; it’s that simple. Anyone who takes part in the fight gets a reward for it, although I believe people who do the most ‘work’ get a bigger or better share. No single guild can camp or hog bosses because anyone can join in. You even get a notification in chat to tell you when and where a big event is about to start so you can head to the relevant zone if you want to. These are dynamic public events, and I wish WoW would be getting something similar.
3. PvP. If this is the reason, as some have suggested, perhaps Blizzard could just remove HGWT from PvP realms so they can all beat each other up more conveniently, or however it is they get their jollies.
I don’t buy the reason that HGWT’s removal ‘ will get people out in the world more’. It won’t. As far as raids are concerned, people will simply use taxis, or wait for the two people who did to use the summoning stone. There isn’t going to be some kind of Canterbury Tales caravan of individuals, telling tales to one another as they amble jovially along the roads to an instance. And people who still feel moved to travel for ages to help out a friend will try to work out the quickest route and fly.
But anyway, suppositions aside, I shall mourn the loss of HGWT as will my guild mates and friends. It would have been easier if we’d never had it. I know for us it will curtail a certain amount of co-operation between players, because people simply might not have time or inclination to travel all the way across Azeroth to help with a difficult quest or boost someone through a dungeon. I hope Blizzard relent about it, and I know I’m not alone in that.