Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blizz Announces the Guild Mentoring Program

When the announcement of the Guild Mentoring Program for WoW came through the interwebs, I raised my eyes to heaven and said "Finally!"  Looks like someone took a page from EVE Online and decided to help noobs out by creating mentoring guilds out of a pool of volunteer guilds.

Here's the link for you to go read up the FAQ (such as it is):  Introducing the Guild Mentoring Program

At first glance, I love the idea.  It basically formalizes what some random individuals have been doing over the years, providing a destination for new players to be tutored in the ways of WoW and MMOs in general.

That said, I do have some questions/concerns how this will work out:

  • The portion about identifying and inviting new players into the mentoring guild does make me wonder how that'll work in practice.  People can be prickly about such things, and if they feel like they're being given a hard sell, this could backfire.  Also, how the mentoring guild will determine that a player is new is going to be a challenge; people create new alts all the time, and if you don't have the funds/don't care about transferring heirlooms over, a new alt could seem a lot like a new player.  The same goes for an already experienced MMO player who just happens to be new to WoW.
  • A three month tour of duty (or three months in the barrel if you prefer that slang) might not be enough time for new players.  I still wonder just how some people are able to power level their way through to max level, no matter what MMO I'm on, because it seems like they have to be spending almost every waking moment playing to do just that.
  • Will the new players be encouraged to 'leave the nest' once they've got things down, or will this merely become a clever recruiting tool for guilds lucky enough to be chosen?  I can easily see that some guilds will look on this initiative as the latter and try to pad their raiding ranks this way.
  • What happens to the mentoring guild if drama breaks out?  I don't think I need to say anything else, other than a big guild breakup while in the tour of duty would have the opposite of the intended effect.
Still, I think it's a decent first step.  I suspect that the smartest move in the long run is to create a permanent Mentoring Guild for each faction on each server and ask for volunteers to help staff it.  Blizz might be surprised at how many people would put in some volunteer time in a Mentoring Guild to help people along.  This might even counter Trade Chat and the scum and villany that pervade it.

One final thought:  while I think EVE Online's idea of EVE University is a great idea all MMOs should emulate, some need it more than others.  LOTRO and TOR have a friendly enough community that the needs of a Mentoring Program are served by Gen Chat.  AoC's F2P Gen Chat is pretty dead right now, with only gold spammers for the most part, so a mentoring program could be useful there.  But WoW, being the 900 lb gorilla and having the rep of being populated with "L2P NOOB!" denizens, definitely needs something to show that not everybody is an asshat in the game.

Now, if they could do something about the nerd ragers in BGs......


  1. What an interesting idea. I know I've been in guilds that have mentored plenty of new players over the years. I just wonder if WoW really has the content to support large mentor guilds. (in EVE theres no limit to raid size so you can gather your newbies together for large raids, for example.)

    1. The cynic in me thinks that guilds will look at this as free recruiting, but I'm also not sure how this will work when Mists drops and raiding starts. It could look good now, but when guilds get to raiding the mentoring program could fall on its face.