Friday, November 09, 2012

Brawlers Guild Invitations

The latest mini-controversy in WoW is invitations to the Brawlers Guild. Unlike most content which unlocks immediately, invitations to the Brawler's Guild are being passed out virally, from other players. The initial set of invitations are being auctioned off in the Black Market Auction House. Which, of course, riles everyone else.

As I am a great fan of experimentation, I'm generally in favor of Blizzard trying this out. It's content that is completely new, that no one is invested in yet. So it's a perfect ground for trying something new.

However, let's analyze things further. First, let us separate idea from implementation.


The central idea of the Brawler's Guild invitation is to have a content gate that depends on other players. This is very different from most content gates in WoW. Most content gates are independent of other players. Whether or not your character is attuned to an instance really doesn't depend on anyone else. It solely depends on your own efforts and those of your guild.

A content gate that depends on other players has been tried once before: the opening of the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj. That too was an interesting experiment, and is remembered by Vanilla players. It was memorable, but maybe not entirely successful.

However, unlike AQ, this gate is not all or nothing. Rather, it is set up to spread virally throughout the population, a la Gmail. Perhaps this will prevent large population spikes or activity that hurts the servers. Maybe this will have positive benefits, or maybe artificially preventing some people from the content will be negative.

Either way, I think the idea behind the invitations is interesting, and worth experimenting with.


Now, the specific implementation of the Brawlers Guild Invitations is to sell them on the Black Market Auction House. Many people instinctively rebel at giving the "rich" people initial access to content. However, there are some advantages to this method.

First, everyone who buys an Invitation wants an invitation. They are deliberately purchasing the item, not picking it up by accident. That means that there are no "wasted" invitations, and the number of invitations is strictly known.

Second, this method allows a consortium of people to band together and purchase a set of Invitations.

Third, this method is not random. It is guaranteed, while still limiting the number of available Invitations.

Fourth, this method does not disrupt the rest of the economy or the playstyles of people not interested in the Brawlers Guild. Imagine if daily quest mobs had a chance to drop the invitations. People farming the mobs for invitations would conflict with people who just want to do their dailies. As well, there would be a large influx of farmed materials like cloth, which would temporarily depress prices in the regular markets.

Now, there are other ways Invitations could have been handed out. You could hand out invitations to people who could kill a heroic raid boss. Or maybe the PvP's who win the most arena matches each week. But this too is just as elitist as giving it to the rich people. And these people already get first crack at new content.

It could be purely random, but that would just encourage people to farm futilely, or have some invitations be wasted.

You could put the item on powerful rare spawns. But then there would be intense camping of those rares. And how would you deal with raid groups that killed the spawn? Look at the competition for things like Loque when it first came out, and imagine it a thousands times worse because killing the spawn actually unlocks new content for all classes.

To my mind, selling the Invitations on the BMAH might not be the best possible idea, but it might be the one with the least side-effects, and thus, the least-worst idea. All the other ideas I can think of are either too baroque, or will negatively impact people who are not interested in the Brawler's Guild.

Plus, you know, this method hasn't been tried before. Killing bosses and the like has been done before. I think it's worth experimenting on something relatively low key like the Brawlers Guild.


  1. Yeah. I find the commentary of "zomg I won't be able to do this because I have no gold" to be short-sighted at best.

    After a week or two, invitations will be pretty much everywhere for the asking.

  2. Our guild agreed that someone could purchase it from guild funds then invite the rest of the guikd when they progressed. Seemed like a no-brainer, since our income has exceeded expenditure for a while now. In fact, I think a lot of the "outrage" this expansion has been from people that just cannot think outside the "I" framework towards the "we".

  3. A thing to remember as well is that they also stated that the fight areas are not instanced or phased. By having a viral rollout, they also inherently keep the people in them at any given time relatively low, so that there isn't a lot of trouble with people just trying to do the questing.

  4. I can only partially agree with you on this one. Using the BMAH is an interesting approach that should be tried but it shouldn't be the only way. I'm personally very interested in the trying the guild; I'm also the only one in my guild who is, the others are actively disinterested. I have something over 50K but that's not likely to be enough to grab an invitation, so I'm basically out of it until enough people have ranked high enough that guilds are selling the invitations.

    It doesn't have to be initially but I'd like to see them add a quest line to gain an invitation. I'd also like to see them honestly address why solo players are irritated by the method they chose to gate solo content.

  5. "Our guild agreed that someone could purchase it from guild funds then invite the rest of the guikd when they progressed."

    Just so you know, it looks like members will only be able to earn 1 additional invite.

  6. Still gets the entire guild in, though. Plenty of other things to do (why sub if there isn't), it'll be affordable to everyone eventually.

  7. This method is pure sht.

    A spit in the face of soloers .

    Basicaly they designed content for soloers and then they linked the acces not to your capacity to solo things but to your gold making skills.

    The guy being able to solo Lich King won't be able to purchase an invite ( thanks for nerfing the old bosses gold drops Blizzard) . Cause the invites will be taken by tha AH baroons living in AH , who didn't soloed anything else but Hogger al their life.

    If you want the invites to reach their target public , and gate them at the same time , put them as a 100% if you kill Lich King while not in a raid , while being alone in the instance.

  8. Coriel!

    I don't know if you remember me, but it's Mythra from AI. I picked up a Holy Paladin alt for MOP and lo and behold I found your blog while I was looking for information. This is absolutely incredible! I can't believe I didn't know about it when we played together! Definitely bookmarked, keep up the great work!

    Besides that, I hope everything is going well and I hope you are enjoying MOP and SWTOR! :)

  9. Hey Mythra, great to hear from you as well. Thanks for the kind words, and I hope you are enjoying yourself these days. Best of luck with your paladin.

  10. "The guy being able to solo Lich King won't be able to purchase an invite ( thanks for nerfing the old bosses gold drops Blizzard) . Cause the invites will be taken by tha AH baroons living in AH , who didn't soloed anything else but Hogger al their life."

    Exactly! And maybe that AH dude will actually actively engage in the game!

    About the guild purchasing one need to get a certain rank and then you can invite a limited number (1?). It'll be a while before I can do this.

    Also...I'm not sure if I even want to do this. You cannot just step in and do this, you HAVE TO watch while waiting in line for your turn. Not my thing I think.