Earlier today, I was reading the MMO blogosphere and came across Tobold's article:
followed up by this article:
Tobold's article was a follow-up to a previous article regarding guild hopping and a rather radical way to prevent it from occurring; having the raid epics from a guild member vanish and enter the previous guild bank when a member /gquits. Tobold presented a follow up to his article today which was a bit more reasonable by providing some numeric ways to track guild loyalty and tenure. Potshot wrote a follow up on the second article with more potential game play changes done in an effort to level off progression and keep people gearing up at roughly the same tempo. Both articles are well done and provide solid solutions to the problem. Nevertheless, I don't agree that game play changes are the answer to this issue.
The fundamental problem with guild hopping stems from an issue that has been touched upon this blog before and will continue to be a point of contention. The issue at hand is that players value the binary code over the people who made the binary code possible. Once the flow of more binary code decreases, these players ditch the guild that made the first set of binary code possible so more binary code can be accumulated. The cycle rehashes itself from this point forward. There is a way to solve the issue or at least make the advent of such an issue unlikely. It is the responsibility of the guild leaders and officers to curtail this issue by inviting the best quality people to their guilds.
To some degree, the player base has created this issue in and of itself. Many guilds evaluate the basis for inclusion to a guild only from a game play and gear standpoint, requiring a gear minimum. While this can be necessary for the content, using this as the only requirement for guild membership is an invitation to failure through e-bayed accounts and these lewt mongers who hop from guild to guild leeching as many upgrades as possible before bailing to the new flavor of the month. From a personal standpoint, I will invite someone to my guild who shows a true interest for people but is in all greens versus the individual who is epicced out but does nothing but talk about pushing content. I can teach the newer player what to do and feel good about it. I can't change the ways of a lewt whore who will leave after he gets what he wants at the expense of my guild members.
But, by in large, WoW manifests this behavior by its design. The whole game can be soloed if desired. While this in and of itself is harmless, it does harbor a lone-wolf style of player who only plays the game to upgrade their character, without cause or concern for anyone else. Guild hopping in WoW is significantly more prevalent than I recall in EQ simply because in EQ, you had to have a guild to progress. The group aspect of the game bred more friendships and more concern for the fellow gamer. People knew just how hard players worked for gear, with countless wipes and late nights with no loot to distribute. While WoW can certainly bring about this style of game play, the ratio of players who engage it is considerably less.
Given this environment, the players are ultimately responsible for who they include in their guilds and this should be more than a check of the armory to ensure an applicant has all their gear enchanted. Talk to these people. Interact with them and gain an impression of what their motives are and if they will mesh with your guild. Behavioral based interviewing isn't required but some form of true interaction and social grouping should take place. Guilds that don't live by this creed will find themselves trampled by the engine of progression.