Simple It’s Logistics

The title is an answer to several questions but the one in particular that I want to elaborate on is: “What separates guilds from one another?”.

All things being equal the one word Logistics is what separates guilds into their different types and levels of progression.

So what is this one word and how does it apply to World of Warcraft and why am I talking about?  As Beta for Cataclysm progress I find myself look ahead more and more and making plans as to what order I want to level my 10 80s from 80 to 85 and what roles I most likely will want to fill from the Trinity with each character, the Mage, Rogue Warlock, Hunter that is simple as they only have 1 choice.

From Wikipedia
The term logistics comes from the Greek logos (λόγος), meaning “speech, reason, ratio, rationality, language, phrase”, and more specifically from the Greek word logistiki (λογιστική), meaning accounting and financial organization.

Logistics is considered to have originated in the military’s need to supply themselves with arms, ammunition and rations as they moved from their base to a forward position. In ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine empires, military officers with the title Logistikas were responsible for financial and supply distribution matters.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines logistics as “the branch of military science having to do with procuring, maintaining and transporting material, personnel and facilities.” Another dictionary definition is “the time-related positioning of resources.” As such, logistics is commonly seen as a branch of engineering that creates “people systems” rather than “machine systems”.

How does this apply to WoW, well there are some parallels between a guild or raid and a military unit.  Speech, reason, ratio and rationality all come into play when raiding or performing any from of organized play, other than just jumping into queue for a random.  Even when jumping into a random most good players have already have some organization and preparation for the dungeon or battleground.

I may have talked/complained about this in an earlier blog post but the default UI and web based tools provided by Blizzard really do not help in any real way with the meta and sometime direct issues involved with organizing a raid and running it.  This is where the community has stepped up to fill the role which is good for Blizzard and for the most part good for the player base however if the main features of content that Blizzard focuses on are group play then they should be providing better tools for the logistics associated with such activities by default.

Scheduling/Event Planning/In & Out of game Communication

The in game calendar which is now visible via the armory when logged in is a good step as a first step but is severely lacking as an overall feature.

I would recommend some sort of data features like what CCP has for EVE-Online.  For Blizzard it would need to be a 3 way set of services.

  1. In game services handled by the UI and normal Game Client.  The In Game System.
  2. The Basic Web version of the tools in the UI for users with Battle.net accounts to log in and interact with their data if they are away from their normal client.
  3. A programmatic way to access XML/JSON data feeds in some sort of Webservice structure.  An anonymous ID and Hash code for access to the web-service and authorization to pull the particular information.  Rather than the messy xml parsing that is required currently to get data feeds from the armory.
  4. There would need to be 2 sets of data pulled from these systems.
    1. For Account Wide Character Information.
    2. For Guild Level Information – Each guild would have a separate ID and Hash, it would not be as detailed about the characters in the guild but have a useful summary similar to the current Armory interface for guilds.

It would be really cool if Blizzard would release some basic API tools for this system that players could then integrate into their private board/blog systems.  Even if it was just some generic plugins for the like 2-5 most common web CMSs: PHPBB, WordPress, Joomla, Zope, Plome, ect….

Basically to better improve organization and communication between players in the community and other players or even Blizzard there needs to be some new web-tools for such and endeavor.  I only suggest that it be done at or with Blizzard so that eventually there can hopefully be some 2 way interaction between In and Out of game features.

Group Content Leading/Tools

AVR was the best add-on for this, it is a shame that Blizz decided that it broke the game.  Should an add-on like this work when in combat no that is game breaking, but when not in combat and for discussing/showing strategy and placement this is a place that the UI sucks and sucks hard.  We do not have specific range finding just a bit of hand waving based upon whether different range of spells are available and whether we are in melee range or not.

As fight mechanics are made more and more complicated some sort of  way to plan and display strategies needs to be created.  In addition some tools to get specific information needs to be available even if the calculations are done on the client that is fine.

Summary

Well I could continue to suggest other types of tools and shortcomings dealing with the logistical issues involved with group play in WoW and other MMOs.  However, I feel this is sufficient to at least plant the idea and hopefully somewhere start a discussion of ways to improve the tools and standard of gaming that is the baseline when incorporating large scale group play online in a non-tournament structured event.

Posted in World of Warcraft

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