A thought about the Brawlers Guild

Update from patch notes v5.1:

Entry into the brawler’s guild is by invitation only.  Invitations can be found on the black market auction house, by invitation from somebody within the guild, and occasionally as drops from certain Horde and Alliance NPCs.

Reaction: Good change. Fair call.

I’ve been seeing reactions to the Brawler’s Guild, and thought I’s share my reaction.

If you’re not familiar with the idea – the Brawlers Guild will be a solo fight arena for characters against a random boss in a fit-pit style. The character will slog it out, demonstrating how bad ass they are. Bosses will have powers that require strategy, experience, and use of abilities. Good concept, implemented with a Fight Club spin.

The Brawler’s Guild is:

  • No mechanical in-game rewards/advantage – which means it is basically not compulsory for focused PvE and PvP players.
  • It grants achievements – which will appeal to completion-junkies. That’s good too, an appeal without a draw back is good.
  • Once started the player must wait their turn to fight, watching others. One fight at a time (?). This makes the system hard to imagine when everyone has an invite and are all interested, but a short stacked set of queues makes sense. No biggie here if the loading is handled well.
  • The invites will initially be offered through the Black market Auction House. This means that the first players to do this will be those who are mad keen and also wealthy enough to buy in. Early adopters with large bankrolls.

The basic concept is new to WoW where the achievements of the individual were typically not openly on display to others in a dedicated way. Love it or hate it, this will allow those participants who like glory to get it. To have a reason they can demonstrate to themselves and others which says they are bad-arses. I think most players want their characters to be tough, and this impression of how mean and hardy the top players are matches well with the lore and feel of the Fight Club ethos. It is a nice fit.

Tyler Durden: “Hey, you created me. I didn’t create some loser alter-ego to make myself feel better. Take some responsibility!”

Rewards wise – the BG gives only the achievements and kudos for being a tough son of a bitch – which is an interesting choice, and a choice which should be taken into consideration when talking about the impact and style of the implementation in game.

No rewards…get it. None. You fight because this is what you love doing, or have to do, or can’t stop doing. It is a bold statement when you think about it outside a game, and an even bolder risk to make for a company to develop around – if nobody uses it then it could demonstrate that the fight is not why we play. Why do we fight? Indeed.

Brawlers Guild might actually be a very clever statement, and a very sharp punch in the guts to the players who play to improve their gear/stats/whatever. Here is a facility where the fight itself is almost the only reward.

I love this idea, as it is a brave thing to do. In a game where time is limited for a lot of players asking us to fight for the joy of fighting is offering a new pathway in the game. Here is where you demonstrate how totally awesome you are, yet gain no trinket or shiny bauble.

It could be said that we have too many distractions from the old core gameplay in WoW, but I hope this is a dying view. If the game does not try new things then players leave. New gameplay is asked for constantly, so anything which adds options without placing a highly prohibitive barrier is good.

Is the initial barrier to entry of buying the entry from the Black Market AH really a barrier?

Well yes, but it is a barrier which diminishes over time, as Devs have promised that eventually all those who wish to fight will have access. Good, those who are mad-keen can cash-up to get them, those who are patient can wait and still play. This reminds me of the Timed Instance Runs, they are there for those who wish it – for others they can be ignored.

This barrier could have been handled by many other methods: random world drop, kill a blue mob, quest chain, vote-per-guild, and so on. The choice of the BMAH indicates that the designers are looking for a way to get the BMAH front of mind to players. As an artificial construct it makes no sense to me that the organisers of the Brawlers Guild would be selling tickets to high-rollers, so the lore is a bit shot. That said, its ok too. So many aspects of the game have odd lore if you step back or look too deeply, this can be forgiven too (consider the quest daily cycle for example…didn’t I kill these guys yesterday?).

Overall I’m very pleased it is being added, and keen to see where the community takes it. This tool is something that the players can move with, opening our own perspective and use to flesh out the world.

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4 thoughts on “A thought about the Brawlers Guild

  1. As someone with no hope of being on a raid team, I love it love it love it. It fits my crazy hours and I get to kill stuff.

    I think there is something inherently wrong with the way Blizz has mentioned they will gate the Brawler’s Guild, but I agree that it must be gated. I only hope that I can get in while it is still relevant

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