For about six months in 2008, I played WoW. Specifically, I played it alone. I enjoyed walking around the environments and seeing new sights more than anything else, and I didn’t really participate in any group activities- save for a bumbling, half-assed attack on Undercity. I eventually just got bored of the entire affair, stepped away from WoW and have never looked back. In a move to keep players engaged longer, Blizzard has started up a new program that will have experienced members of the community interacting with new players to keep them from going the way I did.

The Guild Mentoring Program was announced by Blizzard today, and it’s asking more experienced, active guilds to take part in engaging new players in the social aspect of WoW, guiding them towards end-game content. It’s a completely volunteer effort with no real rewards apart from getting new members for one’s guild. While the game has dramatically changed in the four years since I’ve last played it, I remember that it was quite inefficient at explaining what the higher level goals were, and I wonder if someone taking an active interest in my progression would have kept me in the game longer.

With guest passes and rewards for getting friends to sign up, Blizzard has always employed its subscribers to get more players on-board, but this strategy is different in that it focuses on getting people to stay on longer. As WoW slowly bleeds users, it’ll be interesting to see if this strategy is effective.

You can read more about the program at the official announcement here.