One of our writers, Distilled, wrote a great blog post* on the state (or lack thereof) of guild information for GW2. That reminded me that I had this one sitting in pending for months.
In a game called Guild Wars, one would expect that the “guild” would play an large role within its world. Certainly, GW puts a big emphasis on the importance of this classic MMO brotherhood by offering halls with purchasable upgrades, a large selection of environments, and a few PvP options such as GvG tournaments and alliance battles only accessible through your hall. Unlike other MMOs, it’s very rare you find an unguilded player in GW.
When the Factions campaign came out, ANet gave us alliances; a unique feature which allows up to ten guilds to officially band together. Mechanical perks include visiting each other’s halls for free, an alliance chat, the ability to collectively own an outpost, and group up for gvg. The system gives power to smaller guilds by offering a larger community option without having to abandon the sometimes preferred tight-knit clan.
Even so, the guild and alliance features are surprisingly limited in control, which is one of the few major flaws I would attribute to the game. Ranks are limited to 3: leader, officer, and member. There are no real permissions offered; officers can invite and kick and that’s all. The leader is the only one who can purchase upgrades, change the hall, or update capes, and there is no way to deligate these tasks to an officer. And the alliance function has one major drawback: switching leaders basically requires a full disband and re-invitation.
Going forward to Guild Wars 2, I feel it’s safe to expect a much more polished and advanced system for guilds. There’s a lot to live up to, due to newer MMOs like Rift and even older ones,like WoW boasting some advanced and OCD worthy features and controls. But what exactly would be the bees knees for Guild Wars 2? What do we want and need to be able to do and have at our disposal?
More ranks & advanced permissions:
First and foremost, the ability to create and customize ranks is a must, especially if there is more to maintain within a guild. Allowing officers to take care of some of the menial tasks like purchasing upgrades (*edit: correction, officers can currently upgrade guild halls, my mistake!) or perhaps even re-designing capes for, say, a holiday would be great. Another reason more ranks can contribute to morale is that it gives something for members to aspire to. Not everybody can be an officer, but perhaps having a privileged member rank for those who prove to be particularly generous or helpful will give incentive to members.
As far as how many ranks? Hard to say. They are one of those things, like bag storage, that you really can’t have enough of. If you offer 5 or 50, people will use them so that’s up to Anet to figure out!
I always felt having an alliance was a boon, and it can only be better in GW2. There’s a lot you can do with an alliance in a persistent MMO. Continuing with the ability to chat with alliance members at large for trade or help is great (and sometimes, so is the ability to turn off alliance chat!). I’m personally a fan of the smaller more intimate guild setting, and by carrying over the guild alliance feature, smaller guilds or even larger ones can continue to take advantage of forging strong networks of players.
Another old feature that should most definitely return. In Guild Wars, it used to be quite a privilege to get a hall. They’ve since made it easier, which got a lot of heat from many players at first. So whether they return the level of prestige that comes with a hall in GW2 is really up to Anet. I’d be ok either way; it’s something I’m sure everybody would like to have, but I could also see it requiring a certain level of dedication to acquire. The key to balance is to make it accessible with a reasonable amount of work; allow it to be something all guilds can aspire to regardless of size or style of play, so long as they put in the effort for it!
The way I see upgrades in GW2 is a bit of a deviation from what we consider upgrades now. It’s more akin to the evolution of your home in your personal story as you progress through it. Likewise, I feel it would be cool to see small passive upgrades to the guild hall as a guild progresses through the game. Perhaps the materials evolve from stone to granite as members defeat dungeons and bosses. Some of the decor can be pieces from exotic places discovered by explorers, etc. These sorts of things can be retroactive, or maybe unlocked and purchased. Maybe in GW2 our guild-halls really can smell of rich mahogany.
Unlock-able Factions and Merchants:
Kind of expanding on the idea of the “upgrades” from Guild Wars, with progression and finances, it’d be awesome for guilds to be able to unlock and purchase basic merchants and skill trainers again in Guild Wars 2. Along with that, though, it’d be interesting to have additional NPCs wandering around to make things more dynamic. Traders and travelers, different races, visitors, etc. There could also be specific characters / reward vendors based on the guild’s overall reputation among factions that offer exclusive items. Not too much unlike the Kurzick / Luxon vendors in owned outposts, except in the hall itself. Having conflicting factions, forcing guilds to choose between them, could also be an interesting twist!
Hall of Monuments:
One thing I always thought when the Hall of Monuments was revealed was how absolutely awesome that would be in a guild hall. Imagine such a thing; an actual room, or hall, of trophies, tapestries and statues dedicated to the entire guild. Walls lined with elite weapons and armor, shiny artifacts won in tournaments, etc. It would also be cool if it could display members’ personal achievements as well. Perhaps each person could have one dedicated inset in the walls of the hall to display their top three choices, or something along those lines. And the hall could lead to a room that display’s the guild’s collective achievements. That’s how I imagine it.
Central bank / storage:
I wasn’t sure whether or not I would consider something like this borderline essential or not. If you’re having any of the sorts of upgrades above, a guild vault included, then it would make sense to have a way for members to collectively donate in order to afford some of the finer things. It gets messy having to have one person collect and hold the money, and the concept of a bank alt is pretty antiquated, especially when it comes to communal guilds who like to gather and share materials, armor, potions, etc.
I think it would be a great thing to have. Most would be pleased to have such a feature. I could sunderstand it needing a lot of requirements to get, although some basic storage for every one who gets a hall would be very, very welcome.
Might as well, right? If GW2 is going to put some emphasis on mini-games and just blowing off steam with 24/7 bar-brawl tomfoolery, it would make sense that guilds could have perhaps a few unlockable games of their own (hide and seek anyone?). Tag, capture the flag, a small sparring arena, and the like. I could see this being a really desirable and favored feature.
Ah, ye classic guild perk debate. Assuming it’s implemented right off the bat, and not later, guild perks are not a bad thing at all. Balancing the obtaining of them, however, is a challenge. How would they be unlocked, and how would contribution work? We don’t want to run into issues where smaller guilds suffer because having hundreds of loners grinding guild xp is more effective than a small group of friends playing together, which is the big problem certain other games were having. I think guild perks, though, offer something great; it gives more incentive to participate, get to know, stick to and play with your guildies. It’s too easy to be alone in guilds, these days. This is an MMO RPG! Get to know the other people around you!
This is definitely erring on the side of the big stretch, but, one of the things that Dark Ages of Camelot had was real PvP for guild halls. It meant that your hall existed in the open persistent world and people could fight you for it and you could defend or lose it. I’m a huge PvP nut and for me this sounds like the icing on the cake; real large-scale open world battles for territory. This is unlikely to happen, though, as it seems pretty clear that Anet plans on keeping PvE and PvP as separate as possible. Best case scenario, perhaps there’s a big instanced map of just guild halls forever under siege. Probably never gonna happen, but we can dream big, right?
*Read Will’s blogpost here: http://dwpgaming.blogspot.com/2011/08/guild-wars-2-where-is-guild-in-all-of.html
To the readers: What sorts of guild systems / features would YOU love to see in Guild Wars 2? Anything you’d agree / disagree with here? What was your favorite / least favorite aspect about the guild system in GW1?
About the author: Izari’s one of those obsessive fan types who’s been playing Guild Wars since the first beta weekend in 2004. She’s been blogging about video games for almost six years and is thrilled to have fellow fans to write for and with about the game. She can be found on twitter and really likes coconuts.