My initial reaction to the multi-guild news from PAX-Prime was pretty harsh, I admit. Anybody who’s run a guild knows how stressful and consuming it is, and we know how players can be. So for many past and hopeful future leaders, they’ve met this news with mixed emotions, and most of us initially against it are in the vast minority. I feel a lot of it has to do with statistics; a very small number of gamers have been guild leaders in comparison to those who are simply guild members or guild-less to boot. A smaller number still have lead competitive / progressive functioning guilds, so it might be hard to understand why we feel the way we do.
I know how it is to be on both sides, as a member and a leader, and so I understand the relief that the majority of players feel. The multi-guild system is an interesting shift in power from leaders to members, perhaps humbling, but is it necessarily a good thing? Like it or not, guilds within games are a system of politics, and politics have proven that a true democracy, one in which the people are all equal in power, rarely works out well. Imagine a military in which all ranking officers have equal jurisdiction. Imagine a school where the students have the same say as teachers.
When it comes to things like this, hierarchy & bureaucracy are needed and more often than not the ‘citizens’ either don’t understand or resent the system by proxy, without realizing why and how it works. Of the games I’ve played, the most successful guilds always have a strict system of leaders and members. Some even borderline tyrannical (not that I agree with that sort of system). Strong leadership and loyalty to a cause is needed for success. And that kind of brings me to the central point:
Guild Loyalty – What & Why?
During PAX Prime, among all of the demo and PvP playing there was also a myriad of panels from the ANet team. Most of the information wasn’t strictly news, but we did manage to snag some tidbits about the upcoming guild system. Although it is far from complete, the biggest announcement was the structuring of guilds and their relation to accounts.
Here’s the set of relevant information:
– Account belongs to a guild
– One Character can represent multiple guilds
– Can choose to not represent a guild
– Earn influence with guild
– Perks: storage, ect… bought with influence.
– Use influence to make keeps harder to take in WvWvW
This has been a hot topic among friends and I. How do you feel about what has been said about joining guilds in Guild Wars 2?
Ideally, I want guilds to be much harder to create and for loyalty to not punish guild leaders. In GW1, leaders and officers had to pay for invites to the guild. That in my mind ultimately makes the new recruit more valuable than the guild itself. Continuous recruiting adds up in costs. Of course, if you’re one of those guilds who makes others pay (you jerk!) then this doesn’t apply to you. If I could have it my way, no one pays anything. If the recruit leaves, he has to wait a few days before he can join another guild again. If he gets kicked from the guild, then he can immediately join another. The reverse may be preferable depending on how you look at it, but this is not what this topic is about.
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?