Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What good are guilds anyway?


I've been thinking over this since the incident I blogged. Especially I paid attention to the situation as I was pruning the guild roster. Sure, The Order, has over 30 toons in it, but only about 10 are active and played regularily. And even some of those I have met only when I invited them to the guild.

So why would anyone want to be in a guild, if we take off the chit-chat of Guild Channel?

In EQ2 you feel you're contributing to the guild, as the guilds have levels as the players, and the guilds really give you the additional feeling of belonging in the game. The guild means something in there, it's not just a tag to drag along and hope that someone in the guild has done something so remarkable that the tag gets recognised.

Why has WoW failed so miserably in creating the similar situation? The guilds are a laughing stock if you think of the 'benefits' you get from them as player. This is exactly like Crucifer commented in my earlier post: "Guilds mostly have degenerated from focal points of the community with strong reputation links to other focal points to, well, just a chat channel."

And most players are thinking of just that: benefits for themselves. As the soloability of WoW increases, the self-gratification becomes the norm in the game: it becomes more and more a single player levelling game, where you can do whatever you please, regardless of anything. It's beginning to feel that the other player characters are as meaningless as the NPC's. 

At least that's what I felt when I logged in shortly yesterday: I got begged for buffs, cursed because I don't buff people begging for it and challenged to duel three times while I was grinding for a quest. This only shows to me, at least, that people are not playing the game as an RPG (or even the way they would play single player RPG, even), but are playing the game as min-maxing and winning the content.

To me it sucks.

Maybe I'm old, too much standing still in the pen and paper RPG world and too much interested in the real content, so I don't really appreciate the current way of playing the game.

Back to the topic: what good are guilds anyway? I've read a couple of blog posts already stating that people are leaving guilds even at level cap to be able to run heroics more. Raiding isn't anymore only for the co-operative effort of the guilds and honestly speakin, the leetness is gone. Especially in the way that this post describes. Great guest post in World of Matticus, which I agree completely: that is what guilds should seek to be, the springboard for leetness!

As the meaning of guilds has gone down the drain, so has the communication and respect between the guilds. Only a minority of the guilds on the servers have the decency to join the official server forum and state their information to the Guild Information thread. The communication is mostly on the level of "we're more 1337 than yoo" and derogatory in terms of communication. 

I wish every guildleader and officer would do as Megan from Out of Mana and make a resolution like this: 
Playing the game with friends and strangers alike equally is also important. Just because they aren't in your guild, aren't in your pool of gaming buddies, doesn't mean tact and sincerity go out the window. It's easy to remember that story of those crap PUGs with lewlDPS and bash on them in a forum, a post, a whisper.
That would make the game itself more enjoyable to all of us, and perhaps, maybe, the dumbtwat effect would reside a bit.

Blizzard, it's high time you did something for the social tools in the game and introduced the guild housing, guilding benefits and guild levels to the game!!! MAKE THE SOCIAL EFFORTS WORTH SOMETHING, darn it!


Pete S said...

I've sworn off guilds until I feel like I can commit to one fully. When I think about joining a guild I try to think "How will this guild benefit from me joining it?" as well as the obvious "How will I benefit if I join this guild?"

You're right though. In a lot of games, the friends list can accomplish almost everything that joining a guild does.

Crucifer said...

So what benefits did Guilds give before the advent of WoW?

* Protection in PvP/KvK
* Grouping up for Dungeons and Raids
* Affiliation with like-minded players & achieving a common goal
* Crafting gear that otherwise cost gold

In previous games, guilds were something that you chose carefully because you came to represent them. When adventuring other players would either attack you or give a friendly wave. This also ties in with the fact that your own name carried huge amounts of weight. You could only post on the official forum as yourself, not as an alt, for example.

Most of the issues stem from the fact that Blizzard haven't done enough for guilds and allowed players to make them up themselves. How long have we had guildbanks, for example?

Guild housing, along with the possibilities that come with it (guild castles, crafting upkeep, totem buff, guild-created gear, guild tax, etc) would go a long way to create more cohesion, especially if guild masters could communicate with each other on a special channel, for coalitions, events, etc.

Cap'n John's Blog said...

WoW was my first MMO. I was also a Huntard. I joined my first WoW Guild a long time ago (3 to 4 years ago, Vanilla WoW, before 1.10) because I saw the GL spamming a LFM Members, and I liked the sound of the name "Knocturnal Knights". I stuck with the KK for almost my entire WoW career, which was good for me because I was a very casual, solo-friendly player. I'd help out with Guild Runs, I'd lend Guildmates Gold, I even became an Officer. We tried, but we were never a Raiding Guild, and it was actually our attempts to Raid End-Game that finally broke us.

Pre-BC several Guildmates, tired of doing nothing more than UBRS, had left for real Raiding Guilds. Then BC came out, they came back and we moved up and began beating our heads against Kara, it became our UBRS of BC. Month after month we threw ourselves against that wall, succeeding by inches at a time, until finally we were able to get to the Prince, but it would take us two full nights of Raiding to do so, then we'd have to come back for a third night to actually attempt him.

After failing time & time again to down the Prince, the small group of players who'd been end-game Raiders pre-BC once more jumped ship. Drama ensued, I got caught up in the middle of it, and the Guild fell apart. Dismayed by how I'd let myself be played by a couple of people I'd thought were my friends, I quit Alliance and rolled Horde, where I ended up joining my sister's Guild.

Why I wasn't playing on their server earlier was because they'd actually left Alliance and my own server years before, plus they live in Australia (I'm in the U.S.) so even when we were on the same server, in the same Guild, the 17 hour time difference meant we hardly saw each other anyway.

I leveled up a couple of Horde toons into their 60s, then returned to the Alliance side. My old Guildmates immediately got me into their new Raiding Guild but after a week or so I went back to my Horde toons. The new Alliance Guild just didn't have the same feel to it as my former Guild. There were many of the same names, but there were a lot of names I didn't know, either. It didn't feel right. The game didn't feel the same. I left behind two 70s, a Hunter in decent entry-level Raiding Gear, and a Rogue with pretty good PvP Gear, including both PvP Swords, both enchanted with Mongoose. I continued playing my Horde toons for several more months before finally taking my leave of the game.

I'd leveled toons to BC Cap on both sides. I'd seen pretty much all the Instances I cared to see. Sure, it would have been neat to see Gruul or BT, but when it all comes down to it, they're really just a couple more Instances. I'd explored almost every square inch of every zone, seen them from both Horde and Alliance perspective. I'd played through all of the starting areas of both factions, more than a couple of times each. I'd pretty much seen it all, and what I hadn't seen, I didn't care to.

In the end, not even being able to occasionally chat with my sis and her family was enough to keep me playing. I AH'd almost everything I could, and vendored the rest. The expensive stuff I mailed to my sis and her husband, then I gave them the few thousand gold I'd acquired. Finally I logged back onto my Ally Toons and found one of my few Ally Guildmates still playing. He wound up with a few thousand gold as well.

If it's important to you, having a great Guild makes a world of difference. There were times when I'd not log in for weeks, then when I finally did, Guild Chat would light up with people YELLING my name. For me, WoW was a social experience, and when that was taken away from me the game pretty much lost all its attraction.

I'm enjoying playing Wizard101 now, although I also haven't played it for a few weeks because it's missing that social element. I'd love to be able to have all the mature, adult players I know in W101 all be in the same Guild, because it would add to the social experience. But W101 doesn't have Guilds...yet.

Of course all of this is only relevant to me because I'm an Explorer/Social player, whereas if I were an Achiever, a Guild would be nothing more than a means to an end.

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