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Reader Comments (24)

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 10:11AM Arkanaloth said

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Honestly Guilds have always been that way from what I've noticed. My first MMO was FFXI and honestly "Guild" runs were about as common as they are in WoW. The only difference really is in FFXI I ran PUG's with people I don't know and in WoW I solo. Regardless guild events were never a common thing.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 9:29AM Tom in VA said

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For a guild to be successful, it requires proactive leadership, and this is a very VERY rare thing indeed.

I almost never join guilds anymore. To me, a guild simply means an excess chat channel that -- even worse than General chat, which you can just ignore -- you kind of feel obligated to listen to. I find guild chat to be a major irritation and a distraction.

What I'd like to see more games do is have you fill out a player-style survey before you start. Based on the results of the survey, you'd be linked up in a special informal "mega-guild" (with its own chat channel) of players whose likes, preferences, and playing style matched your own.

The survey would cover things like raiding preferences, RP preferences, OOC chat preferences, playing style, language/crudeness, etc. The difference here is that you would "automatically" be part of that Mega-Guild (which could then have sub-guilds within it).

The problem that most MMOs have is that player populations are way too large and diverse. For my money, as things stand now, it's simpler to stay out of guilds than to shop and shop and shop for the right one, which can be a painful and aggravating process.

Another idea might be to allow players to "advertise" their Guilds in a searchable database (working like an auction house), where players looking for a guild could search for the guild that sounds right for them and then submit an "application."

As it stands now, the process of matching different players up with the right guilds is more trouble than it's worth, imo.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 8:31PM Benicio said

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very well put.
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Posted: Sep 11th 2009 9:43AM Snow Leopard said

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One of the thing’s I’m really pumped about for the new WoW expansion in the concept of guild levels and talents. It will give the incentive for guilds to work towards goals and stick together rather than disbanding every time there’s a little drama. If a guild is actually worth something, people will be less likely to risk their membership and act out of line. People will also want to work harder so that the can move up in rank and given more benefits rather than thankless administrative responsibilities. Sure, a lot of these incentives already exist, but this new system should do a lot to make it more streamlined and well-defined.

@Tom. Blizzard is also working on a Looking for Guild tool. Details are somewhat sparse right now, but they’re shooting for something in which you can search for a guild that matches your criteria, and where if you are a guild, you will be able to search for more members. We’ll see how it works, the looking for group tool has met mixed results, but hopefully this will be better.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 9:52AM (Unverified) said

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The only game I remember where the guilds were more than just chat channels was UO....granted UO didn't have a chat system either. So you had to search out your guild mates and actually meet up to do stuff. Preferably at your guild house, which usually also served as guild bank / storage and as central teleportation and crafting hub. That and the ability for guild wars and alliances made UO's guilds just so much more powerful in bringing people to play together as a guild than most systems you find in contemporary MMOs.
Learn from history, look back to UO...oh wait, UO's still out there and doing well :P

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 10:06AM Wisdomandlore said

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I think you've hit on something--not just with guilds, but overall in MMOs. As they trend more and more towards solo content (many MMOs have little to no group content until the cap anymore), they basically become single-player games with virtual chat rooms attached.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 10:30AM (Unverified) said

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After playing SWG for 6+ years, going to other games is really kind of a culture shock for me. SWG is really a very social MMO. I played UO before it, and it felt very social as well, even without chat channels.

In these new games, its like there is no community, its mostly a bunch of solo players running around and a some smaller groups of guilds, but nobody is really talking or socializing anymore (outside of trash talk and seeing who can make the most racist and offensive statements).

When I started to play WAR, even at launch all the channels were dead. I assumed this was because everyone was off in their stupid little private vent servers. Which is fine I guess for pre-established groups of friends but for people like me, you feel like your playing alone, even when you don't wanna be.

This is a problem I have seen in AoC and now AION as well. Maybe Im just getting old or something, but its really strange to run into a city or major mission hub to see all these people standing around trying to ignore each other.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 10:56AM Royale said

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I don't think it's up to the game to provide good guild content. The raids are one thing, but it's up to the guild to make a good guild experience. I ran a wow guild years ago before Burning Crusade. Ah it was a beautiful time. Wow wasn't the loot grab that it is now. It took me forever to get to level 60 because of all the cool things that we were doing as a guild.

Here's a quick example. Our guild was called the Keepers of Might and one week we had a guild event that we organized and managed through our website called the Week of Might. Each day an officer presented an event where members of the guild could compete in game and out of game. There were races, screenshots showing how mighty you were, duel contests, etc... all with prizes. Our guild members were awesome and though the guild has long since gone, some of us still reminisce about the good old times with Keepers of Might.

Now days in WoW (only as an example) everyone is too focused on farming honor,badges,dungeons,marks,gold,etc... to get the next piece of epic lootz that they stop enjoying the massively part of MMO gaming... which really sucks. That is the only thing I HATE about wow now. It didn't used to be that way.

Posted: Sep 12th 2009 8:49AM (Unverified) said

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You have stated the case beautifully. Fun events like those you mention are at the core of why I like a guild. Alas, I also have to agree with you on what WoW has become. Like you, I still enjoy it, but the never-ending chase for better gear and loot has detracted from the game. Plus, it seems that every zone created since BC has just been designed to level through--there are no great places to hang around and have fun. People still go back to Orgrimmar and Stormwind, which is nice, but the world is huge! Why not have a few places that feel a little more friendly?
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Posted: Sep 11th 2009 11:01AM (Unverified) said

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I really liked Tom's first idea about super guilds with sub guilds.

The ruild ranking system if implemented right could be nice too, but there is a problem with how you gain reputation solo. How you can do dailies solo, and how you get materials for crafting solo.

I would in a way hope that some new mmo would just take away chatchannels all together, and stick only with /say at a short radius, and some guild messages with a calendar.

Ventrillo works nice, and it adds alot more to the social aspect than typing does, but newer mmo's should have built in ventrillo service that works well. And not shit voice chat like blizzard.

The ignore part in cities is just something we can't get around, as that is how daily life is like in the real world these days also. Imo it comes from how our deformed society is structurred right now, and I hope it falls in not too long with a currency collapse, followed by people opening up their minds to some resourcebased economy.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 11:04AM (Unverified) said

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Also, public quests (think warhammer) should really become mandatory in every MMO.

Its the best thing I've seen in years comming from this genre.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 11:06AM (Unverified) said

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I'm sure many have realized over the past few short years, MMO's raid size requirements, have shrunk considerably. Remember the good ole days of EQ waiting for hours, camping Plane of Time zones, trying to muster your gargantuan 72-man sized raid to beat out the competition? Now, you see quite a few single group instances, 10-man, 20-25 man raids (WoW used to have 40-man back in the day) in most games.

In the real world, we've really become a fast-paced, multi-tasking society, where patience is slim, and sitting in one spot makes one fidgety. Of course, some of us older folks, like to sit back and relax, but we still have to go through the motions of running around trying to get groups organized for a raid, which may or may not happen. People don't want to wait around for 2-3 hours being at the mercy of enough people logging in for a raid. When you were a guild where everyone logged in, anxious to take on the baddest boss of the game to where hardly anyone logs in anymore, MMO makers will need to make adjustments. Sure, one could say, a guild's life has its limits, but if people are not logging on for a raid, they are also not logging into the game.

People who say guilds are worthless, however, is being closed minded. I do understand there are quite a few guilds that have their "inner circle" of friends and everyone else feels like an outsider. Some people join guilds only to find out nobody's logging in anymore, making you have to find yet, another guild. Having that said - I played EQ when it first came out. Shortly after, some of my friends (yes, real life friends) got me into a guild they found. After 5-6 years, we all stopped playing, but we always stayed in touch via our guild website. I met the most interesting people from not just in the U.S. but abroad. Some of us over the past few years have gotten together to play a string of other games. It's been 10 years knowing some of these people. Many have gotten married, or now have kids, or even grandchildren. Having that bond is more important than being in guild for the loot.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 11:13AM (Unverified) said

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I'm not sure I would agree with this. I have been playing WoW since launch and have never been a part of a guild that didn't have fun together and do events. Even now has raffles before raids, ridiculous nights where we do naked races through raid content, and other stuff. I have always been in raiding guilds, and since they all seemed pretty similar, even across servers, I had assumed all guilds were this way. Its odd to think of being in a guild that wasn't active.

Drenden's Amazing Race Part1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aoSbZY9NwI

Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va3SZL7DMjY

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 11:22AM Kalex716 said

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As vogue as it is to create "solo" content to appease the notion of what the casual market suggests they want, it is counter intuitive to the overall appeal whether they admit it or not that MMO's have as a generality. Without social appeal, the game will eventually fall apart because creating content for a solo minded playerbase is costly and slow. You'll never be able to create it, and release it fast enough compared to how quickly even your casuals can rip through a couple of new quests or a new soloable zone for example.

Whereas, if you enable your playerbase communities to completely bond and create their own fun together, you'll end up with a much deeper attachment rate long term which will allow you ample time to slowly develop that expensive stuff in studio over a much longer timeline for both group and solo minded gameplay.

MMO's in the future will need to foster and empower groups of players as much as possible in every design scheme they can possibly think of in order for your game to have legs to stand on long enough to be considered a success.

The race is on, and sadly, no one currently developing any projects seems to be picking it up at all. Like others have mentioned, it's like theirs a page in the older MMO's the new guys have completely glossed over simply because they think "Casual = dollars = soloability". And I for one, think its a falsity.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 11:31AM (Unverified) said

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In order for guilds to be a successful concept in a game they have to have a purpose. Most the newer games, yeah...guilds are nothing more then a "club" chat channel or an internal raid channel.
I think games like EVE and Lineage 2 for example, have guilds with a solid purpose. Sure you could play solo if you want but you are more or less missing the game if you do.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 12:56PM (Unverified) said

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" short of raiding or the occasional (rare) group type content"

Not sure what you're smoking, but in almost all games the only thing that gets added in (excluding expansions) is group content. Solo content is only really there for leveling or doing daily quest type things, everything else is group. The problem is that no one wants to do the lower content (level or reward) and that's mostly guilds doing that.

WoW has destroyed my view of guilds, with applications (i only apply for credit, jobs and places to live, not a freaking bunch of strangers to game with) loot whoring, and dps metering. The only good ones are where people talk and are more laid back, as friends you make will last longer than any pixels you won or bosses you downed.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 1:14PM Pingles said

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As I get older with more and more responsibilities (and begrudgingly come to the conclusion that my game time is NOT a priority) I am finding less and less time to participate in Guild activities.

The Guilds I am in are exclusive chat rooms that I thoroughly enjoy.

I truly don't see them being chat-oriented as a bad thing.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 1:28PM myr said

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I like Aion's legion system.

Legions have levels that dictate the maximum number of members. They have Abyss rankings, where the bigger groups compete for that top-10 PvP position on your server. There's also the nifty thing where legions can take over specific areas of the Abyss itself (in the name of their faction of course). Relatively simple, but effective enough to make you want to find a group by the time you start PvP'ing.

And no, you don't avoid PvP in Aion. Not after level 25.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 1:40PM MewmewGrrl said

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The thing is, ALL content in most games is doable in Groups. It's usually more beneficial to do in a group. If people are soloing most content, that must tell you what they want to play like. Should we really make areas so hard that you have to force people to group to get through them? If people don't want to do it, why force them to? I hope we never get back to the type of Guild where you are in it to do "your job." "Show up at 8 p.m. tonight to raid this dungeon for this many hours so this person can get this item. Show up again tomorrow at 9 to get this other person their item. Come and do your job and do it right. This is serious business." That isn't fun for me. That's the old EverQuest mentality that I never want to go back to. If you really want to group, make a Guild based on members who like to group, and you will all be together without having to force the rest of us to play in a way we don't want to play.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 2:44PM Amblin said

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To make guilds viable today, developers need to address game design at the guild level. Design quests that are tasked to the guild, make hem epic and make the reward suitable to advance the guild in the gameworld.

This will keep guilds in tomorrow's mmo's.

I have to say that guilds are not as strong as they once were but then games no longer support them. They are non-entities that really have no use beyond mini community social hubs for chat and banter. The more accessable mmo's have become, the shallower the commitment from members. Also given the explosion in the number of games means retaining members is harder than ever.

The first dev to truly make guilds integral to mmo's will earn great success.

That's my 2 pennies worth.

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