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Reader Comments (37)

Posted: May 18th 2010 8:28AM (Unverified) said

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Guilds should be important but specifically with regards to WoW, a solo player can still enjoy most aspects of a game even pugging raids. A game like AoC or Fallen Earth on the other hand place much more emphasis on being part of a guild and in my opinion, it's one reason why more casual players are not attracted to those games. In this day and age where developing an mmo requires significant investment, you need to attract as many players as possible to ensure long term survival.

Posted: May 18th 2010 8:29AM Alex Oglitchkin said

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But are they too heavily emphasized?
Duh, it is the reason you play an MMO. To make friends to quest and conquer with. Guilds make it easier to locate and talk with these people.

Would you rather see a greater emphasis on individual skill and accomplishments?
If I wanted that I'd go play console single player/online games.

Or do you feel that lessens your attachment to the game and your fellow players?
Without having a constant friend group/guild I think most people would quit more games sooner. Hell there are guilds that game hop and follow each other. It's nice to know the people you play without instead of playing with some random person who might shaft you over on something.

Posted: May 18th 2010 1:02PM Tom in VA said

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Umm, no. That's not the reason I play an MMO, anyway.

I play an MMO to have fun. Period.

The fact that other players and I have the option to group up -- on rare occasions -- is an added plus. But join a guild? I don't think so.

When I go to the mall, I like the fact that other people are around; I can hear their voices and even talk to them sometimes, but I primarily just want to do my own thing. A lot of people prefer to approach MMOs pretty much the same way. I know I do.

What causes me to ultimately quit an MMO is not the lack of a guild/group of player friends, but when I run out of soloable content.

To answer the OP's question: No, no too important at all. In fact, I'd say they are completely irrelevant to the way I play.
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Posted: May 18th 2010 9:46PM (Unverified) said

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Agree completely with Tom.

I love the social atmosphere of an MMO as much as I like the atmosphere in a cafe ...but it doesn't mean I want everyone sitting at my table and telling me what I'm going to order because its best for me.

To me, guilds are just a gimmick the designer creates in order to guilt me into staying around. I don't enjoy guilds at all, I find them a (undesirable) necessity to getting things done. I much prefer it when Devs allow us to do things with less people, rather than forcing social events/quests just because we're in a social game.
Just because there's other people around doesn't mean you should be FORCED to party, in order to get the same goals completed.
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Posted: May 18th 2010 8:39AM Dumac said

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I don't know, i have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, most guilds are PUGs with a name that expect blind loyalty, on the other hand, they encompass far more than a traditional PUG would, and so make building relationships easier and make the game more fun. But i don't approve of people looking down on PUGs while essentially being part of one, and guilds tend to evolve into groups of likeminded people where being different makes you feel uncomfortable, and is sometimes even not tolerated, but a player is supposed to put up with that because of the benefits. At least that's how i feel. Sometimes they can be too important and discourage free roaming, but sometimes there are gameplay and social benefits. I guess if i had to pick, i'd side with too important.

Posted: May 18th 2010 8:43AM Lethality said

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These are social games, designed to be played with other players.

Guilds are extensions of convenience instead of just forming a party, that give tools for communication and organization.

When you play something (a sport, a game, etc) that was designed with multiplayer in mind, you will always do better playing as a team with a consistent lineup.

The game experience is better when you find like minded players.

I could go on and on...why is this even an article?

Posted: May 18th 2010 8:51AM (Unverified) said

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Even if I don't know the players, being in a group is the best part of MMOs for me. I love trying to accomplish even the most simple of tasks or grinds with other player(s). I especially love the occasional random "Kill rats?" out in the field.

Posted: May 18th 2010 8:48AM Scopique said

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@Follisimo, I think your assumption that people play MMOs strictly for the social is too general, and frankly, out of date. I play MMOs for the content, the large worlds, the persistance and the design choices that can't be made in single player games.

That said, I do group and guild up, and I agree that being in a guild makes me want to stay in a game MUCH longer then if I were to play strictly solo. Do I play these games FOR the social interaction? No. Do I find that being social may lead to more dedication to the game? Yes, assuming I can find a decent group to join up with, which is is sometimes hit or miss.

Guild structures these days is one of the slowest evolving systems in the genre. Most games still only treat guilds as dedicated chat channels and nametags. Over the years, we have seen games featuring guild levels, guild halls and even guld achievements -- but not enough games offer these kinds of mechanical perks. At this point in the genre, guild concept and design should be a LOT further along then it is, IMO.

Posted: May 18th 2010 8:53AM Beau Hindman said

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Great question. I never join guilds, mainly because of my playstyle and my need to constantly explore games, but also because they rarely do anything for me. In fact, I think it is a little ironic that many people consider MMO guilds a necessity because of the social nature of the game, while they generally sit inside their guild chat channel and never step away.

Are guilds social? Yes, within their own walls. But on a server with thousands of potential friends, are you really being social by hanging out with the same 8 or 9 of them, doing the same content over and over?

Beau

Posted: May 18th 2010 9:29AM Velyse said

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I couldn't agree with you more. I've been in a few guilds in my time as I've roamed different MMOs, but in those games all I did was group with guildmates. Lately I've played Mabinogi, and other random F2P titles without guilding, and you get a broader spectrum of being in a social environment.
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Posted: May 18th 2010 9:46AM Alex Oglitchkin said

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"Are guilds social? Yes, within their own walls. But on a server with thousands of potential friends, are you really being social by hanging out with the same 8 or 9 of them, doing the same content over and over? "

And probably out of the thousands only a 1/5th of them are capable of not being a retard who wipes a raid. I love guilds that require the best from you. You gotta have a certain set of gear, know your fights, and be reliable. World chat in games is nothing but bashing, pointing out downies, and looking for groups. I don't play my MMOs to just make some friends. I want content downed and not easy mode stuff at that. If I wanted to make friends I'd hang out with them in the real world.

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Posted: May 18th 2010 9:54AM Birk said

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Ah, I completely agree with you here Beau. Especially guilds who enforce a "no-pug" rule; I feel like a fourteen year old that isn't allowed to meet new people at the mall.

I find guilds also offer another problem, particularly within the sense of RP (In fantasy games, not sci-fi e.g EVE). Being able to communicate with your guild from anywhere really breaks immersion; I think it would be far more interesting if there was no general guild chat channel. Older games never had one (due to technical limitations, I'm sure), and it was completely necessary to have a guild meeting spot. Moreover, it was something special when you were traveling along and a guild-mate popped up on screen. You would usually sit there for ten or fifteen minutes and chat, or likely group up.

Obviously, I know that a lot of people require instant access to communication channels with their guild. Fine fine, fair enough. Organizing big raids can be difficult, and it might make complex maneuvers too difficult if you could not speak game-wide.

But I, personally, would be cool with a carrier-pigeon type communication means, where you could perhaps send a PM to a guild member from afar with only a slight time delay from the pigeon. It would be somewhat neat, if you were, for example, at your guild-fort, and there were enemies attacking.

"Fly the pigeons! For the love of god, fly the pigeons!" And every guild member would receive a pigeon with a summons to drop what they are doing and come aid the fort.

Ah, might be too fantastical for practical game play. On another hand, it might also make a better Monty Python skit than a mechanic. But a fella can dream, can't he?

...FLY THE PIGEONS!
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Posted: May 18th 2010 10:14AM (Unverified) said

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@birk

In today's environment where teamspeak, AIM, forums and a whole other host of online communication options exist it's simply impossible to create immersion sustaining barriers.

MMO developers need to take note of this, and stop including things like cross-faction encoding. It just handicaps casual players even more, while skilled players use teamspeak to effortlessly avoid a trivial obstacle in communication.

-SirNiko
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Posted: May 18th 2010 11:47AM Birk said

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Ah, of course I agree with you. Again, I realize that the metagame is as much a part of the game as anything else, and the most ambitious of players will always resort to some method to circumvent any barriers that the devs might put in place to maintain immersion.

Still though, I hate that the competitive side of games, and in particular MMO's, always seems to overshadow the fun and immersive side.

Well, human nature for the lose, I suppose.
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Posted: May 18th 2010 11:00PM (Unverified) said

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Beau: that's why I think the next step forward in MMO design will be to move away from the one-to-one association between a character and a guild, towards something more like Facebook groups, etc., where you can be a member of a number of different groups.

One group you raid with, one you PvP with, one that your RL friends are in, etc.
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Posted: May 19th 2010 12:06AM (Unverified) said

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@ Carson

That already exists. FFXI Linkshells.

You can have as many linkshells as you want. I personally had one for social, one for Dynamis (Raiding) and one for HNM (World boss camping)

Worked really well
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Posted: May 18th 2010 9:08AM Wisdomandlore said

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A guild is simply what you make of it. I rarely join guilds that recruit on forums or in chat. Instead I group up with people, make friends, and then join guilds based on that.

IMO, guilds should be supported, although there should be plenty of activities for solo players as well. It's not an either or thing. And solo players need to realize that just as much solo content is only suitable for being solo, there's going to be some content that only groups/raids/guilds can achieve.

Posted: May 18th 2010 10:04AM Drannos said

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My thoughts exactly. That's exactly how I prefer to join guilds - find those with whom I enjoy playing, and join up!

Even in the "theme-park" games, guilds are the one mechanic that is purely sandbox. They can be as helpful or restrictive as the players who make up their members, and a guild's name only becomes more important than individual players when that guild makes it know that that is how it operates.

Guilds, in my opinion, can make a huge difference, for good or bad, or they can make no difference at all. It really all comes down to the members. Joining my current kinship in LotRO, after six months of soloing, made it an entirely new game, and have made all the difference in my enjoyment of the content.
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Posted: May 18th 2010 9:37AM Greeen said

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Yes, a guild makes me stay, or even return to a game.
E.g. in Warhammer I was in this grand guild, and although I quite the game and was tired of it, I returned after a few months just for the guilds sake. Unfortunately, the game couldn't keep me, and it was only with a highly bad conscience, that I quit again.

Posted: May 18th 2010 9:59AM (Unverified) said

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Apart from adding my name to a charter to help new guilds get off the ground, I've never been a "guildie". I play persistant world games for the scope and random interaction with others. I don't have the time, nor the inclination to bind myself to others. Guilds are like cliques or clubs which often degrade into a few officers imposing their will on their subordinates "for the good of the guild".

I think developers give them too much focus and they become far more a negative than positive influence on a game community. Social types will be social, no matter what, but non-social people will not become social simply because a game places inordinated attention on grouping or guild coddling. I wonder how many people stop playing online games because the focus on making people play together makes them feel second-class just because they don't feel the need to be joined at the hip with others.

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