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Reader Comments (37)

Posted: May 18th 2010 10:08AM (Unverified) said

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Just because you're not a member of a guild or constantly in a group does not mean that you're not part of the "massively" in MMO. Bumping into other players while questing, chatting about your adventures in the local channels, buying and selling on the auction house equivalent for your game, engaging in one-on-one open world PvP, exploring player created buildings, all these activities can be done without being part of a group and yet they create a distinct multiplayer flavor that you can't get with offline console games.

Guild activities should be distinct from the rest of the game. Making players join a 40 man guild to get equipment they need to participate in 3 on 3 PvP or start a new solo quest line is bad design.

Best design is to make content that requires a guild to initiate, such as open-world raid bosses, but pick-up-players can be brought in to participate without requiring them to adhere to the relatively rigid rules of a full-time guild. Making it so that the guild is automatically rewarded for involving other players and the other players are automatically rewarded for helping out just enforces this kind of work-together behavior.

Most people play MMOs for fun, and needing to be online the same time every night to obey the orders of the raid leader just doesn't cut it. There are people who enjoy that sort of challenge, but they can be appeased without designing the whole game to suit their unpopular whims.

-SirNiko

Posted: May 18th 2010 9:43PM (Unverified) said

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The real problem with most MMOs (especially where PvP is concerned) is that game play is linear and gear based. The longer you play, the more of an advantage you have.

If you're not a hardcore player that started when the game first opened, you're in for a rough ride. The vast majority of the player base is already at the 'end game' content and there's almost no one willing to help you. Even if you manage to get yourself to max level, you're still going to be under-geared and unable to participate.

And people wonder why anyone would want solo play in an MMO...
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Posted: May 18th 2010 11:02AM (Unverified) said

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I can't speak for any other MMOs but in WOW guilds are becoming less and less important and it's hurting the game in my opinion. Good guilds take on several roles like social club, pooled resources, and recruitment pool for end-game content. They're the glue that keep people coming back to a particular game and they need to be made important for a game to be successful. End game content in WOW used to feel like climbing incredibly high mountain. You needed a team to climb that mountain and it couldn't be just any random group of people, you needed good people that you could rely on. Guilds played and essential part in the formation of that team. Only the best even attempted to climb the mountain and only the best of the best reached the summit. The challenge made end game content cool and meaningful when you completed it. Now most end game content is at beast a day hike up a rolling hill that you can take with any group of strangers. They're reducing guilds to social clubs which is fine a guess, but personally I want more out my guild and more out of my game.

Posted: May 18th 2010 10:20AM (Unverified) said

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The high-end raid achievements still require the cooperation and coordination of a skilled guild. These aren't things that you can accomplish with just any old PUG.

All WoW has done is made it so that content that used to require a perfectly coordinated guild is phased out when the new stuff comes in, so casual players can explore the content they once could not.

Please correct me if my information is out of date.

-SirNiko
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Posted: May 18th 2010 11:02AM (Unverified) said

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Yes, there is still content that requires a very skilled an coordinated team but it's a very small percentage of the end-game content. We all used to look forward to new end game instances where every encounter was a challenge. It would take months to perfect and conquer the instance and kept you coming back night after night. Every first kill was a moment of accomplishment and nerd glee. Now you steam-roll through most if it looking for the one or two challenging encounters. But even those encounters are rarely all that challenging. A few nights of attempts and they're over leaving you with a "huh, is that it" feeling. And achievements rarely add an interesting challenge they're more for point collectors who are bored and looking for something to do.
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Posted: May 18th 2010 10:24AM Justpotatoes said

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I think it depends on the type of player. I'm a social player, and I love being part of a team. There are games that I've really enjoyed, like Vanguard, AoC, and LotRO, but because I didn't connect with the community, I ended up quitting. I stuck with WoW long after my enjoyment of the game had ceased, because of the awesome guildies that I played with there for three years, and I put up with WAR's issues for over a year for that same reason. Many of those people have become real life friends. On the other hand, I have a friend who is really passionate about raiding, and finds her enjoyment in being a solid raid guild. She socializes primarily with people on her friends list, outside her guild.

Connecting with a great guild can really make or break a game for me. I really love EQ2's guild leveling model, because I think it makes even smaller social guilds work together and provides incentives for people to be team players.

Posted: May 18th 2010 10:31AM TheJackman said

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WoW add a lot of more to guilds in the next expansion!

Posted: May 18th 2010 11:02AM (Unverified) said

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The stuff they've added to guilds feel like grinding goals. And the rewards are mostly fluff. Purchase mounts!? woo! And if they go ahead with the 10man = 25man rewards you're going to see the average raiding guild shrink dramatically further undermining guilds as a whole. It's a bad move.
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Posted: May 18th 2010 10:55AM (Unverified) said

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I am not sure here, but here is my two cents.

On one hand I feel that MMO's would bore the crap out of me if there weren't this whole social guild commitment at all.

On the other hand, the guild commitment may turn into a job at some times. Specially when you are busy learning a new dungeon. And perhaps race other guilds for clearing it first.

Sometimes I'd wish mmo's would find a middle route. Perhaps sw:tor will bring me that when they add the lore with voiceovers to the whole thing. But right now, single player mmo's doesn't really cut it for me. Its a group genre, and guilds are essential to that.

Posted: May 18th 2010 11:39AM (Unverified) said

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I don't agree that there is an overemphasis on guilds. Guilds are just a powerful tool that makes things a lot easier.

A good guild gives you a list of contact with good credibility along with giving YOU good credibility. Even if you as big a jackass as the next unaffiliated at least you'll have to answer to your guild.

It gives you guild chat

The persistence of people also lets you better judge the outcome of events. Handing out advice and being nice actually has longer lasting effects.

You have the choice of using it or not. Not using it just make it difficult on yourself. It the same as not putting in all your talent point, using vent, or using weak outdated gear. Are those overemphasized?

If you do fine without any of the above, might make a cool video, or a cool story. Although, like pool I'm sure you have to call the shot from the beginning for it to be impressive. Beyond that I have no sympathy for people finds a game boring and difficult when they can have something like a guild to ease things for them. It's just dumb.

Posted: May 18th 2010 1:14PM Wild Colors said

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I think that the problem with guilds now is that they are absolutely necessary for some content (normally end game content) and absolutely useless for just about everything else (at best, trying to level with people just slows you down). The more "hardcore" games like Fallen Earth and EVE that exist in more of an open world have other uses for guilds...they help keep you safe, they help guide you through the world, and they pass down or create items that you wouldn't otherwise be able to obtain. But in a generic WoW clone, most useful items are non-transferable and quickly replaced anyways, and you are usually not at serious risk from other players.

As a counterpoint, back in vanilla WoW itself, on PvP servers, guilds had more of a purpose. Especially before battlegrounds were introduced, the guilds would raid opposing towns for fun, and a guild tag could signify someone you didn't want to engage in open world pvp simply because the guild was known for retaliation (I believe "Crimson Banditos" and "Symphony of Light" were famous for this on my old server).

So, in essence, I like the idea of guilds and I think that designers need to give them more of a purpose throughout the entire game in order to make it feel like they are real, useful constructs as opposed to something forced upon the players in the end game simply for the sake of challenge in organizing and recruiting and such. Some examples would be large (and yes, perhaps grindy) worldwide quests that characters of all levels could engage in on their own terms (and perhaps in different ways) that would eventually grant the guild as a whole some special standing with a certain faction or city, or access to some interesting ability or to a zone good for leveling, crafting, or simply beautiful and interesting. Then players would be working with the guild throughout the entire life of their character, and would see tangible benefits along the way.

Posted: May 18th 2010 4:10PM J Brad Hicks said

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I like Dumac's remark, above, that a guild is just "a pickup group with a name that expects blind loyalty." That pretty much sums up my experience, too.

I want both kinds of content in my MMO: single-player stuff that I can text-chat with other people who're in the same game while I'm playing it, so I have something to do when I only have a few minutes or when I'm not feeling like dealing with other peoples' BS, and stuff that occupies a minimally well coordinated team for an evening.

Unfortunately, in most MMOs, the only alternative to having a guild is using broadcast chat. Un-moderated, anonymous, zone-wide broadcast chat. Which, anywhere at all crowded, is consistently as bad in MMOs as un-moderated, anonymous, large-scale chat is anywhere else on the Internet, which is to say it runs the whole gamut from annoyingly stupid and off-topic (at best) to loathsomely bigoted, racist, and homophobic as well as stupid and off-topic (at worst). And, if the content is at all difficult, once you do manage to wade through that swamp of hate speech to find an actual team, you find out that for the more difficult content, the game is missing THE fundamental tool you'd need, speech, and no, your random pickup group don't all agree on which Ventrillo server to use; odds-on, none of us have one.

But the only alternative is to join a guild. A guild provides you with a voice server (hopefully) and a moderated text-chat channel (normally). But the people who provide that channel moderation and who pay the bills on that voice-chat server expect the right to tell you how to play the game, in exchange: we need you to play this character class that nobody likes playing, and to build it this certain way, and to equip it in this armor and color that armor these colors, and to play during these hours every day, and to power-level through this particular content and none of the other content because we think that's the only efficient way to level, and to not solo because that's not the best way to play the game, and to spend at least a certain number of minutes every day on the off-line website forums, and, and, and ... forget it. I'm not going to keep rattling off the list of demands that guild leaders in various MMOs have dumped on me. I don't know who these guild leaders think they are, or who they think we are, but frankly, if you're not paying my expletive-deleted subscription fee, you don't get to tell me how to play the game.

One thing that keeps bringing me back to City of Heroes, frankly, is that I found something there that's better than a guild: volunteer-moderated global chat channels. In particular, I use the VirtueUnited chat channel, which has no rules as to how you play the game, which makes no demands, but restricts access to the chat channel based on what seem to me to be entirely reasonable rules. Anybody who doesn't like those rules can find a different chat channel, of which there are plenty. Now I just wish I could find a similar adult, reasonably intelligent, no hate speech, no political arguments, no religion promotion or bashing, off-topic permitted during slack times but game-related chat gets right-of-way, global chat channel in Star Trek Online, I'd be as happy as a pig in Congress.

Posted: May 18th 2010 6:09PM (Unverified) said

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I wish guilds meant as much as they used to tbh. I was in the same guild for over 5 years in EQ. Nowadays, 5 months is a good length of time.

I do love being able to solo, but the overease of soloing has fragmented the hell out of the communties nowadays imo. With always soloing, always being me-first, translates into the guild environment. Don't like that your guild is taking so long to take down a boss in ICC? Its cool. Just drop them and join your next soon-to-be-former guild.

I, of course, used wow as the example, as it has the worst community I've ever played in lol. But Maybe I'm "behind the times" too. With the Overall "MMO Community" so large nowadays, maybe the thoughts of putting the guild and guildies first, building your guild name and such are outdated.

I hope not.

Posted: May 18th 2010 6:33PM Saker said

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Guilds are much to central to many games. Membership is pretty much a absolute pre-req. to many.

Posted: May 18th 2010 6:46PM Graill440 said

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Somewhere along the line way back some idiot decided MMO meant there must be guilds, and their must be large groups, this was a bad choice.

The majority of the paying base are not in guilds, though they will use others, as i do, to accomplish things if the mechanics ingame arent to ignorantly thought out, take WOW for example.

MMO does not and was never meant to be forced grouping/guilds, however, ignorance reared its ugly head and the weakminded followed. You did not need to be in a group or guild to be successful in UO or asherons call. Then the devs of change stepped in modifying money models forcing people to slow down on progression and closing off content for the majority of folks unless they were in guilds or large groups, and these saw very limited reward for effort....and still do. Even UO and Asherons call, my examples fell prey a few years after release to the forced grouping model.

Guilds are a way for devs to control large groups of subs and limit access to content and keep players paying for as long as possible, limiting content for the majority and forcing them into guilds so the devs can control the pace of play, and it works well. Guilds are a disease, a cancer that needs to be cut out of the MMO community. Forced socialism is never good, this is a proven fact both ingames and in rl.

Does anyone think for a second the person you chat with or talk to in vent or ts is a friend or person you can count on, without ever meeting them in person and evaluating them for any length of time? Guilds are a false fuzzy blanket for the weak and misguided masses that need their hands held, that and the simple fact devs made content for large groups of these folks to string them along and keep them paying so they are forced to join guilds to see content.

We call guilds in rl cults or unions, both are very bad and trash both games and real life, ruining economies among other things, they dont support or protect anything. When players are not given a choice to see ALL content by themselves or in groups as needed BUT not required, the result is the forced garbage out right now. That is changing however.

Guilds are for for those pandering to the suits and devs, happily being driven along because they are to weak to simply say enough, and wait. Like all yappy yuppies i am quite sure someone will be offended by reading the entirely negative comments i have made against guilds, to bad.

Long live freedom of choice. (smirk)

Posted: May 18th 2010 11:49PM (Unverified) said

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I can't think of a game other than EVE Online where guilds (corporations/alliances) really make a massive difference.

I also believe that guilds helped me enjoy MMOs better as they provide you a pool of players that you can ask advice/help from. I find it easier to ask guildmates rather than total strangers for tips.

Posted: May 19th 2010 8:34AM Daelda said

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I think that both areas need improvement. Guilds are great - and I join one once I decide I am planning to buy an MMO, but before I actually go out and get the MMO in question. Guilds need more tools, more ways to advance, more things to bring the Guild Community together. But - individuals don't need to be forgotten either. This isn't an "Us-OR-Them" situation. If you empower individuals - make things more solo, duo and small-group friendly - you help to make sure that Guilds are formed out of desire and not out of necessity.

This especially applies most to end-game content. Currently, the only way to progress your character in most MMOs at end-game is to go on raids to get the better gear. Raids in most MMOs are large-scale events pretty much requiring a Guild to complete successfully with any reliability. This needs to change. I am not saying that raids need to stop. What I *am* saying is that solo, duo and small-group end-game content needs to be created which will also give character advancement. It doesn't have to be easy content. It can be challenging. It can be lengthy. But as long as measurable progress is being made - something a player can see, that is the way to go. Give options for players who don't want to Guild. Give Guilds more things to do - Guild-specific accomplishments, as well as tools to do more things with what they already have.

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