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Reader Comments (14)

Posted: Aug 30th 2010 12:19PM Controlled Chaos said

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The problem often stems from one small problem: people tend to suck. Now, that sounds a bit like a catch all, but its one thing that can be noticed whether you're paying per month, free to play, casual or hardcore. People generally don't have a great attitude when it comes to these things. It's as I've said before: MMOs would be great if it wasn't for the people who play them.

Good example would be World of Warcraft. There are some pretty impressive and active guilds there...but to get into one of the more elite ones, you basically have to waste six months of your life in a recruitment process that would make an intelligence agency background checks look nominal. They aren't going to let casual players in because they aren't hardcore enough for their liking. At the same time, you could get into a guild very easily...but one can't expect to see more than five or ten of their fifty people on, because the other end of the spectrum has no standards at all. They're there for the tag and have no interest in doing anything except running around the game themselves.

Occasionally, you will find some people who are in the middle ground there, the ones who are interested in playing a decent amount and want to do well, but aren't into the hardcore scene. They are generally the diamonds in the rough. I know from experience that they're not always that easy to find.

I guess when you get down to it, it's all about luck. 99 out of 100 guilds will not be what you're looking for and there's a great chance that one will never find what makes them happy in a game before it gets to the point that you want to quit anyways. It's sad, but it's true.

Posted: Aug 30th 2010 12:26PM warpax said

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I am right there with you! I play a lvl 90 warden with no raid experience but lots o f play experience on the Crushbone server. I have also joined seveal guilds who advertised "chatty people, lots of guild questing and grouping" but once i joined it just wasnt so. One guild in particular the guild interface claimed there were nearly 600 members but over the course of a month logging in everyday i saw maybe 6-10 people from the guild loging and half of them seemed to be dedicated crafters and the other half were 2boxing with what seem little to no interest in grouping with others. The only conversations were once i tried to start but i rarley got a response. As you pointed out the only thing in guild chat i saw was the occasional "grats".
I talked to the guild leader about my concerns and he said that it was always like this this time of the year. That during the summer everyone was outside and they would return to more gaming during fall and winter. This sounds reasonable i guess. We'll see. All I know is that its dang lonely now.

Posted: Aug 30th 2010 12:26PM pasmith said

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My problem is that I'd never want to be part of a guild that would accept me as a member. :)

Kidding. Sorta.

Anyway, just to give you a different perspective, my signficant other runs an EQ2 guild and her problem is that new members join and immediately start expecting handouts. And even that wouldn't be a problem if they stuck around. But they join, ask for gear handouts, then vanish a week or two later when they decide they don't like that game (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, there).

Considering how old EQ2 is, it's a pretty safe bet that any guild you join has been around for a while and has its own flow, and it'll take you a while to find your place in that flow.

Also a lot of people do seem to solo up to level 50 or so. Remember you can always use chrono-magic to go back and enjoy group encounters you had to skip on the way up.

Posted: Aug 30th 2010 12:32PM (Unverified) said

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Yeah, I know what you mean. You want an active guild that will atleast spend some time with a lowbie member over people their own level. This is compounded by the fact that guild halls have replaced social hubs, so your chances of finding people your level interested in grouping are limited to in the field. I would say, first off: Stay away from raiding guilds, especially hard core ones. While there are some guilds that raid that also ave newbie/lowbie friendly events, the majority are busy trying to run instances for themselves inbetween raids. Also, if a guild has a level requirement you don't meet, chances are they're not going to help you level. Your best bet is likely a medium casual guild or small friends and family guild.
Now, EQ2 does have a fairly good guild finder built into it. Just open up your guild window (u by default) and a list should pop up. The list is sorted by the following things (I think) weighted from first to last: number of players online near your level, number of players online all levels, number of officers on that can recruit you, total number of characters near your level, and total number of characters. Obliously if the guild has no recruiters on, it doesn't show up on the list, or if you don't meet the required level. you can also filter things in/out, like hardcore/casual, etc. Also its generally a good idea to look for the guild during the time that you're most likely going to be on, as it will increase the chances the guild is on during the period you play.
Also if you post your server here I think that will help people find you.

Posted: Aug 30th 2010 12:43PM (Unverified) said

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It's a very real problem in that designers are making less and less content that requires a group and more content that just requires a bunch of people all attacking something (public quests). The effect of less more sustained group centric content is that the backbone of this genre, social interaction, is falling by the wayside.

I'm interested to see what effect, if any, Bioware's Star Wars The Old Republic will have on social interaction. Perhaps we'll be able to find kindred spirits through our tour of duty in the story of our characters.

Posted: Aug 30th 2010 12:51PM Strumiker said

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I ran a guild for over a year in EQ2 on Lucan Dlere. You did hit the nail on the head that the demographic for players has changed a lot from when I started mmo's when EQ1 first came out. With the popularity and incredible ease of mmo's now, it's as bad as this Facebook phenomenon. When my wife and I ran the guild, we invited everyone who was interested. We had an open door policy and we actually did run events and dungeon runs for all levels. Our website allowed people to setup and join these events very easily. Our people were happy, granted my wife and I sacrificied doing anything for ourselves for that year since we mentored down all the time to do whatever everyone was doing. We noticed a trend. Each time and expansion came out or a free weekend was going on, population shot up. Month later, it was only a few people left online. It was like clockwork. Casual has gone from simply playing consistently for a handful of hours a week to playing a weekend or two each month of a particular game.

After a year of trying, only 5 people out of probably 100 invited were still on with active accounts (thanks to sony's website, you could kind of keep tabs on people). Needless to say, putting up with this trend wore us out and eventually we just quit being helpful to everyone and just helping out those who would stick around. After talking to other guild leaders, we weren't the only ones with this problem. There are a couple good guilds on Lucan, but I'd bet the majority of servers and games have this problem.

From this point forward, my wife and I tend to stick with a couple of real life friends to game with. It's simply too hard (and unrewardeing) to deal with other people.

Posted: Aug 30th 2010 1:27PM Vestas said

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I'd add that EQ2 is particularly terrible at this, so is WoW. It's a solo'ers paradise. And by that I mean, there is absolutely ZERO need to even consider grouping up until end game. You can level 1-90 and get reasonable gear to start your group dungeon romping at 90 without much issue solo. All of the content is designed and factored around this concept. Especially with the latest expansion, once done solo grinding, grind out a few factions, buy some faction gear to bridge some gaps. Then start going LFG to run instances.

At level 90, you'll have a better chance of finding a guild that does stuff, but most guilds are centered around 8 or so folks who formed the guild. These folks have their own static group and run stuff every day. They are also the recruiters. So they'll tell you that the guild is always "doing stuff" but what they mean is "they" are always doing stuff, not necessarily that you will get to go with t hem (it only takes 6 to run an instance afterall).

WoW makes this worse. Unless you want to raid, there's no point at all to even joining a guild for a group now with the Dungeon Finder feature. Solo'ing is awesome but for my tastes both these games swing too far in the "solo friendly" direction. A game should support solo'ing but there should be both a genuine value and need to group at times to encourage social behavior. I still have friends from 10 years ago when I played the original EQ. And some of my best friends now come from the first six months of EQ2 when it was a groupers game, not a soloers game like it is now. Not saying that EQ2 was better then, just better at the social dynamic necessary to make an MMO the kind of environment you seem to prefer.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2010 1:28PM (Unverified) said

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My fondest gaming memories are being part of a guild called Wandering Souls on Oasis way back in the founding days of EQ2. Because we all started together, we leveled together, there was no mad dash to get to "end game" to raid. We explored the game together and it was a LOT of fun. It was a casual family style guild and things kind of got rough when people hit 50, waited around for a while and then left to raid.

I've been back to Eq2 since then, even played with some of the same people but it's completely different now. Everyone has multiple end game toons, it's all about loot and raiding and no one has any time for just hanging out, just grouping or what ever. I had noticed that because I took a break and others did not, they have already experienced things that i have not and they don't want to have to see them again. No patience with a new tank learning an instance etc etc.

i think the best shot you have is to try EQ2X. The biggest draw to me is it's like Eq2 launch again, lost of lower level people exploring and discovering and leveling. Only issue I have found is trying to find a guild that is not setup by established players, ie not run by a group of 90's who transferred over, a group of people not wanting to see content, just want to rush to 90.

I guess the trick is to find a game that is new, new to everyone, not just me.

Posted: Aug 30th 2010 3:23PM (Unverified) said

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I've found that the best experiences always come from joining an MMO with a group of out-of-game friends. Most MMOs are so diverse that the odds of finding somebody who fits your schedule is nearly impossible without setting it up beforehand.

Personally, I think there would be value in running an MMO that isn't online 24/7, pushing players to pick a small weekly or daily time slot and committing to it each week, like tabletop roleplayers do. Sure, you'd lose people who can't play on that schedule or miss out, but I think it'd address almost all the concerns that usually hurt grouping. You'd have players progressing at a rather steady pace, and people would be online at that same time. Just alter the subscription model to fit the schedule and I'd see people joining, especially if the quality of the rest was high.

Posted: Aug 30th 2010 4:10PM jimr9999us said

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Finding a good guild in an established game as a newcomer is a challenging prospect, but here's a couple of suggestions:

1. Level a character to cap.
2. Learn a valuable tradeskill.
3. Read the forums.
4. Group whenever you can.

and most importantly:

5. Do not stay in a placeholder guild. You are always better off going guildless than in a guild you're not happy with. Most reputable guilds won't initiate an invite if they see you're affiliated, and rightfully so.

Finding a good "fit" with a guild is the most challenging and rewarding part of the mmorpg experience. A few weeks in a game that has a community established over several years is far too short a time to grow impatient. Commit fully to the game, and you will find a group of like-minded souls willing to commit to you as well.

Posted: Aug 30th 2010 6:07PM (Unverified) said

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Your reply is exactly the problem, and I believe, correct me if I'm wrong here, the thrust of his post.

Level to Cap, Learn a valuable tradeskill, etc etc, is a way to show the people in a guild what you can do for THEM, which is the opposite of how it was in the old days, which was a major part of this article.

Back in the day, you guilded up based on similar-ideals. Are you a bunch of Altamaniacs that like to do a bunch of grouping at several levels? There was a guild for you. Do you want to grind out max level and start the raiding cycle? There was a guild for you. Do you want a guild of Bank toons to have someone to talk to while you set up your trader in the Bazaar? (loleq) There was a guild for that.

@OP. I think the issue might be rose-colored glasses, on both of our parts. There have always been the End-game raiding guilds, with their ungodly requirements, strict class recruiting, schedules, DKP, and required attendance. With MMOs hitting the mainstream, and the ease at which you can achieve end game success (lolwow), the top of the heap is much larger than it used to be.

While, say in EQ 2002, You might have had the top 5-10% of the population doing the End-game content, nowadays, I'd venture to say the End Game's population would be closer to 50%.

I may have under/over estimated in those percentages (of which I pulled out of my ass), but The difference between them is my point.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2010 7:42PM jimr9999us said

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@ weez: The crux of my reply was to suggest that to find a good guild in an established mmog, you need to demonstrate a commitment to the game. As in any relationship, there needs to be a give/take, and there is little a 3 week "vet" can offer an Everquest guild except the likelihood of a short stay.

Ask not what the guild can do for you, ask what you can do for the guild :)
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Posted: Aug 30th 2010 10:17PM (Unverified) said

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The author asks "So what's the answer?"

I don't think the right question is "how do I find the right guild?" The problem finding the "right guild" is only a symptom of the state of the MMO industry. WoW cemented the MMORPG industry to the current game model of people playing alone in a populated virtual environment. Apparently it is a model that satisfies the most players. All popular MMORPGs emulate the WoW design. I'm not saying WoW invented the model, but they made it such a dominant model that apparently no developer now dares break far from it.
The "socializer" type player (I'm assuming the author is one) has been marginalized in the industry. It seems like there are not enough of us at one place at one time to warrant a game for us or even a server in some game. The answer I've come to personally is that I'll try to enjoy MMOs for what they are now and hope that one of these days some developer will have the money and guts to make a game that really encourages the growth of virtual world with a real community and not just an amusement park.

Posted: Aug 31st 2010 5:38AM Chordian said

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Great article. I've recently had the same problems in Lord of the Rings Online, and I was also thinking if it was my own expectations that was too high. I went through more than five or six guilds yet never found anything satisfying. In the end I just settled with a small guild where I'm often the only one online. Yawn.

Among the guilds I tried was one where a merit system was used for helping out other members of the guild. Give a few ores to another and perhaps he or she will mention you in an awards thread at the guild forum and you will get a higher rank as the forum avatar. The other guild members thought this was an okay system, but personally I despised it. It made me feel like I was in the army or something. I don't mind helping out guild members; it's part of what makes a guild nice, but it should be something where you are remembered for doing a good deed instead of putting numbers to it.

Another guild had a very charismatic and helpful guild leader. Unfortunately he and his closest guild friends was also very fond of voice software. In many situations I only saw short answers in guild chat to questions I could only imagine. I don't want to use voice software until I absolutely have to in raids.

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