As this warm April weekend comes to a close, so does the first open beta event for Guild Wars 2. After listening to some of the chatter about the game that I am yet unable to play, certain innovations I heard about the game has peaked my interest in ArenaNet’s new MMORPG.
The chatter came from this great video game community that I was lucky enough to become a part of: The Blacklisted Gaming Community. Blacklisted or BGC is also one of the first using the "dual-guild systems" that I have ever seen in my travels through the virtual wastelands of online gaming. At first I was skeptical, but then when I looked at the bigger picture and my role as a guild member, I saw how much it made sense.
Founded in 2008. Blacklisted (BGC) is a community made up of members from all over the United States and Canada, playing all types of games together from Minecraft to Skyrim and even some of the older games. If anyone can remember Vectorman from the Sega Genesis era, then you can clearly understand the diversity of the types of gamers here.
While playing with them in Warhammer Online as well as many other games, I have to tell you from experience, that they are a well coordinated PvP oriented guild. Their presence has been felt in numerous MMORPG’s over the years. The last concerted effort that Blacklisted was involved in was Star Wars: The Old Republic. Although in order to entertain so many players and such a diversity of playstyles, the leader of Blacklisted, Swimchamp (also known as Michael) has decided to implement a dual-guild system in order to keep any type of his guild members happy and playing together under the Blacklisted roof.
I had a chance to sit down and talk with GM Swimchamp over the weekend about the new dual-guild system and how it was going to come into play once Guild Wars 2 is launched. He explained to me that the dual-guild system was created because not every player has the same playstyle. “Not every player is a hardcore PvP’r”, says Swimchamp, “and not every person is going to want to be with the hardcore PvPr’s or forced to PvP when they don’t want to.” With the creation of Karma, this enables a more casually inclined player to come on board and enjoy Guild Wars 2 with the rest of their friends in the Blacklisted Community when they want to.
One side of the dual guild system is Blacklisted, the hardcore PvP guild.There will be qualifications to be be part of the hardcore end, such as skill, attitude and mentality that Swimchamp would look for in a Blacklisted player. The other guild will be called Karma. For friends and family who are looking for a more laid back approach to play the game at their own pace can join Karma.
Unfortunately, the leader of Karma, known ingame as Loli was not reachable for an interview but from past conversations I can tell she is excited about the game and is happy in leading the Karma guild through launch of Guild Wars 2. Loli is a seasoned MMORPG player who works closely with Swimchamp to keep both guilds running smoothly.
After taking an interest to this new approach to social structures in online games, I asked how this would affect PvP as a whole. I also took the chance to ask him how he felt about Guild Wars 2 after he played it through this beta weekend. “It is $%&^& AMAZING! A lot better than I thought it would be”, he exclaimed. He told me that the PvP was great and feels that any player no matter what level can be involved and be competitive.
After being bolstered to max level a player will be able to take part in the World vs. World battles, where three servers battle it out for domination over the others by ways of structures and a point system. “It’s not just about one battle, one keep or one day. These battles take place over two weeks where points tick off over time compared to the structures you can hold or keep up.
One guild can only claim one structure at a time”, Michael explained to me. He also explained how it takes strategy and coordination of groups to hold down certain structures. When asked how it would effect Blacklisted or the other competitive PvP guilds out there, he says that everybody is going to be working together. Karma members will definately be invited to World vs. World PvP events because Swim says "one guild cannot balance it all."
If hardcore PvP is not your thing and wish to take part in the other side of Guild Wars 2 and play versus the environment I have news for you: be ready for a challenge. I also had an opportunity to speak with SarCaStic, another founding member of Blacklisted Gaming Community.
SarCaStic says that the game is awesome and amazing except when he dies and 20 million mobs spawn on top of him or his teammates are being [Sic]. He is a seasoned gamer that started playing MMORPG’s before the dawn of Everquest. SarCaStic describes Guild Wars 2 as “Dark Age of Camelot meets Warhammer with amazing graphics with the difficulty of Everquest.”
Even though that there is no free-for-all loot in this game, Sarcastic says that “Guild Wars 2 is not for the weak hearted and be ready to die a million times. That PvP and PvE are both skill based and that ArenaNet has [finally] captured that old-school feel with new school graphics. This game is more geared for players who grew up in the DAOC and Everquest era. If I would compare it (Guild Wars 2) to any other game, I would say it can hold a candle to all versions of Everquest 1.”
It seems from his description that the developers at ArenaNet have been listening intently on what the MMORPG community have been asking for. Blacklisted Gaming Community is a progressive and competitive guild that is taking the new multi-guild mechanics and implementing them in an innovative way. Both guilds expect 100% loyalty to the guild because of guild reputation mechanics, but no one is pressured to conform to any one type of playstyle.
After speaking to numerous members of the community, I have heard nothing but positive feedback and accolades about Guild Wars 2 and the dual-guild system. Blacklisted and Guild Wars 2 are both products of generations of gamers and developers who are experienced enough to know what the public wants and what they do not. I am very excited to be part of both and cannot wait until the next open beta weekend. Until then...