Rant: Guild Functionality
This is a topic that is somewhat near and dear to my heart because I am the leader of a guild. In most MMO's we play, we see guilds playing a major role in our gaming experience. Guilds often tend to be the deciding factor of who we spend most of our time socializing with, and in many cases transcends to be more of a club, but a family of people who roam from game to game.
So with all of this in mind, is it too much to ask for a game to give us some real guild functionality? What is guild functionality? As a guild leader, when I take my guild into a new world and a new game, I expect there to be certain tools and features that cater to us. These tools and features which target guilds and guild management can very often be a legitimate feature to lure me into a game as much as graphics.
As a developer, it would be very wise to target people like me because I have the influence to sway upwards of 50-60 people in my case on whether or not we are going to purchase your product and subscribe. At the same time, I am not the type of person you don't want to drop a deuce on, because I can also influence the opposite direction and cost a developer those same 50-60 accounts.
What am I looking for?
First of all, I expect there to be a banner of some kind. A banner to distinguish us from any other crew of people. In a game with PvP, this is even more important to me. Our symbol is often times how our enemies will distinguish us from others, and it may be something related to the name of the guild. The problem with this is in a lot of games, the banner are absolutely retarded! I mean let's cut the crap here, what self-respecting PvP guild looks over the choices of symbols to burn their legacy into history, and decides that a god damn teddy bear, heart, acorn, flower, or bunny rabbit is the symbol to strike fear into the heart of the enemy. Furthermore, who in their right minds wants to join a guild that is going to slap a giant pink heart on your chest?! Unless your guild is called <The Carebears>, I think I would have to check my balls before accepting the invite. When so many of the banner options are horrible, we all end up picking the same 1 or 2 that are acceptable.
The second thing I expect to find is some form of housing. Now I know it can be a major pain in the ass for a developer to code in housing of some kind, but at the same time as a guild leader I like to have a place that I can call everyone together and to hang out during downtime without interruption from tile-hopping 12-year olds. DAOC had a pretty good housing layout. They had a side area you could go to, and search all the houses and even visit some of them. Inside the houses you could put in merchants, decorations, trophies, and other useful crafting tools and storage. EQ2 had a probably an even better housing layout. Real buildings right in the town you could zone into. I don't even mind if its instanced, as long as I can decide who can come and go, this is one area where Devs are allowed to cheat with instancing. Decorating the house with trophies and the like also gives guild members something to do and talk about. It is a form of content and amusement that probably gets overlooked in the design meeting.
The third thing that really makes a guild leader's life a lot easier the a really good guild interface. Back in the day, all we had was the same chatbox we typed in to try to set our ranks, see our ranks, see our members, and see who was online. FFXI gave us a little linkshell menu to see everyone who was online in our guild. WoW came along and totally redefined the tools a guild leader has at their disposal by adding a nice window where I can add notes and even sort the list by parameters, and see who hasn't been playing as much. EQ2 came along and took what WoW did, and took it miles and miles beyond anything I have ever seen. This UI has anything I could ever want in a game. Tabs upon Tabs of easily manageable data, I can make notes, name the ranks, set permissions for every rank, sort it, splice it, rename it, and my personal favorite the "Event Log". The event log was a window that tells me everything of interest that has happened in the guild. If I log on, I can check the tab and see what happened while I as gone. This is the guild user interface every MMO Dev should be looking at. Outstanding!
Finally, probably one of the most often overlooked and yet most important features I want.....the guild bank! This one really shocked me in WoW. WoW is such a gear and guild oriented game. A lot of the raids often time require the guild to stockpile certain supplies and quest items which are used to obtain epic armor. Yet every guild leader is forced to roll up an alt, and mule everything over. DAOC had a nice treasure box I could put in my guilds house and fill it with items. EQ2 had a separate storage at the bank in town with the same thing. Both games gave the ability to decide who gets to out in items, who can take them out, and who is even allowed to open the box and look inside to see if there is anything of use in there. This needs to be standard issue in every game. It is a major hassle and pain in the ass to have to not only mule items to another character, but to have to go back onto that character to tell people if there is anything of use in there. As long as gear and guilds are a major staple in MMOs, this needs to be there.
Remember Devs, guild leaders are probably the most important members of your target audience. Whenever a new game comes out, it is my job to take a look at it and decide if this MMO is even worth mentioning. If you win me over, I become a salesman for your product, one with the power to influence many other people. It's probably not a good idea to ban me from your game for having too much gold because you didn't have the foresight to add a guild bank! *cough* Vanguard *Cough*. If your making a PvP game, these things are even more so important as every PvP game will ultimately be guild oriented. Give us guild leaders what we want, and we will give you want you want.....subscribers!
Co-Leader of Inquisition