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WAR: Correspondent - Bringing Back "Guild Life"

Warhammer Online Correspondent Bao Huynh writes this article about the importance of guilds in MMOs and why he believes that WAR will return them to their former glory.

Since the beginning of the MMORPG and its popularity, games stemming from Ultima Online and succeeding titles have embedded guilds into their massive worlds. In some games, guilds were necessities, and other games it simply seemed like a paid-for space so you can advertise a silly tag name like "Orcs Gone Wild", and other awkward names one can conjure up.

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The recent trend in MMOs has not given guilds and their members anything to really shoot for. Loyalty between guild members was hard to come by simply because games like World of Warcraft have turned guilds into politicking around who gets the uber phat lewts. Star Wars Galaxies tried the Player Association and most of those were really formed so that the town mayor could shoot for metropolis status. EverQuest 2 tried the whole guild leveling thing and it worked to a certain degree. I can go on and on, but to cut right to the point, nowhere in my 10+ years of MMOing have I felt more of a bond and need for a guild than in Mythic Entertainment's Dark Age of Camelot.

The main reason for guilding was a purpose in fighting with rewards and benefits to your own faction. The time set aside that it took for a guild leader and its members to get ready for an RvR raid and organizing the alliances gave ultimate purpose to guilds and their cause.

If you take a look at the games out today, guilds have turned into a happy chat room where you could chat with your buddies. Heck, if I wanted that, I would just boot up the latest IM service and bingo! But no recent MMO has really given guilds true meaning beyond grouping with a bunch of friends to go raid and kill a PvE boss. In today's games there is lack of infrastructure, interface, and lack of rewards for members and leaders to really form and stay loyal to one organized guild. The systems put in place today allow for meaningless recruitment and that leads to meaningless guild hopping.

Now mind you, I do believe that there are uber guilds out there, but my point is that the games themselves do not offer real true rewards for guilding. There may be reasons why certain games don't offer in-game rewards for guilding, but that's for another article. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning [Insert Pic2.jpg here] has the potential to bring back that guilding goodness that we have been missing since the days of DAoC. Without really getting into the details of WAR's specific features in guilding, there are a few basic functions that will give die-hard Guild Leaders and their members something to salivate over.

I have four ideas about how WAR will bring guilds backs to their original form:

  1. Guild levels and the rewards that follow.
  2. In an RvR environment, alliances are needed which are stemmed from organized guilds.
  3. DAoC-type dye for armours brings back the "E-sport" mentality that team players look for.
  4. City sieges cannot be taken down by a bunch of solo players and pugs.

Those are just a few reasons why "the living guild system" will bring back true guild life. In the coming weeks, you will see the formation of guilds and also the transitioning of established guilds from other games preparing for WAR. Some guilds have been preparing months, if not years in advance for this game that they hope will give the proper attention to guilds and provide leaders, officers, and members the required tools to prepare for mass RvR.

To highlight one of the most important features of the living guild system, I would like to focus on guild levels. With the implementation of guild levels, the possibilities are endless for guilds in WAR. Yes, some other games have implemented levels and such, but there was lack of guild rewards and meaning to these levels. Some games (like LOTRO early on), used time as a reference when determining guild levels. This left newly established guilds looking forward, only to wish they could somehow turn the clock ahead to quickly catch up with some of the elder guilds that were formed during release. With the way that WAR has guild experience set up, it includes a mathematical equation per member on how much they can contribute depending upon variables such as guild size and how active those members are. One of the developers (I forgot who), said that there will be a "sweet spot" in which a guild would be most efficient in size and activity in determining how efficiently a guild can level.

Let's say that the sweet spot for guilds is around 50 members, with each member putting in around 3 hours a night with no inactives. That 50 member guild would get to cap at level 40 in a reasonable amount of time. You would think most guilds would eventually gravitate to that size. However, I'm sure there will be many 100+ member guilds with no inactives that just do not give a hoot what the sweet spot is since they have an uber guild and will reach that cap the fastest no matter what the sweet spot is. That could also work in reverse with some guilds hosting 30 members with 20 inactives and level slowly and not particularly care.

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