Guilds are a very standard feature of MMORPGs. They provide players with a way to organise themselves, choose which of the people that they meet online they want to play regularly with and, usually, the level at which they want to play the game; be it hardcore or casual. Mythic took a slightly different approach to guilds with Warhammer Online. Originally called regiments the idea was that your guild would act like a part of your realm’s army. Through Mythic’s alliance system, guilds could ally with each other to form an army. The whole system screams of militant organisation, which is very appropriate for a game based on warfare.
During WAR development, Mythic coined the term Living Guilds to help describe the system they were going to implement into the game. A main focus of WAR has been the marriage of casual play and hardcore play. Many of their features were designed to get the solo player into situations where they had to interact with the other players, without even realising it; this kind of thinking lead to the Open Group system and to the innovative Public Quest system. With their guild system, Mythic needed to overcome the stigma attached to joining a guild.
A lot of solo players view guilds as the boundary between casual gaming and hardcore gaming. You join a guild, then you need to join forums, then you need to join IM chat, then you need to download Vent, then you are playing 20-30 hours a week and the game is like a second job, i.e. there is an increased level of commitment.
Inside the game, Mythic implemented a calendar that would allow members of the guild to schedule and sign up for guild events. The guild leader can decide which of the ranks within his or her guild can schedule events and which ones can sign up for them. A second feature Mythic implemented are guild ranks, these are not like the ranks within the guild e.g. officer, member, etc but confusingly, they share the same name. They are, in fact, very similar to career ranks (aka levels) in the game in the sense that guild experience (not the exact same as character experience) goes up and then the guild gains a level and some benefits. Guild experience is actually based on a number contributing factors: The idea is that guild experience represents the guild’s celebrity amongst the denizens of The Old World. A Rank 1 guild is a nameless regiment in a colossal army but a rank 40 guild is Kelly’s Heroes or The A-Team. Obviously a guild is only as great as the sum of its parts so, the more famous (or should that be infamous?) the players in the guild, the more experience the guild gets. Anything that increases your infamy (experience points or renown points) in the old world will increase your guild experience; RvR, public quests, standard quests and tome unlocks will all help to increase the level of your guild. The theory behind guild ranks is that they give guild players a purpose at all times. Even if you are that antisocial, as a solo player who does not want to take part in guild events and does not want to play 20+ hours a week, even just by existing you are now contributing to guild rank, thus you have a purpose and motivation. You can see how much experience your guild has by hovering over the guild rank bar on the guild screen. You may notice that you have guild renown as well. It is worth noting that guild renown is different from guild experience. Guild renown is the sum of all the renown of the players in the guild and will go up or down depending on how many members you have and their renown rank. Your current guild renown is displayed in the lower right hand corner of the guild screen.
Mythic also implemented a system outside of the game to help you keep up with your guild and keep track of the war while you are at work, Starbucks or wherever. On Mythic’s website (www.warhammeronline.com), you can find the Realm War section (which is under the Realm War tab along the top of the site. If you are on an EU server head over to www.war-europe.com and look for the Realm War tab on the left). This allows you to search through profiles of all the characters and guilds on any given server as well as find out the state of the server, which zones are locked etc.
Joining a guild in WAR is easy. It works just like the invitation system used by every other MMO. To start your own guild is equally simple. First you must group with five other players for a total of six (the maximum party size in WAR). Make sure none of you are in a guild, if any of your party are guilded then you can form a guild. Once your group is organised you head over to the guild hall in your capital, be it the Viper Pit in The Inevitable City or Sigmar’s Hammer in Altdorf.
Outside will be the Guild Registrar, Guntram Schreivber in Altdorf and Astrid Ragnein in The Inevitable City.
The charge for forming a guild is fifty silver. Once you have paid you can choose a name for your guild, choose carefully because the system for renaming your guild has not yet been implemented (though, I believe, it is planned). Then you will be made guild master and your five fellows will become your first five guild members. If you want to make use of the living guild system you must have at least six guild members at all times, otherwise the guild will become stagnant and stop levelling up. If you have managed to successfully create your guild you will achieve guild rank one; the reward? A Guild, congratulations!