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Guild Favoritism

Editorial By Frank Mignone on March 18, 2006

Garrett and Frank continue their weekly arguments

Frank Mignone: More and more often as I cruise forums for up and coming games I see people, having already formed a massive guild for a game that isn't even out yet, petitioning for special treatment for guilds. This usually is coupled with an implied 'we can all leave and not play your game' innuendo. They want Guild-only content, Guild-only housing, special ranks that yield special rewards. Isn't the advantage of a guild inherent to what it is a group of people working together on a common goal? Don't misunderstand me, I enjoy being in guilds, but I think this type of favoritism will take guilds down an ugly path.

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Look at World of Warcraft's high-end raids and end-game content (as it stands now). They've become almost guild exclusive, as it is very difficult for a solo player to find a spot in a group of people who will not basically ignore him or try to boss him around (we're many, you're one, be grateful we let you come and do what we say). I know people who've left guilds where they really liked the people just to join a l33t'ist full of people they can't stand. Why? So they can get into the raid content. Is that the best motivation for people to join guilds?

In Final Fantasy XI, I was in the best guild ever (called a linkshell there), called 'Pestilence'. We had so much fun it must have been illegal. You know what I mean, when you find yourself standing somewhere, not playing because you are laughing to hard. We formed a guild because we enjoyed each others company which made playing together even better! We certainly were not the most organized of people, as far as guild functions and parties. In a game like WoW, we probably would have eventually broken up as we started getting into higher levels with the higher content. This why I say guilds should not get anything that a solo player gets, other then the benefit of good company and people who will watch your back.

Garrett Fuller: There is nothing wrong with guilds in MMORPGs. They are designed to have friends and people work together throughout the course of the game. There are countless single player games on the market for people who enjoy that type of game play. Using guilds in MMORPGs create fun alliances with other players all across the world. Solo content is needed in MMOs, but group content should be the driving force of a Massive Multi-Player game.

I belong to a great guild in WoW and was part of a good one in DAOC who always worked and played together. Whether it was PvE or PvP playing with your guild mates is always fun. Even with DDO out now you need a well designed group to accomplish the dungeons. This was the basic concept behind RPGs to begin with. Therefore guilds are formed in order to give players access to these high-end dungeons. I have a very close friend who I have tried to convince to play WoW with us. He really only like’s solo-player games, so he sticks to them. I have to agree with that philosophy. In an MMO guilds are the way to go.

Frank Mignone: Gameplay should NEVER be beyond the casual player. Let’s face reality, how many of us can honestly say ‘yea my guild was cool, but I had to switch because we weren’t big enough/good enough/ hardcore enough/ (insert adjective here) enough for raids. Isn’t that almost like saying ‘Yea I had to ditch my real friends because they really weren’t helping me get ahead at work, now I only hang out with co-workers who fit this disclaimer.” Man, is that where we want games to be heading?

Look at EVE online. An anti-social can really do just about everything a guild (called corporations in EVE). There are some small exceptions such as Voting for your NPC faction’s leadership, but ultimately I can mine, build, research, etc just like any corp. is able to do. Now, can I do it as effectively as a corporation? Probably not, as there is an inherent advantage in working as a organized group, which should be the ONLY advantage a guild offers. Simply being ‘in’ a guild should not afford access to certain key aspects of the game that are otherwise off-limits to that player.

It is a fine line, between the game outright disallowing solo/unguilded player access and simply making content difficult so people who work with guilds have an easier time because of what a guild is, a large, organized group. In the case of WoW’s raid content, and other similar situations, where you technically ‘can’ participate as a solo player, but don’t really have a chance unless you get with a hardcore/elitist guild, that is circumstantial guild-only play in my opinion, and that sucks.

Garrett Fuller: The best part about MMORPGs is playing with a group and guilds foster this mindset. Developers write the games so guilds can do things together (raids etc.). I do think that players need to find out what the game offers before they consider the size and seriousness of their guild. WoW more than any other game calls for large guilds to be formed in order to complete some of the content. With the upcoming patch WoW will definitely cater to the smaller guilds. A step in the right direction to allow small guilds to grow and remain on par with some of the larger groups.

The main thing is that players form gaming groups for a reason. These groups go on to work as guilds all the time. The group of friends I play WoW with I also play D&D with and have continuous discussions about games. We are also open to working with other players to form raids, PvP groups etc. That is the nature of a good guild. It really all comes down to your players. Some people just can't help but be jerks. Those types of players make up part of the guild order in any game. I still think guilds are a great way to build community and organization in what could be a whole bunch of people playing a game together completely separate from one another.

Frank Mignone: Should games have difficult content that cannot be played alone…absolutely! Should it be such that a person who’s either in a small guild or in-between guilds has no real chance of getting into this content…Absolutely NOT. You should always consider the nature of any guild when you join and decide that it’s right for you, to be sure. But if you guildmates people suck, and you have to stay anyway because it’s the only place to be to get into the end-game content, that’s miserable gameplay.

You should stay in a guild because you like the people, and when you show up in the game, it’s like meeting a batch of friends at the pub (assuming anyone here still leaves the house to go out now and again). To encourage guild-centric gameplay basically encourages ‘business guilds’ (coin that), or guilds where the people are irrelevant, you are merely there to get the job done. Sorry, but I already have a job complete with annoying people and mundane tasks.

OK folks, what do you think? Do you see guild-only content as a bad idea, encouraging the creation of business guilds, and reducing the quality of the community experience in our MMORPGs? If you find yourself in a guild with people you hate but cannot leave because it’s the only way to get into whatever it is you like doing, you should really think about this.

Maybe you agree with Garrett, that guild content would further increase the function of guilds and make them more interesting, in that many guilds could organize there own events for their members, but do not. This would remove that burden and still allow for guild-centric gameplay. Either way, it’s time for your say, to the Forums!


You can join the argument here.

Frank Mignone / Currently Art Director with an Orlando Simulation Company using Cryengine 2. Graduated Valedictorian from Full Sail with a Degree in Computer Animation. Already did College for Aerospace Engineering...it''s more fun in video games..no one really gets hurt. Freelance writer on the side. Designed some ships for ''Pirates of the Burning Sea'' ...argh!

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