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An Earthbound Perspective

Practical perspective on MMO play and practice.

Author: Dengar

Guilds: Family, Business, or Militia? Part 3: The Business Guild

Posted by Dengar Thursday August 11 2011 at 4:08PM
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Part 1

Part 2


Here we are at part 3 of our little discussion on guild models to follow. For those who are too lazy to check the previous discussions, the idea is simple: guild goals and activities come and go, but the structure is very often hard to change. A family guild will rarely see any explicit structure but can be more than capable of high end raiding, while a business guild that focuses purely on raiding may turn into a "friend guild" after the current content has been completed.

Today we'll be talking about the business guilds. As much as it pains me to say it, we'll be looking at what, to me, defines the business guild: Something Awful's very own Goon Squad (for those who click the last link, know that it's a long standing joke). The Goons hit many games, though their amount of time there varies. I've dealt with them (IRL and in game) throughout the years, but today, I'll mainly be drawing examples from their time in Darkfall before the NA-1 server was released.

Goons are the very definition of a business guild. If you google "Darkfall goons" you'll see several dead websites appear. Why? Because as previously mentioned, business guilds establish rules to give themselves some legitimacy, but as soon as people are no longer getting "paid" (in epics, fame, "luls" or tears), the guild starts to die out. Goons are able to rally great numbers, conquer content, but tend to burn out. A common joke (even among some of the leaders) is something like this:

         Question: How do you stop a 300 goon zerg?

        Answer: Slowly back away and watch them kill each other.

This is quite literal. Goons will take just about anyone they can find a use for. They'll get a job done, but when left to their own devices, the members tend to turn on each other. In Darkfall, once the largest "zerg" on the server was dealt with, the Goon leaders turned on each other. Members began to act as spies for alliances who were starting to take down the Goon nation. Others began to kill their guild mates and loot their bodies. The Goons lost many of their members and holdings, and a decent amount of their influence on the server after that. There were attempts to resurrect the guild at later dates, but by this point, many Goons were feeling "done" with Darkfall, so it was off to the next game.

More so than any other guild that still lasts under the same name (and sometimes leadership), the Goons embody the spirit of the business guild. This is the guild you join to see the game, but you often end up hating your guildies and what you've done to achieve your goals. Goons are especially fond of extended jokes, breaking the game, and griefing. They're a necessary evil that's often underestimated, partially due to their hard stance on propaganda (never believe a goon if they say they're serious ;P ). They're not for the feint of heart, or the humorless.

On a general level, the business guilds don't tend to last long. Goons have the Something Awful site to bind them together, but most other guilds that fit this mold simply go after loot, then quit, either from the boredom of being the top dog or because they can't make it. They are probably less common than the family guild, since they're slighter harder to build and keep up, but they're still common never the less. The top guilds in WoW tend to be business guilds simply because they are only about raiding. Tangible rewards, such as epics in a theme park guild, are what drives the creation of these guilds. Activity's low during non-raiding periods, then drastically pick up before new content approaches. Members come and go in order to fill in raid slots and achieve server firsts. In fighting is not uncommon, and there's rarely anything to keep the guild together once goals have been achieved. 

Next time, we'll discuss the militia guilds: groups of people with similar goals but a structure to give them long term stability... if done correctly. 

Part 4 writes:
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