ArenaNet has been pretty good about giving us details about their upcoming MMO, Guild Wars 2. So far, we've learned a lot about the game's races, classes (including the recently revealed Mesmer - WOOT), dynamic events, action-based combat, cinematic conversations, PvP, and more from developer blogs and hands-on previews. From what we've seen, I've made it no secret that my excitement for the Guild Wars sequel is reaching fanboy proportions, as I affectionately call the game "The Standard By Which All Other MMOs Should Be Compared," even though I haven't even played the game yet. Take that, objectivity!
My personal issues aside, one of the areas about which we haven't been privy to much information is that of guilds. The eponymous guilds played an important role in the original Guild Wars' social scene and player-versus-player matchups and tournaments, which makes it kind of funny that we haven't heard much about how they're going to work in GW2, given the game's title. We do know a few details that indicate guild membership will be account-wide, meaning that you can join multiple guilds, and you can earn Influence to buy upgrades and in-game boosts for your guilds and their keeps, for those guilds who can capture keeps in World vs. World vs. World PvP. There have also been suggestions along the line of guild achievements and calendars, along with increased connectivity by allowing guild chat participation through a web browser, confirmed in a developer interview with IncGamers but without any particulars forthcoming.
Keeping in mind that we don't actually know very much about how they will work in ArenaNet's sequel, here are 5 things we'd like to see for guilds in Guild Wars 2:
1. Easy-to-use Guild Finder and Matchmaking System
The original Guild Wars has a reasonably decent party search panel with an option for guild requests, but we'd like a fully-featured, in-game Guild Finder that allows guilds to post openings, play style and other information, and a place for would-be guildies to sign up for recruitment. People generally link up with guilds in a number of ways, from informal play sessions with like-minded pickup groups to more structured official recruitment forums, but a Guild Finder would be a great way to display what's available and streamline the process of finding the right group of players.
Along the same lines, it would be great to have a straightforward matchmaking system for guild-versus-guild PvP that would allow for matches and tournament's based on guilds' skill levels and experience. Of course, it's easy to expect that tournaments will undergo their own process of elimination and the more adept guilds will wind up facing each other anyway, but it might be nice for smaller, less experienced guilds to hone their skills against other similar groups before hitting the big leagues.
This is no doubt assuming that Guild Wars 2 will offer...
2. Guild vs. Guild PvP Modes
In a game called "Guild Wars 2," it might be elementary to suggest GvG PvP modes, but we've heard very little from ArenaNet about this aspect of player-versus-player combat, beyond the few details about world keeps. Will guild tournaments return to GW2 in the same fashion as in the first Guild Wars? We certainly hope so, as they provided and continue to be some of the most exciting skill-based group experiences in any game, MMO or otherwise.
It would also be neat to include the "Observe" feature from the original game, which allows you to view other live GvG matches in-game, for entertainment, brushing up on tactics, or studying your opponents' movements to get a leg up on an upcoming tournament. Come to think of it, you should be able to heckle your opponents or cheer on your guild as well!
3. Guild Perks and Accoutrements
I have to say, the first time I entered my guild's Hall in the original Guild Wars, I was stunned by the epicness and amount of detail provided by the private instance. Never mind that this particular guild didn't use the Guild Hall very much; it was still an awesome area to hang out in. We'd like to see Guild Halls in GW2 that have a convincing draw for guild members to congregate in, like earnable NPC vendors and buffers or trophy rooms to show off to visitors. We'd also like to have a greater degree of customization with Guild Halls, even to the point of challenging what a "Hall" is supposed to look like. If Dungeons and Dragons Online can have airships, why can't we?
Additionally, the little things that go along with identifying with one's guild can go a long way in promoting camaraderie and guild pride. The guild-specific capes and customizable emblems in Guild Wars are real eye-catchers and fun to create, and we'd love something similar in GW2, with personalized cloaks and maybe other items, like guild-specific mounts, weapons and armor.
4. Guild Connectivity
David North recently speculated about GW2's "Extended Experience" mobile app, which has a few interesting advantages, including chat, auction house functionality, information gathering, and character viewing. We'd like to know more about how the mobile app will encourage guild connectivity, beyond the ability to chat with your guildmates while they're in-dungeon and you're stuck at work. How much can you help them find an in-game item or location that they can't just alt-tab and uncover themselves?
As I see it, ArenaNet's making a great move with their ideas for increasing connectivity between players by introducing the mobile app, but they can take it further by making the Extended Experience your one-stop-shop for all things Guild Wars 2 outside of the game. Make the guild forums easily accessible from within the app, encourage helping in-game guildies by providing some XP or item benefits for doing so, and integrate Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking sites for those who are into sharing their achievements and screenshots with others. Additionally, if there's a cosmetic shop of some kind, allow players to use their phones and tablets to do the purchasing while pretending to work (if Bill asks, you didn't hear it from me).
5. Surprise Us
Believe me, as gamers, our demands tend to far outweigh the resources that most developers have at their command in designing an MMORPG. We can create list upon list of what we want and what has to absolutely be included, otherwise we're swearing off X game, at least until Y expansion comes out. Still, I have faith that ArenaNet is more than capable in developing a quality, triple-A MMORPG in Guild Wars 2 that can incorporate many, if not most of these requests and more.
What we'd really like to see is that certain something which sets GW2 guilds apart from their counterparts in other MMOs, in the same way that the game's combat, dynamic quests, and other systems seem to be on the path of doing. Will it be in the WvWvW PvP that we've only heard very little about so far? Or guild-versus-guild Snowball or Rollerbeetle Racing tournaments, like in the first game? Or, considering the versatility of GW2's classes, will it be something along the lines of class-based guilds, coalitions of Engineers and Thieves bent on WvWvW domination?
Whichever direction the devs decide to take with guilds, we'd like to see them do something that wows us in the same way that they have so far with the other aspects of the game. Whether it's a tangible feature or a general polish that further distinguishes GW2 from its competitors, I'm of the mind to trust ArenaNet to make guilds worthy of the game's title.
What would you like to see from guilds in Guild Wars 2? Let us know in the comments below!