Going into the Guild Summit I wasn't really sure what to expect. I've been to a lot of gaming conventions before, including Blizzcon, so I guess I expected something similar... kind of. Quite simply, I thought it basically was going to be Bioware sharing with us, the guildmasters, why we need to stay in the game with our guilds.
That is important after all. Games seem to hit a downward spiral once guilds in the game start to leave. The GM quits, a few of his or her friends quit, then the guild slowly dies. So why not make a convention that basically tries to convince those very people to stay. Well, I will say that this was part of the summit. They definitely did their fair share of marketing of what's to come, but there was more than that. Basically I'd like to touch briefly on a few of those subjects.
Marketing of Patch 1.2
As the people at the summit and watching the livestream saw, Bioware has a ton of new content coming out the door in Patch 1.2. While there is content to be added for everyone, one area of the game it'll definitely affect is guilds. It is likely that, with the adding of a new flashpoint, new raid tier, and the pre-season of ranked PvP, the activity in many guilds is going to make a booming comeback.
That's not to say all guilds are dead, especially guilds coined as being "zergs", but there definitely has been a decrease in activity amongst a lot of players. A lot of people are just awaiting new content. I know I've seen that in my guild, though there are quite a few of us also rolling alts.
This portion of the summit definitely helped get across exactly what is to be expected, not only in the patch, but even some ideas and content they have for the future. The overall consensus I received from the guild leaders was basically excitement with a mild hint of skepticism. I say skepticism because, as one leader said, "It all sounds promising, but we'll see if they deliver."
Skepticism is definitely welcome in any game that is adding new content. A good portion of the "hardcore" players burned through the current content pretty quickly. While some were disappointed with the ease at which they had beaten it, others were simply bored and are waiting for something more. It's the "hardcore" crowd that likely will be the most skeptical and hard to please. These people also happen to be the some of the loudest voices on forums.
The more casual players were a little less skeptical and still just as excited.
Bioware definitely showed that, even before the summit, they'd been paying attention to feedback given to them by the players. There were a lot of changes, additions, and comments made in accordance to what had been reported or requested by many (including guild changes, redesigning Ilum, adding metals for objectives in warzones, etc).
Guild Leader Feedback
One thing I found myself getting frustrated with during the summit was the leader questions that were asked after each major presentation. There basically was no screening of the questions, so there were quite a few repeat questions, as well as many questions that were already answered during the presentation.
They made a constant note of how they were running behind, I feel that maybe if they had given a handout to people before the presentation started (of the Powerpoint shown), it would have given people more time to prepare for better questions and, perhaps, lessen the amount of repeats and already-answered questions. Not to mention a lot of people weren't paying attention half the time 'cause they were typing what was on the Powerpoint or, being old fashioned like me, and handwriting it out.
Another issue I found were the leaders that asked questions that only affected them and perhaps a few others that they knew of. While there weren't too many questions asked like these, I felt these questions to be unnecessary and, in a sense, selfish. As guild leaders, we were there to represent a general whole... whether that whole be our guild or different types of gamers found within the game. Many leaders often have players of every type in their guild, so I suppose I just expected questions that would be less concerned with themselves and more with everyone else.
For example, the leader who seemed upset that Bioware was encouraging people to reroll alts with the Legacy system. I guess this didn't really seem like an issue to me. As a guild leader, I definitely want my guildmates to reroll if they are bored or want to try something new and I trust them to uphold PvP and Raid schedules. My guild has developed that sort of bond and, in fact, a lot of us have rerolled alts together to level casually when we aren't playing our mains.
That being said, there were quite a few good ideas being thrown around. Some were so good that the developers wrote them down to make note of. In this way, it is good that the guild leaders can go in and give direct feedback to the developers. They can have their ideas heard in person and get a real response from the person with whom the question was directed at.
Not to mention Bioware gets a plethora of new ideas... free of charge.
Going to the guild banquet was quite exciting. A lot of people sat next to random strangers who they didn't really know and there was a Bioware employee seated at each table. As you can guess, the leaders got to badger the employees with questions and stories the rest of the evening. Free food, free booze, and nerdy talk is always a fun combination.
At my table was Gabe Amatangelo, so naturally there was A LOT of PvP talk, as well as some talk on raids and flashpoints. There were heated debates between the classes, who was OP and who wasn't, strategies used, map designs, etc. It really was a lot of fun and sometimes quite intense.
They did have a game going on in the background, basically a Star Wars trivia. While it was fun, it was extremely loud and often intrusive on any good conversation.
However, it didn't faze too many people because this was a chance where many leaders not only got to ask some unanswered questions, but also got to flex their skill and knowledge of the game. It was definitely quite enjoyable to hear what many had to say. I'm sure I am not the only person in the summit that met new people and even made new friends and I know I'm not the only person that would go back again next year, should I get the invite.