“Know what you truly need before you begin to ask for what you think you want.”
“Huh?” Confusion flashed across the face of the young warrior. “What kind of response is that?”
“It is the one that you needed to hear,” replied the older warrior.
“Look, buddy,” scowled the younger fighter, “all I said was that I was looking for a guild. I don’t need any deep mumbo-jumbo from some old guy that thinks he is being wise.”
“Before you can search for a guild, you need to search for yourself,” smiled the veteran, obviously now enjoying the verbal sparring.
The mouth of the younger warrior opened, lips flopped a bit, then the mouth slammed shut and he stormed off.
It happens every time a new MMO launches, or a gamer joins an MMO. One of the first thoughts that cross the mind – after stumbling through the initial quests, figuring out the controls and leveling schemes – is ‘maybe I should find a guild.’
And, to be fair, for the most part if players want to get the best out of an MMO experience, then they need others to hang with, to adventure with, to kill, maim and brutalize the wildlife and anything else that may get in the way en route to that feeling of being an ‘uber,’ upper-level player. Of course, that may be easier said than done.
Some games allow players to go one-stop shopping in the user interface through the list of guilds that are recruiting. Others allow guilds to broadcast recruiting messages in global chat. Typical messages usually go:
“Guild X is looking for players. We are a level-something guild, have 120 members and seek mature players interested in raiding. We are in need of mages and healers, level 40 and up.”
The opening salvo is broad-based, but then the specifics start to flow. But more than what a guild wants from players, what is more important is what the player wants from a guild. There are reasons, of course, to determine the quality of those who you will adventure with. All too often a player will join a guild that is either growing or big, with the intent of being a part of something big. But the guild is so large that fragmentation occurs and the player begins to spend more time with a particular group of players. They adventure together, form friendships and become a well-oiled fighting machine that knows how each plays and can acquit themselves quite well throughout the tougher zones of a game.
But then something happens that throws a monkey wrench into the machine. It could be anything from a perceived slight by the clan leadership, or a difference of opinion that escalates, or a personality clash, or even a full-on verbal battle that is fostered through misunderstanding but escalates to an irrational scale. The slighted player decides that he or she cannot be part of that clan anymore and leaves it. Player B, who may be a real-life friend or spouse, or has known the slighted player for more years than either would wish to count, follows, and that well-oiled machine has fallen apart. If it is a game that is PvP-centric, the clan leadership may put out a KOS (kill on sight) order on the players; and, of course, association is discouraged. That leaves the player who is the focal character in this discussion on a fence – either leave and become clan-less yet again, or try to find a new group within the clan to adventure with.
Then there are the clans that promise to do a lot for a player in terms of seeing that armament needs are met and actually the player gets lost in the shuffle because they don’t have that outgoing personality that is not afraid to remind leadership and others in the clan about what was promised.
Or, on the reverse side – from the clan leadership perspective – a new player joins the clan, and then leaves within hours with a “this clan is too small,” or “it’s not what I was looking for,” or any of a variety of other reasons.
So what do you do? Well, here are a few suggestions:
- Get into the game, see what it’s like, understand what your profession’s role is, and understand the fundamentals of the game.
- Then figure out what you want from a guild – whether it is in terms of crafted gear, a raiding guild, or just chat to make you feel less lonely when you are out in the world adventuring solo.
- When you start looking for a guild, ask questions. Speak to someone that has the answers and if the person you initially contact doesn’t know, ask to speak to someone that does. If the next person you chat with can’t answer your questions, then it might be a good idea to find another clan and start the process all over.
- Don’t be in a rush to find a clan. You are the valuable commodity, not the clan. Clans will change focus, some change leadership – the only constant is you and your role in any clan.
- And once you find a clan, then don’t be a silent bystander. The idea of being in a clan is to be part of the clan and that means chatting (if possible – either verbally or with text), offering suggestions for directions, helping others or even organizing groups for a quest.
The idea of a clan is a good one, but it is a loose association (for the most part) of players. To make it work, it has to have the involvement of each member.