Factions and groups have played an important role in the history of the RPG. They've been a very solid factor in this genre of gaming even back in the days of Dungeons & Dragons, and they branched into the world of videos games with titles such as Final Fantasy and Breath of Fire. Now more or less a given in the RPG gaming world, these elements have been taken even further by MMORPGs. They go by many different names throughout the various titles in the MMO world, but this entity is known by World of Warcraft players as the "guild." In this article, I will explain some elements of the guild and why it is so important to WoW players.
As I've mentioned before and countless others will mention in MMORPG-related articles, MMOs are very social-oriented games. The chance to help one another and interact is laid out in front of everyone who enters the realm of World of Warcraft, and players normally find the game far more fulfilling and entertaining when they decide to work and communicate with other players. The option to create groups, or temporary teams, is normally the solution to temporary challenges such as a difficult quest or a dungeon, but the party normally disbands leaving the players doomed to repeat the same task of finding another group later. The ultimate solution to groups and a great way to meet other players that can be befriended is the guild.
Not entirely differing from the idea of a clan, a guild is a faction of players brought together by a common goal. This is an important aspect in the game especially due to the sheer number of players that guilds can hold. Four or five people in a group can be helpful, but try to think of hundreds of people brought together in a giant group. Try to think of twenty to thirty people online at once who may be willing to help fellow guild members - or "guildies" - achieve the goals that are currently out of reach.
I mentioned earlier that guilds normally unite players who share a common goal, and there are many goals that guilds can aspire to achieve. There are guilds for leveling, roleplaying, raiding, PvP, twinking (more on this subject later), and just about anything else that the imagination can dream up. Every type of guild has its uses, but the two most common that new players will hear about when visiting Stormwind or Ironforge are the leveling and raiding guilds.
A leveling guild, like the guild that I'm currently in, focuses on getting members to higher levels as quickly and efficiently as possible. These guilds tend to focus on heavy questing while dungeon running is popular but seen more as a way to become geared - or to obtain the best equipment for one's current level. Guildies will normally go out of their way to assist one another in questing or grinding certain mobs for materials in the name of profession leveling. Newer players, like I was not too long ago, will find this to be the least challenging and most rewarding type of guild to be a part of. There are always at least a dozen or so experienced players who are willing to help if the need arises.
More experienced players who are battle-hardened and know their characters will find sanctuary in the raiding guild. These guilds want to focus their time on quests and instances that require multiple groups and several players. The ultimate goal in doing this, aside from experience and a bit of pocket change, is to have the chance to pick up excellent or rare gear that will help the players become even better at what they do. These guilds probably won't put up with an inexperienced player's nonsense for very long, so I wouldn't suggest attempting to join one if your dedication lacks. The members of this type of guild are adamant about having a strategy for encounters with enemies, and they can use voice chat like Ventrillo to hammer out a strategy for the raid instead of charging in blindly. This type of guild requires skill, experience, and, as already mentioned, precise strategy to be successful.
The camaraderie doesn't end with raids and leveling - not by a long shot. Guilds are also able to purchase bank tabs and store gear and materials to help members along. Not only is this an act of kindness on behalf of the other guildies, but it's a great way to ensure that everyone is properly geared and have what they need to level, raid, or whatever is on the agenda list. This does leave the opportunity for dishonest members to stock up on goodies to sell and run off, but a well-run guild isn't going to fall victim to such tricks.
A lot of console gamers are used to looking out for only themselves, but games like World of Warcraft are designed specifically for players to join one another and get the greatest rewards for doing so. It honestly is hard for the console crowd to remember that another person is behind the character teaming with them, but they have to learn that MMOs are not the place to masquerade as Master Chief. I have decided to mention a few things that shouldn't be done when being a guildie to avoid potential issues.
Don't Beg for Gold
There is no cheat code to suddenly stock up on gold pieces, so it's going to take a bit of playing in order to rake in the money. Do not beg other guildies for money. They were in the same position at one point, and they worked hard to obtain the gold that they have. Follow their example, and earn every copper.
Don't Beg for Instance Runs
Instances certainly weren't designed for just one player, so they're going to be difficult. Don't beg higher level guildies for dungeon runs - meaning they kill everything while the lower guys stand back, do nothing, and reap the rewards. A better method to obtaining help would be to ask if anyone else needs to or would like to run the same instance. If no one bites, then look toward general chat in major cities like Stormwind to find groups.
Do Not Choose "Need" For All Drops
The looting system is different when it comes to groups in that uncommon items and up are divided by a need versus greed system. Players may choose "need" if it's an item that will help them or "greed" if it's something they want but don't necessarily have plans to use. All players are then split into categories, and a "dice roll" occurs if more than one player is in the "need" category - the same for "greed" if no one needs the item. Selecting "need" on every item even if it's not needed can potentially take away valuable items from a guildie or player who honestly needed them. This is considered one of the rudest things one can do when participating in an instance.
Do Not Stray from the Group
Again, I understand that console gamers are used to online games like Halo 3 or GTA IV where teaming is an "if I feel like it" option, but straying away from the group is a great way to die - not to mention it could screw the entire instance up. Straying away from a group can quickly pit a player against nearly half a dozen elite mobs who are ready to bash anything near them to dust. Unless dying and having to run across the map back to the instance sounds like fun, I'd suggest staying with the group and staying alive.
I think that newer players will find guilds to be a fun and helpful part of the game. I can understand any type of bias that they would have at first because I had the same opinion at first. I thought that I didn't need anybody's help; I was a great gamer, and I could do it all alone. All I ask is that you give it a try, dear reader.