Guilds Need To Be About The Players

This topic comes up once a year and every year the problem grows: Guilds are too important.  I’ve been sitting on this topic for a month, and finally one of our readers said something that clicked for me.

We never used to lock ourselves away in our guilds and ignore everyone else.  Our guilds were our friends and family and the people we liked chatting with all day.  We were extremely careful who we picked to join our guilds, and considered joining a guild to be a serious commitment.  Nowadays people join and leave guilds all the time.  There’s no sense of commitment or duty.  Everyone outside your guild doesn’t matter.

Guilds have become a mechanic designed to be overcome in order to access more gameplay in a MMO.  They are too important to the actual game and less important to the people and ideals of a community.  Everything is designed around a guild: Raids, PvP, etc.  It’s all guild-based.  The group or the server community has been de-emphasized and this xenophobic and anti-social tendencies have risen to the top.  Now you can’t do much at all at max level without a dedicated guild, and one where the people subscribe to a supposed “hardcore” mentality.

I’m talking to a friend on ventrilo right now talking about how he was torn by the decision to leave past guilds because they weren’t progressing through content as fast as he wanted them to.  That’s a HUGE problem!  That means his guilds were about the game and not about the people.  Those guilds are stepping stones and the people are heads you step on to get ahead.

I have been trying to combat this trend for years now.  Six years ago I started the Keen and Graev Community in order to bring back that sense of playing games with the same group of people you want to be around.  We always hover around 40 active members spread across all sorts of games. We occasionally find one we stick with for a while, but our bouncing around is more indicative of the times we live in and less about us.  Bottom line, if you join us you join a community of like-minded people who join to play with the people and not to do something in a game.  That’s what a guild is all about.

Developers have to do their part, though.  We need end-game activities to emphasize servers coming together.  Gameplay in general needs to make the friends list valuable again.  Seriously, how many of you can honestly say you use your friends list today like you did 12+ years ago?  I remember my friends list in 1999 was a pad of paper full of names with descriptions.

I’m ready for social and community to once again matter more than loot and progress.  Perhaps impossible for a themepark, but I’ll take that challenge.

  • That’s why I always end up rolling on RP servers in MMOs, even if I’m not interested in RPing, there is always a much stronger sense of community among players outside of their guilds than on regular servers. I see all over the net these days players who are only concerned with what they can do at end game, what loot there will be and what PvP set ups there will be. That’s not what I really look at when I’m looking towards an MMO, I always look to the community it’s developing and what kind of players there’ll be and RP servers are always the best for that. I had so, so many great times in WoW where I wasn’t doing anything specific like raids, arenas, or battlegrounds but I was just socializing with other players and finding our own activities to do.

    I’ve had similar experiences throughout the years with SWTOR, FF14, Rift, and the WildStar beta where I ended up on the unofficial RP server. I play MMOs for the communities first, and the structured content second. Sometimes you just have to dig to find that these days, which really sucks, but RP servers really help me find those kind of similar players.

  • I couldn’t agree more.

    Back in the olden days, i used to know the leaders of almost every guild on my server as well as many players from them that had great and sometimes terrible reputations. Nowadays it’s tough to get to know everyone in your own guild with the ridiculous turnover rate of newer MMO’s.

    Interdependence is nonexistent so we lock ourselves away in our own guilds. Why would we not when we don’t need anyone else? That’s the problem.

    Lets not overlook the huge impact that instanced content has had on this. While i have no desire to go back to competing for loot with everyone on my server again, it has definitely killed any sort out of guild contact.

  • It may be true that you have to search for these things yourself now, but I dont agree that its gone.

    I pvp alot in ESO at the moment, and I know the leaders of the other big PVP guilds and I know some of the members, because we coordinate a lot with them. I allso know guilds from other PVP campaigns, because we are in an alliance where we help each other out. I allso know the best players of our enemy, and most of the people from my guild do, because we allways cheer when we take one of the top players down.

    So it might be true for PVE content, but I dont see this being true for PVP.

  • “Everything is designed around a guild: Raids, PvP, etc.”
    “I’m talking to a friend on ventrilo right now talking about how he was torn by the decision to leave past guilds because they weren’t progressing through content as fast as he wanted them to. That’s a HUGE problem!”

    What would be the opposite? From one hand, difficult content may result in a situation that your friend above had. From the other hand though, what MMO experience teached me, is that the above group content and progression system has been the reason of forging friends and communities.

    I am not going to join a guild just to chat with if I can progress my character without a guild. I have many real life friends I can chat with, even while I am playing in Skype, Teamspeak. There were many times that we play different games while we speak at teamspeak/ventrillo together.

    From the other hand I made many online “friends” and people I still chat with after many years, in various social platforms (facebook, teamspeak, e.t.c.) just because I was “forced” to join a guild to progress my character further.

    MMOs are not here to solve social problems but they may end up create friendships via “forced” grouping.

  • Keen, that’s coming across as a case of “I want mah prpl lewtz nao” more than anything else. No, I don’t want names 😛

  • Im going to disagree with you, Keen, about the majority of your article.

    Guilds have always been stepping stones. What actually changed over the years was the rate at which you experienced content. Things used to move slowly enough that relationships could be formed more strongly and actually impacted a persons decision in what community they belonged to. Now, there is no need to form any relationship other than what provides the phat lewts. Don’t kid yourself into thinking guild merges didn’t happen in older MMOs, and people getting left out based on their performance, all in the name of raiding. This wasn’t always the case, and there are always groups of people who stay together because of their guild members, but these people usually got left out of high end content.

    Most people don’t have only a single group that they associate with, in life. There could be family, friends, extended family and work, as basic groups. MMOs just need more than a single way to associate yourself across multiple groups (and some do, they just weren’t successful in other aspects). As it stands, most MMOs make you choose between relationships and progress, because it can’t be expected the same groups of people will be able to provide both (I could spend 24/7 with my family, but then I’d be broke (…and probably an alcoholic)).