My Guild, My Everything !

More than ten years ago, most of the games were delivering unique lonely gaming experiences. The different Heroic Fantasy RPG allowed young players to roam the whole country in the search of Glory and Treasures, using a virtual avatar, helped by fellows controlled by the computer.

These times are now engraved into the Past and for several years ago, when the first MMO came alive, the developpers had been willing to immerse all the players into virtual worlds where the social aspect could take off. So, you are not alone anymore in your game : your friends, your parents or some unknown guys can help you through virtual characters. The MMO phenomenon has revolutionized behaviours in real life and in the gaming world : we now play with or against humans, alone or in groups...

WAR-JoL

Mythic Entertainment has successfully elevated this part at a higher level when it launched the very famous « Dark Age of Camelot » MMORPG which has litterally made the community aspect explode by delivering the RvR concept (Realm versus Realm) : thousand of people had to collectively cooperate and to learn large realm team play in order to succeed in the realm goals.

Now, EA Mythic, who has learned a lot since DAoC, is willing to reinforce the social mouvement into Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, making a neat difference with its competitors, who have not the same vision whenever the guilds or communities are concerned.

Lifeless guilds are no more. A new era of time has come into the MMORPG : the Living Guilds !

EA Mythic is indeed striking hard and wants to develop the best community environment in its new game, allowing forced socialization and interactions between players.

How does a Guild work in WAR? What is a Living Guild and what does it bring to people? Using the Josh Drescher's presentation in the podcast, we will dissect the living guild concepts and so far, give (legitimate or not) interrogations which can impact both the players and their way of playing.

GUILD BASICS 

Guild Basics
 

Definition 

A Guild is a collection of players who are often grouped by affinities (same game conceptions, even playing time, real life friends, Hardcores, Casuals...) or by interests (I like the RvR, I love the PvE...).

Romeo Knight : It is a deliberate choice for the most part of time, but if you look closer, WAR would not leave real freedom to choose between playing solo or joining a guild.

Forming a Guild and Guild Community

Forming a Guild

It takes a combination of 6 players to create a guild. The party will visit the Capital city in order to consult a NPC and pay a tithe (as in any self-respecting MMO). Once the guild is validated and established, there will be possibilities :

  • to choose leaders (Guild Master, Officers),

Romeo Knight : if the GM is inactive for 30 days, then he is demoted as a simple member and the highest officer become the GM. This avoids the guild decay because of the lack of the GM.

  • to have a common chat window with other members,
  • to use loads of social tools in order to easily manage the guild (everything can be setup : social window, guild & member windows, agenda for events, rewards for most valiant members etc),

Romeo Knight : It has been stated that everything will facilitate the GM's life for the guild management. No more need to work at fulltime on it. Managing the guild at 80% part time and playing at 20% of your time, will be odds...

Q/A N°26 : « A robust set of tools for organizing members and guild leadership, as well as fully integrated messaging and automated news systems, makes it easy to keep tabs on your members. And the guild calendar makes it easy to organize events within your guild OR within your alliances. »

  • to form an Alliance with other guilds of players (the limit is 10 guilds at the same time, 10 GM, 50 officers and illimited number of members) and hopefully being able to get a common alliance chat (with permissions for officers / simple members),

Romeo Knight : Alliances represent the highest socialization tool. Indeed, for common actions at Realm level, the Guilds will have to work together and have an efficient RvR strategy in their WAR efforts. A Capital city seige cannot be improvised like that during a RvR Campain.

  • to manage the guild ressources by using tax incomes from members (at source : e.g. : whevener a member is killing a monster, it will drop money and if it is 100sc, 10sc will directly go to the guild). That would be parameterizable by the leaders.

Romeo Knight : Can a Guild impose a due to all its members without their explicit consent? What are the gains for the players? An active guild can begin to get expensive maintenance. Indeed, it must finance the seige weapons, possession of a Keep (guards, siege weapon, repairs?), Crafts, the shop guild ... Profits, if clearly explained and understood by all Members, should allow a reciprocal agreement on the subject. It is also a good way to pay for equipment to members via the bank guild.

Q/A N°26 : « While there is no fee associated with maintaining a guild, there may be other features that require a monetary investment from the Guild or members, such as dues/tithes, guild store purchases, and keep maintenance fees associated with a claimed keep. »

  • to select the guild strategy (RvR, PvE etc),

Romeo Knight : It seems that it can maybe impact crafting, guild tactics etc.

  • to launch votes on important topics which need to be deliberated by guild members...
  • to choose / create a guild Heraldry and being able to put it on Cloaks, Keeps and Banners.
  • to personnalize guild titles.

The guild interface has several options : the first one is a profile page allowing members to feel the guild atmosphere and keep track of several informations. Next is a « News » section which contains all events of the guild throughout member achievements. Here are some examples of guild interfaces (beware, these are drafts so design & graphics, and also content could change at release) :

Guild Ranks
Guild News 
Guild Profile 
Guild Roster
Event organization

Guild Rewards (From Q/A N°26)

« Guild rewards come in a variety of forms, some of which are: custom heraldry options, guild cloaks, guild-only transportation options, and merchants with unique crafting components. Banners and banner tactics, which are important elements of both the Guild and RvR systems, are also rewarded through guild ranks. »

THE REVOLUTIONARY LIVING GUILD CONCEPT

What the "frak" is this ?! ;-) The Guild is no more a place where members can talk together on the same chat channel. You have to throw a brand new eye at it... It is alive ! Now it is a living entity as it breathes and brings awesome gifts to its members.

Advancement 

Guild Advancement

It will evolve from Rank 1 to Rank 40 as a player would do at start. How ? It will get its own pool of experiences, apart from the ones from its member players. Each member's actions (Public Quests, Standard quests, unlocking of TOME of Knowledge, explorations, RvR...) in other words, everything that gathers XP or Reknown points.

Romeo Knight : Know this... Whenever you gain XP or RP, then you will not loose a part of it for the guild... At last, the guild leveling will not benefit the biggest ones because they will have to produce more and more XP/RP, than the guilds with less members.

Claiming Keeps 

Claiming & Bonus

Everybody can attack or defend a keep, however only Guilds can claim one. A guild banner must be used and planted on the floor if a guild wants to claim the castle and make it its own. The guild colors will at the end float in the wind. What you will get by claiming a keep is : gaining a Realm Bonus around the keep and the control of the territory which is necessary for the advancement of the RvR Campain.

Romeo Knight : Please read my other article (in French) about the RvR Campain from A to Z if you want to know more about it...

Guild banners 

Guild banners

There are 3 unique banners for the guilds. They can be personnalized with Trophies : that can be nice whenever you want to show everybody that your guild is awesome.

However, the Guild must gain new ranks before one of its members can become the "Standard Bearer" in the fields of battle. This player will not be able to use his personal abilities and tactics unless the banner is dropped.

At a higher guild rank, the bearer can plant it on the ground.

  • The banner will give a Morale Bonus for the ones who are next to it.
  • Afterwards, the guild can earn new special guild abilities which can be used with the banner : e.g. the Guild Speed, allowing people to move faster on the battlefields ; the conic AoE Knockback which can push the ennemy away...

Romeo Knight : there are some very good ideas here... For the speed, that is something asked by a lot of people (hope that they are now satisfied) and it can be a very awesome weapon, especially for the teams by example.

  • Some Guild tactics can also be gained and be useable like the ones for players : they can be put into the 3 available slots on the banner. Pre-defined sets of tactics can be prepared too.

Romeo Knight : In my humble opinion, that could be tactics providing more damages by example.

Please note that a banner can be planted on the ground and the ennemies can capture it. Moreover, if the standard bearer dies, then they can also pick it up. Now you clearly see the necessity of killing the bearer very fast : it allows to delete the bonuses and advantages provided by the banner, which could do the difference in a RvR combat.

Romeo Knight : The standard bearer should maybe be a very heavy class. A big badass tank ? This player could be sacrificed (in terms of game pleasure) because he could not fully play his character because of the interdiction of use of his abilities. Well, and when a banner is captured, is it lost forever? Can the guild capture it again or get another one? There are a lot of questions left without responses.

Morale Bonus Banner abilities Banner Tactics

CONCLUSION

The MMOs are evolving fast and also the wishes and expectations of the players. Nowadays, guild management cannot look like a pain in the ass anymore : the GMs will have a lot of new management tools in order to shape their guilds to what they imagine. WAR wants to elevate the Guild management to a higher level in the MMO world. A lot of GMs know how hard it is to manage a guild without proper tools, and so that's why Warhammer hopes to facilitate this task which was in the old times, very heavy and tiring.

About the gaming experience, the new features are represented by the dual entities (players / guilds) and can bring another way of playing : playing for yourself allowing to increase the Guild fonctionalities, becoming stronger than ever by gaining new abilities for serving the Realm.

At last, will the Hardcore Guilds unlock all the abilities, tactics and other advantages more faster than the Casual ones ? There is no response at this very hour but we hope that there will be a good balance in this system.

Are we all condamned to join a Guild ? WAR intends to point out this path : avoid lonely gaming experiences... What is a strong point, can become a forcefull obligation because nobody will enjoy the high-end game without being guilded (no bonus for a lonely player). The Guild will be the place to be : but it implies more constraints and less liberty of action. I'm not actually in a guild for WAR, but at the end, I will be obliged (because the game is builded like that) to join a guild or create one myself. I'm not persuaded that the game has to dictate my behaviour concerning my play-style (will of playing alone or in a guild) : it may represent an affront to our player freedom...

Credits

03/05/2008 - Article written by Romeo Knight, WAR-JOL staff.

Sources :

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