The Daily Grind: Do MMORPGs still need traditional guilds?

In the game’s design docs and our interviews, Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs is positively adamant that multiguilding (that is, being able to join more than one guild at a time on the same character) is harmful and will not be possible in the game. Specifically, the doc argues that multi-guilding is “one of the things that has hurt the viability and attractiveness of guilds in modern MMORPGs” and that “multi-guilds have contributed to the decline of meaningful guilds in MMORPGs.”

My subsequent questions, you probably noticed, fought back against the idea that multiguilding is a problem. That’s because I’ve been a guild leader for a very long time, from hardcore to casual, and I’ve seen how strict and inflexible lines between guilds can actually cause massive rifts in communities and friendships, outstripping their potential for stickiness or society-building, and I’ve seen how blurring the lines, making the unit of play smaller teams or even larger factions or player cities, brings people together in ways structured, hierarchical guilds do not. Making people choose between my guild and somebody else’s was a friendship mistake, one I’d rather not be forced to make again.

But in retrospect, I think I was asking the wrong questions in that interview. I’m not concerned about multiguilding causing a decline in “viability and attractiveness of guilds” because I no longer care about the presumed sanctity of traditional MMO guilds in the first place. In fact, in the modern era, I don’t think traditional guilds serve the vast majority of gamers anymore. I am beginning to suspect we don’t actually need formal guilds. I care about guilds’ impact on MMOs, not about guilds. I care about friendships and communities, I care about the people in my core circle – not ephemeral, self-serving, studio-leverageable power structures. Let them decline, if that’s what gamers actually want, and let them be replaced by something that actually fits our lives, whether it’s with the dreaded multiguilding or CU’s own mini-guild-Warbands. Without the formal mechanics of guilds, similar would still form organically, as any day-one Ultima Online player can tell you – no mechanical intervention required, and the community went on just fine.

What do you think? Do MMORPGs still need traditional guilds? Do you also see a decline in guilds, and is it necessarily a bad thing? Are their replacements more suitable for your playstyle in 2017?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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63 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Do MMORPGs still need traditional guilds?"

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Rottenrotny

Yeah, I’m not a fan of multi-guilding.
Sure, it provides options, but at the cost of tight nit communities.
From a guild leader position it can be very difficult with all your members being in just one guild and much more so when your members are in multiple guilds. Who’s actually active in the guild? How do you organize events in such if a bunch of your members aren’t even paying attention?

Even in games like GW2 where you can have multi guilds I only stick with one.

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Frank White

Don’t think it matter so much with CU. As others have pointed out, in most MMO’s you want to be a member of more than one guild because of the different priorities of those guilds, which most commonly comes down to guilds with a pve emphasis and those with a pvp emphasis.Which is a big over-simplification, I know, but I just think that when the focus is on pvp/rvr/wvw it makes more sense for guild members to stick together, for logistical and tactical reasons, on top of friendship.

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athiev

I think it’s outstanding when developers are this explicit and honest. It helps make clear when a game is going to be a bad experience. From a business perspective, that’s probably a bad thing because it narrows the market and reduces sales. But it saves potential players money and the feeling of being burned.

On the main topic: traditional guilds can work really well. I’m in the world’s warmest guild (FC) in FFXIV! And that’s great. But given that the large majority of MMO players now bounce around all the time across games, characters, and playstyles, more flexible social systems are essential.

Solaris
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Solaris

For a PvP centric game, I’d say the answer is a definite Yes. For MMOs like Camelot and Crowfall, not having dedicated guilds makes the whole PvP premise somewhat worthless. I would say the same for upcoming PvE centric games like Pantheon. Having a guild that is active and works as a team makes a game so much more rewarding. When you can jump ship in a multi-guild game, the prestige just isn’t there. And in my opinion, nor is the dedication.

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starbuck1771

Loaded question! No and yes. It’s just like asking if we need social media, magazines, and websites in general, or dealing with game news. Do we really need it? No! But do we want to have it? Yes!

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Jeff

I think guilds were better when they were loose associations before the days of in game management. These days most guilds suck, and really don’t so that much that you can’t do on your own. Guilds should be a novelty not “You can’t sling a dead cat without hitting 9”

I have my groups of people I hang out with in ESO but we won’t form a guild, I do belong to a GW2 guild but there is more of a reason to in that game and it’s still just to take advantage of the perks more than OMG what a special group of people are we?

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John Kiser

I’d say it varies if there is reasons to actually be in a guild properly. Many guilds now serve no purpose other than social stuff (other than heirlooms in WoW it isn’t great for anything other than Social.) Archeage guilds served a purpose and they do in BDO as well.

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rafael12104

Hmm… well, I was the leader a guild for a few years. There was good, and bad, and yes, there was ugly. We went from casual, to progression, to both, and.. back to casual. Lol.

My take is a little different though than Bree’s I think. Yes, MMOs need traditional guilds.
Fundamentally, they provide a structure, for good and bad, that allows new players to socialize easily and get to know the game.

Oh, you can be social without a guild, but some players, many from my experience, just aren’t that open when they are new to the game. Why? Trolls. It is a sad fact, that when someone asks for help in gen chat, or is new in a dungeon or PvP area, they get treated like shit. And, this isn’t new, and it isn’t going away.

So, if you are new, and don’t have many friends in game, guilds serve a very important mechanical and social purpose. The trick, of course, is finding the right one for you. But, it’s not hard to do that.

I loved our guild. We were laid back, and enjoyed the game and the company. We branched out and added progression for those who wanted something more meaty but that didn’t compromise our core value of having fun and respecting each other. A few players were in other guilds too. It was no bother. We created an alt only guild. We welcomed new players and loved introducing them to raids, crafting, etc. Or, just encouraged them to hang out. We made alliances with other guilds to run content and share resources. It was a grand old time!

I don’t know, maybe we were lucky. Drama, and there was some, was kept to a minimum. Btw, people bring their own drama with them. Lol. Learned that. We never viewed being in our guild as a limitation on who you could socialize with whom or what you could do. We weren’t rivals with other guilds. We were not competitive in that way.

So do they serve a purpose? Sure they do. Are they a method to exclude and be, ironically, antisocial? Yes. But it’s like anything else, they are a great tool if used as intended and wisely. The good out weighs the bad though, and I have life long friends because or our guild. I wouldn’t trade that for all the devs in China.

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Serrenity

Well, it depends. Traditional guilds were little more than a tag and a common chat. Then we started to staple on things based on guild level (like all the heirlooms that are tied to Guilds in WoW … because why not?). Do we need guilds that are just a tag and a common chat? *Shrug* it’s not hurting anything, but I think in today’s world that closest thing you’d find to that is a Linkshell in FFXIV. Just a group chat, nothing more.

I don’t think MMOs need guilds that have content/skills/QoL improvements locked behind a guild. Because really, what’s the point of that? To ‘inspire’ people to join guilds, when in reality the people who want to join guilds … already are. The people who don’t want to and are being ‘inspired’ are really just FOMO-ing it up. Or in WoW’s case, you lock rewards behind rep grinds because … people are just generally jerks and will join for the perks put in place to get them to join and then immediately drop after they get said perks.

I don’t think we need any of that nonsense.

What I think guilds need is meaningful interaction internally and externally. Build gameplay around guilds that doesn’t immediately involve running a dungeon, or a raid, or PvP. Give people social reasons to join a guild. Give guilds a space to be together and let them actually be there, instead of giving them this space then giving a million and five reasons to NOT be there.

It just blows my mind that these games are about being around other people (note: very specific wording there), but we give remarkably few reasons to be around other people when we aren’t stabbing them. I think what we need are guilds that are more. That give social reasons to join, give guild features that are FUN, not required.

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Bryan Gregory

I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to guilds. On one hand, the guilds I’m in generally make the game I’m playing way more enjoyable. It’s nice to be a part of a group of people who don’t annoy you, aren’t immature, and are skilled people you can rely on. On the other hand, when I’m not in a guild, it feels like most people don’t want to group with players outside of their guild, and I think that’s silly and detrimental. I even hate being in a guild that does that. It’s like, well, we’ve almost got a full group, just missing 1 person, but can’t find anyone in guild, guess we’ll disband. Dumb. I like to play with everyone and meet new people. I mean one of those new people could potentially become a new guildie couldn’t they?

It’s actually funny you bring up the guild discussion, because I’ve recently returned to the Everquest Phinigel server and it’s something I was thinking about lately, after coming back to a server where the low end game is practically non-existent and wanting to start a new character. Shouting for groups while watching people in guilds only play amongst themselves and power level one another. It made me ponder what the game would be like if guilds didn’t exist.

I think it’s pretty disturbing the way people treat their guildies opposed to the way they treat a stranger. You should treat everyone as if they are your guildie. Treat no one as a stranger.

But finding a guild is also a chore, particularly one that you enjoy and feel comfortable with. You sort of have to window shop, like a dating app, read a bio where they try to ‘sell’ themselves to you, and then you have to go and file an application where you too try to ‘sell’ yourself to them. Honestly I think guild ‘loyalty’ is far worse today than it ever was. I don’t feel like people were so adamant to ONLY play with their guildmates back in the day. But I also don’t think it’s ‘loyalty,’ I think it’s just a form of anti-social behavior.

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Fervor Bliss

The only problem with Guiols, Is limiting your ability to be social, by letting you only to join one.

Using them to pit players against other, is not great but I would not call it a problem.

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Arktouros

It’s incredibly difficult to lead a guild in a game where people can swap groups a moments notice. Games like ESO if you tell people they have to represent your guild 90% of the time often times that leaves to members leaving or not joining in the first place. It becomes a necessary evil you’ll have to accept by game design.

Why an evil? Guild leaders are already volunteer positions that are thankless extra jobs. You gotta organize events. Handle recruitment. Babysit members (because it’s inevitable if you get 2+ people together they will disagree at some point). Multi-guild systems put an immense amount of pressure on a Guild’s leadership to perform all these and more at an extremely high competency level which, again, is entirely a volunteer effort. Except now you’re actively competing against not only people joining your guild over other guilds, but for the attention of your members who can just hit a toggle switch and be in a different guild.

From a member level, however, it’s a delight. It’s a buffet of guilds at your disposal. What do you care what it does to guild leadership? It’s just about having fun, so do whatever you want!

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Schmidt.Capela

Games like ESO if you tell people they have to represent your guild 90% of the time often times that leaves to members leaving or not joining in the first place.

Why should I even put up with someone that bossy in the first place? If the guild leader thinks I’m there only for his guild, I say good riddance.

And that goes for single-guild games too. I’ll happily donate my time and help whichever guild I’m in to the best of my ability, as long as no one demands it; the moment the GM decides to demand anything from me, though — including mandatory attendance to guild events — I will put him on ignore and leave the guild. I’m not being paid to put up with that crap.

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Sally Bowls

I was going to propose a topic to Bree: “what is your biggest design worry for CU?” (not things that for my tastes I wish were different) MOP – and relatively even I – are/have been complementary so it is not the usual MMO bashing. I was proposing “Fixed realms” Whether you have 10K or 10M play on launch week, every MMO has cyclical declines. (For the next two years, there will be fewer people playing GW2 than now.)

My thesis is that, consciously or unconsciously, CU is making decisions that make the first three months better and make year 2 worse.

(TFW you remember your lifetime sub.)

Having a single guild to focus your efforts will be a positive for you and the game during the giddy times of the launch month. There will not have been time for guilds to fall apart due to gaining/losing jobs, new schedules, births, deaths, divorces, inappropriate messages and pictures sent, … There is enough moving on in real life for me to be motivated to pay money to log in and think wistfully and sadly of what used to be. When a long-term raid team fell apart, I was more likely to find another game than raid team.

So IMO (but you’d be daft to choose my opinion over MJ) a lot of the CU design decisions are historical best practices that are theoretically better and will be better for the first few months but will be a liability in the longer term; there is a reason MMO best practices evolved. So I don’t see single guild as inherently bad. If everyone were playing your ReadySetOne MMO, then it would be a good thing. But in a world where games and commitment to your MMO vary, I see things like mono-guilds, fixed realms, no AH as being anachronisms designed to enhance the launch at the expense of the long-term game. “You Can’t Go Home Again” – I question whether with all the competitors from MMOs to LoL, OW, PUBG that “thou shall have exactly one guild forsaking all others” works as well as it used to.

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nobleeinherjar

With a lot of MMOs today allowing you to create custom channels, I don’t necessarily see limiting players to one guild as a bad thing in terms of mechanics. Things like custom channels/linkshells can be for socializing and specific interests (RPing, raiding, etc), while guilds can focus on common goals like getting a nice guild house like in EQ2, or PvPing and taking over territory in other MMOs.

But then again, Guild Wars 2 lets you multi-guild (though I can’t remember if you can talk to more than one guild at a time), and in some ways calling it a guild or a custom channel comes down to semantics.

I could see allowing players to belong to more than one guild being a conflict of interest in more PvP-centric MMOs. Though if people really wanna cheat, that alone isn’t much of a deterrent.

But I’m for whatever gives more options to players, which means I support multi-guilding. Players that want to devote themselves to a single guild can still do that in a game that supports multi-guilding.

Xijit
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Xijit

Uhm …. Wtf is he talking about? What games let you multi-guild?

I have heard of exactly one title & that is still in development.

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Vunak

Wildstar with its circles. FFXI. ESO. GW2. FFXIV If you count the linkshells.

And I disagree with Bree. I think allowing players in multiple guilds can cause it’s own issues. I think loyalty to a guild creates a more enjoyable environment than a bunch of people hopping around.

Xijit
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Xijit

Well, unless any of those games REQUIRE players to be part of mutiple guilds … I still fail to see the problem.

Forced Loyalty is a bit of an oxymoron: how “Loyal” are people really being if their only choices are ” you can either stay or go, and btw: you will have to be part of a major guild if you want access to any end game activity.”

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Schmidt.Capela

GW2 and ESO, for starters.

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Schmidt.Capela

I suspect I’m the kind of player that is helping cause the “decline of meaningful guilds in MMORPGs”.

You see, I not only won’t ever commit to a single guild, I immediately leave any guild that asks for my commitment. I’m playing a game to have fun, not to be bossed around, so anyone that tries to dictate how I play immediately gets added to my ignore list, and if that someone is an officer or GM of my current guild I will immediately /gquit.

This goes further, BTW. I’ll typically help others (including whichever guild I’m part of) to the best of my ability, as long as such help is never demanded, but if I feel like the person or guild is starting to rely on me I will scale down the help or even cut it off completely; I don’t want any ties that would make me feel bad for leaving a game temporarily or permanently, and feeling like I left down someone who relies on me would have that effect. The last time I let this kind of tie keep me in a game I burned out so badly I’m still not over it, despite it having happened over half a decade ago.

End result, I doubt I will ever again join a guild that Mark deems “meaningful”; in a game without multi-guilding I will only ever join casual guilds that are based on friendship rather than in-game activities, and even with multi-guilding allowing me to join specific purpose guilds without leaving just-for-fun guilds I’m unlikely to ever again join a guild where there is a clear hierarchy or higher organization.

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Paragon Lost

The multi-player online rpgs that I’ve played over the past quarter century have always been better when dedication to a guild/house/kin mattered. When they also were a lot more, offered a lot more, socially, mechanically etc. I’ve always been against the concept of being a member of multiple anything in an mmorpg. It waters down the whole thing.

As an aside I’ve not joined a guild in the last few years because they mean nothing, offering nothing and most of the time end up causing a lot of strife, frustration and headaches. Even if I avoid the issues, which I do tend to. I just end up guild quitting quietly when no one is paying attention because I don’t want to listen to it. It’s a sum loss by and large. It might be different if they meant something and players had to put effort into them. At least that’s how it once felt to me, your experiences may differ.

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Utakata

…I like the two guilds I lead where I am the only member. It has no drama. And makes for great extra inventory space! <3

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Jack Pipsam

When it comes to guilds I am rather casual, so I would take multiguilding as a nice option.

taradyne
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taradyne

I like having options from a convenience perspective. But toss any kind of player PvP into the mix and multiguilding is an issue, mostly because split loyalties cause more harm than good. Now if the entire premise of the game is PvP, then multiguilding could add whole new levels of intrigue and (intended) drama. But otherwise, I’d agree that multiguilding is a problem.

I don’t think the traditional guild setup is going anywhere but player needs have changed so guilds have as well. Years ago I read an article by a WoW guild leader, and he said that casuals were the glue that bound his guild together – not the raiders who got all the credit. I found this to be true and the longest lasting, healthiest guilds in any game seem to be the ones who have included casuals in the mix.

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Pandalulz

I think guilds as they exist most of the time are unnecessary. Linkshells, Circles, EVE’s custom chat channels and something like BNet’s or PSN’s quick join friend system work better. The problem with something like GW2’s multi-guild system is that you can still only represent one at a time, creating conflict and drama where it didn’t need to be.

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Chris Brown-DeMoreno

I’m in between.

For a game like FFXIV, I don’t think guilds are necessary. There are no true competitive elements in the game that make guilds meaningful especially when you still have Linkshells and Friends lists to gather like-minded people in. The structure of guilds in that particular game serves no real purpose.

For a game like BDO I do feel like it’s necessary. The mechanics of the game require large groups of people to participate in and capture nodes. It makes sense for some sort of a structure to govern those points.

For a game like Conan Exiles I’m more in between. The core idea of the game invited the idea of grouping with people, in however small a group, to build and survive. The structure of a guild make sense at times. At the same time, the gameplay mechanics are not particularly inviting for any one player to want to be a part of a guild. This is because there is a huge time and effort investment involved in the gathering, crafting, and building systems. Anything you build is yours until you join a guild. Then it belongs to the guild. Should you ever leave, you leave ALL of that behind as it still belongs to the guild. In this case, I don’t feel like it’s necessary or desirable to be a part of a guild. You might instead want to group with players while not making that sort of commitment, something that is not currently possible.

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CthulhuDawg

I actually don’t join guilds in games outside of my mains anymore, or if I do it’s an extremely casual guild with a low member count. I don’t like being required to be on voip, and if a guild has that requirement guild chat is dead. Hell even in guilds that don’t require voip guild chat is usually dead and everyone is on discord. I just prefer to type for the most part, tough raid or a guild function sure let’s all get on voice but every hour of my playtime? I’m ranting, /endrant. Also side games I usually play in bursts so telling someone you’ll main tank for them then only two weeks later to bail is just a dick move I’m not willing to pull off.

The guilds I’m in, in EQ/2 are both former raiding guilds where we have all been playing 12+ years and have now moved past being hardcore. There is only like 10 of us who login regularly, but another 10 or so we see every now again and it’s fine if they’re idle for 3 months or 3 years. We chit chat, help level alts and are generally just there for each other in game. Since we are all dinosaurs we can play the game on our heads blindfolded eating a sandwich but sometimes you just want a leveling buddy, or need a healer with a meatbrain.

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Oleg Chebeneev

>What do you think?

Honestly? I think you propose to remove whats been succesfully working in MMORPG for ages without giving a real alternative. “Lets scrap guilds and only leave mini guilds. And to hell all those who prefer to be a part of big guild. Or even better idea! Lets scrap guilds and bring something other instead. But I dont what exactly”

Guilds are hugely important as a way to connect strangers into friendly group and to serve as a way to communicate between them. Maybe when MMOs evolve into something totally different there wont be a need in them. But in classic MMOs Id love to see someone try to remove guilds altogether. Just to chuckle at how fast this experiment ends as a failure.

ps/ what is multiple guilds system? I dont remember an MMO where you can join several guilds at once on one character.

pss/ reading your old article i guess multiguild means player ranking system in guild? Article has some valid points I agree with, but in some games like EVE Online roles system in guild is important for corporations and alliances work efficiently. So at least in some MMOs ranking is required, in other MMOs – to much lesser degree if any

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Pandalulz

GW2 and ESO you can join multiple guilds.

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Oleg Chebeneev

If youre in 2 guilds, do you choose which one is shown under character name? And is there a limit of how many guilds you can be in?

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Pandalulz

I haven’t done it in ESO so not sure how it works there, but you “represent” in GW2 which picks the guild name and only that guild gets reputation gains as well. Used to be that you could only talk to one guild at a time but the comments here say they changed that.

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Oleg Chebeneev

I dont see a point of multiguilds. Its just ruins the purpose of guilds. ALthough not surprising they are in GW2 and ESO where guilds are pretty much worthless

hurbster
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hurbster

Hey, I’m in a couple of GREAT guilds in ESO. And guilds are only worthless if you decide they are.

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Bryan Turner

Depends on the game, if you’re going to have large group oriented activities like Raids and PVP Squads for battlegrounds then yes there absolutely is a need and a place for Guilds.

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Schmidt.Capela

Why, exactly?

I look at guilds as a group of players I like hanging with. That is very different from a raid group, or a PvP team, or anything where you invite or discard people based on their performance, friendship be damned.

There are other possible ways of assembling this kind of team. WoW itself has had, for a long time, the concept of an Arena Team, which can be assembled from characters that belong to different guilds. Using guilds as the basis for raids or PvP groups is like trying to hammer a square peg in a round hole.

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TheDonDude

The guild system in MMO’s kick ass. There’s probably no bigger question about whether I play a game long term than “am I in a good guild?”

I don’t understand the dislike of the guild system. Guilds simply make tracking and organizing your friends easier, which is always welcome.

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Schmidt.Capela

Not when you can only belong to one guild. How do you go about choosing between a guild with people you like to hang with and a guild that is doing the kind of content you want to engage with? With guild systems that lock players to just one guild that kind of bad choice, where either way you are turning your back to something you want to experience, crops about all the time.

BTW, guild systems with actual rewards for being in a guild are very bad for the guilds themselves. Yeah, you get far more candidates for guilds, but most of those don’t care at all about other guild members or guild activities, they are there just for the rewards. It’s why WoW removed guild perks after a while, they caused more harm than good.

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Loopy

I generally don’t like “committing” to a single guild. The reasoning behind this is that i play a LOT of games at any given time, and this means that depending on my mood i may dedicate more time to one game on a weekly basis while switching to another game the next week. This usually results in me not being able to really remain active in any given guild, since i’m simply not consistently present in that world.

Sure, Discord and other third party platforms may bridge that gap, but if i’m playing game A and everyone on Discord is talking about game B, the disconnect simply creeps in. And i don’t think it’s fair for me to try and switch topics when the conversation is clearly geared towards the game of choice for the guild.

So with all that being said, i love the idea of multiguilding. ESO does a great job of allowing you to join guilds that have a focus – one may be for socializing, one may be for PVE content, one is for trading and others may have different purposes. This is akin to a traditional meaning behind a “guild” – a group of people serving a specific cause.

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Rick Mills

World or Warcraft is an example of a game that supports old-style guilds while also offering social networks (battle.net). I have transitioned from a strong guild supporter (you leave, you’re dead to me) to someone who looks to battle.net to form dungeon groups and whose chat is primarily battle.net.
To be a strong game you have to support the trend while still keeping up with the ancient.

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thalendor

I think MMOs should have (I wouldn’t go so far as to say “needs”) some sort of persistent in game mechanism that facilitates organization and communication of groups of players. What we call these and whether these have all the bells and whistles associated with guilds in various games is less important. To the extent that people join more than one guild or guilds accept members that want to be in additional guilds, I think that’s best left up to the individual and guild leadership, respectively. But I also think that guild functionality is best kept simple as to keep it based around organization and communication and not adding some systems of power-increasing perks that tends to encourage larger guilds or pressures members into doing more activities for the guild than they otherwise want — I think that just encourages toxic behavior.

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Tandor

I haven’t been in a guild for years, no longer having any interest in subjecting myself to all the drama queens and real-life cliques that made some of the guilds I used to be in “back in the day” such an unpleasant experience. Also,it was clear some years ago that voice chat was becoming essential for guild membership and I’ve never had any interest in participating in that as so much of it is off-topic and immersion-breaking.

So it doesn’t really bother me whether guilds remain in MMORPGs and if so whether they adapt to a different style, but it does seem to me from reading the ESO forums that there’s a pretty common view there that multi-guilding (you can join up to 5 guilds in that game) totally destroys the sense of loyalty and commitment that belonging to a single guild used to provide, especially when most guilds in that game are run for trading purposes only.

I think in any event that the whole idea of socialising in MMORPGs is gradually falling out of fashion with a maturing playerbase having other priorities in life including focusing their social life away from the computer. I certainly find as I advance through my late 60s that I have less inclination to get formally involved with other players although I remain perfectly happy to play cooperatively with them without formal grouping or guilding.

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Stropp

I don’t know that socialising is as much falling out of fashion, as it is been engineered out of games for convenience.

It used to be that in order to do anything, you’d have to meet up and talk with other players. Now to do a dungeon you use a dungeon finder and get ported straight in, and when you’re there everybody just wants to do it as fast as possible with no chat.

Trading used to involve communication. Now you just plonk something on an auction house.

Slow travel meant that you met people on the way or while waiting for the boat. Now it’s teleport and run.

All these convenience things are ‘nice’ for sure. They make life easier. Especially for time challenged older players. But they’ve also damaged the social aspects of MMO games.

Of course the solution is… well, you tell me. We want the convenience, but we also want the social interaction. Can we have both?

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Schmidt.Capela

That social interaction of old was forced. While I often like social interaction, I would rather have none of it than ever be forced to interact.

Though I’m somewhat biased. Manually assembling groups? I did it once or twice, and decided that I never again want to go through that frustrating experience (to the point I played more dungeons in the week after LFD was added than in all the previous years since WoW launched). Trading face-to-face? I would rather learn to craft whatever I need, because I already dislike the experience of bricks-and-mortar shopping in the real world, and don’t want to play through a video-game rendition of it. Forced downtime or slow travel? Whenever that happens I’ll be reading a book, playing something on a portable console, or otherwise being engaged with something outside the game until I get to the action again.

In short, those old ways of forcing people to socialize never worked for me. They just made the game unambiguously worse, providing irritation without a single upside. And removing them actually drove me to socialize much more, as LFD systems mean I spend far more time around other players (and have far more chances to socialize), and other quality-of-life improvements mean I waste less time with the boring drudgery that drives my focus out of the game and can spend more time with the engaging part where I have a chance to meet other players in-game.

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CMDR Crow

It is only “forced” because you didn’t want to do it. Earlier MMOs were predicated on the idea that people desired to play with other people. And funnily enough, people did want to interact with others.

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Tandor

No, it was “forced” because there was no other way of playing the game. In EQ, for example, you had no option but to converse a lot with your group because meditation was required in order to refresh your mana (and health, depending on healers). It took time for you to run with friends from one end of the world to the other, and doing it alone could be precarious – however, there wasn’t a quicker way of doing it. It meant that in earlier MMOs people stopped to smell the roses, and that meant reading the text, as well as chatting together. There was no penalty to doing so.

Once the faster regen rates and the instant travel options came along players realised they didn’t need to hang about and converse with other players, and so they stopped doing so. They started rushing through dungeons, stopped smelling the roses, and stopped reading the text. Those who preferred to take their time over those things soon found they were kicked from the group for holding the others up – now there was a penalty to doing so!

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Schmidt.Capela

Once the faster regen rates and the instant travel options came along players realised they didn’t need to hang about and converse with other players, and so they stopped doing so.

Yep, that is what you get when you try to force players to do something. They will look for any way to avoid doing whatever they were forced into, and stop doing it as soon as they are able to.

If you want socializing, you need to make players legitimately want to socialize, and make socializing something easy to do.

Reminds me of Blizzard and the “Have Group, Will Travel” guild power (players in a guild with that unlocked could summon a whole party or raid once every two hours). When I stopped playing during Cataclysm (and, thus, after dungeons were no longer fun for me, thanks to them being atrociously frustrating with a PUG), one of my main sources of socializing was helping people out in the game world; someone would ask for help, I would volunteer, whoever asked for help would summon everyone that was going to help, and we would have a jolly good time playing together and socializing without having to waste time travelling. When I went to try WoW during MoP, though, that power was gone, which means I wouldn’t answer people asking for help unless they were standing right beside me; I’m nearly always willing to help, but only if I don’t have to waste time waiting or with travel, and thus people not being able to waiver my travel time anymore meant I wasn’t grouping and socializing with them anymore (and, incidentally, I left MoP a mere week after I started back, mostly due to hating its dailies, and never returned).

plasmajohn
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plasmajohn

This so much it hurts.

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CMDR Crow

I agree with Bree’s older article immensely. It is the bloat and latched-on progression mechanics that have harmed guilds and created social/communal outcomes that have nothing to do with social and/or communal functions.

That said, I can understand the desire to move against the “open guilding” trend. Especially in a game that will have PvP. As is so clear, limitations do not stop communities and groups from being formed. The issue is that QoL pops up and people start demanding more and more automation and function. They want benefits and more and more QoL until what actually happens is that games are stripped down completely into a series of quid-pro-quo, mechanical activities that cut out all the of elements of play that reside closer to the “roleplaying” side of RPG than the “game” side.

threeknee
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threeknee

I think games need them less and less as they remove the accessibility obstacles for solo players. Guilds transitioned from being necessary for you to do much to being more about the social aspect, and multi guilding is the first step in that evolution, but I think it should go further and games should probably try to be more like social networks and possibly stop using the term “guild” altogether.

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Eliandal

. . . and for those of us (and oddly, this number appears to be actually growing) who have decided to eschew ‘social networks’? What is our solution?

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Shiro Madoushi

It’s somewhat insulting when someone chooses your guild as their secondary guild. I hate games that allow multiple guilds and I hate people who think it’s ok to leave their alt in your guild to use your guild’s resources even though they are joining another guild.

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BalsBigBrother

I personally haven’t needed a guild for a good many years in any of the mmos I play.

I tend to just play the content and kind of pick up friends along who may or may not be in assorted different guilds themselves. I aim to build up a friends list of folks I enjoy playing with rather than joining or creating any formal guild structure.

For me I find this is much more relaxed for everyone involved and limits my exposure to the “Drama Llama” that formal guilding can bring with it. This in turn translates to me having more relaxed fun in the mmos I am active in.

Tizmah
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Tizmah

With the ability to join multiple guilds, I am able to join multiple meaningful and different guilds for different purposes. So…yeah. I don’t understand how only one can be meaningful.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

multi guilding is itself less of a problem than how mmo devs have implemented it.

gw2 is a particular case of how such an implementation went wrong. sure on paper join x number of guilds. except you can only see chat for your currently repped guild, and most guilds will demand you are constantly repping them out of some rediculous sense of demanding loyalty thing.

where as wildstar does it much better. instead of multiple guilds you’ve got your guild and then you’ve got your circles, and you can see all chat channels for each of those at all times, as well as “rep” whichever of those you like. for example we used a circle primarily as a title. in none of the guilds i played the game with did anyone get upset i was repping my rp circle for a title rather than the guild name. tho ymmv on that.

you might ask what the difference between a circle and a custom chat channel ends up being, and ultimately it ends up being a lot more manageable from end user and admin side than typical mmo custom chat channels, as well working like secondary friends lists/rosters where the only barrier to entry is joining the circle.

and with many applications for circles beyond the purview of regular custom chat channels.

sauldo
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sauldo

Cross-guild chat has been implemented in GW2 with the Heart of Thorns expansion (2015).
You can assign which guilds you can chat to with new channels (/g1 through /g5) and then decide which channels are visible in your chat tabs.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

that’s nice but the damage was already done by that point.

sauldo
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sauldo

Not sure what damage you’re alluding to but I think it is nonetheless worth updating a very outdated information.

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