Guilds! They’re remarkably consistent features of MMOs because developers have long realized that they are an unparalleled engine for creating drama, arguments, and recriminations. Occasionally guilds actually band together and do things, but most of the time they’re a way for players to make everyone in a social group equally uncomfortable until someone finally gets annoyed enough to leave. Inevitably, it’s the one person everyone wanted to keep around. Then starts the chaotic break-up process before everyone gets into a new guild.
Unless, of course, your guild is actually a collection of enthusiastic friends!
See, that’s the thing about guilds. They do tend to fit into a certain number of categories, but there’s also a lot of difference between the guilds that tend to spam advertisements for anyone not currently in a guild and the ones with thoughtful, targeted recruitment. Or even more specifically, the guilds that exist chiefly as a vanity project for a small number of people, maybe even a lone player. Let’s break it all down into listicle format – why not?
1. The social guild
While sizes vary, the social guild is (I suspect) the vast majority of most guilds in any game. These are the guilds that fit in no other category but are primarily focused around bringing together strangers who are at least broadly compatible with one another in personality, creating a general circle of camaraderie in which everyone feels welcome, happy to talk, and eager to do stuff together even if what exactly the stuff is that will be done is often ill-defined.
At the best of times, these guilds tend to be a great way to meet people you didn’t previously know and get exposed to more of the game accordingly. At the worst of times, they devolve into basically an extended social circle for one or two people whose outsized personalities dominate the entire conversation at all times. Which one you get can determine a lot of how the guild feels, but the point remains the same – this isn’t really a guild with a focus so much as it is meant as a general-purpose friend list.
2. The “just recruit everyone”
Whether or not these guilds have a focus intended is irrelevant because these are the guilds that just spam invites and/or pleas for anyone unguilded to join. They’re trying to get more members by casting the widest possible net, thus ensuring that many of the people who wind up there are otherwise not in a guild for good reasons and even more of the people there just want to be in something without caring too much about what. As a result, it’s a social guild without filters.
This rarely goes well for anyone involved.
3. The progression guild
This is a guild focused around one singular and understandable goal, and that is dominance. Maybe it’s in raids, maybe it’s in PvP, maybe it’s in crafting – the details don’t matter. What matters is that this is a guild with a purpose, and that purpose is being as close to the best as is realistically possible.
Again, this is the sort of thing that can vary a lot depending on the people involved. Sometimes you get a group of friendly but driven players all working their hardest to advance through difficult content. Sometimes you get a bunch of inconsiderate jerks bound and determine to prove how hardcore they are. And sometimes – far too often, in fact – this group overlaps well with the next sort of guild.
4. The trolling jerks
A PvP guild might consist of people who want to play at a high level of competition… or it might consist of people who want to ruin the days of other players. A progression group might take joy in wrecking other player-run social events, distorting the marketplace, or otherwise just kicking sand all over the place. These people are here to have a good time, and that good time almost always comes at the expense of everyone around them.
If you are in one of these guilds, you should probably leave. If you’re happy to be a part of one of these guilds… well, I don’t care to know you.
5. The roleplaying guild
A time-honored tradition, the roleplaying guild is a group of players all dedicated to doing the same thing, and that thing is roleplaying out as much as is humanly possible. As such, there are so many different flavors of roleplaying guild that I couldn’t possibly list all of them, and there’s almost always overlap with other guild types. Many roleplaying guilds are also progression guilds, for example, and others fall under one of the several headers later in the article.
This tends to be the sort of guild I wind up inhabiting because I am a gigantic dork and don’t pretend otherwise.
6. The newbie guild
Whether official (formed automatically by the game for new players at a certain point) or player-run, the newbie guild is based primarily around helping new players get a sense of how the game is supposed to work or at least have a shared spot to be confused within. It hopefully features at least some veteran players to answer questions and help guide people, although often there’s little to no vetting process and thus there’s nothing stopping the supposed mentors from having no idea what they’re telling the new players.
If it weren’t clear, that’s a bad thing. These guilds are valuable and should be used to help give new players a gentle on-ramp to the title rather than a place to troll the clueless. If you use one of these for trolling the clueless… again, I don’t care to know you.
7. The unique function collective
There are guilds in Final Fantasy XIV that exist to put on plays. They’re not roleplaying guilds, per se; the people putting these plays on are often not on roleplaying servers and aren’t pretending to portray their characters as anything. Instead, the purpose is to serve a very specific and unique design of putting on in-game plays for people to enjoy in-game and using the game’s engine to do something interesting.
Frankly, these kinds of guild are usually really neat and worth learning more about, regardless of how common or uncommon they might be. Sometimes they do overlap with the roleplaying guild, too, which is kind of wonderful and weird.
8. The tiny vanity guild
All right, so sometimes these are actually really the same as the special purpose guild but they’re just made for one or two people. These are tiny, tiny guilds, often consisting of less than a dozen characters, made to fulfill some specific need within the game and nothing beyond that. They’re not recruiting, they don’t want more people, and sometimes it’s not even remotely clear why the guild exists, but it does just the same.
9. The bitter ex guild
This is a guild formed by a schism. Something happened in the leadership of another guild on this list, people wound up leaving, and ultimately you wind up with a new guild that’s defined in no small part by “we’re no longer part of [OLD GUILD], we’re now [NEW GUILD]!”
This doesn’t inherently make the new guild a lesser prospect; sometimes, these bitter ex guilds actually wind up surpassing or supplanting the original, sometimes in weird ways. The point here is not to diminish the guild but to note that in some way, it is at least initially defined by the fact that it used to be part of a different organization, and the leadership is steering it in no small part to be in contrast with that.
10. The “family” guild
Last but not least, you have the guild that is broadly a “social” guild but technically surpasses that because it’s not a social circle formed within a game. Instead, it’s a social circle formed before the game, often one that moves from game to game by collective decision, with the guild itself forming something of a family unit that bands together in a variety of settings.
The bright side of these guilds is, of course, that they become an all-purpose haven for a certain group of players to share and experience things together. The down side? Well, you’re technically missing out on people you don’t know yet… but considering that also means skipping the trolling jerks you might not care to know, that may be a good thing.