As I’ve said before, with the mind crush of information coming out of PAX for Guild Wars 2 I have to focus on one feature with laser-like intensity for my sanity and ability to communicerfuffle*error*. Anyway, possibly one of the first features most players think about for Guild Wars 2 is the guilds themselves. We aren’t doing a guildless war, people!
Elixabeth, Bringer-of-Sunshine, finishes up her thoughts on day 2 at PAX, where significant news of guilds in Guild Wars 2 was released. There’s some cool stuff like gaining “influence” for a guild by doing activities, which seems to be getting more standard in MMOs, such as Rift. Guilds will be able to capture, hold, and upgrade keeps in the world v. world PvP combat zone, which again is pretty standard for an MMO with that persistent PvP zonage. I would say that these are pretty good additions, but the best news is how each player and that player’s character joins guilds.
Like the original Guild Wars, guild membership is going to be account wide. This is a slight change from their prior position of non-automatic account wide membership. The significant change is that players can add as many guilds as they like to their account. The players can then choose which guild chats and guild affiliations to select at any give time.
ArenaNet is doing some very complex things for Guild Wars 2, but I am extremely happy they are re-visiting MMO standards that might make no sense in our given MMO age, where people have more than two ‘active’ MMOs at any given time. Guilds are no longer marriages because many MMO games are simply not played in a monogamous manner. Guild are, and always have been, clubs.
In real life, I do not just belong to one club. I belong to professional societies, hobby clubs, and nerd cults, and none of these groups requires me to disown another. Even my family has various uncommon groups (in-laws, cousins, the paterfamilias branch), which somehow allow me to occasionally visit the others. It has always been a little weird to me that in the diverse playstyles of a single MMO, I was required to marry one club.
Now that Guild Wars 2 will let players belong to multiple guilds, well I know Zubon and I are dancing in the streets. No longer will patches begin to end a guild. Simply focus on the one guild that will play all the patch’s content. Real-life friends will no longer feel bummed that their hardcore buddy wants to join a real guild because hardcore buddy can now join their own small bumpkin guild without negative consequence. And of course, the obvious of having a raiding guild and a role-playing guild co-exist on the character spreadsheet will be magniflorious!
There is a caveat to behold. Player reputation will become even more fragile and worthwhile. Spout a tirade in the raiding guild, and the damage is not as easily contained. Who knows what Venn diagram of guilds other players might share with the tirading player, and how far the reputation damage will bleed. At the same time, those MMO leaders will be able to share their wisdom and referring to a multitude of masses untouched. Becoming a server leader might be a reasonable goal if the player doesn’t mind joining and keeping in touch with a couple dozen guilds.
I hope that ArenaNet takes advantage of the unshackling of the guilds, and they are able to add in specific guild projects and features that might not otherwise exist. It is a breath of fresh air to be rid of monogamous guild relationships, and I hope ArenaNet rides that wind to the horizon.
If anything else, the worry that I had in having to choose a guild is now vanquished, and I can keep old friends and make new ones without worrying what my character sheet says.