[GW2] Guild Score

ArenaNet has called guilds in to question. Not all guilds. The very active, very big guilds are having no issues plowing right ahead to unlocking all the mission types at the pace of a few months (or less!). It’s the small guilds that are having problems. It’s the small guilds that feel threatened. It’s the small guilds that are now forced to reflect on whether their community actually reflects ArenaNet’s mechanical definition of a guild.

So what is a guild? Well I would say Guild Wars 2 has two definitions. The first is the objective definition, where players can open the “G”uild menu and click “Create Guild”. Voila, a new guild is born. Yet this is the lowest common denominator of a guild. The subjective definition is whether the guild contains activity to generate Influence, the guild resource, to reasonably progress along ArenaNet’s guild progression track.

Guild Self-Evaluation Question #1: Is your guild a mechanical construct or an active, social hub? This is not a trick question. Yet, I feel ArenaNet’s guild mission system has thrown that question directly at each guild. I am sick of hearing “my # guild” with regard to guild mission discussion because in Guild Wars 2, it is irrelevant how many members are in the guild. Are those members actively representing the guild? Do those members play together? If the only reason for the guild is a chat channel with extra banking, that is a mechanical construct. The guild progression system in Guild Wars 2 does not reward the lowest definition of a guild. ArenaNet has created costs that only a guild with meaningful participation can afford.

There are two costs involved in unlocking the content of guild missions. The first is Influence, the guild resource that is generated based on guild activity. It’s a simple system, with little in-game explanation, where the more a guild plays together the more Influence per time is earned. This first cost is based on long term participation. I feel any small guild with active, guild-grouping participation can realistically unlock the guild missions. It will take effort, focus, personal wealth, and time, but I still feel it is reasonable. The second cost is the short term participation of beating the guild missions to get Guild Merits.

It is the second cost that will make or break guilds. Guild Self-Evaluation Question #2: Does your guild have the manpower to take down a Tier 1 Guild Bounty? It is the Guild Wars 2 version of a raid’s DPS meter. Without alliances and better communication tools than the ones in game (Ventrilo, RaidCall, etc.) a small active guild is, in my opinion, going to have trouble with the very first Tier 1 Guild Bounty.

A Tier 1 Guild Bounty involves taking down two champion-level targets hidden across Tyria. Dulfy, epic guide master, has rallied her community to create a fantastic guide to seeking out these targets. The in-game information hints that Short-Fuse Felix is in Diessa Plateau, and his pathing takes him all over the zone. Take two entire zones with two champion bounties, a small active guild, and a time limit of 15 minutes, and I feel that it is going to be a great challenge to beat a Tier 1 Guild Bounty. Rallying the countryside for added power is simply not something to rely on in the short time limit, especially since all non-guild members get is a basic event completion.

This is where I feel that the argued “tight-knit” guild is going to get called in to question, and this is where I hope ArenaNet iterates on their guild mission system. Beating a Tier 1 Guild Bounty twice is the bar to unlocking any other guild missions. The Tier 1 Guild Treks, which are the next guild mission in line, seem easily completed by a small, active guild (find 5 locations in 20 minutes). I am actually surprised that the Guild Treks and Guild Bounties weren’t flip-flopped in the progression. I guess Guild Bounties do seem more exciting and give Guild Commendations (another personal resource), but Guild Treks still require some modicum of communication. There would’ve still been a bar, albeit smaller, in starting out guild missions with Guild Treks.

Psychochild commented on this distinction already. Small guilds that pass Guild Self-Evaluation Question #1, and are therefore healthy to the game and server, but do not pass Guild Self-Evaluation Question #2 are going to feel slighted. I feel that for Guild Bounties, the entry level to all guild missions, should have had a less intense Tier 1. Perhaps it is just a worthy challenge in ArenaNet’s eyes.

Regardless, the last big update in Guild Wars 2 turned The Eye every single guild. ArenaNet in a way put an objective number to what was otherwise a very subjective ideal: the health of a guild. Going forward, every guild now has a score that is going to be referred to in recruitment, alliance making, and retention. In a way this might be good because it gets active players looking for active guilds. It just hurts a little too.

–Ravious

13 thoughts on “[GW2] Guild Score

  1. bhagpuss

    I think people over-romanticize guilds. Over the years I’ve been in a good few, from tiny ones to middle-sized (around 75-100 members). Only a handful have had any real “family” feeling and all of those have been very small. With more than a handful of members guilds seem either to lose coherency and focus and fracture or become the enabling system for a small elite. Nowadays I avoid them as being more trouble than they’re worth.

    I have little interest at all in any of the new guild functions in any case. I can’t see that they add much, if any value to any of the aspects of the game that interest me. What they mostly appear to be is another set of top-down control levers designed to direct player activity in certain directions and, of course, to increase customer dependence on the product (you could say loyalty if you wanted to put a more positive spin on it).

    As evidenced by the current fetish for Big Event Boss Chests (and I hold my hand up there – that’s a lever that’s worked on me), players will tend to flock to anything that benefits their characters materially regardless of other factors, and they will attempt to game any system to their best advantage.

    I’m not following how the guild event mechanic is shaking out but I’m certain it will follow the same pattern as all such additions to MMOs always do; if it’s deemed to bring a desirable advantage to the character it will be gamed heavily to milk that for all it’s worth. If it’s seen as not worth the effort it will be shunned and soon forgotten.

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  3. Syl (@Syl_RM)

    These days I wonder if those MMOs that made players jumo through several (and costly) hoops in order to found guilds didn’t have it right all along. Sure, its still no guarantee for a successful, functional social venture, but its an alltogether better start. More importantly, it prevents community fraction the way you have it in all the games with countless miniguilds.
    The whole idea if great guild achievements goes against miniguilds, too.
    That said, I DO understand the wish for a more casual ‘family guild'; but guilds should not substitute a short friendlist or boil down to a mechanical construct more than anything.

  4. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    Another way to look at this through the Bartle lens. Socializer-focused guilds are told they can’t have access to the additional content. Achiever-focused guilds are given access to the content if they jump through hoops; being achiever-focused, they will do the hoop-jumping.

    I think we’re definitely seeing ArenaNet showing which groups they are willing to support in this game. As I said in that comment, there are some areas that could use a bit more attention and more focus with content. Small guilds is one, and Socializers are people, too. :)

    1. Curuniel

      I would argue that socializers are much more inclined to make their own fun, whereas achievers are most likely to whinge until the devs hand them some hoops to jump through so that they can feel good about finishing it ;P But seriously, although support for small social groups and socially-inclined players is good, I don’t think they need that much support to do what they enjoy.

      1. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

        Socializers like to socialize within the context of the game. If a Socializer were just interested in chatting with people, they wouldn’t need to buy a game to do that; Socializers in a game want to play the game as well. So, a shared experience that they can share with their friends would be perfect for Socializers. Keep in mind that some guild leaders would also have strong Socializer tendencies, as Socializers like to have influence (but not dominance over) other other players.

        I’m usually an SEK when I take the “Bartle Test”, for what it’s worth.

  5. Belghast

    I feel like we went through the same kind of redefinition process during the release of Cataclysm in WoW. At that point Blizzard shifted from guilds just being a thing, to guilds being the center of raid achievement. Prior to that we had been successfully raiding as a non-guild based group, that was essentially made up of my guild and a bunch of smaller entities. With the release of Cataclysm, right or wrong we all felt the need to merge into one 800+ character guild.

    The end result was extremely fragmenting. While the guild still exists and keeps trucking along, all the fracture lines are still there in the form of sub guilds. The folks that came from each guild tend to hang out together, and there never really was the natural melding process that normally happens as folks get acclimatized to a social structure.

    Since I was mostly a social gamer, I found myself caring less and less about the game now that I had inadvertently poisoned the nest, by allowing all the mergers. I had hoped that the ability to join 5 different guilds would have helped this out, but since I am in 4 guilds I myself just end up representing the one I want to talk to over guild chat instead of focusing on any specific one. I am really hoping that ESO takes some notes, because this feels like an unintended consequence of weakening the ties of a guild.

  6. Kalu

    A guild of a small group of active players can simply also be members of a larger guild. We can be members of as many guilds as we are invited into.

    Higher tiers of the bounty give the same types of rewards, a smaller guild will just have to do more of the lower tier to get the same number. My guess is that 10 members might struggle but do ok on a tier 1 bounty. 5-8 to fight the boss and the rest to search the other area for the other boss.

    1. Curuniel

      I think a large proportion of the GW2 player base is still stuck in the mentality of a guild as a single allegiance where you’re expected to show your face and contribute – and a greater emphasis on influence as a currency is probably not going to help that, since people who aren’t representing don’t contribute. It’s no good if your guild has freeloaders who never contribute much influence but want in on guild missions. Nonetheless, I would really like to see a more fluid guild system get more acceptance, where it’s normal to be in multiple guilds for different reasons.

      1. Jonathan

        Well, honestly, why shouldn’t they be? There is a reason the “big” guilds require 100% representation, in general — the lack of chat channels. Since the only “server wide” channels are guild chat, if you let people represent other guilds you devalue the biggest asset your guild has — the ability to talk to other guild members. To ask questions. To request help. To let people know what you are doing.

        If people could *see* guild chat when not representing, at the very least, then having multiple guilds is a workable thing. But a guild is mostly a network of contacts. A network of contacts that can’t hear you is useless.

        I wish it was otherwise. I have a small F&F guild, my family has ground out a bunch of upgrades, we like what we have. But if I want to participate in the new guild content, I have to abandon it — and I completely understand why. If I was running a big guild, I’d require 100% rep too. Someone who is a guildmember that can’t hear guildchat at all isn’t an asset to the rest of the guild.

        My guess is that we won’t abandon our guild, we will just skip out on anything involving the new guild missions, etc. Wasted content for us.

        1. Curuniel

          You make a good point, about the value of a crowd in chat to ask and offer help. I’m not sure how I’d suggest getting around that. What would be nice is a kind of alert feature – something that let you ping every member of your guild who was online, even if they weren’t representing, maybe with a short message. Then people could switch representation to join in on specific things like a Fractals run or a guild bounty, once they knew something was happening. An imperfect solution, but perhaps a useful feature for the future?

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