Guild Per Thing

I am a monogamistic bloke when it comes to joining a guild for an MMO.  I dislike playing alts to begin with, but being a member in two guilds for one game seems even more like alting.  It seems discordant with my usual MMO goal of making human connections across the electronic ether.

My first MMO, A Tale in the Desert, doesn’t count because my one character could belong to as many guilds as I desired, which to me makes more sense than anything else.  Yet, it was a smaller community to begin with.  I’ll skip World of Warcraft where I mostly soloed and PUG’d anyway even if I did belong to the guild.  (I still feel guilty for taking a gold, way back in the day, to buy a guild tabard I never wore.) Then I played Guild Wars.

In Guild Wars, players get one guild per account.  Any new character that is created is automatically joined to the same guild, which is very handy when creating PvP characters on the fly.  Now, according to a new interview, Guild Wars 2 is going to be more flexible.  According to ArenaNet, it will still be easy to have all characters in one guild, but now players can put different characters [from the same account] in to different guilds.

I definitely see the benefits of this.  My current guild in Guild Wars only has some very casual PvP every week or so, and a player wanting to get in to high-end GvG battles might have to decide between the friendship of my guild and the extreme focus of a GvG guild.  Yet for all the flexibility it seems ArenaNet still rewards players for concentrating on one guild by having things like a guild calendar, guild achievements, and even access to the guild chat channel when not logged in to the game.

Most MMOs allow for different characters on different accounts to join different guilds, but there are other mechanics added to let players network while still being a single-guild-kind-of-guy.  Alliances are a good way to allow for various guild focal points.  Joinable chat channels are a good way to emulate this.  It can be argued that A Tale in the Desert’s guild system might as well be joinable chat channels.  The palpable permanence of the guild (with guild property) versus the vague purpose of the chat channels is evidence of nonequivalence.  I just learned Alganon goes a step further and has exclusive chat channels roughly based on the Bartlett gamer types.  Like guilds, a character can only join one.

I always wondered about the whispered defectors in my MMO guilds on games allowing multiple guilds per account.  I would see what I believed to be the same person, only this time with two R’s in their name and a different guild tag.  Could it be that officer in my guild cheating on us?  Maybe it was just he and his wife’s personal guild.  Maybe he was vetting another guild? I often don’t understand my paranoia.

After all, I never cared whether people in my Guild Wars guild had an unfaithful account.  I guess the warm blanket of knowing that one guild per account was enough to comfort me.  Why should it be any different with different characters?

Anyway, I am happy for the change in Guild Wars 2.  I think that the majority of players will stick to one guild, especially if guild achievements provide more benefits.  It took me a long time to find the perfect Guild Wars guild, and I have absolutely no plans to leave it. For others that have not found the perfect home or need to split their time between a guild of friends and a guild of PvP soldiers, I think the new functionality will be a welcome addition.

but cupid got me in a chokehold

13 thoughts on “Guild Per Thing”

  1. If I ever do one of these things, you’ll be allowed to join multiple clubs/alliegances/bands in addition to the “guild”. Not all of them need to even have a chat channel, and you should probably not be allowed an unlimited number, but they would serve a function somewhere between football colours and facebook groups.

  2. I’m very happy to see the improvements to guild tools in GW2. As a guild leader of a socially orientated guild in GW1 for nearly 4 years one of the most infuriating things has been encouraging people to keep in contact with each other out of game – forums are far from ideal. Online guild chat (as long as its somewhat secure and isn’t foul of the same issues that Aion has with being able to see other people’s account details on the web interface) would be a very welcome addition.

    Loyalty means different things to different people. MMOs are more about the people than they are the game and I’m firmly of the opinion that once you have found the right group with people you can connect to you won’t need another group again. When I’ve played MMOs to the point where I felt it was worth joining a Guild/Legion/Clan/random name here all my characters joined the same one. PvP/PvE split would be the only exception to this I can see.

    My big question would be how the chat interface would be handled if you do have multiple guilds per account – does each character live in isolation or (as I would prefer) would guild chats be presented together on the character, perhaps with options to filter which chats you see on which character?

    1. A year or so ago, I would ask how you play MMOs, but now devs are definitely catering to guildless play. WAR’s excellent open-group system and scenarios and now WoW’s LFD seem to allow this type of guildless play while still really getting ~full potential of MMO gameplay.

      In the GW2 interview, they hit a lot of guildless play options like more hot-button PvP, and in the past they’ve mentioned the event system.

      1. My home base for MMOs has always been City of Heroes, one of the most pickup-group friendly games around. As a result, guilds always strike me as obligation first and opportunity second.

        On a very high level I can see benefit to helping people coordinate with friends and like-minded individuals. But the closed, structured nature of a guild makes it seem inherently informal and laden with responsibility. (Especially in games where member #s are limited.) Given the choice I’d rather find my teammates through more open channels, like forums and chatrooms and such. And even there I’d want the widest possible audience.

  3. I have a guilty secret. Sometimes when I am not feeling particularly sociable I like to be able to log on to a game and just potter around doing my own thing for a while. Having a Guild tag can be a real hindrance at these times because there will always be a conversation going on in Guild chat or somebody who needs help with something and it is hard to keep your head down without appearing to be unsociable. For these times I like to have a few untagged alts that I can log on to and be anonymous. I really missed the ability to do this in Guild Wars.

  4. this is certainly an improvement for anyone even remotely sociable, but i’m curious as to what kind of intrigue will arise if the competitive pvp is promoted as in gw1.

    people with alts in rival guilds? stealing builds? causing confusion. sounds kind of fun actually.

  5. I wonder if friendlists and a more casual and open nature of games will not rather lead to a decline of the static guild in favor of the ever more popular social network systems.

    I actually would not miss that. My buddies in GW are split among so many guilds, and not even with my very best friends I managed to be in WoW in the same guild. 4 guys, three in 3 different guilds and one unquilded and inactive was the moment when I started thinking about the ways guilds changed since I started playing MMORPGs. WoW guilds are either the super casual guys good for nothing or more or less raid oriented groups for instance. There are also gaming clans that play multiple games together or move like nomads from one MMO to the next.

    1. Yet, for some reason… what I have found is other means of communication… most notably a joinable chat channel does not seem to provide the necessary means.

      There needs to be a better middle ground between chat channel and guild. Alganon’s splat-channel is a good step, but may not be perfect.

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