“The Guild Issue” By Ryan Barth
Spend twenty minutes in a MMO’s starting area or capital world, and you will find a familiar message in the chat window. The names may be different, but the words are overly familiar. “ is currently recruiting all levels and classes to fill our ranks. PST for invite!” If you’re guildless, you may send that tell. You’ll get invited, gain a new chat window, and a large number of “welcome!” messages from your new guildies. With your pretty new guild tag above your name you now have allies to aid in your conquering of Cyrodiil and your conquest through Tamriel.
Upon the announcement of Zenimax Online’s TESO on May 3 2012, there were a lot of rumblings. Mostly game related skepticism, but undoubtedly new self-appointed guild masters were declared, and existing guilds began to send their recruitment applications throughout various Elder Scroll’s related avenues on the internet. If you’ve been keeping up on all related information on TESO you’ll surely notice that new and old guilds have been spreading across the servers like the Thrassian plague. Alliances are being forged; a faction selected, and plans to conquer Cyrodiil being layed. All this and we’re not even at Beta. How relevant will guilds be in TESO? How can Zenimax Online make guilds attractive to those “rogue” type solo players? Or will Zenimax Online rehash the tired old formulas and offer nothing new?
Clearly if you’re interested in the endgame content TESO will offer, it’s nearly a necessity to join a guild. Also if you hope to coordinate massive open world sieges on an Ebonhardt keep in the war for Cyrodiil you can’t very well do that by yourself. Zenimax Online needs to offer more than this though. They have already brought something new to the table with the integration of social networking sites into the game itself. Zenimax Online offers a quick and familiar way for players to stay in touch and close to their guildies. The technology of the megaserver is also nothing to sneeze at. In concept currently it sounds like a remarkable innovation to isolate the entire player base on one server. Not only in that, but to have a “smart” server that will send you to instances that contain the most guildies and friends. Socialization, structure, and friendship are integral parts of a successful guild, but they are not the only things that are important.
A guild is really just a fancy name for a video game softball team. It’s a group of people that get together for the common interest in beating up monsters or other players in a video game in a formulated and organized fashion. Obviously RP is a whole different animal. All the same though – you’re there so you don’t have to achieve in-game goals alone. Zenimax Online needs to offer incentive for guilds to excel at playing TESO. Goals to encourage players to progress at their own pace and contribute however they can. Players love things like titles, and various achievement and reputation caps to fill. Even if you’re that level 15 mage, you can help your guild maybe just by logging on a regular basis. Perhaps individual story line quests could contribute to a guild’s particular achievement bar that will have a greater benefit for king and country. XP boosts, increased magic find, anything really that can benefit both the low level player and the endgame enthusiast loot monger. Also guild armor is a must. Guild armor may not be very original, but wearing your guild’s tabard does offer a certain sense of pride to guilded players. Man the trebuchets, and storm the keep. Hoist up your sigil, and crown your emperor. Not only style points type of armor – armor pieces that are truly beneficial to wear. Slots that offer desirable stamina and magicka boosts / regeneration, etc… Completing achievements together to earn various banners that aid guildies in need. Health regeneration banners, xp banners, anything that makes a guild attractive to the player that usually is not interested in representing a guild tag.
Home is where the sigil is…
It has been made abundantly clear that player housing is in high demand. Though Zenimax Online has confirmed the game will not be released with this feature, they have added it to their “to do list” Similarly, I believe guild halls could offer incentive for players to join guilds and for GMs to continue recruitment. Guild halls perhaps could play an important part in three faction PVP. Maybe it could just be a cool place to hang out and get some rest xp. It really isn’t something that’s completely necessary to make a great game. It’d just be a nice touch. Sometimes quality of life things are what make a game amazing. A perk could be something as simple as being able to ALWAYS fast travel to your guild hall and out of your guild hall. Perhaps various banners and tapestries of your guild’s achievements could adorn its walls. Maybe some sort of bronze representations of the beasts you’ve defeated as a guild. Guild halls could offer localized training areas, workstations for crafters, all of these valuable upgrades that could be purchased through the aforementioned achievement system. And of course a nifty little garden plentiful with glowing mushrooms and a cauldron for the new guy to cook at.
There have been some amazing proactive guilds I’ve encountered. There are Guilds that work hard to create unique events for other players and guilds. Unfortunately these types of guilds are usually in the minority. Zenimax Online could take some initiative here. TESO shouldn’t just bring events to the game, but events that encourage people to participate as a team or a guild. People like winning and being acknowledged. Maybe it’s an awesome title for completing an event as a group? I’d be all over that. Maybe unique guild armor, anything really. It could be an event that rewards your guild for working together and achieving a task efficiently and effectively. These could be things that make you proud to be a part of something. Something that you couldn’t get on your own by being a reclusive solo player that doesn’t like talking to anyone.
These are just some very basic ideas. By no means am I the end all be all authority on guilds. These ideas are things I belive could help make guilds attractive. My perspective offers different viewpoints. I have been that reclusive solo player that just doesn’t want to deal with guild politics, or raiding favoritism over one player opposed to another. I’ve also been part of a leadership structure in a few successful guilds. It’s clear to this point that Zenimax Online really hopes to bring us the best MMO on the market and they wont be satisfied with mediocrity. It’s a dangerous time for the MMO, right now every game has it’s particular niche following but not one is absolutely blowing everything out of the water. With Zenimax Online’s bold aspirations to become a forward thinking company to produce both a familiar and progressive MMO hopefully we can count on them to add the things we always think about and say “why the HELL isn’t this in the damn game!?” I don’t expect the guild system to be perfect at launch. MMOs should always be a continual work in progress with developers always thinking about the next thing to add to their game to make it the best game to be a part of. I do however hold TESO to a high standard, as we all should.
What are your thoughts on what I share above? What expectations do you have for guilds in TESO?