Monday, May 06, 2013

All Together Now

The last time I used this song as a Blog title I got my first block on Twitter. I have left The Farm behind and gone all Old Skool on your behinds as a result. Let's see how I manage this time...


WoW Insider appear to have launched a Community Blog Topic. Friday's question was simply this: What if WoW didn't have Guilds? I thought I'd have a crack, until I grasped that my first answer isn't much of a post-creator. I have to be honest.

If there were no Guilds, I'd not be here blogging to begin with.

Pretty much the ONLY reason I've remained playing for as long as I have is my Guild. Love or hate the constant workload and problematic moments, the good has VASTLY outweighed the bad. Without a Guild, none of that would have happened, and I'd feel no obligation to remain about. However, if you were to say to me tomorrow that there'd be no Guilds, my opinion would probably be a little different, because (as the person who inspired this post says) Guilds can be quite inclusive places if you're on the outside:

All they (guilds) really do is subdivide the community into a bunch of exclusive groups that only interact with outsiders when they have to and regard them as little more than nuisances.

This is a very fair point, but I'd say the problem isn't exclusivity. Ultimately the problem is not the Guilds themselves, but what people do IN the Guilds. This interaction thing isn't the fault of the Guild per se, but the people who run them. This game is built around the basic principle of gathering a group of individuals to beat a number of pre-set tasks. That means finding a common level of ability that not simply allows people to complete those tasks, but do so as a cohesive unit. That's a pretty tall order when people in said Guilds may never have met each other before. All in all, it's a pretty steep learning curve for some, even worse if you happen to be on the outside looking in.

Taking away Guilds, I have to say, would go one of two ways. We'd either a) adapt or b) die. You could get flowery about it, and come up with loads of pros and cons for each, but the basic fact remains, that if people wanted to play this game, they'd find a way if the system got pulled out from under us tomorrow. If the game had started without Guilds, I doubt we'd even be here how, regardless of my feelings on the matter. What is one of Blizzard's outstanding strengths is the sense of community it has fostered, and without Guilds that wouldn't be nearly as strong as it is now. I think Guilds have contributed to the longevity of the game, and I think there are plenty that have never functioned as exclusive groups at any point. If you find yourself in a situation where you don't like your home, other Servers (and Guilds) are available. The problem comes, of course, with the fact it costs money in most cases to transfer.

I have to PAY to move all this Junk? ^^

I've heard many, many people call for the Region-Wide (or even Worldwide) Guild to be an option in game. This would work as I believe it does in Guild Wars 2 where you can join a Guild regardless of your location. The logistics of doing this are probably nightmarish in the extreme on a global stage, but being able to have a server that ignored EU Server boundaries could have a lot going for it. This would allow people to remain on low-population servers for some things but still raid/dungeon with people regardless of location, and that could only be a good thing in the long term. So yes, I'm saying that I think we need more Guilds, because no Guilds would only mean that those people playing would have a harder time and frankly that's an option most people would probably fail to accommodate. I mean, look at social networking before Warcraft was around, and now.

We could all blame Mark Zuckerberg, if all else failed.

I find it hard to imagine Warcraft WITHOUT Guilds. If they didn't exist, there'd just be something with another name that did the same task. I think that maybe it is time for Blizzard to rethink Guild coverage... but the fact remains I'm only here because of the Guild system.I simply can't imagine the game without them.


Ellie said...

People don't like The Farm? :O Heathens...

More seriously, if it hadn't been for guilds, I'd no longer be playing. I've had at least two extensive periods when I've not been able to play, but what lures me back is the people I play with. And I know I'm not alone in that, whether in my guild or others.

I do quite like the idea of global guilds as well.

Andy said...

I think guilds are pretty much inevitable in any online game – people naturally want to play together and organise, and given the way Blizzard have incorporated community-driven things into the game in the past, it seems almost guaranteed that even if the game started out with no official guild system in place, there'd be one by now, probably having been established for a number of years.

Even if there wasn't any in-game guild system, people would still organise outside the game, with websites, forums etc.

Hagu said...

I think there are a number of ex-Bliz people designing Wildstar and when discussing design goals they say that 60-65% of people play MMOs solo.

Guilds can be good but they have their downsides. Drama, both loot and raid slot. And a lot of times I have goals when I log on - 7 living steel transmutes, 6 scroll of wisdon, a tailoring and LW c/d and a few farms, then a scenario daily. Getting interrupted with "could you ..." can disrupt the todo list.

It seems like guilds are a lot less important as the games and gamers evolve. Mandatory in EQ, quite important in TBC, while in MoP with LFR, LFG, scenarios, dailies, they don't feel as required.