In this thread I will talk about guilds in Guild Wars 2 and how I believe they will come to be managed in an environment where the only thing that is constant are the transfers from guild to guild. Specifically, I will talk about what past MMOs have accomplished with their economic and financial systems, the advantages and disadvantages of Guild Wars 2’s current economical and political systems as well as a possible simple landscape of the political environment within the game as it matures.
Everything in this thread is only my opinion and I definitely look forward to a discussion of the ideas presented below.
The Past of Guilds in MMOs
Before I saw the guild system in Guild Wars 2, the two games I was familiar with who incorporated both economics and guild-play as a significant part of their gameplay for anyone who wanted to truly get immersed in their world were Lineage 2 and EVE Online. On one hand Lineage 2’s economy moved through the use of bazaars – players had the ability to set private shops anywhere in the world which led to the creation of 2 major bazaars in two player- chosen trading centres of commerce – Giran and Oren – and three smaller ones in other large cities – Gludin, Dion and Aden. These bazaars, added to the guild levelling and alliance systems, along with the possibility for castle sieges and tax- setting of owned territories made for an incredible experience for anyone who got involved in the economical and political systems. However, in order for a guild or alliance to be good at what it did it had to go through hours of equipment grinding and countless upon countless hours of market observation which could only be done by running from player shop to player shop. Either way the name of the game was grind.
On the other hand there was EVE Online – a sandbox game which allowed players complete freedom in what they chose to be – whether pirates, politicians, villains, traders or anything else they chose to be. Similarly to Lineage 2 guilds were organised in alliances and players belonged to specific guilds in specific alliances. Unlike L2 the trading platform of EVE Online was much more in-line with what we can find on the real world asset trading markets – and in Guild Wars 2.
Where Guild Wars 2 breaks the status quo in MMO Politics and Economics?
In my opinion Guild Wars 2 is superior to both of these games in terms of its economy and politics for three reasons – two are things it does not do and one is something it does.
The first is that the game gets rid of the strict guild and alliance systems that have been part of all MMOs up to this point in time. This is the single largest advantage for guilds, because it allows each guild to focus on what its members are interested in doing most while allowing players (including the guild leader) to be part of other guilds which cater to different activities. I will get more into it as I get into the concept of a decentralised multi- guild management in GW2. As the developers have accentuated, it is no longer necessary for a player to feel regretful because he or she wants to join a different guild that is more focused on (for example) the WvW and leave behind his current guild which mainly dabs in the Economy or the structured PvP of Guild Wars 2.
Secondly, from what I have seen, the game offers a completely fluid trading system identical to that incorporated in the worldwide financial markets, albeit a simpler, easy- to- use one. The only thing I am looking forward to is Arenanet stating that the trading system will work by hashing demanded and supplied goods cross- server and perhaps even cross- continent in order to get endless nerdgasms (Althoguh, realistically, this is unlikely to happen)
Third – NO GRIND. I cannot describe to you how big an advantage it is for this game that it is grind minimal. In fact, I do not need to – I believe if you’ve reached this far in my post you have played enough MMOs to have grown tired of grinding for 10 years ahead of now.
The Pitfall of the economy
I have not seen enough cash sinks in Guild Wars 2. We have the cash destruction coming from waypoints, players’ repair costs, the cash sink of purchasing various advantages for your guild (although most of those are based on influence), purchasing siege equipment and the food/drinks available in the game. Perhaps I am missing some cash destruction and exchange devices however I do not see significant potential for this key function which is necessary to keep the Guild Wars 2 economy at a low inflation.
How does this translate into Guild Management?
I believe Guild Wars 2 guilds should not be run as separate “instances” in the game, fighting over players, but rather as fluid, ever- changing, multiple divisions and interchangeable parts of a whole. Guilds have to form trust- based alliances in order to work towards the goals they are most interested in. For example, rather than having separate entities such as a crafting guild, Conquest PvP guild, elite PvE guild, dynamic event PvE guild and WvW guild, you would have a... wibbly wobbly mass with a decentralised focus of control which is essentially run by all the leaders working together (possible because even the leaders can move from guild to guild at will). Therefore, the guild system will most likely mature into the following separation of guilds:
Centralised Alliance – Run by a single very large guild, with 10-15 people at the top responsible for smaller guilds which specialise their influence points in specific parts of the gameplay and in which players move from guild to guild whenever they wish to gain the particular advantages of a given guild. These will most likely have tightly controlled entry requirements and rules. Perhaps this will be what becomes of the large guilds that are transferring from other games and attempt to keep the control of their players they are used to from the past. They would maybe have several divisions of 5-10 man guilds focused on structured PvP.
Decentralised Alliance – A combination of several guilds with the leaders working together to improve the alliance. They will still all be part of each guild, however instead of having a focus of power in one main guild all guilds will be working together to reach their own goals – a cooperation in the goal of fulfilling self- interests. In this example you can for example have a guild that is a Trader guild, focused on making the most of the market and working towards funding the alliance gold- wise, another guild focused on WvW only interested in involving players in the world vs world pvp, a third one interested in becoming the best in structured pvp, one interested in becoming the best at very complicated near- and end-game dynamic events and so on - whatever each leader wants to make of his guild, he or she can do it.
Freelancers – These are guilds that stand alone (perhaps a circle of IRL friends or friends from other MMOs) and which prefer to keep their tightly knit circle rather than aim to gain power in Guild Wars 2.
ArenaNet have created a game in which guilds matter. Nonetheless, there are elements I would like to see in future updates of the game such as territorial guild wars over segments of the map as each alliance and guild believes it is best suited to lead its selected region in the fight against the dragons. I would like to see fluidity in alliance formation meaning guilds can freely enter and leave them as they choose. The political and economical system of Guild Wars 2 has the potential to be a part of the game that is a true sandbox.
Questions to make us all think
What do you think? Is this viable, what issues do you see with it, how can you deal with problems such as greediness and egocentricity on the side of leaders? How do you keep the power decentralised and encourage everyone to work together rather than fight for the best of the guild they started themselves, how do you make everyone BELIEVE in the alliance rather than simply seek personal (guild) gain and control out of it? What other types of guild and alliances will there be out there?
Will you support or be supported? Will you be big or small? Will you play for the greater good or will you betray in the political game of Guild Wars 2? There is no karma, you can be anything that you want, there are no rules and the only real judges of your Alliance are all the people on your server.
Edited by Allaan, 21 May 2012 - 02:06 AM.