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MMO Guilds and Minimum Member Requirements

Introduction

When it comes to MMO's, one of the most important aspects is the ability to create and join guilds. These allow players to join up with other players to tackle game objectives and otherwise form a sort of family. Being that these are such an integral part of the games, you would think that they would be pretty easy to start up, but that is not always the case. Through this article I want to look at the flaw with most modern guild systems and how they limit the ability for players to work together and get them formed up.

A Little About Myself

I think it is important to look at a detail about myself, which is that I usually join new games on my own. Joining as a single player is a lot different than joining up with friends from other games or even guilds from other games, in that you are getting a fresh start. This is important to know because it means minimum requirements to start guilds have a much bigger impact on single players. Even if we are just talking about gold costs, it is harder for one person to get the required amount than it is for a guild of twenty, or even a few friends working together. This article is written with that in mind, as it deals with the limiting factor and a lot of people are either new to MMO's or at least join new games on their own like I do.

Minimum Member Requirements and Why They Are Counter Productive

Some games, like Rift and Warhammer Online, require a certain number of members before you can even start up a guild. This is a concept I still do not quite understand, because it severely limits the ability of creating a new guild. Instead of being able to jump in the game, for example, and get rolling, you have to instead go looking for other people that are willing to help you get a guild started. It gets even worse when the others have to be near you for the invite. A lot of the time this causes people to have to go out and pay others just to sign their guild charter so they can get the ball rolling.

What does not make sense about this is that not everyone who joins a game has people together already for starting a guild. Along with this, people are much less likely to join a guild when they have to be a founding member, compared to those who can just accept an invite and continue on. People are usually pretty wary of joining a brand new guild, due to the stigma that most of them fail. In other words, the greatest wall to getting a guild up and running is not building it up, but rather getting it started. Making this excruciatingly difficult serves no purpose other than to harass people, and it should ideally be avoided.

Games like Guild Wars 2 handle this very well. Not only can you be in multiple guilds, but you can create a new one by simply typing in your preferred guild name. It really is that simple. You do not even need to find others to join it; you can run a guild all on your own for the guild bank or other benefits. Along with this, you do not have to go hunting for others that are willing to help you, nor is there any need for paying people for their assistance. This is, by far, the way it should be handled more often.

Essentially, the idea is that games should be more open to allowing anyone to create their own guilds, without the limitations that force them to find new ways around the rules. While having a minimum number of players does slow down the rate of new guild creation by a little, people just hire others to make alternate characters to form the guild with, then remove them from the guild after. This is a trick that gets around the system very well, but it really should not be needed in the first place.

To make matters worse, most games also have guild perks that require many members in order to complete. Rather than being based on the guild's size, for example, they are the same for everyone. This means that they cater more towards the larger guilds, as those are the ones with the most people in them so they can knock out the events faster. With systems like this in place, it further stresses the fact that there should be no limit to how many guilds can be made; it is not as if creating a new one person guild is going to give someone all the perks they could otherwise get by joining a different one. This system in and of itself is enough to deter small guilds from forming up.

Guilds Do Not Hurt People

It does not matter how many guilds are on a game's server; it will never hurt people. Whether there are a thousand options of ten, all it does is force people to make choices they would rather not make. In a lot of cases, the dominating guilds end up taking over regardless, and it turns in to a battle of “a necessary evil,” where you have to pick and choose between a number of guilds you may not even like, solely to be able to do content. The same situation here happens regardless as to how many guilds a game has, though, so trying to limit them is futile; annoying a game's players is never a solution to a problem, and in this case the problem does not even exist.

Conclusion

The current way most games handle the creation of guilds in their system is more of a problem than a solution. It serves to bother people, while not bringing anything positive to the table. At most, it just caters to players who come to the game with friends or already existing guilds, but the goal should also be to bring in the single players (which are, by and far, the majority). Alienating players who come alone by causing them to jump through hoops just to get a guild started up is something we, as players do not want, and the developers of the game should not want that either. After all, unhappy players will not hang out in the game too long and every company is out to get a profit (meaning the longer they keep you active, the more they earn). I think a lot of games can learn a lesson from how Guild Wars 2 handles their guilds; it is simple to create them and it causes no hassle at all. While I am not sure exactly how I feel about being able to pretty much guild hop all the time in the same game, I do like how the guilds are created.

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