I wonder why guild topics seem to be so underrepresented in the blogging community- is it because it’s a taboo topic, is everyone content in their guild, has everything been said on the topic or is it something you just don’t talk/write about?
See, the thing with me and guilds is this: i find them to be an interesting and very important part of MMORPG gameplay. It’s metagaming, alright, but it is important. As games and player mentality move away from a design where you would meet other interesting players in the respective game worlds, interact, socialize, add to friendlists, chat and so on, the importance of guilds as a social background to the games we play only rose in importance. Sure, guilds are there to achieve ingame goals, as well, but that’s secondary to me.
To weave such a social network, i think that guilds, or better yet- multigaming communities, need to put a framework out- some kind of structure within the community- to make it work. Yes, that means rules. And players willing to take a leadership role and responsibility. I have been in three multigaming guilds, all german, all “laissez-faire”, and found the experience to be lacking everytime. Sure, the people are nice, but in my opinion most people are and to me it just isn’t enough that players “are willing to help you if you ask for company in a dungeon”. With LFG-tools, i don’t need help with that.
So i’ve made a decision regarding my current multigaming guild (namely, for now i’ll just stick to my little project within that community and see how it goes, but will look out for a better fit, as well). Also, i kind of want to make “great guilds / communities” a topic here.
Remnants of Hope
So when researching communities – and i think it might be a good idea to turn this “bad” topic in a positive one- i came across the multigaming community Remnants of Hope. They’re active in Star Wars: the old republic, Guild Wars 2 and Wildstar. So they’re all games i don’t play, which is unfortunate, because i think, structurally, they’re great. I don’t know if they would be a good fit on a personal level, but there are lots of things i like about this community- on paper.
They do forum applications. And while i don’t like this way of doing things very much, i understand it is one of the better ways to go if you aren’t a small guild of friends who recruit personally but a community that also recruits “strangers”. But they take it one step further- if you’re accepted, you’ll have to pass some Trial membership goals- namely, there’s a number of forum posts expected, joining the guild in ingame activities (and they do those) and other stuff. If you fail to deliver, your application is going to be declined, but you may apply again after a short period.
The remnants of hope make use of ranks- there are officers for diverse playstyles within the respective games- it seems the minimum for officers is: PvE, PvP, social and recruitment. I like how they divided recruitment and social- then there’s the PvE officer for progression and the pvp officer for, well, pvp. In some games, they additionally appoint RP and crafting officers. This is the setup a guild should go for- and if every officer does his or her job, there will be many offerings of in-guild activities, ranging from PvE stuff to RP/social events- while not putting a large burden on a single officer. See, if every department puts out one event a month, there’s something for every week. Officers can also appoint Assistants (members willing to contribute would have to apply for that role), so that they can get help from other players.
A plan for opening and closing chapters
With all the guilds i joined so far, there’s been the “let them do what they want” attitude. So when a new game released and it was clear that a handful of members would want to play it, a chapter was opened up- if someone was willing to take the role of guild leader. The guild leader was appointed by doing a forum thread: “Hey, we want to play this game, but we need a guild leader. Who wants to do it?” and…. a lot of silence.
The Remnants of Hope have a process to open new chapters- members interested in forming one need to write a proposal to the community elders, who’ll then make a decision whether this new chapter has a chance to succeed. I imagine you’ll also have to name your guild leadership with the minimum of officers. This makes sure that there’s not only enough interest in a new game, but also enough interest and investment in a guild within this game.
They also have what they call “casual games”- now, i have limited forum access (of course, i’m not registered and don’t do interviews yet), so i don’t know for sure, but what i’d do with these “casual games” is found a guild without need for leadership (because it only consists of members of the community) and without recruitment. If someone wants to elevate the guild in that game to elevate to a real division, again, there needs to be a plan.
For closing chapters, it seems easy: the community elders question chapters when more than 50% of the officer roles are vacant for more than two weeks. If they think the chapter has run its course, they’ll ask the leadership of the chapter for their opinion. If this leadership thinks it is able to turn things around, there’s going to be a probation.
Easy enough, right? I think this is a good way of doing a great multigaming community- providing a framework for members to participate in forming the community, a process of recruitment that isn’t so easy and makes use of one simple thing: if a player invested time and energy to succeed in his or her “trial membership goals”, he or she also invested in the guild and community. You’ll want those players, because “let’s just recruit nice people and let them do whatever they like” ends in….inactivity.