Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Frankl wrote me with an interesting idea: What if players could be member of two guilds at once in MMORPGs? For example one small guild with friends for social purposes, and one less personal but more effective big guild for raiding or keep capture RvR. Either players could switch between which of the two guilds is "active", depending on whether they want to hang out or achieve something at the moment. Or they could just be member of both in parallel, with guild chat in different colors.

Guilds have more than one purpose, and the social and achievement purposes are often at odds with each other. Effective raiding or PvP guilds are large, and with a somewhat military style of organization. That breeds success, but isn't very cozy. You won't be "friends" with the 100+ members of a large guild. Meanwhile small guilds are a lot more intimate, but besides being fun to hang out with don't get much done beyond small group dungeon runs.

So why not have both? Do you think that the ability to be member of more than one guild would be a good idea, or would that weaken the alredy not-so-great social cohesion of the big guilds?
DAoC had this to a lesser extent and I imagine that WAR will as well. They called them alliances, the Alliance was basically a guild of guilds and worked rather well, with the exception of the rather small limit on the number of guilds within an alliance.

I think you will start to see this become the norm eventually.
It worked really well in Tale in the Desert. I remember being in one guild for europeans, one based on which zone my character was based in, one that was focussed on one particular type of achievement I wanted to do, one female one that did social events, etc.

Guilds in that kind of setup do tend to be more focussed.
Final Fantasy Online lets you be in multiple guilds "called Linkshells" but each one takes a precious inventory spot, which stinks
I thought that was the point of Alliances though? I mean, my guild can provide the friendly social stuff, and my alliance can be the raiding arm.

But I do remember spinks telling me about Tale in the Desert and that sounded good too.

Also in DAoC and WoW for a time, we set up chat channels for classes, so that gave a feeling of a 'friar' community - liked that too!
I do this currently in WoW by belonging to a few different channels.
a) The current Guild chat & the guild channel.
b) An ex-guild's custom channel
c) A friends only custom chat channel.

Allows me to communicate with the specific group that I want to at any point in time. Also good for keeping in touch when one needs and extra body or two for instances or raids.
Given the amount of smaller guilds unable to field 10-or 25 man raids this would work great for an alliance, however the nature of the guild is that your loyalty belongs to them 1st.. I think that duel guilds would cause conflicting loyalties, as even social guilds have organised runs and events
Just like in DAoC, alliances in EvE can contain many corporations/guilds. While EvE does provide many mechanics to manage relations between players, corporations and alliances, I'm not sure whether the lack of game mechanics is the main problem here.

WoW in itself does not bar you from being a member of one guild and taking part in the activities of an another, players do. If you need an inter-guild chat, you can create one with a simple command. I think that the main problems are lack of communication and a lack of established culture if inter-guild cooperation.

However, if there was one mechanic that I could import from EvE to WoW/WAR, that would be standings. Standings are a way to keep track of people you, your guild/corporation or your alliance likes and dislikes and why. If you had a nice dungeon run, RP session or a PvP experience with someone, you can increase their standings and they will be highlighted in the UI whenever you see them. More specific standings always override generic standings, so you can dislike a guild in general and like that one honorable member they have. In EvE, you can also grant use priviledges (like docking into one of your stations) to shared assets based on standings, and even automate base defense by setting guns to fire on all unknown or disliked individuals or groups.

As anyone who has been a member of raiding alliance knows, managing one can take a lot of work, and as imperfect beings we tend to forget things. The standings system allows leaders to delegate relationship management to diplomats, and the results of their work are immediately visible to all people affected.
Guild alliances is something I've long wished for in WOW. I think they solve the problem neatly: you can be a member of a small guild socially, but still be a member of a larger organisation for raidingpurposes.
In WoW, At least on RP realms - Alliances of a sort are quite common. Raid communities will often bring many people from different guilds together and are sometimes the most succesfull raiding groups on the server.
I never understood why you had to be in the same guild to raid. Guilds are for me a social network. The raid-group is independant of the guild.
In essence, a guild in WoW is a chat channel with a tabard and a bank slot. You don't need a guild to join a chat channel with your raiding group, and the bank slot can be managed externally.
So I don't need a "Raid Guild", but a "Raid Group with a channel and a web forum".
Xaylissa beat me to it. I too play mostly on an RP realm and it is the same for us too. It is very common to have raiding allliances where small guilds raid together. It would be nice if there was an in-game mechanism to facilitate this and make it easier to manage.
In a game such as WoW, alliances are a great way to be a member of a smaller and more intimate guild, and at the same time be able to engage in the more difficult raids.

There are problems however, in that more often than not, the raiding activities of the alliance makes the player less available for guild activities, such as the 5-man runs or helping other low level guildies with quests and levelling their toons.

I dont think there's a perfect way to set something in stone in that regard. Raiding and PvP requires a huge chunk of time where committment is concerned, and in my experience it ultimately requires more of a sacrifice than most casual gamers will be able to sustain over any period of time.

I think that expanding on the "friends list" feature would go farther than anything. It'd be nice to have seperate lists of people with whom you raid with, 5-man with, quest with, farm with...ect. The current limitations on the number of friends one can have is downright ridiculous.
I think it would work really well. i'm in a guild with just 2 other irl friends simply for chat and guild bank. however come wrath i hope to start raiding again but would like to whilst still being able to be in the other guild for chat.
shame though as if this is ever implemented it will be a while off.

Also on the last line you made a typo on "already" just thought i'd point that out :D
Does sound like Alliances to me. DAoC had them and so will WAR I beleive.

This would allow small 10 man guilds to share a chat channel and operate as a large entity.

We know that WAR is having "standard bearers" that are used to cap keeps and give a buff on the battlefield to your allies. 5 guilds in an alliance therefore might have tactical bonuses over the large guild in that they can carry more standards, and possibly even control more keeps.

It of course remains to be seen how this works in practice :P
I always liked the idea of providing different levels of social interaction in a video game.

- a game-maintained "neighborhood" composed of people who started the game the same day/week as you
- multiple levels of guild/squad association, some that create a larger whole, some that are just temporary associations of independent units
- a PvE RvR-like level independent of guild/realm tasks. Imagine WoW where you could "join up" with the Argent Dawn and help them clear/rebuild a city of undead, while your buddy "joins up" with the Cenarion Circle to do the same with a city of bugs.
That's what happens in FFXI and it works really well.

In my opinion the best systems are:

1) FFXI Linkshell system
2) EVE Online Corporation system
Echoing Gnomageddon above, that's exactly what we do. My small social RL friends guild got absorbed, well merged, with another guild for purposes of 25 man raiding. As a result we created our own private chat channel. And in WoW what really is the point of a guild other than chat, and now the bank system. It's worked out really well for us so far.
Although it has already been said, Alliances from DAOC/WAR accomplish this concept. Having a guild of guilds really helps keeping everyone on the same page even though certain groups of people might function better in smaller groups.
With the option of creating your own chat channels, addons that provide calendars and signups, and the internet, you can already do this in WoW. There's nothing stopping anyone from maintaining as many social and functional gaming circles as they are able to manage. I think most people just prefer to keep things simple.
I'd like to see the suggestion someone made regarding level-appropriate in-game organizations. You're in your regular (social) guild, and you're automatically in a group (an "army"?) that's leveled and geared for content. Kara is where you should be? You're in the Kara army. Sunwell? You're in the Sunwell army. Best of both worlds, imo.
I am sounding like a broken record here

Guild Wars Alliances

"Upon joining an alliance, a guild will gain access to a number of new features.

* Members of different guilds can communicate with each other through the alliance chat.
* Members of different guilds can access each others' guild halls.
* Members of all guilds can participate in alliance battles for Kurzick or Luxon faction. This can be traded in for alliance faction, which is used to control ownership of towns.
* A Kurzick player can get a guest invite into a Luxon guild, then do Alliance Battles for the Luxons, and vice versa. This will not give you Kurzick faction.
* If your alliance owns one of the capitals (House zu Heltzer or Cavalon), you can gain access to the elite missions Urgoz's Warren and The Deep for free (Kurzick and Luxon respectively). "

I give up...

Where the hell is Guild Wars 2 dammit!
Again: A Tale in the Desert. It's all about multiple guilds.

In City of Heroes and Lord of the Rings, I rely on my global channel. It is global broadcast chat, and usually off-topic, but it feels like my main guild.
I'm right in the same boat. Back in WoW, I stayed in the small guild several friends created for the social environment. I raided with an alliance of guilds, which worked out extremely well.

In GW, my guild chat is rarely used because the alliance chat is so busy.

In LOTRO, just like Zubon mentioned, I find the Global LFF (user-created) channel to be a pretty tight-knit community and able to get in to a lot of scenarios from that channel that I wouldn't from the normal in-game LFF PUG channel.

Not only to developers need to find a way to make guilds mean more than a mere common chat channel, but also expand upon the capabilities of guilds such as alliances and more.
People can group together and form temporary or more pseristent communities for many different reasons, but MMOs are still rather inflexible in this regard.

This was something I wrote about a while ago:
For almost two years of my WoW life, I raided as part of a multi-guild co-operative raid group called the Silvermoon Raid Alliance (at our height just prior to TBC, we were ranked 5th or so in overall progression on our server, with several bosses down in Naxx and only C'Thun left in AQ40). Though I am no longer with them, and though they are now a shell of our former selves, they still exist and still raid. They are one of the longest lived groups on the server at over three years old.

The upshot of all that is that guild alliances are possible in WoW, and can even be quite successful, though they are not common at the higher end of raiding.

Taekwandean, Silvermoon - US
A previous post of yours prompted us to comment on this exact issue in the past, in which we state that the single-guild-membership policy is simply bad for practical reasons. There's no compelling argument that only being able to be a member of one guild will somehow strengthen community - in many cases, this kind of membership cuts people off from a greater community, which is especially true of smaller guilds.
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