Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dream features: More guild functionality

Continueing my series of features I'd like to see in World of Warcraft, I'd like to quote a letter from one of my readers:
"Every MMORPG game I know of has guilds and tools for handling groups of players. Usually a guild is just a list of players with a common chat and little more. Probably an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channel has more features.

I wonder why Dev's never tried to really expand the concept and capitalise on the social aspect of MMO's. Especially nowadays with social networks in so high consideration, I would tend to think that many concept could be easily ported inside a game."
World of Warcraft is pretty much rock bottom in guild features, many other games have a lot more features in this area. So what guild features would be nice to see in WoW?

One interesting thing that Everquest 2 pioneered was more guild support on the game website. You log on with your account name and password on the game's website, and you get access to the guild roster, including seeing for example your guild member's tradeskill recipes. That place could have a guild event calendar, and even a forum for your guild. Blizzard's Armory showed that it is possible to extract information from the game to a website, but instead of making it available to all, this information might be better used for guild support and limited to guild members. Of course the better organized guilds have their own websites with forums, event calendars, and rosters, but support from Blizzard here would make things a lot easier and improve usage.

Another interesting concept already present in EQ2, but also to be found in LotRO, is some sort of guild rank, based on how long a guild stays together and how many players they have. That information could again be listed on the game's website, sorted by server, showing who are the established guilds on a server, and making finding a guild easier. Ideally a player would get some sort of advantage out of his participation to that rank, so if you stayed loyal to a good guild for a long time, you'd get something like a title to display.

One thing frequently proposed is a guild bank, but I'd like to take that concept further. The problem with a "bank" is that you'll probably not want to enable everyone to take whatever he wants without limits, allowing people to join just to rob the bank and leave. So why not have some sort of guild vendors, where items are accessible for everyone in the guild, but at a cost. That would enable for example guild crafters offering their wares to other guild members at lower price and without both having to be on at the same time.

World of Warcraft isn't a good game for that, but several games have guild housing, and some way of guild members to work together to contribute to that guild headquarter. Prime example would be City of Heroes / Villains, where guilds can build a base, staff it with different rooms and features plus defence hardware, and then run PvP raids against enemy guild bases, announced on some sort of calendar, so that both attackers and defenders show up. More peaceful games, e.g. A Tale in the Desert, have other guild projects where everyone in the guild can contribute towards a greater good. That gives guilds a purpose beyond just going raiding.

I'm not sure whether offering an in-game DKP system for guilds would be a good idea. Personally I'd favor a zero-sum system, and think that would be easy enough to implement in-game. But there are many differnt DKP systems around, and not all guilds might want to use the same system, as different systems tend to favor different people.

What other guild features would you like to see in World of Warcraft?

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