Archive for the ‘Guilds’ Category

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Guildaholics Anonymous

September 16, 2008

Are you joining a guild in Warhammer Online? If not, are you worried you might be missing out on a meaty chunk of fun that guilds can provide?

If so, what’s your criteria for joining a guild? Maybe it’s just a small group of friends that you’ve gamed with before or you want to for the very first time. Maybe you’re continuing on with one of those mega-guilds that hop from MMO to MMO, laying their eggs and spawning new chapters of a guild that goes back to 1899 and Thomas Edison’s famous <Chess-Tastic!> chess guild.

Maybe you sought out a very specific type of guild. A guild that caters to your language or society, a guild of like-minded individuals who secretly sneak into zoos and toss pudding at penguins, or a guild that has set age limits. Perhaps you wanted a completely casual, carefree guild that lacked drama. Perhaps you simply could not enjoy the game unless you were in an ultra-hardcore raiding/PvP guild with a stricter schedule than NASA puts on their shuttle launches. What about guilds that are all about enforcing roleplay, family togetherness or griefing? Got all them, too.

Whatever guild you sought out (or are still seeking), they all have something in common — they offer you the chance to belong and to enhance your enjoyment of the game. There’s something so comforting about guild chat scrolling up your screen, or hearing familiar voices in vent, or seeing a guildie /cheer while you run by them in a zone. It’s comforting to know that if you need help or support or advice, you have the backing of a guild when you (hopefully) need it.

I’ve said in the past that I’m notoriously picky about guilds, and the reason why is that a MMO that I play guildless seems empty and pointless to me. A MMO where I’m part of half-hearted, mostly-silent, non-helpful guilds will see my cancelled subscription sooner rather than later. But a MMO where I find a great guild full of special friends, unique experiences and special memories is one I’ll play probably long past the expiration date.

I’ve been in guilds that have had application processes longer than my app to grad school. I’ve joined guilds on a whim, just because I’ve liked the name, and ended up making that my online home for years. In the end, only you can decide what’s the best guild mix for you, and nobody else — like all social circles, there’s a little something for everybody out there.

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A Place To Call Home

September 12, 2008

If you missed it yesterday — and with 50 blogs posting the same list, how could you? — Mythic released the initial server list for Warhammer Online (as well as GOA’s EU server list). Good stuff, standard stuff — you’ve got your Core servers, your Open servers, RP servers (which are basically Core with more people telling you to talk in character in general chat), and Open RP servers (which are basically people getting ganked mid-sentence while telling you to talk in character in general chat).

It’s interesting to note that the names seem much changed from the beta server names, so if your guild had planned on a certain server before yesterday, you may want to take another look at things.

In any case, guilds right now are huddling to plan their next move. Do they pick a server now, which most definitely will be completely full by the end of next week, so they can get it up and running on Sunday? Do they play “the waiting game” (which, according to Homer, sucks) and hold off until lower pop servers are launched mid- or late-week and then get in on the ground floor then?

For many people, myself included, this is a time of great uncertainty. There’s a lot standing between us and enjoying the game while secure in the knowledge that everything’s gone just right. There’s what guild you join, where the guild wants to call home, picking up the box copy of your game (or getting it in the mail) on time, putting in the right codes into your account manager, the stability of the game on the head start and launch days, getting out of the crowded newbie zone with your sanity intact, getting the guild in-game up and running, and getting all your guildies signed up. To say it’s a bit hectic is to say that Martha Stewart is a bit anal-retentive.

So as much as I’m incredibly excited about Sunday, now more than ever the notion of launching into WAR gives me a stomach full of snotlings. That came out grosser than I’d hoped. I’m not exactly sure what the next week will entail, but I’ll be on the front lines, dying for a cause that probably has to do with elves.

Seriously, we’d have world peace RIGHT NOW if it wasn’t for those smarmy Vulcans.

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On Guilds

September 1, 2008

If anything’s made me nervous about my initial days in Warhammer Online, it’s the guild situation.

Lots has been made about how important guilds are to WAR, and how important — and more enriching — it will be for you to join a guild instead of going solo from 1-40 and beyond. Let’s hop past that and look at Syp’s guild situation.

First of all, big big *thank you* to all of the people who dropped me a line when I last asked for good guild suggestions. I’ve checked out a half-dozen great guilds and bookmarked them for safe keeping. However, right now I’m being loyal to a few friends and am going to test out guilds they picked for launch day.

On the Destruction side of things, Dame Snafzg has reteamed up with a bunch of old DAOC buddies to form Enmity. I don’t know them very well, and they are leaning toward an open RvR server (yechh), but the chance to run around with Snaffy and blog about how many terrific ways he gets himself killed is a hard one to pass up. I’ll probably make either a Magus, Squig Herder or Marauder at launch.

My main will probably be Order, however. Two friends from WoW, Moxie and Mike, are making the defection over with me, and I’d be remiss not to team up with them for the third MMO so far (we first met in LOTRO). Over the past month we’ve “sampled” a number of promising-looking guilds, trying to find that right mix of friendly, casual, mature and fun. The Mistwalker’s (sic) was quite welcoming and looks to have what we need in spades.

Still, I feel uneasy. Partially because I miss my guildies from WoW — not the game so much, but the guild members who kept me interested in that title long past its expiration date. I’m sad that many of them seem to be sticking with it instead of trying WAR out, but who knows… maybe that will all change in a few months. Logging in was a lot like TV’s Cheers… I’d instantly see about 10 “SYP!” yells across guild chat, and I couldn’t help but smile and then /gkick someone because I’m a heartless officer in need of a good power trip.

It’s also partially because I hate starting over in guilds. If you can’t tell by now, I’m a bit of a smartas…terisk, especially in guild chat. But when I join a new guild, I feel as though I need to mind my manners, pay my polite dues, and become an accepted enough staple before unleashing random penguin ballads in the middle of guild raids. Joining new guilds is essentially undergoing a testing process for a whole batch of new friends, and it can be an exhausting, somewhat terrifying social experience. You don’t know if these people get your humor, you don’t know who’s the ego-maniac who needs validation when they get good loot drops, and you are clueless as to the real power structure and relationships. You are, really, an outsider that everyone looks at warily and makes an unannounced judgment upon by the end of the first or second week.

So I don’t know what the future holds with either of these guilds, but I’m willing to give them a good shot. If not, the hunt will begin. It would just be a lot easier all around if the first time’s the charm.

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Random Thoughts From A Stuffy Nose

August 25, 2008

*blows nose for the tenth time into a kleenex*

So… you know how the other day I was musing comically about “skipping” my first day of class for this semester to hit Warhammer Online’s head start date? I wasn’t really serious, of course, but irony likes to take a chunk out of my butt now and then even so. I called the seminary today to find out where my booklist was — full of enormous chunks of paper that could most definitely kill a man if they were flung with any serious force — and the registar lets it slip (wait for it) that classes start next Tuesday.

*blink* As in, September 2nd. This was, I told her, good information to know, as I would’ve probably skipped my first two weeks of classes and not even known about it. You know how you have those dreams about high school or college classes that you somehow skipped and it’s finals day and you don’t remember ever going to that class? I think I almost had the real life version, today.

Anyway…

Mark Jacobs came back with even more words, including feisty adjectives, detailing some of the problems and glitches of the preview weekend. I kind of admire him for this, in that he didn’t spend much time tooting Mythic’s horn (which, of course, makes a “waaagh!” sound), even though in my opinion they did far more right than wrong for this event. He just launches into the identified problems and how they’re looking at fixing them. One BIG little note that he made looks to correct one of my concerns of the game: they’re looking to implement a 0.3 second queue timer so that after you hit a first skill, you can queue up a second skill shortly thereafter. It should make combos and skill chains easier to pull off, and I appreciate that. I always liked how City of Heroes would let you queue up a second skill while your first one was going off.

There’s just a crapton of new info out there, and even though we’re weeks yet from release, you could probably dive into the new databases and wikis and forums and theorycrafters to min/max your WAR experience before you ever touch foot in the game. You can spoil huge chunks of the Tome of Knowledge unlocks, experience other people’s gameplay vicariously through videos, and come up with a streamlined power leveling path to 40. I’m sure there are people out there doing all that, and more.

Me? I’m okay with a short WAR break here. Ever since getting into beta, I’ve put up a shield around my gameplay experience that’s limited me to enjoying A B and C, but not D-Z. I don’t care whether or not my first week is perfectly planned so that I get the jump on everyone else and dominate scenarios, I just want to be able to slowly enjoy the game, squeeze out all of the enjoyment in each zone, and go at my own pace. I also realized that over the past couple months, I’ve really weaned myself from my daily necessity (addiction?) to logging into a MMO for my gameplay downtime (fix?). It’s pretty nice to not feel pressured to play every night, but to enjoy a wider assortment of activities for my evening hours. And it’s going to help over the next couple weeks when I really won’t be able to play, even if I had the time.

Finally, I have a small request to make — a couple friends and I are still feeling out options for a good Order (Core ruleset) server. We’ve found a couple promising guilds, but we’re not quite sure about the fit yet. I’m insanely pickly when it comes to guilds, because I know from experience that if I don’t fall in with the right sort of people and structure, it just kills the gameplay for me. I need a guild that has a great sense of humor, that isn’t uptight, yet is structured and led and motivated. Mature personalities/older gamers always a plus, and somewhere between a level of “just six guys” and “five MILLION guildies!” would be great. If you’re in such a guild or know of one, please point me in that direction. It’d be great to check out some more guilds while we’re waiting for launch!

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New Car Smell

July 30, 2008

There’s a singular joy in newness that is hard to express and impossible to recapture: your first kiss, when you unpack a brand-new computer, the first day of school, or the first time you step into a new MMO. Many people fall in love with those moments and spend the rest of their lives fruitlessly pursuing or trying to recreate them. I’m more of a realist — I know the moment’s going to go away, so I just try to make it last as long as possible.

As an experienced MMO player, that can be difficult. Even if it’s a brand-new game to us, we still know enough about the genre to run down a preordained checklist and hit the ground running. Check UI… make sure hotkeys are correctly bound… jump a few times… speed through opening quests to get out of the newbie zone… start pushing hard to get up in levels and gears in order to keep pace with everyone else. We do that, and what little newness there was to be enjoyed is suddenly cast aside, forever.

Not me, not this time. Even in beta, I’m holding back from experiencing a lot of things, and when release finally hits, you won’t find me at level 10 immediately. I’m going to be the guy soaking in the quest text, exploring menu options, poking around newbie zones, and seeing what the Tome has to say about everything. I love the new car smell of a MMO, and since we’re all going to be level 40 eventually, why rush the first day?

Unfortunately, some people won’t have a choice but to rush and spoil a bit of the newness — here I’m talking about guilds. In LOTRO, I signed up with a large guild that was organized like a football team on Superbowl day to get in the game, kill fast to get the cash, and rush to a major city in order to form the guild proper. The poor officers couldn’t enjoy the luxury of first day madness because they had a Duty to perform. And even after the guild was formed, the rest of the day was spent signing up guildmate after guildmate until it was launch day plus two and the officers could finally, you know, play the game.

Since then, I’ve had the mindset that all MMOs should let guilds organize and form from the main menu, much like the character creation screen. There’s real excuse to make a handful of people jump through hoops and ruin their first day experience just trying to pull a guild together. I don’t know how it’ll be in WAR — it might be a lot easier than I think, but it’s still going to be major stress on tons of GMs and officers who want to solidify power and structure before spending any time on themselves.

As the day approaches, I’d encourage you to resist the urge to join the surging pack of speedy levelers, like the main mob of a marathon. Level 40 will be there, whether you hit it in a month or in a year, but your first day… man, it’s something you’ll always look back on wistfully and wish you could experience just one more time.

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The Guild Swiss Army Knife

July 29, 2008

Did you ever get a Swiss army knife as a kid? It was perhaps one of my greatest pleasures, to receive one of these doohickies during a summer vacation to Florida. I was salivating over getting one of these multi-purpose knives for months (The Simpsons had an episode where Bart shared my envy, and then they ended up abandoned at sea) — you got a little of everything in one neat package. Three blades, saw, scissors, toothpick, corkscrew (because a lot of kids need to open wine), an awl (candidate for most useless tool ever), screwdriver and so on. My delight in finally getting the knife ended about ten minutes later when my mom took it away after my brother said I threatened him with the corkscrew.

I did, but really — how much damage can I do with a corkscrew in a limited time frame?

We’ve been hearing just awesome things about the Swiss army knife of guild tools that Mythic is handing each and every band of brothers that strides into WAR and needs a strong drink of wine. Acquaint yourself with the features on the Herald and in this post (with follow-up commentary on OoD), then head on back here.

While these tools, this array of blades and saws and awls, might seem pretty common-sense to your average person, the shameful part is that most other MMOs don’t have all these. Perhaps they just have a blade, or a couple other useful appendages, but that’s it. It’s like MMOs acknowledge that guilds are a necessary evil and then the devs do the bare minimum to get them organized before abandoning guild features to the Stygian abyss.

WoW is a perfect example of this — the world’s most popular MMO, and it arms guilds with almost nothing in terms of tools and organizational features. The basic game lets you form a guild, organize ranks, access a guild bank, and have a message of the day. Um… whee. It’s so bad that modders have done a thriving business providing what should be standard tools — like guild calendars! — into that damning gap.

I’m not planning on running a guild in WAR, but I will be part of one, and potential guild leaders have to be just wiggling all over in delight when they read this sort of stuff. Let’s go down the list, shall we?

  • Guild Levels – Through guild experience (GXP), members can help to level up their guild from 1 to 40, just like a player! Each level comes with new rewards that benefit the guild entire.
  • Guild Experience Points – GXP is earned by doing pretty much what you’ll already be doing: fighting, questing, scenarioing, PQing and so on. You can even get GXP bonuses by holding battlefield objectives. Obviously, this system of guild leveling seems to favor large guilds (more players should = more GXP coming in), but Mythic says “not necessarily.”
  • Message of the Day – The first thing any guildie should read when logging in, and a standard feature in many MMOs.
  • Guild Rewards – Tactics, standards, standard tactics, cloaks, heraldry, guild vault, guild auctions, trophy slot and trophies, Tome unlocks, tactic points. These are the sort of things that will get a guild excited to advance together, as a group entire!
  • Guild News – Find out what’s happened since you last logged in: guildies leveling up, the guild leveling up, guild events, people joining and leaving, etc.
  • Guild Website/E-Mail – Good stuff to know.
  • About Us – A great place to put your guild mission statement, along with any other vital info (like vent login stuff).
  • Guild Calendar – The lynchpin of organized guild events. Want to throw together a Keep raid group? Perhaps a dungeon run or a silly mass chicken parade? Here you go. It’ll allow for guildies to sign up for various events and to see what you’ve done in the past.
  • Roster – The roster shows the entire crew of your guild: name, rank/career, title and status. Good way to get a quick overview of who’s who, and who’s online
  • Alliance – The alliance bottom tab works similar to the roster, only in this case it shows the other guilds you’ve allied with. Alliances are key for the survival of small guilds in a big guild world — you can keep the guild as exclusive as you like, but when you need a larger body of people to help put on an event, you can contact your alliance guilds for support!
  • Standard – We’ve heard a lot about heraldry and standards over the past couple months, and this is the tab that lets the guild master fiddle with the look and colors of the banner you plant on the field (along with your cloaks). Each heraldry will be unique and lock out any other guild from making the same one.
  • Admin – The final big bucket o’ tools that guild leaders and officers can use to do various functions, such as set up permissions, title names, calendar events and so on.

I feel these features give players even more incentive to be part of a guild, which is definitely a good thing in the WAR environment. Even if it’s just a handful of friends with you, guilds are still worth forming and leveling up!

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LF Guild – Long Walks On Beach A Must

July 28, 2008

No, I’m not actually actively hunting for a guild at the moment — too much is up in the air with friends to commit right now — but if I was, here’s what is always most important to me in any MMO:

  1. A guild that knows the value of maturity. I’m not necessarily saying “adults only”, as teens or younger can be quite mature MMO players, but that the attitude of most of the guildies skews to being respectful of each other, that swearing in guild chat is kept to a minimum, and that offensive slurs and stereotypes are left at the door.
  2. A guild that embraces the concept of fun. This nixes, for me, ultra-hardcore guilds that are so hell-bent on being the Best that they stress their guild mates out by demanding perfection, pouncing on every mistake and error and missed raiding time. I need a guild that does silly things, that is forgiving after a wipe (especially when it’s my fault, which we’ll just assume is all of the time), that puts on fun events for fun’s sake, and that jokes around with each other a lot.
  3. A guild that builds each other up, doesn’t get cliquish or elitist, and that basically becomes a surrogate online family.
  4. A guild with a good name that I’m not embarrassed to display below my character’s forever.
  5. A guild with strong, central leadership that is accessible yet firm, that has a vision for the guild and sticks with it.
  6. A guild with great officers that know their stuff and don’t abuse their power (as I am wont to do whenever I’m handed an electric monkey).
  7. A guild that knows how to handle beggers, whiners and grumpy Guses.
  8. It’s a plus if it’s a guild that has friends from previous MMOs I’ve played.

I’m sure there are more, and all of this is hard to specifically define, other than “I know it when I see it.” So what are your guild requirements?

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