Saturday, March 30, 2013

Guilds and Circles

A fun Saturday and a nice one. Got out early to deliver my girlfriend to a baby shower or birthday party...I am a little unclear but happy to have dodged the bullet of attendance that would have clarified. I hit up the gym and the Steam Store for the much acclaimed Bioshock Infinite.

I am taking a break to comment on the most recent Uplink Analysis, the question: What is the purpose of a guild in MMOs? 

It's a very simple question, but at its core the answer is not simple. Many people chimed in. The answers came in a few general flavors.
Social: Several members of the community see guilds as a social element primarily. A place to join with friends and like minded players and communicate while playing the game.
Goals: Another common answer given indicated that they see guilds as a system that organizes players with common goals so they can more effectively accomplish those goals and combine efforts to tackle the group content available in the game.
Activity: A great thread of answers suggest that guilds are there to expand the scope of the game by providing mentoring to new players and scheduling in game events that are not directly supported by the game's engine.
I am firmly in the Goals camp, at a very base level I see a guild as a business and I am an employee. Don't get me wrong, I am not all "srs" when I play, this is a game and it should be a leisure activity. I want to be part of a guild where I get along with the other active members primarily and worry less about each member's level of "commitment" or what have you. I like a goal orientated guild with a good social flavor. I respect an activity guild, but I don't think I would work well in one.

It looks like the Official response comes from David Bass this week and he reveals an additional social feature -- Circles. The idea is to provide additional community and social options to a player who may have more than one interest. Maybe you want to be a part of a hard core raiding guild, but you also are interesting in staying in touch with your friends who can't commit to that. You'll be able to create a circle and communicate with them for times when they want to run dungeons or PVP or do dailies. You're first thought may be, "Isn't that what friends lists are for?" So let's think of some more uses for this sort of social structure.
  • A circle could be created to talk about class mechanics for Stalkers. Build and rotation discussions and suggestions on gear and other class nuances.
  • A circle for helping new players, answering questions or offering assistance.
  • Circles for specific types of game play, team ups for resource farming, or PVP group queues, dungeon groups within the server.
  • Circles for finding RP opportunities.
  • A circle for guild alliances, or for guild leaders to communicate for coordinated events. 
  • Achievement hunters looking for specific events that may be spread out around the world and random in nature.
They feel like an advancement on the custom chat channel system you see in most games. They seem to provide more control and permanence. Obviously we'll have to wait and see what the suite of tools looks like, but it seems promising.

If you want to see the full article and David Bass' response you can check the official site.

If you can think of other good uses for "circles" or if you have different views on what a guild is for I'd love to hear about it.

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