This image isn’t directly related, but it looks cool doesn’t it?
The topic has been tackled many a time before, but I figure it is worth mentioning once more. That said, let’s take a look at guilds. In Champions and City Of Heroes they are Super Groups. In some games they were called clans, EVE called them corps, but the most universal term we use are guilds. While the power a guild could have varied, they all still hold true to the same concept. In Age of Conan it allowed to be a collection of people creating a keep. The “City Of” games, as well as EQ2 gave you the option to create teleporters to save you some trouble in transit; For a fair number of F2P titles, it was just another contacts list to keep track of, while in EVE it opened up new opportunities in both trade and conquest. Not only that, without an official guild system people still tried to create their own makeshift communities in games, like in Runescape, and even Diablo 2 (Though the quality of the latter was very, very low). Of course, if you wanted you could go farther to apply this to real life as we have towns, cities, and government. There is nothing particularly new about guilds culturally, no.
But that’s not to say there is nothing interesting about it, quite the contrary. It’s said quite often that if you want to better dedicate to yourself to a game, you join a guild. In the case of EVE, it’s claimed to be the only viable way to play. But this is also a time where solo play has grown more prevalent. In fact, most of the “executive” gamers that review MMOs are rarely associated with a guild. We go into these games alone for the most part as we make our observations. Though, it’s also worth noting that for a long time many of those folks had horrible retention span. But now is a time of flux, as it is made clear Tobold is mostly a WoW guy. Meanwhile, Syncaine is sticking with DarkFall; though rumor has it is no longer the case, the Virgin Worlds crew, along with what I have named: Virgin Worlds Europe ( Van Hemlock and the Yellow Spandex guys) are all playing LOTRO. While these folk do not have a guild per se, they do have a static group. And let’s not forget Karen who runs Revelry and Honor back at EQ2.
A cohort of mine once told me a long time ago in City of Heroes that he thought guilds were a bad idea. He reasoned with me, “MMOs are social games, and creating guilds just divides us.” The statement reeked of a philosophical debate better argued out by politicians; Though I had to admit, he had something of a point. Guild drama had torn people apart, and while some had stayed in their respective game because guilds moved, people have also moved because the guild wanted to. However my friend forgot the nuances of the situation. That wasn’t at the heart of a guild, but ultimately problems with the people. In the end Guilds are just a tag and some tool sets that better allow us to work together. I can’t imagine EVE would be very fun without guilds, and large raid content would be thoroughly trashed without guilds to provide sufficient structure. I can’t imagine life without guilds, but I imagine there must be flaws. I’m sure if they were so great, I would have found my way into a good one by now. Are you a solo player? Is it by choice? If you’ve got a guild, what are the pros and cons? Do you see any barriers to joining a guild?