Thursday, January 29, 2009

An MMO Idea: Fellowship Benefits

Shouldn't loyalty be rewarded?

If you've spent any length of time in
MMOs such as World of Warcraft, you've met the people that once they've obtained what they want from the hardest instance your guild can conquer, they /gquit and join a guild further up the chain. Now I won't go into the subject of whether or not this type of behavior is "right" or "wrong", but rather or not should an MMO developer reward someone the longer they stay in a guild.

Here is my idea.

To put it very simply, have a brand new
NPC be available near where you purchase a guild tabard and start a guild charter. This NPC will sell special "pets", patterns, and other cosmetic items as a reward for players that have remained in a guild for an X amount of time. The longer you stay, the more rewards you can purchase. I was even considering the idea that after a certain amount of time you can get special "buffs" that you could use perhaps once an hour.

Now I'm not certain what type of buff this would be. Obviously it would have to be to the extent it wouldn't break the game in any way, just be an added benefit for not switching guilds constantly.

So today's discussion is this. Should developers reward players for being loyal to their guild and not switching, or should this fall under the actual guild leaders to try and maintain loyalty? Express your opinion about the whole "I got what I wanted and now I'm gone" attitude.

Happy hunting!


  1. Let's be honest: the only guilds "hurt" by this are the hardcore types. These same guilds are usually created by the same players who tire of hopping and decide they Know It All and can Do It Better. Then they're actually surprised to have people hop away from them when they get what they want...

    If you're not in a "hardcore" guild chasing e-peen achievement after e-peen achievement, then what exactly has your guild lost when an achievement chaser hops from your guild to another? He wasn't a match anyway, better to let him go.

    It's the developer's job to provide the world and a social framework. It's up to us to do the rest. We can't choose our families in life, but we certainly can in games. And everyone plays the same game for many different reasons, sooner or later we're all going to meet people playing for entirely different reasons, and we may just meet them in the same guild.

    Put the shoes on the other foot: You research a guild on the forums, or perhaps group with the leader or officers and have a great time. You join the guild only to find out it is totally not a match for you. Do you want to have the developers lock you into staying there?

    Rather than focus on players guild-hopping, a more interesting side-question to this is: What *guilds?* And what do they have the potential to become? What perks could developers add to their gaming and social infrastructures to allow them to become more than simply a chat channel and (if your MMO has guild housing) an extra bind point?

  2. Whoops, too much editing on my part...

    That first question was supposed to read: What are guilds currently?

  3. Agreed with Scott.
    Look at EQ2. One of the few things this game does right is guilds.
    EQ2 is the ultimate "social" game as well thanks to features like Guild Points, which allow you to buy goodies in towns (sparking a "work together" mentality), mentoring to allow players to team even when out leveled..
    Wish it just looked better and ran better (performance has improved I heard, but I still must turn off shadows to get 30+ frames)


  4. I do agree with you except for one point that only "hardcore" guilds suffer when someone leaves in that fashion. While it's true the guild may be better off without the vagabond, guild leaders often times feel stressed by this type of action.

    That player that just left took gear that could have went to a player that wouldn't leave the guild, and the steps required for that guild to proceed to harder, more difficult instances has been halted. Even if it's just by a small amount, I know my previous guild leader's eye would twitch whenever someone left after getting what they wanted.

    Even if the guild isn't hardcore, most guilds still want to raid. Even if it's casual raiding, people still want to be able to experience these high level instances.

    Again, I agree with you when you said it's better to let them go. However this idea isn't a lock to remain in the guild, just a benefit if you do *albeit a small one*

  5. I also don't think it should be rewarded in game.

    But I do think this is a great concept for guild leaders themselves to consider. Give out little presents to your loyal, long standing members! Show them that they are appreciated.

    For example, we had the idea to give out Mechanical Yetis or Squirrels or soemthing and a few free repairs to our raiders for putting up with the Great Laggramas for those couple of weeks. They didn't refuse to raid, even though they knew we'd probably call it early.

  6. @Danshir: Ah but see what your reply just did? Your original article read (well, considering I'd just woken up and my coffee wasn't done yet) more along the lines of social factors but now the WoW influence comes out: The Guild-Hopper Stole "OUR" Gear!

    That's one of many intrinsic problems with building such a gear-centric game. When every aspect of the game promotes selfishness, we just have to deal with it.

    Does "loyalty" have anything whatsoever to do with the selfishness of the player or of the guild?

    What if I was in your guild, got all the end-game gear but then said "hey, I'm burned out" or "hey, I have some Real Life issues" or whatever, and I'm away from the game for weeks or even months. Either way "the guild's gear" can't be used because I'm not there, but I was "loyal" and stayed in the guild.

    For the guild, the end result is the same: you don't have access to my... err... "your" gear.

  7. Loyalty is something that has never been rewarded. Although I agree with Scott in some parts, it would be nice to gain some benefit from sticking with your guild. Instead of gaining items, why not have a ranking system that levels you up the more you help the guild out? At the moment I think the guild ranks in WoW are adjusted by the Guild Leader. It would be nice it they were something you actually had to earn. For example every time you participate in a guild raid, you gain a point toward your next guild rank. Even the Guild Leader would have a rank. If you really wanted, you could even have purchasable items that required certain guild ranks.

    I would have loved something like this in Guild Wars, where you level up your rank from playing guild vs guild battles.

  8. "..What if I was in your guild, got all the end-game gear but then said "hey, I'm burned out" or "hey, I have some Real Life issues" or whatever, and I'm away from the game"

    This is an entirely different scenario. While it may seem the same due to the "items" no longer benefiting the guild as a whole, when someone simply takes what they want and splits, there is a sense of dishonesty and somewhat betrayal.

    The guild works together as a whole to overcome a challenge *in this case, a Raid.*and together as a team they conquer it and receive the spoils of war. In this time frame, more and more the guild resembles in most cases a close knit community.

    In your scenario, while the items are going "away", you yourself are not slapping your team mates in the face. Your not going to be playing due to reasons that most "normal" people would understand and would bare no misgivings.

    Here is an example of what I'm talking about, and it's a true story.

    We had a Rogue in my old guild, The Edge of Dawn, who had got one of the scrolled in Molten core needed for Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker. After some time the other scroll dropped and we automatically gave it to him.

    We (The entire guild) then went about our way helping him forge it. Most of the guild spent money, farmed thorium/arcane crystals, and all the other requirements. Once we got it all, we did the final fight and he got the sword.

    The next day he went daggers and never used the Thunderfury except during the first day.

    It's not the loss of the items in the guild that is the true concern *and I'm sorry it seemed that way in my previous post, I was rushing as I needed to go to work*, but the feeling and act of being somehow betrayed.

    At least, that's how I would feel. Even though we disagree, I like your argument =). Well, I like any intelligent argument..which this is.

  9. I can see the frustration in your example, but on the other hand I have to hope you learned a lesson from that and stop treating people like Rock Stars!

    If a lot of people dedicate that much energy for one person's (virtual) material gain in a video game, I can't help but say they had it coming when it backfires. And yes, I've had it happen to me too, so I can relate. But I learned from it.

    Loyalty, Betrayal... those are all social aspects so I'm right back to my original point and tangent: Developers don't need to interfere with our social habits, but they (the industry as a whole) needs to examine how to encourage and increase social opportunities, and expand upon the "guild" concept as well. For all the emphasis and importance we place on guilds, the in-game guild features are still extremely primitive. The "perks" or "ranks" you guys have mentioned could easily be a guild reward feature for example.


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