Aug 9, 2011

Posted by in Features | 13 Comments

United We Stand: A Rather Lofty Goal

United We Stand is an Ask A Jedi mini-series focusing on guilds, groups, and other communities in Star Wars: The Old Republic. By examining the communities that we form, we can create a stronger game for ourselves, build relationships that will last a lifetime, and perhaps even change the world itself.

Sometimes we forget that we are not the only one playing our game. Sometimes, it’s a story that we read alone, a task we do by ourselves. It’s easy to forget that around the world, millions of others just like us are having the same parallel experience. They are experiencing the same worlds, the same stories, and the same adventures without an effect on our own experience. But Star Wars: The Old Republic is different; it’s not something we can take on alone. Already the community is millions of players large, a small segment of that finding this website and maybe even this column, but all of them sure that this game is not one that they are to take on alone, but together.

All About Community

This article is about everyone who plays Star Wars: The Old Republic because this is a game that you do not play alone. Even if you do not plan to join a guild or group with other people, you will come in contact with other people and as hard as you might try, you will be unable to avoid becoming part of the larger community. Through this community, we will all meet amazing people that we will remember for the rest of our lives and share incredible experiences that will affect the very way we think about each other. This column is intended to prepare us for the communities that we build, improve our guilds and groups, and make a stronger community and a stronger game.

There’s a lot of ways that I propose we do this. For my part, I plan to bring ideas, theories, plans, and other things for us to think about through this column. I want to bring in interviews with interesting community members around the world and discuss the intricacies of the Star Wars: The Old Republic guild system. I want to have a great discussion about how awesomely cool the idea of ‘guild ships’ is and whether or not it will work and what it will mean. I want to bring in ideas and sources from the offline world and talk about all the cool stuff we can learn from those. You’d be surprised how much people have written about guilds, clans, and other online communities and all the awesome stuff that they have observed. For your part, I want you to bring me your stories, your experiences, and your antedotes. I want you to share with us what makes your little corner of Star Wars: The Old Republic special so that we all might learn to take this wonderful tool that BioWare is offering us and create something special for ourselves.

More Than A Game

I also want to ask that we do not think of this as just a game. How many of us have met someone online and become good friends with them? How many of us have talked about something not in the game with those friends? How many of us think of those friends first, and then the game? How many of you have met someone offline who you have met in an MMOG? Do not think of this game as not ‘real’ or ‘just a game’. If we do, we will devalue the people and the experiences that we have in Star Wars: The Old Republic and weaken the fun of the game. The interactions that we have with other players in the game are what make this game real; otherwise we’re just playing a single player game with no evidence that anyone else shares our experience.

Soon we will all face a choice, one of my favorite choices in a new game because it is so important and so subtle. Many of us, including me, are worried about what faction we will join, or what character class we will create. While these choices will affect your gameplay drastically, none of them nearly as much as the choice of what server you choose to play on. The first time you open an online game and you are presented with a server list is the single most important choice that you can make. Each server on that list offers an entirely different experience, each server holds an entirely different story. None of my history that I described above would have happened if I had chosen a different server on my first day of Star Wars: Jedi Academy, or my first log in of World of Warcraft. There is no way to prepare for this choice, each server will be filled with such wildly different people and wildly different experiences. I only hope that you and I can choose wisely, and begin an amazing story for ourselves and the people that we met.

Together, Onward

My point is that we need to work together, we need to build a strong community through strong, well-organized, and well-purposed guilds filled with strong players looking at each other not as rivals and adversaries (except those vile Sith scum) but as part of a larger community of an even larger game. That player that you do the Esseles with early on in the game may be someone you bond with, join a guild with, and are raiding Directive 7 with in the end game. Build relationships, build friendships, build stronger guilds, build a stronger community, build a stronger game. United we stand; we can create for ourselves something great.

  1. A great article. I have a question I have been bouncing around my head, but after reading your piece maybe you can give me your thoughts. What about the concept of crafting guilds? From what you have read, seen, etc on SWTOR do you see them feasible?

    • Well, your question is worth an article all within itself! There is so much to say and I plan to write about it in the future, but here is a sneak peek!

      Looking about on other MMO’s, only in EvE and Star Wars: Galaxies have I really seen them as feasible options.

      In the case of EVE, it’s because the economy is entirely player driven, everything is build by some player. Admittedly, I am not as familiar with EVE as I would like to be because whenever I try to understand it it just wants me want to shoot myself.

      In SWG, not only is the economy entirely player driven, but the items have a level of ‘quality’ to them depending on the resources used. One player’s crafted blaster will not be the same as another’s, depending on the resources used and the skill of the crafter and his tools.

      In more modern MMO’s, like SW:TOR and WoW, crafting has not had this level of uniqueness. In order to achieve that, crafting needs to be a sufficient lifestyle for a character and not just a supplement to flashpoints and operations.

      That doesn’t mean there is without hope, but it doesn’t mean it’s particularly hopeful. Skilled crafters will always be a valuable and sought after commodity, but most likely to supplement a guild and not the the central purpose to one.

      • This thought has been apparent for a long time since I first heard about the game. Having crafted items that require rare resources to make, actually produce powerful weapons. In games like wow crafted items are usually replace when you do some raiding.
        The only thing that I would like to see is the customization that was available in the start of SWG. Unique crafted items were so amazing to experience. They brought more to the table in a sense for the demand for a player economy.
        So many things to think about…

  2. I have to say thank you gentlemen for writing this article. I am hoping to use this to help convince a group of friends join the group I am already planning to play with on a PVP server. Here is hoping this can make them think past what they believe and come together.

    Here’s looking forward to sharing good stories with you and many others in the future of a game we all are anxiously awaiting. May we cross paths peacefully for a moment at least you Republic dogs.

  3. I really enjoyed this article. It also reminds me of the tough dilemna I am currently having. Like mentioned previously, I too have made some very good friends while playing WoW. While it started as just some random people I played with from time to time. I came to enjoy their company in my every day life whether I had logged in or not. I plan to play this game, but not sure if all those friends I made are willing to part with what they are comfortable with. I know a few who want to try it but don’t want to feel like they are letting down those they leave behind in Warcraft. Here is to hoping that this game proves to be the game changer that I believe it will be so that those friends I have made in other mmo’s will be willing to try the new craze. And the only way I see that we can make it this way is as you said, make a strong community from the start.

    • I’m actually having roughly the same problem, I hope that all of the friends I have made in WoW will be willing to join SW:TOR with me.

      The trick is to show that that this is more then a game, it’s a new experience and a chance to build more and even stronger friendships with others. Show them a love they can never destroy!

  4. coltijedi says:

    I love your website and i love your mini-series, and this article really spoke to me. I think i might start a guild now that i understand this more. I have always played the game for the game, but always naturally ended up grouping with others once we help each other. I hope to start this game out caring about the other players. And i just realized, rp guilds can be helpful to the community. They are very socializing and talk with other guilds more. Thanks for the help.

  5. SilverSage says:

    Whoa there, whooa…i just skimmed your comments and could not continue the full read, was almost to rich… then it started to feel like a rant and finally had a feeling like your recruiting… almost.

    Guilds should not be a big part of this game…SWTOR is why im playing…I want to be entertained by the guys who know how to entertain…you know the guys who created the game.

    Guilds are just players who have some agenda…who knows what, there is all diffrent flavors…groups short term are ok, real life friends are better for in game friends.

    Just remember this SWTOR is a new animal… lets not domesitcate it…by bringing in the old ways from the old games and guilds.

    Let it be a fresh game and stay wild… the game is more important then guilds…let everyone be supportive with each other…but be free to play how they want.

    Guilds have tendency to take away from the game and players get side tracked and next thing you know the guild is the game…umm wait..whuuut! i thought the the game was the game.

    I would kindly suggest that SWTOR focus on the storyline for future gamming into the next five years or so…and let the guild be a very small part of it as a whole.

    Guild ship nah… we need personal ships developed further…and so on, the game is the ultimate.

    • I’d have to disagree outright.

      The most important thing we can do in these games is explore the social dynamic and see where that takes us. The story will always be there, but weaving in social aspects like grouping is a key innovation and honestly, necessary for an MMO.

      Guilds are a big part of MMOs and need to be embraced by BioWare and players alike.

    • Hey Silversage,

      First I suggest that you finish reading the article, then I think that you’ll see the point is a quite a bit different then ‘we should bring in old ideas from old games’.

      The game is about the people you meet as well as the game itself, that’s why it’s an MMORPG and not KOTORIII. That’s why they have flashpoints and operations, groups and guilds, chat and emotes.

      When you finish the story, get to max level, for you the game may be done. But those who have joined the community will have infinite replay value.

      It sounds more like to me that you have just had a strange experience with guilds in the past, do you want to share that?

      • SilverSage says:

        HI TwinHits and all,

        I came back to revisit because I respect “Ask A Jedi” and I assume your a associate of this site and it’s genuine interest in this new game.

        Hopefully this SWTOR story will never be finished… if Bioware continues to due the excellent job they are doing right now.

        Listen, guilds are just a small part of the game, like there suppose to be.

        If you want to log in and go to your guild set-it-up, organize and do all the guild things…realistically (bottom line) what your trying to do is dictate to someone what is going to be done today and how you want them to play…to the point leaders and officers (elitism) are manipulating players so the hierarchy becomes lord over there minions…this is what some guilds do, it is a fact…its old school and has been going on a long time.

        Some guilds are not that extreme but it is basically always that type of enviroment and have those central tendency.

        As long as it light, social enjoyable expereince… I’m fine with that… thats all it should be.

        I suggest to all new players and players from KOTOR to be very careful who you want to have this gaming experince with.

        Most freindships are relativly shallow online… and if I may, I would suggest any new players have a real life friend, even Mom or Dad to join you…then you can wisely choose the new friends in game, with them.

        So there you have it… the SWTOR game itself… is what has the redemming value…guilds are just a small part of it…like crafting, space shooter, companions, and so on.

        By the way I like crafting, much more than guilds, all parts of the game have their degree of enjoyment to each individual player.

        Will guilds improve the world…that’s a stretch. 8)

        I enjoy your opinions and geniune interest in the new game… I sincerely hope it is all it can be…I for one, bought the preorder CE…and have great expectations… enjoy!

        • SilverSage says:

          …and just a quick note, if the folks from SWTOR Bioware, happen upon this topic.

          Please use descretion with when implementing ideas from WOW, I tried twice to play that game and was totally disenchanted with that game.

  6. In response to what you were asking for…

    As sad as many of my friends thought it at the time, it was through an MMO that I met my Wife! :)
    We Raided together on WoW and developed a friendship that went on to play together in different games and eventually meet up in person and the rest is, as they say, history.

    Nice post, some very true points there :)

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