Aug 18, 2011

Posted by in All The Galaxy's A Stage | 0 Comments

All The Galaxy’s A Stage: To Guild Or Not To Guild…

All The Galaxy’s A Stage is a regular column at Ask A Jedi with some lofty, creative goals.  On one hand, we will be discussing and exploring meaningful topics to support the role-play experience and community.  On the other hand, we also want to introduce the casual Role-Player to the writing-acting experience that can add so much more to an MMORPG like Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Share your perspectives and experience as we co-create magical story in that galaxy far, far away!

To guild or not to guild… that is the question.

If you’re a frequent visitor of the official SW:TOR website you’ve likely visited Guild HQ at some point.  Not only is BioWare to be commended for their attention to such a detail pre-launch, but the manner in which they’ve prepared for pre-launch guilds really has impressed me.

When Guild HQ was announced I was also pleased to see RP guilds being taken seriously.  Not only is there a big button for RP Guilds but the last time I looked there were 9,454 RP guilds registered!  Given a total of 54,338 guilds that equates to 17.4% of all registered guilds at the time of writing focused on RP.  Assuming a minimum of 5 players per guild that means at least 10,000 RPers will be in the game.  I suspect that only the truly hardcore are visiting the official forums right now so the total number of RPers in SWTOR post launch should (in my gross estimation) be in the hundreds of thousands!  Not bad for one of the more fringe playstyles, eh?

Join our RP Guild! We haz cookies!

So, why do players join RP guilds?  Likely reasons might have something to do with mutual interests, a common vision for story and how we interpret Star Wars lore.  Yet I know from experience that not every Role-Player will join a RP guild.  There are many great RPers that frequent various RP forums and thousands are already enjoying some Play by Play action ahead of launch.  With 361,957 posts (at the time of writing) in the official SW:TOR Roleplay and Play by Post forum there’s clear evidence that not all RP activity is related to RP guilds.

There is creative freedom for a RPer being independent from a guild and the good news is that, in general, RPers don’t RP with people just because they’re in a guild.  And even players new to RP can join an RP community like swtor-rp and be certain to find others to interact with.  In short, you don’t necessarily have to a RP guild to get your RP on.

However, RP guilds do offer advantages.  For a new player a RP guild can help with ideas around refining their character and getting involved in RP, gaining the benefit of shared and dedicated experience from veterans in the community.  And most significantly, to my mind, many RP guilds will put on story arcs that run over months and years (sometimes called metastory).  This will give players a chance to get involved without having to search high and low for story, not to mention to build rapport with others that they know and trust.

Some players like to RP independently, and many others like the idea of finding a group of like-minded people that have mutual interests and a common vision for story.  In my opinion, finding the right RP guild is an important decision, particularly to a player new to RP.  I would like to offer the following questions for your consideration if you’re considering joining a RP guild:

Does the Guild inspire me in any way? 

  • This is one of those x-factor questions.  You’ll know it when you find it.
  • My advice is to keep looking until you discover a guild that inspires you.

Does the Guild have any publicly viewable roleplay that I can read?

  • This will give you a feel for their RP style.  Some guilds have preferences around the quality of writing, how posts are formatted, as well as adherence to Star Wars canon.
  • If you prefer to write in first person narrative you might want to make sure you’re comfortable RPing in a guild that emphasizes writing in the third-person.
  • And not all Jedi guilds will welcome the initiate or padawan that’s been practicing Juyo for the past 10 years

Can I see my character fitting in with the Guild’s premise or story?  Does my character share the same or similar goals as the Guild’s IC organization?

  • Playing a honourable, justice seeking Jedi might not fly in the Smugglers of Nar Shadaa RP Guild.

How might my character come to join this group IC?

  • This can be a great question to help flesh out a character’s background as well.
  • Expect RP guilds that are serious about their story to want you to answer this question.  In my experience you’ll look good if you’re proactive in this regard.
  • Our Guild has gone so far as to ask applicants to RP through joining the organization IC as a part of the application process.

How active is the Guild?  How active are the officers or leaders of the Guild? 

  • This might be tricky to determine before game launch, but an active Guild leadership is in my experience a good indicator.
  • If the leadership are actively supporting and role-playing in the guild before launch they’re likely to continue that sort of behaviour following launch.  Past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour.

What can you learn about the Guild from those applications that were accepted and those that were declined?  How was the application process handled?  What questions were asked?  How respectfully were applicants turned away?

  • If they have an application process take a look at their application archives.
  • The idea of an application process for a RP guild is about promoting quality and fit, over quantity.  Hundreds of members in a RP guild is not necessarily a good thing.

If they don’t have an application process and accept anyone that applies – how does that make you feel? 

  • Quantity does not equate to quality in RP Guilds.

Does their guild charter (or other documented set of expectations and/or rules) resonate with you OOC?

  • Rules of engagement are often a good thing.

In the next column I will introduce a new monthly highlight of RP community efforts called RP Tracker.  Until then, please comment below and share your thoughts around RP guilds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *