Aug 23, 2011

Posted by in Features | 4 Comments

United We Stand: Broadly And Wisely

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.

Come to think of it, it really is a grand adventure that we are starting on. We have no idea what kinds of experiences we will have in SW:TOR, no idea what kind of people we will meet, or what kind feats we will accomplish. It’s not really very useful to look back at any other MMO experiences for this because we’re now older, more experienced, and, at a personal level, are approaching this game from a much different point of view. Because this is a grand adventure we must prepare, and we must prepare wisely. No where else is this more important than in preparing the most critical player construct in an MMO community. We must proceed from this point with a considerable amount of caution and wisdom if we wish to construct well organized guilds and maintain a strong player community.

Honestly, we do not know very much about what guilds are going to look like in this game or what kind of tools the game is going to provide us. Pretty much everything that we know is contained in this picture which I stole from the guilds page in the game systems section of the official website.

Taken from http://www.swtor.com/info/systems/guilds

Still, there are some useful things that we can gain from this nugget of knowledge, presuming that it is still in the game and will remain in the game through launch. This interface has something for automated recruiting where it appears that players can list themselves as looking for a guild and guilds can advertise themselves as looking for certain classes. This is awesome because it means that guilds do not necessarily need an out of game recruiting mechanism, like a website or forums, but it does not mean that guilds should lax and let the system do the work for you. As always, interviewing and referral are your best friends in finding quality guildmates.

Setting The Stage

The best thing that has happened to SW:TOR guilds so far is the Pre-Launch guild program. By allowing players to create their guilds and reserve names on the official website, guilds leaders are able to begin building their guilds with less worry about them falling apart before the game even launches. Efforts to recruit, advertise, and plan are backed by official recognition from the game which legitimizes guilds that are already preparing for launch. It also means that once the game starts, there will not be that awkward period with few to no well organized guilds for people to gravitate towards. Instead, there will be several established communities already in place when the game launches.

As of last week, guild testing has begun. BioWare knows the value of it’s guilds as pillars of the community and wants to give them the chance to get set up before the game launches. This will also encourage more players to join guilds, encourage leaders to organize their guilds better so that they might have a better chance of being picked for testing, and build stronger relationships between the members. It’s actually quite something that Bioware is putting such faith into their player made communities, and it’s because Bioware understands exactly how crucial these communities are.

This is important because guilds provide role models and goals for newer players. I’m sure that you have had similar experiences where you have seen a much higher level player and thought to yourself “Wow, I want to have gear like that!” or “Whoa, I can’t wait to have a speeder that big” or even “I can’t wait to be in a high level guild like she is!” Guilds provide something to aspire to, and not only to newer players, but to newer guilds as well. It’s little things like this that give guilds their power and make them worthy of respect.

Silence Is Golden

It’s good that we don’t know much about how the guild system in SW:TOR is going to work yet, and I hope that BioWare gives us a little more time before they reveal it. Guilds need to understand and respect their power and status in an MMO community and by not knowing how the interface is going to work means it is more likely that guilds will be more creative in how they present and organize themselves. We have to think broadly and wisely about our guilds, not only as a tool for progression and gear collection but also as a major force in the community and as role models for newer players. Guild members, what is your guild doing to prepare for the launch, and what creative and different things are you doing in your organization?

If you want a good example of some creative guild organization, check out this fantastic interview with the guild leader of The Third Faction from WoW-Insider.

Finally, follow me on Twitter at @TwinHits for related articles on guilds and other interesting tidbits!

  1. Solid post, I really enjoyed the article from WoW, if I had been on their server instead of Lightbringer (hard to change once you made friends) I might have not left

  2. Fun Fact: Apparently that screenshot is from a ninja update that no one noticed until it was posted here.

    • What’s weird about it is that even though those might be new UI panes… the graphics are from their “old” UI. Hrm… interesting. I don’t think they are new.

  3. It looks the same as it did since before E3. I wish the cache sites went further back, but Bing even shows them the same as of the 17th. Also the UI is not even the current UI based on what they showed us back in April for the new UI design.

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