Mar 10, 2012

Posted by in Council Chambers | 0 Comments

Council Chambers: Lady R’s View of the Guild Summit

Council Chambers is all about the ins and outs of guild leadership in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Each week, we’ll look at running and managing a guild through good times, bad times and everything in between.

For all those who did not get a chance to watch the live streaming of BioWare’s Guild Summit, Reedyn and I here at Ask A Jedi will do our best to get you as much information as we can about the event itself, game updates, and some of the news to come out of the game.

While the Summit itself was designed for guild leaders, a lot of the content being discussed Tuesday concerned the big patch 1.2 update, and the content included in that.  There will be some significant updates and improvements to guilds, in particular the inclusion of guild banks, with other much-requested features coming in future patches.  It sounded like after guild banks, the number one feature guilds sought was the implementation of an in-game guild calendar, and the design teams said they’ll definitely be working on this for a future patch.  No dates yet, other than “Not 1.2”.  Other items such as being able to invite people to groups from the guild window, better guild navigation and features, and some sort of guild logo that players can wear or display were also mentioned.

A lot of the discussion also focused on the Legacy system – which probably merits its own entry, as it is very complex and includes an extensive list of new features.  The Legacy system will introduce multiple self-casting buffs, unlocking new species/class combinations, and then convenience features such as powerful gear for lower level alternate characters.

Finally, a significant amount of information was presented about some upcoming changes to PvP and PvE.  In PvP, two of the more noteworthy items were the removal of Ilum for an indeterminate amount of time as the world PvP is re-examined and repaired to work more closely in line with what the developers had initially intended, and to also address many of the issues and concerns brought about by the community in the last major patch.

In Operations and Flashpoints, there will be a new Operation with roughly the same number of bosses as current Operations, and with adjustments to difficulty levels coming across all Operations.  What is currently considered Normal Mode will become Story Mode, and is designed for the very casual players who may not be regular raiders but still want to see that aspect of the game’s story.  Gearing and progression will be largely moved to Hard Modes and Nightmare Modes, and the challenge of Nightmare Modes significantly increased to truly make these encounters…..well, nightmarish.  An additional Flashpoint that completes the Rakghoul story from Kaon Under Siege will also be implemented, allowing players to learn the ending of that event and also to gear up in a more challenging flashpoint for the end game crowd.

Guildy, But Not Guildy Enough

For my part, I found the Summit very information and helpful, but felt like it could have focused a bit more on the guild aspect more.  In some ways, while I had fun and learned a lot, it felt a bit more like a “1.2 Update” event rather than something specifically designed for guilds. The small size and one-on-one time with the development team was fantastic – so definitely far beyond what one could expect at a PAX-type event or a future BioCon (for which there were many enthusiastic demands).  However, the content felt much more like a reward to active and loyal guild leaders more than the opportunity to really meet and get feedback from guild leaders about what they need, what they like, what they do not like, and some of the guild-based reactions to potential features such as a guild leveling system.

In the future, I’d recommend additional aspects like breakout sessions with guild leaders, and perhaps more options to discuss actual guild issues – for instance, not only what are the game features people most want to see for guilds, but also some more community-building sort of things.  For instance, when the Guild Headquarters was closed in early January after launch, guild leaders were told this would be reintroduced – but no word followed on when, if that is still true, or what will happen to the former Guild Headquarters.

I also would have liked a better dialogue with some of the guild leaders on how many of the “down the road” features that guild leaders actually want.  For example, there was mention Tuesday of some sort of “guild progression”, which sounds an awful lot like guild leveling.  As we saw in the entry from two weeks ago, guild leveling is something that has a lot of strong emotions from the guild communities, both positive and negative.  While I was there as a fan site representative rather than a guild leader, my inner guild leader would have welcomed some sort of round-table with other guilds to discuss with the developers whether this is something the community wants and needs, or where we would like to see efforts placed in terms of supporting the guild.

So all in all, while the event was a fantastic opportunity to interact directly with the representatives from BioWare, meet a lot of other fantastic players and guild leaders, and learn a lot about some of the upcoming changes in patch 1.2, it also still didn’t feel quite as guild-centric as I had expected.  That said, people gave some fantastic feedback about all sorts of aspects of the game, and I fully expect the writers and developers to take that feedback into account as they continue building a bigger, better Old Republic for us all.

Kudos

I do have to applaud the initiative that the TOR team displayed with this event, reaching out to the community and setting up an event on this scale. It’s something that very few MMOs have done – in fact, the only one I am aware of offhand is EVE’s efforts to work with a player-driven council to get feedback and address community concerns.  So on that, well done!  Given this was the first of its kind, I doubt anyone expected it to be perfect – and I think there is room to improve if a second guild summit is held next year, with some more breakout sessions on features with guild leaders, so that it really can feel like a dynamic exchange – but even getting this much was head and shoulders above what many other games provide.

Got a question for Council Chambers?  Drop a line to Lady Republic at ladyoftherepublic@gmail.com or post a comment here, and you may see your guild questions answered in a future column!

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  1. Review of the Guild Summit | TORWars - [...] So jump on over to AAJ and have a look to read her entire write-up. It’s a nice piece, …

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