About two days ago we finally hear on the official Guild Wars 2 forums a topic that we were never sure was even being discussed: Guild Halls. We get to have an open door discussion about what guild halls should be if they were to be part of Guild Wars 2. This is a discussion that could potentially decide the future of how the game is developed through story, in PvE content, PvP content and World versus World content.
Needless to say but this is huge for Guild Wars 2. That is why we need to talk about it.
The Guild in Guild Wars
Back in the original Guild Wars people knew from the get go what Guild Wars was about. It was in the name: the battle of guilds to see who could come out the best among friends, among fierce competitors and even into the tournament circuits. Things got a bit more confused for PvP in Factions but at the core the game was about organizing eight people together to win a fight. There just needed to be a place to fight.
Guild halls was that place for fighting. Sure, you could upgrade them for guild services and show off some guild accolades but ultimately the hall was your guild choosing the map that they wanted to fight on. There were sixteen different static guild halls that could be changed at any time for a price. Plotting your strategies while standing in the map you were going to fight in could get really intense. Even standing around in your guild hall as you wait for your party to get together was nice for the simple fact that you always had a place your guild belonged.
Where Did My Guild Wars Go?
Now imagine going from the original and into Guild Wars 2. The name is still there, the guilds are still there but ultimately there is no battling as a guild for the pride of the guild. What the heck happened?
I wish I could tell you. Any fan of Guild Wars 2 would likely tell you that the lack of warring guilds is kind of jarring. It is kind of like calling a game pokemon without any sort of pokemon capturing going on. It can work, as we’ve seen with Pokemon Snap, but it still feels a little weird. Could easily be called something like Alien Snap with different creatures or story and we would never know that it was a pokemon game. The lack of any sort of fundamental guild interaction at the launch of Guild Wars 2 made the game just slightly off.
That doesn’t mean that they haven’t attempted to fix this. Guild Missions have brought some of that back and there is certainly still the guild improvement that does play a bit of a larger role in World versus World for the PvP aspect of a guild. Still, we had nothing that made it feel like we had a guild.
Bringing Old School Back
As of two days ago we finally see a Community Development Initiative (CDI) pop up on the topic of guild halls. Nothing is promised but this is a sign that ArenaNet is willing to open the door as a potential future feature. Up until now we’ve had the constant Colin Johanson smile and the words that it might be coming soon. It is huge that we have an open discussion like this that hints that soon may not just be some arbitrary time period. We may very well see some announcement on guild halls sometime early next year.
Bringing back guild halls needs to focus first and foremost on what a guild hall is and was in the Guild Wars universe. Maybe we cannot fight guild to guild like we used to but there still needs to be that place where guilds could gather on their own grounds and where they could see the impact of their achievements as a guild.
Guilds need a place to show off. Doing this will allow players to feel like missions and guilds mean more than an arbitrary number boost that happens behind the scenes. Make it like the Hall of Monuments was in the original Guild Wars: a place where a guild can show off all the missions they completed and possibly the times they completed them on.
Taking it even a step beyond that we can look at special trophies that are a super rare drop off of missions, cosmetic improvements to a guild hall that require massive amounts of resources so all guild members can participate or even offer more guild missions that take place in the guild hall itself so there is even more functionality out of it. Make the guild have purpose other than arbitrary numbers. This will bring back pride and will actually provide meaningful content that people can get behind.
This is exciting and once again ArenaNet prove that the CDIs are a great tool for MMO development. This allows us players to see that the developers want to know what we want. They know we want guild halls because we have been saying it for nearly two years. Now they just need to know how to do it right.
All we need to do is make sure we don’t get caught up in the dreaded hype and think that this is coming tomorrow. We may finally get guild halls but, as Colin likes to say, “It’ll come when it is ready.”
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