The Catch-22 of Guild Rewards
by: Tony "RadarX" Jones
We've all seen or been in our share of guilds, but what is a guild, and what's it for? For simplicity's sake, we'll ignore the technical etymology of the term and yeah...I'm pretty much going to tell you what I think a guild is. A guild consists of a group of players with similar playing habits or interests. It can be people who like to have fun, raid, roleplay, or a combination. These guilds can be loosely run with little organization, or put together like a frightening military regiment. While I have no issue with the more regimented guilds, I do think there are a few elitist dinosaurs from the "glory days" of EQ1 that could stand to loosen up just a bit. Enough of my personal commentary though.
Why join a guild? Other than drunken voice chat? The social interaction, and having people readily available to group, for quests and raids, is a great start. EverQuest 2 has put in a deliberate system of rewards for guilds. Whether it's crafting machines for your home, special residences, or guild clothing there is a little something for everyone. Recently, even charms with special one use abilities, food, drink, and titles were added. How do you obtain all these wonders? Just obtain a high enough guild level by doing heritage quests, writs, killing raid mobs, or selling status items. Sound neat? Oh it is! These guild rewards are nice, and have there place, but I think there are a few problems ignored.
First, because EverQuest 2 has created content exclusively for guilds based on a system of levels, this creates an expectation to continue creating guild content for the life of the game. "Whats the big deal Radar, it's not like they get anything really great." Even "not great stuff" requires artists, developers, testers, and takes time away from bugs, and content that effects the entire playerbase. Along those lines, take into consideration some guilds can readily level themselves while others can't. This means there are diminishing returns as the gap of success widens. You're creating content for less and less people. I don't have a business degree, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
I guess I don't have issues when "fluff" items are added as a result of a guild level. It does however, bother me a little, to see many items unavailable to a 2 year old guild because they don't do enough writs, or have too many members. What good is having 10 bazillion status points when you're only guild level 25? "Do more writs Radar and stop whining!" Yeah it's easy to talk smack when your trying to solo level a 125 member guild. Ok, I promise I'm done arguing with invisible naysayers.
All in all, I think EverQuest 2 stuck with a tried and true method of guild rewards, but times have changed. With the influx of new MMO players, people aren't necessarily as interested in guilds as they used to be. Whether it's to avoid drama (don't lie, you have drama in your guild), lack of time to participate, or just being anti-social many people won't join guilds. Does that make them and their rewards obsolete? I wouldn't go that far, but the developers have pretty much said no to guildhalls so it'll be very interesting to see what gets added in the future.
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