How Does Your Guild Change Your Playing Experience?

OleisOleis Producer EmeritusMember, Administrator, Immortal Posts: 1,392 admin
On its face, it may seem like a simple question, but let's really drill down. What would change about your playing experience if you didn't have your guild? How has your character changed based on his or her last guild switch. How do you interact with your guild IC and OOC? Positives and negatives entirely welcome, but please don't use this as an opportunity to throw jabs at people.
You say to Slyphe, "You're so freaking smart."
"^," Slyphe agrees with you.


  • TrikalTrikal Member Posts: 156 ✭✭✭
    Trikal has been a Syssin for far too many RL years to remember, it is what he is at this point. Were the guild to disappear he'd probably end up guildless unless he determined the defunct Syssin had need for him to be in a different guild for spying or whatever. The loyalties demanded by the guild have actually curbed him more than once when someone higher up told him to stop. Depending on the guild, especially some of the more combat type guilds where there's knights and stuff, he'd probably get outguilded after telling the higher ups that he can kill to shove off for telling him what to do. The ideals of the guild have definitely transferred onto the character. That said Syssin are pretty lawless and allow most everything which has been nice to create a neutral type character who can determine and decide alliances as he wishes and as situations change, it's rare that making friends with the enemies is bad when you're in a guild that gathers information and strives to control the world.

    Most of my interactions are in guild and flop between IC and OOC but the OOC is mostly Aet related (ie. combat talk / mechanics). I do talk with a few folks on Skype regularly and that's all sorts of OOC. Overall without a guild it'd be much more boring of a place, having somewhere that the character belongs to, knowing who's lower down and would appreciate helping hands affects a lot of how I end up spending time. It's also nice knowing that if someone in the guild asks for combat advice I know what class they are and what advice to give without having to sort all that out which to me feels a little awkward ICly.
  • TozToz Member Posts: 2,496 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Carnifex have been my baby for so long, it sucked not being one (sorry Sentinels!) - though it might be a little vain-sounding, I think I shaped the Carnifex into what I wanted more than they shaped me into what they wanted? Toz was his usual brick self for a long time, and between me and @Moirean I think we set down a strong foundation that keeps people active and doing stuff. I think an 'established' guild would have been less fun, but when we got into the Carnifex it was just the Wild West for ideas. We joined and Moi took over at like, Soldier rank which was all kinds of awkward but it worked out in the end.

    We get a lot of different archetypes but they're all sort of forced into this gauntlet of 'respect or get smacked' which means you get personalities that are wild and out there tempered down and then re-emerging on the other side of Knight so you have Knights of all walks, of all styles, but they still get that common 'theme' - we're pretty low drama because of the culture established, too. Very rarely do I hear about Carnifex not liking each other, and it's sort of a 'keep it out of public eye' if you have beef with another.

    I guess all that is to say this: without the Carnifex, I'd have played a lot less, and it gave me something to focus on/identify as. It's the first thing that comes to mind when I think of my own character (or at least how he used to be): Ser Toz, the Iron Hammer. There was no last name, no identity, outside of Carnifex.

    I never got into Spinesreach the same way, while it's nice to have a city alignment (and I like Spireans a lot), guild is the most 'core' aspect of a character IMO. It's your set of skills, but it's also what your character gets based in, and I never understood people who hop orgs because leaving a CITY is whatever, but leaving a guild is always such a heavy, weighty decision. Guilds are the things that keep clusters of communities together.

    Arbre-Today at 7:27 PM

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  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of Esterport Somewhere in AtticaMember Posts: 779 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Hoo boy. Having been a rogue off and on for extended periods of time for the past few years, I can say that going without a guild is extremely tough, and going citiless is already tough enough.

    When you go guildless, I've found that you really have to dig deeper for character motivation in RP since you're not relying on a guild's ideals. Making connections with other characters also becomes harder as without an org, you have to take more initiative.

    With Phoe, I've only changed guilds twice, but I've left both a few times each for different reasons. With the Templars, Phoe left because her ideals no longer coincided with the guild's or disagreed with how things should be handled. With the Sentaari, it was certain events that forced her to leave. In both cases, leaving the guild was not a quick or easy decision, and resulted in a bit of a loss of purpose, direction, and identity, and really forced me to reevaluate her and try to restructure her.

    It's also the reason why finding a new guild that wasn't Templar was really difficult. Being a knight was a huge part of Phoe's life and development, and will always be ingrained in her to a degree, but it's hard reconciling that when your character grows to a point where the organization you've been part of for a long time doesn't feel like home anymore.

    For me, the best part about being in a guild is the camaraderie and the ease of finding people to RP at. When you find the right guild that you gel with, it's fun, and there's ample opportunity. And most of all, it just feels right. But I'm super picky when it comes to guilds. My only real complaint is that while multiclassing has made guilds ideals-focused, and you can be almost any class you want, sometimes it still feels like if you don't fit into a certain mold or archetype, you don't fit in period.
  • AishiaAishia Queen Bee Member Posts: 2,271 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Feel like the guild is pretty much the most significant part of my character. Even disregarding the class I'm in at the time. Pretty much frame everything about my char thru how it fits with the purpose/whatever of the guild.
  • JensenJensen Corruption's Butcher Member Posts: 1,821 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Everyone is representing guilds pretty well so I'm not going to add in my experience (though it's been overall positive) 

    I think this game has too many organizations for the player base.  Everything requires 100% loyalty which can be a bit conflicting and at times hypocritical.  Guilds and orders are often times too small which leads to too many people in leadership roles over small groups.  The number of hats people wear always seems a bit silly, and it's hard to take ranks seriously when a groups active core base is around 5.  

    It also can be hard to keep guilds motivated for such a long time unless the admins keep the realm dynamic.  When things stay static it takes a lot of hard work and motivation to keep a group engaged for an irl year, which can lead to burn out and loss of a player base.
  • XancholXanchol Member Posts: 24 ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    As a new player (And convert from MKO) I thought I'd provide my insight on the guilds as a point of comparison. In MKO, guilds were somewhat important, but you were far more limited in your array of choices, and it also came second. You got to pick if you were in Krondor FIRST and then be a part of the Pathfinders second. There was also both a lot LESS inter-citizen guilding (I.E You never saw a Krondorian national in Clan Raven, and getting an Elvandar citizen into the Pathfinders was SUPER RARE). Whereas here, Citizenry seems to matter far less. A good bulk of both Carnis and Teradrim are Spinesreach citizens or Bloodloch citizens. In Enorian, I've witnessed a few Duiranites in Enorian guilds and vice versa.

    You pick your guild first and that determines your city and then, dependent on the lore of your guild, the importance of your city to your character's 'RP' is then chosen for you. As a Syssin, for example, it is all but impossible for Xan to be anything but Spirean, unless it was a long-term RP that required him to go somewhere else as a plant or a spy, etc. The two identities are so intertwined, but I find the work and the RP I do on a daily basis to be FOR the Syssin. Stuff I find out (Like re: this most recent event) Goes to the Syssin first, THEN, if I'm told to do so or it feels urgent or innocuous enough, goes to city leadership second. Everything Xan does he (At least tries) to clear it through Syssin leadership.

    This can be both really compelling (As it creates a really immersive and complete experience of being in the patriotic, secret guild.) and also prohibitive (Sometimes there are things I want him to do/say/try that I feel would go against 'Syssin RP' and not so much 'Xanchol RP'). I think your guild comes to really define your character in a way that I hadn't experienced before.

    Without getting into too much details, I've one or two other alts that have had varying experiences to this effect, where their guild/house seemed to be the defining part of their characteristic, and far less so their city or congregation/order or any other org they were part of.

    I'm, in the end, very very happy with the experiences I have found in the guilds I am in, and the people I have met and the characters I have worked with through them- both in-guild and out-of-guild. If I had any major suggestion in changing the guild/org system/structure it would be the following:

    For the most part, guilds are fine. A little more flexibility in being in guilds/doing guild work while being able to define yourself by your other orgs (City, Cong, Order, House/Clan/Family if applicable) would be great. I think Orders are very, very difficult to get into and Congregations don't provide nearly enough bulk and content to be another 'character defining' org, and cities seem subservient to the will of the guild. IIRC the council of Duiran leaders has one from each guild, the Enorian Heralds always try to have fairly equal representation from each guild, and in Spines, the Senators are 2 Syssin, 2 Carni, and 1 Cabalist. Thus, city actions, and the ministries underneath, seem to fall underneath guild experience and guild leadership as well. Not that this is a bad thing, but I feel like Congs and Cities could make a push to be more of a separate facet to one's playing experience.

    All in all, I'm fairly happy with what I've found, but I'd really like to find a way to round out my character and my experience with a justifiable means of being both Syssin AND Spirean (And any other orgs that may follow in the future. Part of why I've avoided adding anything more is I feel like I already have a nearly-full plate with just the Syssin stuff)

    EDIT: OH I didn't even mention classes. Really quick note, I think some variety in the usage of classes in guilds would be great. Some of it makes some sense. You can't exactly be a sneaky Syssin when you're a big, weird Cabalist. But you can be a forefront Spinesreach Defender (One part of Syssin RP) and also maybe a Carnifex Soldier, or brutal Monk. Getting some of these classes may be easy. Feeling like you can incorporate them as part of your guild rp? Not so easy.
  • LinLin Blackbird The MoongladeMember Posts: 1,709 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Guilds are a very useful starting point for securing an RP group. If they're run well, they're really, really damn good. As a twice former GM of the Syssin, I've had more than one player approach me claiming that they would not have stuck around in Aetolia if our leadership hadn't gone out of their way to make the game so appealing.

    But this is a bit of an edge case. I think in the last few years, cities have really taken the spotlight. Although administration-granted systems like Ylem Research have helped give them a greater sense of identity, my perception has been a shift in player culture. In my earliest days of Aetolia, roleplaying seemed far more compartmentalized, where you were encouraged to band with your guild, but these days the city seems to take the spotlight. Players are running wild with the idea - Enorian has repurposed its militia as a progression system!

    I'm speaking from the current perspective of someone in a dormant guild: the Shamans. It isn't accurate to call it dead, but it is very quiet and my only source of Shamanic RP has come from one person. It hasn't affected the game much for me. On Lin, on my alts, I feel like I still get the full Aetolian experience without the influence of a guild.

    I honestly think they're a bit superfluous. If I had my druthers, I would disband them and delegate the earning of class to some automated process from city-based trainers, maybe little NPC sects in the cities for your Monks, your Syssin, etc.
  • TeaniTeani Shadow Mistress SwedenMember Posts: 2,164 ✭✭✭✭✭
    As @Jensen said, the game is a bit too small for all the organizations we have. I do believe it was said that Admin would cut down four guilds in total, but since then, only the Shapeshifters have gone.

    With that said, a guild in and of itself is very important to a character, at least in my opinion. There's a chance to develop your character, have them grow, change if it's needed or leave if it's necessary.

    I have two characters who have never left their guilds, even though I don't play them much at all these days. Ecikoria is an old school Knight and she would have trouble fitting in elsewhere. From the moment I started playing, it was easy to find a way to work with her, follow the ideals and get immersed in the lore of the guild.

    With Teani, I've had a few guild changes, all of them adding a lot of depth to the character. Every time surrounding RP has lead up to her leaving, willingly or more reluctantly, but a small part of the guilds she's been part of remains with her. The directives of the Atabahi guide her actions most of the time, even though she left the Rout long before it was disbanded. She has gained structure, a sense of knowing where home is, and an understanding of friendship, all through these changes.

    Last but not least, I've seen the importance of good leadership. Me being in that role myself for the first time is quite intimidating, especially with a guild that basically needs rebuilding from scratch. I am certain many people have done this before me, and despite all the good ideas you have, it takes people to actually make it happen. This brings me back to the first point I made. With such a small player base, having this many options to choose from means there aren't enough people to fill all organizations and make all of them thrive at once. Instead, players fluctuate, go where the fun seems to be focused at the time (sometimes by switching to alts), leaving other guilds drained of much needed energy.

    In short: Guilds are very important for character development. There are sadly too many choices for this small a player base.

  • AnteheAntehe Immortal Member Posts: 477 Immortal
    For reference @Teani - Atabahi and Bahkatu, Daru, and Bloodborn have gone.

    For my own two cents - I am conflicted. Guilds give unique niche-role RP on top of the classes they house, and can add a lot of depth to the world through their more unique perspectives within their city and tether. They offer something clans simply can't, which is legitimacy, and environment, and then the perks of mechanics that are not so easily replicated. That is also the unique thing about guilds - they're about the members and community (and should be), not just the leadership at the moment. While each GM molds guilds into their vision, the guild is owned by every member that gives into it.

    I think it is incredibly important to have those grounded archetypal roleplay centers (knight, rogue, mage, ranger, etc), and NPC-run factions do not offer the same engagement.

  • TeaniTeani Shadow Mistress SwedenMember Posts: 2,164 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Right, my mistake. Still feels like too many guilds.

  • ZailaZaila Pacific TimeMember Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've been in a hefty number of guilds over the years and have been guildless at various intervals as well. At present, I'd say that guilds are likely one of the most influential parts of how my characters develop as well as whether or not I get into the game.

    I think the distinct downside to this is a relatively inherent stress so many of these guilds put on combat. Don't get me wrong: I think aetolia needs more combat/conflict. But, I think there are too many guilds for too few players in which "defending our ideology/city with combat!" is their 'purpose'. But, cities already have militias. It makes many 'guild purposes' feel superfluous. I think this touches on Jensen's point about number-of-organizations vs players as well as conflicting requirements of loyalty.

    I find that the guilds that are the most engaging to me are those that have a decent amount of lifestyle influence on the character. Whether that is demanding that your members live a "knightly life" "monkish life" "spook's life", "scientists life" or what have you, it gives your character a motivation if you're ever feeling a bit bored or directionless.

    As a new player (or anytime I try to make a new character), having a core group of go-to RPers as well as go-to "help, how do I X in this class?!" is also extremely helpful. Starting the game anew without a dedicated list of GHELPs to helps me figure out which skills to invest in, how to bash, what all my skills do, etc. extremely difficult, and those characters have never lasted for me when I've tried to draw them up.

    I'd say the only other organizations that come close to the player-and-character influence level at present are Congregations/Orders. The only caveat being: your god needs to be active for this to last and to generate new members.

    On an OOC level: I've noticed that the guilds I am a part of that have an OOC clan for asking questions you don't want to harass the entire game with on NEWBIE, or you're trying to be somewhat private about and don't want to alert everyone to on NEWBIE, or more class-specific questions, general chatting, etc. have had good for player retention.

    Also - a brief shout out to the unmentioned: undead houses. When I started playing, I played in houses without a guild for several RL years and with the player base at the time, that provided a sufficiently guilds-now-like experience (there were many active Vamps then). What houses provided uniquely to Guilds is that the entire culture was not based so completely around your skillset but more your character's interests and the individual house's culture. From my memory, basically you had the Combat-centric house, the arts/crafting-centric house, the "we're old and pompus about it" house, the "black sheep of the vamp community" house and so on.

    tl;dr - Guilds are presently extremely influential to the player/character experience, and were they removed, they'd need to be replaced by something equally influential.
  • EmelleEmelle Dreamshaper Tecpatl's CradleMember Posts: 712 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    While I think guilds have their place for shaping new characters, adding flavor to the game, and giving people built-in RP circles, I actually don't love guild membership. I think this feeling stems partially from Emelle as a character and partially from my play style. Emelle's loyalty and ethos are largely an outgrowth of her service to Omei; her role as a priestess is her first priority, closely followed by her role as Cardinal of Enorian. Her position in the Sentaari is ancillary to these things.

    For someone whose engagement with the game is increasingly casual, guild membership has also started to feel like something I don't have adequate time for. I feel like once a character reaches a certain rank in the guild there's an expectation for increased responsibility -- maybe a holdover from a time when guilds were stricter about progression -- but given my character priorities as listed above, in combination with crafting and RP, I'm not usually thinking about guild things.

    Of course, one might ask why I still belong to a guild, but it's easy to see from the responses above that many people solicit RP from them. So, if I want to maximize my opportunities for roleplay, which I do, it makes sense for me to stay in a guild.
  • LinLin Blackbird The MoongladeMember Posts: 1,709 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Emelle hit a great point - guilds don't feel super necessary. It would have made sense for Lin to stay guildless and probably wouldn't have impacted my RP much - I joined one anyway out of in-character obligation, and the chance to maybe expand my circle. The fact that you can so casually ignore your guild makes me wonder how useful they are in modern Aetolia.
  • FaerahFaerah Member Posts: 218 ✭✭✭✭
    Guilds have always been incredibly appealing to me.

    I enjoy the deep lore within them, the fact that they aren't super dependent on Admin participation (like Orders are), that they provide a constant source of camaraderie, and that they add a layer of politics that I personally find engaging. Across the IREs, I have typically played characters who are very dedicated to their Guilds and get a lot of their identity from them.

    If Faerah isn't a Syssin. She isn't anything. She's built her entire self around the Guild. That was my choice as a player and one that I have, personally, found to be quite rewarding and what has kept me around for so long.

    It's clear that's not the same for everyone, but I feel that Aetolia provides many different avenues for many different types of players.
  • EliadonEliadon Somewhere Over the RainbowMember Posts: 187 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Though I'm new to Aetolia, when I was over on Achaea we had Houses that were effectively the equivalent of Guilds, minus rigid starting class requirements in some cases.

    When Shallam exploded, and I lost my House, I lost all desire to play that character ever again.

    Affiliation more tight than city is desirable, and conflicts of interest are desirable. One character should not be able to be a member of organizations that have conflicting goals. This is fine. Homogeny results in bored players.

    Additionally, Guilds have deep history in almost every case. Exploring that history and what went right and wrong is something that players should strive to do.

    I interact with the Ascendril almost entirely in character, with some OOC help for aliases/triggers and whatnot.
  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of Esterport Somewhere in AtticaMember Posts: 779 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I do kind of agree with the sentiment of there being too many guilds, or at least that they could be condensed further. I actually like Achaea's house system for that reason. You could have the same orgs that have the same or similar ideals to what some guilds already have here, but it'd be nice to see something like a Light side Syssin guild akin to the Dawnstriders, or orgs with slightly more neutral leanings. 
  • OleisOleis Producer Emeritus Member, Administrator, Immortal Posts: 1,392 admin
    Aishia said:

    (please don't delete guilds)

    It's safe to say that I don't intend to delete all the guilds.
    You say to Slyphe, "You're so freaking smart."
    "^," Slyphe agrees with you.
  • FezzixFezzix Member Posts: 324 ✭✭✭✭
    Fezzix's identity is completely tied to the Syssin guild. If guilds were to be removed, it would kill the character, and from what I'm reading here, other players feel similarly. Guilds offer a tight, unified group experience and a great deal of history and lore in which players can engross themselves.

    I think removing guilds would cripple the game and kill the motivation for more hardcore players to do anything, as it would remove tight-knit and dedicated communities who appreciate the game's lore and make the game stronger. These dedicated, engaging players keep the game's foundation strong and entertaining instead of boring.

    The game needs guilds. Games need to bring in new players in order to survive, and so Aetolia needs the depth of lore that guilds present. Establishing and maintaining high standards like these will retain good players, while removing guilds helps no one and hurts the dedicated playerbase we already have.

    As for casual players not wanting to be restricted, there's an easy solution to that: Don't join a guild that demands things that you as a player don't find fun. The "casual" mindset that I see all over the place in game offers little appeal to new players who enter a game in search of engaging lore. In my opinion, "dead guilds" are a result of a very "casual" and uninspired approach in leadership. I don't see why anyone who self-proclaims as being "casual" would want to lead a guild (or any org) in the first place, frankly.

    There are too few players, not too many guilds. There are enough guilds in the game that offer a unique lore and character building experience to players, and I rarely see them overlap in their ideals like I do with the Houses in Achaea.
  • OleisOleis Producer Emeritus Member, Administrator, Immortal Posts: 1,392 admin
    While I appreciate crosstalk about points other players have raised, please remember to address the topic at hand: How you personally interact with your guild. Guild deletion was not part of the premise of this thread.
    You say to Slyphe, "You're so freaking smart."
    "^," Slyphe agrees with you.
  • RunasRunas Member Posts: 89 ✭✭✭
    Having experienced numerous guilds, there are guilds which do very well despite numbers, and guilds that do well only because of the numbers.

    On the other side of that coin there are also guilds who do the adverse. Generally the guilds I have seen overly successful have been because a group of people have either migrated here together from another game or have long standing IC relationships which verge on OOC relationships that they would not like to see this fail, sometimes these relationships can seem exclusive to anyone who is not directly correlated with those 'groups' in particular, or perhaps dont roleplay they way those 'groups' necessarily want them to. I have seen the good and the bad...that being said.

    Guilds are a mode of identity as many have said here, and first and foremost I agree with, this identity however is evolved based on the leadership in the guild, for a while we had the Sciomancers (Bloodloch) and Carnifex (Spinesreach) which thematically was not necessarily what those guilds were designed as but because the leadership deigned it so that was almost how it was played even though there was no real enforcement or mandate, it was 'encouraged' based on the roleplay. These sort of identies we have as guilds should in effect are somewhat directly correlated currently to the identity of the City they exist in firstly, and secondly to their own ideals. I think that if we were able to consider perhaps what the role of each organization is solidly within each of the City/Council, then there would be a bit more framework.

    My personal Roleplay style is Guild first/City second - but always respect the City

    I think the Guild is my direct line to my personal RP and character development and me as a character I dont necessarily think that City has to dictate how you do your 'job' as a PC so to speak. As a Shaman, I served Dendara bonded with spirits, did rituals, as a Daru, I was a zealot infused with the spark bestowed upon us by Mebrene, as a Cabalist I secured, reported, documented and protected, and now as an Ascendril, I strive for Truth, Knowledge and protection of the planes and people.

    For a city like Spinesreach, you can be loud, and drink, discover Ankyrean machinations and yell Hroagh! once in a while and thats being Spirean.
    In Bloodloch you are prideful, bear the gift of the Earth or Blood, call people formal titles and the living cattle....You're Bloodlochian
    In Enorian, be devout to the Gods, the Light....a bit Social Justice with a hint of Military and you are Enorian
    In Duiran, its remembering the Sacrifice of Lleis, the value of Nature, the thrill of the Hunt, and the Savagery of the Wilds, your a Councillor

    I truly think the amount of guilds then divides up within these simplified explanations in a manner which fragments the identity, and we really need to explore what each guild means to these ideals. Why each guild fits in, perhaps shortening down the amount of guilds for a function of the guilds within the City/Council may be worth looking into, but it would have to be very well thought out.

    A military guild
    A merchant/political/diplomacy guild
    A monastery
    A science/research

    examples could go on....

    Really each guild has an identity, but they do not meld with each other in a manner to create a cohesive unit, every guild still stands alone despite being sister/brother guilds, or allied. Efforts to bring them close always kinda fizzle out from my observations.
    The Divine voice of Tiur echoes in your head, "You know better than that. Bad."
    A telekinetic newspaper swats your nose.
  • SarkisSarkis Member Posts: 108 ✭✭✭
    I can only speak for my own experiences. And in typical fashion, I can only speak at length. Forgive me.

    I've played other characters, in other guilds, at various points in Aetolia's history. I've seen them go from the preeminent political powerhouses, to the main means of preparing new players, and finally to being RP and Skill-Set attics that have little meaningful impact on most player's experiences in the overarching trajectory of their lives. In all these different stages, guilds have demonstrated they have their own unique organizational cultures and histories, some of which have been heavily retconned or rejected in favor of new ones, others that have very extensive and well-documented lineages and progressions from one era to another.

    Sarkis, as my main character, has literally never jumped guilds. He's been a Sentaari his entire (very extensive) life. There was a brief stint where he was not directly part of the Sentaari, but that was a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of his existence, as a character.

    I can say that he is a Sentaari because that is who he is. I made him specifically, to be a monk, to live a Sentaari monk's life. Tradition, ritual, philosophy have been such a part of his existence that his own ideas regarding being a monk have become a part of the Sentaari's identity. Whether or not that is a good thing probably depends on who you ask...

    At any rate, I could not see him fitting in well in other organizations. His positions on a lot of things require more nuance than is typically allowed for or tolerated by other organizations within the game. His gods have died or changed into unrecognizable versions of themselves. By and large his friends have mostly died or do not wake anymore. His city itself has changed radically on the surface, without ever really being a place he's been entirely comfortable with, despite serving it in a variety of roles over time. The only place that has been a consistent anchor, organizationally speaking, has been the Monastery. He holds it and its stability above himself, above others, above all other things. As long as it endures, he believes he may also endure and others might find its unique existence a place of succor, healing, and growth. This makes him stubbornly focused on that same stability. He's seen what has thrown it into chaos in the past, even if as a character, he has a hard time understanding how his stubbornness and tendency to challenge people's positions makes him come off as a giant unicorns. Not his intention, perhaps, but he wants to challenge people so that they are aware of their own motivations and reasons for being a part of the guild, to ensure they know what being a monk demands.

    His interactions have flagged because... there's not nearly as many people playing and there's honestly not a whole lot to do most of the time that is interesting. A lot that keeps me interested in playing the game relies on a robust and large number of players in the game, something we don't have currently. The theme and storyline, the conflict that is at the heart of Aetolia is extremely stagnate and this is what I mean by needing more players. There's little 'fresh' blood pumping through organizational veins. Membership wanes and swells like tides, and the more active people there are, the more he has to do and keep his (and my own) often wandering attention focused on. Aside from a lot of political machinations that have dominated the Sentaari lately, it's had little opportunity to do what it would like because there's not enough players around to fill the niche it otherwise could fill. An example of being let down by the environment is an event that was started with the Sentaari and has since petered off into nothing because we've been left hanging for months. This sort of thing is both understandable, but also dishearteningly predictable when it has come to our guild, despite a lot of efforts by Kerryn and myself to organize RP hooks. We've (the Sentaari guild) done some cool stuff, like when we almost destroyed the City of Bloodloch by dropping Moghedu on it, finding Brachus' tomb, and introducing new monks to the guildhall and the like. No Sentaari guild, and these could never have occurred.

    Without a guild, my character would never have had an opportunity to interact in such a way, strike a symbolic blow against the Undead or interact in that manner with either NPCs or other players. That's just one of a wide range of situations that I'd be deprived of without a guild to participate in. Without the Sentaari, Sarkis would have been some sort of half-mad hermit ranting and raving on the streets of Enorian or on the highways, rather than having a place where his energy and ideas could be made into something far more constructive and concrete. Without the Sentaari, a whole lot of neat stories I, as a player, were directly involved in would have had far less structure or a particular lens to view them through.

    Out of character, I do a lot of coordination with Kerryn and at various times other senior members of the Sentaari in planning out structural changes, events, improvements, and documentation for the guild. Lots of writing, especially. There's a lot of background stuff we do because doing it in game is extremely unwieldy and difficult due to the nature of the tools at our disposal. We've tried to involve all the players of secretary level monks into these deliberations and discussions, with varying degrees of success. We've even tried to keep both Admins and gods informed through OOC means to present ideas and proposals for the Sentaari. An example would be the Brachus tomb, several NPC monks we added to the Monastery, Bai-Tu, and other ideas we were able to flesh out and present for review and consideration in a more thought out manner, than simply working through the game alone permits. We worked up a lot of ideas that were later worked into the Sentaari lore and we've been very flexible to work with the Admin's vision for the Sentaari.

    This does create a bit of a frustrating experience in game as we have lots of different pots bubbling at any given time, but sometimes an idea we worked on turns out to not work for admin, or we have to wait until it's been thoroughly worked through before we can present it for approval, and so forth. RPing that can be difficult, because documenting something that has meta-connotations or requires meta-planning is difficult to convey in-character without seeming to be evasive. I get why the gods and the admin are often so tight-lipped on things in the game or evasive on the forums because playing your hand too early can be disastrous for a good idea.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts.

    TL;DR - The game would be a more shallow and less interesting place without guilds or guild like structures. There's a lot of things I gained as a player from them, as well as giving my main, Sarkis, a structure within which he could grow on, like some sort of philosophy spewing vine.

  • RhyotRhyot BloodlochMember Posts: 543 ✭✭✭✭
    Speaking as a player who has lost his guild (I miss you Bloodborn) and the fallout that happened with Zsadist (at that time) followed suit into what he became later on. I believe a guild drives a character to have a purpose more than just a city or themselves. I always enjoyed the handful of interactions in the Bloodborn and have contemplated joining a different guild to get Rhyot a bit more character development.
    That said, I think guilds are vital to RP, character progression, and overall player retention.

    On the flip side of things, I feel that Houses are not exactly in the same boat as guilds and can be removed. They are far too limiting as to who can become a Sire for who, plus the amount of people actually in a House at any one time or who is allowed to be a Sire in that House that is active enough, does not sell player retention for darkie side. So if we got rid of anything, I would much prefer Houses be gotten rid of so we can focus on darkie retention on a city-scale than a sub-organizational scale.

  • KillienKillien Member Posts: 38 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I have recently returned to Aetolia after a rather long hiatus. However, when I did play more extensively, I can say my character's guild definitely did have an impact on my playing experience.

    Killien started out in the Templar. This instilled a sense of duty, honor, and respect that he still holds today. He is less rigid than when he was a knight, but he still respects the Templar and for which it stands.

    When he left Enorian, he joined the Indorani. During that time, I found out the character's distaste for undeath and necromancy did not simply 'go away' because I chose to change scenery. It was a revelating moment in my character's story, and it helped to drive him toward Spinesreach.

    In Spines, he joined the Atabahi (rip) - and he found what he felt was a home. It helped him find his center, his peace, and helped him to discover what it was to 'belong' once again. I was sad to see the guild go, but at the same time, I understood that removing some orgs was for the health of the game.

    He spent some time in the Sentinels, and that reminded him how much he enjoyed defending Life, and how much he yearned to belong to Enorian again. He wasn't as steadfast against all other walks of life as he was before he left Enorian the first time, but rather than simply 'being' a part of Enorian, he made a conscious choice to go back.

    He is now Illuminai, and I'm only just getting back into his full headspace. The point I am attempting to illustrate is that the city he belonged to had some impact upon his character, but overall, it was the guilds and their environment that shaped his overall being. There were many other factors, to be sure, but guilds do one thing cities do not: They push/expect advancement.

    A person can remain city rank one forever and no one really cares. But if someone remains guild rank 1 or a novice forever, there is wonder and concern. Advancement in a guild most often accompanies character development as guilds ask the player to flesh out the character to understand 'why' you chose that guild to play within in the first place. Without that impetus, some characters will never become more than avatars for the player with a few unique quirks.

    Even now, my character's motivations are tied to his choice of guild. If the game lacked that fine definition that guilds provide, I think the depth of the roleplay would suffer because of it.
  • SaritaSarita Empress of Bahir'an The Pillars of the EarthMember Posts: 796 ✭✭✭✭✭
    My original character is 422 right now to give you an idea of how long I've been around. I was a complete newbie to MUDs at the time, but I did the intro, interacted with people outside of the guild, and joined other organizations. That said, I don't think I would have really learned enough to stick around without the structure that the guild provided at the time. I guess on the most literal level, I wouldn't have had much of a playing experience without a guild because I just would have given up.

    With the game changes over the years, I think things have become a bit easier and more friendly towards new players, both the ones who have never played a MUD, and those who are just trying out a new one. That said, I have used guilds as a "primary" part of my character identity for most of my characters over the years (Sarita is actually the only real exception who comes to mind.) Ever since getting a better sense of what RP actually can be, I tended to create backstories for characters that led them to join a guild and usually stick with it. The ones who got outguilded or whose guilds got deleted never ended up joining new ones because their RP arcs just didn't really support it. As a player, I usually found it easier to have some kind of organization like a guild though, so when I got into those situations, I usually found myself gravitating more towards alts that were still in guilds, and the other ones fizzled out.
  • SibattiSibatti Mamba dur Naya Amidst vibrant flora and treesMember Posts: 290 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What would change about your playing experience if you didn't have your guild?
    For the Sentinels, it would change Sib's RP significantly. There is a culture around Sentinels who are in the guild and those who have left (referred to as "Oathbreakers") and the character's connection to the ancient warrior spirits is said to only exist/be visible to those who have kept their oaths intact. There is a compelling reason to stay in that alone, from a roleplaying perspective. There's also a sense of pride and belonging. Mechanically, for me, nothing would really change as Sib's a bit too removed from the modern state of Aetolia to get involved too heavily. Beyond occasionally helping out with questions and newbies, there isn't much to do mechanically.

    There's the accumulation of wealth (but beyond buying upgrades for the guildhall, there's not much to do with gold). I suppose with some orgs there exists the possibility to use wealth for subterfuge, but the opportunities there require a lot of creativity and thought - and still might not work out.

    As it stands, a guild is really only going to spend its wealth to support the interest and attraction of its members - holding contests, buying things, sponsorship etc. Some guilds have cultures that are naturally high in retention and interest (Syssin, Carnifex), while others need a lot of help. If you have a particularly toxic/low-performing guild, it becomes even harder.

    I would like to see more functional purpose to belonging in a guild. I don't know if 'guilds' per se are the answer in their current fashion - a collective of like-minded individuals united around a common cause can be accomplished in a few other ways. There also aren't a lot of tangible ways to push a guild's goal forward, or any way to measure success beyond the accumulation of more members, strength among its members, and material wealth. But even then, once you get to a certain point, the game is tilted heavily in favor of a few popular, powerful guilds, which I don't think is the answer either.

    How else can we measure the success of a guild, and what can guilds do beyond recruitment/wealth accumulation to attain that success?

    How do you interact with your guild IC and OOC?
    I really dislike forced interactions, no matter how it's spun. Getting people together for quizzes, arena events, and the like - again, it goes back to the guild trying to support the interest/attraction of its members. While there's nothing inherently wrong with the aforementioned activities, they also do very little to unite its members to the guild's common purpose/theme. Any form of guild activity that ties more closely to the guild's roleplay is completely made up, most of the time, by its leadership and/or patron. Moirean is a really good example of a guildmaster who did a lot of this. However, that's a unicornsload of work and mental energy to pull off to the level in which she did.
  • XeniaXenia Member Posts: 1,081 ✭✭✭✭✭
    From the start, my interaction with the Carnifex has shaped my character and even my own approach to playing the game. Over the past 3 or so years of playing, I've seen my own participation in day to day guild life go through periods of high involvement and low involvement. When at its highest, I'm personally involved with all the other members who are active, keeping tabs on them and bringing them into the folds of whatever personal RP-arc I got going on. When they're at their lowest, it's usually because I need a breath of fresh air and some variation to the Carni-life.

    All and all I'd say the Carnifex guild is why I remained so active and invested in Aetolia and it continues to serve as a tool for character growth for me.

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