How Does Your Guild Change Your Playing Experience?

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  • SeirSeir Seein' All the Things Getting high off your emotionMember Posts: 992 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I had to spend some time wondering about this question and I've read some of the responses of others and concur with a lot of the points made on the nature of guilds and what they necessarily represent. Throughout my time in IRE, I've seen guilds represented in a number of different ways, many of which I've seen the players adopt in ways that I feel caused the decline of guilds as both roleplay environments and compelling parts of a character's narrative.

    Roleplay isn't taken as seriously in other IRE games outside of Aetolia, more accurately with their playerbases. This isn't to say that all players in those games don't take roleplay seriously, but none of them reach the level of Aetolia. A lot of Achaeans view roleplay as optional in many cases, as an example. In some other games like Lusternia, people model their characters too strongly around the morals of their guild, often leading to many characters in the same guild becoming homogeneous with one another. In fact, this sentiment is so strong in that you'll have a hard time separating characters and what sets them apart from one another.

    Many Aetolians, on the other hand, few their guild as a framework of morals for their character instead of the complete basis of their persona. The Sentinels, for example, are united by their oath. However, that oath is often the only similar thing that members of the Pride have in common. Some characters meet the expected savage archetype, others could easily be defined as 'evil' or 'dark' by definition, some act like dignified soldiers, and some are completely scholarly. They're such an utter ragtag group of folks with varying personalities, only united in solidarity by an oath. I've often described them to other players elsewhere as this strange mashup of the Night's Watch from ASOIAF, Witchers from the Witcher, and the Rangers of Ithilien from LOTR. I feel like Aetolia's guilds provide only a partial moral background for a character, but the personalities themselves are still largely defined by the players.

    With that established, I'll tackle one of @Oleis's questions about what would change with my character if my guild was gone? The reality is that while the guild doesn't compromise a huge chunk of my character, I'd feel like a large piece of him would still be removed. Seir has been a Sentinel for almost the entirety of his life and it has been his only guild outside of a short stint in the Syssin. Does it define him in his entirety? Not at all. He has his own personality, but it's hard to imagine him with such a defining aspect of his life removed. His morals would be shaken immensely. He's never particularly cared about the "Wilds" and "Nature" but he does fundamentally believe that the Rhythm is something that encompasses everything about the natural cycle. Nature is just the Rhythm in its most primal and raw form. So while he doesn't believe in some of what both Duiran and the Sentinels espouse, they're still his home. Even if he disagreed with them in terms of philosophy, he is still a patriot and loyalist to these places by virtue of having been a part of them for so long. Since Seir has only switched once, I can't really say it changed much of his character. Even as a part of the Syssin and Spinesreach, people referred to Seir as a rude, uncultured savage. Nothing really changed with his personality, only his affiliations.

    Regarding IC and OOC interaction, Seir has a very firm idea in his head about how Sentinels should carry themselves. He believes that, at the forefront, a Sentinel is a warrior first and everything else is secondary. That vial of dried blood is a reminder that you've sworn to put your oath ahead of everything else. However, a Sentinel isn't upholding the fundamentals at all times. Being a Sentinel is effectively just a job where they're on call 24/7. Outside of work, they have hobbies, a few of them have substance abuse problems, love lives, friends, acquaintances, etc. Seir has proctored oaths, administered sacraments, and communed with ancestors to help "re-discover" some of the "old ways".

    tl;dr: Guilds just provide a moral framework, in my opinion. Your character should have a personality beyond that moral framework instead of a personality that personifies the guild's morals. Even zealots have a personality.
  • VaskarVaskar Member Posts: 57 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I haven't been active in a long while(I found this thread while coming over to read about the producer change), but here's my thoughts on this.

    Vaskar is a member of the Carnifex and, I have to admit, I've never really liked my guild. It's nothing personal, they haven't done anything specific to make me dislike them and @Xenia and @Toz and everybody have been great. It's just that at this stage of my IRE 'career' I am so over the whole hardass knighthood guild thing and it is just absolutely something I do not want to deal with anymore. I did that for a long time in Imperian and I am completely over it now with no real desire to revisit it.

    So why am I in the Carnifex if I feel that way, you ask? Well, I really liked the Carnifex class. I didn't want to pay the credits to learn it from a rogue, so that's out. I wasn't well known enough to get a guild member to bend the rules for me and give me the class off the books, so that was out. And getting jumping through all the hoops to get a guilded Carnifex to take a non-guilded apprentice would have meant that I spent my first days coming back to Aetolia sitting around classless waiting for approvals and interviews and all that jazz. And odds are that it would probably involve more personal RP with the guildmembers and therefore even more dealing with the yes-sir-no-sir-three-bags-full-sir knighthood stuff.

    On the other hand, joining the guild is easy and painless without many hoops to go through, because joining the guild is basically a newbie-level task. So I joined the Carnifex because I didn't want to pay a few more credits to learn the clas, and I am still in the Carnifex because it is easier to sit there and not get involved than it is to leave with class.
    ZailaEmelle
  • LeanaLeana Member Posts: 225 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Most of my experience with guilds has involved headache and boredom. Recently with the Sentinels I got some positive interactions with the guildmembers, though not exactly related to the guild. Even though the interactions have seldom been about the guild, or related to a guild topic/function, they were with mostly guild members and I think that without a mutual membership to setup or clear those first barriers of trust, they wouldn't have happened at all. Hearing the town meeting, I think that guilds going forward do need to be more about that social interaction and less about drilling mechanics and path advancement and requirements for this and that rank or reward. On the point Faerah made about homogeny, I agree. I've just experienced a lot of "You don't fit our mold and we won't give you a chance or try to teach you how to fit," barriers. While I don't expect regular members to give a chance or try to mold new members (of all experiences), guild leadership should be putting aside their bias and doing this to keep the lifeblood of their organization thriving.

    Being apart of the guild should be enough. No ranks or paths or tasks aside from whatever the current goal of the guild. Solo busywork is no longer needed in the grand scheme of Aetolian conflicts as it's almost rarely completed by anyone, save the example with Carnifex where their progression takes you through the guildranks (Without ranks, the bestowing of titles, armor, or other items would be about the same thing). Not to say that a guild can't have a mission/task/standing order board or system in place to give busywork or activity, but the rewards should be actual rewards (armor, credits, gold, liquor, awards). Being able to say, 'I'm a Duiran Sentinel,' should open up a whole network of people for me to roleplay at or conduct activities with in the larger Aetolian design (Foci battles, vortex, Albedi god crsis, etc).

    Likewise, I think being a guildleader for a long period of time should not be a proud statement. It means in most cases that the guild has stagnated to the point where no one strives for the positions of leadership or just can't. I've witnessed this as leaders being able to get away with the bare minimum of upkeep due to the remaining members content to find roleplay elsewhere or the leaders being unable to foster the activity despite trying their hardest (due to lack of world event or conflict motivating them). There should never be entire real life months in between posts to the newsboards in a guild. I'm not blaming every long-standing GM, because a lot of the time they're the only ones holding a guild up. If I had to blame someone, I'm blaming admin for not stepping in to stimulate activity. But again, I know it isn't easy and admin are people just the same as the GMs and memebrs of the guild.

    Back to my experiences, I was kicked out of a guild because they assumed my character was practicing necromancy (despite that being impossible due to tether), which was a good opportunity for roleplay from all parties. However, it ended up being that I was told to 'stop it' within a few days and when I didn't report back a 'I've stopped' message or post, I was just outguilded as the easy and lazy solution. It never even occurred to me to issue about it, because what would they do? Put me back into a guild of people who don't care about me or roleplay or socializing? It was extremely demoralizing. I hear from people they're still doing it to others. If I hadn't gotten lucky with the Sentinels, which probably happened because of all the god activity, I'd of stopped playing.

    Edit: to clarify about the necromancy thing, my character's RP involved collecting the dead to 'Repair' her body. Something she had been doing during her time in Bloodloch and the many years into being a light side member. I was outguilded without anyone talking to me first, meaning they had no idea whether I'd stopped or not. Because it didn't matter to them.


    CinarraLinPilarFaerahMihaketi
  • HavenHaven World Burner Flight SchoolMember Posts: 2,376 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I partially agree with you @Faerah. I think the smaller the organization the better the idea of homogeneity becomes because of both the smaller need for change and smaller chance of alienating parts of the populace. However, larger organizations like cities, large congregations/orders or even just the game at large, needs to continually change, evolve, and offer variety in order to remain exciting and survive. That's not to say guilds and such don't need to change but that the need to do so is not as great and they therefore can naturally afford to take their time to change.

    To stay on topic though:

    When I originally began playing Aetolia, there seemed to be a stronger focus on "smaller" organizations as a whole across all facets of the game. From Guilds to Orders to IC Clans, smaller organizations for the most part each had a distinct agenda in line with their lore to push forward and cities served as the vehicle or outlet for these organizations to carry out and extend their will upon the world. They were encouraged to compete and essentially vie for control of their respective cities in order to execute their goal.  So even when these small organizations received a small event that expanded their lore or progressed their story, you could see it have a domino effect across the game depending on which org was in power. There was a difference and shift felt across the game when an Indorani became Keeper versus say an Infernal or Vampire/Bloodborn. Same thing occurred when a Sentaari Monk became Overseer of Ashtan or if a Kheprisian or Shadow Snake became Ard-Dhasani or an Arionite became Vanguard or whatever. This allowed a healthy cycle of change to naturally occur with the times and spawn varying storylines.

    Because of the nature of these smaller organizations being distinct concentrated hubs of lore and like-minded individuals driving their Guild's or Order's or Clan's agenda, you had direction and a mission to follow until you grew comfortable enough to venture out on your own and create your own story or fall back in line as you saw fit. Picking your organization was critical to the experience that you received. I think back on how I'd be able to switch between characters in different guilds and get a wildly different experience. The harsh Knightly Infernals that spawned Haven or the bumbling idiot omega wolf I had in the Atabahi wolf pack or the feral Vampire I had in Lunare or Baharian or whatever.  To that end, smaller organizations served as a great launching pad and driving force for both character and general story development for all players.

    I do not believe it matters nearly as much if at all what guild or order you choose now. It has been a while since I've seriously played but from what I recall, the focus had almost entirely shifted away from small organizations and were instead pigeonholed to be city focused or maybe more accurately tether focused. As a result the cities became less tool and more guildlike if that makes sense?

    I guess that ties back to the whole homogeneity of large organizations versus small organizations. One good solution in my opinion would be to gradually implement more varied conflict systems. Not everything can be solved by the sword and some mechanics should reflect that. For instance, consider a dynamic conflict system centered around dungeons that include varying quest lines and dungeon bosses which yielded tangible results and rewards. You could stylize it with nearly any theme be it espionage, sabatoge, dogma or more.

    Imagine if say a House wanted to garner Abhorash's favor in the Dominion. They could initiate a dungeon instance that involved slaughtering some villagers or delving into a tomb for some artifact for Abhorash or whatever. Maybe even mid-combat with one of the bosses the group is thrown into psycombat or something. They then could use said favors to purchase a temporary perk for their House. It would foster a healthy rivalry, potential roleplay too and the content could be expanded upon for new stories and narratives to keep it fresh.

    Aaaaannnd pretty sure I'm just rambling at this point. So there's that. Possibilities are endless!
    ¤ Si vis pacem, para bellum. ¤
    Someone powerful says, "We're going to have to delete you."
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    FaerahKelliaraPilar
  • AngrothAngroth Member Posts: 66 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Before I dive in, I should probably explain where I'm coming from on all of this:

    I started playing Achaea back in 03 or 04, shortly after that I transitioned to Lusternia and planted my roots there for YEARS. For those who are unfamiliar with Lusternia's setup, guilds and their cities/communes are inexorably linked. The goals of the city are, as a whole, more important than the guilds themselves. It's a weird setup compared to the rest of IRE, but the guilds support the city as a unified whole, and the city supports the guilds as individual entities.

    Further expounding upon that, I would definitely refute that the guild system in Lusternia promotes homogeneity to the point of individual characters being indistinguishable. This, of course, could be a matter of the organization you played in; Glomdoring places a fairly large emphasis on the hivemind, and elimination of the self in favor the whole. I spent most of my time in Magnagora (I like playing evil unicorns, what can I say?), which provided avenues upon avenues for character development. All in all, I'd say that homogeneity offers better growth for subtle roleplay, without squashing "bigger" personalities and characters.

    With all of that said, I feel that guilds are an integral part of the play experience, provided they're done right. I could probably go into an hours-long rant concerning the Teradrim, the Pillars of Azvosh, and the Earthen (and how it all feels like it was cobbled together over the course of two days). On the flip side, you have the Syssin, a guild with great execution. The key word here, for me, is guilds. I hate Achaea's house system, and Imperian's frankenstein guilds, but I also understand the reasoning. A waning playerbase in a niche market needs to do SOMETHING to consolidate membership (in fact, Lusternia is in the process of nixing guilds and creating three organizations per city/commune), but I would absolutely hate to see Aetolia remove or consolidate guilds.

    Also, please don't remove Teradrim, just fix them. <3

    - Buford: Whoops, censor missed a word.
    Post edited by Buford on
    Faerah
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