This is not the first time I have thought or said this, but it is the first time I have put it down in writing. (or typing), and it is more of a brainstorm than a fully fleshed out design.
I wish MMOs would embrace the idea of player social groups that are entities which can be advanced.
As far as I am aware, EQ2 is the only game that has such a system; though the way Eve as a whole operates one could argue that a variation of this exists there.
First, what do I mean by “entities which can be advanced”?
I believe social organizations (guilds for simplicity sake) should be treated much like the characters that make them up, they start out weak but over time after overcoming obstacles they become stronger.
To give those participating members something greater than the individual to contribute to, but that also has benefits to them. It seems to me that in most MMOs I have played the only guild activity is raiding, and people join them just to find other people to regularly raid with. There is no sense of working together as a whole to build or accomplishment outside the raiding.
That alone may be enough for some people, but I long for a game / virtual world that offers more to a guild than that. One where the guild is a growing entity that is one of the focuses of the players activities
My current thought is a combination of existing systems to create a system that tracks guilds in four ways:
1. Guild XP and Leveling
Just as it sounds, guild members do things that give the guild experience points and gain guild levels. (The EQ2 system could be grafted here as a start.) At each new guild level new benefits are bestowed upon the guild, and new ways to gain guild XP might open up. I would love to see these tasks tied to the story and expansion of the guild in the world.
2. Guild achievements
Much like WoWs character achievements, but for the guild. Things like meeting certain pvp goals, completing certain quests, having a specific membership make up for a period of time, etc. Obtaining these should offer rewards for members while they are in the guild, and they also provide a comparison point for guilds.
3, Life span of the guild
Much like Lotro; the longer a guild is active the more rewards they get. This gives small guilds that don’t “farm” or “grind”, or maybe have the numbers to level up their guild, but they do stay active in the game as a single entity.
4. Peer rating.
Give players the ability to rate other players and guilds as a whole. Then use the ratings of guild members along with the specific guild rating to create a peer rating for the guild as a whole. This would not have rewards and penalties tied to it by the devs, but instead just provide the rating for players to make informed decisions about a guild
An Example of what I am talking about:
Imagine a game that has some of the basic mechanics of wow, lotro, or WAR, but with twist; some sections of vast open land that at the start have no settlements or quest givers and the leaders of the factions recruit guilds to settle the land.
- Guilds formed would start at level one, given basic guild functions
- From guild level 1-3 guild members are offered solo and group quests by the King’s advisers. Each level gained unlocks access to things like special merchants, travel, vaults and trade skill workshops.
- At level 4 the king offers the guild a plot of land for them to rule over, but first the land has to be cleared. Guild levels 4-5 each unlock new outdoor quests around an area, possibly even some instances to quest in.
- Once level 6 is reached, with the the land is cleared enough the king grants the guild licsene to build a keep. Upon completion of the keep, the guild is granted level 7, and quests to furnish, supply and protect the keep are now offered.
- At levels 8-X, the guild leadership and now hire special NPCs to populate the keep and provide benefits to the guild’s members, as well as quests to expand the guild renown.An example might be a guild hiring a armor smith.This smith provides items that can not be purchased anywhere else, as well a boost to any player crafters making weapons near him. Though more importantly he provides a series of quests to the guild members to help him build and supply a smithy. The smithy then provides additional benefits to the guild as well as some quests.This can go on for as many levels as the designers want. While I would limit the number of specialty NPCs available, and the number of specialty building slots that can be built on, I would consider this a core part of the game that would need to be expanded on with patches and new expansions.
I think that about wraps it up for now. Over time I am sure I will go back and add/edit new thoughts in.