I thought we were an autonomous collective

The most recent Van Hemlock podcast is most interesting, with Van Hemlock and Jon talking about the guilds (or anarcho-syndicalist commune and constitutional monarchy respectively) they lead, as well as guilds in more general terms. It’s something I’ve been thinking about myself, with the approach of Warhammer: Age of Reckoning.

A while back on the old Musings, I wrote:
“MMOGs don’t half make it difficult to team up with people sometimes. You get chatting to someone and find out hey, you both play Battlefield 2142. Pick the same server, log on, and you can be throwing yourselves into combat against the hated enemy (or, indeed, each other) in minutes. Find out you both play World of Warcraft, and wouldn’t it be crazy fun to adventure together? Great! Except they’re probably on a US server while you’re on an EU server. And if you happen to be on the same continent, you’re probably on a different server within that continent. And if you happen to be on the same server, you’re probably different factions. And if you happen to be on the same server and the same faction, you’re probably different levels. And if you happen to be on the same server and the same faction and you’re the same level they’re probably only interested in Heroic dungeon runs in places you can’t get to. Or they’re the same class as you so you fight over all the loot drops. Or they turn out to be an insane stalker you really wish you’d never teamed with in the first place, though I don’t think we can blame that one on game design.”

Perhaps tellingly, or perhaps entirely coincidentally, both EVE (home of Jon’s [redacted] Corp, part of the [redacted] Alliance) and Guild Wars (where Van Hemlock’s Tuesday N00b Club can be found) are, unless I’m more vastly mistaken than a man who thinks Hillaire Belloc is still alive, shard-less. They’re faction-less, at least in the sense of Order/Destruction or Horde/Alliance “n’er the twain shall team up or even talk to each other”. Levels aren’t particularly important, with even new players being able to contribute in some role in EVE, and the levelling aspect of Guild Wars going very quickly. If you play the game and want to hook up with a particular guild/corp, you can (subject to extensive security vetting, background checks, three written references etc. And that’s just the N00b Club, ah (I confounded your expectations, and from thence the humour arose!))

WAR, though, looks rather more like WoW (wait for it, don’t start on the hate mail yet) in its server set-up. Separate European and North American servers, so if history is any guide it will be a bit of a faff to play on one continent from the other and not possible to easily flip between them, otherwise I’d look more seriously at joining the Casualties of WAR blog-o-guild. Distinct servers, and different factions on those servers. Barring rolling a new character or server transfer, if such a facility exists, your choice of guilds will be limited to those that happen to be on the server that you looked at in the list and thought “huh, that’s a pretty cool name[1]

Another way of doing it is to try and find a guild before launch, which at least takes care of the server selection. A multi-game guild, as touched on in the podcast, is a great way of hitting the ground running, but not something I’ve got into myself yet; I’ve seen a couple of instances of members of a successful guild from one game striking out somewhere else but neither particularly worked out, I think you need a really strong team to keep things going in more than one game. Failing that, it’s off to recruitment adverts in the forums, and hoping the guild you pick with the active forums and eloquent posters haven’t managed to burn themselves out in the beta.

From reading beta impressions so far, it sounds like open grouping and Public Quests make ad-hoc teams fairly common, so if a better alternative doesn’t present itself then I’ll make an attempt to be a bit sociable, and see if I can bump into some groovy people in the world at large. Hopefully on our side, otherwise I’ll have to set fire to them.

[1] Course you didn’t *just* think “that’s a pretty cool name” did you? No, you thought “that’s a *really* cool name, but that means everyone else is going to think that and they’ll pick that server and it’ll be overcrowded with queues just to log on; but that other one has a rubbish name, nobody will pick that at all, it’ll be impossible to get a team; that one, that’s a bit of a Destruct-y name, that’ll have really heavy imbalanced population in favour of Destruction”, and picked the second-coolest-sounding-least-Destruct-y named server.