Psychochild's Blog

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4 May, 2008

Weekend Design Challenge: Types of Guilds
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:25 PM

Guilds are usually considered the core of the social fabric in online games. So, this week we’ll take a look at guilds and the different types that exist on online games.

What type of guilds exist in games? What are their roles in the social fabric of games?

The first step of this week’s challenge is to identify a type of guilds that exists in online games and describe it. Note that types can be defined by the players in the guild, the style of play, or the leadership characteristics.

Small ‘Family’ Guild – This is usually a group of friends, often from previous games, that like hanging out with each other and playing. The group tends to be all over the place in terms of the casual/hardcore continuum: some log on and are mostly social, others play the main (non-raiding, etc.) game with an almost scary focus. There is usually a core group of people that play regularly that form the center of the guild and keep the connections between others. Often this type of guild is lead by a group rather than a single leader. If the guild starts growing, it usually forms the core of a more “serious” guild that focuses on an in-game activity, such as raiding. This guild may also combine with other guilds to form a faction within a larger guild.

If you can’t think of a new type of guild, describe what you like in a guild in a typical online game using the types already described. If the type doesn’t exist, then define it!

I’ll post more thoughts later.

Next Post: »


  1. I’ll go with the easy one:

    Bank guild! Used for a bank alt character, to obtain whatever guild benefits there are for storage space. Rarely has more than one person in it, and if there are more they don’t play together — at least, not with THESE characters.

    Comment by Trevel — 5 May, 2008 @ 3:48 AM

  2. Roleplaying/Theme Guild – This is usually a small, exclusive guild originally formed by heavy roleplayers (often around a particular theme or concept within the game’s setting). Guild activities focus around member-created roleplaying plotlines instead of game content, and members are not afraid to make or delete characters to serve the story needs rather than the guild’s gameplay needs. Many such guilds are driven by a core of leaders and idea-creators; when these individuals begin reduce their time in-world or quit the game entirely, the guild inertia quickly drops. Some will quit to join other roleplaying guilds, while those that stay behind may feel more like a Small ‘Family’ Guild that happens to roleplay rather than a Roleplaying Guild.

    Comment by Stephen — 5 May, 2008 @ 7:00 AM

  3. Power guild – Everyone in the guild is driven to be the best at whatever they do. Entrance into the guild is highly regulated. Usually made up of veteran players but some will take on rookies and train them. Many times their skill comes across as elitism, often enough it actually is. Tend to favor pvp but not always, such as in games where making goods is highly competitive.

    Comment by Brian Paden — 6 May, 2008 @ 8:33 AM

  4. I’m going to say that I mainly define guilds on a scale of freedom of the members. On the low end members can do whatever they want, including not play the game, on the high end players are expected to show up on time and do whatever task it is the guild requires of them. For 98 percent of all guilds where you fall on this scale will be the single-most defining thing about the guild. The other 2% are focused either on something outside of gameplay (like a roleplaying guild or a guild that formed because they all like to watch LOST) or on some minor aspect of game play (like a crafting guild or a “try to get to max level but only as a naked elf chick”). At the low end guilds tend to break from too much chaos, at the high end guilds tend to break either because of too much order or because it’s members are so focused on in-game goals (like gear) they leave when another guild makes a better offer.

    The small family guild isn’t quite at the bottom. Most raid guilds aren’t quite at the top. (rant about how guilds were done in A Tale In The Desert goes here)

    Comment by Rik — 6 May, 2008 @ 9:24 PM

  5. Guilds are user generated content or game mechanics for its members. I agree with Rik about the level of freedom as an indicator, but you have several types of restrictions that make guilds either socialistic, capitalistic, despotic, democratic and so on. Hence the guilds are a kind of playground with political context rather than full of combat, toys or sandbox things.

    Hence one type of guild is the “utopian dream” which tries a political structure which is impossible to maintain over a long time, but while it functions is both powerful and of high value as user generated content. This tends to require a mix of several political ideology types which depend heavily on the real (non user generated) content of the game where the guild exist.

    Comment by Wolfe — 8 May, 2008 @ 3:20 AM

  6. Pub Guilds – Group of people defined more be location than occupation. Members will meet, chat, and adventure together, but there is no strong (explicit) commitment to the organization. Largely absent in highly Dikuized MMORPGs, partially due to the “you are in one and only one” guild philosophy, lack of instant travel, and excessive time commitment made of high end players preventing any “hang out time” being possible.

    Comment by Brask Mumei — 9 May, 2008 @ 3:10 PM

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