So here you are again, all alone in your favorite virtual world and looking for some friends and you have to find a guild. Of course, finding the right guild is never that easy. Just like finding a good prostitute, there’s a lot of potential choice but you never know who has a deadly disease or if the advertised gender is really what you will be getting. In order to save you some embarrassing moments and a trip to the doctor, here’s a little guide of signs that not all is what it seems to be.
Fun fact: All the following quotes are taken from actual guild recruitment threads and/or recruitment pages.
1st sign: The hippie party
Guild 1: This is an adult-oriented guild that seeks to promote and encourage maturity and civility both within the guild and outside the guild…
Guild 2: …a friendly casual guild is looking for a few good men (or women), 18+ to join its roster. A couple of Op nights a week, friendly atmosphere and fun to be had by all
The above was taken from two guilds recruitment pages and I’m sure you have seen quite a few like these around either in forums, in-game or on various websites. They all promise the same thing. A fun group of like-minded to people to play with, where friendship and good behavior are the main attractions. It’s effing hippie party and you need to run away!
Why? Because these hippies are dirty liars. No guild survives based solely on the good will of their members. Sooner or later, someone in the party will get bored with sitting around and singing about love and will propose a group activity… you know… to actually do something in this game we’re playing. This is when you’ll realize that not everyone in the guild has the same idea of what makes a fun activity and soon enough, all those lofty principles about fun, friends and family evaporate and you’re left with a vicious civil war. Sides will be taken, people will be hated and in the end, the casualties will leave MMOs forever and the survivor will be left wounded, but a little bit wiser.
2nd sign: The mysterious order of esoteric rules
Guild 1: In order to become a full member, you will be required to answer a secret question at the end of your first week. If you integrate yourself well in the guild, you should figure out the question and the answer by the end of your first week. This is a test to see if you are a good fit for us.
Guild 2: … uses a tiered rank structure for its member. Member will progress through the ranks based on guild participation and vote of the higher members. These ranks will then be used to determine who is invited to raids and other guild activities. A random …
Guild 3: … guild bank surplus will be shared amongst worthy members at the end of each month. A secret roll will determine who get’s what in case of ties.
Some guild operate like secret societies and sects. They have many ranks, secret rules and a mysterious officer corps who don’t want to share all the information with the group. Just like a lot of sects, the primary goal is to rob you blind of your money, time and work and all these weird rules are only a cover for what is basically theft.
Guild rules should ideally be few and easy to follow and remember. Same goes for guild ranks. While some guilds will use many ranks for comedy purposes or to indicate some special functions, regular members should not have to jump through ten hoops in order to be considered a full member. When ranks and rules get to a point where you cannot tell exactly where you stand and what is expected of you, its high time to leave before the Grand Guru McPants runs off with the guild bank.
Then again, you could be in a guild that really tries to be a secret society in which case you should probably run away even faster.
3rd sign: The slavepit gentlemen club
Guild 1: We operate on the principle that in order to get rewards, you need to put in effort and follow the rules. If you fail to follow the rules you will be punished and you will lose points. If you lose all your points you will be kicked out. Points will be awarded for each hour of raid, mats given to the guild bank or completing any other task set by the officers.
Guild 2: Members should follow the rules at all times. Failure to do so will result in loss of privileges and can lead to guild removal. (Monkey note: It’s important to point out said rules goes on for 24 points among these are a 95% raid attendance .)
You are playing a game… for fun… at least it’s what it’s advertised to be. As far as I know, no guild in the world pays its members to play with them. In fact it’s the opposite, people pay to play and raid with other players. Yet, some guilds seems to be ran by the mob, the military or some other totalitarian organisation that expect time and performance from their members and offer nothing in return.
Oh wait… they do promise something… they promise loot and killing bosses. Yet weirdly enough, the more rules these guilds have… the less advanced they seem to be. When you take a good look at things, the very best guilds have really only one rule: Be the best player around. So if you want a high end guild, try finding one who actually cares about performance and not about how well you can follow stupid rules.
By the way, if you do find a social guild with a more complicated set of rules… do laugh at them and take a picture. They are a rare sight indeed.
4th sign: Friends looking for more: Suckers!
Guild 1: This guild was founded by a close group of friends a few years ago who are looking to expand to be able to raid… We use a council of officers for all decisions relating to the guild and raids.
Guild 2: The officers are in charge of all decisions including loot and bank managements. We expect members to contribute to the guild by raiding with us and providing mats.
Believe it or not, not everyone on the internet have you best interest at heart. Some people are really only interested in using you. Gasp! I know… shocking right?
I won’t take a lot of time explaining this but any guild where a small group of people take all the decisions without input from the members or clear rules are only interest in having a few extra bodies or robbing you.
So… what guild should I join?
Clear goals, clear rules, no obligations to others.
Repeat it a few times. Mull it over. All succesful guilds I’ve seen from casual to hardcore are based on these principles. They have clear, in game goals of what they want to do. They have clear rules on how they want to achieve that and they won’t force you to do anything for other members.