Players and guilds

This might be something of a biased topic, but I’m going to pursue it anyway in the wake of last week’s guild and player type posts.

In MMOs as they are structured now, what’s your preferred kind of guild to join? I’m thinking the divisions are more or less small/medium/large (and none, of course), and laid-back/focused. I prefer that last to casual/hardcore but even with different terms, a laid-back kind of guild can of course be very focused in achieving certain goals and a focused guild isn’t incapable of being laid-back.

This whole hardcore/casual thing gives me a headache. If you ask me, it’s time to put those terms out to pasture and start using descriptors that relate to activities and not to behaviours. I can be hardcore about some things and I’m entirely casual about others… or be hardcore and casual about the same thing at different times. Maybe we can use the Bartle descriptors instead — they’re labels like anything else, but at least they’re a little more flexible and yet less ambiguous.

So for instance, I tend to prefer social/explorer type guilds and I’m not too fussed about the size because mostly I go about my business in game on my own, so a small guild can fulfil my social interaction needs probably just as well as a large guild; I’m not interested in raiding or gear and I’m only incidentally interested in leveling, so the achievement-factor I look for in a guild can be very low; similarly, I don’t PvP much which means I don’t really care about the killer factor either. This is what I was groping towards last week — whether our player-types affect our choices for guild types. It’s pretty clear that they do, I just wonder how strong the influence is. Do we stay in a guild that doesn’t match our playstyle because we’re fond of the people in it? How long for? Or do we eventually move on because no matter how good the people are, if we’re not playing in ways we find enjoyable the whole MMO exercise becomes a little pointless?

The other thing that influences player/guild relations seems to be how a player is biased in terms of solo or group. Group-oriented players, as far as I can tell, seem to want achievement-oriented guilds, and tend to become (understandably) very unhappy when they end up in one that isn’t as achievement-based as they thought. (I also find it interesting that we tend to project what we want onto guilds we want to join, though it’s a common RL phenomenon too.) I can say from personal experience that solo players caught in a grouping/achievement oriented guild can get pretty unhappy too — it’s as bad to be constantly pestered to join people as it is to never be able to find someone else to play with.

If anything, I’m starting to think that guilds should examine their general grouping attitudes and advertise that as a selling point, because a new member’s biggest source of disappointment in most of the casual guilds I’ve been in (as usual I can’t speak for raiding/focused guilds) seems to end up being the grouping, or lack of it, depending on player type. Groupers tend to assume the guilds they join are full of people who also group, and if in fact a guild is mostly made up of soloers, than the grouper-oriented player is going to get frustrated, understandably so; if you play to play physically (well, pixelishly) with other people, then seeing 10 people online and having none of them interested in what’s a central aspect of play to you is going to stink. I think most guilds aren’t even aware of their grouping attitude, and maybe they should be.

I’m also interested in whether one’s grouping preference relates more to the social side of the Bartle descriptors or to the achievement side. Maybe both — the social grouper just likes to do stuff with others, while the achievement grouper looks for groups because it’s a more efficient way to achieve? You social achievers out there, what do you think? There must be killer-groupers out there too, and maybe explorer-groupers too. So is the explorer/solo more closely related to explorers out there, or to solo players out there?

Like all labels, even the Bartle ones can’t really encapsulate everything players can possibly be, especially since we’re not limited to one type of behaviour all the time. However, it’s useful to derive some kind of common descriptive terminology that fits relatively accurately (if loosely) because it lets us then use that as a frame of reference in discussions.

* * *

As a final tangent, I need to get a mini-rant off my chest. Why is it that I can happily tolerate other people’s playstyles (unless it’s griefing) whether I group or not, but most groupers/achievers I meet a) absolutely cannot conceive why I wouldn’t want to be achieving and grouping every second of the day and b) feel the need to alternately berate and cajole me about it. For one thing, it’s a little self-serving — I get whined at about how I play because THEY need me to be grouping with them so THEY can achieve what they want to achieve. Secondly, it’s intolerant — there are many ways to enjoy a game and no, grouping and dungeoning isn’t the only one, nor is it the best one for everyone. I have good reasons for preferring not to group most of the time (not that I should even have to give reasons — it’s my bloody $15 a month). And I don’t like dungeons and probably never will, no matter a) how often I’m forced to run through them or b) how much you tell me I’d love them if only I ran them enough.

Really, and seriously. I have my own style and I do have fun in games, even if my fun isn’t at all your idea of fun. Please respect that and stop telling me I’d come to see the light if only I’d play like you do for long enough. I’m getting pretty tired of it and you don’t hear me telling you that you should solo and explore all day.

17 responses to “Players and guilds

  1. “b) feel the need to alternately berate and cajole me about it. For one thing, it’s a little self-serving ”

    I think you answered your own question there. They try to coerce you to their way of playing because they need other people to accomplish their way of playing, and at the end of the day people are basically selfish creatures.

    Solo players (obviously) don’t need anyone else to facilitate their playstyle, so there’s no reason for them to try to coerce others to play their way.


  2. Could be, Pete. I’m usually more optimistic about the human race and assume people do it because they mean well. That said, even if they do mean well it grates on me after a while.


  3. I think honesty with one’s self about one’s playing style is very much necessary. In the end, it’s the player’s fun to be had, right? You only have yourself to blame kind of thing.

    The problem is, we’re at a crossroads in MMO gaming right now. Players across all the games that are out there right now are just settling in to what gaming is all about. How do I explain? We’re just learning…no…actually…we’ve already learned what to expect from MMOs. Now we are all just putting that knowledge to work for us. But while we’ve been learning, there’s been a lot of failure. After all, without failure we wouldn’t know what actually works, right?

    We know that most MMOs we will play in the future will have similar features – soloing, grouping, raiding, questing, crafting, social networks (guilds/alliances are part of this). I’ll stop with just those. There may be a few twists and turns that cause us to stop and say, “Man, I wish my guild was more into this.” But that will be rare.

    With those aspects in mind, I think the future of guilds will be to specialize in one or two of those areas. I really will go out on a limb here and say that the days of the melting pot guild are over. You can’t just throw a guild together and say we’ll accept all people of all gaming styles and expect it to work.

    Another big thing is time. Not just the amount you can put into a game, but the actual time of day. My friend and I love playing MMOs, but we are on totally different time schedules. So, unfortunately, we may have every intention of being the l337 d00d35z we once were…but we won’t be able to do it together unless something changes with our time.

    So, you live and learn. Just thinking about ‘time’ as an aspect for setting up a guild may not have been on the radar when MMOs were just starting…but as an experienced player…I think it is one of more important aspects now.

    I used to hate guilds with strict requirements. But looking back, I think it is those guilds that were ahead of the curve. Those guild leaders knew what they wanted and they wanted other people who wanted the same things. Going through countless melting pot guilds during my MMO career, I’m starting to see the value in that.

    To answer your main highlighted question at the top. I think my preferred guild to join will be the one I create myself. 🙂


  4. I like social and exploring guilds with some achievement thrown in to spruce things up. Of course if they want to pvp too it doesn’t bug me and sometimes I’ll join in the fun 😛


  5. @Ysh’s last bit: This is sort of human nature. We forget or can’t conceive how people do some of the things they do or don’t do some of the things we do.

    Prime example, I like “Heroes” and I’m iffy about “My Own Worst Enemy”. You complimented “My Own Worst Enemy” on the writing while poo-pooed “Heroes”. Being that I like “Heroes”, I can’t fathom why you don’t? I just see all the goodness (from my point of view) while you see something else based on everything that goes into you forming your point of view.

    Unfortunately, if you tend to be a minority that goes to the park to sit there and do nothing then you’re going to have to get used to people jogging by and asking you to join them or asking you why you go to the park to not really do anything but sit.

    It just not something they thought of or they way they think.

    @Pete : coercion isn’t always malicious. A lot of people really do believe that if you try something you might like it. Even if you did it before and didn’t like it they might simply believe “you did it wrong” or “you did it with the wrong person” or “it’s different now” type of thing. In some cases coercion = motivation.

    Coming back to the type of guild I like:

    I like a medium size guild – I dislike large guilds where you see names and not know who they are.

    I like a guild that is patient but also motivated – I’m older and gaming is really sort of the lowest man on the totem pole. But that doesn’t mean I want to flounder around at the lower levels doing the same content over and over. I tend to bore quickly so I need to see and do new things.

    I like a guild that helps – depite getting bored easily, I can redo the same content a billion times if I’m helping someone out. It just feels different when you’re trucking along with others, almost like you’re doing what ever for the first time again.

    There is probably more but I got to get some work done. heh.


  6. Wait…. Ysh doesn’t like Heroes!!!???

    And agreed the coercion isn’t always done with malice. I’m just in a dark mood today I think… my grumpy side is running the keyboard. 🙂


  7. I’m a staunch Solo Explorer. If I’m in a guild, it’s one that I made (and is usually a one-man guild only organized to unlock gameplay mechanically unavailable to unguilded players) or it’s one that I joined because I know the other players.

    Actually, the only “guilds” that I joined rather than created are the Yohohoaholics crew and the Phoenix Warriors crew (different servers) in Puzzle Pirates. I joined Yohohoalics because I had some great discussions with the captain on their forums. She and I are both solo explorers, so even if we’re online at the same time, we’re often just doing our own thing, swapping jokes once in a while. It’s really just another way to keep in touch with a friend, and to signal to the world at large that I’m in a crew I like, so I don’t get spammed with “join my crew” tells. (I’m also avoiding crew obligations that come up with “serious pillaging” crews. I don’t care for obligations in games.) The Phoenix Warriors is a strange but lovable group of fellow pirates that are also forum buddies, but I don’t really actually do much with them in-game since I’m a solo player. Again, it’s about keeping in touch.

    I play solo 95% of the time, and the only people I play with are either real life friends or one of a handful of friends that I’ve made online during random periods of sociality. (The bug strikes once in a while, no matter how many times I step on it.)

    To be fair, I have vaguely considered joining COW because I like some of these bloggish people like Ysh and Saylah, and I’ve considered joining Big Bear Butt’s casual guild, but to date, those guilds are in subscription MMOs, which I refuse to pay for. Even if I did join, it would be to say hello in real time, crack a few jokes, and continue on my merry way soloing the game itself.


  8. Ysh thinks Heroes totally fails to live up to its potential. I could go on about it but I won’t.

    My point, Smaken, is this — actually, it’s several. I *have* tried dungeons, many times. Surely there comes a point where telling people “I’d really rather not” has GOT to suffice, and past which banging on at me about it is *not* nice and *not* helpful and *not* motivational.

    You mention people trying to be helpful, but then you compare what I do (my playstyle) to sitting in the park doing nothing, which indicates to me that you’re one of those people who think I should stop doing what *I* like and just start doing what other people think I should like.

    People have the absolute right to like different things — I led with that. That’s my point. If I LIKE how I play and I’ve tried it your way, why oh why do I have to keep trying it? Pushing me into that hole isn’t going to make me square when I’m round.

    Why does it bother some people so much that everyone doesn’t play the way they do?


  9. PS– man I’m cranky. Time for some nyquil and to bed.

    Usually this stuff rolls off my back like water, but there are days when I get annoyed that I spend my time at least trying to be tolerant, only to find people on all sides trying to tell me how to think, live, and now play. 😉


  10. So, How bout we drag you along just so you can see the inside of the instance, and we can socialize, and have tea on the corpse of the boss?

    Heroes is OK, Dr Who rocks, but I miss Serenity.

    OK back to lurking.



  11. I like to be whipped by my taskmasters, and put to the task of destroying a boss at least 100 times.

    Thats just me. 🙂


  12. We are so very similar, right down to the mini-rant pretty much word for word, that it’s a little scary. 🙂

    I try to figure out a guild’s attitude and atmosphere in order to see if I’m going to be a good fit. If a guild has something along the lines of “…and also, we want everyone to be close-knit and socialize a whole bunch, so no going off by yourself all the time,” I cross them off my mental list of ‘Guilds to Consider.’ If they’re all about having fun in your own way, whether it is grouping to do every single darn quest with someone (so long as you don’t whine and complain about having a guildie come with you), finding the coziest/craziest/coolest secret places, spending your days crafting, or whatever else rocks your boat, then THAT is the kind of guild I’m looking for.

    Like you, I’m tolerant of other people’s playstyle. If they want to run battlegrounds/arenas until their eyes bleed or raid every night or stay in a particular area to RP/fish/play music, all I can say (without any drop of sarcasm) is “have fun!” — and I hope they, too, will look at me and my explorer-socializer tendencies and say “the same to you!”

    I think I mentioned this in a comment on another blog somewhere, but regarding grouping and whatnot: I’m fine with grouping for group quests. I enjoy it. However, that doesn’t mean I want to group all the time. I don’t like being attached to someone (except for my husband, but since he doesn’t play the same MMORPG as I do anymore that’s kind of a moot point) or find myself in a situation where other people dictate what I can or can’t do. The other day, I was invited to go questing with a couple of people with whom I’d done a group quest, and I politely declined. I like doing normal quests on my own. There’s more freedom that way — I can do them at my own pace, in my own way, and should I decide in the middle of a quest that I would rather go do this OTHER quest or gather materials or go crafting or go to the auction hall or whatever, then I can do that without having to have someone else’s blessing/permission to do so. Besides which, I like finding out what I can handle on my own, like certain crafting quests that require me to kill a higher-level elite and I end up being able to do it by myself (with a sliver of life left). That’s pretty satisfying. And I -HATE- being rushed, and I -HATE- being boosted, so there’s that.

    And all the while that I am all by my lonesome, I am having conversations with a couple of awesome people that I’ve met, which means that I’m (OMG!!11!) actually socializing. It’s just that I don’t need to be in the same ‘room’ as them, or do the same quest, or be in the same group, or whatever, to connect with someone and feel satisfaction from our interactions.

    I suppose it’s one of the reasons my husband and I have a rather healthy view about our hobbies and the time we spend. We’ll be home (maybe in the same room, maybe not) doing completely different things, not talking because we’re concentrating on our own stuff, and be at ease and comfortable and happy with each other. We don’t resent the other person for not watching this particular show with us or not playing this particular game with us or not sitting there staring into our eyes. We don’t need to be in the same room, doing the same thing, and holding hands while we do it, to feel as though we’re together and spending quality time with each other. (Then again, I don’t know many couples who literally spend all 24 hours in a day together, with no ill effects — such as the desire to kill one’s spouse, heh– so we may not be the norm. :P)

    One of the people I met in LotRO — she’s one of the sweetest women I have ever known — tells me sometimes that her husband will get angry at her for being in the study playing a game while he watches TV, because he wants her to be there, and not only be there but be there and watching the show with him. Of course, if he’s in the study on his computer playing a game, she can play whatever she wants and he’s fine with it. I seriously don’t understand that. I try to understand that that’s how their relationship is and whatnot, but I just find it a bit distasteful of him to not respect the way she wants to spend her time.


  13. Heh … I should probably set up a blog again, seeing how much I seem to spew words on other people’s comments section. 😀


  14. @ Mallika: sounds like we’ve got pretty similar set-ups, albeit that both I and the S/O play the same game, so we get the opportunity to tackle some of these group quests without worrying too much about finding A.N.Other person(s) to tag along. We have the advantage of being incurable altophiles (why else would I be commenting here so much? *grin*) so we can normally rustle up a healer/tank/dps/whatever to compliment the grouping. And if we can’t manage the quest, we shrug, chalk it up to experience, and go on our merry way.


  15. So many 3-syllable M names read this blog… 🙂

    @Mallika “I like doing normal quests on my own. There’s more freedom that way — I can do them at my own pace, in my own way … And I -HATE- being rushed, and I -HATE- being boosted,”

    I’m right with ya. I have learned that I’m some kind of mutant freak MMO player because I actually enjoy reading all the quest text in many MMOs, and not just to glean as many hints as possible, but because I enjoy the lore and storylines. I don’t want to just click through it, or even skim it as quickly as possible. When I’m grouped I feel like I’m holding everyone up… people will be “OK now talk to X, then talk to Y, then grab the apple off the desk and talk to Z” and at that point I’m ready to log out. I don’t want them to play the game for me, y’know?

    Boosted, the same thing. One of my gripes with my LOTRO guild (which I really need to get around to leaving…heh) is that if I’m trying to get together a fellowship for a level 20 group quest I have to be almost rude to keep out the level 40 players eager to help. And at the *first* sign of adversity during the quest, someone will say “There’s no way we can do this, let me log in my level 50 main.” I’ve had the same problem in WoW over the years. I’ve done the Deadmines probably 20-25 times over the years, and I think I’ve done it with a “level appropriate” group so it was a challenge once or twice.

    I *know* that in most cases, these people eager to bring in high level characters are very well-meaning. They honestly want to help (after all, they’re sacrificing having their level appropriate character finish the quests). But at the same time, if I say “OK, then I’m going to bow out and do something else” when the rest of the group decides to be powered through, please respect that and don’t get annoyed with me or accuse me of being an ingrate.

    I don’t fault others for wanting to play this way, but I’ve found its really hard to find a guild that respects my decision not to.

    I realize I never answered Ysh’s original question about what my preferred kind of guild is. I think at this point in my life, my preference is for no guild. I think I’m too much of a freak to ever hope to find a group of players that share my playstyle (which, in my mind, is the playstyle that the devs build the game around, ironically enough) and I’m tried of trying to be the round peg fitting into a square hole.


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