A brief respite from DSS talk for a look at something from the upcoming MMORPG Warhammer Online. Paging thought their development podcasts, I came across a discussion about their guild system. It seems to be a system where whenever a player earns xp, the guild earns xp. The guild can then level up, and gains a banner to be carried into battle. This banner (or battle standard) then grants the guild members morale bonuses and access to special moves and maneuvers.
The way guilds are implemented in MMORPGs is usually horrible. They are often just a private chat channel and a way of ensuring your spot in a raid. I've only had one good guild in all of my MMORPG experience, and that's just because a group of people who were my friends already in-game decided to just form a guild around our friendship. Most people change guilds at a moment's notice, and I've known several players who flit from guild to guild, taking anything they can from kind guild leaders before moving on to the next one.
MMORPGs need guilds to matter more. City of Heroes/Villains had a good start with the base system. If you have to work with your guild to build and secure your base, you feel much closer to them than if you just raid once a week. You've built something together, and worked hard to defend it. In Star Wars Galaxies, my guild because very strong when we had to defend our bases from being destroyed, to the point that when they were destroyed we ground out faction points to rebuild them together.
The largest detriment to guilds is bickering. So many guilds are lost or dissolved over one or two small disputes (at least in WOW). Usually, it's over something completely pointless, and usually it's not worth arguing over in the first place. The fact that guilds are so interchangeable and there's so little work involved in joining and being in one make it that much easier to complain and threaten to leave. If you had to work hard to get somewhere as a guild (and I don't count raiding as hard work, it's all formulated now) you are less likely to dissolve and your members will stay through more minor disputes, because they are invested in the guild.
I look forward to seeing Warhammer Online's guild system in action. A little later I'll discuss the crafting system Warhammer Online has stated they will be using. It seems interesting on some levels, and disappointing on other. More on that (and a discussion of what I think DSS crafting should look like) later.