With SWTOR’s Pre-Launch Guild Program in full swing and having over 38000 guilds recruiting, “To join or not to join. That is the question”

So, what is a guild? Why should I form/join one? What am I looking to get out of one and what can I contribute?

These are all perfectly normal and reasonable questions to ask when looking at your participation within a game and its subsequent community. I’ve asked them of myself on many occasions and I know most of my ingame friends/colleagues have too. But do we ever really answer them honestly?

I’ve recently changed servers and guilds in my current game, and to be honest I dont think I even asked myself any of these questions, let alone answer them…

I found myself in a guild playing with the same 5 or 6 people that I used to play and not interacting with many of the rest of the players in the guild. Now this guild has over 300 members, many of them being multiple characters from the same people. So why dont I interact more with the other guild members? I’ dont dislike them, they arent poor players, there isnt a language barrier, they arent of the opposing ingame faction. I honestly dont know…

So this begs the question. Why do we join guilds? What is there about a guild that brings something to our gameplay that appears to be a fundamental necessity to so many people?

There  is in every game a number of people that shun guild membership, but invariably the majority of the player community will join one guild or maybe several guilds during their game lifespan. Some will join in order to expand their circle of friends, some because of a common goal in-game, others for much more self-centred reasons such as help achieving their own personal goals. Others still will be purely motivated by wanting to play with their own existing friendships while excluding others.

I know of friends that moved from game to game, guild to guild with the same dozen or so people, never quite finding again what is what that brought them together in the first place. I guess I’m in that last group. I met these guys when they transferred from another server and got integrated into my guild. This guild was one of the oldest established guilds of the server, run by one of the most well respected players. Within weeks these new guys and myself had bonded so well that we had become the heart and soul, the lifeblood and driving force of everything the guild did. Our goals, aspirations and motivations within the game were totally in-sync and despite having changed guilds, formed our own guild and then rejoined other guilds we’ve always followed each other.

As a new player to a new game what is your motivation going to be when joining a guild? As in most games lately, as soon as you start your fresh new character you will quite probably get bombarded with guild invites from every passing player. Remember guilds will have many reasons for accepting or not accepting players. They have goals and agendas just as much as players, so its just as important to know why they want you as to why you want them. Do your research, have a clear idea of what you want out of your guild and don’t be afraid to polite decline an invitation. I say politely decline, because you may decide later that they were the right guild for you and you dont want to have already burnt your bridges.

Also be clear about what you’re going to bring to them. Is there an advantage to being in a huge guild? Is your contribution going to go un-noticed in the  grand plan? Or would you be afraid to be the weak-link in a smaller guild? Remember as an individual player within any group of players you are likely going to be judged/valued by your contribution to the greater collective. Dont worry though, every good army need its cannon-fodder just as much as it needs it solo heroes. What most guilds don’t want is players that are only there for the little tag above their characters name.

So there you have it. Don’t feel you have to join the first guild that tries to recruit you. You can try and be a player that fits his game-style to that of his guild, or try and find a guild that fits your style. Whichever you choose try and make sure that you contribute to, as much as you take from your chosen guild.