"Well, let me know if you need anything."
It's another whisper from a guild mate in World of Warcraft offering help. This is just one in a long chain of them:
"Need an enchantment on your staff?"
"Want me to take you through WC?"
"Hey, I'll help you get your flight paths."
World of Warcraft being my first in-depth experience with an MMOG, I had never before experienced guild life. I had never experienced the familiar waves in unexpected locales from guild mates. I had never experienced the spontaneous dancing that broke out when a handful of our members found themselves standing around near each other.
I had never experienced all the random offers of help. Eager to stretch my legs in a new environment, I often turned down help. Occasionally, I wasn't feeling like going it alone and I toddled along after my much higher leveled guide. Or, from time to time, I'd speak up in guild chat if an item of particular use came up for grabs. But mostly, I kept to myself and, every now and then, joined in the banter going on in Guild Chat.
That's when my guild mates just got creative. They'd send me what I affectionately refer to as Care Packages of a few gold or some healing potions. Or they'd "bump into me" somewhere in game, build a cozy fire next to a lake in dangerous territory, catch a fish and cook it, giving me a chance to restore some health and reapply potions and magic spells of protection.
But, that's what the guild is all about. And later, once I built my character up a bit, I sent out my own care packages to "younger" guild members. I went to visit other players in their newbie areas. I'd help others in the guild as those before me had done in this and many other games. It's a kind of continuity that provides comfort on many levels.
And it is these organizations that provide the subject of this tenth issue of The Escapist. Mark Wallace returns to speak about guilds and their role in integrating new players into Eve Online. Sean Stalzer gives us a look at The Syndicate, an "uber guild," one of the huge guilds that has the power to influence the success and course of a game. Last, Junaid Alam uses Battlefield 2 as a backdrop for a discussion on why he enjoys playing multiplayer games, despite the technical and human drawbacks. Find these articles and more in The Escapist.