Though many games are grouped into the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) genre, time has seen a broadening of the spectrum as games branch out from the original design into more specialized categories. But whether these games are centered on PvP, casual game play, crafting or a dozen other options, few continual threads still link this genre together. One of these long-lasting threads is the needed presence of guilds.
Whatever name you call them - clans, guilds, pledges - player groups are the backbones of an MMOG society. Many MMOG tasks are geared toward guilds, and can only be completed by large numbers of participants. Even when the game isn't built around guilds, players often form groups to work together.
For example, raid bosses in games such as EverQuest or Lineage II require upwards of thirty people to even attempt to kill, and after you have the numbers they require lots of preparation and planning, not to mention luck. Even in a non-combat game like A Tale in the Desert, players are required to work together to build large monuments and teams of two to four are needed to work some machinery.
While this would suggest that finding the biggest, strongest group would be the most beneficial choice, not everyone can be in the most elite guild, and not everyone wants to. Players also form guilds for friendship, companionship, and more specialized goals than simply being "the best."
Finding a guild is easy - it's enjoying it and keeping it that's the hard part. Ferst, a university student who plays a Spellsinger on the Lineage II Kain server, spent 67 levels looking for the perfect match. "Basically, I was looking for more than just a clan; I wanted people who were fun."
Spending those 67 levels solo wasn't easy, either. "I really like the PvP aspect of this game, but it was hard; I couldn't pick on big clans or they would attack in force." Ferst tried joining one of these big clans for a while but quickly became unhappy; he felt unappreciated and left to form his own clan, EndlessPariah. While his clan is only mid-sized compared to the competition, Ferst enjoys playing with his friends. "In the end it's just a game I play for fun, and you have the most fun with your friends."
D went through a similar experience in EverQuest. He spent a lot of clanless time while he was progressing his character. He didn't feel that he would be a useful guild member or leader until he had reached the level cap, and thus declined all offers until that point.
By the time D reached his goal level, he had accumulated enough friends who had expressed interest in joining a guild that he decided to form one. But even on a non-PvP server, D's new guild had plenty of obstacles to overcome; while they would spend hours preparing for a relatively difficult raid monster, a larger guild with more firepower would sweep in and mop up the monster in ten minutes. After some time, D left his guild to join one of the larger ones on the server.
The guild he joined, VeaVictus, was the second most powerful guild on the server. He felt that this new guild would give him the chance to experience the high-end content, and friends that had joined the guild before him were prospering. "I almost feel like I got too much of what I expected out of the guild. I was in the guild for a while and we'd go on raids and kill the big mobs but it began to feel like a job ... in order to kill one raid mob it would take hours of prep time."