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Opinion: Will Small Guilds Go Bust with Update 5?

Sorry for the sensational blog headline, but the Guild Leveling system is a rather fascinating topic! I want to take a moment or two to predict how it will affect guilds and the player base. What will happen to guilds both large and small? What will players do under a new mechanic?

How Does it Work?
Let’s first do a quick review on Guild Levels. To gain Guild Levels (GL), guild members’ loot Guild Trophies (GT) called “Heroic Deeds”. This will actually appear as a lootable item in chests and as selectable item for end rewards. They are also found as collectable items from mob drops. As GTs are collected they become Guild Renown or essentially Guild XP. GTs come in various denominations, ranging 50 to 150 GTs.

There’s a trick to GR: starting at level 25 (the current maximum guild level is 100), the higher in Guild Level a guild achieves, the faster the Guild Renown will decay. Luckily, guild Renown will stop decaying again once you have gone back to Guild Level 25. What happens if you guild xp drops and you start losing levels, my best guess is that you start losing access to certain guild privileges.

For more info on what you can get as you go up in Guild Levels visit DDOWiki (LINK)

GTs Chests GTs End Reward

What Does This Mean for Small Guilds?
This is the question that first jumped out at me, since my main belongs to a small guild.

Good News: at Guild Level 20, you can still get an Airship (Windspyre Sloop Airship) and not worry about losing your ship due to GR decay.

As to other stuff, I can only speculate. As I see it, the more active a guild player base, the higher the acceleration rate for gathering GTs. Obviously, player activity is based on a two factors: the amount player effort in GT gathering, and the number of players total in the guild.

A guild with 20 active members has a higher potential of gaining Guild XP than a guild with 5 active members. Even if you’re guild is even made of 1 active member, you can still get GT and gain guild xp for towards your guild goodies, but it will take longer. And you pretty much get to keep your goodies at Guild Level 25. Will this mean that a larger guild gain levels faster than a smaller guild? The case is most likely; it just depends on the determination factor for your player base to “loot” GTs. (Players can choose to loot weapons or other items instead of Heroic Deeds!)

On the other hand, if you want stuff beyond GL 25 and you want to keep it, your members have to be pretty active towards gathering GT on a regular basis. In my opinion, smaller guilds will still have a chance at getting great stuff, but just not at the same rate as bigger guilds. I do doubt that small guilds of less than 10 active players will get to see Guild Level 90+ items and services.

I would predict that smaller guilds will start collecting together and forming larger guilds. I also see players leaving smaller guilds for larger ones to gain access to goodies from guilds with higher levels. Will everyone abandon small guilds? No, of course not! Small guilds will still be around. Some will be happy at a Guild Level between 1 to 25.

Buy, Sell, Trade Guild Trophies?
So I can’t help but wonder how this will affect how people play the game. The second question I wanted to ask is: will people start selling or trading GTs or “Heroic Deeds”? Perhaps, I have more speculation for you: since Heroic Deeds are presented as a loot option to be gathered from chests, as end rewards and as collectable drops from mobs. Though as soon as they are gathered from whatever source, they are added to your Guild’s XP pool; they could potentially be traded in-chests and transferred to other players.

Group vs. Individual?
Another question that came to mind was how will this effect a player’s motivations in game? Turbine has introduced a new mechanic for grinding: I dub it the Collective Group Grind. Of course, some folks will see this as “play” rather than as “grind”. But it does have a high potential to become a grind, since the benefits for looting Heroic Deeds are not immediately realized to the individual player.

The player sacrifices or gives up opportunity cost of loot, which could have been a named item, or some other item if found in a chest. The same goes for end loot; when a player selects a Heroic Deed as an end reward, the individual player is giving up another loot item. They do this in exchange for a reward that will be realized later on as the guild grows in levels. Though the realization of the guild reward won’t happen just for a single individual (though it can in a guild of one), but for everyone else in the guild as well.

It’s an interesting mechanic because it relies heavily on a player’s enlightened self-interest as motivation to collect GTs. Basically, I see players acting to further the interests of the group (or groups to which they belong — players can have toons belonging to different guilds) and ultimately serving their own self-interests via the benefits that the guild gains.

I have more questions, but I’ll stop there and ask you: What do you think? Do you have any predictions on what kinds things will happen under the new Guild Leveling system?

  • I really hope there’s more for small guilds to like than seems apparent…

    One thought I had – will hired guns be possible? Guild hopping for hire to build and maintain renown? -Kosimo

    Kosimo

    June 6, 2010

  • Indeed, I agree. I think one big factor will be the DDO Store as well, could Turbine offer a “lower your guild decay rate by 10%” item? Seems like an easy way to make a sale, IMO. Also not sure how the size of the guild impacts (or not) decay rate.

    Mockduck

    June 6, 2010

  • I don’t care for the “either reward yourself or reward the guild”.

    TommyBoy

    June 8, 2010

  • I wouldn’t mind the heroic deeds as chest or end loot, if they balanced it out by removing crap like gems, repair kits, and healing kits from the loot table.

    Theris

    June 8, 2010

  • I’ll have to try it when it goes live. Based on the level of your end rewards I’ll name my guild “Heroic Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” 😉

    QuantumFX

    June 8, 2010

  • LOL! that’s a great name! I was thinking Heroic Deeds for Hire, but your’s is far better.

    Theris

    June 8, 2010