Everyone is talking about Guild Wars 2 today after the beta weekend! If you’re looking for a general summary, Spinks has written a good overview and collected many links to different reactions. Generally folks seem to be speaking positively about the game today for both PvE and PvP. The biggest negative comments revolve around social features, and I couldn’t agree more with most of those complaints: things like a good /who (or similar) command, being able to pick one overflow zone for your party, chat bubbles, and so on are missed and I would argue are optimal for a smooth community multiplayer experience.
There are, however, plenty of great blogs talking about those issues this morning so I thought I’d touch on something different and look at the Guild Wars 2 guild system.
As you’ve probably already read, players can technically be members in multiple guilds, although they can only actively represent a single guild at any given time. Once a player has at least one character in a guild they are able to represent said guild(s) on every subsequent alt. The in-game guild roster is pretty similar to that of any other MMO, except it includes the account name as well as the character name (yay, no more tracking alt ownership in notes!) as well as a character’s profession levels. If you are a member of multiple guilds, from here you can also select or change your guild representation for that character.
“Representing” a guild means that you appear online in its roster, you’ll have its tag next to your name, you have access to that guild’s rewards, and your activities collect “influence” for that guild. Influence is sort of like “guild XP” in WoW — it’s a guild reward currency that players earn simply by playing the game. Unlike WoW, earning influence seems fairly easy for small or low-level groups. We had about six players on a gazillion different alts this weekend, all low-level of course, and you can see from our influence log that we had a steady trickle of guild currency:
So what do you do with all this influence? Why, buy neat things of course! Unlike WoW where perks were granted at set times during a guild’s growth, the GW2 guild reward system lets guilds pick what perks they want and in what order. The perks themselves are sort of like EvE or Glitch in that they take some time to learn (anywhere from a few hours to a week), and you can queue multiple perks in a “Build Queue” to run consecutively.
The rewards are broken down roughly by activity type, including PvE, economy, and PvP. They’re staged according to how many ranks of each activity type the guild has earned. For example, taking 24 hours to learn “Politics 1″ opens up a handful of perks to buy. Higher level perks can then be unlocked by then learning the more expensive “Politics 2″. There seem to be two types of rewards: permanent ones, such as a guild bank or emblem, and temporary buffs. The latter are a great idea, and help make influence relevant to even the oldest, most active guilds.
While guilds can pick whatever rewards path they wish, I would strongly recommend engaging in a little min-maxing right off the bat and getting Archetecture 1 (24 hours) and and the Guild Workshop (48 hours). This will allow you to build two rewards simultaneously, and will significantly speed up the flow of rewards.
Much like the rest of Guild Wars 2, the guild system is not revolutionary but does add some polish and modern features to an old friend. It feels more cooperative than WoW’s competitive guild levels. None of the rewards seemed particularly game-breaking, but a good way to tailor and buff your guild while just playing as usual.