School is in session. (CMON, a little summer school won’t kill ya!)
People ask me all the time, “Foton, can I have your stuff?”
Obviously, no. They also ask, if they know what’s good for ’em, “Foton, how do I choose a good guild?”
Many times, I’ll say, “hell if I know,” but that’s because I’m busy and don’t have time to explain every little thing. In the interest of helping the community, and I’m all about the community, here’s my short list of things to look for in a guild:
1. What’s in it for you? What are you, a gaming philanthropist? Of course not! You’re just like me and Skippy, my gaming teenaged neighbor. You’d like a little something, y’know, for the effort.
Any prospective guild has to be farming and/or raiding the shit you want, or else, why bother? Surely you don’t want to spend your precious free time equipping the entire server. You also want adequate assurances that you’ll get some trinkets within a reasonable amount of time. I know, some guilds have these horrendous buy-ins where you have to raid for so long or put in so many hours before you can hope for raid loot. I understand the logic, but the key here is “reasonable.” Only you can decide how much that is.
2. Are you the piper? Let’s be blunt about this: if you’re playing one of the “chosen” classes in a game (clerics, doctors, priests, healer-what-have-yous, I’m looking in your direction here), you get to call the tune. The healer types have been wielding an iron fist since time immortal and will until the end of time, because no one can do anything worthwhile (read: raid loot) without a pack of healers along. Some games have finetuned the required healer ratio to be more tolerable, but same difference … we all need heal power.
And more power to the healers for riding out what was probably a rough grind to max level (he grudgingly allows) — their reward is they can run roughshod over the guild barking out orders and making demands. And, the fewer guild healers available, the more ridiculous the demands will be. If you’re a healer type, use that to your advantage: reduced guild buyins, reduced level/equipment requirements, loose attendance requirements, etc. (Do not attempt this in my guild though, because I won’t tolerate that shit. Much.)
If you’re like most of us, you’re playing a fun class — easy to level, easy to solo. Unfortunately, this means there are already 35 dozen rogues, rangers, wizards in any guild you’re eyeing. Obviously, a guild with only 1 dozen rogues, rangers or wizards will be more appealing as there aren’t as many mouths to feed. But, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do, so just cut the best deal you can.
And don’t even think of making any demands because there’s 25 dozen guildmates behind you just hoping you quit thereby improving their odds to score some phat lewt.
3. What has the (prospective) guild done lately? Eventually, this will morph into “what has the guild done for YOU lately”, but unless you’re a healer-type, best leave that question for much later.
Besides #1’s “are they raiding the shit you want”, how is the guild doing for stability? Recent leadership change, wild swings in membership (either huge increase or decrease), or changes in focus (priorities) all spell trouble.
Maybe you’re the type that enjoys rebuilding a guild from the smoldering ashes of a mass exodus or some bullshit D R A M A that tore the guild a new one. If you are, I have some good news for you: you have a lot of guilds to choose from. Me, when I’m considering a new game home, there is no way in hell I want to deal with that shit. If I’ve been with a guild for a time, I’ll ride out the bad times to a point, but a new guild … no way, no how.
4. A blank stare is not a good look on anyone. There is nothing as tortuous as being guilded with people who could easily be mistaken for coma victims. A sense of humor and a carefree attitude can go a long way when the guild hits bad times — and there will be bad times … corpse runs, shit loot, people have a rotten day at work, failed raids plus the 498 other things that can and will go wrong.
If the guildmates view the game as a second job and nothing could be funny or absurd about that, you will want to shoot yourself. Two times in the head.
Don’t discount this step thinking that you can stand anything for a few hours a night or a few hours a week. You can’t.
5. Use your own damn list then. Maybe there’s other practical considerations for you in choosing a guild. Some want a guild webpage, message boards, point-based loot system, the guild will take your jackass friend too, blah blah. I can take or leave that shit, but one thing I think is almost a must-have nowadays is a voice chat system.
Try to play Guild Wars, for example, without a voice chat … it’s damn near impossible, and any game with a PvP system will be vastly improved with voice. I should say a properly managed voice chat because I’ve been in guilds where it was just a noisy din, even during guild events. Unless you’re particularly skilled at distinguishing 40 different voices all speaking at once, and I am not, an unruly voice system is worthless.
Of course, if you have a bunch of e-friends that play, guild with them. Even better if you know some of them irl because nothing is quite as effective as getting in your friend’s face the next day and demanding to know why in the hell he thought it was a good idea to take that “short cut” through that dungeon. And he can pick up the lunch tab because you’re not even sure you can forgive him for that shit.
Choose wisely, loyal student. Your very gaming life could depend on it.