Each week we transcribe the Round Table Response videos from SOE's EverQuest Next team for you. This week, the Round Table takes a look at guilds in EverQuest Next, and answers the decidedly divisive question of whether players should be able to belong to multiple guilds or just one.
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Omeed Dariani: Hi. My name’s Omeed Dariani. I’m the Senior Brand Manager for the EverQuest franchise. Welcome to the Round Table! With me today is Jeff Butler, the Creative Director of EverQuest Next.
Jeff Butler: Hello, everyone.
Omeed Dariani: Today, we’re talking about guilds and characters. Should you have one guild per character, or should you have more flexibility than that? I think what we saw on the poll was quite a bit of enthusiasm--people have their minds made up.
Jeff Butler: Numbers were really weighted.
Omeed Dariani: Yeah. So, no one is on the fence here. A lot of people think it should just be one guild per character, and then almost an equal amount of people say it should be the opposite and there should be flexibility. So, one of the things I thought was really cool was the way that people were talking about it in the discussion. And people were really going in all directions, talking about alliances between guilds, talking about the fellowship system from EverQuest and from Vanguard--
Jeff Butler: All those different social structures.
Omeed Dariani: Yeah. And just saying, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we could do this? I want this.’ Because people are really passionate about this; this is where you make your friends. And so, I think we really want to start with...how do guilds work in other games?
Jeff Butler: In other games it’s usually straightforward. Other games tend to focus on multiple characters, right? You’ve got one class that you can be with each character, you’ve got multiple things that you might be able to harvest, and you’ve got one crafting skill, generally, per character. Or a limited number of crafting skills. So, over time, people complete multiple personas so they can expand outward in the game, and a lot of times those people join different guilds. On your main character you might raid. On your subsidiary characters, you might be in a social guild. Or a crafting guild, for instance.
Omeed Dariani: And so, people join different guilds for different interests.
Jeff Butler: Exactly.
Omeed Dariani: You don’t want to be in a raiding guild with your crafter, because if you need supplies, things like that...
Jeff Butler: If you need help, if you need advice, if people are knowledgeable about a particular thing they tend to gather together in one particular guild.
Omeed Dariani: Now, for EverQuest Next, we’ve been talking about a much more flexible structure to our character design. So, how does that impact how we’re thinking about guilds?
Jeff Butler: In EverQuest Next, because we’re planning on giving people the opportunity to live in one avatar, according to our intentions you’ll be able to level up multiple classes, you’ll be able to harvest everything in the world, you’ll be able to do different crafting classes within one individual character. We’re not going to force you to create multiple avatars. Because of that, we’re thinking it’s quite likely people are going to want to have the opportunity to join different social structures and guilds. On the weekend you might like to build. On the weekdays, you may care to raid or adventure. On one particular character--one single guy.
Omeed Dariani: One thing that’s always--I don’t want to say annoyed me, but kind of bugged me in other games--when I get onto my alt, like my crafting alt, I lose that conversation with what I would consider sort of my main guild. So, what you’re saying really gives you the ability to just stay online with both those guilds.
Jeff Butler: You’re effectively in both of those channels, or in multiple channels at once.
Omeed Dariani: So, for the folks who are saying ‘Hey, I want one guild per character’ it goes kinda back to the conversation we had about chat and friends’ lists and things like that. If I want to be one guild, one character... we’re not going to stop you from that, right?
Jeff Butler: No. But because the paradigm is changing a little bit in our game, because we’re offering something you haven’t seen before in other games, the process of creating in our game is literally a fully fleshed-out experience. I’m sure there will be some people, particularly for periods of time, that just want to spend time building. They want to cooperate, in our cooperative groups, to build things. They many want to build alone. They may want to do something that’s absolutely huge, build some form of mega-structure, something really exciting. Giving them the opportunity to set up those individual groups, and to form those friendships--maintain contact with people over time--I think that paradigm in our game will push people into being in multiple guilds.
Omeed Dariani: So, that’s a little bit of what we’re thinking right now, where we’re going with this. I think what would be the most helpful to us as we’re continuing this discussion would be if you could tell us places where guilds really work in other games, or ideas for features and interactions that maybe we haven’t seen before, or how you can see it work with this idea in EverQuest Next that you are one... you know, you can be one character that covers all of the skills. How does that change the perception of guilds.
Jeff Butler: Absolutely.
Omeed Dariani: So, thank you guys again for joining us. We really appreciate it. We’ll see you next week.
What's your take on multi-guild support in EverQuest Next? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Karen became hopelessly hooked on EverQuest when she wandered into Norrath for the first time, immediately fell off one of the Kelethin platforms, and had to ask a Bard to find her mangled corpse. She's gained a few skills since, and logged more hours than she cares to count playing all kinds of MMOs. The EverQuest franchise remains her favorite. Relying on her druidic wisdom, she pens a weekly column, Ask the Druid, every Thursday. Send your questions to her at shayalyn [at] tentonhammer.com.
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