Multiple Group Membership in MMOs

The World of Warcraft guild I'm in is part of a larger group of three guilds, the Hillsbrad Pact, in-character, and ARCORB, out of character. Between us, we can muster a decent raiding group, a good chat channel, and a fair chance that you can find someone to help you with group quests. This isn't something any of the guilds could manage on its own. The trouble is that there is no mechanical way in WoW to support this concept.

The way to handle it under the mechanics is to have everyone join one guild. Where the group overflows into other games, this tends to happen - the Fellowship I joined in my brief foray into LotRO was composed of people from the Pact. But in WoW, everyone is fond of their own guilds, and each guild has its own slightly different culture, origins, and traditions. The guildmaster position in my own guild, The Red Branch, is periodically decided by voting, whereas the Oathforged have their Founders and that's that. I'm not sure how the Ashen Rose Conspiracy decide who's in charge at all; they've had two GMs while I've known them, and the transition I was around for was a simple handover, I think.

This works fine a lot of the time. It does mean, however, that moving stuff around between people in the Pact is a little less smooth than it might be. We can't dump stuff into the guild bank for people in the other guild banks, and it's starting to be a little impractical to scoot across the world to hand over an item. Mage teleports, the five-hearthstones-an-hour trick that shamans do, and the Shattrath-to-anywhere portals, can help with this, but it's right on the threshold where organising a courier takes nearly as long as dropping something in the post - which takes exactly an hour to arrive.

It also means that there's no visible connection between the members of the Pact. Another player may have good experiences with the Oathforged, and be looking out for the <Oathforged> tag, not realising that the people running around with <The Red Branch> over their heads are nearly in the same guild.

Both Dark Age of Camelot and EVE Online have mechanisms to address this last, at least - alliances are groups of guilds or corporations who can share a standard channel, some resources, and in EVE, meaningful "standings" with respect to other player groups.

Ideally, I would like an in-game mechanism where I can belong to The Red Branch and The Hillsbrad Pact.

But... I want more as well. There's an interdependency among crafters in World of Warcraft. It's not as definite as that in other games, but it does mean that as a jewelcrafter, Wormson can't get his uncut gems directly from the environment unless he's also a miner - and he's not. So I want a Trade Guild as well, whereby the short supply chains that WoW has can be facilitated, where my miner guildmates can drop off a pile of ore for me to prospect, without jamming up the PvE guild's storage - which indeed, is already jammed with trade goods.

And further to that, few enough of the Pact are much interested in PvP, so I'd like to have a PvP organisation as well. It'd be nice if that one could be cross-server across the battlegroup, actually, while I'm asking for unlikely things.

Posted by Drew Shiel at April 25, 2008 12:44 PM

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