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Breakfast Topic: Local guilds

A few weeks ago while I was browsing the official forums, I noticed an interesting guild recruitment post. Someone was recruiting for people not based on class, skill level, or preferred play style, but rather on geographic location. He was hoping to create a guild of people from Portland, Oregon.

It's an interesting idea, and one I've sort of kept in the back of my mind since I saw the post. I like to think that most of us, these days, have started to realize that there really are other, living, breathing, flesh and blood people on the other side of the keyboard. In fact, many of us have met some of these people at conventions and guild gatherings. There's also many families and friends who have decided to play WoW together.

However, building a guild from the group up to be a "local guild" seems to be a different beast altogether. You're not meeting up with each other after having been in the guild for a while, or playing for family ties. Instead, you're looking to get actual benefits, game-related or otherwise, of being in a guild of other residents of your city, state, province, or what have you.

I do know it can work, at least to some extent. On my old Everquest server, there was a guild made up of people from the Bay Area of California. They required that you attend a live, in-person guild meeting once a month. Some people found the requirement a bit draconian, but it really seemed to work for them. Their people were considered friendly and helpful and some of the most knowledgeable and skilled people on the server. Perhaps it was just that had good leadership and synergy that would have worked regardless of where they lived, but perhaps being able to connect and discuss in real life gave them an edge in helping each other with skills and reminding each other that there were real people behind the pixels, and they should be treated with respect.

Unfortunately, the guild did eventually fell apart, primarily because they just couldn't expand their membership enough to take on the higher level raids. Existing members moved on to the uber guilds to have a chance at the content, and their stringent entrance policies meant there just wasn't a big enough applicant pool to replenish the ranks.

The idea of a local guild is an intriguing one all the same. Would face-to-face guild meetings help everyone keep perspective and treat everyone better? Or would they just mean that guild drama would take on a slightly more uncomfortable and personal tinge as people took feuds into meatspace? What do you think of the concept? If you were looking for a guild, would you join one specifically looking to recruit people in your area?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Breakfast Topics

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