Monday, August 25, 2008

Guild Halls - The Saga Continues

Shortly after we finished rejoicing that the purchase costs on the level 30 and level 50 Guild Halls were cut in half, the costs of amenities and their upkeep were released. Amenities are really the purpose of a Guild Hall to begin with. These include transportation, tradeskill writ givers and supplies, brokers, and bankers, etc. Amenities are costing between 10-25pp plus 1-2 million status EACH. But the sting doesn't stop there. For both the hall and each amenity, you are required to continue paying weekly fees of money and status just to keep them.

Up until now, I think raiders and casuals have coexisted fairly peacefully in EQ2. Except for fabled and mythical gear, everything else in the game as been accessible to me. This was not always the case, however. When the game was released, housing was priced exceeding high both to purchase and maintain and so most of us elected to remain in our starter apartments. Also guild levels used to decay. So members were required to constantly stay on top of doing writs to both maintain and move the guild forward. The game was a chore for casual players, and I left it behind back then. When I returned, they made housing affordable to everyone and eliminated the guild decay. I have three 5-room homes that I can decorate now. This is FUN, and this is what a game should be about.

But the dividing line is now back and the topic remains heated on the forums. I don't know how many times I've seen some sort of car analogy. If you want to drive a Lamborghini, not everyone is entitled to one, you have to work for it....blah blah blah. This is not real life; this is a game. This is not about work; it's about having fun. And we are talking Guild Halls here, not fabled gear. Every guild should be able to afford the Guild Hall their level qualifies for. This should be something that brings the guild together, not divide them.

SOE is viewing this is something we all have to work together to achieve and maintain. To achieve maybe yes. To maintain? So as a guild leader, I am now supposed to crack the whip on everyone to both donate money to the hall on a weekly basis as well as work on status and turn it over to the guild? Most in our guild are low to mid-level. They don't generate enough money on a weekly basis to be tossing it our way. They struggle enough as it is just to maintain their characters. Our members don't play to be forced to do anything. That's the whole point of the guild. And why should they have to? They could fork over all this money and status and the guild leader decides to quit. If I were a member rather than a leader, I know I sure wouldn't be paying for anything weekly just to sustain the guild. And what about members who don't pay? Do you cut off access to the hall to make it fair to those who paid? What a weekly headache. So if I can't afford to absorb the costs and status on my own, it's just not happening. And as it stands now, it's not happening. Sure I guess I might be closer to affording the 5-room level 30 Guild Hall instead of the 10-room level 50. But I won't do it. We all worked together to achieve a level 56 guild. That should be enough to grant us a hall.

What will happen from this is small to medium sized guilds will get smaller as people leave to be granted immediate access to a level 70 Guild Hall in another guild. If they are to be expected to pay and donate status weekly for a level 50 Guild Hall, why not just fulfill that obligation in a level 70 guild and have access to all the bells and whistles? I know we have a lot of faithful members who will stick with us no matter what, but this just makes me feel like I've let them down.

Casual players do not have disposable income and status to throw out on a weekly basis. Unlike other MMO's, money drops from mobs is very small. You have to work at making money in EQ2 because it doesn't flow on it's own. While initially some may be motivated to take on the grind mentality to keep the hall afloat, months down the line having to continuously struggle to keep what we already own will become burdensome. This isn't fun. People will stop playing.

At SOE's Fan Faire, they had this statement up on the screen as their guiding philosophy, "The fun is working toward a goal, not working to maintain the achievement." Stick to this philosophy here. Leave the purchase costs currently in place. It will give us something to work towards. But remove the weekly maintainance. It serves no purpose other than to annoy, demean, and exclude.