On one hand, having a function to create a guild isn't much more than a label, but that can go a long way. Players run with those kind of tools and create mini-societies and alliances, and they parcel out the playerbase into feudal territories. Even if a guild can be boiled down to just a special name tag, guilds can provide a powerful mechanism for players. Nowadays MMOs are giving guilds more to do, and Runes of Magic has more than its share of guild activities. Let's take a look at what guilds have access to.
Firstly, guilds can do whatever they want. A means for camaraderie, forming friendships and grouping with like-minded players is a powerful force that can't be taken for granted. Having more content built around guilds makes for extra layers of icing on an already-yummy cake.
RoM does have a nice toolset for guild leaders to assign roles and keep track of their lackeys. Anyone will tell you that being a guild leader is hard work. It takes good management skills, dedication, and a lot of patience to nurture long-lasting and successful guilds. In RoM, guild leaders will be responsible for signing up to siege wars in a timely manner, deciding where the gold goes, and upgrading buildings, among all the other responsibilities that come from being a leader in any MMO.
RoM's guild castles are a significant part of the game, one that really separates the MMO from other games. The existence of the large, personal instances is enough to make many players happy, but there's a profusion of other activities that surround guild castles. They've become a centerpiece in RoM not just as a hang-out for guilds but for continuous progression and gameplay.
When a guild has reached the prerequisite level 7 by donating resources and gold, it can obtain a castle. The main building is pretty large and can be decorated with furniture just like player housing. The spacious courtyard allows guilds to erect beneficial buildings. There's also an ample amount of greenery for frolicking in just outside the castle walls. This is when guild storage opens up, too. The vault is expandable by spending gathered resources and gold on upgrades, just like adding additional buildings, which I'll talk about a little later. Guilds can get a mailbox placed inside the castle as well. It's a large multi-room, multi-level building ready for decorations and for the pitter-patter of little guildies' feet.
Quest boards can be built inside the castle instance; they provide quests to earn guild rubies and other prizes. Phirius potions are among some of the prizes you can get in addition to getting something to do with your guild during down times or as a main goal. Quest boards also come in ranks, so they serve as a means to progression in themselves as well as a way to upgrade other areas of the castle.
There's a plethora of buildings that can be built and placed however a guild sees fit within a castle's courtyard. These buildings are small, solid structures that add benefits for any guild member who wants to use them during regular gameplay. They also add special bonuses during siege wars. Stables that give out mount speed buffs can be built; libraries offer a popular and free way to remove debt; a number of resource buildings offer resource acquisition; and drill grounds open up guild minigames. A variety of buffs come along with some of these buildings, which buffs will increase in power as guilds work together to raise building levels.
Siege war has become one of the most popular aspects of RoM. It's a daily, large-scale guild vs. guild battle that's highly strategic. Large numbers of players can participate in the instanced area that pits castle against castle with many objectives and rewards. Not only does it rank the guilds, but a large number of powerful titles are offered via siege badges. All the guild buildings come into play, with varying benefits for the guild that spent time erecting and leveling them. Towers can be captured, siege weapons can be built and piloted, players can wage open war, crystals can be protected or taken, and fame goes to the victor.
Guild wars were actually in RoM long before siege wars. These are guild vs. guild battles that take place anywhere at anytime in the persistent world. A lot less formal than siege wars, guild wars take a gold fee for a declaration of battle and lasts for 30 minutes. For an MMO that separates PvE and PvP servers, RoM has a lot of features that allow for optional PvP. Not only can players opt to flag PK status on and attack others flagged the same, but they can have open-world PKing via the guild wars function -- on a PvE server.
We shouldn't marginalize the different things guilds can do. Guild quests and building buffs are an example of things that may not be totally different and unique but are added content for guilds that provide additional gameplay. Some buffs may seem puny, but they increase in power as buildings are upgraded. No matter how strong my character is, I'm not going to ignore a buff. Added power is added power. I've already spoken on the many alternative options for using castles as a means for player-spawned gameplay. The added empty space alone is an advantage RoM has over many other MMOs.
Guilds get a lot of special treatment in RoM. There are tons of incentives to joining or starting a guild without much in the way of penalties for not being in one if you choose to solo. However, I would say that being able to take part in siege wars is the reason everyone should try out a guild at least once.
Each Monday, Jeremy Stratton delivers Lost Pages of Taborea, a column filled with guides, news, and opinions for Runes of Magic. Whether it's a community roundup for new players or an in-depth look at the Rogue/Priest combo, you'll find it all here. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.