Today's Flameseeker Chronicles is all about the current Guild Wars community: Elements I love, elements I dislike, and some I'm just unsure about.

As with any older game community, you've got a wide variety of personalities and playstyles, and seeing how they mesh with the community at large is always interesting. It would be great if everyone moved through their social circles and the general population while never conflicting or disagreeing, but ... well, we all know how often that happens on the internet.

So without further ado, follow me past the cut and let's take a look at some of the current standout groups in the Guild Wars community!

Let's party!

You've probably already guessed one group I want to talk about from looking at the above image. Guild Wars officially celebrated Wintersday in July this past weekend, but the crew at Blade Radio wanted to party for a little longer than that. Cue the Blade Radio Wintersday in July event.

I love seeing a gaming community come together for the sole purpose of having a fun get-together, and I love it even more when an established group puts together something really special. The Blade Radio Crew enjoys a certain level of internet fame in Guild Wars, something it's using to benefit the community this weekend. The team is hosting a 12-hour party every day from July 22nd until the 24th, and they've rounded up a ton of prizes to share with the partygoers: minipets, sweets, platinum, even an Armbrace of Truth and materials for a full set of Obsidian armor!

I love when a player group -- particularly one with a familiar presence -- takes time out of its collective busy schedule to provide something for the other players. If you're in Guild Wars this weekend, be sure to take at least a few minutes to swing by Embark Beach, say hi, try for a prize or two, and thank the coordinators for their work.

UWSC

This part of Flameseeker Chronicles is probably aimed more at veteran players, so bear with me for just a bit! If you thought Underworld Speed Clearing went the way of the dinosaur when Shadow Form was nerfed, it's time to head back into Temple of the Ages, because there's a brand-new set of jargon flying in local.

This one has made me sit up and take notice for more than one reason. When Shadow Form was still a thing, I played around with UWSC teams for a while, running Vale Necro support for an Assassin friend. I really didn't have any strong feelings about the SF-supported speed clear meta one way or another -- it was a fun new toy and I had a great time, and when the nerf hit I went and found something else to do.

However, my ears perked up when I heard there was a new team build floating around, and I started investigating. This was my introduction to Ghastly Summoning Stones, and I was more than a little taken aback to find that they were being used as some sort of weird currency to get into speed clear groups.

If you're not familiar with the system, here's how it works: Groups advertise for what parts of the team build they still need, and each party search entry has a little addendum, such as "150+" or "75+". This means that you have to show the group leader that number of Ghastly Summoning Stones before being allowed into the group. Those particular stones can only be obtained from the Underworld end chest, so the groups are essentially advertising: Don't even try to play with us unless you can prove that you cleared UW "X" number of times. My initial reaction was annoyance. I rolled my eyes at the elitists and organized a UWSC training group within my guild.

You see, I'm not a fan of one person telling another that she or he is unwelcome in a group without the accepted build. I'm in a guild and alliance that favors a BYOB(uild) approach -- within reason, of course. Everyone is pretty easygoing, and if the group build lacks some necessary element or another someone will volunteer to switch. The focus is on having fun, so there's not a lot of "run this build or leave."

An established team build requires a different approach. BYOB is going to fail pretty spectacularly going into Underworld hard mode, so I'm a big fan of being firm about running a meta build in cases like that. Furthermore, it's a tricky situation trusting the word of a complete stranger when he says "Yeah, I'm experienced. Let's go." It's a potential recipe for frustration, wasted time, and an expensive conset down the drain.

Ghastly Summoning Stones are a clever method of avoiding this situation. If someone can show you a handful of them, you know they've been through the clear more than once. How much is too much, though? I used the number 150 earlier, and I wasn't just pulling that out of thin air. I saw multiple groups requiring 150+ of the stones, and that feels so excessive to me.

If someone can prove to me that they've done something successfully 10-15 times, I'm good. Let's do this. 25? Heck yeah, we're set! Demanding that someone prove that they've done it 70, 100, or 150 times before you deem them worthy of your company? Puh-lease. That just stinks of elitism to me.

This is the part where I want to hear what you guys think. Like I said, I understand the reasoning behind wanting to see the items, and I think it's valid. But demanding such excessive numbers goes well beyond "valid" and into the realm of "stroking one's own ego. What say you, readers? Does someone need to finish part of Guild Wars at least 150 times before they are good enough for an invite? I'm interested in as many other points of view on this as I can get, so hit the button and tell me what you think, and I'll see you next week!

Rubi is a longtime Guild Wars player and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column keeps a close eye on all the events in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. It's also the home of a weekly summary of the travels of [MVOP], Massively's Guild Wars guild. Email Rubi at rubi@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.
MV Guide: July 18-24, 2011