First off, let's take a peek at the number of guilds in SWTOR. According to the website on the day the guild database was locked and ready to deploy, there were 33,926 Republic guilds and 45,159 Empire guilds. Of those, 31,708 had chosen to be PvP guilds, and 12,292 designated themselves as roleplaying guilds. Based on those numbers, 79,085 guilds registered before launch, and that number is bound to go up as more guilds are created in game.
That's an astounding number, and there are some MMOs out there that don't even have that number of players in the entire game. Granted, a chunk of these guilds won't last, but it's telling that so many people came to SWTOR with a pre-set group of friends already established. Even more telling is that the overwhelming trend for guilds in SWTOR was lean and mean. The vast majority of guilds seemed to have between four and 12 members on the roster. It's possible that their rosters will grow after launch and that not all of their members pre-ordered, but at the same time, it could signal a move toward guilds as static groups rather than super-sized armies. It's quite possible that guilds are adjusting because the content so far doesn't require large numbers, and we have to wonder what larger guilds decided to do when making the move to SWTOR. In any event, it's nice to see that, for many players, this is not a game they intend to do solo.
How to make a guild post-launch
If you haven't made a guild, fear not: You can still create one in-game through the usual channels. You'll need 5,000 credits and a group of four people to start one, and you can register with an NPC located in Coruscant for the Republic and Kaas City for the Empire. The people you initially group with do not have to remain in your guild, so if you find some helpful players to serve as placeholders, they can leave right afterwards. However, some players have said that there's a grace period, and after it expires, your guild will auto-disband if you fail to have four members on your roster. Although I can't verify that, it's worth keeping an eye out for to avoid losing out on 5,000 credits.
The game launched very smoothly, but there were bound to be some bugs, and unfortunately, it seemed that guild functions fell victim quite a bit. The guild window doesn't always display the roster correctly, and even the work-around of hitting the "details" button doesn't always show an accurate list of who's online. In addition, guild chat has been flaky at times, so guilds that don't have a voice server have been unable to communicate occasionally. I'm already impatiently waiting for a guild bank, something that is really needed from the get-go and never seems to make it into MMOs on time. It's been promised as something coming soon, but it can't come soon enough for me. And I'd like to see an in-game guild recruiting window, especially considering how many guilds there are in game. It's helpful not only to players seeking a like-minded guild but to guilds already on the server. It's nice to know who the neighbors are!
Guild life in SWTOR
In some ways, the game has made for more fun with guildies, but in others, it's actually made guild life more problematic. Flashpoints are a blast so far, and we've gotten a great laugh out of some of the responses from our characters during the dialogues. Orko, a longtime gaming friend of mine, decided to roll a trooper who's gunning for dark points. Add in the fact that he created a rather portly Mirialan with bright green skin and a Justin Bieber haircut, and you can imagine the laughs. It's nice to see that even within the groups, one player's reply choices can be completely different from another's, based on the amount of light or dark points each has. It definitely adds to the replayability of flashpoints, and there were times when the dialogue was more entertaining and compelling than the actual combat.
On the other hand, it's a tough juggling act when you're trying to solo and keep voice chat on. I've missed out on a few dialogues because I was listening to a guildmate in Mumble and vice versa. As much as I hate to do it, I will probably even have to shut off voice or move to a separate channel for important storylines, and that creates a fractured feeling in the guild. My other alternative is mashing the spacebar to skip past the dialogue and go right to the choices. It allows me to hear guildmates, but then I'm missing out on the story. Even though I'm notorious for skipping quest text, I haven't had many occasions when I'm getting the itch to spacebar-through dialogue, so it's a tough decision to make.
Overall, it's been a fun start in game. I'm not sure whether I'm mellowing with old-age or the game is designed to reduce hassle, but so far, it's been a very relaxing start for our guild. Now if I could only get Qyzen Fess to tone down the melodrama about the Scorekeeper, everything would be perfect!
Do you have a guild problem that you just can't seem to resolve? Have a guild issue that you'd like to discuss? Every week, Karen Bryan takes on reader questions about guild management right here in The Guild Counsel column. She'll offer advice, give practical tips, and even provide a shoulder to lean on for those who are taking up the challenging task of running a guild.