Ultima Online launched without guilds at all, let alone chat, so we tacked our guild abbreviations onto our character names. EverQuest's early months required guild leaders to petition GMs to form guilds. In fact, it wasn't until Asheron's Call that an MMO tried to break away from the "unofficial online shooter clan" mold and provide something different: a monarchy system that encouraged players to form official but dynamic allegiances, which provided an in-game benefit to patrons and vassals alike.
But the genre didn't iterate on Asheron's Call's invention, instead preferring to bolster in-game guilds with perks like guild vaults and achievements -- cool stuff, but layered over a static, military style of guild structure with generic ranks. Most MMOs don't allow you to join multiple groups, either (Guild Wars 2 being a notable exception).
So today I'm wondering whether you think there's room for innovation in MMO guild mechanics. Should studios design unique and flexible guild systems, or should they just get out of the way and let players decide how to organize themselves like we had to Back In The Day?
Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!