Waging WAR: Elitist alliances and RvR

Greg Waller
G. Waller|05.29.10

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Waging WAR: Elitist alliances and RvR
No matter where you go in the MMO-verse, rivalries are bound to happen, and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is no different. In most cases, these rifts are the exception and not the norm; whether they manifest as a heated argument in scenarios, or a realm-wide feud between established guilds or alliances, there's always going to be some sort of drama. This week, Waging WAR takes a look at how the exception to the rule can affect the game as a whole.

A few days ago I was playing on one of my Tier 2 alts running around with an open warband in the Shadowlands. We were taking some keeps and battlefield objectives for renown and influence, since the Tier 2 High Elf elite influence item is well worth the effort. As it turns out, a few of my guildmates were also leveling in the same warband. We ran into a keep defense at Spite's Reach that we weren't really prepared for, but we managed to muster a decent siege in short order. The hot oil started pouring and some area-of-effect magic started to blanket the warband on the ground as we pounded on the door. One of the players in my guild, a dedicated veteran (though not an officer), refused to heal someone else in the warband. I asked him why and he told me that it was because the person was in another specific guild, with no real reason beyond that simple fact.

A day or so before that, I experienced the same sort of elitism while participating in some RvR in Nordland (a Tier 1 zone). Thanks to a system developed for the Endless Trial, all new characters in WAR are grouped in a catch-all starter guild called The Forces of Order (or Destruction). As the battle raged back and forth at Festenplatz, a few of the other players there had already left the Forces of Order and joined a guild that was well established on the server. As it sometimes happens in low-level RvR, someone tried to take a leadership role and direct the flow of combat for the entire zone. In this case, it happened to be a new character in the catch-all guild. The infighting started in general chat when one of the players in the established guild started talking back and refusing to take orders simply because the aspiring leader was a member of the Forces of Order and thus (by some strange logic) was incapable of making sound decisions -- an opinion based simply on the player's lack of established guild membership.

"The realm was outraged, but ultimately powerless to stop the campaign subversion."

But these are not the worst examples of guild elitism I've seen. Back in the days of fortress sieges I can remember one particular event that took place on one of the old Open RvR servers. As the realm was setting things in motion on the bottom floor, preparing for the Fortress Lord, one of the leaders of a major guild on that server called out to the realm in general chat that they would begin the push to the Lord's room "on 50." That meant that, when the fortress timer ticked down to 50 seconds left in the following minute, the leader intended for all the players entrenched on the floor below to push up with all force and support available. The zone was full at the time; a few people from my own guild were standing on the back lines of the fortress waiting for reinforcement space to become available so that they could join the siege. The announced time came and everyone except that guild pushed up -- completely unsupported by the calling guild. The result was wholesale slaughter at the hands of the defenders. More members of that guild were able to get into the fortress siege from reinforcements, while others were locked out after being respawned. As you can imagine, that false push call was responded to with great distaste by the realm in general. The leader's response was something along the lines of, "Well, if you want in the fort, you should join my guild."

More recently than that, another controversy occurred during a Tier 4 Inevitable City push. This happened just a few weeks ago, before the introduction of patch 1.3.5 to live servers. While the realm was gathering on the Maw preparing for the siege to begin, one of the guilds made a suspicious declaration in general chat: that they were "running out of gold" and suggested that they might need "donations" to hold the keep they had claimed long enough for the zone to flip by domination (a condition that occurs when all keeps and objectives in a zone have been claimed by a realm for a certain amount of time without being retaken). A few snickers and joke replies later, the realm chat returned to normal, friendly banter. Finally, only a minute and a half from the zone flip, with at least two warbands waiting for the invasion to begin, Zimmeron's Hold was released and immediately re-claimed by the same guild that had made the suspicious announcement only minutes before. Having reset the timer for domination and preventing the zone from flipping (and thus, the city push itself), the leader of that guild announced that they had found some extra gold "between the couch cushions" and were well-prepared to hold the keep for the next domination period (two hours for keeps, thirty minutes for objectives). The realm was outraged, but ultimately powerless to stop the campaign subversion. When called out on their actions, the leaders from that guild blatantly stated that they were, in fact, well-prepared all along; they had chosen to interfere with the city push because they wanted to give their own guild membership enough time to get online to join the fray.

Fortunately, the examples above are all remote and rare cases. The rest of the time, the realms are cooperative and get the job done together. Alliances work with other alliances in zone and city pushes to coordinate BO and keep defense. In fact, just recently, a group from another guild offered to stand guard outside of the Tomb of the Vulture Lord after the zone had been retaken by Destruction in an effort to prevent instance invasions. This allowed other lesser guilds the freedom to gear up without interruption. Gathering and submitting resources to lock or re-lock the Land of the Dead is almost always a realm-wide effort, supported by all guilds working toward the same goal. So, although guild elitism is the deviation, and not the norm, have you experienced it in any way? How do you respond to players outside of your own guild? Do you have any particularly fond (or fiendish) memories of guild elitism? Leave a comment and tell us how you feel about situations like these and which side of the fence you're on.
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