Hey all, it's your resident Afrit.
I've been following the economy threads, and recently this cloaking gem thread and I know overall we're trying to get population up. I know the admin have 5,000,000 things to worry about right now but I believe we're not targeting actual retention issues. I'm about to make a post I'm pretty sure most people will find disagreeable, but I accept that possibility <.<
Since I joined the Revelry, there's been little to no reason to actually try and do Revelry things. This really isn't meant to be ragging on the Revelry leadership so please don't take it that way. I know that guilds are suffering for meaning because the original 5 guilds were nuked and then these unestablished, illegitimate guilds were kind of dropped in with little to no admin assistance in making them relevant to the city. That isn't to say I haven't observed that one Celest guild get reworked, then reworked again - obviously the admin over there are -trying- to do something. But it's been 4 years-ish (first Revelry post was 04/25/2017) and the guild still seems to lack so much substance. Again, I'm not trying to be rude; I know volunteers have sunk time into guilds, like for example the new-ish bar and NPC the Revelry recently got. But who actually goes to the Revelry guild hall to interact with that new NPC?
The blame lies in the fact that these guilds have still not made an impact in the game's society overall. You can't give what amounts to a bucket of beige paint to the players (and volunteers, let's be honest) and expect them to paint something vibrant and engaging. I know some of you are going to feel as though your guild is working well, and that perhaps you've accomplished/made memories in them, and I totally respect that, but I have a strong instinct that tells me newbies are getting turned off by current guilds due to their lack of relevance, interaction and interest. So please hear me out.
Instead of these random guilds that the admin expected players to flesh out (except they'd veto a lot of the more creative and interesting things), we should return to guilds that have legitimacy in the lore. I think every org should bring back their original trinity and make it (very nominally) more difficult to classflex around org skillsets, to combat the homogenizing (boring) effect of having every class in every guild.
This is what it'd look like for Gaudiguch, then just copy the analogs for every other org:
Illuminati (Illuminati and Minstrels)
Templars (Templars and Nunchaku)
Pyromancers (Pyromancers (and their chem variant obviously, which is essentially another class!))
Players in the Illuminati guild could flex without restriction between Illuminati and Minstrel, and then the players that want to can go receive permission from the Templars and Pyromancers to flex into other skillsets as desired (so people who are very used to flexibility can still have it). No impact on very invested players, but provides structure for newbies.
I know the kneejerk reaction is probably going to be "no way, we're only going to move forward with our new guilds, no use in backtracking" but I sincerely believe that that's not the right move. Lusternia needs to give itself a break and LEAN on the biggest hook it has, which is LORE. That means bringing back the Illuminati, who fashioned Project Paradox and gave the city a mystic feel, and the Pyromancers, who burned a road through Serenwilde with elemental fire and followed the Seven Sacred Pyres. Guilds that actually did things. Believe me when I say that the Revelry is not the only guild (please don't look at the Goon Squad) that is suffering from a grave case of blandness. We need to give ourselves a leg back up for newbie retention.
As a principal foil for this proposal, I will say one thing, and very loudly: it has potential. I agree with the basis, though not the simplicity of the implementation as it brings up a few more things that would need to be settled. This particularly is meant to address Gaudiguch, as other orgs would seem to have less of a problem with this and could undoubtedly come up with their own fixes without my input.
Complaint: Minstrels -> Illuminati
The martial pairing of Nunchaku and Templars is fine - monking could easily be adjunct to Templaring, particularly as the Tzaraziko-fusion of Zarakido brings a whole new school of thought that can find outlets within the Hidden Temple dogma; this is great! What's less great is the mashup of the Illuminati and Minstrels. The Minstrels were never really given the chance or tools to develop - there was a lot of thumbs-downing from the admin of the time, and the few players that invested heavily (Persayis and others) were stonewalled and not given much direction on how to progress.
We were blessed with finally getting our song quest (!) and having a lore hook, but it didn't really land so far as giving us a solid tie in around which to construct a guild. Largely we just became the 'other' pile, which is the very same thing that happened with the Revelry; its main attraction is that you can just do whatever the hell you want and call it something good, and that's the heart of the issue that's plagued us since inception. Laissez-faire is great in theory, but putting it into practice and giving it structure is more difficult. After having settled the initial plans for the guild, having them taken apart and tinkered with time and time again, then myself violently smashing the reset button, I can't say I'm sad about losing the Revelry as a guild. There isn't much there, and historically, there hasn't been. If anyone can understand the necessary pain of having your work thrown away to make something better, it's me, multiple times over.
What hurts here is having the Minstrel identity, or rather lack thereof, brushed away under the rug to be eclipsed by the much more powerful force of the Illuminati presence. As Afrit has mentioned in our talks, they aren't so perfectly paired as the Cantors and Celestines would/could be, among others. There's a much stronger synergy elsewhere, particularly (imo) when it comes to the Forests - the Minstrels lose out here, and that's after still not having gotten off the starting plate since the guild was originally settled and left to its own devices forever ago. The Minstrels were nobodies that largely reformed as the Revelry, who are still nobodies because guild identity does not exist in Gaudiguch. I understand there is an initiative behind the scenes to change this, but I will still defer to Afrit's proposal because it satisfies the goal New Guilds should have addressed in the first place, but failed to.
Let's find a way to make it work, especially if the Minstrels can still have a turn with relevance someday.
For example, the Serenwilde guilds are woven in pretty heavily and there's a bunch of lore to them. A lot of the elements that are in the mix there are things that have been in the forest since launch, they were grown and expanded on over the years but everything was kinda in there or had been around for years. And... well I've got a map here of my lore notes for the Listeners, (the two biggest dark green nodes are Elfenehoala and Farella) which primarily comes from two vision things that we've got.
All of this stuff is kinda more a factor of admin time and players putting in requests. Seren was reeeeaaally fortunate because we had like 4 gods active during the overhaul, but if we restarted with new new guilds it'd be starting again and a lot of the stuff old guilds had wouldn't necessarily just come straight back we'd need to build it up again.
The biggest difference to me really is the mechanical reason.
Orael and Uilani also talked about it on the last livestream and it's kinda what you're saying around classflexing limiting and the like.
With the old guilds, realistically, you picked your class in character creation and that's the guild you joined. Originally, if you wanted to have a class but didn't want to be in a guild, too bad. If you left and wanted to change terts, too bad.
That's a huge mechanical reason to join guilds. Classflexing from memory mostly came in because imbalanced class distributions caused issues for guild population but guilds still were in control, it was that bit easier to have/flex classes in their relevant guilds. It's all mechanical reasons to actually join a guild. (The Shofangi at one point even heavily considered making it a requirement to join their guild for a certain amount of time to be allowed to have classflexing permission once you left)
New guilds don't have mechanical reasons to join where the old guilds did. The old guilds, started out with such a crucial mechanical reason to join that not doing so would make the game basically unplayable if you didn't.
Now, well I've seen the argument that it's unfair for them to have benefits for joining because people should be able to not join guilds and they shouldn't be forced to. This isn't just like... mechanical bonuses, it came up in a discussion about Seren supporting guilds by giving them credits to use to promote activity because guilds don't have an orgpoints equivalent so don't generate credits outside purchases. (This was considered unfair because people that aren't in guilds would miss out on these credit opportunities)
So yeah... this could work, but I think the reason it would work isn't inherently because of old guild flavour but because you're giving mechanical incentive, which we could try first with the current guilds.
Nunchaku and Minstrels can find common ground because of acrobatics and also they are all very very weird.
Explorer (80%), Achiever (53%), Socializer (53%), Killer (13%)
Spiritsingers and Hartstone both have shared themes such as the Ancestors and the song of the Forest that makes them really nicely sit together. There's also further lore stuff like Aramir that really makes the two classes sit quite nicely together.
edit: Also, while it might be a vain hope, there is the final archetype which would slot in somewhere.
SS+HS right now seems like it would basically mean the majority of Serenwilde is encouraged into one guild. But also if you went back like five years, MD on their own would have been the majority.
Even with classflexing, guilds controlling who is allowed to, and the covenant mechanic things were still lopsided. (Guilds could covenant, bunch of benefits, one being it was cheaper to flex into your covenant guilds class)
I agree there needs to be a mechanical incentive to join guilds and to split between them, it's just class is super susceptible to like... what's most effective/coolest/needed right now.
I don't agree with this. I specifically wanted to avoid trying to build around monks and bards because they also had identity issues. I figured pairing the more martial classes would be best.
I wouldn't be surprised if the difficulty in neatly merging classes down into three guilds was among the reasons the admin skipped that and went to the version of guilds we have now.
Possibly set it up so that patron requests can actually put you into debt for this currency up to some ceiling and you pay them off. The idea here is to encourage guilds to put in requests because the currency is useless for anything else, but also a guild even having a positive value for the currency could be a sign that it's been too long since they've had any kind of update.
It does sometime feels like a lot of the flavor and development of the old guilds was lost, but I also don't think there's anyway to go back either. There's a lot of potential that guilds can do without having to be tied to a particular class.
As Jatius pointed out, mechanics that punish inactive guilds (new currency why?) or rely on consistent patron requests aren't a good way to go. Moving shrines to guilds from orders doesn't even particularly make sense.
I will also say Magnagora has done a pretty good job at making sure people join guilds. Without the burden of trying to allow freedom, we have pretty much everybody guilded. I do think the guilds could use work - but also scrapping them would be a huge step backwards.