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Lately MMOs have really been burning me out, and by lately I mean the past decade’s worth. Now I’ve taken a great interest in ESO, mainly because I admire the setting, the graphics, the combat, PVP, the list goes on. People have said it before though, it’s not all that different from what we have seen, but it is new but many games were new and once that wears off is when we discover the true test of time.
One aspect about it I do not admire however and actually resent is the allegiance system. I don’t even think you can call it an allegiance system. It’s a cloned Guild system that uses the same innovation which has been around for over a decade. You have a Guild Master, Officers, Members and Recruits basically. The guild is in one big sea of little to no organization other than the specified titles. Can ESO not do better than this? It seems almost all games come out with a tag of “innovation” on them yet they really don’t change much from the last title before it.
Now, let’s go back 15 years to November, 1999. Asheron’s Call launched, a game which would be overshadowed by the success of Everquest and never really hit the masses, though I can almost guarantee we will see a couple comments pop up below from fellow AC players who know exactly what I’m getting at. The Monarchy system in that game has dominated the MMO world for 15 years. You had an actual hierarchy, a chain of command, and to top it off, a double incentive for recruiting and joining. The system started with a Monarch who would take on vassals who swore allegiance, the vassals would then recruit and become Patrons, and there vassals would recruit and do the same. It created a tree, sometimes hundreds of thousands of players deep. You knew what branch you fell under, and who the top dogs were. If alliance issues broke out, you could lose an entire tree consisting of hundreds of players, making a greater incentive to keep certain individuals around.
But the key wasn’t just the great pyramid design, it was the rewards. Vassals could pass up a certain % of XP to their patrons, and patrons in return would have to support them to ensure their loyalty. Support could be money, gear, or even knowledge. I’m telling you some of the loyalty built in that game has lasted all 15 years it’s been around and it’s kept players playing long after the games life has expired.
This is not the design in ESO I want to see, but what I want to see is something else other than what we have seen established already by games so long ago. If I had it my way…I’d have taxation, contracts, and again, a chain of command. Nothing in life is free, guilds shouldn’t be either. The incentives for being a member are really none existent other than the masses to play with. But honestly, this can be accomplished without being in any guild, making guilds lack the fundamentals which are so critical in the success of a social environment.
Taxation – Guilds will establish a contract which has the preset figures on it for a specific rank. Regular members will see an initial starting fee, or possible sign on bonus when joining which they would have to accept on the terms of the contract. A weekly pay system can be established, and for regular guild members, a certain percentage will be deducted, or possible set amount per week (Example, maybe 100g a week or 1% fee which would be 100g if the member had 10k).
Now on terms of the contract, ranking individuals will play a role in this too. Hiring on an officer could mean there is still a tax to be paid, but also a paycheck to be had for strong support of the guild and loyalty to it. If you had a system with 60 regular members, let’s say Corporals, 6 Sergeants to have over sight of recruitment and each having 10 corporals under them, 3 officers or Lieutenants who have 2 sergeants under each of them for leadership and oversight of enlisted matters and 1 guild master or General to run it all, it could look like this:
60 Corporals @ 100g= 6000g
6 Sergeants @ 100g= 600g
3 Lieutenants @ 100g = 300g
1 General @100g = 100g
Total = 7000g per week
Now the contract would also divvy up not just the taxes, but the income. Which again could be set on either set amounts or percentages, but I’m using set amounts for an easier illustration. The pay scale could look like this:
6 Sergeants = 2500g (400g each)
3 Lieutenants = 2500g (800g each)
1 General = 1000g
This is based off a weekly pay scale and this not only gives the ranking individuals a reward for a very selfless job, but also the larger guilds with higher income could also be incentives for people to want to join versus a guild with low pay or an unrealistic contract.
The hierarchy system also establishes longevity, seeing as a Corporal would have to work towards Sergeant, and Sergeant towards LTs, knowing if you’ve worked hard through the ranks, you’re probably going to stick around. This will also encourage recruitment, for the more members, the higher the paychecks. You could also set it up so a set amount each week does not go to anyone, but instead goes to the guild banks for savings to help fund crafting or helping other members. These are low figures and 100g is basically 1 completed quest so any fluctuations could have serious benefits to a taxation system if you could imagine.
Another flawed area, is guild banks like I mentioned above. The Guild Master can be a mobile guild bank, there is very little to no reason to store money in a bank when it can easily be mailed or traded from the GM. I think interest rates should be established to give more incentives to storing it, or ESO could get creative and have guild banks in the keeps in Cyrodiil and the closer to the center, the higher the interest rates. Could also make the guild stores charge a 1-3% fee on all transactions which automatically go to the guild banks as well.
The whole point is, it doesn’t take much effort to come up with a better system, but all we have seen is the exact same system. The games content comes and goes, and in my 15 years of experience with MMOs, it’s not the game that keeps people playing, it’s the players. Players in a well-established guild who all receive benefits up and down the chain in one fashion or another could promote good longevity in a game like this, instead of allowing the same run down system to plague us once more, which we have seen fail in so many games before this.