Ok I may ramble a bit as I'm writing on my lunch break and am tight on time to proof read...
If like me you’re the leader of a well established guild, it’s quite likely that at some point you will have to deal with that always delicate and tricky situation where a significant amount of your guild’s members become interested in another MMO. As guild leader they’re always going expect you to have direction and a plan for the guild, but in this situation it’s not always so straight forward as regardless of your own personal preferences you will often find guild member’s opinions very split on what they want to do.
Do you decide to stick with game A and risk losing masses of people to the next big thing, constantly having to recruit and potentially losing guild identity? Or do you retire the guild entirely from Game A and officially jump ship to game B, leaving some people behind? Yet this is risky too should Game B after a few months prove to NOT be the lauded second coming of awesome and you then see people dropping out and your new game’s guild fizzles. You could potentially return to Game A, but if you let this drag out you risk losing people before that decision gets made. Or do you take the third more complex to organise and also smothered with issues option of running the guild in both games? This of course runs the risk of spreading yourselves too thin in both games, lacking clear overall leadership and having your two communities slowly drifting apart.
I am of course talking about WAR and RIFT and it won’t be a surprise to hear that these are the decisions I’ve had to make recently. As you may know I’ve opted for the third way, Kill Frenzy will be setting up a guild in RIFT and at the same time remain active in WAR. Though I’m quite hopeful that for us it won’t prove too difficult, we’ve had a bit of practice you see.
Like many other guilds with a solid core Kill Frenzy transcends game worlds, in fact I think its fair to say that over time we’ve developed more into a gaming community than just being a WAR guild. Actually I say developed, I think really we started like that from the off, since we’re built around a selection of different core groups that had been playing online games together for years. So while we’ve always been focussed on one MMO (i.e. WAR), that doesn’t meant every KF member currently has a WAR subscription. We’ve nearly always had people playing a wide range of other games together. When people retire from WAR, they generally don’t retire from KF and will continue gaming with us or at the very least will stay in contact. From our Bloodbowl league to Battlefield Bad Company and whatever is the MMO of the moment, we’ve got people gaming together, chatting on vent and trolling the shit out of each other on our guild shoutbox. So really the fact that not everyone is playing WAR has never caused me or our members much of a headache. As such this all meant that choosing the third way of KF playing both WAR and RIFT was a no-brainer really. Besides other MMOs always prove to be flash in the pans for us…
However in recent days RIFT is presenting a bit more of a challenging situation. It has been a lot of fun on the beta and whilst most of us have concerns about the amount of PvP it will offer, there is more interest in this than any other new MMO since WAR launched. I’m not sure how much that is down to issues and people being burnt out with WAR or if it’s really based purely on the merits of RIFT itself. Certainly RIFT is looking extremely polished and enjoyable so far, but we’ve not seen the end game yet and for PvP you really don’t get a true reflection of live servers from a beta test. And let’s not forget how much a beta test can lull you into a false sense of security. The Age of Conan beta is a classic example of how a game can be exceptional for the first (beta tested) 20 levels and then turn to shite once you get past that on the live servers.
Also because of how long it’s been running and how up and down WAR has been, we’re at the point now where there are just as many people that I would classify “active KF members” that are not subscribed to WAR as there are actually playing it. The vast majority of those are going to be playing RIFT and we’ve also got a lot of our currently active WAR players also planning on trying it out, which means I’ve potentially got the situation where our RIFT guild is bigger than our WAR one. That was something I didn’t initially see coming.
So there’s a lot to think about. It will be interesting to see who settles where and how much we need to recruit to maintain viable guilds in both games. Will we actually be able to do that if RIFT grows in popularity? Will RIFT fizzle out and everyone return to WAR? What about when Star Wars, Guild Wars 2, etc arrive? What would happen if Mythic announced DAoC2 or some big and decent news for WAR?
Things are a bit woollier than I would like really, but that just comes with the territory.