Monday, 9 January 2012

Are You Going To Be In There All Day?

Our little guild on Freeport now has a Guild House. We've been of a level to take a Guild Hall for quite a while now and the idea gets booted around every so often but there's never been sufficient enthusiasm to take it any further. Mrs Bhagpuss and I are wary of taking on any virtual responsibility and the thought of having to farm even the small amount of Status a basic Guild Hall requires is enough to ensure we never make a purchase.

We have some people who aren't us in the guild now, though and it would be nice to have a place to hang out sometimes, so when we were having our discussion this time I suggested a compromise. We're each entitled to a free Mistmoore Crags Estate Prestige House as a Seven-Year Veteran Award. Actually, we're entitled to lots of them since they come "one per character". It's unaccountably generous and yet strangely unexciting offer and until yesterday we'd never claimed a single Vampire Castle. I thought we could grab one and use it as a Guild House.

Dear Auntie Enid, The weather isn't all we'd hoped...
So that's what we did and we'll see how it works out. There's an awful lot of decorating to do, not least since the first thing we did was break out and plant our metaphorical Guild Banner in Loping Plains. We really should get a Guild Banner, come to think of it...

But before we made the final decision I went off and read up on just what you get if you have a real Guild Hall in EQ2. I was appalled! There have been guild halls since EQ2 started but if I've ever been in a guild that had one I can't recall it. I've rarely been inside one. I knew they'd been tarted up over the years and now have a whole raft of "amenities" but I had only the vaguest understanding of what those amenities were. They are these. (Or is that "these are they"? I can never remember how that goes).

That's pretty much every reason you'd ever want to go into a city. Is it any wonder the cities died? Is it any wonder it's taken a full revamp and a ton of additional content to draw a scattering of players back to add some life to the streets, squares and docksides of Freeport? It's one thing to offer guilds a nice big meeting hall where they can hold disciplinary hearings and dinner-dances among the tastefully plinthed and polished skulls of the many dragons they've slain but who ever thought it was a good idea to add in every other facility that might induce any of them to set foot in the shared part of the world ever again?

This is just part of the perennial, long-debated problem of instancing. WoW, which has no housing Guild or otherwise, has cities full to bursting with people. That the cities have the ambience of a metropolitan bus-station just after the pubs have closed is by-the-by. At least they're busy. Thinking about it, maybe that's not such a great argument.
Don't you hate it when mothers dress them all the same?

As ever there's a balance to be struck. The cities need to bustle. New players need to see crowds of other people around them, doing mysterious things they don't yet understand with objects they don't yet recognize, racing past in their fancy gear on their sparkling unicorns and clockwork chickens, trailing a comet's tail of unfeasibly cute and terrifying pets as they race who knows where on who knows what Important Mission.

Established players need a place of their own to get away from all of that.

It's a difficult balance, yes, but it has to be found. I hope we're doing our bit for the Greater Good of Norrath by resisting the temptation to set up our own City-State and settling instead for a nice big house where we can throw fruitcake at each other occasionally while we dance on the patio to the sound of our Snow Globes.

3 comments:

  1. You know, DAoC made the mistake of emptying out the cities and letting players do everything from their houses...I thoroughly enjoy housing, but the last thing most games need is to give the impression to new players that their world is deserted.

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  2. I agree, some of the amenities are better than their outside-world counterparts. You can take a guild port, and then have a bell, an auctioneer, and a trash vendor within 5 steps. Why visit a city if you can fulfill all your basic daily needs faster from a guild hall? I fell into that trap too for some time.

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