Hello and welcome to ‘Ask Slater‘, our Support tech’s weekly column where he addresses questions commonly asked by our userbase! Our question today comes from Tibbles from Awesome Site.
I was talking to my friends about the new expansion coming out and how excited my guild was. They’re not really gamers, and they didn’t actually know what a guild was! But when they asked me, I didn’t really know how to describe it. I mean, I know what a guild does, but how do you explain that to someone who’s not familiar with games and gaming?”
It can definitely be hard for non-gamers to understand. The good news is, we have a plethora of non-gaming examples to help explain! Guilds weren’t always a gamer thing, and there are still guilds that aren’t related to gaming at all (like the Screen Actors Guild, if they’re a movie buff), which may help show them what it is.
You can also take the historical approach, which seems to make things clearer for a lot of people. I’ll briefly go over a few different incarnations of guilds that you can arm yourselves with to lay down some knowledge on your friends.
Guilds were originally groups of craftsmen or tradesmen that banded together for mutual prosperity. A trained carpenter would be a member of the Carpenters Guild, a brewer the Brewers Guild, etc. There were (theoretically) a number of benefits to being a guild member:
- Training! Youth could become apprentices to learn the guild trade.
- Prestige! Being recognized by the guild as a journeyman marked the person as a competent smith/carpenter/brewer/whatever, and being recognized as a master marked them as an expert in their craft.
- Financial Security! Members had the resources of the organization to fall back on, and had more stabilized prices as a result of guild mandates. Not to mention, a number of guilds had exclusive rights to produce in particular areas (so if you weren’t a member of the guild, you might not have been able to practice your trade at all).
- Protection! More than just financial security, guild members could count on their organization for safety. (In gaming terms: “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.”)
- Hangout Spot! Okay, that’s not quite what it was, but guilds – especially well-established ones – would usually have guild halls. These were places where guild members could congregate and discuss issues related to their craft.
These are kin to modern-day unions for electricians and the like. (Strange Fact: Guild Launch is in Richmond, VA; our local electrician’s union is #666. Not even joking.)
Now that you’ve got a brief overview of what guilds were, you might be wondering why gaming groups are called guilds in a number of games. A few don’t (Lord of the Rings Online has kinships, and Eve Online has corporations), but a large number of games use guilds for their official game organization name.
Guilds in-game have a number of parallels to the guilds of old, though:
- Training! Guilds like to make sure that their members have all the latest strats and information available to do what needs to get done in raids and PvP.
- Prestige! Especially with guilds that have a server-first or world-first, or some of the raiding guilds in top-tier content, having that guild tag under your character name is a definite mark that you’re a part of something great.
- Financial Security! Most guilds have a guild bank – something that members can contribute to in times of plenty and draw from in times of need, for crafting materials, repair bills and the like.
- Protection! You can call your guild mates to help you when you need it. Whether you’re being ganked by Horde in World of Warcraft or just need help with a quest chain somewhere, you can usually find someone willing to help.
- Hangout Spot! You have your guild forums (if you don’t yet, you can make a guild site here, complete with forums). It might not be a three-story building overviewing the river, but you have a place where you and your guildmates can relax, discuss things outside the game and generally have a good time.
That just leaves one final question. “I can see how this might look like it, but what’s our craft?”
Gaming guild crafts may include: laying waste to all those who oppose you in PvP; laying waste to all those who might oppose you in PvE; crafting tools, weapons and armor so that other guilds might lay waste to those who oppose them; or playing pandas.
Now that you’re armed with Slaterian knowledge, you can better explain to your friends what a guild was, what it is and just what you do!
If you have a specific question you think would be perfect for these articles, send us the request at firstname.lastname@example.org and Slater will personally review it and – after answering the ticket so you have the answer – potentially post it here with your username and guild site. If you would rather not have your username and site posted, Tibbles from Awesome will ask the question on your behalf for Slater to answer.