I wanted to say hello and apologize for not being around to answer questions these last couple of weeks. I and the rest of the team have been putting in a lot of long hours and moving our efforts into "overdrive" as we get closer to our announced release date. Bonepile and I have been working specifically on the Player Guilds system, something you guys have heard of before as Political Social Structures. I can see that a lot of questions have popped up about the system and so I wanted to do a brief write-up to explain some of the new features and how they will all work in-game. Below is a brief FAQ and explanation of the new system and how it will work.
Q. What are Player Guilds in EQ2?
A. Player guilds are organizations that ally themselves with one of the two cities in-game (Qeynos or Freeport). These organizations are created to support the factions in each of these cities (currently there are 5 factions in-game for Qeynos and Freeport). "Guilded" players of the same city may ally themselves with any of the faction groups within their home city in order to gain experience and levels for the guild as well as personal status. This translates into rewards from not only the faction, but also the city itself. Player Guilds can have two types of members: Patrons and Followers.
Q. What is Guild Experience in EQ2?
A. Guild Experience is measure of your guild's overall contribution to the well-being of the city. This is handled in much the same manner as adventuring through a level progression system. As your guild member's accrue more guild experience, their guild level will rise. As the guild level rises, this will unlock more prestige rewards that the guild will have access to for their contributions.
Q. What is Player Status in EQ2?
A. Status is a measure of the personal contribution that players gain as they complete writs for their home city. In order to earn status you must be in a player guild and accept "city writs" from whatever faction you choose to work for. Gaining status with these factions will unlock rewards that both patrons and followers can spend coin to accrue in-game.
Q. What is a Patron?
A. Patrons are members of a guild that has been marked as a contributor by the guilds leadership. This means that a patron earns guild experience whenever they complete "city writs". A patron also has the ability to spend status points to purchase rewards for themselves and their guilds at designated city merchants.
Q. What is a Follower?
A. Followers are members of a guild that are not marked as contributors by the guild leadership. A follower may complete "city writs" alongside their guild mates but the do not gain guild experience, only personal status. A follower cannot spend status points but they can purchase faction rewards as members of the guild (with personal coin) at designated faction merchants. Followers can also participate in guild raids that are awarded for attaining "Hallmark Levels" with their guilds.
Q. What are "City Writs"?
A. Writs are tasks that are given by each of the factions in the cities of Freeport and Qeynos. These are small quests that are used to garner both personal status (patrons and followers) and guild experience (patrons).
Q. How do you figure out Guild Level?
A. Guild level is a "rough" average of the total amount of experience contributed by the guild patrons. In addition there is a modifier for guilds with fewer than 12 patrons that will make it more difficult to raise their guild level.
Q. What is Guild Experience Decay?
A. Decay reflects the need for Player Guilds to maintain their current standing within the city by continuing their efforts to rebuild their community in the events following "The Shattering". Over time, accumulated guild experience decreases. What this means is that if patrons do not continue to complete city writs, the guild level will drop and this could change the access that players will have to specific guild rewards.
Q. Can you betray your city and participate in the player guilds system once you have completed the betrayal quest?
A. Members that betray their cities will be considered full members of their new homes once they complete the betrayal quest. This means they can participate in the player guilds system in their new city as if the character originated from that city once the quest is complete.
Q. Can I be a citizen of Freeport and join a Qeynos aligned guild?
A. Yes you can but you cannot form the guild. We do not restrict the creation of guilds in-game but guild members that are from an opposing city cannot speak to city "task-givers" or receive rewards from "city-merchants".
Q. What are the "Hallmark" Guild Raids?
A. This is an additional raid that is unlocked as the guild levels. The city gives the guild organization a special commission to seek out and destroy particular enemies. Once unlocked (assuming the necessary guild level is maintained) the guild can complete the raid once a week. Both patrons and followers of the guild city can participate in "Hallmark" raids.
Q. How do I form a guild?
A. All you need to do is form a 6 person group and make sure that you are citizens of your city of choice. Speak with the City Registrar in Freeport or the Royal Accountant in Qeynos and follow their instructions to form the guild.
One of the things that the team wanted to try in EQ2 was adding meaning to guilds in-game. When we decided upon the setting of a "good" and "evil" city, we also decided to try and add in player organizations as a continuing part of the storyline for EQ2.
In order to make the experience meaningful, we gave the players a choice and that choice has benefits and consequences. Also, we built game mechanics around that choice in order to support the fiction of the game world. This is what we wanted to offer so that the players could be immersed in the new Norrath.
The cities in EQ2 are the supreme power in Norrath and as such, the factions and then ultimately the guilds are dependant upon them to provide all of the basic necessities such as shelter, protection and general supplies. When you choose what city you want to spend your career in, we wanted that choice to be meaningful and I think we have accomplished that.
The same can be said for what organizations you ally yourself to, going forward we are going to greatly expand upon the storyline we have begun in Qeynos and Freeport. The conflict between these two powers will take center stage and player guilds will be the organizations that wage this "Cold War". This will happen through intrigue, assassinations, resource raids and a few other designs we have going forward with the project. This was all planned from the beginning and while I know that some may be uncomfortable with the change in guilds from one game to another, we wanted to give it a shot.
The guild system is a prestige system we have implemented to provide an additional layer of content and storyline for those that desire it in our game. For those that prefer the more open player association guilds that they have formed outside of the game, we have not limited or reduced the content in any way to restrict these organizations. You can still group with whomever you want, gather your members, ignore your cities wishes and head into Permafrost to raid Vox with no penalty.
EQ2 is a new game and we wanted to go forward with guild progression in a different way, while not limiting the option of allowing players to pursue their old avenues of organization from other games. Some have stated that we are basing the system on an arbitrary piece of fiction. This is true; all game systems from spells to combat to tradeskilling to almost any form of entertainment medium are based upon arbitrary fiction as this is part of telling a story. How we differ from most entertainment mediums is that we have an online game that supports these arbitrary stories with game mechanics to strengthen immersion. Our intention has always been to create a deep, intimate and meaningful game for our players to enjoy.
We also wanted to create the most immersive online world in the history of gaming and we think this is a step in the right direction.
Thank you guys for your questions and feedback, I'll see you all in the new Norrath soon.
City Designer; EverQuest II