Why MMO guild halls do nothing for me

Here’s a weird thing: As much as I love player housing and will take just about every opportunity to gush about it, I’m far less enthusiastic about guild housing. As in, I almost don’t care about it at all. I even resent it when an MMO — such as Guild Wars 2, DDO, Guild Wars 1, or City of Heroes — decides to include group housing without an individual option as well. I guess many of us are like that when a game includes a feature we don’t want instead of one we do.

So why does guild housing (or halls or superbases) fail to spark my interest? It’s more of a subjective than objective thing with me. Objectively, I appreciate that the game has another option and can even acknowledge the positive benefits of providing a space for guilds to gather and work on group activities. I’ve seen some impressive guild halls in my time, especially in EverQuest II and RIFT. They can be cool for parties, but outside of those, I haven’t seen a need or use for guild halls.

Outside of games that prioritize the inclusion of guild halls to the exclusion of individual housing, my main objection to this content is that I as a player usually have no direct say in the acquisition, decoration, and function of the guild hall. It’s almost always a project of the guild leadership, a box of toys for them to play with and the rest of us to admire without touching. What’s the fun in that? I can only root so much for a guild hall to be built up using the resources or money that I’ve helped to provide but have no say in how it’s used. I cannot summon the passion to care.

What’s frustrating is that with some thought, guild halls could function on both the group and individual levels. In fact, I have seen this played out. In RIFT, I was part of a guild that used a giant shared space in which all members were given permission to build and then set up little homes dotted about the map. I think Trove’s clubs work like this, but I could be mistaken. And FFXIV did kind of a cool thing where guild houses had a doorway that led to individual apartments, linking the two types of housing together.

I also would like to visit WildStar again soon and see how the new housing communities are coming. That seems like a great compromise of group and individual control, although they’re not large enough to be a guild-sized endeavor.

MMO guild halls (usually) do nothing for me. But they could.

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9 thoughts on “Why MMO guild halls do nothing for me

  1. Sylow November 10, 2017 / 10:27 am

    It sure is a matter of taste. For i am at the exact opposite: personal homes do very little for me. Mind you, i loved the homes in old SWG, but they were a unique combination of storing things, supporting your craft, building your very own home and some of our houses were set up as shops. My that-time GF and me had several houses, two were pure storage shacks and all but one of the others were situated near big starports and had clothing displays and a clothing vendor, so they were stores…

    Those places being persistent in the world just made a huge difference. They were present in the world, all our friends had access rights and sometimes just came by, etc. It felt very different to all the instanced homes i found in any other MMO. But it came at the hefty price of whole planets being plastered with player homes and no wilderness being left. Persistent homes require a lot of geography to work and the ressources going into that usually are better spent elsewhere.

    So all in all, i haven’t played an MMO where i found private player housing to interest me personally. A place where only i would go and even then would have no reason to go there except for the sake of that place just doesn’t add anything for me. In best case, it’s just a variant of the bank for me.

    In contrast, guildhalls often hold one or another unique feature. In GW2 for example it’s the guild vendor, the guild buffs and the special material nodes. So there is some reason to go there, and not that surprisingly, it’s a place where i meet other guildmembers quite often.

    Things look similar in ESO. It doesn’t even have official guildhalls, but our guildleader made his primary residence into one. Next to things like crafting stations and a target dummy for testing setups, it also has a meeting hall and is the usual place for the guild to meet and build the groups for events, which the guild leadership arranges for every weekend. So thanks to widespread access rights and how the place it is used, it might technically be a private home, but it’s a very public one at that, as any guild member can go there at any time.

    I think that’s really what makes the big difference for me: such places only have value if other players can and -will- be there. And the second criteria usually only is met when the place offers some features, which usually are more connected to guildhalls than to private homes.

  2. jameshateswordpress November 10, 2017 / 11:21 am

    Star Wars Galaxies had amazing Guild Halls!

    In LOTRO, I created a guild on an alt and use my guild housing for storage lol

  3. Bhagpuss November 10, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    I completely agree with you, Syp. Guild Halls are about as exciting as local government offices and my sense of ownership over them feels almost exactly the same. I can also attest that, as a Guild Leader with a Guild Hall in EQ2, back in the days when there were people in the guild, it’s no better if you nominally own it and get to set the permissions. It’s still a corporate space that leeches all joy from the soul.

  4. DDOCentral November 10, 2017 / 10:31 pm

    The Guild airships in DDO are functional for both character buffs as well as extensive storage, in addition to looking really cool. 🙂

  5. atherenlightrunner November 11, 2017 / 9:45 am

    In Galaxies, they’re actually useful. They can be a meeting space, a place for guild mates to place vendors, a place where people can pick up and drop off useful items. They can be a showplace for trophies and rare items collected by guild mates. There can be crafting stations of each type available to everyone.

  6. gazimoff November 12, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    I’m mostly in agreement with you on this. The only exception – and it’s not really a guild hall but mostly a massive housing plot – is WildStar’s communities. The idea that you can join together 5 player housing plots to create something gigantic is a lot of fun, and allows for some amazing creativity.

    Out of curiosity though, I’d be interested to hear your take on other hub content like class order halls, garrisons or farms, and so on.

  7. Gevlon November 13, 2017 / 3:33 am

    Maybe if people could vote for decoration. Like you own a carpet and offer to hang on the wall (with UI, not chat and anyone can vote for and against it. If more upvotes arrive in 24 hours, it becomes permanent)

  8. DonV November 14, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    Yeah the DDO guild airships are just a buff bar and handy place to sell junk buy a hirreling then teleport to your quest mostly. It’s a convenience.

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