With Live Update #7, the new guild tool was released. It was kind of shaky at first, as were many parts of LU7, which definitely seemed released prematurely.
We really needed that, and I suspect that they were deluged with requests to add notes to characters in the guild tool, just to keep track of alts. Since that feature was included in the Everquest guild tool, it’s a bit puzzling that it was left out of the original tool.
I figure that this was due to the usual software reasons. The person who developed the EQ2 guild tool wasn’t the same as the developer who did the original one. There was a severe schedule crunch, and stuff had to be left out. Poof! There went the notes.
I note that there appears to be no code reuse whatsoever between EQ1 and EQ2, which makes the problem even worse. Developers get this way, there’s even a nickname for the attitude behind that — Not Invented Here (NIH).
The guild tool also has many more guild ranks, though honestly I don’t know what to do with them all, and more detailed permissions, which are tied to guild rank. So I guess that’s the point. Guilds have the ability to customize the names of guild ranks, too. That could be fun as well.
The biggest surprise, though, was the guild event notification system. A broad range of accomplishments can now be tracked, filtered, and announced automatically to all members of the guild. This includes logins and logouts, level ups, writs completed, and heritage quests. This is a very positive development for those of us trying to build an online community.
Building a community requires building up a history of predominately positive interactions. The combat locking system in EQ2 prevents powerleveling, which is good, but it also prevents the “drive-by” buffing, and buff station form of interactions. These “acts of random kindness” build up a store of goodwill, and are sorely missed from EQ2. These days, to have a positive interaction with someone, you need to group with them, or perhaps make or have made an item specially. This involves a fairly large amount of risk and commitment.
However, by tracking accomplishments, we can create some more opportunities to know each other. Let’s say that Frieda is a patron and completes a writ. With writ notification turned on, all online guild members know that Frieda has done this and has helped the guild. She doesn’t have to feel like she’s boasting about it, yet everyone knows, and can thank and congratulate her. Level ups are more personal, but still provide the opportunity to know and to be known by others.
I’ve said before that SOE understands, at least to some extent, that communities are important to the long-term success of EQ2. The enhancements to the guild tool, while perhaps taking longer than we might have liked, will continue to enhance the role of communities within the game.