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Bring Back The Guilds?
Yes. 30%  30%  [ 59 ]
No 22%  22%  [ 43 ]
What Guilds Are You Talking About? 7%  7%  [ 13 ]
Only Some That Could Help People: (ex-The Writers, Linguists, Messengers) 24%  24%  [ 47 ]
Start Modern Guilds Only (Greeters etc.) 16%  16%  [ 32 ]
Total votes : 194
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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 12:19 pm 
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I'm not entirely sure about an enforced lack of hierarchy; at last some administrative levels are required, otherwise a lot of issues will arise, the first example of which is the old issue of people changing 'hood status from public to private on a whim. If I make a guild/'hood I want to be able to choose who gets that 'power' beyond me, like on a forum or mailing list or any other kind of community the founder chooses admins and mods among the users.

Also, apart from the fact that I prefer to have new guilds like the Greeters than resurrecting the old ones, one asked why he would have to join a guild of Age Writers in order to write an Age. The short answer is, you won't have to, but your life will be immensely more difficult from an IC point of view: the Guild would give you (and make) Ink and Books, have examples of Age Writing, have contacts with whoever will approve Ages for public use (I'm pretty sure not all user-made Ages will make it online), and also have an active community of Writers with whom you could share ideas and theories. A single player would have to do all of that by himself, or try to convince the Guild to share its information with an outsider.
OOC, it's much more difficult for a single person to make an Age, as he'll have to do concept art, story, modeling, texturing, code all by himself; a team can share the workload, and I see little difference between a team and a small guild.

The main point is that a guild, exceptions aside, should not have to be exclusive: the existance a Guild of Writers does not forbid anyone to make a Guild of Age Builders. (Maintainers would probably have to be an exception, as Ages will IMHO have to pass a good amount of quality control)

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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 3:29 pm 
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Srikandi, frankly, if the Hoods you experienced were like that, I'd switch Hoods. Personally, even back in Prologue, I don't recall the structure you relate. I know for certain it's not what exists now, at least in the UO Hood. Everyone's on equal footing whether organizing events or just chilling out and chatting, and I wouldn't want it to be any other way.

ireenquench, I agree we must be 'cautious', but also optimistic at the same time. The forums and outside websites don't matter when it comes to discussing Uru. This particular forum is unique, for now anyway, as it provides a direct line to Cyan. Even the DRC one has been wisely supplanted by bringing its interaction 'in-game' through the liaisons, where it belongs. The boards, etc, only exist because not enough of the social/informational elements that they provide have been brought into the cavern interface - yet. To me, a person or group sinks or swims through their actions/interactions in the cavern. If they swim, then they might get my attention. If not, then no amount of noise outside the cavern is going to make a difference. (Btw, I find the vast majority in-cavern to be way friendly).

As for ranks, privileges, and all that rot, the exact same could be said for current progression in the 'game', or even to a lesser degree in our marker missions. If one person finishes their Journey, they get special content and individual access to a few articles of clothing, certain items, weather conditions, plus full use and navigation of their Ages. On the other hand, if another person hasn't finished said Journey, then they are less privileged and, to be completely fair, should have instantly had everything as soon as they first started, with no work or progression involved? Even the markers missions grant access to areas as they are completed. Moreover, they are numbered, so they could suggest that some people hold a different rank over others with less done. Yet, somehow we survive within this deluge of competition. :wink:

Rieuco, the Guilds would, optimistically, be storehouses of information, like big libraries, each with a Hall. Open access, with places within to acquire tools, knowledge, connections, with displays of examples and results. Staus bars may be in existence, but only to chart progress and open things as one would receive with any other lesson and/or undertaking (see above comments on the Journey and marker missions), the ultimate goal being the personal ability and expertise to better serve and share with the community as a whole.

Ian Atrus, yes on the casual but logical modding/adminning, preferably Cyan/DRC-handled, if at all possible.

Deius, there's little to add to what you said. The guidelines you proposed appear to me to go a long way to potentially reconciling many of the inherent difficulties and divergent opinions that've been expressed in this thread.

Zardoz, once again it seems that only creativity is needed here. I may've been remiss to mention it before now, but I thought your point here had previously been at least partly addressed in page 3 of this thread by the thoughfully considered posts of both Sh'aeri and domahreh, among others. Still, I agree that further solidifying of such ideas is definitely useful.

trickster721, your descriptions of various possible Guilds are good. I'd suggest only that the Maintainers perhaps be seperate from the Writers, as they both have divergent functions (a tester can not necessarily write, for example). Plus, I'm rather vehemently of the mindset that any tools used for Age creation would be 'in-game', as well, and translated and/or 'IC' enough that they would be accessible to any player who wishes to pursue such an undertaking. I site Warcraft 3's World Editor as an example of this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warcraft_III_World_Editor) in action. It would be cool if somehow this integration included actual writing, as evidenced at the beginning of Chapter 7 in The Book of Atrus, where Gehn is referencing a pre-written descriptive line from another book, basically simple copy-and-pasting of specific lines of code. Perhaps as we write certain words/sentences/phrases, the underlying code could be imbedded, their choice and sequence determining the shape and state our Ages take.

In answer to Zardoz's challenge, I'll add to trickster721's Guild list by proposing the Guild of Artists. The Hall would consist of art materials: canvases and sketchbooks of varying sizes, drawing implements, etc. These could be accessed and used 'in-game' to draw landscapes, people, whatever (somewhat like the Bahro Tablets of Myst 5). Sketchbooks could be shared, and even drawn in by others, if wished. Finished pieces, including Ki photographs and 3-D designs, would go on display in the Hall's Gallery, with a rotating/random featuring of each in the main room, while all the rest could be housed in seperate instances of adjoining rooms. Plus, and I'm not being sarcastic here, but all the works could even be anonymous, as to alleviate any concerns of favoritism and/or personal popularity, etc. The 2-D pieces could also be used for decorating Reltos. There should probably be a mod in place to flag works that fall outside the 'all ages' category, as well as anything that is obviously non-D'ni/Uru (pictures of Mickey Mouse and hotrods with over-sized back tires and flames shooting out the exhaust pipes).

More practical items could be made, like furniture and architectural stuff, with basic customizable D'ni frameworks, though these might come under a Guild of Crafters, or something. More difficult perhaps, but not impossible, as shades of more of this type of 'player-created' items flourishes in the Sims, for one example (http://thesims.ea.com/us/index.html?menu=exchange&content=exchange/index.html).

These sorts of content are theorized to be the next step in online gaming/worlds, as related by Will Wright, Sims creator, within the context of his next revolutionary project, 'Spore' (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-775656482294094003). Guilds, in this perspective, would both generate 'player' interaction with the environment and eachother as well as work towards alleviating the constant push by Cyan to fill the 'pipeline' all by themselves, thus strengthening our widely-perceived symbiotic role with them.

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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 5:03 pm 
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I agree with Srikandi's description of the 'hoods as being equivalent to guilds in other games. But what I think is being really discussed here is something a bit different.

Yes, one may still think of ones 'hoodmates as ones guildmates, but I think we are talking about a more "uber" organization than even 'hoods.

What I envision is that each player (character) will choose a "class" (guild) at some point early in the game, and from that point on the character will be a member of that "class" (Maintainer, Writer, Excavator, etc), REGARDLESS of which 'hood he chooses to be a member of. Each player could increase their level of expertise within the set of Guild skills by completing tasks within the game. This needn't be something that separates us from one another - though it's human nature to want to achieve status within any group, so competition will probably enter into it, like it or not. It always does. (Consider Heek - each 'hood in UU currently displays the top Heek scores...is this a Bad Thing?)

This structure would be equivalent to other online games, where one chooses ones class (Acolyte, Hunter, Alchemist, etc), and is then free later on to join a party or guild (or 'hood) with other characters of various classes.

In Uru, each class (or Guild) would be given distinctive clothing items, so each player could be readily identifiable as to his or her "job", if they so choose.

I think this would enhance the interest level of the game quite a bit, and am all for it if that's what Cyan has in mind.

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 1:12 am 
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I don't know, Hogarth, I really think that going down that road is doom for Uru.

To me, it seems like just placing a D'ni fascade on the average run of the mill online rpg.

True, it would give players something to constantly work at in between injections of new content, but it brings with it too many problems.

First, you have the ultimate failing of all online rpgs: Those who play 24/7, and do nothing but run around completing their leveling tasks become an in-gamne elite, a powerful group of people who (with all due respect to such gamers) tend to take things too seriously.

Second, that kind of game will not draw, or retain players from outside of the currently existing Myst community. For your average gamer, it would be just like every other online rpg, but without the violence.

For your Myst fans, particularly ones who might not have never have played such games before it's too compedative, and too daunting. Imagine looking at a skill trees, and having to pick between classes if you had never played rpgs before.

Third, there is the social aspect. I've played up and coming MMORPGs in the past. The only conversation I've ever seen in such games (except between people who were friends previously and signed up together) is: "hey, wanna form a party and level up faster?" and of course, beggers demanding that passers by help them level, or give them gold pieces.

Lastly, you have the high level elite in these games who (once again, I mean no offense to high level MMORPG players, this is merely my impression from the games I've played) look down upon "n00bs" and other low level players, and have a plethura of insults for them.

Of course, refering back to my first point, once the game has begun, nothing other than a complete reset and wipe of all characters allows anyone to compete with the high level players, because they play the game obsessively to reach their lofty status, and even those who possess the drive, and the lack of other distractions to commit to their level of effort simply cannot catch up.

Again, I mean offense to anyone, these are merely my impressions of what I've seen in other games, and I simply feel that to incorporate such a structure is to invite into Uru the failings of every game that has come before it.

Also, Thend, you do have a point about priviliages, however, there is a difference between completing a quest that anyone can undertake at any time to recieve a privilage, or having to join a group to gain access to it. Particularly if you can only join one such group out of a number of them as has been proposed. This permanently denies a player access to some content.

Even if you are allowed to join any and every guild, there would have to be no applications or any resticitions on joining in order for it to be exactly the same as the journey is now.

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 3:37 am 
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I said that the STRUCTURE would be similar to other online games - the skeleton, but not the flesh.

I did not say anything about "leveling". THAT is where the Uru world differs from other MMOs, and I hope that never changes. In Uru, we are, simply, who we are. There are quests - tasks to complete, puzzles to solve, Reltos to decorate - but none of us is at a higher level than the rest of us unless chosen as such by the group.

No one has any power over you that you do not grant them yourself.

I support the idea of Guilds, not because it makes Uru Live similar to other online games, but because it makes the game more interesting.

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 5:00 am 
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You are right Hogarth, you did not say leveling, however, increasable skills are a part of leveling. Having a numerical status higher than others is in many essential ways (although not all) the same as being a higher level than other players.

You are also completely correct that no one has any power of you that you do not grant them. This does not stop others from attempting to assert such power though. And very few people are willing to pay a monthly fee to be looked down upon, and take abuse. Most would get tired of it and quit the game.

I don't think the Myst community would be like that, but that is how it seems to go in MMORPGs, and I worry that encouraging such elements might bring in players who do think like that.

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 10:06 am 
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I never liked classes/professions in RPGs and I don't see why I should have to choose one and just one in Uru, which is as ruleless as you can get. There are obviously people who have more than one interest or would like to be part of more than one group; I don't need to decide if I want to be, say, a Surveyor or a Painter when I can easily be both.

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 2:30 pm 
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I have to agree that the classes/professions model present in other MMPORGs, even if modified to remove levelling, is still a dangerous model -- if only for the fact that many will recognize all the traditional hallmarks of classes/professions with levelling and act accordingly. The paradigm is out there, it's recognized, and gamers are fluent in its codes and practices. Give them all the important hallmarks, but take away one of the central "rewards" (class rank, social status), and you end up with gamers who are still going to act as if they had rank/status, but who will be upset and frustrated at not really receiving it. And I can totally see why and sympathize -- it's like inviting a hungry man to a banquet and piling of raw meat on his plate. You get all the appearances, but strip out a central point.

Part of Cyan's challenge for setting up the Guild system is to construct it in such a way that actions do not translate into personal gain, whether that be status bars, guild rank, etc. I think Deius' principles really begin to get at the heart of the matter... While the calibration of the GZ through marker hunts may be in various states with individual players, remember that the whole thing was put in place as a way for the community to get the GZ functional again for everyone -- once enough people had calibrated, the blue laser line would start spinning, and we'd all have KI coordinates. Smaller version of this was the image that grew more and more in focus during Live as people completed CGZM missions. The algae in the lake would be another example -- these are all activities that don't have any immediate reward for the actors, but have a cumulative reward for the entire community.

I really do believe that you can try to work the MMPORG guild paradigm as much as you can, try to divest it of its reward and ego-boosting aspects, but it doesn't address the root of the issue. Such a paradigm is fundamentally centered on the individual -- while you have generous individuals who can perform acts of charity, you will inevitably have misers who are not interested in the least in being sociable or helpful, and who will bide their time gathering up privilege and making a big stink about it. As someone said above, it's human nature, and as utopian as Uru is, it's still inhabited by us measley humans. ;) Uru will not change human nature and make us perfect. In the end, perfection is boring, humanity is infinitely captivating -- that's why everyone reads Dante's Inferno but hasn't even touched Paradiso, even though its an equally magnificent work of literature.

What I do think Uru can do, however, is help us rethink how to be human. The self-centered guild systems we get from all other MMPORGs strikes me as very much a reflection of the modern corporate world -- profit and competition driven, dog eats dog, ruthless and mean-spirited, with a minority of compassionate souls thrown in there. Uru has the golden opportunity, is set up like no other social system, to rethink this and come up with alternatives -- alternatives which will have their own flaws, their own problems, their own dark underbelly, but at least they are different! At least they offer a way to rethink things.

[/grandiloquence] :P

One last thing to point out: While Thend's comparison between a player's progress through the Journey/acquisition of relto mods and various ages to a guild reward system was really helpful and provocative, I think it also needs to be recognized that the Journey is utterly solitary -- it is not a social experience. You go through the Ages on your own, and get your reward on your own. Guilds add a social component to the mix, which changes the stakes dramatically.

Also, in terms of reward/content/miserliness, I wonder whether we should introduce the concept of "spoliers" to the mix? That is, I'm thinking of GoG, which always checks with new explorers on how spolied they want the exploration/discovery experience to be when receiving help through the Journey. This seems to me an important aspect of Uru life -- one of the things we all treasure is that moment of discovery when the pieces fall together, or when you walk into a new area and have your breath taken away. There is a sense of satisfaction that derives from figuring things out on your own, from solving puzzles, and, in a sense, from a linear narrative. Will universal access detract from this particularly Myst-ian pleasure?

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 5:48 pm 
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Those are some great points, domahreh! Wouldn't it be cool if the planned Guilds focused as much on creating new friendships as much as providing infrastructure?

We don't know what the structure of the new Guild system is going to be, so I'm just going to make something up here, for the sake of speculation. :)

Let's say one of theplanned guilds is for the Guild of Linguists. One of their in-game benefits is that they get to translate all sorts of interesting texts, either for the DRC or things they find on their own. They also get a classroom and tools they can use to teach other people the language of D'ni. These are "advantages" that none of the other Guilds might have, but they're geared toward a purpose that benefits any explorer who makes use of the Guild's services.

It seems like a really wild idea.


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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 6:06 pm 
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I'm happy with the idea of service ("customer-facing") guilds like linguists and greeters. They provide a function and don't have to be competitive.

I can get my levelling up in guilds elsewhere.


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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 8:18 pm 
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I still maintain that being able to choose a job (call it a Guild if you like) would make the game more interesting. It needn't be divisive at all - I think too much is being made of that possibility.

Uru Live was always meant to involve some players getting to the finish line before others. That is what a "game" is all about. Without competition there is no game. A game without competiton is merely a pastime, like a crossword or picture puzzle. I cited the Heek table earlier, but I could also have cited the Gahreesen Wall, or the timed Marker Missions of the Great Zero Calibration. Cyan has no aversion to or fear of competition - neither should we.

It is the same with conflict. A story without conflict is not a story. The differences and contradictions between us (and within us) as players - as human beings - give the Uru story more frisson, making Live more like life. We need conflict to continue the saga.

Runnning the Ages in Uru was NEVER supposed to have been a solo activity. There were tasks planned from the start that could only be completed by a group, though we have yet to see how that was supposed to have played out. The Uru that we have seen is not the Uru that was originally envisioned by Cyan. If we hold that Cyan is a designer of great games, then we should also hold that these competitive and group-play elements are part and parcel of a great game.

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 9:10 pm 
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See, there, I gotta disagree with you, hogarth. We're used to stories that require conflict to work, we're used to equating "difference" with "conflict" -- but does this need to be the case? Why can't we tell stories that embrace difference but reject conflict in the traditional sense? Why can't we try a different mode of storytelling, one that recognizes the values and pitfalls of the tradition and comes at them from a different angle? We're pretty poor storytellers if we can't break the conventions, and Cyan, if anything, breaks conventions.

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Uru Live was always meant to involve some players getting to the finish line before others. That is what a "game" is all about. Without competition there is no game.


Where was the finish line in UruLive? Wasn't it supposed to be an ongoing, ever-evolving world which had no finish line in sight? Indeed, isn't that exactly the point with all ARGs? That there be no "finish line" to reach, that an alternative world persist? Should we not call this kind of an experience a game, then, because it has no clearly defined "ending" or "competition" in the traditional sense? Again, that seems chillingly limiting -- the concept of "game," just like the concept of "story" or "community," is always under change and growth. Why set an arbitrary line in the sand around competition, when there are worlds of alternatives to consider, explore, experiment with, develop, and enjoy!

The kinds of competition you point out, too (Gahreesen Wall, Heek, etc.), don't have a ton of impact on the social network established between players... in fact, they seem much more similar to the pastimes (crosswords and picture puzzles) that you mention earlier! I don't think the kind of competition, if you want to call it that, that arises during a Heek game is the same as the social grappling and competition that is likely to arise from the traditional Guild structure.

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 11:55 pm 
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I'm not against competition Hogarth, what I am against are only these two things: the ego driven MMORPG elites, and limitations.

The elite, because they detract from everyone's enjoyment of the game, so that a handful of hardcore players can gloat over the rest.

As for my distaste of limitations in Uru, Myst has always been about a world without limits, the unsurpassed freedom of writing worlds, and traveling to worlds beyond imagination.

A rigid guild/job system is by definition limiting. Job classes only exist to prevent a player from having everything. Fighters can't cast magic, Wizards can't wear armor, only Rogues can pick locks and disarm traps, ect.

It's just as Ian Atrus said, no one in-game job can perfectly suit everybody. Sure, some will be happy just to be a Greeter, or a book maker (I can't imagine why though)

Why shouldn't we be able to be surveyors/painters (like Ian) or writers who like to test new ages? (as I would very much like to do)

In the long run, I don't see a problem with people forming groups, and calling them guilds. Even Domahreh and Cycreim's ideas of guilds that benefit everybody doesn't really bother me. What does bother me is the idea that to play I have to join a guild, and that choice, so early in the game will determine what options are available to me for the rest of the game. I just think it's far too limiting.

More so, I and many others, I suspect, have neither the time, nor the inclination to play six or so different characters in the cavern in order to explore everything to our satisfaction.

Mostly, I just want to play myself in the cavern, have fun, meet new people, and explore. (and hopefully one day, write ages, but that's a different story.) Anything that infringes or limits that, I dislike. I don't want to confine myself to any one area of study in the cavern, nor any one social group, and I'd like to see the community remain friendly and helpful. That's what I'd like to see in Uru.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:18 am 
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Stumbled onto a very interesting discussion of guilds in a book (Character Development and Storytelling for Games) by Lee Sheldon, who has mile-long credentials writing for TV and computer games, and was Designer/Lead Writer for Uru in 2001 or so. I won’t quote it (too long, copyright violation if I did), but he mentions that he worked on a guild system for Uru back then, based partly on a system he helped developed for an earlier MMORPG (The Gryphon Tapestry) that got to beta and then died.

The guild system he describes in the book may or may not be the same as the one he helped developed for Uru (there’s an intriguing reference to “that document” - drool!), and it may or may not be at all related to the one Cyan is working on now for Uru Live 2.0. Still, here are the salient points of what he describes in the book:
  • Guilds would be optional (players can join or not) and “state-run” at first. They would have a hierarchical structure and would either confer special skills or produce special products needed or wanted by other players (possible examples for Uru: maps or D’ni dictionaries - my examples, not his).
  • The guilds at first would be peopled by NPCs, but live players could ascend into the positions of power through election. Live players would eventually take over the guilds and "ease" the NPCs out.
  • Players could form their own guilds to compete with the “official” guilds, and these “unofficial” guilds would be supported by the game in terms of having equal powers to create objects and rewards (remember, this was for a RPG, not specifically for Uru).
The entire book is fascinating, especially given the author’s association with Uru.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:40 am 
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I personally have a passion for D’ni history and love reading the tomes strewn here and there in Uru. I also enjoyed reading about the Guild System that once thrived and appeared to be the backbone of their society - but I’m vehemently against the introduction of a Guild System for Explorers for a number of reasons – some I’ve mentioned earlier in the thread.

I would ask the Pro’s to consider what we as Explorer’s are paying our U$10 for – certainly not to log in and catch up on the latest Guildblog or to be embroiled in obligatory meetings etc. I want to team up with friends, seek out new Ages, solve puzzles, and er… generally explore.

Having the Guilds would be a distraction from the main theme and reason why people actually want to play online. Perhaps if the Guilds are introduced - all them that advocated it can meet up dressed in their Guild attire and discuss their Guilds (smackings of UU here), while the rest of us get on with exploring.

The point I’m trying to make is – you can have as many Uru seasoned, 'ex-Prologuers', self appointed historians etc, as you like plying for the introduction of the Guilds. Alas, if they were introduced – I envisage a big turn-off for the ‘newbie’ – who just might be playing their first Cyan game. It's that 'them and us' scenario again. Let’s not forget that we want as many players as possible - including attracting new members to the fold, for the game to survive.

Ok, I hear you say – they can read up on D’ni history and be as well versed as us. Wrong! Most game players today don’t relish wading through reams of text on their first day – they want to get their teeth into the game.

Nah… paying U$10 a month to be confronted by over-zealous D’ni versed Guild organisers would be too much for some people. We want puzzles, mystique, suspense even – not pointed hats, guildblog, and embroidered cloaks.

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