SWTOR: Guild Me UpMarch 9, 2011
A rather big update on the Star Wars: The Old Republic official website this morning as BioWare unveiled their Guild Headquarters page and their Pre-Launch Guild Program. Totally unexpected, and there was even a moment there where I had check myself to make sure that today was indeed still Wednesday. Yep. Two days before PAX East. Kinda makes me wonder what else they might have in store for us on Friday for their weekly update, and over the convention weekend.
It’s starting to get real. In fact, when I read the forums, I have a sneaking suspicion that most people are more excited about what this Guilds update implies than they are over the actual update itself — that the release of SWTOR may be closer than we think. I’m always wary when it comes to getting my hopes up, but even I have to admit there’s something in this. A system to encourage your playerbase to form and reserve names for guilds does seem like something you would implement not too long before launch.
I have to say this is probably one of the coolest and most interesting social features I’ve ever seen from a game. Allowing players to form and join guilds now is just a part of this update; Bioware is also giving them their own site to help them recruit, manage, and maintain their guilds. Of course, players can still set up their own websites if they please, but I think having a centralized area on the SWTOR network complete with public and private forums and the ability to connect to other players is pretty handy.
Admittedly, I find myself a little lost right now. My excitement and instinct tells me I should start shopping for a guild right away. After all, I’ve practically locked in on my faction and class choice, and I already know what kind of server I’m looking for. Still. I know it’s silly, but I’m the kind of person who likes to keep their options open until the very last minute. 99% sure that I’m going to go Empire and Bounty Hunter is still 1% chance that I can change my mind. Besides, we haven’t seen all the class videos yet. Who’s to say the Jedi Consular won’t blow me away and make me drop everything and take up the lightsaber for the Republic? I’ll grant you it’s not very likely, but it’s still possible. It comes down to me finding it difficult to make decisions until I have all the facts.
There will be ample time to make the decisions, no doubt. We are, after all, still in the earliest phase. Phase 2: Alignment and Phase 3: Deployment are where I think things will start to get interesting. Guilds that partake in this Pre-Launch Program and the allies and adversaries they have linked up to are at the complete mercy of BioWare’s sole discretion as to which server they’ll be placed. On one hand, I foresee much distress and angst if large groups of people end up being split up, despite the BioWare’s best efforts. Seems inevitable that this can be a source of potential backlash, and BioWare probably knows it too. Speaking of which, am I the only one who noticed how many times they make it a point in the FAQ to cite the Terms of Service and offer no guarantees?
On the other hand, I can’t really see BioWare doing anything half-assed. In setting up this system, they must have thought ahead and taken the steps to ensure the transfers will be implemented smoothly. In spite of everything, I do cross my fingers and hope for the best.