Guilds. SWTOR Guilds to be specific. Today we're gonna ramble on about that. Yup, sounds good.
I for one am in a guild, and it has considerably less idiots in it than I am used to.
Very few actually.
Ok 1, but they didn't know I was an idiot when they let me in. Either that, or they were desperate to recruit a smart-ass OCD obsessed crafter, with little to no socially redeeming value and a penchant for medical marijuana and 10 year old scotch. Hey, can ya blame em though? It's Me after all! So in celebration of someone being able to tolerate me and the snarky, swear-coated, distinctly asshole-like ramble that spews out of my face, similar to what most of us looked like around 12:30 am the night of our 21st birthdays, we're gonna look at the good and bad side of being in a guild pre-launch. Then we're gonna play paintball with clients today. Then we're gonna go buy a bag of ice for the nut-sack that will be undoubtedly shot within the first 3 minutes of a fore mentioned paintball.
"Why the hell should I join a guild before SWTOR launches?" If I had a dollar for every time I was asked that I would have enough for a pack of smokes and maybe a mountain dew code red. The answer to this while seeming exceedingly simple to the general onlooker has deep ramifications. Pull out your college textbooks on Fluid-Dynamics and Proofs and lets get started.
There are a few really solid reasons to join a guild before a game launches. Most of them elude me at the moment, and the rest I think are totally moronic, but believe it or not, there are a few reasons that do pop to mind that sort of outweigh the negatives. They come in about 4 flavors but ultimately all taste like wookie.
1. Practical Magic.
The practicality of joining a guild just makes sense to anyone with the ability to solve "ax 2 + bx + c = 0". You meet people who can help you and achieve things to further your game and play style. Someone or someones to watch your back, someone to assist in hard quests, some poor schmuck to haul crap around for you. Someone who can craft your Gloves of Killthewholeserver, or has tons of unobtanium for you to leech off them. Yes you might have to make a concession or two, or even possibly actually help them back, but the odds are slim. Mostly you can just skulk around being a self-serving tosser of mother-brain-like proportions for a bit before most of the guild notices. But by that point you have beaten the game and been crowned king of the internet.
2. How to make friends and nut-kick jawas.
Joining a guild can introduce you to alot of like minded individuals who really are just as bass-ackwards, mentally deranged, and unnervingly psychotic as yourself. This is a tremendous asset when running around coruscant naked, signing "from a distance" by Bette Midler, and attempting to copulate with a taxi stand. Or I suppose when playing the game like normal...I guess... To each his own I suppose. Having people you genuinely have something in common with, whose heads you do not want to open like a coconut while playing where's waldo in their brain-pan has great, positive, direct impact on your game play. Now you can share your fun, not so fun, or generally suckass experiences with others, AND have someone else to drag into your solo pit of self-degradation and bitter amusement. Also, sometimes, it's just nice to have someone to quest with and talk to. It's like hanging out at a bar with your buddy, except there is no booze, no good music, and the chances of you getting laid are astronomically slim.
3. I'm an acievement / dungeon /group-quest slut.
Alot of MMO-centric actions and special achievements require groups of people to do them. Lets be honest, it's not very realistic to believe you are going to take down the republic/empire/ewoks/gungans alone. To be honest, it is a defense mechanism built into Star Wars from the days of inception: One ungodly cute or annoying race that survives no matter the level of sheer sithy genocide you level at them or their planet. I swear to god If I blew endor away with the death-star Lucas would have some mutant hybrid-brand of furry ewok looking, hermaphroditic, smelly, semi-retarded furballs pop up on some never-heard-of planet and make them the focus of one of his next 3 movies. Thats a guarantee. (Love ya George, mean it). Having friends with you and people you are used to playing with can really drive your goals in game forward. Much faster, much more efficiently than solo. If you need stop playing this game with every dungeon, achievement, group quest and piece of gear possible, the math points to guilds and groups. Not solo. Sorry to disappoint to all you totally solo guys out there. It is a MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER GAME. Deal with it. Make friends, or be stuck looking like a hobo from a batman movie. I really could care less.
4. I raid for gear, which i need to raid, so I can get gear, so I can raid.
Raiding. The big one. Pugging your way into a raid doesn't mean you won't kill the last boss, and it doesn't mean you guys will fail like a juice-bar at an Irish wedding. It's just way way way unlikely. Having a guild full of people you know, talk to, quest with, match playstyles with, play badminton, do coke off strippers with, bury dead hookers with, punt jawas with, etc... means you already have some form of team and teamwork going. Admittedly, it may be god-awful brain-bleedingly bad teamwork, but it's something. It's a starting point for building a crew you can come to count on. I suggest you implement a brutal-nutkicking-bonegrinding-mental merry-go-round of a raid schedule the first month you are at engame. Anyone who shows up 80% of the time is a keeper, anyone else gets put on bitch duty like that humped-back tosser that betrayed Gerard Butler in 300. Once you establish a good raid crew, the virtual world is your virtual oyster, virtual salmonella included. Why wait until you get in game? The SWTOR community has been around a while now and there are several good choices for guilds both on sith and republic sides. Some not so good, and some just slightly better than a lobotomy with a dull fork. They all give you a leg up when you get in game, and you can start figuring out who will let you force them to spec tank or healer and then hate your guts for the next three years for allowing you to talk them into it. You absolutely must be in a good, raid-centric solid guild to progress in endgame. Unless SWTOR's endgame is either so easy that you can afk it while on skype and surfing for porn, or so lacking you will need a crew. The smartest and most progressed start early, build foundations and then work hard. The rest just bitch and moan like my girlfriend when Starbucks is out of half-caf soy skim frappsuckachinos. I would give Lord Hammers firstborn to see that woman drink a normal f'in cup of coffee once before I die. Anyway....
Lets now move on to:
1. Out of the Exploding Pleasure barge, into the sarlacc.
You never really know what you are gonna get when you join a guild. I was expecting a bunch of evil snapperheads running around role playing or possibly posting pictures of them force choking their pet rabbits. Nope. Just a bunch of normal guys with a very un-sithlike spirit of cooperation and unity. Tricky bastards. My point is you can be tossed into an environment without really knowing if you are compatible with the mindset of the guild. It's a craps game. Pray for 7.
2. I hate people. Especially you.
If you really want to go the solo on the rocks route, you can in SWTOR. I think. So I've been told. If running around alone, with an AI companion that bitches at you all day long for killing everything fluffy you see, and resents you for sending her to boarding school, is your cup of tea, so be it. Joining a guild can be a real pisser for solo game play. Someone always wants something. Especially if you are GOOD at your class and the game. Craft me rocket-boots, run me through deadmines, change my diaper, wipe my bum, waaaaaaaaaaaaa. Its a real downer, and you are expected to deliver. Expectations on you suck, especially when you are as narcissistic and self serving as I...er....most people are.
3. Attack of the Rain Men
Lets face it. You can have the best group of guys in the world, love them to death, impregnate their sisters, be forced to wed at the point of a lightsaber, then spend the rest of your life inbreeding with them to keep the family bloodline pure and make sure the kids all have an extra ear or two. But if they suck at dungeons and raiding, that usually is something that can only be cured by time. If your endgame raids are stagnant and unmoving.... again, like my girlfriend, then all you can do is leave to find a better, slightly less mentally oppressed guild, at which point you look like a gear whoring - guild hopper. Getting stuck on the 8th string raid crew is tantamount to being asked how many toothpicks just fell on the floor. You need to find a group with slightly better skills than you have. If you had never been kicked in the family jewels, you would never have learned to wear a cup in all future de-jeweling contests. Same with raiding, If you don't find a group to challenge your abilities and skill, you are standing still. And if you are standing still, you are most likely giving me a stern look that says " You promised we could go out with Buffy and Muffy, and Miffy and Franny" or whatever other moronically named friends she has that were obviously named after the family poodle. But I digress.
Guilds are a love hate relationship. They can be a blessing or a curse. And now I'm fresh out of "they can be this or that comparisons". It ultimately is up to you in how you want to play the game. I ask myself if being part of Guild Umbra (NOW WITH LESS FAT!) is going to add to, or to take away from my overall goal and game play in SWTOR. Since we have never gamed together yet, and never even met, I chose the route of optimistic faith. I found some great guys, with the potential to be more than the sum of their parts. They are all highly intelligent and dedicated beyond belief to TOR. My one nagging worry in this whole situation is not if I chose the wrong guild, but if I, me, Lord Flagg, bringer of death to all kittens in the galaxy, sower of death and wet willys, lightsaber wielding bad-mofo in general... well am I the weak link here? Will the guild value me as much as I value it? I guess time will tell on that one, but the good news is I will most likely die from old age before the game comes out anyway.
I'll leave you good nerds out there on that note. Now if you'll excuse me, Muffy just showed up and I need her to fill me in on what happened on "The Hills" last night, then I need to blow my own head off with a sandblaster. Cheers all.