In this week's article of The Scrying Pool, I take a look at Guild Halls.
In each article of The Scrying Pool, I look at what is and what could be. After taking a look at what is present in Guild Wars 2 now, be that lore or game mechanics, I then ask What If? What if this happened in the lore or this feature was added in a future patch.
One of the largest areas in Guild Wars 2 that has been lacking content or overall polish since launch is guilds. Things have gotten a little better since the addition of guild missions gave a larger purpose to guilds as well as providing content for a guild to do together, but there is still room for improvement with features like last online checks and community message boards or calendars. What is possibly the most desired improvement for guilds is the addition of guild halls.
There is the idea that no two players are the same; that even if two players are playing a game the same way the reason they choose that method of gameplay could be vastly different. It is easy to see this from a very macro level. Some players enjoy playing FPS while others hate the genre.
This same diversity can also be seen in GW2 with players preferring PvE, PvP or WvW. So when looking at adding a major feature such as guild halls, it is important to look at why players want guild halls so much.
In GW1, a guild hall served several purposes. It was meeting place, a place to merchant goods or use one of the many unlocked services and was a hub for PvP events such as GvG and Alliance battles. None of these attributes of a guild hall would be out of the question for implementation in GW2.
The simplest of these guild hall desires would be a meeting place. A guild hall could merely be an empty room and it would fulfill the meeting place requirement as long as it was easy to gain entrance. Of course a completely empty room might be pretty boring, which leads us to another reason for wanting a guild hall: a place the guild can work together to build.
There are a few ways that this can be done and it gets more into how guild halls would be acquired and expanded. In GW1, everything about the guild hall was acquired with in-game currency. Guilds could buy a sigil from an NPC (or other players who won one in the Hall of Heroes) and then upgrade their guild hall by paying merchants and other service NPCs to set up shop in the hall.
One feature that GW2 has over GW1 is the guild currencies of influence and merits. I like the idea of the guild hall being something that is purchased with coin. The guild is buying property and, therefore, must pay for a deed to a hall. There are not an infinite number of guild halls, however, (in terms of worldly lore, mechanically they would be instances and unlimited) so guilds most prove they have the influence needed to claim one of these halls as their own. While it would be necessary to pay both coin and influence to acquire the guild hall, the idea would be to try to keep the amount required fairly low. It is, after all, an empty guild hall just for the basic purpose of a meeting point.
After the guild hall is acquired, the guild can work toward expanding the hall and services available. One thing that could be cool is if the guild hall was actually something you expanded by unlocking new wings within the hall. Maybe the guild hall actually is an empty room when you first acquire it. Then the guild can research unlocks that actually unlock a door and give access to additional rooms or areas of the guild hall.
What services are provided is a little trickier. In GW1 the guild hall had basic amenities such as a merchant to sell items and access to players’ banks. This worked fine in GW1 where players could teleport to any outpost for free. With this setup getting back to a merchant or bank was just a matter of teleporting to an outpost or guild hall for free. In GW2, however, getting back to a bank or merchant is not always free.
If players were able to teleport to their guild hall for free to merchant or bank items, then cities would be a less desired port of trade and items that summon the service NPC would be almost worthless (with instances such as dungeons being the last bastion of worth for these consumables). Even guild banks would be cause for concern with the ability to create solo guilds for the purpose of acquiring a guild bank for a single player’s use. Then there are other services such as crafting tables, repair NPCs and the respective secondary services of bank access and the ability to sell goods.