Goofy Idea of the Day: The Guild Character

20 Dec

Simple concept: take the shared guild bank concept implemented in many MMOs today and apply it not just to items, but to characters as well.

Group content and group play requires, well, groups. To experience much of the group content and endgame content (at least in WoW) you will need a group that shows up, is well balanced and well geared. Most MMOs suffer from any number of barriers to grouping and as a result, much grouping (and acquisition of grouping skills) doesn’t happen until the endgame and even then still suffers from class population imbalances.

Even when you do have a good group of folks dedicated to mutual support and group play (aka a Guild), class population imbalances and level disparities within the guild can still mean barriers to group play. Judging by what I read in MMOG blogs and the LFGs in game, holy priests and protection warriors are a fairly rare commodity at the level cap in WoW. One reason is that these two classes in particular are more difficult to progress solo. Talent respeccing only goes so far because lets face it, a good tank is a lot more than just a L70 warrior in welfare epics with a bunch of talent points dumped into protection and it gets expensive to flip back and forth from fury to protection.

Enter the Guild Character (aka Rent-a-Toon). Players create characters and progress them through the world in the ordinary fashion. If they join a guild however, they can designate one or more of their characters as “guild characters” which can be played by any member of the guild which has permission to do so. Essentially, when you log in you could choose to play one of your own characters or a guild character (if its not being played by someone else).

All the experience would accrue only to the guild character and there would likely need to be some lockouts on selling bound gear, etc. so that only a guild officer or the owner could choose to sell off or DE gear. Any items acquired by the shared character would be freely transferable just like stuff in guild bank slots and gold acquired while played as a shared character could be only contributed to the overall guild bank.

Lower and higher level guild members could now actually play together and contribute to the collective effort. What a great opportunity to mentor younger players, “hey kid, we need a fifth or tenth for instance X, go grab a L70 guild character and join us for a crawl.”

Keep a few protection warriors in stock and the entire guild could focus their efforts on getting one MT fully geared or when that group of 5 hunters shows up, a couple of them could sub in as a tank and healer. It doesn’t completely solve the “I can’t get a group to finish my hunter’s x quest” but it sure increases the chances if any number of guildies could hop into a shared character to assist another guildy with a balanced group.

Lots of antiexploit, antigriefing details to consider (like whether the character would stay if the owner left the guild), but this would actually foster more group play, help alleviate class population imbalances and allow people to learn to play a different class.

Thoughts? Let the flogging begin.


Posted by on December 20, 2007 in Uncategorized


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4 responses to “Goofy Idea of the Day: The Guild Character

  1. mrrx

    December 21, 2007 at 10:51 am

    That’s an interesting idea. It’d best be used in a game where big group raids are the expected playstyle; and probably where you take a more casual approach to beating the big monsters, where it’s less about player skill and more about participation.

    But you’d be missing character progression. Perhaps you get one “Main” character and as you reach levels, you unlock raid characters for the endgame. I’m getting a Pokemon vibe about the whole thing; collecting them as we go.

    At level 20 you can play RaidGuy1, Level 30 RaidGuy2, and so forth until at max level you get the most desirable Raidguys, fully equipped with starting raid gear.

    Not so goofy after all IMO.

  2. p@tsh@t

    December 21, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Maybe not so much like a CCG though that would work but I agree that you’d lose the progression thing.

    No, it would be more of a “Hey, Bob, mind if I take your druid out for a spin?” kind of system. Its definitely a participation enhancement tool but I think while it has raid utility, I think it could be much more broad than that.

    I think it would be a mechanic that effectively lets players share the one commodity that really cant be traded (absent buying an account)– time.

  3. mightydar

    December 26, 2007 at 5:32 am

    Never going to happen. The brotherhood system in VG is about as close as you will ever get to a guild leveling a toon.

  4. adrenis

    December 31, 2007 at 11:53 am

    That is easily the coolest idea I’ve heard in a long time. The only problem I can see is that to play someone else’s toon effectively, you’d have to be familiar (and hopefully good) with that class. That could cause some problems if say, one of my guildies, who’s never played a warrior, tried to tank an instance. But other than that, I think it could work really well.

    Will it ever happen? Probably not. I can’t see any MMO devs giving us that much freedom. But an intriguing idea nonetheless.


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