26/07/2014

Want a guild ship? Hope you got 50 million lying around

The latest reveal about the upcoming Galactic Strongholds expansion has been the price of guild ships. Apparently they'll cost fifty million credits each. I'm sure I'm not the only one whose jaw dropped a little at that piece of news, and I certainly don't consider myself poor in-game.

I was actually quite surprised to hear that my guild already has that much in the guild bank - I knew we had more than thirty million, but I didn't think it was quite that much. I'm sure that there are a fair few other guilds who do have the money to afford this as soon as the feature launches... but I have to admit that I'm a bit worried about the many more for whom I suspect this will be way out of reach. I'm guessing that any guild who is hoping to accumulate that amount of money needs to either be a raiding guild that sells a lot of crafting mats on the GTN, or have some generous benefactors among its membership that love making money and are willing to donate to the guild bank out of their own pockets.

The reason I'm concerned is that it's all very nice to have a goal to work towards as a guild... but these ships won't just be for show, they'll provide tangible benefits (though admittedly we have yet to see or find out how strong these are going to be), and giving such benefits to only the richest of guilds automatically makes it much harder for any guild that can't afford the same benefits to attract players.

Look at WoW and learn from its mistakes: they introduced a guild levelling system that provided you with perks as the guild levelled up back in Cataclysm, and have now decided to abolish it in the next expansion because, and I quote: "the nature of guild leveling and guild perks has shifted from being a reward for dedication and collective effort, to effectively being a penalty and barrier to entry for new guilds". I fear that this is only going to be worse in SWTOR when this barrier will consist of having to save up fifty million credits (which, let's be honest, is far from being small change for most players) to earn your guild any benefits at all.

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be any expensive perks that you can earn, possibly in the form of optional ship upgrades or something. But requiring fifty million credits to even get started seems pretty harsh to me.

6 comments :

  1. I don't think 50 million is that great of an obstacle to overcome. Look at it this way; if you've got a guild of about 20 people, that's only 2.5 million per person to accumulate. And believe me, that's only a few days of everyone going around and slicing boxes.

    What would be much more of a barrier is if it were a number like $50 million AND having completed a certain amount of raid content.

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    1. That's the thing though: I don't disagree that this shouldn't be too hard to achieve for already established guilds. However, for anyone trying to found a new guild in the future I think it's going to be a huge obstacle. You've got your four founders who helped to set things up and then what? Any potential new recruits would have to love you pretty damn much to join your guild over one that can actually offer expensive perks.

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  2. I think Bioware really wants to drain a lot of credits out of the economy from the richest folks. Instead of just capping everyone at a sane amount, they are going to end up pushing folks towards the huge any-warm-body-will-do guilds and screw the small friends-and-family guilds.

    Also, this is just another barrier for new guilds when the inevitable guild breakups/splits happen. You'll *need* a guild capital ship to recruit people (just as you need a level 25 guild in Wow to effectively recruit folks). Sure, a small group that only raids together will be fine, but eventually even they will want and/or need new folks.

    Oh well, it seems like MMO developers seldom want to listen and learn from the mistakes of others.

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    1. That is exactly my worry. For already established guilds who've had a chance to hoard credits for a long time, a price of 50 million is pretty reasonable. But advertising for a new guild is going to be a nightmare. "We don't have a guild ship yet, but you too can join us to donate a few million to the cause!" Because that is of course equally appealing to just joining an existing guild and getting to participate in conquest events right away...

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    2. Overall, I think Bioware would get a bigger extraction of credits from the deepest pockets by exploiting art to create 'prestige' additions to the guild ships while keeping the entry cost low. You buy a guild ship for 5M, and it's second-hand; the walls are grungy, there's exposed piping and various leaks of steam/gas or liquids. Put in another 5M, and all the leaks get fixed, the ductwork is covered by panels, and the grunge gets scraped off. 10M more, and you get better panels and details, better stock lighting, etc.; 25M more, and the interior gets a high-class makeover -- polished wood and metal panels, ornate moldings in place of the plain detailing, etc. Now do the same with 'prestige' decorations -- set up a steeply-tiered collection of increasingly-ornate decorations, so that while almost any guild would be able to get a guild ship, small or social guild might have the equivalent of a Motel 8 while a guild full of rich characters would be able to trick their ship out like the Burj Al Arab. As long as the things you're buying for the guild ship contribute to play, like the Conquest thing, you're giving the people who've gamed the game to acquire huge amounts of money a way to plow that back into an in-game advantage; by making the 'prestige' aspect of guild ships entirely cosmetic, you pull credits out of the economy in exchange for what are essentially bragging rights. Big or rich guilds will still be able to better equip their ships functionally, but there won't be the 'haves vs. have nots' situation of setting the initial bar where most people can't even reach it.

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  3. Our Guild has been here since launch and I was surprised to find out that we only had about 20 million when we found out the news on Friday. But we are an established guild and acquiring the 50 million shouldn't be to much of a problem. I donated 250,000 Friday after only a couple hours of dallies. I do have a suggestion for any guild that is trying to raise credits. We started a 50/50 raffle a couple months ago to help finance our guild repairs and it has worked out well. Its a minimum of 10,000 credits for each entry and 50% to the winner, 50% to the guild. We have had some pretty nice jackpots.

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