Cross-Class combinations are something new to the MMO genre.  While nothing new in itself, the idea in the MMO industry is pretty ground breaking.  As of now, the idea of Cross-Class combinations consists of what you want your party or arena team to consist of as a means of covering the most ground with buffs and abilities.  I know that when doing 2v2s in arena back in WoW, the most thought about it was what class were you going to bring and why.  I usually switched off between a Warlock and a Warrior teammates while I rolled my Druid.  Without any arena system (kinda sad about this because I liked arena despite it being a balancing nightmare), we have to settle with a simple 5v5 point capture map.

So what are Cross-Class combinations?  The idea is that each class offers a unique set of abilities, that when combined with other abilities, provides a unique ability.  Initial press about this from Arena.Net stated that an Elementalist could cast a flame wall on the ground and when a ranger would shoot its bow through the fire would turn his arrows into fire arrows.  Most recently, Arena.Net revealed that an Elementalist could freeze the ground and a Warrior could do a ground stomp that would cause the frozen ground to turn into a magical frost barrier.  In theory, anything that you can do to the environment should be able to be acted upon by another player, but only another player.  As Arena.Net is trying to put the fun back in MMO and actually changing their current trait system to encourage players to play together, this is a system that requires at least 2 people.  A Warrior could smash the earth and throw boulders on the ground and an Elementalist could take those boulders and propel them into the air to cause a meteor shower.  An Engineer could drop an oil slick on the ground and a ranger could ignite it with his torch.  All of these are currently theoretical, but not out of the scope of possibility by the development team in Arena.Net who says that everyday, they come up with new combinations for classes to allow for deeper interactions.  This for sure, a system like this will allow combat to become more in depth than any other combat system.

I used to think RIFT had a diverse combat system due to their soul interchangeable talent tree system.  While this is true, each soul offers its own unique abilities that can be combined in unique ways.  My Cleric runs a PvP spec that makes use of 3 different trees to spread an 11% damage reduction to my entire team.  Other than doing that buff and healing other players, that is my only interaction outside of myself and the way my chosen souls work together.  This system means that and Engineer and an Elementalist would have an entirely different experience than a Ranger and a Thief or an Engineer with a Warrior or Guardian.  All in all, this is a system I am highly anticipating.  But I have my own fears and suspicions about this type of system and what it could do to profession balance.

One of the major issues with the arena system in wow is that it is completely impossible to balance.  Having 3 brackets (back in BC when I actually did them) of 2v2, 3v3 and 5v5 made some classes overpowered in one bracket but completely useless in another.  Shadow Priests dominated in 2v2 with a Warlock, but put that same Shadow Priest in a 5v5 bracket and you have dead space.  In fact, Warriors were the only class that was consistent in all brackets of arenas due to having Mortal Strike.  If one particular combination is the supreme combination, than entire teams will de dedicated to either using or countering that combination.

In RIFT, having all those classes have also proved to be a nightmare.  After each major patch, one class in the game becomes overpowered and considered the Flavor of the Month.  This is primarily because you have 8 different talent trees available to each of the 4 classes (9 if you count the pvp soul).  When you change 1 tree by a little bit or a lot, you end up creating new interactions with the other 7 souls available.  Most recently, Mages got a huge buff because to the Pyromancer tree got a massive overhaul.  What this did was create powerful synergies with the Warlock soul to create a DoT beast with the occasional normally 5 second long cast instant.  Their massive changes created a combination that literally has the highest sustained DPS and burst DPS in the game.  The same things happened in 1.5 with the Rogue.  While a system like this is absolutely brilliant and allows players to play the class they want, in the end, it is impossible to balance and there will always be classes that are more powerful than others.

As it stands with Guild Wars 2 only having 1 bracket and 1 battle ground, balancing wont be a nightmare as it was in WoW for the arena system, but where this has issues is how powerful the combinations are and how unique they are.  I actually predict that if these Cross-Class combinations are very powerful, than entire teams will be devoted around singular combinations.  Specific classes will either be come worthless because they do not provide anything to that combination or do not interact with other classes and have powerful combinations.  The Engineer is by far going to be the most diverse character available, but if the combinations it provides are kind of worthless, the Engineer Class will become obsolete in competitive PvP.  But something like this also depends on how much cross over is available.  As it stands, the two combinations that have been revealed are available to the Engineer (assuming that Jump Shot has the same impact conditions as the Warriors ground stomp ability).  With these two abilities, the Engineer can work with both an Elementalist and a Ranger to provide flaming arrows and the frost barrier.

So lets assume that the Engineer’s flame wall and jump shot do not interact the same as with the two elementalist abilities.  What other things can the engineer really provide that would effect the environment is different ways?  Really nothing.  All of the currently revealed abilities of the Engineer specialize in Guerilla Warfare by placing land mines, med kits and turrets around the map.  Having a lot of snares, pulls and push backs on top of many other escape mechanics means the Engineer still provides high amounts of support for any team.  And I also doubt that their projectiles cannot be used in conjunction with the Elementalist Flame Wall (Incendiary Ammo).  Realistically speaking, being a support will provide much more to the team assuming that the Flame Wall combination is actually work the effort in setting it up.

Combo decks in Magic: The Gathering worked as a means of trying to get your victory combo up and running first.  In the Legacy and Vintage formats, if you cannot win on in the first two rounds, its game over.  A system like this can provide the same type of experience.  Say team 1 uses a Warrior and 4 Elementalists and the goal is the Warrior smashes the ground to create boulders that the Elementalist uses to create meteors to rain death upon the opponent (no competitive team would rely upon 1 person to do all the setting up with, but its hypothetical).  Say team 2 uses a Guardian to create a protection Barrier, an Elementalist to cast water magic to heal everyone in the party, and 3 Necromancers to create an army of suicide bombers to throw at the enemy.  Team 1 has the simpler combo, but team 2 might have the necessary counter measures to stall combo to make their combo work better.  Maybe only 2 Necromancers and a Thief to stun the Warrior to prevent him from engaging his combination.  The goal at this point would not be who had the stronger combo but who could set it up first.  Chances are in a system like this, the combos will not be this simple but rather use a series of combinations to do their dirty work.  Like creating a fire wall and an army of minions to run through it to create a super army of flaming minions who blow up and carry mines with them while the Engineer stays in the background throwing syringes at allies.

If combinations turn out that way, it will become increasingly more important for classes like the Thief and the Engineer, who may not provide any environmental changes to be acted upon, who have large amounts of crowd control mechanics to be pivotal in stalling the opponent from making their combo work.  Because if you can stall the opponent for even a second, you could win the match.  Who knows, maybe rather that focusing on a specific combo, the entire team is devoted to stalling the opponent to prevent them from getting their combo off.  Like in Magic: The Gathering, tournament play consists of the top decks with the top combinations that provide with the best results.  I can see the same thing happening in Guild Wars 2.  But given Arena.Net’s design philosophy of taking their time, I would be heavily surprised if this was something they never thought about.  And if they hadn’t I really hope they consider this post because this could make or break their PvP system and any chances at being an ESport.

If the system turns out to be very minor things, than the entire team composition turns to what it was in WoW arenas to see how much ground they can cover with the least amount of players.  How many buffs and debuffs they have, how much damage output available, and then what class combinations work to help provide a small boost like a flame wall turning all the arrows into burn inflicting projectiles that maybe apply a small debuff damage over time.

In casual play, this may not be a huge deal, but in competitive play, this may or may not become a nightmare unless the combinations provide neat, unique buffs that are not game breaking but very nice.  I am a fan of diversity in games, but too much diversity is begging to be broken.  Just as in RIFT, the system in great, but each new patch with major or minor changes is devastating to the entire balance of the game creating huge shifts in power, but maybe that is their design philosophy.  Allowing players to interact with their environment in this way is amazing, but if left unchecked could do the same thing that RIFT is currently suffering from.  I have the utmost confidence that Arena.Net will not let this go unchecked or come out of the gate unbalanced.  But like the new Guild System, this is either a new and exciting frontier of scary on how it will effect game balance.  In the end, we can only wait and see what happens.  Who knows, maybe the combination system will be a complete waste.  Gotta give them props for at least trying to implement it.

In other news!  Still have not received any submissions for the art contest.  Probably because I am not offering any prizes.  But alas, if you have a talent for art, why not show it off to the Engineer Community who follow this blog?

Send your submissions to Earthenliemusic@gmail.com and put Engineer Art Contest with your name in the subject box.  I plan on there being a new layout come new years to spice this place up a bit.  So stay tuned all you fellow fans!


Battle of Kyhlo, A Review Of

I have never been excited for PvP in any other game than Guild Wars 2.  PvP is wow was interesting, but never really entertaining outside of Arena.  Rift PvP has been very entertaining despite being the same thing as wow minus the Arena system.  And PvP back in Ragnarok Online was schedules for 2 hours twice a week which made it very predictable despite being massive and fun.  Structured PvP in the form of Battle Grounds that you can queue up on the fly as well as participate in weekly tournaments as well as fan based tournaments is a very exciting prospect for me.  The unstructured side of World PvP that works like a PvE server where you choose to participate in it (similar to how wintergrasp works in WoW).
As of right now, there is only one battleground called the Battle of Kyhlo (BK).  BK is a 5v5 King of the hill type game where there are 3 locations on the map that each team has to control to gain points (Arathi Basin and The Codex).  First team to 500 points wins the match.  It is a simple premise overall with the added complexity of a Trebuchet (giant catapult designed to launch objects further, more powerful at the cost of reload speed) and destructible buildings.
The three points on the map are the Clocktower, the Windmill and the Mansion located North, South and Center.  Each of the teams spawn at their bases located on the East and the West sides of the map.  The Windmill and the Mansion are the two mirror points, each of them easily accessible to one of the teams (windmill for red and mansion for blue) and separated from the center section by a ramp that acts like a choke point (cough cough strategy cough).  The Clocktower point is at the center of the map and elevated from the rest of the map.  The only way to get to this point is by using the two ramps  inside of the building that makes this point the hardest to defend or captured based on team composition and strategy.
The point of the map is to hold the points for the longest and the most points.  Holding 2 points will grant you 2 points every 1.5 seconds (this number might change).  Unlike The Codex in Rift, all the points give the same amount of points, so if you hold all 3 points, you get 3 points every 1.5 seconds.  If you hold 1 point, you only get 1 point every 1.5 seconds.  All in all, the basics of this map are very simple.
Trebuchets add the next level of complexity by allowing you to destroy buildings (such as the Clocktower) and assault points.  As of now, Trebuchet fire will only damage opposing teams, meaning that if you sacrifice the single player to man the Trebuchet, you have complete map presence on all points at all times.  However, this means that the game is essentially 4v5 while the Trebuchet is reloading.  Early use of this to expose the Clocktower can make assaulting that single point that much easier and sporadic use of the Trebuchet will make it far less likely to be destroyed by the opposing team.
This map provides nothing new to the PvP world as far as game type goes.  King of the Hill is in all sorts of games from Halo to any major MMO out there.  In fact, the only unique game type I have ever found was a hybrid Capture the Flag, King of the Hill type game in RIFT called Black Garden.  However, despite not being anything new to the PvP world, the game type is very tested and works in every game it has been implemented in.  While definitely not my favorite game type, I do enjoy it when there is a new twist to it.  In RIFT, that twist was the Codex being worth 2 points and the other 3 locations being only worth 1.  Rather than being a flag to capture, the various areas are auras that you just have to stand in.  The more people, the faster the capture.  If the team outnumbers you, they can take your capture right out from under your feet making crowd control, such as knockback and pulling, more crucial than actual damage output.  In addition to that, you are also awarded 1 point for each kill you get for your team.

Where this map differs from the rest is that these types of games revolve around high numbers of people (15 is both WoW and RIFT) while also keeping a small number of people, focusing more on small skirmishes rather than full blow team battles over points.  Smaller numbers means far more strategy is involved.  5v5 Arenas in WoW required a lot of strategy, but 2v2 in WoW was where it got far more complex.  Rather than having a diverse skillset, 2v2 teams had to really think about what was the optimal class combinations.  Some classes did far better than others and that reason was because of the toolsets those classes offered.  In WoW, the more people that were involved, the less actual strategy was employed.  The only strategy in Alteric Valley (the 40v40 map) was the bum rush the opposing teams leader and maybe destroy the other captains if the first attempt at rushing failed.  The strategy involved in 2v2 was careful team balance, perfectly timed purges, counter spells and heals and positioning.  In BK, every assault on a point can be anywhere between a 1v1 to a 5v5.
I really like this map, despite not having actually played on it.  I have always been a fan of small scale PvP (2v2s being my favorite in WoW) because of the amount of preproduction is required to be successful.  Throw in inter-class combos and you have the most complex PvP experience available in any game.  To be successful in this type of environment is to be extremely flexible and have a stable of max level characters at your disposal.  Because of the gear normalization, the only real way to be different is to have a different stat distribution, (hopefully, you will have the ability to reset this so I dont have to have 4 Engineers) you wont have to worry about gearing up all your 80s to be competitive.  The Trebuchet also adds a new level of complexity that really spices up the game.
However, there is one major flaw of small scale combat, particularly when there are no kill requirements.  I have to completely agree with Boon Control when they state that it is dangerous to have an Esport where there is a possibility that nobody will get killed.  If everyone plays conservatively and leaving various capture points when outnumbered or when low on health, then you can still win or lose a match but never die.  You could chase enemies down, but holding points is far more valuable that getting a single kill.  Despite this, I am still very excited for this map and all the possibilities it possesses.
So good job on Arena Net for taking an old game type and freshening it up with a certain quality that makes this exciting to just think about it.  If world PvP and keep combat turns out like this map, then I am very excited for that as well.  My only hopes is for Arena Net to keep producing high quality PvP content without saturating it with more battlegrounds.  One of my big issues with RIFT is that they produce way too much content and makes the game saturated.  So long as Arena Net keeps along with the minimalist approach and producing very high quality content for us to enjoy.

Guild Leaders Nightmare? Or Blessing? The Guild System in Guild Wars 2

The Guild Leaders Nightmare?  Or Blessing?

Arena Net has been making huge waves in the gaming industry with their sequal to their first major success with Guild Wars 2.  The first of these major changes is the excommunication of the Holy Trinity by getting rid of the notion that a game needs to be built around a tank, a healer and a DPS in order to do any type of group activities.  The second is the primary focus of this article, the guild system.  In Guild Wars 2, the guild system is getting a huge make over that essentially disrupts the entire scheme of things.     In a traditional sense, guilds in every mainstream MMO has been 1 guild per character.  If you wanted to join another guild, you either had to make a new character or leave your old guild to join the new one.  In Guild Wars, guild membership was account bound so that you no longer had to worry about someone being online to invite your low level alt into the guild.  But this meant that all of your characters had to be in the same guild, so the only way to change this was to leave the guild and join another one.  So far this news has caused a lot of contention and stirring about in my current guild in which I am the 2nd in command.  One thing is certain and that is the purpose of guilds is to surround yourself with people who you care about, or share a common interest or goal.

Guild Wars 2 is taking a hybridization approach that potentially originated from Final Fantasy XI.  In that game, the guild membership (known as Linkshells) is not restricted to account and only character.  In addition to this, any of your characters can join as many number of guilds as they desire.  This notion of anyone can join any number of guilds has been creating huge stirs in the community.  While most of the speculations and opinions about this system is negative, these view points are the cause of change in the norm.  As most people who play MMOs play World of Warcraft, Rift, Everquest and anything other than Final Fantasy XI (sadly, this game just never picked up for anyone other than the niche group that still plays it), changing is hardly ever welcome.  I find this type of phenomenon quite interesting as being a MMO player, we as a whole should be used to huge changes with hot fixes and major patches that typically uproot any strategy and comfort zone that we find ourselves in.  But, even then, change is the main factor in people rage quitting their game just because the development team decided to nerf their favorite class.

Now, just being able to join any number of guilds is not the reason for people starting to riot in the streets, it is that you can only represent one guild at a time (if you even choose to represent a guild at all).  So, while you can be a member of 50 guilds, you can only represent one of those 50 guilds at any given time and whatever guild you are representing will earn influence points from your activities (a new type of currency that one uses to buy things for their guild, such as bank storage and perks).  I know when I first heard this new, I suddenly became very worried about how the system will take place.  Would this be the end of raiding for semi-casual or semi-hardcore guilds?  What about just trying to do something random?  If all of your membership is busy doing something else with their other guilds, then what is the point of having your own?  From a leadership standpoint, this is a nightmare to overcome.  Most of us are used to having some sort of rigidness in their guild system.  Some type of loot distribution system, a schedule for all the guild events and raids, a series of requirements for raiding or PvPing.  As both a member and a leader, I just became accustomed to this type of system because I wanted to raid and it was something that I just had to deal with.  But in Guild Wars 2, this all changes.  So what does this mean?

The first thing is that this type of system is going to completely require guild leaders to rethink their strategy.  As in other games, a rigid schedule and system of rules was required to keep order and keep players.  However, in this new system, that will only deter people from actually participating.  If you make some type of exclusivity rule in which your members are not allowed to join other guilds, then you might as well count that person out (granted, there should always be a rule to represent the guild you are doing an activity with).  From a leadership standpoint, this means that each guild leader must come up with a new type of system that keeps players wanting to participate in their guild and earn influence for them and not some other people.  Since even the loot system in being revamped to allow everyone to receive a token for boss kills, a loot distribution system is completely moot.  Next up is a type of attendance requirement, well those are great and all, but if it is too rigid then people will just leave.  On the other hand, if it is too light, then they might just never show up.  So do you have an attendance requirement?  The answer is probably, but not a method to keep players active.  Rather than find a means of keeping players, guild leaders are now forced to find ways of creating an atmosphere in which people will find enjoyable to their experience, because if they don’t, then there will be no reason for that player to stay if they can find a similar guild with the same goals, but a better atmosphere.

This leaves us with one last option.  Goals.  Yes, those dastardly little things in which we all strive for at one point in our life or another.  With the multi-guild system that Guild Wars 2 has, it leaves us with only 1 real possibility to keep members interested and that is focused goals.  This is a type of system that destroys super guilds and encourages niche guilds that focus on one type of play style.  Role Players can join a guild of people who only want to role play, and when they are done with that, switch over to their PvP guild and decimate their enemies along side their companions in TWC (WvWvW or Tri-World Combat) or structured PvP.  Others can join a hardcore raiding guild and then switch over to their social guild whenever they no longer feel like or want a break from that type of atmosphere.  People can join a casual PvP guild, a social guild, a hardcore PvP guild, a Raiding guild and a crafting guild with no problems.  Hell, one could even join an LFG guild so that when you want to do a dungeon, you just switch over and find a few other people.  Because of all this, super guilds that do everything no longer have a place and will only decay as people no longer need to spend that type of time or investment into a singular super power.  Instead, we might see a phenomenon that instead of a single super guild but multiple subsidiaries of a single super guild.  Just as guilds are now, they only have one focus.  Ever wonder why the top PvE guilds are also no the top PvP guilds?  Because super guilds can exist, but they take a ton of micromanaging and currently only few exist.  Because you no longer have to have a PvP character and a PvE character to enjoy those aspects with fellow guild mates (which is awesome in so many respects), players will find themselves doing more on less characters (unless of course they love alts) which, for someone like me who hates leveling past the first character, is a god send disguised as a simple premise.

While also being a nightmare, this system is also a hidden blessing that few people actually realize.  Being a niche guild accomplishes something that I wish was not present in guild management, and that is the management of the guild.  Single guild systems tend to have this icky side effect of becoming another job in addition to being in a game.  And depending on the schedule, being a guild leader can be a full time job on top of your full time job on top of your full time job as a raider in a progression guild.  As only a 2nd in command, this has a nasty tendency to devour my free time and isn’t necessarily the most fun.  It is, however, very rewarding when things go very well.  In my days of RIFT, I have been a prominent officer of 2 guilds, one was Sweet Memories and my current one is Steel Dawn.  In Sweet Memories, there was a lot of side work to being an officer on top of my duties as the guild website moderator.  The guild ran very much like a business except you never really got a break from it unless you didn’t show up.  I set up the raiding schedule, ran the raids and did a good chunk of working out a system for the raids.  However, when all that work was done and the first raid we did was a success (player base was very much lacking in skill here) and I felt rewarded for all of my efforts because we had a good time.  Or, at least I did and considering there were more people that had shown up for the next one, I take it that people liked what happened.  However, that guild took a turn for the worse after a messy mishap with the co-guild leader and it somehow turning from a semi-casual guild to a totalitarian hardcore guild that never got anywhere.  That is when I left and joined up with Steel Dawn.  That story does have a point and that point is that this new system will no longer require that much work and time investment into the guild anymore.  Because the player base can be as fickle and flakey as they want, guilds have to only come up with a type of niche that they can fill and then continue to fill it.  So no more codes of conduct, no more guild constitutions, no more paperwork!  Now even the guild leadership can have fun in a game!

This type of system also makes recruiting significantly easier as players can now “try out” guilds as they please without leaving the comforts of their current one.  In the real world, Googles first phone, The Nexus One, did horribly in sales despite it actually being a very good phone.  The reason for this is that Google only sold the phone online.  In a world where you can go into any electronics store and pick up one of hundreds of different smart phones that all offer different things, people want to touch their phone, feel the weight, see what it is capable of.  Only selling the phone online caused its customers to be very set on their decision to buy a phone they have never even seen in person and all potential customers were driven away because they could just go play with a different phone and be more certain then that of a website.  If you are in a PvP guild and want to try out a raiding guild, then now you can without leaving your PvP guild.  Then if you do like raiding, you are now a member of two guilds that offer two very different types of activities.  Or if you don’t like the raider life style, then you can quit the guild without ever having to ask one of your friends to let you back into the house in fear that they will never be home.

In continuation of this, guilds now have to decide what type of guild they want to be in order to maximize their potential in the niche.  Is this guild going to be a PvP guild, a TWC guild, a Structured PvP guild, a PvE guild based around exploration, a Crafting guild, a social guild?  Even a specific type of role playing guild based around the premise that you are dark and shadowy organization akin to the Templars or Illuminati?  In fact, all of the “paperwork” only really comes from the founding of the guild in the first place.  As the key to success in this type of system is providing a unique niche, I can potentially see that there will be fewer goal oriented guilds and more splinter guilds of groups of people who want to avoid the friends list all together, with the bonus of not having to leave your current guild.  Or if you want to PvP but do not want to do it outside of a group, then you just switch your guild and find some people in your PvP guild.

In the sense of loyalty, guilds now have to find incentives to keep people interested in their system outside of creating a nice atmosphere.  In a free system like this, people will always favor their friends over a potential conglomerate that major guilds appear as.  Because of this, many major guilds might find themselves lacking in the influence department as a chunk of their people are not even really participating by representing their guild while doing activities.  This causes a minor problem, but a problem none the less.  As nobody joins a guild because they want to be loyal to some unseen force who guides their every mover from that point on.  Guilds have to offer something that others do not have.  In the case of progression guilds, it is fame, new gear and new victories.  In PvP, it is partnership and dominance over the PvP world.  In this system, you can represent that PvP guild when you want to PvP with those people or raid when you want to raid with the other people.  Instead you can now participate with your friends and even if they don’t have any real credentials of interest in that area of the game, you can still be a member of those guilds.  The issue lies here is that the guilds who focus on PvE or PvP will have less members (especially in the early days) gaining influence for that guild and thus, we will find a lot of guilds being under leveled.  What this causes is an unfortunate side effect that social guilds might actually offer more perks than your PvE or PvP minded guild.  This also means that guilds focused on PvP or PvE now have to prioritize where they put their influence and means they might have to sacrifice leveling perks for better ones in the future.  But the good news to this is that guilds are no longer money sinks, so you no longer have to sacrifice your own personal gain for the betterment of the guild as influence can be gained by doing just about anything.

Now, say you are in a guild that is interested in raiding but lack the membership.  However, nobody really wants to join another guild just to raid because they like to, but it is not their main focus.  Since guild mergers never go well, this system allows a better means to doing inter-guild activities.  Now the two guilds can join a single guild and raid under that one single banner but still maintain their own guilds without the worry of any type of random power struggle that always happens involving guild mergers.  Or if you and a few other PvP guilds want to join forces during TWC to hold a keep, well, now you two can while still maintaining their own PvP guilds and continue to be rivals during casual and constructed PvP.  How about guild drama, nobody likes it, but when dealing with people it is inevitable.  Well, now if you have multiple guilds, guild drama will no longer be a reason to quit a game.  I know after the Sweet Memories incident, RIFT lost a lot of the interest in the game for me.  This type of situation can not be unique to me and I am sure that other people have had this problem before, even if they just switch servers.  If you want some privacy but dont wish to play an alt, well now you can represent another guild or not represent them at all.  Essentially becoming invisible to the masses as you no longer appear online on the roster until you represent that guild again.

The last bit to cover in this section is upkeep.  Because of this system, people will come and go.  They will join your guild and a week later, join another one because they like that one better and never represent your guild again (as when you do not represent that guild, you are not considered online for that guild).  This creates a lot of dead weight within the roster.  As in current MMOs, most people who dislike the game just quit and you have to remove them.  But players don’t leave their characters in your guild and then join another one.  Because of this, it is imperative that instead of an attendance rule, come up with a system that basically states that if you don’t show up in X amount of time with no reason as to why you have not shown back up, then I assume you quit and kicking you from the guild.  Unless Arena Net implements some type of inter-guild chat system, then I can see this really only being a nuisance rather than an actual problem with the system.  Because of this, guild leaders should also come up with some sort of cap on how many accounts they let into the guild, thus making the guild much easier to manage with a smaller number of people within the guild itself.  This also means that guild leaders should be far more cautious about who they let into their guild.  If they just let anyone into their guild, then they will always end up with tons of dead weight as people will represent another guild and never represent yours without actually leaving the guild.  Also to be far more understanding that because of this system, people will most likely favor their own social circles rather than your guild.  So kicking people out willy nilly will not get you anywhere in guild membership.

It is very possible that what Arena Net is doing is turning guilds from clubs to a social networking site.  If this is the case, then this system is brilliant.  By doing this, they streamlined chat, allows for more dynamic guild structures and basically revamped a very broken system into something that works very well.  With tons of splinter guilds and keeps in TWC, it is also possible that Arena Net is trying to develop a sort of server unity rather than a guild unity.  By being a member of multiple guilds, you no longer have a sense that you are who you are because of your guild, but rather you are who you are because of which server you reside on.  Most people will not be social butterflies and join 50 guilds, 2 or 3 depending on what they are interested in.  I know I am interested in a PvP guild an PvE guild and some type of hardcore PvP guild designed around tournament play.  But by being a member of all of those guilds, I know I will feel more apart of whichever server I play on (so calling Zhaitan or one of the Elder Dragons).  But all in all, this is a great system and I am significantly glad to see this type of change to the rigid systems of the past.  It is about time we get something different out of MMOs and Guild Wars 2 is hopefully what will be delivering that to us.  Lets just hope that there is free chat services to go with it for even further guild connections.