In World of Warcraft, most players assume that everyone they meet have played the game long enough to know what they are doing and most guilds don’t recruit newbies or help them adjust to the life in Azeroth. Not all that strange, considering how easy it is to level up and how basic the crafting professions are. In EVE Online, most corps are jaded and paranoid and except for corporations like EVE University and Agony Unleashed, there isn’t all that much help for the new players. Most corps do offer stuff like free T1 frigates and cheap modules, but that doesn’t go very far to explain how the complex game actually works.
In smaller MMOs, new players are usually seen as an asset. Old players want new players to keep the game alive, to keep subs up and their game running – especially in games that’s not as competative as EVE. One good way of doing that is to help the newbies to become a part of the community as fast as possible. I didn’t see it happen in Chronicles of Spellborn, probably because the community was too small and everyone around me were as new as me, but in games like Everquest II and Ryzom it has been much more noticeable. The community in Ryzom can be extremely helpful, I’ve had strangers offer to follow me around as healers when I level and asking a question in the Universe chat usually nets you a quick and friendly reply.
Me and my trusty mektoub packer.
Which brings me to my problem. When I reached Pyr on the mainland of Atys in Ryzom (more on that in a later post), I soon met another player that invited me to his guild. All of the sudden I found myself showered with gifts. One of my new guildies gave me a whole set of light armor for magic and foraging, the guy who had invited me handed over 200k dappers (the currency in Ryzom) so I could buy my own mektoub packer to use as a makeshift bank. When I tried telling them that it wasn’t necessary, that I mostly wanted some company and a guild to help out, I only got “you are a guildie, we share” as a reply.
Now, that’s a great idea. In a game as focused on teamwork and resource gathering as Ryzom, of course you help each other out. Having guild members share their resources and crafted items helps everyone, not only the new recruit. But for me, it also causes a problem. I had been a member of the guild for five minutes when receiving the light armor mentioned above, ten minutes when I bought my mektoub. How would I be able to know, at that point, that this was the right guild for me? A lot of guilds in other games have some form of trial period where the new member can see if this is the right place for him/her while the guild decide if the player is fit to be a part of their community.
I logged into Ryzom a couple of minutes ago. I had no intention of doing anything, I was just hoping to hang out a bit in guild and Universe chat. Universe is filled with people. but I am completely alone in guild – the roster says that we have 142 members, but none of them are online. And I have no idea if that number is actually correct, since it could be alts or players that never returned to Ryzom after it was cancelled. If I am going to stick around in the game, I’ll need an active guild with a lot of active players, preferably in my time zone. As it stands right now, I’ve seen at most three players (including me) online at the same time – and that’s during European prime time.
In other words, I am considering leaving this guild and see if I can find another home. The problem I have is the gifts I received. Even though I could return the armor (there’s no soulbound equipment in Ryzom), there’s no way I could pay back those 200k dappers. My wallet says 26k, at most I’ve had 50k that I spent on new armor and weapons. Leaving without sharing anything back would feel like “ninjaing” the stuff given me. Kinda like nabbing some epic loot, saying “kk thxz baiii”, /gquitting and logging out in the middle of a raid in World of Warcraft.
Perhaps this is a non-issue, perhaps it’s just my upbringing in the real world (I have a hard time accepting gifts out of the blue like that) that influences how I live in a virtual one. In WoW, I’ve hardly ever touched the guild banks of the guilds I’ve been a member of (even now, when I’m the guild leader I almost never go near it) and the most expensive thing I’ve taken out of a corp hangar in EVE was some Antimatter S-charges before heading out on a roaming war target hunt. In the end, no matter if I am over-analyzing this or not, I am still hopelessly torn about what to do next.