In a week of discussing guilds, it would be amiss to imply that everyone would have one and only one guild at a time. Certainly if you play more than one MMO, you could easily be in more than one guild. And because of the way raid guilds work in WoW, it’s not too awkward to be raiding in more than one guild at the same time on different alts – assuming you want to play a lot and the guilds have compatible schedules.
Raiding in multiple guilds is really an option for the hardcore only. Whether it’s better to raid for four nights a week in one guild or two nights a week in two different guilds is mostly academic for more casual players. I also suspect this will be increasingly popular in Cataclysm with the more restrictive raid locks (i.e. less raid content for any single guild to tackle in a week since they can’t do 10 mans as well as 25s).
What does it mean for raid guilds though? Well, for a start, you can’t be sure how many other servers or guilds any of your raiders are also playing in. Usually it won’t matter – you’ll have your fixed raid schedule and you assume that people who sign up are able to make it. If they can’t then you boot them and find someone else. But what you can’t assume (as a guild officer) is that every member of your raid considers it to be their primary obligation, even in that MMO. This is one of the reasons why Cataclysm will shake things up, even for people who don’t expect it. You may think you are in a tight knit raid guild right now, but how many of those raiders will decide that actually they’d rather focus on a different alt on a different server when the expansion hits?
This is a big change from both vanilla raiding and from the older MMO era. Back then, you joined a guild and then that became your primary in game focus. Sure, there would have been a few people even then who found time somehow to keep multiple guilds on multiple characters but usually one guild would be aware of having the alt.
I do feel that this can put officers in an awkward situation. Running a guild, any kind of successful guild, is a commitment. A tight knit well organised raid guild can take a lot of time and energy from the officer players. And when the rest of the gang is obviously less committed (due to running several alts in several other guilds) it can be hard to justify the effort involved in organising.
When I’ve been in different guilds in WoW at the same time, it was usually because of having characters on different servers. And some of them would be more social guilds that I joined just because I felt lonely on a new server with no one to talk to, or because I wanted to RP or do something else that was compatible with my raid schedule. Joining a PvP guild as well as a PvE guild would accomplish the same thing. And I think this is key – joining guilds which have different but compatible goals in game can be a huge benefit for players. It’s just a case of being able to fulfil any guild obligations without burning out completely. Or in other words, multiple guilds is a way for players to get around WoW’s restriction that one character can only be in one guild. You just roll lots of alts and do different things on each one, if that’s your aim.
I’ve also been in guilds in multiple games at the same time, but again, the more social ones would have been fine with low attendance. In LOTRO, the guild I am in is remarkably laid back. I think they understand that, especially with lifetime subscriptions, people come and go.
Are you in multiple guilds at the same time? And if you are an officer, how do you feel about guild members who do that? Or would you rather commit — heart and soul — to a single guild?