Fellowship recruitment discussion

Dear People who cannot wait to play this awesome game,

I have recently started thinking about gathering people for a fellowship (or guild I guess), so we can find active people for parties and stuff. Many of the multiplayer games have I suffered from not being able to find partners or so for playing and I really would like to give it a real try on this one. This post is about seeing how many of you would be interested in such a thing.

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this is cool but i don’t want to see zerg guilds in orbus with 100+ppl like other mmorpgs there should be a fellowship member limit. i like the idea of fellowships coming together to take down a world boss. i dont want to see a large guild camping a boss.

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Just out of curiosity, what would be the focus on your fellowship? Would it just be a social place for people to meet up and tackle group content? I don’t know what the plan is for fellowship membership, but I would really like to be able to belong to more than one fellowship at a time to allow for more specialized groups. I think it would be cool to be able to have a Fishing Guild and a Mages Guild and be able to be a member in each of them.

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It’s too early for me to think about joining or forming a fellowship, but I’m all for discussion of the topic. Since, as far as I can tell, we know nothing about them except that they will exist as something “like a guild in other games,” the opportunities for speculation are nearly limitless.

Well, we do know one more thing: it takes a Fellowship Certificate to make one. And at launch, 150+ people will have Certificates as Kickstarter rewards. By a conservative estimate, then, we’re likely to see dozens of fellowships form almost immediately.

But to what end? What is a fellowship, exactly? What are they good for? What are their limits? How do they fit into the game and how might we, the players, best use them to enjoy the game more?

Most MMOs bestow mechanical advantages on guild members. XP buffs, a shared inventory, discounted crafting facilities, etc. These bonuses scale (up to a point) with the number of members in the guild - having more members means more people contributing to the resource pool, means triggering bigger rewards, faster. This design can be an effective way to bring people together, focused on a common goal, but too often it seems to reduce guilds from vital social structures filled with imagination and nuance to just one more avenue for min/maxing a character. What do you think? Should fellowships provide mechanical advantages to their members, or should they exist primarily as social organizations?

This could easily turn into a marathon post, so I’ll wrap it up here with a few more general questions.

  • Do you think there will be/do you want to see class/discipline-centered fellowships? (“Mage’s Guild,” “Warrior’s Guild,” “Alchemist’s Guild,” etc.)
  • Do you want fellowships organized around playstyle - casual, hardcore, roleplay, etc?
  • Do you anticipate fellowships organizing around functional social roles, e.g., merchant fellowships, bandit fellowships, bounty hunter fellowships?
  • Do you think there will be crazy fellowship drama? (I’m pretty curious about this last one. There’s always guild drama in MMOs, but VR makes everything so much more personal, real, in-your-face. It’s not hard to imagine things getting out of control, right?)

I have a lot of confidence in Riley and his team to come up with smart, well-considered and fun answers to these questions (and a bunch I haven’t thought of yet.) But until they tell us what those are, what sounds good to you? :man_with_turban:

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@Demon I would not worry about such a thing. The game is really difficult to tackle alone even with a fellowship so it would be best if we worked together with the “local” people to tackle world bosses (that is also the intention of Riley from what I can see).

@Jonathan_S Very good question I did not plan on any focus for it, besides being a place where you will have friends who you can easily convince to do any group content. As Riley said going into the wilderness alone to gather resources is risky, and gathering a new group for ANY kind of group content sounds like a hassle unless you got a trustworthy group who you know to always to have a few members joining.
I think “specialised” guilds will be a thing just based on natural selection, people who like fishing and do not want to go alone on these journeys will likely gather in a group for convenience (fellowship).

@Zardulu I might say fellowship but honestly I do not see it coming until at least Beta at some point, so for now I would like to see what peoples thoughts are on that.

I do not think we will see dozens of fellowships. What will happen (in my opinion) is that there will be a few large gatherings of people forming big fellowships. And a dozen other small fellowships 2-5 people made up of small circle of friends.

I do believe the biggest advantage of a guild is the ability to instantly have party members for any group content. I do not think the guild system will be overly complicated, nor do I think it needs to be. Guilds, originally in game were just social structures where likeminded people can tackle content, while talking about what happened to them that day, what items or secret places they found etc… If you meet with random people for a team you might get to know a little about them, then you and they also go on their way most likely.
Mechanical benefits from joining a guild? I do not think this is a good idea. Tt could mean that the only reason you are joining a guild is for the benefits of +xp to level your character, while still tackling content alone or with friends. Those who join should join for the sense of community and benefits of having lots of “people they know (friends?)”.

General questions
-Yes I definitely see it coming in the lower numbered fellowships. Fellowships with large numbers will have enough people from all branches to accomodate niche personalities anyway with the prospect of being able to mix it up (with other people from the guild).
-A good fellowship should be able to accomodate most playstyles and mixing up it is the essence of having fun. Obviously we can put together some “elite” team who wants to tackle the hardest of hard content “group banditry” “boss fights” but besides that I do not see the difference between casual and hardcore players. But these people will naturally be attracted to each other and wil form these teams themselves.
-Besides the bandit fellowship I do not see any reason to go with merchant or bounty hunter fellowships, since the content is just not large enough to accomodate. These two will be done as a kind of “lets try something else for fun”. Now banditry is hardcore and I can imagine that solo bandits will have a hard time especially with the teleportation system. So organisation of hunting parties with trustworthy members will be important. This kind of fellowship will possibly gather the most hardcore of players.
-God I hope not, we are all adults here so I do not see it becoming a problem. Also a lot of drama stems from some faulty system in the fellowship (loot distribution unfair, disadvantaging certian member “classes”, harassment of players with low skill levels). My ideal community would have zero tolerance for harassment and discrimination of any kind, such people will be very quickly taken care of.

Riley seems to have his wits together, a lot of the design choices speak about his experience of working with communities. I do believe in their vision as it seems to go beyond simple game mechanics and content. The only answer they can possibly give is to give players the “tools” to be able to tackle the other problems (muting people who are hating on you etc).

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Good points all around. The social aspect is the most unpredictable and maybe the most exciting to me. The behavior of players in other MMOs is informative, but I think VR puts us in truly uncharted territory.

A short anecdote from the last test. It was a minor thing, over quickly, and I don’t regard anyone as having been at fault (all the same, I won’t mention names.) I was standing near the dungeon entrance. A nearby group was preparing to enter. Due to a technical glitch, they needed to disband briefly and then regroup. While disbanded, the organizer noticed me and asked if I wanted to join them. They had already been at the group limit of five, but I think seeing that I was a level 8 mage, and their previous mage was only level 6, he decided to add me to the group instead of the previous member.

I don’t want to exaggerate what followed; it wasn’t really a big deal for anyone involved. But once he realized what had happened, the previous mage said he wasn’t happy about it. Then, a few minutes later, when due to another glitch our party was again disbanding and regrouping, we found ourselves short a member. The organizer tried to reenlist the first mage, who this time made it clear in somewhat rough (not to say abusive) language that after how he’d just been mistreated, there’s no way he’d consider rejoining us.

During all of this, I was silent. I turned my body away from them a little, I put my gaze on the ground a few feet off. I was uncomfortable and felt a little guilty and embarrassed about the whole thing. I reacted both physically and emotionally as I would have if this same scenario had played out in my real life.

And why shouldn’t I? The grass is fake, the sky is fake, the swords are fake and so are the monsters. But the people are real. What we say and how we treat each other, that’s all real. And while this is obviously not a novel thing unique to Orbus, the sense of presence, of physical proximity, hearing the feeling in people’s voices, having a sense of being stuck in the situation with them, I would call that genuinely new.

Well, I’m sure some people will think I’m the one being dramatic here, maybe that I’m oversensitive or exaggerating things – maybe so. I’m certainly not hoping that we’ll find ourselves cast in a JRR Tolkien-themed soap opera. In fact, I’m optimistic that once people get adjusted to it, they’ll find themselves taking more trouble to treat others well than they might in a traditional mmo. I hope the effect of VR presence will be to make us more sympathetic to the feelings of the people inside the characters. But yes, I also think that when, inevitably, there is some disagreement, when some arrangement goes sour, when competition puts two people at odds over something they’ve at least momentarily decided they care about, there will be an intensity to the interpersonal experience that will take many by surprise. :man_with_turban:

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Such things are inevitable until people find out that you cannot treat people the same way as you do on a 1million population mmo. The person who made was organizing the party had a responsibility for it, this is probably a good lesson for him. I do believe that people can start to learn to behave like in a social environment rather than in an online gaming community (since this one is actually different).
I guess however that it all depends on us, can we make it peaceful. In the case of that person, can we make him realize his mistake and somehow apologise for it? We will see, and try our best.

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Social
I agree that this is probably the most important function of a fellowship – providing a place for like-minded individuals to get together to participate in game events, discuss game and possibly real life issues, enjoy the comradery, meet new people, and form new friendships. I think that some form of drama is inevitable and, unfortunately, I think there are enough examples of people still using the anonymity of the internet to their advantage (the QuiVR harassment incident, for an extreme example) that hoping the more personal experience VR creates will improve conduct is just wishful thinking. I think the pressure lands on leadership more than ever to oversee the social interactions among their members and come up with ways of reporting and disciplining improper behaviors.

Mechanical
I think it would probably be best to avoid having fellowships provide mechanical benefits. When you start providing benefits that scale with the size of the group you start to run into the “cesspool” guild issue where everyone is just there for the individual benefits without appreciating the social aspect. Perhaps you could instead focus on quality of life improvements like a fellowship hall where members can gather and discuss, a trading board within the hall, a training ground where people can spar and share combat tips, anything that might focus more on enhancing socialization.

Size
I think that, even though we will launch with 200+ (by my last epic founder count) Fellowship Certificates in the game we will probably only see a couple dozen of those formed. I know that my group of 5 will probably form our own fellowship and outside of that we may not seek to add many players unless the fellowship structure demands it. If there are features or benefits that are only available to larger fellowships we may have to rethink our strategy.

Class/Discipline/Functional Centered
I really like this idea and I think that eliminating fellowship exclusivity would go a long way in allowing these sort of structures to succeed and allowing for more socialization among the players. I know that personally I’m interested in fishing, enhancing my abilities as a mage, exploration, and progressing through any end game PvE content. If I were able to join a fellowship dedicated to each of those that I could contribute to without having to leave and rejoin as my focus shifted that would be ideal. Maybe, if we ended up getting a fellowship hall, certain quality of life improvements could be prioritized for the discipline or class the fellowship was formed for. Such as a lake behind the Fisherman’s Fellowship that could be stocked with different fish species, a once/day use portal to a key location within the game at the Mage’s Guild, etc.

Just my two cents. I do enjoy the ideas and discussion about what these fellowships could be.

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A lot of really great points. I had forgotten about that QuiVR incident – it’s an unfortunate example of what can go wrong and one that developers of social VR experiences should take to heart. I remain optimistic that Orbus will see less of this, though, due to the long-term, persistent quality of player identity. QuiVR is basically an arcade game where players are functionally anonymous; in Orbus, on the other hand, establishing your identity and building relationships is a big part of the fun. So maybe people will think twice about acting out their most obnoxious impulses?

Still, you’re absolutely right that hoping is not sufficient and that there need to be tools for reporting behavior and a material commitment from developers to maintaining a respectful community.

Now, a few more thoughts on Fellowships…

NPC Guilds
The Explorer’s League stretch goal was reached - awesome. The description of the League makes it sound a lot like an NPC-run guild to me. Makes me wonder if we won’t end up seeing an NPC faction/guild for each class by the time we hit release - a place to learn new skills, maybe pick up some quests, in addition to the kind of unique specifics that you mentioned (a lake for the fishermen, portal for the mages, etc.) It’s a pretty stock feature of RPGs and MMOs, so it would almost be more surprising if we don’t see this. Which is all to say that player-run class/craft-based guilds may be redundant and the best bet all-around is to seek out a well-rounded guild where you can more easily assemble a functional party (and have fun with friends.)

Trading Companies, Bounty Hunters and the Black Market
That said, I think there may be still be some interesting edge cases, opportunities for fellowships with a more specific purpose to form. I think these could give the world a lot of color, so I’m hoping we see things like…

  • Market stalls will be available for rent in towns. While all players will be able to engage in trading with each other, the stalls let you establish a store which functions even when the owner is offline. Both the cost of renting a stall and the burden of keeping it well-stocked may be prohibitive. I imagine we’ll see fellowships working like trading companies, maybe even forming for this express purpose. The members split the cost of the stall, split the cost of hiring bodyguards during long gathering missions in the dangerous Wilds, and of course split the profits from the stall. What the punishment for embezzlement might be is a matter for speculation…

  • I’m super curious to see how banditry works out in practice. Won’t bandits become, well, pariahs? Mechanically, I understand that bounties wear off over time, so NPC guards will eventually forgive your crimes… but will the players? Don’t get me wrong, I can grin and chuckle along with a player who decides to take the risk of playing the outlaw. But at the same time, if you ambush me in the Wilds and take some valuable items I worked hard to find, I’m probably not going to be happy to see you sporting some shiny new armor in town later that day. In fact, if you have you a reputation for being a bandit (and in a community this small, I have to assume word will get around), I’m probably not going to want to trade with you. I wouldn’t feel right buying “hot” merchandise from a known thief. An enterprising bandit would be well-served by a merchant friend or two who’s willing to buy high quality goods at reasonable prices without asking too many prying questions. A fellowship which can combine all these operations into a single, efficient organization, one built on mutual understanding, respect and discretion, could be very profitable indeed. Hey look, we’ve invented the mafia!

  • If the NPC guards will forgive murder and theft with just a little patience, victims are going to need other avenues for justice. Players with strong fellowships backing them can try to round up a posse back at headquarters; however, smart bandits are informed bandits, and they’re likely to avoid players with strong fellowships. It would be more practical if there was a single, central group you knew you could count on, someone specialized at organizing hunting parties to take down bandits (for a fair price, of course.) Probably a good place to hire bodyguards, too. Of course, if such an organization wanted to, they could, once their reputation has been established, covertly run a banditry operation with the potential to corner the market on villainy – but that’s pretty far-fetched.

Does this stuff sound plausible to you all, or am I letting my imagination run away with me? :man_with_turban:

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