Update (2/2010): MOUL (Myst Online Uru Live) closed in 2008. It reopened in February 2010 as a free to play MMORPG named MOULagain. To play visit: Download MOULagain
Original Article: In recent posts on the MOUL forum the idea of ‘improving the guilds’ came up, again. In the forum there are great ideas and plans and not a few sour grapes from those having tried such changes in the past. But the basic understanding of Myst-Uru world guilds seems to be missing. To understand one viewpoint, mine, for why some of these efforts at change fail, read on.
Cyan’s creation of the guilds is spoken of often in the forums, as is their encouragement of the guilds. I think these statements often create confusion around the IC guilds (In Character or in Uru; In Cavern – both are a role playing concept) spoken of by IC characters and Cyan. Cyan has written about their plans for in-game guilds, which adds to the confusion. Plus, there are the historic guilds of the old D’ni culture adding more confusion. So, at least three types of guilds.
There are the OOC guilds (Out Of Character or Cavern – role players dropping their character role to deal with tasks in RL mode outside the game), which fans created. They are not the same idea as the IC guilds in-game. Fans imitated the story’s IC guilds and formed clubs, which they chose to call guilds. If this division were clear and pure, it would be easier to keep them straight when people talk. It isn’t and it is not. There is considerable overlap in IC and OOC guilds.
Myst-Uru had an ARG aspect (Alternate Reality Game). Cyan dropped that aspect when it became beyond their ability to execute the ARG aspects at the level and quality they wanted. For a short time there were actually RL buried artifacts that were part of the game.
The ARG aspect and IC only forums paralleled with OOC forums and mixed IC & OOC forums (Uru Obsession) plus IC only blog rings all contribute to a confusing mix of information about guilds. Even when Cyan was active new players had little chance of sorting out what was happening. As the game story was about a current day event happening in our world somewhere in New Mexico and some players were excellent at writing a synthesis of game as an IC story using RL events, many were left wondering who had lost track of reality and who knew they were playing a game… or were they?
Cyan was seldom explicitly clear about which guilds they were speaking, i.e., historic, IC, or OOC. They may have been deliberately avoiding clarity as an aspect of the ARG aspects or may be it was just omitted because it wasn’t clear in their minds.
The duality of in-game guilds and the need for aspects of both IC and OOC is evident in one interview where Rand spoke of using guilds to add a sort of leveling (my term) to the game and in-game training, which denotes IC guilds. He was clear in that Cyan would start them off and eventually turn them over to fans, thus the idea Cyan created guilds. He did acknowledge the fan created concept of a Guild of …I’ll call it… D’ni Religion (GoDR). He says he was planning to use those fans in a guild in-game as their direction matched what he wanted to accomplish. The GoDR had clear IC and OOC tasks.
Out of game the mix of IC and OOC gets really confusing. Those that want to change guilds, in their minds improve them and then mix up the IC/OOC guilds… well they usually fail.
More in Part II tomorrow. See: Myst-Uru Guilds IC and OOC Part-II