Starter Guilds is something Toril has needed for a long time. Though NHC and the Helper system continues to be a beneficial system for aiding new players with their initial questions, it's just one of many support systems that new players need to be successful. One of the worst parts about being new to a game like this is the feeling of being alone and the difficulty in making new friends to enjoy the game with. To help with this problem, we are introducing what we call a Starter Guild.
The Starter Guild is essentially an association for new players. When you create a new character you are automatically added to the guild. There is no leader or officers and many of the standard guild commands are disabled. New players get an unchangeable title, access to ACC, and their assoc screen displays who is online and what zone they are in. The idea is that this will help facilitate new players setting up groups and assisting one another, while creating social bonds that can last throughout their time here. The guild itself will be in the form of a Forgotten Realms mercenary company. There are no member limits to this guild, and you can even rejoin it if you secede. There are also no level limits - you can stay with this guild until level 50 if you so desire, and rejoin at any time up to a certain level that has yet to be determined.
Of course, this raises some problems about guild management and leadership. The obvious answer is to install some experienced players into the guild, but asking them to give up their own guilds is a little much to ask. Therefore, we've created the Adviser system, whereby a player can be a member of one guild, and an adviser to another. Advisers can chat on both their own ACC and their adviser guild's ACC (they appear as two separate channels) and are clearly identified to members of the starter guild both in their ACC communication and on the member list. Advisers will be a special form of helper that work directly with the Starter Guild and fill maintenance and leadership roles for the guild - such as kicking out abusive members, organizing events, putting tips in the MOTD, ec, in addition to just answering questions on ACC. We are also looking into allowing Advisers some form of access to Scardale, so that they can directly assist the members of the Starter Guild. We have not yet determined how Advisers will be selected, look for a forthcoming post from Shar on that subject.
I feel that this system will help new players meet people, organize groups, and get their questions answered while complementing the current Helper system. Anything that we can do to help new players feel welcome and empowered is a step in the right direction. The code for this is complete and is currently undergoing testing, so you can look for implementation sometime after the Thanksgiving holiday. That said, nothing is set in stone as of yet, and if you have questions, ideas, or concerns about this please feel free to post in the comments thread and let me know.
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Shevarash -- Code Forger of TorilMUD
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