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TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.
7,231 backers pledged $293,184 to help bring this project to life.

Guilds, Cabals, Societies, Conspiracies, and Other Fun Things

Posted by Nerd Kingdom (Creator)

In many multiplayer games, we are accustomed to creating clans or guilds, or we’re forced into factions in artificial and, in many cases, meaningless ways. I personally have grown weary of the “JOIN MY GUILD” spams in my frequent online stomping grounds. So where does this come from? Why do these things have no meaning? And more than that, why does it feel like most of these groups are nothing more than large chat rooms?

Generally speaking, it comes from the source of the organization of the group. Certainly, there are epic FPS clans, or progressive raiding or PVP guilds, or even those that we create online in forums to join our private servers for some blocky action. But with so many others, why are they created? We could get DEEP into the human impulses of societal structures, and socio-progressive interactions in the real world that map into virtual worlds... but that would likely bore you to bits. The short of it is, if we do not put meaning behind how or why something is created... in effect, it becomes meaningless.

So what does that mean to you? For one, it means you won’t be running around collecting ten signatures just so you can have a <floaty name> over your head and a green-text chat channel nobody uses.

What you WILL be doing, though, are things like deciding how to identify each other -- will you have uniforms, use specially forged weapons, cast special magics, or remember secret passwords? Will you all gather nightly at the local tavern, or will you found an entire village to support your group’s activities? Will you greet each other openly in the streets, or will you meet only when the moon is dark at a secret glade in the deep forest? All of those answers will depend on who you all are and what you want to achieve, and all of those will be important to you as your group strives to achieve their goals -- no matter what those goals are!

So while guilds as they exist in traditional online games don’t occur in The Untitled Game, you will have opportunities to found great nations, forge powerful alliances, form deadly mercenary companies, establish ruthless secret cabals, and build entire civilizations based on the values of each community. We don’t want you to run around looking for signatures -- we want you to build a civilization together and identify your values as those communities, and to take on the perils of your environment together.

With no artificial restrictions on guilds, or groups, we allow play to happen organically -- and for your groups to form FROM your play, whether you’re pillaging, hunting, exploring, farming, or developing the next great civilization DEDICATED to discovering the world’s mysteries through experimentation and society.

We will touch on this more in a later update, but for those that are open to a world of competition and the challenge of the environment, the civilizations you build may be at risk -- if not by the forces of the world, then perhaps by other civilizations looking to harvest the resources that drive your economies. Some of you may openly trade, while others may move to lure out and manipulate other civilizations. Wandering players may decide they’re available for hire, and you may bring them on to help protect against threats coming from the darkness, especially when that darkness is another player. Of course, for all you know, they may be honest mercenaries, or crafty enemy spies -- but you’ll have to play smart to find out for sure before it’s too late!

And because of all this, what you build, who you play with, and what you do with those groups will mean a lot more than you think it will. The civilizations you create may entice not just players, but other powerful entities to take up residence. The spoils of war and conquest may bolster the power of your clans. Those practicing forbidden arts within your towns may inadvertently hurt those around them. Perhaps even the rituals you practice as a faction will give you favor in the eyes of those that inhabit the world.

So in closing, though we won’t have <floaty names> for your secret societies, autonomous collectives, or trade guilds, we don’t think you’ll miss them -- because you’ll have a lot more meaningful and organic ways to identify your groups! What will you build your civilization around? What will define your goals for play or conquest? Let us know in the comments below!  




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    1. Missing avatar

      Nathan Scutt on

      I like the idea of a guild with no real charter or immediate admin system (unless invented, no doubt there something in TUG for that!). it means it takes more effort to be a part of a guild or group and you will probably care for it more. too many times have I been a part of a guild and it's ended up just being a name above my characters head, with about a hundred inactive members. this is a solid way of making a guild a real team effort!

    2. Trond Ivar Hansen on

      Some rambling:

      In the real world we are consciously part of multiple groups, like workplace, professional groups, hobby groups, religious groups, army etc. Although it still seems unclear to me how exactly TUG plans to reward long-term grouping, I do find it interesting that the TUG model seems to support actively being part of multiple groups, with diverse focuses. (Or am assuming to much?)

      It's clear that communities in games gives lots of rewards to the people participating, and many of those are not mechanically measurable by the game. Things like shared knowledge, the feeling of being acknowledged for whatever you contribute (or better: For just being you), the friendship, the joy of helping and being helped, the safety and love.

      Personally I wish there was a way those "soft" rewards could be incorporated into the mechanics of modern games. I don't know how though - I guess the closest we get today is reputation systems. It's hard to pull off, but done right I think it could ideally solve many of the issues with grieving in games - both for the grieved and the griever. (Yes, grieving is OK as long as players learn it may occur, and as long as the consequences aren't to dire). With a sufficiently bad reputation the griever actually benefits - he/she would appear more intimidating. This may also open ups mechanics like wearing disguises.

    3. Lorenzo Gaetani on

      another good idea, but how would you fit guilds in the game? there are games with guild-only event. I mean guild will be surely a place in which player can find stronger items and fight together, but i don't like the idea of guild bullying players who play alone or smaller guilds, it's natrual guilds have more power but like uncle Ben said "great powers = big responsibilities" so a guild, like single characters, should have a justice system. even if you are part of a super big guild you can't kill\rob solitary player too much, i know it's natural but don't like a game in which you have to join a guild a certain point or ready to be bullied and robbed from big guilds.

    4. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      Also, @Mark, there will be tools in place to allow you to protect things you create. They might not be easy to find/make, but they will exist.

    5. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Mark, we will NEVER sacrifice fun for fidelity, but with that said, we are taking the opportunity to work with the community in alpha and beta, respectively, to find out what REALLY works, and why it is or is not fun. Certainly things seem bad at face value, but its very rarely the ONE thing that really sets us off, its often a series of things that makes the one thing unbearable. Again, do keep in mind, this is also why we are letting you guys host your own games, mod and change rules or play on your own. We are offering an incredibly amount of freedom for play, because that is what we want people to do... to play. ";)"

    6. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      @mark. Just because EVE online tried it in a different way doesnt mean it will fail here. It really is a different horse with different mechanics. It also means not everything has been tried. I think we should give then s bit more faith than.. oh.. this is gonna be like its going to be a different horse.

    7. Mark Newcombe on

      @ Ino
      " Creator Nerd Kingdom about 19 hours ago
      But given the proper goals, or incentives, its within our nature to create social bonds, if only temporarily to gain their trust and take all the things ;)
      That statement from a Dev worries me about the future of this game, you get one shot at creating an immersive game that is fun, If I spend a day/week/month creating something and you provide the means for another player to instantly destroy/remove that work without providing the tools for me to reasonably protect it,then I will spend my hour/week/months playing something else.

      Here is an honest question, is Nerd Kingdom creating a game designed with science and drawing data from that game to further studies and understanding, or is Nerd Kingdom creating a science experiment on social design that has a game GUI as a carrot?

      Being a thief in real life comes with real social risk for moderate to low reward, Thievery & Griefing in games comes with essentially low risk and high in game rewards.

      If you create a game where I should expect Ino to turn up and steal everything I have, then I might as well play Eve Online. If that is the case then you should Expect that the good will in your community to leave.

      If Ino's Wink ;-) was meant to be taken as " I'm kidding, we have it all under control and thats not what we are about" then sorry for the concerns posted.

      If I was right, then please print a MASSIVE poster and put it on the wall of the Lead Game Designers office and have it read - TUG IS A GAME - A GAME IS FOREMOST FUN & IMMERSIVE" everything that break immersion is a failure, 13 year old with hacks who steal everything is a massive break in immersion.....that would count as a complete failure.

      Please don't make this into Eve Online, the game was excellent but allowed/encouraged it's community to degenerate over time into a sprawling mass of lairs cheats and thugs.

    8. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      @nerd kingdom. Hell ya! Lets bring back the old "by the gamer, for the gamer." Wooo!

    9. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Bruce, we have alpha in July and Beta in January of 2014. We just want to use the 18 month span to really work and play with the community before we officially launch it for review. Want to show the industry and real listening and insight with the gamers is what makes great games, not just spoon fed assumptions :)

    10. Missing avatar

      Bruce Wane on

      why the release is planned for 2015?! Why soo loong

    11. Missing avatar

      Mikael Edgren on

      Wow This Game sounds and looks fantastic so far.
      I am proud to be a backer for this game.

    12. Missing avatar

      Spirit_Guardian on

      Lol, Ino; you sneaky thief you ---.

    13. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Palenoue, oh no, please don't apologize :D. Its encouraged to have all kinds of whatever fun you want! But be aware of those other guys (possibly me), trying to take your things when you are making stuff ;)


    14. palenoue on

      Sorry, I didn't mean I was against something new and different, just wanted to point out that guilds aren't shallow or lacking in social graces, and that my friends and I will have silly fun with almost any system.

    15. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Devon, the focus of the more "official servers" will not have hovering text, which is another reason we have such a reliance on visual cues. And certainly such a world exists where those things do not exist, you are breathing in it ;)

      @Aneka, yes there will be some form of achievements, and its actually a rather exciting part of the project we would rather you all discover, as opposed to be told... It won't be totally obvious to all.

      @Rik, yes you can certainly share and drop items, whether it be dropping you bag on the floor and take from it, or placing in a chest etc. there will not be any artificial way of protecting your things, so hide them or lock them up :)... But again, some people are not comfortable letting go of rails just yet, so for those we will likely set up separate servers and allow them to host and change their own games too, especially single player games.


    16. Rik Spruitenburg on

      I'm totally with you on clearing out guilds. But will there be an easy way to share items? Can I make a chest and put things in it for me and my friends?

    17. Aneka K. Bean on

      Fantastic! My biggest issue with guilds in games was how they contributed to excluding people for no reason other than "they don't have a banner." Giving one person the power to kick people out often bred tyrannical rules.

      I had bad guild experiences in the past, which has led me to play mostly solo in games. I don't really like politics or the enforced group structure some game require to be entitled to play all the game content. I would very much enjoy the removal of the arbitrary superiority predetermined guild values and achievements can cause.

      That being said, do you plan on having achievements, or leaving such things to a mod community to do? Will you enable any way of viewing statistics of your adventures, or are you veering away from supporting that for immersion's sake?

    18. Devon Mullane on

      I have a question then, how is naming dealt with? Traditionally everyone has to have a unique name, which I hope you'll steer away from. If seven thousand seeds want the name Paul, I really see no reason they should be denied that choice. As long as character customization is diverse enough to allow people to recognizable by features and personality, the threat of impersonation is an awesome plausibility.

      However, does this mean no floating text? Could such a world exist?

    19. Missing avatar

      Aidan Thawley on

      Oh, man! I'm so looking forward to this game! Also, will tattoos be a cosmetic feature we can create?

    20. Bill Samulenok on

      Thank you for so clearly stating what is wrong with guilds. I am looking forward to see how guilds first try to adhere to the old methods, but then start to grow into actual community.

      Another great update. Keep up the good work!

    21. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Palenoue, don't underestimate the impact of other subtle design choices like proximity communication, or load out, inventory etc. they may not seem like much, but the project is uniquely balanced to help offset this. We will be able to show this impact during alpha and beta phases and work with you guys to refine and perfect.

      @Peter, we totally agree with you on all parts. Even the distribution of resources is delicate for balancing, hence the small team of economists on board. But as far as safety zones, to some extent they will exist, but keep in mind, we want to avoid rails and make play really feel dynamic... Magic barriers and hexes anyone ;)?


    22. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      @matthew i completely agree with you. Everything they have said so far has just triggered all kinds of want. Thats with me being pretty jaded against the mmo industry.

    23. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      @tyler. Nothing. And if you think on it thats a cool thing. If someone risks impersonating your guild they risk getting hunted down. It allows conflict.

    24. Missing avatar

      Spirit_Guardian on

      I expected this, that is why on the "guild list" on the forums I put "Boundaries marked by:"; because I wanted a way to let people know where my guild "set up camp" without having anything like text above our heads to show them where it is.

      My guild, Tutoribus Aeternam, still stands!

      I don't care for flashy names or guild chat rooms.
      When beta hits, me and any guild members available will get together and choose the guild outfit and/or mark (if possible).

      All in all, awesome Idea guys; I am glad you also think that guilds should be more organic! :D

    25. Missing avatar

      Tyler Funk on

      What would stop a nonmember of one of these guilds (who, say, are known by a black shield made from the bones of a dragon unde a full moon) from impersonating a member and trolling a guild? Would there have to be some other form of safeguard created by the guild members themselves?

    26. Peter Jacob on

      I like the EVE Online model of guilds and resources. Trade becomes more meaningful (and risky/interesting) when you have to toss those goods on a cart and roll it to the neighboring community. VS the WoW auction house where everything is 100% invisible and teleporting. Too much convenience ruins the immersion. Too little and it becomes a soulless grind.

      What if Clan X advertises a desire for resource A. Clan Y caravans it over for trade. Clan X secretly hires Clan Z to raid the caravan, buying it from Z at substantial discount.

      Griefing is going to need addressing. Safe zones/pvp zones, flagging, "player housing", offline vulnerability... turn it into a public minecraft server and it swiftly devolves into a vile grief engine.

    27. palenoue on

      My friends and I create our own guilds for the following reasons:
      1) to share resources
      2) to share professions/skills/money
      3) to find each other quickly and easily
      4) to have a silly "floaty name" over our heads so everybody knows we're here for fun and are not the least bit serious
      If you let us build towns/empires I'm willing to bet that my friends and I will end up with an amusement park filled with puns.

    28. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Dante, that is also half of the point of NOT having a confined system :D. This is nothing that will be triggered by flashing UIs and glowy bits, its something that will happen organically. There are a good many of you (including myself), who will commit to no civilization, and just live in caves and get hired out for work or gear. But given the proper goals, or incentives, its within our nature to create social bonds, if only temporarily to gain their trust and take all the things ;)


    29. Dante Sellitto on

      Meh I would rather there be no guilds and stuff :) makes everyone more unique and self reliant ^_^

    30. Missing avatar

      Matthew Kuzma on

      I continue to be blown away by how absolutely right your approach feels, from every angle. Some of it feels right because I've spent the last decade asking why games aren't doing these things already and quite a bit of it is something I'd never considered, but to hear you talk about it, I can't imagine why not.

      I'm super excited to see what you (we) come up with and I'm super excited to be able to help in any way I can. I have high hopes for us.

    31. Corey Papastathis on

      At first I thought, "What keeps a player from making their own cabal uniform and infiltrating the secret cabal?" Then I thought, "What would keep someone from doing it in the real world?" Nothing. I guess we just have to have faith that by creating a different environment based in exploration and growth that GRIEVER players will not stay long in the game.

    32. Lorna Hartman on

      Finally, groups that make sense. In the past, I'd play games but not join groups, because I tried that a couple of times and it was artificial and didn't turn out to affect my play much except for additional annoying pointless requirements of being a group member. I'd go on hunts and whatnot but it didn't really bring people together and it wasn't more fun to do as a group. This is more like it.

    33. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      I absolutely love this update. Not only do you identify all the current issues with guild but you hit ideas that make them organic. I am going to ask you at least let us sow certian patches into our clothes, have different colors, or even tatoos. I love this update.. all kinds of want lol

    34. Russell James Huizinga on

      Thanks for the reply, a bit general but I understand why. I really look forward to reading those studies. I work as a Business Intelligence consultant and this sort of thing intrigues me. The ways data is captured and presented. Keep up the updates, they are fascinating reads. =)

    35. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Russell, there are lots of ways to identify what a group is, how what determines it beyond just clicking and activating a system to call something a group. There are lots of other subtle things in player behaviors that determine those things that we have special knowledge/tools to identify. Sometimes its about movement, sometimes its about interaction, sometimes its about consumption. But these are other areas of science (which sadly is just easier to use as a generalized term). There are a LOT of very intricate ways to do these things, all of which we already do in practice. We will publish a lot of studies like this to share as well :D


    36. Missing avatar

      Evan Wall on

      Love the idea!

    37. Glitch2210 on

      i am glad you guys have finally put up a post about this. there has been a lot of talk on the forums about guilds since almost day one. and by the looks of it they are already turning out to be quite an interesting group of little cultures. and i am very excited to see where it turns out, but by the looks of it conflict is assured.

    38. Russell James Huizinga on

      After reading this post, I was wondering if there will be anyway to track these groups of players that will form? Though I like the idea of a group forming organically won't this mean that third party sites will be the only place that keep track of member lists, rank structures etc. Aren't you losing out on potentially huge data that could feed into how a group is doing?

    39. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Lemuel, this system actually is something derived from a general understanding of socio cultural development, group psychology, economic distribution and cognitive thinking with a dash of a few other fields. There are a lot of very subtle sciences at play for all of these decisions, including limit of range to chat ;). Although, I have a colleague who writes for AAA games who is constantly urging me to pick up and read Readme, because of many of our topics. You would be surprised, of the similarities of the best fantasy world, and the understanding of human behavior. Tolkien was an advocate for that comparison.

      @Hotchkip, we will touch on that in a later update, assuredly we are not excluding anyone who wants to have fun in their own way.


    40. BdB on

      Personally i hope it will go natural ,when you meet someone you can become friends or just for the time being to both have more chance to survive.
      For me this game will be like reinventing the wheel from scratch.
      I always hated raids and dungeons as its like study until you master .
      To me surprise is what is my main motivation , explore find out stuff .
      But thats just me feel very free to disagree :)

    41. Thomas Johansen on

      I like it, It all makes sense now ^^
      Brilliant update, thank you O mighty Creators of worlds

    42. Missing avatar

      Hotchkip on

      With this it makes me wonder though, will there be different servers for people who want to play and not worry some group is going to trample the creation you spent hours on?

    43. Lemuel Pew on

      I assume you guys have read the novel Reamde by Neal Stephenson; this essentially happens in that fictional game, where players divide along playstyle lines (marked by the color of their equipment) instead of by any hard-coded attempt to compartmentalize the players socially.

    44. Dirk Remmelzwaal on

      Amazing idea's! You guys are making me more and more excited of being a part of this... glad I backed this project, looking forward to future posts of the epic concepts you royal nerds ;)

      Also, is there any plan for players to make their own objects like art? For instance, a carving in a rock or a symbol painted on a shield? Those would add quite a lot to the feeling of realistic groups.

    45. Elise Coker on

      :D :D :D :D :D

    46. Erwin || Redlum

      Would be nice to create something like the illuminatie ;)