I’ve been in online gaming for over 15 years now. As you can imagine, I have a lot of former guildmates. If ind this somewhat humorous because I haven’t been in an MMO regularly for about a year now. Therefore, I don’t have any current guildmates. The funny thing about someone who was in one of my guilds, unless we split on bad terms, I would almost always consider them my brother or sister regardless of how long it has been since we had even spoken to each other.
And so it goes that last night, one of my former guildmates did reach out to me for in aid in the form of an indiegogo campaign they started to help her raise money in order to go to an independent art show as she was now designing jewelry. The show is one which allows her to go sell her wares with no cut being taken and also issues best of show awards for those artists who have done a particularly good job. All in all, even if she did not win it is a good opportunity to get word out about her wares and network which is always good for business. I gladly put in money, not a ton, but what I felt I could afford.
It didn’t come entirely out of nowhere, I had just spoken with her a few months back traversing down memory lane. As it so happens, I have known this particular former guildmate for more than 10 years and I wanted to reminisce about our time together because I was recently playing the original game we met in. And we occasionally chat every few years and that is that. Even though her and I aren’t particularly close anymore after years of not playing together, I still consider her a friend, and like I said, a sister. I would help her and I did.
And this got me thinking about the nature of guilds and how they really do go past the game and into our real lives. People think of online gamers as lonely nerds who talk to no one, and in some ways it is true. However, the reality is that we talk to people all day long and have likely closer friends than most people in the real world. Of course it is also easier to lose touch with these friends and thus the fickle nature of online life. Still, when they reach out, I answer. And the reality is I’d do the same for former friends in real life1 if they reached out as well, though admittedly I have fewer real life friends than I have had online friends.
This again, got me thinking about Guilds and their place in our lives even further. What if a guild would put together funds in real life for their friends and allies in game. If guildmates were asked to donate to these funds to help their friends and allies. I’m sure many people would not want to be in such a guild and to me that is fine. To be hones this type of guild indicates what a guild should be not what people want to use them as anyway. Invite only such as The Syndicate where people are friends with each other BEFORE they are allowed in the guild.
Such a concept could work I think. It is rife with the opportunity for theft, I realize, but it could work all the same. To start, new members couldn’t get money for the first several months to avoid people joining for a quick buck and leaving. Second, people couldn’t get money without giving money unless under extreme circumstances. Third, the money would not be held by anyone in the guild, I think it’d work better to work with one of the many crowdsourcing sites. Yes, they take a cut, but it puts the money where it needs to be, when it needs to be rather than in a pool owned by someone in the guild which could then be stolen without anyone knowing. And lastly, the funds could only be raised for real life problems and projects that could be used to better that persons life in a very real fashion. Thus, you couldn’t do it for getting a new TV or even a new computer (though sometimes it feels like that is the end of the world when you are in online gaming).
So I thought I’d throw out some other random things that somehow relate to this concept…
First… it reminds me of the Church’s tithes, or rather.. what the tithes should be used for. I don’t mean to take away from the Church, they do good work and a portion of those tithes are used to help the poor and people in the congregation when needed. The problem though is that it is also used to pay the pastor, pay for property, pay for the pastor’s house and car, and administration, and fancy new website. There is a lot of money that is siphoned out of the church in various ways that little actually goes back to the community. Again nothing to take away from it, I understand the need for those things and don’t even disagree with it, but it is a reality. Indiegogo however takes 4%, which I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if that was the exact opposite of the church.
Another case and point… Kiva. Kiva gives out small amounts of loans to people in the developing world for very little to no interest in which to let them go out and start their own small businesses to become financially independent. The beauty of this system is that it gives people ownership of what they did in life, they weren’t given the money straight out. Now I realize this is a bit of a flaw in my system as you are right? Well yes and no. My system theoretically allows people to advance their lives and then feel indebted to the people they help and help them in return. In theory, it is cyclical (yes this doesn’t always happen but you have to hope for the best I think). If I am helped to go from earning $40k a year and start earning $50k a year then theoretically the next time someone else needs help perhaps I can give $20 instead of $10 and so on and so forth.
This system would obviously be scammed from time to time. I have no doubt. But the key would be to only let the closest of close in. You don’t know how many people I have known through the years who went out and started their own business. Or the number of people who got into a car accident, or even worse had cancer and came into financial problems because of it. What if your guild was there for you financially when you were down in addition to mentally? After all, if you run into financial issues, you are probably going to need to stop subscribing to whatever game anyway because you need the money and the guild can’t be there for you emotionally anyway.
I don’t know if this would actually work or not. And in reality this is pointless. I’m not in a guild, am not in a game even, and not starting a guild to do this. This is really just me talking about something I’ve been thinking about lately.
As a side note, if you’d like to help the indiegogo campaign that caused me to go on this weird tangent. Head over here and if you feel like it, donate as well. I’m sure she’d appreciate the help.