Recently I saw a player recruiting for a prominent guild in global chat. Not so noteworthy except the player had a (GM) indicator next to their name. I’ve never seen that before.
For what it’s worth (probably not much), here are a few of my scattered thoughts on that:
- I really don’t know the extent of a GM’s power, but it seems to me like guilds with one or more GM in their ranks would have some (unfair?) advantage over those that don’t. Even just having a GM doing your recruiting actually seems significant to me and very few of us would ever know whatever else the GM is doing for their guild behind the scenes.
- First and foremost, GMs should be as unbiased as possible. Being part of a guild goes against that notion. I wonder if the GM would police their guild members the same way they would police the general player base. I hope they would.
- I assume SI doesn’t want to expend the resources to actually pay GMs and so they’re getting volunteers from the player base to GM, which is why some of them have guilds. GMs are important in a community like this. I think SI should dedicate resources to pay GMs as core employees and they should not be players (at the very least not while they wield their GM powers).
I know this is beta so some might say “nothing really matters right now”, but for the game to be healthy, SI should do everything it can to at least present the appearance that the game is fair to its players.
Oddly enough, I’m on the side of the OP here but for completely different reasons. I know enough GM’s to know that abuse of power isn’t even an option for them so that doesn’t concern me. From the side of “they get upfront knowledge before the rest of the server” is true but I’m on the same developer round table as them (and a lot of other guild leaders) so that’s not an issue either and it’s a necessary part of beta development (whatever your opinion on the matter).
The part that is unfair is simply the (GM) tag and the possible weight it throws around in conversations and chat channels. If you see anything with the (GM) tag in chat and you don’t know the inner workings of the system (they are likely just forum mods), you are automatically going assume that they are official ‘Game Masters’ like all the other games we’ve played. We actually fell for it early in this beta when a person with the GM tag asked for an alliance with us. My immediate reaction was; “holy shit boys, we’re going to be allied with a GM!.” You can you see where this would immediately skew your decision making process
Here are some of the unintended advantages that (GM)’s get. After talking with some of them, they would rather not even have the tag in game because they think it’s unfair too.
- GM recruiting for a guild – new players are going to flock to that guild like crazy. Giving them a huge advantage on the recruiting front. What new solo player wouldn’t want to join THE GUILD THAT THE GM’S RUN!
- Buying and Selling things over trade chat – Again, when uninformed people see a GM buying or selling things they are going to assume that it’s a fair price (or maybe even better). Whenever I buy something from someone in trade chat I quickly check the popular markets to make sure the price is competitive. New player Bob is going to take the GM’s word as gospel and potentially pay more for the item. This gives said GM a huge advantage when playing the markets. (I’ve seen it happen first hand)
- Alliance and politcal relations – Following the trend, new guilds will make false assumptions when a GM asks if they want to join their alliance.