Hints of an Upcoming Dota 2 Guild System

About a week ago, Tharuler from DotaBuff pointed out on reddit the inclusion of some curious network messages in the recent test client patch.  Here is the list of messages:

  • k_EMsgGCGuildCreateRequest
  • k_EMsgGCGuildCreateResponse
  • k_EMsgGCGuildSetAccountRoleRequest
  • k_EMsgGCGuildSetAccountRoleResponse
  • k_EMsgGCRequestGuildData
  • k_EMsgGCGuildData
  • k_EMsgGCGuildInviteAccountRequest
  • k_EMsgGCGuildInviteAccountResponse
  • k_EMsgGCGuildCancelInviteRequest
  • k_EMsgGCGuildCancelInviteResponse

This suggests that Valve is working on some kind of guild system, though no one has a clear idea of what that might entail.  A common suggestion is that this is laying out the groundwork for client-supported inhouse leagues.  I’m skeptical of this answer for two reasons.

First, inhouse leagues will require a lot of support, and I’m not convinced that they are a top priority right now.  That’s not to say they aren’t important, but I suspect there are a lot of equally important features competing for the same kinda of attention and that these other features require much less work to get up and functional.

Secondly, calling inhouse leagues a guild seems like a very curious use of language.  I suppose it could be intentional misdirection of some sort, but barring that I feel that it’s more likely that these guilds will be something social and cooperative along the lines of what guilds have come to mean in the gaming lexicon.

I expect that the guild system, if it does go through, will allow players to create a social environment from which they can more easily form premade groups, something along the lines of a gaming clan.  The use of guild instead of clan would be interesting in this case.  Perhaps it’s intended to make the game more inviting to MMO converts, or maybe it’s just to avoid the mental associations we have with the word “clan” in the U.S.

In any case, one of the problems with Dota 2’s current Team Matchmaking system is that joining a team feels like a tremendous commitment.  On the receiving end, if you accept and then cannot show up regularly the team simply cannot play without you.  On the sending end, you’re worried that every potential invite might go to someone who won’t fit the team or who will flake out.

A more informal social system bypasses these problems.  There’s no real commitment (or at least a much less significant commitment) to inviting someone to a network, and there’s virtually no commitment to accepting an invite.  All either party is saying is that it might be cool to play with each other at some later date.  Then, once you have a significantly populated network you can look through the list of people who are online and interested in finding a match and you can much more easily form 5-man groups based off this knowledge, and unlike TMM, the composition of this 5-man group can be completely different based entirely on who happens to be available that night.

Presumably this system would feed into Normal queue.  This might counter-intuitively alleviate some of the solo queue issues by making 5-man groups common enough that they can more easily be matched with each other in a short amount of time.  It could also convince more 4-man groups to take the extra step to find that fifth, which might help cut down on the 4+1 environments that seem to create so many complaints.

One other minor benefit that might not be immediately obvious is that a system like this allows you to make associations in-game without having to actually declare anyone a Steam friend.  That could be seen as a significant improvement for those players who want to keep their in-game friends associations separate from their out-of-game friends list.

But in any case, this is all speculation and we’ll just have to see what, if anything, comes out of this.

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2 Responses to Hints of an Upcoming Dota 2 Guild System

  1. jimmydorry says:

    Or they could just increase the numbers of people you can have in a team. >_>

    I hope these “clans” add something above just being a big team. Some competitive ranking perhaps? It’s not going to really help you find players when you are all in a big bucket… unless there is a way to measure skill (like a DBR, Valve ranking, hero score… anything).

  2. DeathBot says:

    Oh man, this is one of two things I’m most excited about for Dota2, the other being custom maps. I was a clan-hopper back in the day, and the social aspect is way fun. Allowing people to form tight-knit groups not just for more serious games (team matchmaking) but for pubs, as well as being able to have in-clan recruitment for teams, in-clan discussion about play, people to practice with in goofier ways such as last hit challenges or 1v1 mid… there’s so much more that you get out of a clan than you do with teams.

    Hell, if they create some kind of external forum support, like through steam rather than Dota2, people may possibly use them for other games, and you might have a bunch of small comp scenes spring up for some really goofy things.

    In the meantime, definitely increase the size of teams to something like 7-8. 8 was what cevo allowed back in the day, which is important when you consider that most of the people with any interest in competitive dota are likely at least in school, if not also working, so scheduling exactly five people around video games isn’t exactly easy. Hell, even the big tournaments these days allow subs, with some games having as many as three!

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