Guild Vs Regiment: The Salad Showdown

Two of my favourite online multiplayer games share one thing in common – the idea of guilds of players as the core of the experience. Those two games are Mount & Blade: Warband – Napoleonic Wars DLC and Guild Wars 2.


I’ve not spoken about Mount & Blade much so far on this blog, but I do hope to soon. The quick preview is that its a game where, originally, you play in a sandbox fantasy medieval style world. The second installment of the game, Mount & Blade: Warband, brought in multiplayer, which was an immediate hit with its devoted fan base.

The fan base particularly enjoyed the Mount & Blade series for its ease to mod, and mods galore are available online from a Star Wars overlay to the campaign to the incredibly popular Mount & Musket Napoleonic style mod which later was taken over by the developers, improved, and released as a multiplayer DLC.

That’s the quick guide to the Mount & Blade series’s history – as a side note Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is currently in production and looks set to be an epic game. I’ll write about the details of that when we get more released!

So, the online multiplayer experience of Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars is pretty sandbox as far as multiplayer modes go. You have a map, either a castle or a battlefield, and you fight it out in a variety of modes.

Siege events are the most popular, where a team with limited lives try to hold a fort from a team with unlimited lives for 20 minutes – you get some nail biting finishes with that mode! Another mode is Battle, where you have one life for each round, the last team standing wins – simple but fantastic fun when you know you just have the one life. Commander battle is a favourite too, where you command a section of AI troops against enemy commanders.

Interestingly, almost every player has organised themselves into regiments in Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars. They don’t do this through the game at all, and the only way of representing your regiment in game is by the little picture that appears above your character – which regiments will synchronise together – as well as your username. So limited ways of representing it, and a game that doesn’t promote it in any sense. So why have Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars regiments formed?

A typical regimental promotional picture
A typical promotional regiment picture

There’s 3 main reasons.

The first is lore. A game based in the Napoleonic era, despite its multiplayer focus meaning that it has no story per-say, has a certain lore attached to it. The Napoleonic Wars were wars of highly organised a disciplined lines of soldiers lining up and rotating their musket fire at one another until one was either dead or fled. This kind of warfare doesn’t materialise by itself in a multiplayer game which is so sandbox, so unstructured and open. That’s the magic of Mount & Blade, but it means that the war that players seek has to be planned and organised; ideally by regimental groups of players.

Pure Napoleonic warfare
Pure Napoleonic warfare

Another reason is coordination. Much similar to the arguments for Guild Wars 2 players to use Teamspeak in World Versus World, in Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars regiments have organised because coordinated players usually beat the uncoordinated.

I’ve made friends with some fellow players on Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars and when we are the same team we coordinate through the pretty primitive chat interface, but even with that basic bonus we will usually win against those that doesn’t coordinate. Regiments take it even further with teamspeak to make coordination even easier, and with Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars, because the in game communication system is so basic, it does make a world of difference. Regiment members fight far better together than others on the whole.

Each character here is a player, a formation that could only be achieved by regimental coordination
Each character here is a player, a formation that could only be achieved by regimental coordination

The final reason is servers. The multiplayer game is based on over 600 servers worldwide, most of which have no players at all. Only a handful of these are servers owned by the developers, as a very small indie outfit they can’t afford the kind of mega-server capacity that Guild Wars 2 makes use of. The majority of the other servers are owned by regiments, some of which they keep password protected for regiment only events, but the most popular servers are the ones owned by regiments which open them up to the public to play with their members at any time.

The 33rd Regiment in particular own a server which they leave open to the public for siege events, and is the only Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars server to have over 100/200 players at any time of the day. If you want guaranteed access to the best servers you have to go regimental.

So that’s the lowdown on Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars regiments, why they exist and how they operate. How does that compare to GW2 guilds?

Guild Wars 2 Guild emblem design options
Guild Wars 2 Guild emblem design options

Guild Wars 2 guilds are central to the game and you very rarely see a player not in one. Mega-guilds exist as well as small family style guilds, much like the range in sizes of Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars regiments. These two different forms of groups of players share several similarities, but why do players join guilds in GW2?

Well, lore is on the side again. The game is called Guild Wars after all! If you bought Guild Wars 2 not expecting to be in a guild of some sort then you really didn’t know what you were buying. The Guild as a group of players has been an integral part of Arena Net’s style of MMO forever.

Aside from lore though GW2 guilds don’t offer all that much in comparison to M&B:NW regiments. You get some small bonuses if you have enough influence to own them and can take part in small missions and puzzles as a guild, again, so long as you have enough influence. Trouble is, none of these perks are particularly game altering. There is no inherent disadvantage to not being in a Guild in GW2, and that’s an ever so slightly crazy situation for a game with it in the name.


Yet everyone is in a Guild in GW2. I think perhaps GW2 needs to improve guilds, give them a bit more love – they feel too much like a neglected side line at the moment. Maybe they should take a leaf out of M&B:NW’s book too, and listen to the clamour on the game forum’s Guild sub-forum, which all point to adding in more Guild only content. Put in more guild missions, and make them accessible to even the smallest of guilds. Most of all though, like many on the forums have begged for since launch, put in a serious Guild vs Guild arena. The Obsidian Sanctum guild arena is a start in the right direction, but make it so that only guild members can go in and random players that wander down can only watch – simple stuff really and stuff that would make a great deal of improvements to Guild Wars’s guild system.

Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars has really opened my eyes to what a good player group can do and be like. The recruitment isn’t too over the top and they’re generally accepting of all players; and most importantly are always open to fun fights with enemy regiments or even uncoordinated groups of randomers. I salute you M&B:NW community!


Digital Salad –


5 thoughts on “Guild Vs Regiment: The Salad Showdown

  1. cakeboxfox December 22, 2013 / 10:31 pm

    I think gw2 is in need of a bit of no strings attached fighting. You go in, you fight, you die and you respawn with no penalty. You do it over and over again until you’re bored and then toddle off to do something more constructive. It could be guild only or with a random party. It could be wading through mobs or real people.

    At the risk of offending M&B players- What’s the point? And that’s the beauty of it, there is no point, scores aren’t remembered and you only have a name because people need something to identify.
    You make groups of friends because you enjoy playing the same things, not because you are required to in order to progress.

    Gw2 needs a bit of pointlessness, so people can make their own point.

    Making things guild only and available to all types of guilds (as well as being able to be completed by them) is a big ask, and I’m not sure how you’d balance it all.

    Bit of a ramble!

    • knivesmith December 23, 2013 / 1:08 am

      I’d argue that we already have such pointless killing modes. Just go to Heart of the Mists. Don’t like Conquest? Then just ignore the win condition and do whatever you want. The only thing that happens when you die is a respawn timer, and you get a small passive income just for seeing a match through to the end.

      • cakeboxfox December 23, 2013 / 9:39 am

        That’s true, but I’d feel bad for mucking about when there’s people taking it seriously.
        I go into the heart of the mists to muck about with friends in an empty server to try new builds and techniques, but generally we get 5 mins peace then need to find a new arena as people think we’re being serious.
        Maybe I need to invest some serious gold and make my own messing around arena.
        Good point though, maybe I will retry it πŸ™‚

      • knivesmith December 23, 2013 / 7:04 pm

        Actually, you tounched on something I had forgotten about. ANet makes it really annoying to play with your friends unless you buy a custom arena. Hotjoins have autobalance, solo queues only allow one person, and mixed teams in team queue tend to do terribly. Then you go to all of their activities, like the current snowball fight, where it’s down right impossible unless you roll the dice and get really lucky.

        They’re terrified of the coordination from just two people, but continually make modes where a one or two player deficit in team sizes means you lose.

  2. knivesmith December 23, 2013 / 1:14 am

    I personally disagree with warping the Obsidian Sanctum any further and just adding an actual GvG mode. People will complain about armor look (which should become a moot point eventually) and armor stats (which I just can’t agree with) but I’d prefer they put it as another PvP game mode. Just like there’s solo queue and team queue for conquest, there’d be a guild queue and non-guild queue, except I’d prefer if the solo queue would allow for up to three or four people to go together (assuming a team size of 10-20). I’d also prefer for there to be an objective even if it was as simple as raiding the enemy base and killing their guild lord (like GvG was in GW1).

    The biggest issue that they face is the fact that the easiest way for them to put in a GvG mode is through their existing PvP server system. But people are going to rail on them if they don’t have WvW levels of customization. I think they’re just going to make it a PvP mode anyway in addition to any other PvP modes they have in the pipeline.

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