The Guild 2, what went wrong?
The Guild 2 was a game unlike any other that I played. It has a blend of Roleplay and Economics, combined with intrigue and politics, all tied up into a top-down almost RTS like view. You could become anybody you wanted, in theory. As a rogue you could had started your own Thieves Guild, Pirate band, Mercenary group or invest in Pubs. As a Scholar you could had become a man of a Church, Doctor or… magician. Even the seemingly two “generic” choices of Craftsman and Patron were spiced up with what you could do on the side. Sure, you might had a perfectly legitimate Pub, or Blacksmith business, but secretly you could have an army of goons, ready to demolish the competition. That was the charm of The Guild 2. Not just the legitimate “You are better than me” economy style gameplay, but also “I killed off your family, ruined your reputation and ended you.” intrigue, crime and politics gameplay.
What went wrong with this title that it obtained average marks, and was often received poorly by critics? Let’s find out.
The Guild 2 and its expansions.
A long time ago (by Video Game Industry standards) The Guild 2 came out. A game which introduced an interesting new idea to video games, combining RPG and Economy elements. It was an original idea, which had all the potential to become a game of the year. It didn’t. The main flaws associated with the Guild 2 were its bugs and hardware problems. The game tended to crash, and numerous things went “wonky”, such as pathways leading NPCs to very strangle places. As time went one numerous expansions were released, including the newest one, The Guild 2: Renaissance. The interesting part about these expansions is that they are all Stand-alone, meaning that you did not need the original to play. As such, when I bought the Guild 2: Renaissance I knew perfectly well I would have all the previous content, and more, all in one installed game.
I was highly enthusiastic as I began to explore the world of The Guild 2 again. My last contact with it was the very first and basic The Guild 2, which I simply adored, despite its bugs. First I tried the under-handed Rogue class, remembering how I cheated incredibly, by having an army of pickpockets earn me plenty of coin with minimal cost. This turn around I opened a Pub, which was an entirely new experience for me. I was on one hand happy, on the other disappointed. The Patron can open a Tavern which needs a regular supply of food and/or drinks. The Pub does not need anything. People come in, drink as much as they like, while you just have to make sure the “Pub-Wenches” have a high Charisma score (for maximized tips, and… street earnings). The Rogue class was never a demanding one, but I was somewhat sad that the Pub was in essence an endless pit of money, with minimal effort, just like the Thieves Guild.
I then tried the Scholar in two attempts. First I opened a Graveyard, thinking I would be dealing with a burial service. Turned out, I started my own Necromancer hideout, gathering bones, ectoplasm and other odd and curious objects. During the second attempt I opened a bank, which turned out to be almost as simple as being a Rogue, but instead of stealing money you made it yourself.
Mind you, The Guild 2: Renaissance has way more content than what I stated here, but there is a reason why I focus on these seemingly “simpler” classes.
When I play as a Rogue I expect a bit of a challenge. You are operating against the law, while attempting to make plenty of coin. In The Guild 2 being a Rogue is almost as legitimate as being a Farm owner (there is even an official Rogue Guild Master position you might be chosen for) . Mind you, your pickpockets could fail, and then get chased down by the Guard, your Mercenaries could die, or your bandits… they could also die. Overall though, you are not as worried about losing a single pickpocket, than if you lost an entire shipment of valuable goods. Being a Craftsman or Patron is much harder because you have to keep a close watch on your supply, production and local demand. If you cannot sell something for a profit locally you have to send it to the next town, praying your caravan does not get robbed. A rogue? Nah. Unless you make some serious mistakes, and your head of house gets discovered while committing a serious crime, you are almost risk-free.
The Scholar with his “Bank” also becomes a money pit. Allow me to explain; in order to make Copper Coins (which can be sold at 500 coins each unit, but usually reach around 400) you need two pieces of metal (about 50-60 coins each on a horrible day) and four pieces of woods (also about 20-40 coins each). You have to pay your worker about 100 coins, and during a single day he should be able to make at least one unit of copper coins. When I recently maximized my production with three workers and “myself” (my Family head) I produced 10 units of copper coins in two days, and earned myself a handsome sum of cash. Later when I produced Silver Coins I made even more cash, even when I bought overpriced basic materials. Of course, it is not stated anywhere that the game should be impossibly hard, but certain classes or business types are in higher favour than others.
In comparison, when I wanted to start a Smithy business it turned out that obtaining the necessary materials to make tools or daggers (your basic products) would result in a total bankruptcy on the first day. My only hope was trading with other towns, which is incredibly risky.