Guild drama is something that happens in online gaming.    It’s traditionally been in the Warcraft / Everquest model but it also applies in Ingress.

(As a sidenote, one other casualty of wiping my phone was Vikings : War of Clans.   Looks like whatever authentication/backup method they use – Google, most likely – it was never activated on my phone.   I have a support request in to them.   We’ll see if anything comes of it, because if not, I’m done.)

But Vikings has traditional clan drama.   There are a lot of shards/servers/worlds.    There is limited movement from one to another.    All the players are free agents.    And the guilds – “Clans” – are voluntary.    Want to switch clans ?   Go ahead.    It depends on your relationships with the other players.  But Ingress is very nontraditional.

The players are NOT free agents – the two teams are strictly defined.    It is just barely possible to switch teams, it’s comparable to a server transfer in Everquest2.    There are no shards – the game world is the world.

If you transfer between teams, there is a heavy penalty – you lose your level and start over again at level 1.    This is (normally) meant to keep you from switching, but for people who get bored at level 16, this is actually a draw.    The other penalty is your relationship with the community – all else being equal, nobody likes a turncoat.

The closest thing to a guild in Ingress is a hangout, but that’s imperfect too.   People belong to as many or as few as they want.   Non hangout players fit well with soloists in traditional MMOs.    But the guys who are in EVERY HANGOUT are just committed players.

The natural clan in Ingress is the “Your Town” hangout for your team.    Or an area you frequent for whatever reason (Work.   Travel.    Parent’s House.   Girlfriend’s house.   Etc.)

And Hangouts contain drama.    One early hangout I joined fell apart because of the ridiculous behavior of three agents – all of whom, strangely enough, have since quit.   Now I’m seeing it again in a new hangout.    This is comparable to the drama with Vikings guilds I have been in GSO and Assassin’s Hellgate – different people just create drama and make everything less fun.

I wonder if this is a natural reaction to a team’s dominance in an area, plus the actual participants.    The jerks create drama and make things fall apart.   If you get enough of them they wreck everything and the dominance subsides.

With the small size of most hangouts (there’s usually 5 – 10 participants that say anything, several others that occasionally contribute, a few silent ones, and always people who have since left the game) that helps to limit drama.   This is supposed to be about supporting each other in the game, not hooking up or proving your dominance, but some people don’t get it.

And yet – because the real world is layered on here – I feel pretty close to some of the other players.   I’ve met several multiple times.    I consider them friends.   I talk to them often – usually in spurts depending on what plan me or someone is cooking up.   I have never felt close enough in Everquest2 etc to feel like a clanmate is a friend.

It’s an interesting and exciting experience.    Where will the “Hangout Clans” lead us in the future ?

(By the way – the fielding we had planned was successful over the Santa Clarita Valley.   Yay !)