We looked at the emotional attachment to Eorzea in a prior suggestion box article, but there is another, perhaps equally, if not more, important aspect becoming emotionally tied to this game – attachments to other players. And what better way to attach yourself to other players than by joining a linkshell. The problem? Other than a chat window the current linkshell is not adding a whole lot to the mix… right now. No doubt Square Enix has great plans for the linkshell and the mysterious Company system. We heard back in November that companies will get some sort of ship and/or physical presence – but the details on that remain unknown. We’ve also recently heard about public Company quests – but again there are no real details. And we’ve seen The Lodestone get an update to include Linkshells, showing off member lists and a simple forum system.
But what else do we want? What other improvements to the Linkshell system do we expect? Here are a few to get the ball rolling.
1. A physical presence in-game for each linkshell. OK, this is cheating a bit as SE already suggested this one. But it would really make a huge difference. If you have a pearl you should have access to the guild hall. This would allow for a place to meet up. A place to trade and/or repair with your linkshell members. Maybe even a place to decorate together (if furniture were to be introduced). It is beyond question that when a group forms, they establish a place where they meet. This communal location not only assists with the practical issues of meeting one another, but it provides an emotional bond that often times ends up being the strongest bond created by the group and emotionally binds the members to the group itself.
2. Take the linkshell out of the game – that is, grant access to it while you are outside the game. The Lodestone starts this process, but doesn’t go nearly far enough. Chatting with people in game while you are logged into Lodestone would be a great way for people to stay involved even if not logged in. And it would benefit players in game as well – as they could chat with friends no matter whether their play schedules overlapped or not. Again – encouraging the emotional bond with members is critical – and allowing alternate avenues for this bonding would be a welcome addition.
3. Obviously linkshell administration options are missing. The ability to promote, demote, kick and invite from anywhere in the world would seem inevitable and necessary. With a constantly shifting player base this early in the game, ease of linkshell administration should be at the forefront. But this is not purely administrative – it would assists with the emotional attachment to the linkshells as well. Nothing is more depressing than logging in and finding an empty linkshell. Or being part of a linkshell with a host of “retired” members. The ability to easily add active players will lead to more active linkshells – which will lead to more active players.
4. Creating parties with linkshell members should be streamlined. Perhaps simple check-boxes on the member list would do it, but assuming that these are the guys and gals you will most often play with, creating a party together could be simplified. To many times I have used the in game party search feature only to find only parties with “linkshell only” in their description.
5. Linkshell events, or levesquests. The promotion of party play and playing with friends can be taken to another level. A linkshell levequest would be tons of fun, and would not only promote linkshells themselves, but also questing with those in your linkshells. Drops from these events could also be tailored to #1 above – meaning that massive and unique furniture items could be obtainable only from these events.
So those are a few ideas. What would you like to see added to the linkshell system?