What I Dislike About Guilds

In my Baldur’s Gate review, I referenced The Elder Scrolls’s guilds briefly, though I didn’t want to go into detail and pull the focus away from the topic at hand – a Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced review.
As I stated, Baldur’s Gate has no joinable factions to give out the many miscellaneous quests, though I didn’t mind that, because TES guilds can detract from the central story of the game.
In each of the TES games, there are a handful of guilds that the player can join in addition to the many unjoinable guilds. Each of these guilds naturally has their own little story and plot line to tell, which while good on their own, can sometimes take away from the flow of the story for other guilds or the main story.
Each of the story lines, save for Morrowind’s main quest where Blades Spymaster Caius Cosades actually commands that you leave him to take part in local matters and work with guilds, there is no natural break to leave and focus on the guilds, in my opinion. Each main story, particularly in Oblivion and Skyrim, are written – and succeed in – conveying a sense of urgency. That the player needs to move promptly and quickly to solve these province shaking issues.
For me, especially as a role-player, if I do the main quest, it logically makes sense that the player would immediately give Jauffre the Amulet of Kings, would then immediately proceed to rescue Martin, and so forth. Yet, the player can walk away at any time, spend weeks or months tangling themselves in the intrigue of guild life with goals that carry on as if there weren’t dragons harassing everyone every ten steps, and as if there were no threat of a Daedric invasion, a counter-attack to reclaim Kvatch and Martin from the Kvatch Guard as he waits on the player to find him and reveal who he is, and so on.
You can leave without retribution, and then forget what was happening, because you have several unrelated stories, each of which demanding they receive immediate or near immediate attention from the player.
In Baldur’s Gate, on the other hand, there is the one main story. The miscellaneous side quests have no bearing on it, and are something that the player can do on the way to another objective, then return whenever they fancy without any loss to roleplaying. You are basically told “Do it when you please, and return when you please, it makes no difference”, rather than “Do it now!”, and then you leave and don’t do it until Hearthfire of 3E 335, at which point it’s no longer necessary.

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