Social Obligation / Guilds

To avoid letting down your friends, you are obligated to play when you don't want to.

Many massively multiplayer online (MMO) games allow people to band together into groups, sometimes called teams, guilds, clans or factions. Often, much of the game is inaccessible until you have joined a guild, making it somewhat mandatory to play as part of a team. For many games of this type, solo-play is not an option.

If you have joined a guild, or if you have linked your friends into the game via a social pyramid scheme, you may start to feel social pressure to play the game more than you would have otherwise. If your team is depending on you to pull your weight in the game, you will play out of sense of obligation rather than a sense of enjoyment. The game becomes a chore and it becomes difficult to stop playing because you would be disappointing your friends.

This is often combined with the Playing by Appointment dark pattern. For example, the team may have a raid or other event scheduled for 10:00am. Because players don't want to let their team down, they may rearrange their schedule or play the game when they should be at work or doing something else important. A player on vacation may be desperate to find a WiFi connection so they can login and support their team.

Sometimes social obligation can be combined with the Pay to Win dark pattern. If your team is highly competitive and other team members are spending money to purchase the best items, there is a strong social pressure for you to also spend money to acquire the same items. You don't want to be seen as a slacker who isn't pulling their own weight. It isn't unheard of for the top guilds in some games to have a requirement of spending a certain amount per month on the game.

The feeling of obligation to someone else is a very strong motivator to play the game and can cause a lot of stress for the player.


Honkai Impact 3rd Honkai Impact 3rd
"Guilds are called Armadas."

"Notifications will tell you that your friend is waiting for you to play or that they've nudged you or that your game is about to expire. This is true of strangers as well who have challenged you to a game."

Infinite Lagrange Infinite Lagrange
"Players group up to take big objectives, lots of pressure to keep playing"

Dungeon Crusher: Soul Hunters Dungeon Crusher: Soul Hunters
"Guilds generally require participation, and high-level guilds especially will demand constant play."

Cookie Run: OvenBreak Cookie Run: OvenBreak
"There is a guild system with a "Guild Run" that can be done every few days that provides unique rewards."

Through the Ages Through the Ages
"If you start a game with time limits of 1 day per turn, you need to take a turn every day. It allows you to select a slower cadence or no time limit though."

Fate/Grand Order (English) Fate/Grand Order (English)
"Players can share their servants with other players, and you are rewarded whenever somebody uses one of your servants. The game's frequent events encourage players to change their support roster to fit the current event to provide other players with relevant bonuses. As you can only have a limited number of friends, it is beneficial for players to unfriend people who are not playing regularly or updating their support roster."

Legend of the phoenix Legend of the phoenix
"Players join guilds Guilds are then ranked against each other There are multiple "guild battles" per week, in addition to a timed ranking of guilds called Palace Celebrity"

ISEKAI:Demon Waifu ISEKAI:Demon Waifu
"Non-participating guild members lower score"

Old School RuneScape Old School RuneScape
"Guilds/player groups exist but there's no exclusive content and no obligation to participate. They're mostly just a chat channel."