After a side comment by Karen, on the Shut Up, We're Talking podcast ep #55, about how the role of guilds are falling by the sideline in way of PUG's where you used to be in a guild for primarily raiding and gear centric purposes, and now game mechanics are allowing for PUG's to do this also.
So what's left for guilds?
As it stands, they seem more like glorified chat channels, there only for social rather than practical purposes.
While I admit, I'm not the most social person in the world, but I can definitely see the degradation of guilds in MMO's.
Now, where would I like to see them go in the future?
Well, obviously somewhere with more practical uses.
And of coarse, I'm going to bring up the game by the only people who always seem be ahead of the curve, EVE Online by CCP. (yeah, I'm a fanboy, bite me)
In EVE, while solo gameplay is quite boring (understatement), group content and corporations (guilds) are exceedingly good, allowing the corp to do damn near anything they want, from mission running, to full on conquest with real, meaningful war.
Being in a corp in EVE, is a critical component of the game. You just can't do anything meaningful with a PUG. (while I have never even heard of a PUG in EVE)
And solo content is again, boring and limited. But in a corp, the skies the limit.
But it could be better.
I'll add in here a part of my response on the SU,WT podcast to give you an idea of where I would like to see where guilds go in the future.
"Like building stuff, like a Keep for example. Say in a world whey you can build stuff, and that stuff can also be destroyed by other players, and there is a real, tangible and tactical reason for building stuff. (so like the real world then)
You and your guild could own a section of land, and in order to better fortify you position and stockpile goods, you go abouts building a keep. The task would require you to gather resources, use them to build the building piece by piece over the course of several days, or weeks (depending on how many hands you have), all the while protecting it from assault by rival groups and NPC mobs.
And even when built, you have to continue to guard it, maintain it, or risk it being captured or destroyed. And not in a perpetual tug of war sense either.
I mean once it's gone, it's bloody well gone. Then you would have to start over from scratch if that's the case."
The idea being for guilds to actively fight over limited space and resources, and build military and civilian building and infrastructure, as to support themselves and others as they see fit.
But at the same time, defend what they have.
And this will be, I think, beyond the abilities of both solo, small group content, or PUG's of any size, due to the time and coordination required.
Being able to shape the world as you see fit, what a more fitting purpose for a guild could there be?
As for how this could be worked into EVE, I would like for sovereignty turn into Command & Conquer in space, literary. Where you can, but don't necessarily need to, build various buildings that serve certain roles, allowing you and your corp to build a base to your needs.
Then you could use that base to expand or conduct activities you otherwise wouldn't be able to.
Rather than be solely about fleet engagements.
Just my 2 cents.
But that would be a nice future for guilds, don't you think?