Community is the most important aspect of Massive Online Games. Without community there would be no reason to have the game online in the first place. In the beginning massive online game designers probably knew this but they rarely took advantage of it. If community is what sets these games appart from others, then should the communities of the game be part of the focus? Shouldn't the game make player communities important?
This isn't a revolutionary idea, in my opinion. Look around at the “next generation” of massive online games and you'll see that most of those games at least recognize player organizations in a token way. A few have taken it to the level that we desire here, and in fact we've learned quite a bit from those efforts.
There are three main categories of player groupings in Dark Frontier. Those categories are party, posse, and confederacy.
The party is the simplest of the three groups and is probably the first type of group the player will ever encounter. Parties are often spontanious, informal, and temporary groupings of players. Usually players join parties because they momentarily share the same goals, whether it be traveling to the same destination or fighting the same monsters. The advantages of a party are that it makes it easier to keep track of the other players within the party. Their location and status is visible to the player and they can even communicate on a less public channel to make planning and cooperation easier. A player is part of a party until he chooses to leave the party or logs off of the game. Anyone in the party can invite additional members to the party, but rewards are split among party members so larger parties are less profitible.
The posse is basically the next step up from a party. A posse is similar to a party but it represents a more permanent organization. When you log off of the game, your character still is a member of his or her posse. Players usually form a posse because they have a longer lasting relationship with other posse members. Because of this, posses usually have a more formal structure, as noted below.
A confederacy is the highest form of organization available in Dark Frontier. Every posse has the option of joining a confederacy, even from the point of its creation. Also, any player who is a commander of a posse can start a confederacy by registering it at a Sanctuary and paying a small fee. By doing so he becomes the marshall of the new confederacy. He is responsible for naming the confederacy and sending out any initial invitations to other posses. A confederacy is a very public organization and any posse can find a list of all existing confederacies and apply to join. Just because a posse applies to join the confederacy doesn't mean it must be accepted.
Confederacies are needed to possess and control Sanctuaries and the towns associated with them.