To be honest, this is more of an observation than a suggestion but the intent is change so ...

I've seen a trend in most of todays recent mmo guild structures and think it bears mentioning so that perhaps a change for the better can be made. Mind you, the below is my opinion based on what I've seen through my time in the various games [EQ, EQ2, WoW, Lineage2, Horizons, AoC, Aion, FFXI etc] and as such are generalities, there are exceptions to be sure.

It's rather common that a guild created in an older game, say EQ era or even EQ2/WoW (both released within a month of each other) will create a splinter of said guild in each new game to come out for those interested in playing "game x".

These splinters if you will, then tend to be somewhat insular in nature when they have the numbers to get started, again game dependant. In that they tend to be friends or friendly with each other, they will group exclusively and level accordingly. How many threads do you see decrying the fail of pugs right? Eventually, a portion of this playerbase will retreat to the game they came from citing any number of reasons, the majority being the time investment of said other game. As this happens, the splinter will then tend to attempt to recruit members from the active game's playerbase, however by this time, most other players are already in a guild, perhaps even another similar splinter guild. The fallout from this tends to result in more people leaving since a larger percentage of each server is guilded and thus uninterested in grabbing a "pugger".

Counter to the splinter culture is the idealist that creates his or her own new guild in "game x" that will be better than the last guild they were in due to the lessons learned etc and said guild scoops up a portion of the playerbase that agrees with and hopes for the same desires. Again these groups of people face that same issue of people leaving for the previous game or for any other reason once either the game or the guild is not meeting their expectations.

It's important to note that I'm not speaking against people making any of these decisions, I wholeheartedly support the idea that its anyone's individual right to choose to play or not play the game according to their own rules as long as those rules coincide with the ToS. If you don't enjoy a game, then you're a fool to continue paying and playing imo. There's a slew of ways to keep in touch with friends around the world that are free and accessible.

Now the big issue, as I see it, is that guilds are very important to mmo gameplay, but the vast number of small to really small guilds with similar intentions are counter to mmo success as the number of people that end up being guided, not driven, out of said games by the consequences ultimately takes money away from the development of the game.

Unfortunately I don't have an idea to fix that without stepping on the toes and rights of each individual. It would be nice if there was a way to actively track guilds and their credo and perhaps notification from, in this case, Trion that guild_2305 has only 5 active accounts (define active somehow) and guild_43903 has the same focus (define said foci) ... notifications sent to each guildleader to consider merging said guilds.

There's a number of issues there to be ironed out, to me it would make more sense for the guilds in question to be close in population, tossing a close knit guild of 5-10 people into another of 250+ would have its own share of problems, but then again as long as it was simply a suggestion and an opening of dialogue, it couldn't hurt. I beleive LoTRO had/has a mechanic such that every guild in game has a page on the official website where members can blog or share information with the general public in a way that is different than a traditional recruitment thread.

Anyway, that's my thought based on experiences in those newer games where ultimately a very big portion of my decision to cancel my sub there was driven by the decline of the guilds in each game. In some they were splinters of my original EQ guild, in some they were splinters of other people's older game guilds, and in the rest they were brand new guilds founded on similar principles.

Theoretically I could be alone in these observations and it could all be me lol, but I don't think so. Obviously each server in each game does tend to have some long lasting guilds, however I would venture those same guilds have 50+ active players in order to keep people staying active.