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Are companies considered guilds?
yes, companies are Guilds in PFO.
They were meant to be similar to guilds in their concept. Right now with such low population and lack of distinctiveness, companies don't really stand out. Some are trying but settlements are closer to guilds than companies. IMO anyway.
Virtute et Armis
Duffy Swiftshadow
Are companies considered guilds?

They are the closet equivalent in PFO.

Players can belong to a company and a company may or may not belong to a settlement. Right now the benefits of a company joining a settlement are access to training beyond level 9, settlement vaults, all other settlement members turn blue (can't be attacked and immediate identification on mini-map), and under some conditions settlement members can come to your aid in a Feud without having to switch companies.

The most important mechanical aspect of a company is that they can generate and spend influence, a resource required to place Holdings and Outposts in a hex or attack another company without reputation penalties. However, the maximum amount of influence a company may have is based on that company's character population (there are diminishing returns). Newer players can generate bursts of influence pretty quickly and are fairly desirable for existing companies. Due to these mechanics it's mechanically (and socially) encouraging to join an existing company versus creating a new one if you are not going to reach enough members to start seeing the diminishing returns in the near future (around 30-40 characters).
The original intent was companies=guilds wheras settlements were more like an EVE alliance and kingdoms long term would be the equivalent of EVE coalitions like CFC or the Russians and companies could swap and change settlemetns as suited them (political ramifications not withstanding).

Some of the game mechanics and the in game player attitudes ("we will hate and pursue forever anyone attached to settlment xxxx" sort of stuff) have tended to make the main social structure in game the settlement at this early stage. Low player population has also contributed to this trend. Note that the feuding system is between companies though not settlements.
A lot of stuff is done at the settlement level – and we have settlement chat rather than company chat. When I log into the game and hop on our Mumble server, there are people there from several different companies with characters from multiple settlements, but I tend to think of all of them as my guild mates.

Someday with a much larger population companies will most likely expand to be more guild-like, but right now there are a lot of influence reasons to split into multiple companies that are too small to have a guild feel.
Cleric of Sarenrae
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