Guild-y thoughts

In my opinion, the death of guilds is one of the saddest fallouts from the debacle that is WoD. I hasten to point out that I base this opinion on anecdotal evidence, I have no numbers or other hard facts, and I only see one server, so of course I could be wildly wrong in my observations. If you are on a server with a robust group of active guilds, I would love to hear about it. But my gut tells me that guilds are on the decline everywhere.

I think what started the decline was the removal, in Patch 6.0.2, of guild levels and some perks such as Cash Flow. Removing guild levels meant that all guilds — even single person bank guilds — immediately got the perks previously tied to levels attainment. In a direct sense this was not all that significant of a change, and it was kind of a boon to small guilds. But removing the link between guild level and perks removed a good basis for guild activities, and a tool for building a sense of shared accomplishments. It wasn’t a big deal, because there were still guild achievements to be done, but still it took away something from guild motivations.

Cash Flow was removed because — according to Blizz — there was a lot of abuse of it, mainly in the form of unscrupulous people creating guilds for the sole purpose of personally enriching themselves from the guild gold generated. When the perk was removed, Blizz said they would compensate guilds for the cash loss by increasing the BoE drop rate in raids.

Mmmmmhmm. Not only did the drop rate not increase noticeably, but the whole idea was flawed logic. First, not every guild had a viable raid team. Second, by the time BoE gear became “excess” to a raid team (that is, not a huge upgrade for someone), it had pretty much lost its auction house value.

Many guilds had become dependent on Cash Flow — for better or for worse — and had not only lost the skills to finance guild activities through other means, but had also created higher member expectations for universal repairs, providing profession mats, flasks and food, enchants and gems, etc. When the cash stopped rolling in, many guilds had to cut back on the freebies, causing a certain amount of member dissatisfaction.

Thus, many guilds went into WoD already somewhat weakened.

Once WoD went live and the initial excitement wore off (quickly), the hits to guilds continued. There was no world content that encouraged guild groups (like rare hunting in Mists, for example). There were no repeatable world bosses, and even after Blizz gave us a couple the gear they dropped was a one and done anyway. Valor had disappeared, eliminating any good reason to run guild heroics or scenarios every week. But of course there were also no scenarios.

There was little need to craft gear for guildies or for guild sale — anyone could craft their own lower level stuff with a garrison building, higher level stuff was simply too prohibitive in terms of soulbound mats and Savage Blood to just give it away, and you could only equip three items anyway. Even group mat gathering activities were pointless, given the fact that garrison mats were far easier to get. There were no dailies or weeklies to run, thus no reason to group up to make them less grindy.

Then many players just stopped logging in, or they had limited time to play and logged in only to run garrison chores and check missions. This was almost a death knell for social guilds, especially those that were struggling anyway. Even raiding guilds suffered, it became harder and harder to get even 10 people to show up for scheduled raids., Guilds that were already on life support died, and even previously healthy guilds were suddenly on life support. Recruitment yielded only minimal results, many people saw no reason to be in a guild, and few guilds could offer any real attractions for new recruits.

I don’t know if the whole guild concept is salvageable in this game, but I have a couple of suggestions to try and rescue it.

First, implement guild halls, on the idea of garrisons. These would be instanced content just as garrisons are, and would feature a guild hall like the garrison town hall. Guilds could display their achievements and Feats of Strength as banners and trophies. Guilds could increase the size of their guild hall areas through new achievements. Guild areas would have amenities, such as a bank, repair shops, guild vendor, party/pool area, a pub, an expanded bulletin board area, etc. — all earned through various guild achievements. Players in a guild would get a separate Guild hearthstone. There could even be something like a guild music channel, sort of a super-jukebox that would allow everyone in the guild to listen to the same guild hall music. There might be the introduction of guild legacy gear, which could be “checked out” from a special tab in the guild bank, permitting guildies to gain additional XP while leveling.

Second, put the halls in capitol cities. This would bring back a sense of faction and community to the game.

Third, bring back the guild summoning ability. With the planned elimination of flying, a summoning ability would go a long ways towards getting guilds back out in the world, because it would eliminate the “Aw, crap, we have to go all the way to Nagrand for that?” annoyances, and it would allow guilds to rapidly transport guildies to many out of the way places for various activities. Another possibility is to allow guilds to earn portals for their guild hall. Lots of portals, to every major city and to raid entrances. There might even be something called a mystery portal, the destination for which would change at random time intervals, introducing possibilities for fun guild outings.

Fourth, introduce guild gold-making activities. Things like guild weeklies and dailies beyond the current raid boss/heroic ones. They could include a gathering activity or maybe a rep activity. There could be a reintroduction of scenarios, with bonus gold for all-guild participation, maybe short scenarios that allow for 3-10 players. Bring back rares, allowing all-guild teams to hunt them. Set up some guild activities that would reward fun things like new music for the guild hall, or roaming guild mascots.

I’m sure there are tons of possibilities I haven’t thought of. The point is to bring back a sense of community, of fun, to the game. I don’t know about you, but I miss having active, engaged guilds, and I am tired of feeling like this has become a solo game. I want my community back, dammit!

What about you? What would you like to see in the game that would help to bring back guilds?

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: