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WoW: Guild Advancement in Cataclysm
Guild Advancement is one of the many new and exciting features Blizzard announced during Blizzcon 2009. While some have already dismissed it as a clone of the guild advancement systems already available in other games, I have higher hopes, as Blizzard has a way of taking the best of an idea, combining it with something new and bringing us something that is truly exceptional.
The information we have so far is not complete, and therefore makes it hard to determine if the guild advancement system will be good, bad, or somewhere in between. However, looking at what we do know about it can give us a general idea of what’s in store. Here is what we know so far about the guild advancement system:
Guild Advancement will allow guilds to level in the same way characters do. There will be 20 levels that a guild can progress through, with experience being gained through guild member participation in various guild activities. To earn experience in PvP and raids the group must consist of at least 75% guild members. The in game guild frame will be redone to allow for management of these changes. An achievements menu will be added where guild achievements may be viewed. The in game Looking for Guild tool will also be revamped and be made to function more like the Looking for Group tool.
Known activities that earn your guild experience:
- Individual player’s faction reputation advancement
- Rated Battleground or Arena wins
- Boss kills
- Individual player’s profession progression
Guild experience (unlike player experience) can take the form of currency which can be used to buy items. The items purchased with this currency are bound to the guild, which means if you own one of these items, and then leave the guild the item will be returned to the guild bank.
Possible guild bound items:
- Guild standard
- Heirloom items
- Rare reagents
- Vanity items
- Guild bank tabs
- Guild talent respecs
- Profession plans
Upon gaining each level guilds will also be awarded one talent point. This point can be used to purchase a guild-wide talent. These talents will, instead of aiding a single player, aid the guild as a whole. None of the guild talents will be required to kill any bosses.
Possible guild talent abilities:
- Increased benefits from potions
- Percentage of boss’s gold garnished by the guild bank (also increases the amount of gold the boss will drop, so the gold received by players will not lessen)>
- Increased gold drops from mobs
- Mass resurrection
- No reagents required for raid buffs
- Raid summons
Guilds will also be granted the ability to gain achievements for the completion of various goals.
Guild achievements currently known are:
- Completing a raid instance
- Obtaining a legendary item
- Killing bosses
- Obtaining a certain number of members
- Having a Grand Master in every profession
From the information above the Guild Advancement system will drastically change how players view being in a guild. While most players are in guilds, there is really no incentive to be in one, or to remain there. The Guild Advancement system will reward players for two very desirable modes of behavior: collaboration and loyalty.
This should drastically reduce the numbers of those (rather annoying) players who hop from guild to guild, sucking up as much loot as possible before ninja transferring the next day. It should also give players the sense of being part of something bigger, therefore making being in a guild, and striving to do things to make that guild better more appealing as each player in the guild will be reaping the benefits.
While there is some concern that this system will in essence destroy smaller guilds, and encourage players to seek out larger guilds, Blizzard seems to have foreseen this. Only the top twenty achievers of the day in a given guild will be taken into account. This will still allow bigger guilds to benefit more, but not by nearly as much. A small highly active guild should advance far more quickly than a slow moving large guild (or vice versa) as long as Blizzard does things right.
This can be a slippery slope. If all players in a guild can gain the rewards from the work of those top 20 players, then without a doubt there will be people who take advantage of that. Players may join guilds just to gain the benefits, without any real intentions of participating in the work that it will take to achieve them. The tracking feature will allow the guild to see who is participating and who directly benefits from it, however this may not be enough to stem the tide of freeloaders.
There is also concern that guild advancement will define exactly what a good guild is, making it so a “good” guild is only considered to be one that follows certain behaviors that directly relate to PvP or PvE. This clearly leaves out strictly social guilds, RP guilds, and leveling guilds.
While I can see the concern I might argue that defining what a good guild is has happened since the beginning of WoW. Raid or PvP progression has always been the standard by which guilds are judged. However I’m not sure if there is anything to be done about it; how can niceness, helpfulness, or even good RP be measured? The best that can be hoped for is a system that does not unfairly penalize such guilds. I personally would love to see Blizzard add more options that would allow these guilds to participate more. Perhaps something along the lines of quest completion, or gold making?
Good or bad (hopefully good) guild advancement is coming, and it promises to shake the very foundations of guilds as we know them. While we may sit around and speculate, until Cataclysm and we see the guild advancement system in action we cannot truly know if Blizzard’s newest addition will be a success or a failure. Blizzard is notorious for making changes right up until the deadline so what we know now may be vastly different from what we actually see in game (wtb guild halls).