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Officers' Quarters: Cataclysm's guild revamp -- leveling and talents

Last week I talked about the massive guild overhaul unveiled at BlizzCon, and the impact these changes would have on guilds, for better or worse. This week I'd like to delve into the leveling system and guild talents. (I'll cover achievements and guild currency in a separate column later.)

Currently we know that guilds will level up as players participate in the following:
  • Boss kills
  • Rated battlegrounds and arenas
  • Leveling professions
  • Increasing faction reputations
Blizzard has stated that only the top 20 experience producers per day will count toward leveling. This is a smart idea. Without this limitation, I could easily see guilds recruiting every player possible just to level up quickly, and then discarding the players they don't really want once they hit level 20. Guild size should help in a small way, but it shouldn't be the determining factor of leveling progress.

One other factor I'd like see contribute to guild leveling is player achievements. Many of them, particularly for Heroic dungeons and raiding, are very difficult to get without a solid guild. Aside from a few vanity items along the way, there's no great reward for racking up a ton of achievement points. Yet, well-designed achievements (i.e., not the exploring or holiday achievements) demonstrate mastery of various aspects of the game. Shouldn't your guild be rewarded for having such players? Besides, it never hurts to give players more incentive to go out and /love some squirrels.
Currently, we have no idea how long it will take the average guild to level. I'd like to see a very slow leveling curve for guilds. It would be a disappointment if a guild could ding max level in just a few months. A level-20 guild should really stand out as a long-lived and accomplished guild. I'd be ecstatic if it took as long as a year or more to hit max guild level.

Once you reach that point, a guild should stand out visually from other guilds, either with new tabards that look very different from regular tabards, or some other type of heraldry. It should be immediately apparent that you belong to a highly successful, max-level guild.

Of course, the talents should be a big reward for your time investment as well. Let's look at the possible talents mentioned at BlizzCon:
  • Remove reagent requirements for raid-wide buffs (Apply this to pally buffs, too, please!)
  • Gold from experience- or honor-earning targets increased by 10%
  • Repair bills reduced by 10%
  • Summon your entire raid
  • Mass resurrection
And, based on the screenshot above, something to do with beer . . .

These talents all make sense. They're simple and expected, and many guild will take them.
Here are more talents that I'd like to see.
  • A small speed boost for mounted players: Riding Crops for everyone!
  • Increased reputation gains: It's always been the most grindy aspect of the game. Why not cut down on some of the tedium?
  • Increased daily quest cap: Five more quests wouldn't be a huge deal.
  • More items per node from gathering professions and fishing or increased chances of rare items from gathering professions and fishing: I think it's a good idea to support the people who spend time farming mats.
  • Guild bulletin board: I'm not asking for a guild hall. Any type of housing has been firmly nixed by Blizzard, so I won't ask for it. But as part of the bank, a bulletin board to post guild news and screenshots would be very helpful. The board could also advertise items people need or can make. The board could have interactive functionality so that if someone makes a request, you can click on that request with the necessary items in your inventory, and your items will be mailed to them. Doing so will earn guild experience.
  • New perks for each class: One talent could give new buffs, abilities, or other perks to all 10 classes. These perks wouldn't be something to increase your raid performance, but rather something for convenience or vanity. For example, there could be a Totem of Underwater Breathing that would apply this normally single-target buff to your group. Mages could get a group buff for Amplify Magic. Hunters could tame a unique type of pet or get a new visual effect for their shots. Druids could get new hair color options that match the guild tabard. Speaking of tabards . . .
  • Add gem sockets to your tabard that hold a new type of guild gem, purchasable with guild currency. These gems wouldn't add raw stats, but would instead increase the guild experience that you earn for specific activities. For example, one type of gem would add 10% more guild experience for profession gains. Or they could enhance a perk obtained from other talents, like 12% more gold from enemies rather than 10%. Either way, it would be great to provide a reason to wear the guild tabard. Between reputation-gain tabards and now teleport tabards, guild tabards are looking pretty lackluster these days.
And here are some that I don't want to see:
  • Increased player experience/honor gain: I could see people joining guilds for faster leveling and then leaving as soon as they ding 85. Or joining till they can grind out their max-level PvP trinket. Reputation gains aren't as critical as these two methods of player advancement, so I don't see people abusing the system for that, but they can and will abuse it for leveling or honor farming.
  • Extra loot or extra badges from bosses: Again, this type of player advancement is too critical to allow it to be modified by guild talents. A talent like this would torpedo new or struggling guilds.
  • Access to unique content: I'm torn on this one, but ultimately I feel like it would be bad for the game. Blizzard has tended toward making the vast majority of content available to most players in the last expansion, and I believe that's a good thing. For bosses like Algalon, guilds should have to earn it through hard modes, not by leveling.
Finally, I'd like to see the talents tied to ranks somehow. Higher ranks should receive more benefit from certain talents. Doing so will reward players for staying loyal to a guild. If all talents apply to all members, no matter how new, then we'll only see more guild-hopping than we do now (which is already a lot).

WoW.com offers a plethora of information on guild leadership and guild membership. Be sure to check out Scott Andrew's Weekly Column Officer's Quarters and keep an eye on the community with Mike Schramm's Guildwatch.

How do you think guild leveling should work? What talents would you like to see? What talents don't you want to see? Tell us below!

/salute

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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