More information is leaking through about the new system for guilds in Cataclysm. Information mostly being picked up here and there from what Blizzard is willing to let slip, and I have to say that I'm a bit divided on it so far.
So far it seems that as a guild you will be able to gain xp and with that xp you will sort of level up, and gain talent points. That xp will come from the top 20 earners in the guild each week, and it will not carry over into next week.
Here's the first massive problem I can see coming up. Top 20 earners...this tells me that they will also give that data to the guild so everybody will know whom it is that the guild has to thank their xp to that week.
(I find top 20 odd, since the 25mans are at least 25, right? where does 20 come from? 5man, 10man, 25man. And if you're in that 25man every person is considered as valuable, right?)
This leaves a lot of room for guilds to actually put in things that will favour those 20 people. I can see it happening that guilds will connect guild heirloom items directly to how often you've shown up in this list and how high.
Which makes me go to another subject..guild heirlooms. Wow...so uhm, in a guild of say 100 main characters you have to somehow decide who gets the one heirloom? I sure hope that it's not going to be like that. Because no matter how you do this there is no fair way as a guildleader to decide who gets the heirloom item.
And how about those guild patterns that we should get if all the information is correct. How do you decide who gets these? Do they go to the person who's always there? This favours someone who has a lot of time on their hands, and doesn't really promote laid back play.
If this is not done right there is a lot of space for arguments, and I think that there will be quite a few guilds that will break up and reform. And all those little guilds that keep popping up? Those will be at a massive disadvantage. They will be far behind in the guild levelling curve, meaning that their members aren't likely going to be happy with that.
I can see that every guild that breaks up that consists of people wanting to raid will find that its members will go to existing guilds. Those existing guilds will grow excessively, and only the very casual guild can stay small. (as in those guilds who don't care about any type of progression).
On the other hand, I'm convinced that Blizzard has thought about this, and is not just doing something. So they must be thinking about ways to prevent the social structure in their game to fall apart while implementing this. Maybe you won't be able to see who the top 20 earners were, or maybe only the officers can see. Maybe they are purposely opting for few big guilds, instead of a lot of small splinter guilds.
The fact that when you leave the guild, the heirloom item will automatically pop back into the bank tells me that they too think about the sorts of things that can possibly go wrong with this.
I guess the thing I'm most worried about is that not even Blizzard can foresee all of the stuff that can go wrong, and that things go massively wrong before they can be turned right. This is after all the social structure that is being fiddled with, and I firmly believe that it's the social structure that is holding this game up in the air. (many other cool games, but my friends are here).
So what do you think will we see guild break ups, and excessive guild growth for the guilds with lots of guild xp? Or will it all work out fine and is this going to be the best thing that ever happened?