Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guild Accomplishments in Cataclysm

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. 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?


  1. You bring up some interesting points. To be honest, I have to have a sit back and wait opinion. I am sure it will be fun and exciting to start, but then what will come? Dual specing for guilds that have one spec while raiding and one spec while leveling and one spec while just running around dancing?

    Personally, I find it kind of odd that Blizzard is giving us something like this. For some reason all I can see in my mind is an image of a therapist named Blizzard, trying to force small groups of friends to build into giant social networks all wanting to work towards the same big goal! Freudian? Maybe.. but for now, while it seems interesting because it's new (Ooo shiney toy to play with) I think it may make or break a lot of big guilds. Smaller guilds not so much but larger guilds? I can see trouble there.

    Having run a guild with over 300 people in it.. I am much happier with my guild of only 30 people now with lots of alts. I would not want the responsibility of the guild talent tree for an extremely large guild, or the picking of heirloom items. Guess we'll have to wait and see what mats will be required to make them.

  2. The only way I can see guild heirloom items not cause drama is when the heirloom item will become available to everybody in the guild at once.

    Recent blog:=- Guild Accomplishments in Cataclysm

  3. I'd have to agree with you. Anytime you have ONE item for many there is bound to be one kind of drama or another. Hence the usage of things such as DKP, and other Loot systems. To be fair though have we even seen any of the loot that will be guild heirloom? Just curious as I haven't seen any of the items yet.

  4. I haven't seen any, and I doubt that we will be seeing anything, any time soon.

    And I hope that MMO Champion will not spoil all the fun this time..but yeah

    Recent blog:=- Guild Accomplishments in Cataclysm

  5. If anything, I think this promotes the smaller guild aspect. Mathematically speaking, a 200 person guild grows at the same rate an active 20 person guild grows. If all 20 people in the small guild are pushing just as hard (it is possible), then they earn the same exp as the larger guild. In return, they have the same rewards... but fewer people to divide it between.

    Even the heirloom items promote smaller guilds. If you assume 10% of your players are leveling up alts, then that's 20 people in the large guild arguing for that one heirloom item... or 2 people. And in the case of 2 people, it's much more likely that Dick and Jane can put the item in the guild bank after every use and share it. Unless Dick forgets. Don't be a Dick.

    Patterns? Again, in a smaller guild you're probably much more likely to have that one superactive tradeskill whore who's always on and always available and has one of every profession. Guess who gets the pattern? (Okay, so our guild has three of them... but generally, we're all about splitting the patterns up between ourselves so it's still not a drama issue.)

    In the end, I see Cataclysm as promoting smaller, tighter guilds... and punishing guild hopping. Look at BC. The model was:

    1. Join small guild to level.
    2. Leave small guild to join small raiding guild.
    3. Raid Kara/Gruuls and get T4.
    4. Leave small raiding guild for mid level raiding guild.
    5. Raid SSC and get T5.
    6. Leave mid raiding guild and join large raiding guild.
    7. Raid BT/Mt. Hyjal.

    People were constantly jumping from guild to guild, taking things from the last guild that prevented that guild from progressing to new content. The only guilds that moved through content levels were the ones that managed to hang on to members. Those guilds that recruited members who had no loyalty lost those members and the gear that the guild as a whole sweat and bled for.

    Even LK was similar in the beginning. The only reason that changed was the advent of badge gear. Guilds that stayed in the same content long enough unlocked new gear through badges that would allow them into new content without needing new members.

    To me... Cataclysm seems to be reinforcing this through new mechanics. Its rewarding small guilds for staying together... and punishing guild hoppers.

    My two coppers.

    Shadus MacAoidh
    Shadow Council

  6. It just makes me curious if these items will be like simple ones that you use on alts more than mains. It might make a difference one way or another based on that.

  7. Hmm..I think you've got some good points there Shadus, I'll have to let it sink in a bit though :)

    As said, I am certain that Blizz is trying to do everything possible to not have this end up in social drama, but fiddling with the social part of the game is always a bit...scary.

    Theiya, I doubt that there will be guild heirloom items that you can actually use on your main. At least not in a raiding guild. But we'll have to see.

    Recent blog:=- Anub'Arak: Heroic Mode

  8. 1. the top 20 was chosen to prevent guilds with massive membership shooting to level 20 on release of cataclysm, and forever being ahead of smaller friendship guilds.

    2. Progress will not be limited to just raiding guilds, with daily quests for the honor of your guild being available for solo players and small groups, and crafting dailys allowing guild proffessionals to contribute.

    3. you seem to have misunderstood the guild heirloom system, it wont be a single heirloom, instead, as a guild levels, it will be able to use the new guild currency to purchase recipes and plans for its crafters to make the heirloom items. The crafter that has learned the item, can make the heirlooms and give them to anyone in the guild. however, if a player leaves the guild, and has guild heirlooms, the items return to the guild (im guessing an in-game mail to the guild master), and if the crafter leaves the guild, the crafter loses the recipe for the guild heirloom.

  9. The 20 people system is great of course, however, if you actually have it known who those 20 people are you can also put consequences on it as a guild. For example, the 20 best people will get extra DKP (boy am I glad we don't use this system), or loot councils can start taking this information into account when rewarding loot.

    Top 20 is fine, showing who those top 20 are might give problems, not saying it will, but there's options to do so.

    Then to the next point...the more the top 20 are spending time in the game, the more guild xp they would get, right? (lets assume they're doing useful stuff and not just chatter around in Dalaran for this). So a large guild is much more likely to have more people online with that time available then a small guild. So unless it is going to have some time spend in the calculation there, larger guilds will naturally have an advantage. Simply because a guild with 500 people is way more likely to have a couple of people at home with time to play at any given time than a guild with 25 people.

    So instead of rewarding the item to 1 person, you reward the pattern to make that item to 1 person. Or maybe they'll even make it so you will reward the pattern to all people with the same craft at once. Lets say your GM has a warrior main, what is to say that the first recipe chosen for with guild xp is not a BSing item that he can use? (Gosh, I wonder how engineering is going to fare...since our GM is an engineer, lol)

    I believe that Blizzard will stick all their smart developer heads together and try to think of every way in which this sort of stuff can be abused and cause troublet, but I also believe that the playerbase can unfortunately come up with more stupid shit then Blizzard can ever prevent.

    When the guild bank was first introduced I don't think Blizzard could ever have guessed the amount of guild banks that would be ninja-ed by the GM. Guilds having lost all of their funds because 1 member with permission decided to run off. Is this an affordable risk? Probably. It also probably weighs up against all the negatives of not having guild banks available, but there are very negative sides to it.

    Recent blog:=- Anub'Arak: Heroic Mode

  10. I think that Shadus overlooks some really key points (deliberately so?) It's true that small tight guild can do OK if--and only if--they can keep it together. But how likely is that to actually happen. Small guilds are much more vulnerable to defections or people quitting the game. The key strength of a large guild is it's robustness. It can handle adverse change whereas a small guild can't. So in the beginning there might indeed some small guilds that do well but over time these guilds will break up and where will the remnants go. To the big guilds. Why? Because the big guilds will be able to replace what they lost when their small guild broke up and they wont have to go back and start all over again. So I completely agree with Shy that in the long run there will be just a few big guilds. There may be the odd small guild that hangs tough but they will be the rarity not the normal.

    I agree that guild hopping is a problem. But I think it's the wrong solution to in essence bribe people to stay in guilds. All that does is make sure that the people in your guild are only there for the goodies (like heirloom items) and not because they are having fun. This does not build cohesion either to the group or to the game. And in the long run it can really undermine group commitment because it builds resentment. People play in the guild but only because they don't have a viable alternative.

    Finally, shy, there is a blue post where GC explicitly admits that the new guild system will increase social drama. As far as that post went, it seems that they believe that while it will increase the amount of QQ they think it's worth the tradeoff of making guilds a stronger paert of WoW.