Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
World of Warcraft and guilds
Published on July 4, 2005 By Draginol In WoW

Guilds, as a general concept, are terrific for Massively Multiplayer games.  And nearly all regular players in WoW are in some sort of guild.

The problem, in my view, with guilds is that they don't have enough tools to organize events, manage resources, and etc. 

As a guild leader, I really don't have much real power. I can kick people out, promote people, and so forth.  But it's not like I have in-game power to resolve disputes over loot or try to provide "stuff" for new members, but there's nothing built in.

This leads to one of my frustrations, ones shared by my officers and that is the problem with people abandoning the guild to form new guilds.  It's incredibly frustrating to equip some new guy only to have him leave a week or two later to create his own guild - often dragging away a few other members.  Our guild's officers have run into this regularly.  They'll spend time helping leveling up members, providing them good equipment and then they'll turn around and leave.

What I'd like to see would be:

1) A taxation system.  Once someone joins the guild, 1% of the money they earn goes to the guild master and 2% is split amongst the officers equally. This allows the officers and guild master to distribute gold and purchase equipment for new members without having to dig into ones own pocket completely to help those users.

2) A exit guild cost.  There should be a cost to leave a guild that is based on what level you are and your rank within the guild.  If you're a level 60 officer in a guild then there should be some sort of stiff price to pay to do so.  It might give some people pause for thought before leaving and taking 30 buddies with them to start some other guild.

3) Punishment system.  There should be some way for guild masters and guild officres to punish users who have caued harm. Nothing particularly annoying and I don't even know what  the punishments should be per se. But there should be some way for the guild master and officers to enforce the guild's rules/charters/covenanet/what have you. Right now, other than kicking them out, there's not much you can do.


on Jul 05, 2005
Some interesting thoughts here, Brad...I like the idea of a tithe, but the problem is that people might not join guilds in the first place if their leader is going to keep all of the funds. What really needs to be set up is a Guild Bank Account. The Leader can then authorize withdrawals from it, and also items, etc, that need to be stored can be accessed by all members. Perhaps permissions that would bar certain level of guild members from accessing certain items would be wise here too. i.e., only officers could get some good items, but others are open to all. This needs to be implemented along with houses in cities...I remember the pinnacle of MUDs was getting your own house and filling it with stuff, so I think the dev team needs to get the ball rolling on that.

The problem, in my view, with guilds is that they don't have enough tools to organize events, manage resources, and etc.

I agree wholeheartedly! My guild (Destiny's Bane) had a raid on Astranaar one night, and it took at least an hour just to gather everyone up and tell them what's going on. What can be done to correct this? Well maybe the Guild Leader could buy some sort of new Hearthstone that summons everyone to one location at the same time. Another problem is with the chat system. I feel that the leader of a raid or of a group should be able to mute all other users or his text only appears differently. A problem with the raid that night (and with a few others I've watched, but especially in the Battlegrounds too) is that no one has a general on the field, everyone does his or her own thing in the fray. Someone needs to be the commander and giving orders to people, and the Chat system needs a revamp to correct that. Also a better bulletin board system needs to be implemented in game. One MOTD is not enough. It's pitiful. Let's say I want to ask the guild blacksmith what he needs to make me a new dagger, and I'm no wheres near a mailbox. Why does it have to be so tough to communicate? If there was a forum in the Social box for each guild I think that would help immensely. Or this bulletin board could simply be placed within the guild hall.

Number 2 can't be done imo, especially when people join guilds just for the free money. It should be a bunch of friends that you're making your guild with, not a business partner or for a deal. I see in General chat all of the time "JOIN MY GUILD, YOU CAN LEAVE RIGHT AFTER IT'S FORMED IF YOU WANT." The overall structure of guilds and how they are formed probably needs to be remade for this to work.

As for punishment, Blizzard needs to get some moderation down on an overall scale before that can happen. I've never seen a GM, and although I haven't been playing for very long I feel that if there were more and if their presence was known perhaps the servers would be a little less chaotic.

Once again I'll invite you to the Horde on Skullcrusher's a whole different experience, believe me
on Jul 05, 2005
Punishments and controls will only go so far. A tax on leaving only hurts if someone doesn't have much cash, and doesn't even begin to make up the value in lost equipment. If someone is jumping to a new guild or forming their own, chances are there's enough money on the other side to soften the blow and make the punishment ineffective.

An income tax would kill guilds out-right. I don't care about the benefits of a guild, if I automatically lose money for being in one, I'm out. Maybe something like a Guild Store where people buy items put up by other guild members... sorta a mini-AH and half the money goes to the seller, half to the guild. That way it's a voluntary system and provides a solid service to the guild.

On the larger issue of guild management tools... I'd like to see Blizzard (or any dev making an MMO) add the following:
-Guild Storage
A special NPC at the bank could provide access to the guild storage vault. Guild pays a few gold a month for the service and they're given a bank slot just like characters do, with the buyable bag slots and all. Guild officers are the only ones who can access it. It should also have the ability to store money, so there's a fund separate from anyone's personal stash.

-Guild Event Calendar
A calendar to list game events on. Provide the functionality to sign-up for adventures or raids or instances. It would be nice to pull up a window to see who all has joined my Blackrock Depths run next weekend. An additional bonus would be to be able to specify classes and level ranges. So for BRD I'd post an entry asking for 4 people level 55 and above. At least one mage, one priest and a warlock. Last slot "free" Would make organizing runs a lot easier.

-Guild Hall
Someday, when they eventually add player housing, it'd be cool to have a guild hall available to gather everyone in before setting out on a raid or whatever. Maybe make it an option off of your Hearthstone to get back to.
on Jul 05, 2005
After 6 months of Horde on Skullcrusher, went from guild of friends ( one of whom is now my boss at a sweet new job!) to a merge with a larger guild for end-game raiding, to a split-up over runaway racist garbage in nothing. I followed the 'good half' to Smolderthorn Horde where the ratio is a bit better - but the same damn thing just happened...and I dragged my buds there with me! Not much incentive to invest in a guild when you might get abandoned like that.

My point is that I've seen a ton of dynamicism in the guild scene over three servers - and at least one fracture was due to selfish behavior that resulted in an unpopular ejection of a player.

Guild Glue: The persistent group property idea is great. More recognition for guild-wise accomplishments. Voluntary contributions work better than an automatic/mandatory tithe, I think - unless you have a lot of trust and verification the guild founder isn't ebay'ing the treasury (seen that happen, man!)

Game interface: Lots of room for improvement, the pvp raiding is chaos even with voicecomm and plug-ins...I'd love to see an interactive strat map like what Tribes/Tribes2 had.
on Jul 05, 2005
I went through the guild-split thing too a few months back. We had the largest Alliance guild on the server... but as people hit 60, they wanted nothing to do with anyone below them and tried to force the guild into a raid-only guild... at times even hinting at the idea of booting the sub-60 players. Well, the shite hit the fan eventually and the whole thing crumbled. When that happened, my group of friends that I bounce from MMO to MMO with and I decided to form our own guild again. There are maybe 20 of us... and we just play for fun. We're not into the hierarchy or any of that crap. Our objective is to just have fun. We only formed a new guild (Lemming Adventure Group) so we could use the guild channel to chat with each other easily.

Large guilds where just about anyone is let in always tend to fall apart as they get larger/older. You are best off to find a group of people who share your attitude and playstyle and just stick with them from game to game. It's made my experience a lot easier
on Jul 05, 2005
In the past, someone entering a social group would need to give to garranty. Oath, allegiance of other kind, hefty penalties, repuration-based societies would let unreputable elements out of reputable ranks, and now our societies generally go with contracts.... Someone which would engage towards a master would also have to give something in return. I'm sure that someone can easily look at this and find solutions which are just natural...

About organizing alliances, I think that having a choice about the structure of the alliance might have an impact. There of course is the military-style one: ranks with officers and so on. But there are also some where the most engaged ones have votes with or without a single ruler (a bit like Renaissance-style cities perhaps?), and of course looser alliances with each person a certain power and certain engagements (help your friend...).

It's also a matter of tools given to those into an alliance. Kick, mute, and so on are okay. But there might be more: distribute goods and rights, give X for each act of this or that kind (bounties, attacking enemies successfully or helping others for example), and certainly many other possibilities.

The alliances and guilds in their present state are generally just a group. They can obviously be alot more as they are already in some web-based games.
on Jul 05, 2005
Zoomba: I'm with ya man. I've been playing 'shepherd' to my group of r/l friends who play casually at best. We simply don't belong in a pve or pvp raid oriented guild. Problem is that you get to lv 50 or so and start suffering for not having the support that Draginol mentioned. It's a trade-off where everyone should be happy - guilds *should* have some kind of collective power or glue.

While I'd love to truck on up to 60 quickly, I end up as the leader of a 'resident perma-newb' sub-guild inside a larger guild...that's just not right. Plenty of alts now, and I figure I'll take one of em up the ladder. A social guild is the way to go until we have something to offer besides chatter in the guild channel.
on Jul 05, 2005
I have been in and out of so many guilds now it has become hard to count. I finally found a good home at Obsidian Skies.

A tithe would completely turn me off from even joining a guild. Knowing that a percentage of my gold goes to someone else whether they earned it or not would irk me to no end. As a poster above me stated, I could really care less what they do for me, I just want to have fun.

I like the idea of a guild bank if you have a small enough guild where you could trust everyone in it. Otherwise you would get those scumbags just taking stuff to sell as vendor fodder or on the AH. There would have to be some way to see who takes what and to put restrictions on certain items.
on Jul 05, 2005
About this newb vs serious players, I think that it might not be right to give the same rights to all. This is why we often see "elite" (or self-assessed elite) guilds being quite small and with restrictive access but having a kind of satellite guild with many members and being used as a place from which to pick good apples (simply those interested just as much as those in the main guild). If you are not investing into administrating the guild and verything, I guess it is normal that you might not manage its little secrets generally kept by a bunch of active members, so it might also be the same for other goodies.
on Jul 05, 2005
Being an officer in MYTH Inc., and having witnessed its two guild splits, I agree that something needs to be done by Blizzard to allow better management of said guilds. However, we as guild leaders and officers need to protect ourselves too. As such, the onus is on us to make sure we recruit the right people. Rather than going on massive recruitment programs when starting up, or when recovering from a mass exodus, guild officials should ensure that the candidate has the right personality to fit the guild. This applies to both raid-oriented guilds and no-pressure guilds. This can only be done by playing along side them a bit, and by establishing a serious “initiate” program.

I strongly believe that no one should be introduced into a guild without some form of ceremony, whether in-game or online. Something where the candidate solemnly vows to maintain the guild’s agenda and to remain loyal through thick and thin. This alone will weed out many of the bottom-feeders. The same process should take place whenever a guild member is in line for promotion. So many are promoted without even being consulted, and no one turns down a promotion after it has been given. Candidates for promotion should commit to supporting the guild as best they can, especially when uprisings occur. No guild officer should ever take part in an uprising - not because of penalties, but because they themselves have become personally committed.

There should also be rewards and benefits based on guild rank. Access to certain types of assistance (quest, raid, item-drops, etc.) and the ever-popular idea of a Guild Bank, or Warehouse. After all, if promotion just means more responsibility without benefits, then the only players who would seek promotion are those who hunger for power. These ones are invariably the instigators of most guild splits. It’s like the old Klingon proverb: “Great leaders do not seek power. They have it thrust upon them.”

The guild-within-the-guild problem needs to be addressed too. These situations arise when a number of players of similar level adventure together regularly and bond with each other more than the elder members who, although they help out as best they can, cannot provide the same sort of quality time with them. I would suggest that we take advantage of the existing ranking system and have Members oversee the needs of Initiates, Veterans oversee Members, Officers oversee Veterans, and the Guild Leader oversee the Officers. That’s how they usually do it in business, education, registered societies, and the military, and it all seems to work.

Any system like this does not, of course, solve all problems. There will always be Captain Kirks and Napoleons who want it their way or no way. Nevertheless, in encouraging people to take ownership in the well-being of their guild, and rewarding them for it, I believe we are taking a step in the right direction.
on Jul 06, 2005
I'm a member of Phoenix Royal Guard on WoW and it's very well run thanks to the efforts of the guild leader and its officers. To join you first have to post on the guild's forum (we have our own website) and put in an application. Then, once you hear back from an officer, you have to contact one in WoW and undergo an interview. After that all the officers (from what I understand) discuss your application for membership and if there are no objections, you're allowed to join. This is the most intense guild membership method I've heard of and works very well (and we have over 230+ members). The guild maintains its own bank account for items (using alts), has ranks within itself based on participation, and coordinates Raids and major instances well in advance. Plus each member is required to participate both on the forums and to use TeamSpeak during Raids so we can all communicate via voice in real-time to coordinate attacks/defense. Everyone is very helpful to one another too; I've had higher-level players give me stuff without even asking (and it's against our rules to sell items to one another).   Overall PRG works very much the way everyone has described above to a good extent. Of course, I agree that Blizzard could be doing a lot more in terms of providing tools. Not everyone can spend the amount of time it takes to oversee things to the extent that PRG's leadership does. I'm really surprised that they're able to do it at all.