When World of Warcraft launched, a guild was a chat channel, a tabard, and some very basic UI features like ranks and the message of the day. It's nearly four years later, and very little thus far has been added to the game to help guilds. So far we've gotten one major feature: guild banks. It was almost absurd that banks weren't part of the feature set for guilds when the game went live, and the hoops guilds jumped through to stash and distribute their important items were equally absurd. So while banks were a welcome addition, I wouldn't call their implementation a step forward so much as a step to catch up with what's adequate.
Now we're getting calendars -- yet another essential feature that should have been part of the UI since Day 1. I don't want to sound unappreciative. I'm hopeful that this feature will be sound enough to use and I'll be thrilled if we can dump Guild Event Manager or Group Calendar for something that's built into the software (with a grateful farewell /salute to the makers of those mods!).
But in terms of running a guild using in-game features, we're still in bare-bones territory here. Is it possible that Blizzard has more surprises up their sleeve for officers in Wrath? Here's what I'd love to see them implement:
If the servers can track achievements for characters (and possibly entire accounts), why can't they track achievements for guilds? I'd love to know how many times we've killed Zul'jin, how many total heroic badges our members have earned, how many honorable kills our guild is responsible for, or how many quests we've done as a whole.
We still don't know exactly what character achievement points will be currency for, but I have an idea for guild points: tabard bonuses.
It's always mildly annoys me when Blizzard adds new tabards as rewards. I'd rather see people in their guild tabards! But it does get boring when your tabard hasn't changed in years. Not to mention, it covers up some pretty cool-looking armor at times. So let's give people incentive to wear their guild tabards.
Let guild leaders spend their guild's achievement points to unlock different stat bonuses. Each member can choose one bonus from all the ones you've unlocked. It doesn't have to be earth-shattering: 18 stamina would be enough to encourage people to wear a tabard, and that's just one epic gem at this point.
An obvious inference from the achievement system is that the game will now track which bosses you've killed. It's a small leap from there to tracking which guild you were in when you killed said boss. And it's a small leap from there to add a simple UI feature that shows officers how many bosses from each level of PvE gameplay a member has killed when they're in a group with other guildmates.
It's a slightly bigger leap from there to tracking the drops, assigning point values, and dividing the values among the members. And another big leap to subtracting points when they receive loot, especially considering that you might want to charge them half-price for an offspec item or a dozen other special cases.
That level of point management might be asking too much. But I'd settle for knowing exactly how many bosses a person has killed without any complex loot values involved. It wouldn't be DKP in the strict sense, but it would give you a statistical value representing each member's activity and success in your guild's PvE functions.
Well, Blizzard certainly isn't planning to give us guild housing anytime soon. And that would be the logical place to put a bulletin board feature. However, it could just as easily be built into the guild bank interface. Rather than relying on an external Web site for simple requests and information, players could post messages in-game that communicate what rare recipes they have, what items they're looking for, what dungeon runs they need most, or even who all their alts are.
Speaking of which:
The first thing my officers do when they invite someone's alt is to write their main in the officers' note for that character so we know who we're dealing with. Warcraft is nearly four years old. I can't name a single member who has only one character anymore.
Assuming my officers remember to post the note, it's not difficult to track a player's alts. But should we have to? Couldn't the game tell us right in the interface, when we click on someone's name, the names of all their other characters in the guild?
It seems a bit silly to me that a Magister's Terrace PUG has an in-game interface to recruit members and yet guilds do not. We may never see the end of people spamming channels with recruiting messages that take up the whole chat window, but at least give officers a better in-game option.
To tie it all together, here's my ultimate wish list item:
If you can inspect a player -- and even players from the other faction now -- why not that player's guild? I envision this feature would tell you all the achievements a guild has accomplished; the tabard bonuses it has unlocked; a guild's stats, including founding, membership, number of bank slots, total earned DKP, and so on; their current recruiting status, specifying desired classes, specs, and gear levels; the guild's mission statement, which could be written by the guild leader as part of the guild management UI; and who the guild's officers are.
Players looking for a new home can tell at a glance whether it's the type of guild they'd be interested in and whether the guild would be interested in them.
It may all be wishful thinking, but I'd like to think that someone at Blizzard has a soft spot for guild officers. Any one of these features would be a welcome addition and make our jobs a little bit easier.
I'm sure I'm not the only one with ideas for improvements. What else would you like to see implemented?