Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.
After Blizzard's big announcement about how they plan to improve guilds in Cataclysm, I've been examining the changes in detail. First, I wrote about the lack of guild improvements over the years and how the expansion will, for better or worse, change WoW guilds forever. Then I speculated on possible leveling system options, guild talents, and guild achievements. This week, I'm going to finish up the series by talking a bit about guild currency and suggesting some products that Blizzard should let us buy with this new system.
Here's what we know so far. Guild currency will be earned by players in your guild who earn experience. It remains to be seen if experience (and thus currency) will still be earned by players once they reach the level cap, but I assume that it will.
So far, they've only mentioned a few items that we can buy:
- Vanity items like mounts, tabards, and standards
- Reagents like frost lotuses for flasks
- Heirloom items that scale with level
If the only way you can obtain heirlooms is through your guild, there's going to be some drama over what items get purchased first and for which slots, who gets to use them when, and so on. Personally, I'd rather not deal with it. Sure, we could just skip buying them, but then people would complain that we don't have any. I just don't see a way to win here. It feels like no matter what we choose to do, someone is going to be unhappy with it. There are already too many decisions like that for officers!
According to the official unveiling at BlizzCon, all of these items, recipes, etc. are bound to the guild that purchased them. That means, if someone has such a recipe in their profession panel and they leave the guild, they will lose the recipe. Blizzard stated that the intention is to prevent the rampant guild-hopping that has plagued the game, and I am all for that goal. Besides the convenience of having the extra bank slots, there is zero game-supported incentive to stay with any particular guild right now. It's nice to see that Blizzard recognizes this situation as a problem. Officers could use a lot more help in this regard, and these guild-bound perks are a good start.
As far as earning the currency, I'm a bit wary that it will come only from experience. Apparently only the top earners will count toward the total, which is a nice way to lessen the advantage of a large guild over a small one. However, it seems odd to me that, considering all the group activities that guilds participate in, it's the one activity that's almost universally accomplished solo (questing) that seems like it will earn the vast majority of the guild currency.
Blizzard can tweak the system however they want to, even after they release it. I hope they eventually skew the currency to reward dungeon runs, raids, battlegrounds, and other group activities more than solo questing.
The rewards they've announced so far seem useful, but they are hardly exciting. Here are a few items I'd like to see as purchasable rewards from guild currency:
- Deployable guild meeting tent: If we can't have permanent guild housing, give us a temporary meeting space that we can set up ourselves from time to time. Allow the tent to be placed only in areas where the Darkmoon Faire currently sets up, and only when the Faire isn't in town. Give it a really long cooldown (27.5 days sounds about right) so there aren't tents all over the place. Inside the tent should be tables, a bar, musical entertainment that you can toggle on and off, a guild bank, a podium for speakers, and, of course, a guild currency vendor.
- Guild quests: Let us purchase quests that give tangible and desirable rewards that every member of the guild receives. Rewards could be a large amount of badges, a special mount, or even a legendary item. These quests would be both expensive and challenging to complete, similar to the epic Ahn'Qiraj gate opening questline that only a handful of guilds around the world got to experience. Making the quests accessible using this currency would allow motivated guilds to shoot for a long-term goal and have a lot of fun in the process.
- Heirloom resist gear: This suggestion isn't terribly compelling, but it would be really useful. Let us purchase resist gear that scales with level like heirloom gear does now. We're sick of crafting new sets for every expansion. If Blizzard insists on retaining resist gear as a necessary evil in their raids, at least let us obtain some gear that we don't have to replace every five levels.
- Guild airships: I vaguely remember someone floating this idea at some point after the WotLK airship models were discovered. And it's a great idea! Obviously there would be limitations on it, and it would fly somewhat slowly. But it would certainly make capital city attacks far more interesting! Further rewards could enhance the airship in some way, with shipboard cannons, faster engines, or grappling hooks for airship-to-airship combat. Why should Icecrown Citadel be the only time we can fight ship to ship -- and against NPCs no less? I want full-fledged guild vs. guild airship piracy. Let officers flag our ship for PvP and put part of our guild bank gold at risk. If we lose our ship to another guild, they get 500 gold of our money, and vice versa. This item should be the ultimate guild currency reward, costing far more than any other.