Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available this spring from No Starch Press.
Last week, I reviewed the perks that provide money and convenience. Today, I'm going to talk about (and rate) the remaining perks, which I've divided into three categories: active abilities, professions and points.
Currently in the beta, two guild perks offer castable abilities. It's not clear yet whether everyone in the guild will gain access to these abilities, whether they will become available to a given player once a certain level of guild reputation is achieved, or whether the guild leader will be able to assign them to specific guild ranks as they do now with other actions, such as inviting new players. Time will tell.
Have Group, Will Travel Summons all raid or party members to the caster's current location. 2-hour cooldown.
This perk is, frankly, a godsend for getting raids started. No more clicking giant rocks or warlock portals over and over again! People who are lagging behind everyone else might still wind up begging for a summon, but compared to summoning 23 other people one by one, this is a walk in the park. It amazes me how many people can't be bothered to fly to a raid entrance, but that's another story ...
This ability will also be useful for bringing players together for group questing, roleplaying or world PvP.
The best part is that the summon occurs at "the caster's current location." I wonder if there will be restrictions on that. Could a Horde rogue sneak into Ironforge and summon 39 other players right where she's standing? If so, the possibilities for mayhem are endless.
5 salutes out of 5
Mass Resurrection Brings all dead party and raid members back to life with 35 health and 35 mana. Cannot be cast when in combat. No cooldown.
Wasn't this slated to be a paladin ability at one point? This ability is extremely useful to a raid group. The only drawback is that someone has to be alive to cast it. That makes it perfect for getting everyone back up after a successful (if sloppy) boss fight.
Recovering from a full wipe with this ability is more limited. That will require someone who can live through a wipe or stand back up. Divine Intervention is going away in Cataclysm, so (ironically) paladins will be one of the classes that don't have a way to allow a mass rez after a wipe. Shaman and warlocks can bring a player back via Reincarnate or a Soulstone, but on relatively long cooldowns. Hunters, rogues and mages, with their ability to evade death during a called wipe, will be the stars of repeatable, mass rez wipe recovery.
In either situation, having this ability will mean less downtime during raids, and that's always a good thing.
For group questing or world PvP parties, this ability will save time when the only players left alive don't have a rez spell in their toolkit.
Will Mass Resurrection work in battlegrounds? Someone pointed out last week regarding The Quick and the Dead perk that you don't need to run back to your body in a battleground because an NPC will rez you. That's true, but there are tactical reasons for rezzing where you were killed instead of where the NPC is located. Imagine you're the last one standing after a battle in the other faction's flag room and you're able to rez all of your slain comrades right there. Sure, they're insanely vulnerable when they first pop up, but if you have a few seconds to heal and get mana back, it could be a viable strategy. After this ability goes live, players might be a lot more careful about looting bodies so you have to rez at the NPC.
5 salutes out of 5
The profession perks
Working Overtime Increases the chance to gain a skill increase on trade skills by 10%.
One of the most annoying moments in WoW is sinking a whole bunch of expensive materials into making an item purely for the skill-up, only to gain nothing but the 50 silver a vendor will pay you for it. Having this perk will mean that happens slightly less often.
For many players, Working Overtime will be great when Patch 5.0 goes live. For 4.0 and Cataclysm, it's likely that no one will have this perk while they are actively leveling up trade skills on their main toons. Depending on how long it takes a guild to earn it, some people might actually wait to level up trade skills to make the most of their time and mats. But I have a feeling that alts and rerolls will reap the most benefits from this perk during the 4.x patches.
In the long term, this perk will save everyone with professions time and money, but only so much. Trade skills have a cap, and once you reach that cap, this perk does nothing for you. Keep in mind, too, that it will only come into play on green and yellow recipes where the chance for a skill-up isn't already 100%. For that reason, fishing -- which never has a 100% skill-up rate at higher levels -- will benefit the most. Finally, 10% is a fairly small increase in probability. Will players even notice a difference?
3 salutes out of 5
Bountiful Bags Increases the quantity of materials gained from mining, skinning, herbalism and disenchanting by 15%.
Why do scribes and anglers get the shaft here? Milling, prospecting, and fishing apparently don't qualify for this perk. Neither do the results from jewelcrafting's Icy Prisms. What were Blizzard's criteria here? You can't say it only applies to pure gathering professions because enchanting clearly doesn't fall into that category. And you can't say it only applies to primary professions because inscription and jewelcrafting are left out. As is, it only applies to the pure, primary gathering professions -- plus for some reason, enchanting. Random ...
For the professions that qualify, this perk is fairly significant; 15% more mats over the lifetime of an expansion is quite a stockpile. However, I don't quite understand how the math works out here. A Northrend herb node will give you between one and three herbs, plus occasionally some other materials like Crystallized Life and Frost Lotus. 15% more herbs than a potential three herbs (at 33.333% -- repeating, of course) is about half an herb. Obviously, it's impossible to loot half an herb, so will the game track these half-herbs and give you an extra one every second node? Or does the bonus mean you always have a 15% chance of getting an extra herb or other item? If it's the latter, the perk isn't really worded that way.
In the end, it doesn't really matter. You're getting more stuff, no matter what. Hopefully Cataclysm will provide more reasons to be a gatherer. Those professions have felt somewhat neglected in Wrath, but this is a good start to get them back on track. I do find it odd how this perk discriminates against certain professions, though, so I must subtract a salute.
4 salutes out of 5
The points perks
Everyone's a Hero (Rank 2) Increases heroism points gained by 10%.
Honorable Mention (Rank 2) Increases honor points gained by 10%.
At first glance, these perks seem insanely good. After all, racking up points will be one of the main ways to gear up for raiding and the primary way to gear up for PvP in the next expansion. Remember, however, that hero and honor points in Cataclysm will be the equivalent of triumph badges and honor today -- not the equivalent of frost badges and arena points. Heroism and honor points won't get you the best stuff. Rather, they'll let you catch up to the previous tier or season so you can tackle the current tier or season more effectively. For players who stay at the bleeding edge of content and PvP, these extra points will mean very little. For alts, rerolls and players who have limited opportunities to log in, this bonus will be a nice way to gear up a little faster.
I like where Blizzard went with this. To offer extra points for the current tier/season would be taking the guild perk system too far. Doing so would be crippling to new guilds who couldn't offer those bonuses.
Keep in mind, also, that these point categories will have no weekly cap, unlike their higher-level counterparts. A 10% bonus could really add up over the course of a week running dungeons or unrated battlegrounds!
5 salutes out of 5
That's all of them! Some perks are clearly winners. Not every perk is game-changing, exciting or even all that useful. Taken together, however, this suite of bonuses, abilities and quality-of-life benefits makes a formidable case for belonging to a guild.
Once the perks go through a few iterations in the beta and we see a clearer picture of the final system, I'll write a column about the impact of perks on guilds. For now, though, let's provide Blizzard with solid feedback that helps them to refine the system. What changes to perks would you like to see? Which perks are your favorites? Tell us below!
Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas and suggestions at email@example.com. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!