For officers, the improvements and new systems that Cataclysm brought to guilds were a game-changer in many ways. The sweeping changes to raiding that came with it brought on some difficult challenges. Fortunately, WoW does not stagnate. The Mists of Pandaria expansion gives Blizzard a chance to add new features, make important changes, and improve on what the developers gave us in Cataclysm. Here's my personal wish list:
1. Treat legendary items as guild rewards, not player rewards. As guilds in WoW have matured over the years, I've heard from officers less and less frequently about loot drama -- with one huge exception: legendaries. Every legendary in the history of WoW has caused problems for officers. For some, the legendary drama itself has become legendary.
It's time to change both the reality and the perception of these powerful items.
Earning legendaries today requires the prolonged effort of the guild's entire raid team. It's time to take that one step further. Each step in the quest line should be a guild quest that requires a guild undertaking to create a guild-bound item. (See, for example, Delegation during the Dragonwrath quest line.)
There are multiple benefits to this method. Grinding out the required quest items wouldn't suffer when that one key person misses a raid. Because each guild could only do it once, a guild wouldn't have to keep running old content to earn one for every eligible raid member. Plus, Blizzard wouldn't have to prolong the process artificially to keep the number of legendaries limited.
When the legendary is created, that item would be tradeable among everyone in the guild. If someone leaves the guild with it in their inventory, it would revert to the guild bank.
A legendary should never ultimately belong to just one player. They take too much time and effort on the part of too many people. If the quest lines and items worked this way, then the perception of ownership would change and we would see far less drama over them. Blizzard can create class quests for other things.
2. Create more guild achievements that matter. I enjoyed the concerted effort that it took my guild to earn the cauldron and feast recipes. These achievements mattered because they made raid preparation significantly less annoying for (mostly) everyone. I'd like to see this idea expanded in Mists.
Give us more goals to shoot for as the expansion progresses. Allow us to upgrade our flasks and feasts with each tier so the bonuses don't become less and less relevant over time. It was great to get a mount after clearing tier 11 on normal mode, but subsequent patches never followed up on that premise. Perhaps take some of the boredom away from farming raid bosses by giving us pet versions of a boss if we kill him a certain number of times as a guild.
PvP guilds deserve more achievement rewards than they currently get. Some fun items for roleplaying guilds wouldn't be unwelcome, either. Along those lines ...
3. Guild halls -- make it happen. Send our guilds on the longest and most epic quest line that Blizzard has ever designed. Make it similar to the Gates of Ahn'qiraj quest line that only a handful of guilds around the world got to experience (only without the insane rep grind, please).
Have us earn guild achievements along the way that unlock the hall, and then upgrade it with vendors, portals, trophy cases, and other services and eye candy. With the gear normalization that Blizzard is implementing for timed dungeon runs, the developers wouldn't even have to update the bosses from tier to tier like they do now for holidays.
I understand that Blizzard doesn't want cities to look empty, so make the halls restrictive; allow access only to players with exalted guild reputation. Keep the Auction Houses and other essential services out in the world, but let us have a fun place to gather. Nothing would get players more invested in their guild that this type of ques tline and reward.
4. Design better recruiting tools. Two weeks ago, I wrote about the failure of the Guild Finder. It's just too limited in scope and too difficult to use in practice. A player looking for a guild and vice versa uses many more criteria than those the Guild Finder addresses. A better system that includes far more information and can match up in both directions would be a huge improvement.
New guilds in particular need more effective tools. Currently, they are at a severe disadvantage to established guilds. However, if they could find the types of players who would be interested in their community more easily, then new guilds would have a better chance to survive. Imagine if players looking for a fresh start could flag themselves as potential recruits for new guilds.
With all the matchmaking tech behind the Dungeon and Raid Finders, I don't see why a similar system couldn't be used to steer players toward like-minded guilds across realms.
5. Enable a "rep for deposit" function for the guild bank. It's a simple idea: You deposit a certain amount of ingredients for flasks, cauldrons, or feasts, and the bank awards you guild reputation. I know most officers would consider that a more noteworthy service than solo questing in Desolace. Players looking to rep up faster would have a means to do that -- and they'd actually benefit the guild at the same time.
6. Reward larger raids appropriately. I wrote about this last week, so I won't go into too much detail here. Something has to be done to make leading larger raids more desirable for the officers who put in the extra work. Otherwise, these guilds will simply die out or switch over to 10-player raiding, and then no one will have a choice about raid size.
7. Expand guild tabard design options. It's a tiny issue in the grand scheme of things, but the tabard designs haven't been updated since, well, ever. The original options were never that great to begin with. The color choices are very limited. Plus, with all due respect to the weeping bear, many of the icons just look flat-out terrible on actual character models.
What would you like to see added or changed in Mists? Tell us below!
Recently, Officers' Quarters has examined how strong new leadership can create a guild turnaround, the pitfalls of promising more than you can deliver, and lessons learned from Scott's own guild demise. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.