Hyperspace Beacon: Breaking the bank

Hyperspace Beacon: Breaking the bank
Originally, when I set out to cover the guild bank, I wasn't expecting there to be so much information to parse. After all, a guild bank is just a bank, right? Wrong. So let me give a quick introduction to those of you just catching on to Update 1.2 for Star Wars: The Old Republic.

SWTOR's Update 1.2: Legacy introduces a boatload of content and other useful changes to the game. From the Legacy system itself, which rewards different types of solo gameplay, to additional story elements, such as a new PvP warzone and 16-man operation on the new planet of Denova, this game update attempts to show the subscribers that the monthly fee actually gets them something.

Many of the new additions to the game have been described as systems that should have been in at launch but for whatever reason had to be shelved for a later date. Some gaming media personalities believe that BioWare is hanging a lot of hope on this patch, labeling it "the Jesus Patch." And the guild bank is intended as a key feature of that patch. Thanks to Yll of the Test Guild on the public test server, I learned first-hand what the guild banks have to offer.

Hyperspace Beacon: Galactic banking
Let me first say that everything I'm about to tell you is still in testing and very much subject to change -- including my opinion.

You will find the guild banks across from the galactic trade network on Vaiken (Imperial) or Carrick (Republic) station. On live servers, this particular alcove contains a couple of unmanned counters, but on the test server, four purple guild bank terminals line the back wall, while the personal (green) banking terminals sit on the wall to the left. BioWare did well to choose that location; it gives us easy access to our ship storage while we're at the guild bank.

Unfortunately, however, you can't just drag an item from your bank to the guild bank in one step because both windows cannot be opened at the same time, even though you can still be in range of both. Perhaps the UI team will fix this when it makes those particular windows movable on your screen.

Yll, the guild leader of Test Guild, graciously invited me and provided screenshots and explanations of what is in the guild bank. The first thing to note is that the guild leader is the only person with access to everything in the guild bank. So when you go to look at your guild bank and wonder why you are missing some of these tabs even though you're an officer in the guild, you now know why.

Not every guild can have a guild bank, unfortunately. You have to have a minimum of 15 members in the guild in order to obtain one. On top of that there is a cost for each vault: 600k credits for the first, 1 million for the second, 2 million for the third, and 3.5 million for the fourth. Beyond that, we are not sure; however, we do know the total vaults can number seven.

There are four tabs in the guild bank: manage, ledger, log, and vaults. Regular members can see the vaults and log tabs, but the ledger and manage sections are guild leader-only.

Guild bank: vaults interface
The primary tab for most members will be the vaults tab

As you can see from the screenshot above, the vaults tab shows nearly everything a regular member would need to know about the guild bank. First off, the 90 storage slots take up the majority of the interface on the right. Currently, the Test Guild has only one vault, but if we were to have more than that (and if I were granted access), they would be listed on the left. The vault names are customizable. We named ours "Free for all." At the bottom left sits my allowances. My guild allows 500 credits per week for repairs and respecs. I can also remove up to 10 items per week. Bear in mind that these allowances do not accumulate. If I were to use only 400 credits by Sunday, I will not have 600 credits when the bank resets on Monday -- I will have only 500.

Guild bank: ledger interface
This brings us to the next tab: The ledger

Perhaps it's just a bug, but as of right now, only the guild leader can see the ledger. Again, the interface is pretty self-explanatory. This section tracks all the monetary transactions for the guild, except the guild leader's (this might also be a bug). On the left is a list of transactions for the current week, and on the right is a list of the previous week's transactions. Hopefully, there will be a way to export all this information so that transactions can be monitored over time, but as of right now, you can see only two weeks concurrently.

Guild bank: log interface
The log tab tracks all deposits and withdrawals from the vault

All members can see who snagged that pair of custom boots or whom they need to thank for dropping in that color crystal they'd always wanted. Currently, deposits are not limited, but if someone abuses the vault storage, you can easily see who it was and remove him from the guild. Yes, this has already happened in the Test Guild. Unfortunately, the log is limited to only 100 transactions, and if your guild is anything like the Test Guild, then that's good enough for about one day's worth of transactions. As with the ledger, I hope this will be exportable eventually.

Guild bank: manage interface
Lastly, we have the all-important manage tab

The simple version is that this tab controls all the permissions for the bank itself. Guild ranks are controlled in the separate guild control panel, but permissions for the bank are based off these ranks. Just below the rank selection drop down, you set that rank's weekly credit allowance and what those members may use it for: direct withdrawal, gear repair, or skill tree respec. The bottom box is where you buy and set your vault permissions. The current permissions are limited to "viewable," "allow to add," "withdraw per week," and "stack separately." It's simple enough, right? The "stack separately" setting is for materials that would normally stack. This does not mean that those materials will not stack in the vault; it means that each individual item within a stack counts toward your total withdrawal limit.

No taxation without representation

The biggest "want" for the guild bank besides the ones I've already mentioned has to be a tax rate. At the moment there is an argument among testers on where the money should come from. Many people believe that the "tax" should be a guild bonus on top of the credits already earned. Others, like yours truly, believe that the guild should get a small percentage your income. I believe it will encourage guildies to work together for the good of the guild, and it will also show a bit of sacrifice, which I believe gives you a vested interest in the guild's well-being.

I've said my piece. It's your turn. What do you think of the guild bank system?

The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to larry@massively.com. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!

This article was originally published on Massively.