A few weeks ago, a Twitter user named Quentin Charton asked Ghostcrawler whether WoW could eventually have guild housing. Ghostcrawler's reply was "We worry that guild housing is only content for the guild leaders."
If implemented properly, I think guild halls could be a home run for WoW. Here are five reasons why.
1. Guild leaders and officers deserve in-game rewards.
Ghostcrawler doesn't want to create content just for guild leaders. My question is, why not? Leading a guild is not easy. It requires making sacrifices, both in-game and in the real world, since it takes time and energy. Don't guild leaders and their officers deserve a few small in-game perks?
I agree that the entire guild hall experience shouldn't be for officers only. However, a guild hall could have a special place in it for officers. You could call it something simple like, say, off the top of my head . . . the "Officers' Quarters." This location would have a few small bonuses for them, like a flask vending machine you can use once a day (like Blingtron). Such a perk would be a welcome thank you to the players who make all the best group content in WoW happen.
2. Group quests are epic.
As much as I love the current content on the Isle of Thunder, it's disappointing to me that unlocking the stages of the assault doesn't require any real realm cooperation whatsoever. Everyone does their dailies and we advance the story. The solo scenarios are fun, but they feel small in scope.
The Gates of Ahn'qiraj event, on the other hand, required contributions both from individuals and from guilds. Due to the insane rep grind, the large scale of the quests involved, and the time limit, very few guilds got to participate in the group content for that event. Yet the ones who did undoubtedly had an amazing experience. No one can dispute that this quest line was one of the most epic that the game has ever seen.
A quest line such as that to build and unlock pieces of a guild hall would be a hugely fun endeavor for an entire guild -- and it would be epic. Obviously, it shouldn't require forty people like in vanilla. Blizzard could scale it for either ten or twenty-five people.
This shouldn't be a quest line that can be done in a weekend, either. I'm imagining a quest line that is gated so that it takes six months or longer to build the hall. Much like guild achievements, some stages should be completed by individual members contributing time and some stages should require a coordinated group. Ideally, even once the original quest line is complete, Blizzard could add new stages to it in future patches to unlock additions or new, expansion-based styles for the hall.
3. Blizzard has all the necessary technology and UI elements in place.
With phasing, Blizzard no longer has to worry about the problem of limited real estate. Sunsong Ranch is the perfect prototype for a guild hall: a phased location with interactive elements.
For the quest line itself, scenarios are a great way to present challenging, instanced PVE content that doesn't require creating new locations. The key stages of the quest line could lead to scenarios, just like Troves of the Thunder King is only available after looting a key.
Cataclysm introduced guild levels. Guilds should have to be a certain level to embark on this quest line, so that not just any random group could earn a hall. The same expansion also gave us guild vendors with unlockable items for sale, so there's a way to distribute necessary quest items to everyone within a guild, or to make keys to the hall accessible only to those who have earned a certain level of guild reputation. Guild achievements could track our overall progress.
Every tech and UI element required for the quests and the hall itself already exists. Blizzard simply has to create the content (which I realize is no small undertaking, but developing new tech is far more difficult).
4. The possibilities are endless.
Imagine not just a hall, but a massive guild estate with
- an arena where guild members can duel/pet battle and bet on the outcome
- an X-men style "Danger Room" where members can practice tanking, healing, crowd control and other cooperative group skills
- a spooky dungeon where a weekly raid-level boss spawns
- a hangar with an airship that players can use for paratrooper drops to raid enemy cities, PvP airship vs airship battles a la Icecrown Citadel's Gunship Battle, or raid bosses that can only be attacked from the air
- a CIC/ops room where players can watch others in the guild participate in battlegrounds, arenas, and raids
- a fortified treasury tower that can be assaulted by other guilds and looted if the attackers win (guilds could queue for this like a battleground, and get one chance to attack and one to defend)
- a customizable trophy room that shows off the raid bosses you've defeated, and placing trophies in the hall could unlock new tabard icons and transmogs based on that boss' loot table
- an armory where veterans can donate old weapons and armor that are guild-bound so that leveling members can make use of them
- a craftsman's hall where guild members can leave work orders and materials for others in the guild to complete
- a kitchen where players can create feasts out of fewer materials and level cooking faster
- a garden where herbs spawn once a week, a mine with weekly ore, a lake with weekly fishing pools, and hunting grounds with weekly beasts for meat and leather
- a theater for watching cinematics
5. Achieving goals as a team brings communities closer.
Guilds are the backbone of group content, both in PvE and PvP. Supporting guild communities is good for WoW as a whole.
A guild hall quest line would bring guild members closer together through teamwork and a memorable shared experience. Once built, a guild hall could give members ongoing reasons to work together -- and ongoing reasons for players to join and be active contributors to guilds.
For a long time, Blizzard opposed adding class quests. They even removed many such quests with the Shattering. They stated that they'd rather create content for everyone than for only a small segment of the population. With the Fangs of the Father quest line in Cataclysm and now the green fire quests for warlocks in Mists, they've shown that they are now willing to create content for individual classes. Guild content would be seen by many more players than class quests, and could be enjoyed by everyone in a guild -- not just the guild leaders. Why not go for it?
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.