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Officers QuartersApr 5, 2017 4:00 pm CT

Officers’ Quarters: Four ways Blizzard can help guilds

party fighting Cathedral of Eternal Night boss

Many players are generally unhappy with Legion‘s most recent patch, 7.2. The gated content, the Nethershard grind, the rep grind to unlock flight, and short-lived Broken Shore buildings have not been well received. Guilds, as usual, bear the brunt of this unhappiness, as unsubscribed members make activities like raiding and organized PVP more and more difficult.

Blizzard is doing their best — I genuinely believe that. But I also believe that Blizzard has neglected guilds for far too long. As I’ve written many times, guilds are the backbone of MMOs. It’s less true than it used to be with the ease of finding PUGs these days, but it’s still true. WoW needs good guilds in order to remain successful. It needs both serious competitive guilds and fun social guilds. Given this, why has Blizzard done so little for guilds since the launch of the game?

Here are four ways Blizzard could help our communities.

Provide better in-game recruiting tools

Give officers and guild seekers an actual means to find each other in-game. The guild finder tool, introduced in Cataclysm, has never been used by anyone to recruit a guild member. (OK, maybe once or twice, but more by luck than anything the tool did…) It’s just far too limited. For example, the “Availability” options are “Weekdays” or “Weekends.” It’s kind of pathetic.

Recruiting is such an essential task for officers. It’s literally life or death for guild communities. Nothing would help officers more than a comprehensive in-game recruiting tool. A raiding guild needs to communicate current progression, exact times that events are scheduled, the specs or classes that are most needed, the type of loot system they use, the time zone of the majority of members, preferred language, etc. (Guilds who focus on other aspects of the game need more and different options.) All of this information could be part of the search tool, making it far easier for players to see which guilds on their realms best fit what they’re looking for and what the player can offer.

Sure, websites such as WoW Lemmings offer some of this functionality. Putting it in the game where anyone can immediately access it and then communicate with that guild’s officers, however, is far superior and more convenient.

Overhaul the guild UI

The guild UI hasn’t been touched, as far as I can recall, since Cataclysm in 2010. It was functional at best when WoW launched and Cataclysm‘s updates did little to improve it. Probably the worst offender is the “Guild News” tab that now gets spammed with every epic item that players get from quest item upgrades or Karazhan runs. Why is there no way to filter this information?

There are many small quality of life changes that would help officers. Alt tracking. A way to sort members by date of joining. A “purge” tool that auto-kicks characters who haven’t logged in for a custom threshold like six months. An extra information window for each player that loot addons could make use of instead of appropriating the single comment window.

Beyond that, there’s so much more that could be added to the UI. A roleplaying tab. A “Guild Member of the Month” window. Loot system functionality so we wouldn’t have to use clunky loot addons to begin with. These are more dream scenarios than realistic requests. My point is to show how bare-bones the guild UI really is.

"guild hall" (not really)

Provide fun reasons to belong to a guild

When Blizzard took away the Have Group, Will Travel perk, players complained about the removal of such a convenient tool, but looking back I understand now why Blizzard did it. Belonging to a guild shouldn’t feel mandatory in order to obtain certain extremely convenient bonuses. However, Blizzard can still reward players for guild participation in other ways. We already have certain mounts, pets, toys, etc. that can be obtained only via the guild vendors. These are nice, if unexciting, bonuses.

When I look at Final Fantasy XIV‘s guild airships or Guild Wars 2‘s guild halls, I wonder why Blizzard has never done such a thing. Make it something the guild as a whole has to invest in to give the community a sense of purpose and achievement beyond just raiding or PVP. Why is it that we can build a garrison solo or a mage tower with the entirety of the North American community, but we can’t build so much as a gingerbread house with our guild?

After seeing the amazing designs of Legion‘s class halls, I’m more convinced than ever that it would be worth the time investment for Blizzard to create customizable guild halls. Imagine quest lines that guilds could tackle to unlock different cosmetic options for the halls. No one wants to experience the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj quest insanity again, but something less grindy would be welcome.

Guilds thrive when they feel like a real community. Giving guilds a shared space is an easy way to do that.

There are other things besides housing or vehicles that could be focused on guild-related fun. How about a secondary profession that allows a player to run guild-based contests?

Do something with tabards and guild logos

Guild tabards, by and large, are hideous. The logos and colors haven’t been updated since 2004. With the plethora of cosmetic options available to players, very few people want to cover up their fancy tier sets with an ugly drape. A guild tabard should be a source of pride, not shame.

Guild tabards could use a massive overhaul. Adding unlockable cosmetic options such as fancy spell effects or new symbols would really help make guild tabards desirable again.

Another option would be adding guild logos to other items that cover up less of our gloriously transmogrified torsos. Blizzard has already added them to the bank chests, battle standards, and faction mounts. Why not add guild logos to certain weapons or armor items? An Ashbringer with the logo instead of the glowy circle. Shoulders with 2D logo holograms that light up once in a while. Fist weapons that leave the guild logo burned into the chests of our defeated enemies (too far?). Anyway, you get the idea…

If any of the above sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve been writing about these things in Officers’ Quarters for almost ten years now. I’ve asked for many of these improvements and systems in the past. And I’ll keep asking for them. Guilds need them. Hardworking officers deserve them. With WoW‘s team bigger than ever, Blizzard has fewer excuses than ever to keep ignoring the needs of guilds.

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