'Guild Changes in Cataclysm: Part 3'

This is a series of articles on the changes coming in WoW: Cataclysm as they relate to guild management and leadership. See the other articles in the series: overview, part 1, part 2, reforging links and final thoughts. Articles in the series will be published every Mon and Thursday from Aug 27th through September 14th.

Reforging and Its Impact on Loot Distribution

Ghostcrawler likened reforging to an enchant whose description reads “Converts Spirit into 50% equivalent hit rating on [cloth] gloves”.  While the specifics of how you will choose the from and to stats aren’t known yet, the net effect is clear: an item that is today a strict upgrade but would drop one of your stats below a desirable cap will become usable in Cataclysm.

This would have been great when the Gauntlets of the Iron Furnace dropped and I was still wearing my Tier 7.10 gloves.  I couldn’t afford to lose the hit rating, even though the gloves were a clear upgrade in almost every other way.  Since armor penetration isn’t that useful for Paladin tanks, the obvious reforge would have been to swap half the ArPen out for +Hit.  I still would have lost a bit of +Hit, but not enough to drop me below the cap.

So how will this affect guild management?  You need to decide if your loot system will take reforging into account.  In a player-driven system like DKP bidding or EP/GP this won’t be much of an issue – let people declare interest in an item and leave it up to them to re-forge the item if it makes it more useful to them.  Loot council will be a bit harder.  In the case of the gloves off of Ignis, they are much better suited to a Warrior or Blood DK tank – if one had been present on that raid and we were using Loot Council, would you consider the benefit to the player with or without reforging?  You may need to ask players to state their intent to re-forge along with the specific stat they plan to swap when declaring so that your council can make an informed decision.

Transfer Percentage of Gold to your Guild Bank

I’m not 100% sure if this is a global feature available to all guilds, or enabled via a guild talent.  I hope for the former.  The mechanics are pretty simple: a certain percentage of gold earned by the player goes into the guild bank directly.  There are addons that do this today, but they are very much honour based.

We don’t know at this point whether this affects all gold gains, or just mobs, or quests (including daily quests?).  It might be just gold looted from mobs, and only in events the game considers to be a “guild event” – i.e. 75% of the members are from the guild.  This seems the fairest solution, as if it affected all gold it might encourage members to not guild their alts to increase personal income levels.

As I mentioned in part 1, this is a great thing to match with the Cash Flow talent, as it should (I hope) make the gains balance out.  Members of guilds who have both features enabled earned the same as if neither was enabled, but the guild coffers slowly grow “for free” as it were.

Important things to take away from this: if you’re going to enable this, make sure your members know.  Get the discussion going ahead of time, especially if you’re going to enable the guild tax without the Cash Flow talent.  Given that the talent is in tier 2 and has 3 ranks, you won’t be increasing earned gold by 10% until your guild hits level 6 at the earliest, so consider increasing the tax gradually to match the extra income as you put more points into Cash Flow.

If you aren’t going to use Cash Flow (making it a true tax on membership), make sure that it’s disclosed in your recruiting materials.   Nobody wants to get that sticker shock after being in a guild for a few weeks.

Lastly, decide what to do with the guild.  In real life, we expect to get certain services for our tax dollars (even if they’re the ones we may not see direct benefit from, like Emergency Services).  If you tax your members, what do they get in return?  Free repairs for all guild events?  Free repairs always?  Free consumables for raids?  Remember that the tax affects everyone, so don’t offer incentives that only cater to a subset of your guild.

Possibility of Guild Server Transfers

Moving a guild to another server is a costly experience.  Even if you’re taking advantage of a free character migration, re-purchasing all of your guild bank tabs will run you nearly 10,000 gold.  I assume that this feature would really be a “guild leader transfer with bank intact”, and that each member of the guild would have to move their character manually, then join the guild on the new server.  I suppose they could have a fully gated system where the guild leader starts the process, then members have a time window in which to “attach” their characters to the transfer before it takes effect, but this seems overly complicated.

In the end, this is just a convenience feature.  I doubt any guild who seriously wanted to move realms today would have been discouraged by the cost of re-establishing themselves.  All of the same issues that surround guild moves today (getting everyone to agree, issues with people who have strong ties to people outside the guild will still exist and still need to be dealt with.

When I first read about this I thought that it would make it easier for nefarious guild leaders to abscond with the contents of a guild bank, but in fact it makes it harder.  In order to prevent the guild name from coming across,  you would need to get 10 distinct accounts to create a placeholder guild on the target first to force a guild name change when the transfer was complete.

Blizzard could also make it easier to track guild masters who try to use this system to transfer a guild bank intact and force a name change: make the armory assign an opaque identifier (just a long number) to each guild, and use that in the URL used to access the guild.  Rather than viewing

http://www.wowarmory.com/guild-info.xml?r=SomeRealm&gn=SomeGuild

you’d instead go to:

http://www.wowarmory.com/guild-info.xml?id=1234567890

Then make that number sticky when a guild moves servers.   Not only would this help keep the RSS news feed links working, it would make tracking someone down a cinch, as the old number would point to the new guild on it’s new realm.

Cross-Server LFG

Just like your battleground matches contain other people from your battlegroup, you will now be able to form groups for 5 man dungeons (and possibly raids in the future) with players from other realms in your battlegroup.  Apparently once the group is formed, there will be a way to put everyone from the group into the instance (since players from other realms cannot exist in your realm’s outer world as they would be if you used the summoning stone).

From a guild management perspective, the only impact is on guilds who use 5-man groups to recruit, a practice a wholeheartedly recommend.  You may find yourself playing with a great player who needs a guild, but they’re on another realm.  With the 3 day cooldown on paid character transfers it’s feasible to bring them over for a trial, but that’s not a cheap move if it doesn’t work out.  It’s also not clear how easy it will be to schedule such runs (if you wanted to do a heroic marathon with the person before they paid for a transfer), as presumably you need to use the LFG tool instead of the normal /invite mechanism – how do you ensure that they are in the LFG tool at the right time.

I think a fair amount of out-of-game coordination will be requried to adapt recruiting techniques to cross-server LFG (Ventrilo and guild forums for example).  The benefit for just getting groups together (especially for lower-level content) will be immediate and quite welcome.  Unlike other features, this is coming in patch 3.3, so you’ll experience it when you choose to level an alt through the “classic” Azeroth one last time.

This is a series of articles on the changes coming in WoW: Cataclysm as they relate to guild management and leadership. See the other articles in the series: overview, part 1, part 2, reforging links and final thoughts. Articles in the series will be published every Mon and Thursday from Aug 27th through September 14th.

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