'Cataclysm: Reforging Your Link to your Guild'

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, part 3 and final thoughts. Articles in the series will be published every Mon and Thursday from Aug 27th through September 14th.

Now that we’ve gone through all of the changes that will affect your guild in Cataclysm, I’d like to talk about the motivation for these changes.

Blizzard wants your link to your guild to be stronger.  They want membership to have distinct perks associated with it, and more importantly they want you to think twice about leaving a guild.

At the upper and lower ends of the guild spectrum, there isn’t a huge amount of member movement.  Top raiding guilds tend to keep their members because they are among the few guilds who can offer exposure to the content that those members crave.  Likewise, social guilds have bonds that attract people who aren’t as interested in progression or loot.

In the middle you find the multitude of raid guilds, with varying levels of commitment and activity.  At face value, there isn’t very much to distinguish these guilds – they all have a tabard and a guild bank, they’re all doing some level of raid content and they all have some system of loot distribution.  Your choice to join one or the other may be driven by friends who are also in the guild, or it may be a simple facet of their policies (say loot council over EP/GP).  You follow their rules, show up for raids, and you get loot I suspect that it doesn’t go any deeper than that for many players.

If things change in the guild (your friends leave, or a policy change that you don’t agree with is enacted), there are usually plenty of other guilds to choose from.  You might jump backward or forward a bit in progression, your raid nights might change, but after a settling period, the experience is much the same.

Cataclysm’s guild changes mean to strengthen the ties you have to your guild.  By letting your actions improve the guild, the hope is that you will feel more invested in your membership.  You may think twice about jumping ship if if means that the other guilds you can get into don’t have a full complement of guild recipes, or whose guild tax is higher, or who don’t have the Cash Flow talent.  You may have several alts at lower levels decked out in guild heirlooms, and you don’t want to leave them naked in the Barren when those revert to the guild bank.

Some of the changes coming in Cataclysm can be emulated via process and policy if you have sufficient drive to do so.  Implementing a guild tax, having open repairs and maintaining a searchable list of profession recipes for your members just takes a great deal of time.  The changes in Cataclysm allow every guild to offer perks that where possible today have a huge time cost for a few dedicated members.  While the smallest guilds may not get all of the benefit, the majority of guilds will get the same basic benefits.  But each guild will be able to differentiate themselves.  I can see the recruiting messages now:

Join !  7% extra cash and no guild tax

is recruiting: 5% tax and all raid repairs paid for

can outfit your level 1 alt in full heirlooms for just 1000g!

Daily quest rewards far outstrip the cost of raid repairs in WotLK, so it’s not like paying for repairs will make a huge impact on raiders, but the psychological effects far outweigh the material ones.  Perhaps you can get away with only two daily quests instead of five with repairs paid for – does your schedule allow you to run five quests daily if you move gears?

As I’ve said in the past, it would be great if members flocked to guilds purely for the sense of belonging and shared achievement, but at the end of the day many players will be attracted by the biggest carrot.  Once you get past that basic fact, it behooves you to use as many of the tools at your disposal to help build strong links between your members and the guild.

If you’re a new guild starting out, Cataclysm will make recruiting easier, and provide incentives for your new members.  If you are an existing guild, Cataclysm will let you push some processes that you may be doing out of the game back into the game.

No matter what type of guild you are, these changes will help you achieve what the goal of every guild should be: to build a community inside of the game that members will want to come back to and be a part of.  And that is a very good thing.

In the last article of this series, I’ll wrap up my thoughts on Cataclysm including a bit of commentary on the non-guild related changes.

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, part 3 and final thoughts. Articles in the series will be published every Mon and Thursday from Aug 27th through September 14th.

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