Guild Changes in Cataclysm: Overview

By now most of you have hopefully had a chance to absorb the bulk of the changes announced at Blizzcon 2009.  In keeping with the focus of this site I won’t be getting into much (if any) of the class or mechanics changes.  What I do want to go into more depth on are all the changes that will affect guilds and guild leadership.

The list of changes truly is massive.  Rather than try to get everything into one post, I’m going to publish an overview of the changes and then go into further detail on the impact of each in subsequent articles.  With luck, that will completely hide the fact that I’m on holiday for two weeks and have essentially turned what would have been a 5000 word wall of text into six bite-sized chunks.

First, I’ll go over the changes in brief.  Then we’ll cover each in a bit more detail and finally examine what we think are Blizzard’s goals of these changes.

Guild Levelling

The effort put forth by guild members (more specifically the20 most active members on any given day) will accrue experience for your guild.  Guilds will start off at level 1 and level up to level 20, though it’s not clear how long that will take.   This won’t be an additional grind – the things members normally do like killing raid and dungeon bosses and performing daily quests will help the guild gain experience.

In order to gain guild experience as a group, a certain percentage of the group must be from the same guild.  75% was floated as a possible threshold.

Guild Achievements

Some achievements that are currently attached to individuals may be converted to guild achievements.  I suspect these are things like the realm first achievements, but this raises some questions about the titles attached to the achievements and whether existing achievements will be moved from individuals to the guild they are in.

Guild Talent Trees

With every level gained, a guild will earn a talent point.  These points can be invested in a talent tree.  None of the talents will be required for progression, but they will offer some major convenience, including things like:

Guild Currency

Once a guild reaches level 20, the experience they would be gaining gets converted into guild currency, in much the same way as quest XP is converted to gold today.  This doesn’t mean the guild gets gold in the bank that could be used by members though – this currency is used to create guild consumables or craft guild-bound items.

Guild Profession Recipes

Guilds will be able to purchase recipes that are bound to the guild.  Recipes will be available for any profession.  If the guild has bought the recipe, any member of the guild can learn that recipe for their own use, but if they leave the guild they lose the ability to craft that item.

Guilds will also be able to purchase guild-bound consumables (potions and elixirs one assumes) for their members to use.

Guild-Bound Items

Some (perhaps all?) of the items created with guild profession recipe will be guild heirloom items that scale with level.  The items will also be bound to the guild, so if you leave the guild the items get transferred back to the guild bank automatically.

Guild News Feed with RSS Support

The achievement history and guild history will be available via the armory, and exportable as a RSS feed so you can follow what’s going on in your guild even when not in the game.

Inspect Guild Member Professions

You will be able to inspect what professions and recipes the other members of your guild can craft, presumably even when they are offline.  No more asking in guild chat “can anyone craft x?”.  Just search the guild recipe book to see if anyone can craft it, then contact them directly.

Invite Other Guilds To Your Events

For guilds who run with other guilds, you will be able to invite an entire guild to your events using the in-game calendar rather than inviting individual members of another guild.

New LFGuild Interface

You will now be able to set informational flags about your guild, like whether you are recruting or not, whether you raid on weekdays or weekends (or both), and whether you are only interested in people at max level or at any level.  Members looking for a guild will be able to search which guilds match their basic criteria using a UI that is similar to the existing LFG tool.

Reforging and Its Impact on Loot Distribution

Blacksmiths, Leatherworkers, Tailors and Engineers will be able to reforge gear, cutting one stat in half in exchange for adding those points back as another stat not already present on the gear.  No longer will people turn away iLevel upgrades because it would drop them below an important cap like hit or expertise.  How will this affect your loot distribution?  Does someone who can use the item unmodified have priority over someone who needs it to be reforged first?

Guild Tax

You will be able to set a percentage of gold looted to go directly to the guild bank.  It’s not clear if this is all gold or just gold from guild groups, but this built-in guild tax (as opposed to the fallible addon solutions available today) may be a great way for guilds to finance guild repairs and reagents.

Possibility of Guild Server Transfers

It’s not clear if this will be available when Cataclysm launches, but Blizzard suggested that they might find a way for guilds to transfer en masse to another server with their roster and guild bank intact.  Today, this takes a significant amount of coordination as well as re-purchasing your guild bank tabs at a cost of nearly 10,000 gold.

Cross-Server LFG

Estimated to be coming in patch 3.3 rather than Cataclysm, this will open up the LFG tool (but presumably not the LFG channel) to other realms in your battlegroup.  This should help immensely getting groups going for anyone at lower levels or who plays at off times of the day.  Its effect on guilds who primary recruit via PUG remains to be seen.

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: part 1, part 2, part 3, reforging links and final thoughts. Articles in the series will be published every Mon and Thursday from Aug 27th through September 14th.