Guild Changes in Cataclysm: Part 2

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

Guild Profession Recipes

One of the things you can purchase with guild currency are guild-bound profession recipes.  When learned, these become available for any guild member to add to their own spellbook.  When you leave the guild, you lose the ability to create those items.  It’s not clear right now whether all items created by such recipes are themselves bound to the guild, or whether they could create a BoP item that truly belonged to the member.

What I would hope to see is this type of recipe used for drops in raid content.  Anyone who raided SSC or higher surely has a story to tell about the convoluted way their guild handled BoP recipe drops.  One of my guilds let anyone with the appropriate skill roll on the item for no cost if it produced a BoE item, and charged the equivalent DKP for the product if it produced a BoP item (which was a bit unfair, as you got dinged twice – once for the recipe and then for the mats to perform the craft).  Typically we had one regular raider chosen for each tradeskill for the BoE items to maximize the chance that they’d be available to craft the item for other members.  Still, if this person left at any point, you lost all the recipes.  I know a few times we had someone leave on good terms with an agreement to continue to craft the recipes for any member of the guild.

If raid drops were guild bound, then this wouldn’t be an issue – the master looter would learn the item and it would forever be available to anyone in the guild.  It wouldn’t work out so well for PUGs, and they would need to make sure that adding the recipe to the guild didn’t require you to have the skill to perform the craft itself (lest a blacksmithing plan rot on a corpse because no blacksmith was available to learn it on the spot).  I’d give this no more than a 50% chance of happening.

If you don’t already have a policy for members to use guild materials to perform crafts, this change is only going to increase the number of such requests.  You have plenty of time to work this into a revision to your guild policies – I’d say every guild should go through that exercise once Cataclysm has an announced release date and most of these details are final.

Guild-Bound Items

Guild-Bound items are crafted from the recipes mentioned above.  They will be heirloom items, so they scale with level.  As they are bound to the guild, you should easily be able to get an entire set of heirlooms for your newest alt crafted.  While we have yet to see if the heirlooms will have any of the additional XP bonuses that the heirlooms bought with emblems do, it’s likely that at least one item for each armor class will.  If so, this should make leveling a new alt much easier – once you decide to do it you just get the gear crafted and your alt never has to worry about gear until max level.

This is also an interesting idea for paid leveling guilds – not power leveling services, they’re bad, Mkay?  I’m imagining a guild whose purpose is to outfit you in a full set of guild heirlooms and provide a bunch of people who are also leveling.   You pay some kind of entrance fee in gold, for which you get your level 1 set of gear.  Go through the leveling process, selling every quest reward you get.  When you hit max level or get close, you leave the guild to find a permanent home, and all the heirlooms go back to the guild bank to be rented out to someone else?  Crazy, or ingenious?

Guild News Feed with RSS Support

If you aren’t able to play as often as you like, it’s good to be able to keep up with what’s going on in the guild.  Today, you tend to do this using guild forums, but participation levels tend to be fairly low.  More and more, people are getting their news feeds via RSS – I watch about 25 feeds, almost half of them WoW-related, and while I do visit sites directly, it tends to be via links from Google Reader.

Publishing a new feed from the armory is a great idea, but will have some limitations.  What goes into the feed will need to be limited to “public” data, as password-protected RSS feeds are problematic – they don’t mesh very well with web-based RSS readers.  Since Google Reader et. al. can’t provide credentials for feeds, you tend to log in with your credentials and then generate a feed URL with some obscure characters in it that your RSS reader can query directly.  Unfortunately, this means that instead of Google Reader pulling once for all the members of a guild who are subscribed to the feed, it pulls once for every member who has subscribed.

I would guess that we’ll see:

But we won’t see:

Nor do I think guild leaders have the ability to add items to the news feed from in-game.  While this would be great to get a RSS news item saying “raid start pushed back by one hour”, the processing on the armory website would probably be too great.

We’ll have to see how much value this adds for guild members.  It will either end up being a useful way to keep up with what’s going on in a guild (for example, I’d love to be able to hop over to my old guild forums in the US to toss a “gratz” when I see them get a hardmode achievement) or a tool for guild leaders to communicate with members.  If the latter, you’ll need to encourage people to use the feed, which may involve getting your more technical members to help your less technical members start using RSS – find someone who knows Google Reader or a similar service well and post a tutorial on your guild forums.

Inspect Guild Member Professions

This has been a long time coming.  As described, you will be able to browse the recipe lists of your fellow guild members.  More than just acting like you have a profession link for every member available at all times though, this image suggests that you will be able to drill down by profession, answering the question so often posed in guild chat “who can make x?”.   Not only can you see who can make what, you can see their skill in the profession, which will help loot masters decide who is eligible for a recipe drop during raids.  Members can also decide who to go to for a particular craft if one member will get a skillup from it where another will not.

Invite Other Guilds To Your Events

Another small but useful tool, especially for guilds who regularly join with larger guilds.  Rather than asking one of the other guild to relay the invite in guild chat, then manually add the names of those interested, you can just offer the invite to everyone.  This won’t work perfectly of course, as you might only want to backfill from a subset of another guild, but it will be a small time-saver if you do this often.

New LFGuild Interface

This is quite a neat idea, if a bit simple for my tastes.  As this image shows, you can indicate if you guild is recruiting, your playstyle, weekend or weekday raiding, required archetypes and whether you want max level players or any level.  These are flags that persist and are searchable by non-guilded players.  It’s not going to replace recruiting via forums for serious raiding guilds, but it will help members who have just server transferred or have come back from a break to find a guild whose needs match their character.

Hopefully changing these flags is something that can be delegated to lower ranks, as the archetypes you need can change often and having to log onto your guild leader character (especially if you followed my rank advice) would be inconvenient to say the least.

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