Sunday, August 17, 2014

World of Warcraft: A New Direction For Guild Leveling

About a couple months ago, with Warlords of Draenor beta in full swing, it was announced that guild leveling will be "effectively removed" and most of the perks likely converted into baseline abilities or passives provided just by being in a guild. While I can agree that this is a good direction to go due to unsavory practices such as mass inviting players to level the guild for perks (and then removing them after) or abusing specific guild perks like Cash Flow (as mentioned in the linked post). However, given what Watcher said in this post, I think there's a possibility for changing up guild leveling to be more in line with the original design intent of guild leveling, that is, as "a reward for dedication and collective effort".

The current design intent, at least based on this post, is that a guild will gain access to many of the perks sooner, with the possibility of a few being unlocked up to the guild level cap of 25. However, this has a strong chance of making guild leveling a barren, unexciting progressive experience which contradicts the idea of rewarding players for collective effort. While guild achievements fill the niche reasonably well, the straightforward nature of guild leveling makes it a good spot to focus on putting rewards, though these rewards shouldn't be as impacting as some of the old guild perks such as Mass Resurrection.

For instance, here's some (general) ideas for what a guild could obtain through leveling (and other collective progression). It is worth mentioning the level cap of the guild would be greatly increased (in my example, the maximum guild level would be 100, up from 25):
  • Greatly expand the guild crest creator, awarding new colors, patterns, and the like as the guild levels up or obtains achievements. This is similar to Diablo 3, where the player's banner can be customized achievement-unlocked sigils, patterns, accents, and the like.
    • Guild crest customization could be expanded to be as elaborate as Diablo 3 banners. For instance, guild raid achievements could award guild crest sigils associated with the bosses defeated.
  • Add themes that can spice up the guild window, guild bank tab, and so on. More themes would unlock as the guild levels up or otherwise progresses. While the guild master can control the default guild theme, each guild member can modify it to their choosing as well based on the guild's level and accomplishments.
    • This also allows for the addition of awarding personal guild contributions by allowing the player to earn themes they can save and use regardless of the guild they are in if they contribute large amounts of guild experience (which can be shown through guild activity). It could be further expanded to be applied to other elements of the UI.
    • It is worth mentioning the addition of this could be problematic with addons that significantly alter the user interface (like ElvUI).
  • Add some perks that feel a little rewarding but don't have significant benefits like some of the current perks (such as Mass Resurrection) do. Here are a list of a few examples of perk effects:
    • Pet battle item drop rates could be increased (though such an effect should perhaps also exist for those who pet battle often, guilded or not).
    • Prices on specific NPC services could be reduced, with one perk for each type of NPC service (like flight master or trainers). Alternatively, break apart the Bartering perk into many pieces, providing reduced prices on vendors, trainers, etc at many different levels as opposed to giving all the benefits at once.
    • The Guild Banners could gain increased duration and range and/or a reduced cooldown.
    • The duration of Guild Pages and Heralds could be increased and the cooldown reduced.
    •  And more (may add more if I can think of them).
  • As the guild levels up, award vanity items such as mounts and pets (like the Guild Level 25 mounts, for instance).
    • A possible vanity object that could become available is a guild crest that could be hung somewhere in the Garrison in Warlords of Draenor.
In conclusion, the gist of this suggestion is there is a lot of potential vanity and otherwise fun or guild-themed game-changing elements (that should theoretically be insignificant) that could be awarded for progressing as a guild, allowing the retention of the guild leveling system as opposed to scrapping it entirely.

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