Guild perks – the downside to a beta

One downside to having a rapidly changing beta is you can easily end up seeing changes without the wider context to make sense of them.

Thus it is with how guild perks are being reduced in Warlords. In the current beta build, the number of guild perks have been very much reduced. In that blog I did wonder if the dropped perks for increasing Justice Points, Honor Points and XP would end up being baked in.

@Kyplor pointed me at this blue post by WatcherDev which gave some of the context for the changes.

The interesting things from this post are:

  • The perks which gave an increase to JP / HP / XP will be baked in for all players as I suspected
  • All guilds will get the guild perks – aka all guilds will be the equivalent of level 25 guilds
  • Guild achievements will be staying as they do encourage guild community – the guild XP which levels up a guild tends to be individual effort
  • The Cash Flow perk – which most people seem to have the most issue with going – has actually caused the most issues with abusive behaviour

The last one is quite interesting – the cash flow perk was probably intended to give guilds a way of getting incoming for guild repairs, but it has led to people using mass-invite addons to grab new players or unguilded people to provide a nice tidy cash flow for the guild master. Its only a short jump from that to people building up a large roster of people to create a level 25 guild to then /gkick everyone & sell a shiny level 25 guild to someone else.

Seen in that light the removal of the Cash Flow perk makes a lot of sense, but unfortunately most players don’t see the darker side of the player base that often – only Blizzard does via abuse tickets and we never see the end result or scale of such things.

I do know that its common on unguilded chars to be spammed by ginvites from the moment you log on – I’d quite like have the ability to tick the “Disable Guild Invites” option before I log on!

@WatcherDev then posted later that they do want to increase the gold the guild gets from group activities like scenarios, dungeons, etc

Which should remove the sting of the removal of Cash Flow.

That said, this does very much feel like a nerf – people don’t like things being taken away from them after all! That and the “All guilds being like level 25” makes me wonder if Blizzard are having a bit of developer remorse with the guild leveling system.

As developers we tend to see an issue to be solved – in this case the guilds being sidelined by the rise of Looking For Dungeon and Looking For Raid group finders in game. After all, if you can just run a dungeon or raid without a guild, why be in one?

The solution then put in place make guilds attractive – guild levels with perks attached – seems to make sense, but then there are the unintended consequences. It taking time to level up the guild, so making people less likely to switch from a max level guild to a new one – perhaps staying in a toxic environment and quiting as a result.

In a similar vein, we want to make guild repairs less onerous so provide a way for guild banks to get money by their members just doing things in the world they’re already doing. The unintended result is people filling up guilds with as many people as possible to syphon off the mone from the Cash Flow perk.

When it comes down to it, Blizzard are trying to solve social issues with technology – something which is very hard to do and tends to suffer from failure modes as people find loopholes or unintended behaviour from the tech systems put in place.

I wonder how many other systems Blizzard have put in place over the years are ones they’re now regretting – things which have become millstones around the game. I know they’ve said flying was something they regret adding and its something they’re looking at resolving with Warlords, with no flying at the start of the expansion on Draenor.

Any one think of any others?

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