Thursday, May 10, 2012

Guild Size, Guild Perks, and the Troubles Therein

     I've mentioned it before.  I'm in a two-person guild with my wife.  Our small army of alts makes up the entirety of the roster.  We're very close to hitting level 5 and getting the perk Cash Flow.  Since any cash in the guild bank is already ours, this is basically just a flat 5% boost to our own looted earnings.  Not bad.
     But we spent some time looking at the various perks that the larger guilds get at higher levels.

     Some of them are purely quality-of-life/cosmetic and don't really offer any huge changes to the overall feel of the game.  For example, increasing the amount of Justice Points gained still won't let you get past the cap.  It'll simply mean that halfway through that 7th random heroic you were doing, you'll be at the same JP level as someone who's finished that dungeon without the perk.  Not a huge difference, really.
     The big ones for me, however, are the things like Bountiful Bags, which increases the amount of materials you can get from the various gathering professions.  This gives any gatherer in a guild of level 23 or higher a pretty significant economic advantage.  With the same time investment, hitting the same number of gathering nodes, they'll wind up getting a noticeable amount of extra materials to sell or craft with.
    Then you look at the Working Overtime perk, which increases the chance of a skillup by 10%.  That means you'll be spending less materials to get the professions up in your guild.
     Now let's look at Chug-a-Lug, the perk that increases the duration of the buffs from Guild Cauldrons.  This means you'll be using fewer of those cauldrons, and as such, will have to spend less materials to get them.
     Combining these three perks makes for a very hefty economic advantage that players in a larger guild will have over players in a smaller guild.  The ability to gather more raw materials in a given timeframe while using less materials overall will result in a larger sellable surplus.  In this way, it seems as though Blizzard is saying "If you want to sell raw materials, you'd better be in a big guild to compete in the marketplace."
     Which kind of sucks.
     Other perks that are slightly unsettling are stuff like Reinforce and Bartering.  These two reduce the cost of deaths as well as the cost of various raw materials needed for crafting and for certain class-specific spells.  Bartering alone can give crafters of the more expensive items like Vial of the Sands a pretty hefty profit margin when it applies to the vendor cost of the parts.
     While I don't want to begrudge other players their hard-earned benefits, I'd like to see Blizzard find some way to let the little guilds get in on some of the action somehow.
     With Mists of Pandaria coming out and the guild level cap increasing to 30, there will be an even greater disparity between the larger guilds and the smaller guilds.
     What are your thoughts, readers?  Do the larger guilds dominate the game in a way that makes life harder for the smaller guilds? Or is it all just a matter of perception and I'm making way too big a deal out of it?

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