WoW Design Improvements: Guilds

This article is part 4 of 8 in the series WoW Design Improvements

Organizing players of a game-themed virtual world into guilds or clans is just about as old as virtual worlds themselves. Since virtual worlds are places to meet people in, as opposed to games you play on your own, it seems natural to encourage the formation of communities.


Creating content difficult enough to be tackled by one player alone is just about the perfect way of doing just that. When people want to organize into long-lasting communities, giving them the tools to do so is not only sensible, it’s required if you want your world to survive long.

Guilds are the time-honoured approach to this, and, ignoring some kinks here and there, they work well enough. On the other hand, they’re not necessarily ideal either.

Let’s first take a look at what guilds have to offer in WoW:

  • You get a list of guild members, similar to the friends list.
  • You get a chat channel private to the guild.
  • You get to pick a guild name and logo; the name is displayed with the character name on every avatar, and the logo is displayed on the guild tabard1.
  • You get to assign user-defined ranks to guild members.
  • You get to assign certain privileges to each guild rank; privileges include the ability to modify a guild message of the day, the public and private notes displayed for each guild member on the guild list, and the ability to access…
  • … the guild officer chat, another private chat channel. This is usually reserved for guild members holding some form of responsibility, and the need to discuss membership applications or policy changes in a smaller circle.

The choices offered are pretty cool, but don’t meet the needs of guilds by far.

  1. Tabards are optional pieces of clothing in WoW. You can buy a guild tabard, which is coloured and imprinted according to the settings made for the guild you’ve joined. The tabard changes colours as you change guilds, and is gray when you’re not in a guild. []