My leadership background:
I first became an officer of a raiding guild in Vanilla. I was an officer on and off thru burning crusade and wrath of the lich king. I’ve been an officer of the same guild since we formed Undying Resolution at the end of the ICC raid tier. We kept together a 25-man raid team all of Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. We still have a roster of about 25 raid members today to support our 20-man mythic encounters.
One of the reasons why our guild stayed strong and we never fell apart in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria is how we built a reward structure to reward our raiders and keep them motivated during long periods of time during which we had new content (e.g., a year and a half in the same raid tier). We have many of the same members we started with, but we often have new recruits in our raid team. We often have to recruit people from off server because most of the rest of the raiding guilds on my server died in Cataclysm due to their inability to support 25-man raiding teams anymore (and then the 10 progression teams dwindled over MOP).
Our guild incentive reward system is all about positive reinforcement. We give positive things to people for hard work. One of these incentives come in the form of having a well stocked guild bank full of raiding supplies. Another is the use of raid repairs. Higher ranks in our guild have more access to repairs and more access to raid supplies. Getting a promotion in our guild is a big deal. People look forward to being promoted to a higher rank in the guild, and losing your rank is a big deal. We even have a Crusader rank that we made so that people who had gone above and beyond for the guild could be rewarded with a permanent life-time rank even if they left the game or quit raiding that rewarded their lifetime service.
Having a functional guild bank and repairs is a costly, but important, aspect of our reward system. We primarily do loot drops in the raid with Master Looter and the EPGP point system addon. This EPGP system (combined with guild ranks) are the primary tools we have available to us to reward people for attending raids and following our rules. The BOE drops from raids is often the primary way that we run our guild bank and provide our guild with rewards. In 2013, when we didn’t have access to BOE drops, this was really harmful to our ability to continue offering our guild bank and repairs. I documented this problem that many people were experiencing in a previous blog post on this topic:
However, Blizzard solved this problem by re-introducing BOE drops in Warlords of Draenor after a full raid tier of guilds complaining about raid drops. This background is important because I feel the need to explain that my guild is full of amazing people before I talk about the problem.
The 6.2 problem:
In patch 6.2, Master Looter only works for boss drops. Trash drops are now personal loot only. The BOEs can be traded, but it is not a trival problem to have to ask your raiders to hand over loot from their inventory to put in the guild bank or hand to raid leaders. It’s not trival to have to ask your friends to hand over things that dropped for them in raids.
So, guilds like mine that fund their activities by selling BOEs that drop off trash now have to make a decision. One option is to basically punish your raid members by forcing them to hand you loot they won off trash mobs. It’s one thing to just never hand them the loot. It’s a totally different thing to ask people to hand over things from their inventory so that they can be given away to other people. We could do this, but it would basically negate all the subtle positive reinforcement we had been giving them. It sucks to have to hand over an epic item you personally won because you picked up off the ground and give YOUR loot to someone else. When it always just belonged to the master looter officer, the members never had any time in which those items belonged to them. In the short-term, we can ask the guild to donate the BOEs they win in raids. But, this is really a poor usability design problem. Our current members might be willing to donate all the BOEs they get in the raid to the guild, but this isn’t fun and it sucks to have to track who is or isn’t donating their stuff.
The other solution is to close off guild repairs entirely (because we can’t afford them without those BOE drops). We could still theoretically have the guild bank run entirely on individual donations. While individual donations can work, this means we have much less to offer our members. This puts more burden on the people who stock the bank to keep lists of things we need & post the lists to our guild. This puts more burden on the individual guild members who go out and collect the items we need.
Most guilds at this point are opting for just not having guild repairs or a guild bank because Blizzard didn’t supply guilds with good ways of keeping our guilds happy, healthy, and running. Trying to offer more “friendship” as a reward for being in our guild only goes so far in convincing new players to spend $60 to join us. The health of our functioning guild bank was a tool we could use to show potential new members the fact that we were good at organizing our group. Now we either give up the health of that guild bank or we tell new players they will have to give us all their stuff if they come join us.
Either way, guilds greatly lose out by not having a functioning income that allows us to offer perks for membership. Membership perks are part of how you convince strangers to join your team and give you a chance. In College sports, they give scholarships to new team members as a recruitment tool. In our guild, we offer guild repairs and a functioning guild bank much the same way that colleges offer scholarships to join their team.
Guilds need more support.
With the change where BOEs no longer belong to the guild officers, we either have to tell our guild members to give us all the loot they won, or we have to offer fewer rewards to our guild members directly ourselves. While many of our guild members would be happy to hand over their loot, this still reduces their fun and increases the administrative burden for officers. A guild is basically a sports team where the team leaders have a really hard job. Anything that makes guild leadership harder is bad for the game because it makes our friends get tired of being leaders and makes them want to give up.
If guilds are no longer in control of BOEs that drop in our raids, we need to find new and better ways support our raid leaders and guild officers. The BOE drops were really a band-aid on the problem of guilds lacking a good income to support our team. If BOE drops are no longer a good way to support our team, Blizzard needs to give guild officers better recruitment tools and income sources so that people will want to come play on our teams. I love my guild, but we need a better way of supporting how hard guild offers work.
There are plenty of other ways to give more gold to the guild to support the leadership (such as offering more guild-level gold for killing more bosses in raids). We could also have guild bonuses that reduced repair costs. We could have more cauldrons and feasts to reduce the cost of raiding materials for raiding guilds. I’d be happy giving up BOEs and having other shared resource options instead.
Guilds also need better recruitment tools to support forming new guilds and helping to keep guilds happy and running. In the end, guilds need more support. Taking away what little support we’ve been given is harmful to the health of our families we spent so much time working to build.