In this weeks editorial I want to visit another issue that has come up recently in many guilds, and it is another etiquette issue. Very similar to last weeks look at asking for help in guild chat, I want to discuss the use of the new guild bank feature in WoW.
While Guild Banks are new to be integrated into the game itself there have been many mods that provided similar features in the past for any guild willing to explore them. While no where near as nice as the new integrated feature they did allow guilds to store important items for use later. While they were around, they were semi protected from the general guildie since many times they did not know how to install add-ons.
Now that World of Warcraft has its own built in, easy to use bank system though, EVERYONE can potentially see and use it. This has led to many issue in many guilds already, my guild included. How many times have you seen this message floating across your screen in guild chat, "How do I get gold out of the bank?" or "How do I get item X out of the bank?". Usually this is following by a question such as "who are you?" or "why do you want X which is a level 70 item when your level 40?".
Maybe it's just me, but if the officers are asking who someone is, should they really be asking for something from the bank? Maybe it's just that our guild has over 500 people on a regular basis and we tend to pay the most attention to the raiders. Either way, if your not on enough to be known by the guild, to have contributed to the guild in some meaningful way, should you be looking for stuff from the bank? Really, should anyone? I know, I tend to go buy things rather than even look, it feels like mooching, maybe since we don't have many rules setup.
It was all so much easier when guild bank access was not even known about by many of the players. If they had to install a mod, that meant they probably never would. Now that it's out for general use though it requires much more thought on use, since more players will use it.
This makes it is very frustrating to many players that have been using a guild bank previously when they are now faced with requests that don't fit their already established set of values and ethics around its use. This can't fully be blamed on the new players other than in blatant situations such as the level 40 asking for the release of an expensive epic BoE item form the bank so they can sell if for mount money (true story), since they just don't have the history build up to make the same decisions.
While Blizzard did a nice job on the tool, I believe it was released with little education done, and little in the way of tools provided. What do I mean by this? Anyone that has setup their guild bank knows it takes a bit of time to configure it so that it's useful and much of this is due to not allot of documentation being available on it. Also, even once it's setup, there really is no place to post usage information or notices for it. It would be very nice if when the bank opened it would also open a text window where you could explain the guild banking rules and expectations. It would be even better if you could also have tab notes to explain what goes in each tab (in detail, not short notes).
To help players out on this, my take on what a guild bank should be is as follows. A guild bank should be a storage place that allows guilds to save potentially useful items to help up and coming players, raid and guild event groups, and alternates. It can also be used to combine gold that can be used for items that better the guild as a whole, for example purchasing an expensive pattern for a guild member to make the item for other guild members.
The problem without a clear guideline on what guild banks are for or how they should be used leaves it up to each guild to come up with their own set of rules and regulations on guild banks. Here's my thought's on some basic guild bank protocols. Read them, think about them, then come back and offer your own ideas.
- Restrict access as much as possible to everyone but those that need access for some reason (rank, position, etc) to ensure that the bank is not cleaned out.
- Have one tab open to all guild members for transitory items and transactions. This can be used for trading items between players, passing on goods for leveling professions, leveling gear, etc. This is pretty much a free for all, and nothing of any real value should be here.
- Have one tab reserve red for the raid or group run consumables, to be used by anyone that need on progression or group runs. Everyone that has a profession that can create consumables can help out and provide what they make to this tab. It should be checked that everyone is contributing as much as they are taking out, but in general raid players know how expensive items are and will help replenish stocks. If players don't they should be talked to and potentially have their access removed from this tab.
- Have an Expensive Items tab, reserved for officers or class leads to remove from, but anyone can contribute or view. This allows players to donate to the guild any high end items they find that are not BoP. It also allows players to see what is there and request it from a class lead or officer. It can then be given to them if it is viewed that it is an upgrade and they have contributed to the guild in some way that they deserve the item.
- Gold use, is probably the biggest issue for most guilds. There are some players that are very good about donating some extra cash to the guild to pay for things like repairs on new progression runs, consumables, extra bank tabs, recipes for professions that the guild needs, resistance gear for fights, etc. However there are just as many players that will never donate and remove anything they can. Therefore gold should be locked down to officers. A good policy that can be used is to open it up to pay for repairs on progression runs or after guild events. Leaving the gold open all the time though is asking for it to disappear. Many guilds also pay for the main tank and healers consumables and repairs since MT (and to a lesser degree healers) cost and burn out is so high.
No matter the rules that you have though, I feel it is critical to ensure everyone in the guild knows them and lives by them. The rules should at the very least be posted on the guild web site and linked to from your guild information. All players should also be briefed on the guild leaders thoughts on bank use when they join, or at a guild meeting as a reminder. Without players knowing the rules, or at least having the opportunity to read them, it's hard to enforce anything when rules get broken.
Even with clear and concise rules for bank usage there is always going to be arguments or disagreements. Therefore it is also important to have a resolution process defined. Even if that process is just that the guild leader has the final say. Probably a better system though is that any request is escalated to a class lead, officer or the guild leader in ascending order until it is resolved completely.
To end this discussion with probably a drastic oversimplification, the issue I see with any guild bank process can be summed up with the following statement, "those that deserve to take gold or items are the last people that would ever do so, while those that least deserve it would be the first to do so".
The Messiah has had his say, what’s yours? Are there other issues with guild banks? Do you have an alternate set of rules? Am I over analyzing this? I want to hear your comments.
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