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Guilds in World of Warcraft have been
an essential part of the game since day one. Player strove to join
the very best guild, for their designated play style,- in the hopes
to find their “home”. Being guildless was almost considered to
anathema to most players. Sure, some struck it out on their own, but
most players sought the sanctuary of a guild to help them on their
struggle through Azeroth.

These days, things are changing. The
once mighty guild is no longer so indomitable. In fact, with the way
things are going, guilds may become totally obsolete. I've seen
guilds that have been going strong for years, shatter and fall apart
around me with little to no reason. A big change from the days of
yore.

The Good Old Days

Back in the classic days of World of
Warcraft, what some would refer to as the true glory days of the
game, guilds were a booming business. To get anywhere in the game you
needed to be in the guild, especially if you wanted to take part in
any of the end game action. Raid instances required 40 players, so
large, swelling guilds were not only necessary, they were the norm.

Even if you didn't want to raid, guilds
were still pretty essential. Leveling up wasn't always so easy and
even older five mans could prove tricky unless you had a group of
seasoned players. Guilds provided players with materials,
consumables, and many other things to make a player's life easier.
Guilds could also garner social status in game, being part of a
successful guild brought admiration from other players.

Of course, the “good old days” of
classic WoW are long over and big changes have been rolled in over
the years. Each of these changes has had their own consequences, many
of them negative, on guilds.

An Easier Game

One of the major changes to the game
that really started the downhill movement of guilds was Blizzard's
attempt to make the game more single-player friendly and thus,
easier. In classic WoW, leveling was hard work and it was inevitable
that somewhere along the way you were going to need help. You could
of course ask random strangers, but a guild could easily answer that
call and also follow up by making 5-mans and other content more
accessible as well.

These days, almost everything in World
of Warcraft is able to be done by a single player, at least during
the leveling experience. Most hard quests have been wiped out and you
can level so quickly it barely registers as a blip on the radar.
Needing a group or any kind of cooperation anywhere during the
questing experience has almost become a distant memory.

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Not to mention the devolving difficulty
of 5-mans. What were once mini-challanges that required a competent
group, have now become almost laughable affairs. Groups can easily
walk through a dungeon with at least one player sitting back and
doing absolutely nothing. While some PUGs are still failures, even
the most inept group can usually slug their way through recent 5-man
dungeons.

With all that being said, making the
game more friendly to the more casual and solo player is not the only
culprit in the desolation of guilds as we know it, other features
added to the game have had their hand in the pot as well.

LFR, Cross-Realm Groups, and More

Things like LFR and cross-realm groups
have all helped to move players away from the traditional idea of
guilds. With these tools in place, players can easily pick up a group
anytime they want and take out a few bosses and collect some loot.
Forget logging in for three hours, three nights a week. These options
allow players to experience end game with no hassle, no commitment,
no strings attached. Something that wasn't possible back in the day
when guilds seemingly ruled the world.

Even something as innocent as Real ID
has helped to make players less reliant on the guild as a whole. The
social aspect of the guild, one of the most important reason players
cite for joining, can easily be replaced by adding any friends you
want to raids list with their Real ID. Alliance, Horde, Starcraft
Diablo? Doesn't matter, you can talk to them anytime they are online.

Guild Stagnation

All the blame can't be laid on the
shoulders of new game features. Some of it has to be held by the
current stagnation of the guild. What real benefit does being in a
guild give a player these days? Why should they join?

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Guild perks were a nice addition, but
they have since been left by the way-side, forgotten, alone, and
nerfed. Any other perks a guild once had have been outsourced to
other areas of the game. And the classic guild is left in the dust,
waiting for Blizzard to look it's way and make it relevant again.

The Desolation of Guilds in World of
Warcraft

Now some may call me an alarmist and
they might be right. However, I've been playing since the early days
of World of Warcraft and I know one thing; the idea of the guild is
not what it used to be. Guilds have gone from something that was
needed and desired to almost nothing more than a second thought.

As things stand, there is no real draw
for players to be in a guild, when they can reap almost the same
benefits without one. I firmly believe that World of Warcraft is
heading into a new era. A dawning of a time where guilds are and will
quickly become obsolete. Instead players will find themselves easily
able to take on most things solo, while still remaining connected
with friends through whispers. For things that can't be soloed?
Players can easily pick up friends from many different servers,
anytime the mood strikes them. If friends and family aren't available
a PUG will do just fine.

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It won't happen quickly, it hasn’t
thus far. One by one guilds will topple and fall and slowly they will
become a thing of the past. Already, guilds have become unessential
to the game experience and most players seem to have barely noticed.
I believe when guilds go out it will be as a tiny blip on the radar
that barely turns a head.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing and
perhaps it is time for guilds to go the way of the dinosaurs. I just
can't help feel a little pull of the heartstrings as I imagine the
days of raiding in Molten Core with my bustling guild filled with
players just as determined to defeated Ragnaros as I was. I mourn the
loss of that feeling of the “first” kill as a guild, that feeling
of unity and joy at your triumph of something you all worked so hard
to defeat.

I can't help but wonder what the future
will hold and what, if anything, will take the place of the once
mighty guild. Do you think we will see the end of guilds as we know
them in the near future of World of Warcraft? Will you be happy or
sad to see them go? What, if anything, will take their place? Share
your thoughts with us in the comments section below!


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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Mem
Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.

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