Many long time World of Warcraft players feel that the sense of community is dead on servers. The main culprit to this feeling is the addition of the Looking-For-Group system, which allowed players to find groups for dungeons without needing to play with players from their particular server. However, now that players no longer need to talk to players on their server, there is really no need to meet up with good players and make friends to play with again. This has led to a feeling that WoW’s community is dead. The Looking-For-Group system changed the game so much and it is too late for Blizzard to remove it, yet there is another way they could help make the game have a feeling of community.
The answer to WoW’s future communities is guilds. These may be small, yet some become very large and are a great way to get to know the people that you play with. Blizzard took a great step forward in Cataclysm with guilds, allowing guild members to earn experience for their guild, which in turn unlocks both perks for guild members and personal rewards. This system allowed all players feel like they were working with a big group of people to earn something awesome.
One would think that this would instantly make guilds into great community-building tools, however, there are a few problems that hinder this tool from thriving. One of which is the rate at which the guild levels. Blizzard did add a cap in the amount of experience a guild can earn every day, however, I feel it was not nearly high enough. Basically every semi-serious guild was able to make it to the daily cap. This means that every single guild was able to hit the max guild level at the same time. This makes the whole feeling of reaching the max level just feel less exciting since everyone has done it. Also, guilds hit the max level for the expansion during the first patch, this means that guilds really had nothing fun to work towards for the rest of the expansion. Finally, on a personal level it was ridiculously easy to earn the reputation that was required for rewards from the guild. This led to a lot of players joining a guild for two weeks, earning the rewards, then leaving, which led to making guilds feel like even less of a community then before.
So how can this be fixed? Simply by making everything more time consuming to get. Making guilds level through all the patches of an expansion would help give players a reason to play with their guild mates for a much longer time. Also, removing the daily cap for the amount of experience would also help. This would mean that guilds with more members will level quickly, which honestly makes sense. This will mean that guilds will want to add more members, thus growing their community. Finally, making the personal rewards more difficult to get will ensure that guild members actually feel that they are a part of the guild’s community and will lead to less people guild-hopping.
People complain constantly that World of Warcraft has lost its feeling of community, which in all honesty it has. Playing with people you know, or at least have met through the game make it a much more enjoyable experience. This is way I think Blizzard should re-vamp the guild leveling system and make it a more demanding activity, causing players to form stronger communities to earn the perks and rewards. Gone are the days were players would have one-hundred players on their friends list so they know which players are good and which are not good, however, making the guild stronger will help rebuild WoW’s community.