Playing with others is at the core of the World of Warcraft experience. Whether it's simply coming across another player while questing and giving a /wave, joining a quick group to take down an elite, jumping into a dungeon, or running a raid, being in a world full of other players is what the game is all about. And there's no bigger or more coordinated player congregation than a guild.
Guilds have existed in World of Warcraft from day one, but we've always wanted players who were in guilds to have some progression to work toward with their friends and guildmates beyond simply downing bosses, as well as a way to better recognize their accomplishments and show them off. In Cataclysm we've added some features to support that goal in the form of a new guild UI, levels, perks, achievements, reputation, and rewards.
While playing the game with your guild you'll earn guild experience, level the guild up, earn perks, chase guild achievements, earn personal reputation with your guild, and unlock purchasable rewards, These are all part of the larger whole we call Guild Advancement.
Guild Experience and Perks
With the new Guild Advancement system, members can help contribute guild experience to level up their guild in a similar manner to how you'd level up a character. Through a number of personal or group actions that each guild member undertakes, the guild earns experience. The experience in turn goes toward raising the guild's level. Guild members can contribute experience to their guild level by completing quests, daily quests, killing dungeon and raid bosses with a group comprised of at least 80% guild members, and winning rated Battleground matches with a group comprised of at least 80% guild members.
An exception to the 80% rule is for five-person dungeons, which only require 3/5 people to be in the guild to earn guild experience and achievements.* The amount of experience gained scales, with 3/5 guild members granting 50% normal guild xp, 4/5 giving 100%, and 5/5 giving 125% guild xp. The amount gained from each boss scales with your level relative to the boss's level, with Heroic bosses worth even more (1.5x). It pays off to have a full group of guild members!
Another exception is when visiting the older 40-person raids, which only require 25% guild participation (10 members) to earn experience and achievements.
As your guild gains levels, you unlock unique powers called perks at a rate of one perk per guild level. Currently guilds can level up through 25 individual levels, each with its own perk. Perks affect every member of your guild, and grant a variety of useful benefits -- netting extra gold from mobs, earning more experience from your kills, increasing mount speed, a mass resurrection spell helping you bounce back from those inevitable raid wipes, and more. The perks currently affecting your character can be viewed in a new tab available on your spell book.
The rate of guild leveling is similar to an individual player's leveling curve -- in other words, earlier levels require less experience and are gained more quickly than later levels. However, there's a cap on how much guild experience can be accrued per day to help ensure guilds of smaller sizes can maintain some pace with the larger ones. This cap can be seen in the guild interface as a blue section of un-gained experience, and/or arrow pointing to the daily cap. Helpful if it's already been reached. The daily cap on guild experience, however, is removed at level 23, allowing each guild to progress at their own pace from that point to level 25.*
Guild Reputation and Rewards
While your guild as a whole unlocks perks with guild experience, your individual contributions also improve your personal standing within the guild, measured as guild reputation. Guild reputation works like earning reputation with a faction -- your reputation with your guild starts at neutral and levels to exalted (though, unlike faction reputation, there's a weekly cap on how much guild reputation you can earn). The exact same activities that earn experience for your guild (completing quests, killing bosses, and winning rated Battleground matches), as well as earning guild achievements, will raise your reputation with your guild. Just like guild experience, you can see how much additional reputation you can earn each week with your guild as a blue section and arrow pointing to your weekly cap.*
Increasing your guild reputation grants a number of benefits in the form of guild rewards which are purchased from a guild vendor. Guild Vendors can be found at the Visitor's Center in all capital cities, right next to the Guild Master NPC. Most guild rewards require guild achievements or a specific guild level to unlock, and then a personal guild reputation requirement for each guild member to purchase them. Guild rewards differ from guild perks as they require personal reputation with the guild to access, require gold to purchase, and are generally physical rewards and not guild-wide passive bonuses like most guild perks.
Purchasable guild rewards come in many forms, including extra tabs for your guild bank, guild cloaks that customize your look and provide mechanical benefits, heirlooms, recipes, pets, unique guild mounts, and more.
It's important to note that if you leave your guild and join a new one your reputation with the previous guild is removed and your reputation with the new guild will be set to neutral. If you leave your guild and don't join a new one you have the ability to rejoin your previous guild and keep all of your previous reputation. Whether you rejoin or not you'll keep any rewards you purchased, but will of course lose the unlocked guild perks.
Along with the guild advancement features, the entire guild interface has been revamped and improved. The main Guild tab (J) is there to bring much of the immediate information you'd want right to the front page. Displaying highlights of recent events, the guild level, perks, and your guild reputation. For more information on recent events you'll want to click on the News tab of the guild UI, which will show a history of guild activity including achievements, bosses downed, epic loots looted, and guild advancement progress.
An updated Roster tab allows guild members to easily browse and sort their guild members by a number of categories, including by their status, contribution to the guild's advancement, and (potentially the most useful) by profession. Sorting by profession allows anyone to easily browse for guild members that have a specific profession, what skill level they're at, and directly view their recipe collection. They don't have to be online, either!
Although there are a number of other nuances and improvements throughout the guild UI, you'll want to be sure to check your achievement interface (Y) as a new tab has appeared at the bottom. Achievements are part of unlocking a number of guild rewards; see where you can help out!
We plan to keep building on the guild features and advancement system and adding to it as times goes on. All you need to do is sound the recruiting call, gather your group, and set out to strengthen your guild. It's time for you and your guildmates to leave an even bigger footprint on the world of Azeroth!
* Available with patch 4.0.6
For more information on specific perks and rewards visit Wowhead.com's Cataclysm Guide to Guild Advancement.