As a guild leader, and occasionally unguilded alt, I’ve had my share of frustration with World of Warcraft’s in-game Guild Finder tool. Added all the way back in patch 4.1 (4.26.2011) during Cataclysm, the Guild Finder hasn’t been updated or changed in almost 7 years. I was excited when they announced new social features during this years BlizzCon.
While the few images they showed made it look like a Discord clone, I’m hoping that’s not the case. I took some time to make a mock-up of changes I hope they add, but first I want to look at the Guild Finder as it is and what its current shortcomings are.
Guilds – Current
The current guild finder is accessible to guild leaders and members of a set rank. It consists of two panels, the recruitment panel, and the requests panel, both being tabs in the Guild Info panel.
The recruitment panel consists of a few check-boxes and a small text box. Officers are able to check boxes for:
- Interests (questing, dungeons, raids, pvp or roleplaying),
- Availability (weekends or weekdays),
- Class roles (tanking, healing or damage)
- Level (any or max).
They are then able to add a small amount of text about their guild, limited to around a paragraph. Below is a sample of the recruitment panel.
There have been many changes made to the game since the guild finder came out and it is long overdue for an update. The finder doesn’t account for server mergers, standardized time zones – all u.s. servers are pst and the addition of mythic plus dungeons, just to name a few.
I will cover this a bit more in the section about characters looking for a guild, but many officers will check every box even if they don’t participate in those activities. It’s very rare to find a raiding, pvp guild that also rps and levels together. The activities section would be better as a ranking system. Availability could use more options than just weekends or weekday. What about late night raiding guilds or early morning roleplay guilds?
During WoD, I joined a guild that was in central time. I’d pugged into a raid with them and had fun, but most of their events were two hours later for me and it ended up not working out.
One of the biggest problems with the current guild finder from both sides is requests. Players send a request and officers can view them, but unless both parties are online, nothing happens.
Above you see an example of what the requests panel looks like. There’s a small amount of info you can see about the player including class, level, role and any text they’ve decided to add. As you can see a few people don’t decide to say anything about themselves at all.
All requests are held for 30 days, after that time they expire. So if an officer isn’t able to catch-up with the player in that time, oh well. This part of the interface could use a bit of love, especially the ability to message/invite recruits when they are offline. I’d also like to see more information much like how individual players are displayed on the armory.
Players – Current
The guild finder for players is accessed by clicking the guild button while not in a guild and it’s a mess. The interface for searching is similar to the guild recruitment panel, with the same interests, availability, and roles.
In theory, these options are supposed to filter guilds to meet your needs. In reality, as mentioned above, many guilds click every box whether or not they do those activities. Below is an example of the guild finder search box.
Once a player hits Browse Guild they have to sift through hundreds of guilds consisting of 1 or 2 members just to get to anything interesting. Without an add-on, there is no option to search for a guild by name or to filter out guilds with less than a certain amount of members. Requiring a new player to have an addon just to find a guild seems unrealistic.
The above example shows only four guilds. Without an add-on – guild finder enhanced for example – to sort through, most of the guilds it returned had less than 10 members and have probably been inactive for years. I had scrolled through about 20 guilds by that point and my scrollbar had barely moved a few pixels.
For my search criteria, I’d only selected questing and weekends. To be honest I’ve never gotten past this point in the guild search using the guild finder. You can see I have 10 requests available to me. Many of the guilds in the returned search didn’t even bother to write a description.
Guild Finder Updated- Character
I’ve talked about the problems with the guild finder, now I’d like to talk about what I would change. All of the changes I’m about to list to both the player and guild sections would help to match guilds and players looking for similar things to each other.
From the perspective of guilds, I’d like to see an update to the character display. Building off the request list, let officers click each character and get more information about them. First I’d like to show you a mock-up, based on the current armory and then I’ll explain my reasoning for each section.
Obviously character name, I also included realm because of combined realms. Followed by specific information about the character such as class, spec, role(spec covers this but they may prefer a different role), item level (which could be important to raiding guilds). I also added character creation date, which could help tell officers how experienced a player is. Of course, it could be an alt, but might be fun information.
Below that, I added a space for a picture, which could be as simple as the character model from the armory or a screenshot. About would be similar to the current area where players can type in a message, but I’d give them a lot more space than they currently have, a few paragraphs at least.
I’d also have a section for a sentence or two about what they are looking for in a guild. Going beyond just activities I’ve noticed a lot of our members have different needs. Some just want to log in for organized raids, some like to hang out in guild chat and others want to participate in activities on their alts as well.
The next two sections would be pulled from the armory and only shown if the character has expressed an interest in raiding, pvp or mythic+ (not pictured). This would give raiding or pvp guilds a quick idea of if this player would fit their goals. I also included a checkbox to indicate if a player is over 18. This would be hidden and only come into play during a guild search attempting to match players and guilds who are looking for that kind of atmosphere.
Finally, instead of just a “request membership” button, I have three buttons. Decline would remove this guild from appearing in your future guild searches. Message would open a group chat with the officers – I will cover this later. Invite would send a request to join the guild that would pop-up the next time the character logs in – if they are not already online. Perhaps it could also have a message along the lines of we’ve reviewed your request to join our guild and are offering you an invite, instead of the usual random guild invite.
Guild Finder Updated- Guild
Players need different information from a guild. I’d like to know how active they are, when they usually do activities and a few other things I will cover below. Players would be able to see this page by clicking any guild from the search results or they could hit the next button (not shown) to page through them. First I’d like to show you a mock-up, based on the current armor and then I’ll explain my reasoning for each section.
Very similar to the character page, it starts with the guild name followed by faction, the number of members (better if it listed only unique members or members online) and achievement points (not a perfect indicator of activity but would give an idea). I also added the date the guild was founded, which can be a good indicator of if the guild will still be around in a year.
Next would be the guild crest and a text box for guild information. This is very similar to the current area for the guild to talk about themselves, but I would give them a few paragraphs here instead of the current limitation.
Following that would be a pull from the armory of current progression, for example, a raiding guild would show how many bosses they’ve killed in the past three raid tiers. In the recruitment page, the guild would have to select activities in order of interest and that is what would feed this section. In the case of a pvp guild who selected pvp as their primary interest, this would be pvp related information (I don’t pvp so I have no idea what the relevant information would be here).
Then an area to list organized activity scheduling and a display of currently scheduled guild activities pulled from the in-game calendar. If you visit a guilds page on the current armory, it already shows this. In my current guild, we do alt raids on Fridays open to every member and I’d like to find something similar on my horde alts, so I feel this would be a good feature to help people find guilds doing activities they are interested in.
I know that some people are very specific about the voice program they like to use and I’ve added a section for that here. One potential recruit decided to keep looking because we hadn’t yet made a switch to Discord at the time. I also feel having a list of a few officers could help potential or current recruits to know who is the best person to answer their questions. In the set-up, this could just be a few text boxes where the name could be input or it could pull from the top 3 guild ranks. As with the character page, the over 18 checkbox would be there to pair guilds that only accepts members over 18 with players that are looking for the same.
The buttons here are similar to the buttons on the character page. Decline would deny this player and remove your guild from their future searches. Message would open a group chat with the player and your officers. Apply would send that guild a request to join, similar to the current system, that would then show up in a guilds requests.
Guild Finder Updated- Chat
Last but not least important is to allow officers to message or invite potential recruits when they are offline. The chat would work very much like the current bnet chat program. So when a recruit either applies for a guild or requests a chat, it would open a small chat room with the recruit and officers. This would allow both parties to get to know each other, ask questions and figure out if they would be a good fit.
This is an important feature for most guilds because currently, you can’t talk to any recruits if they are offline. The only way around this is to have recruits visit a web forum and put in an app there and try to plan a time to both be online for an invite. Ingame mail could work, but it’s a bit clunky.
With the proposed social changes I’m really hoping we at least see something like this. Having a semi-live chat would give both parties the chance to get to know one another. The recruit can ask for clarification on guild events and the guild could invite the recruit to tag along to a guild function like an alt raid.
You may be asking why I even care, but for me finding the right guild is a lot like finding the right partner. A guild isn’t just made up of the people you raid with but also your friends. When you log in after a bad day at work they can cheer you up. Some of my best friends are my guildmates and we’ve been playing together for over a decade. I have no doubts that if my husband hadn’t found our guild, I wouldn’t still be playing this game.
Many players are missing out on this experience because they just haven’t found the right guild and some changes to the current in-game guild finder could help. What do you think? What changes would you make to the guild finder?