WoW: [Realm First!] Guild Level 25!

THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED LAST WEEK, but my WoW guild recently got its first-ever “Realm First” achievement by hitting guild level 25 before anyone else on the server. We’re not anywhere near the server lead in terms of raid progression, so we weren’t sure what to expect when the daily XP cap was removed at level 23 last Monday, but as it turned out, it wasn’t even a contest – we got the achievement on Tuesday morning, days ahead of anyone else, and the guild, as you’d expect, was pretty stoked about it.

For hitting level 25, our guild got access to a nice new ability: Mass Resurrection. Anyone in the guild can rez an entire raid to 35% health, which is great for raid progression. Anyone Exalted with the guild also got access to buy a cool-looking lion mount, complete with a banner and our guild logo:

But really, most of the guild perks from 20-25 are pretty awesome. “Have Group Will Travel” summons an entire raid to a location, eliminating the need for summoning stones (and warlocks). “Chug-A-Lug” doubles the duration of buffs from guild cauldrons and feasts, and “Bountiful Bags” (maybe the best one) gives bonus items when mining, skinning, herbing and disenchanting. Now that we’re maxed out, I’d have to say that Blizzard did a really nice job with the advancement system: the perks don’t break the game or the economy, but are nice bonuses nonetheless.

Of course, even when Blizzard gets something right, there’s always a line of nitwits ready to argue the opposite. Go onto the official WoW forums (at your own risk!) and you’ll find countless threads how Blizzard clearly “hates small guilds” based on the guild leveling system, that the daily cap is too big and how it’s impossible for smaller guilds to compete.

The irony is that the system is, if anything, more biased against larger guilds. The daily cap of 6.2 million XP is easy for any guild to hit with a few heroics and dailies, and doesn’t require any raiding whatsoever. Larger guilds will typically cap out mid-day and then waste all sorts of XP they’d normally rack up during prime-time play. The current cap limit means that a guild that rarely has over 10 people on at once can easily keep pace with a guild four times its size.

And it’s not like the perks offer any game-breaking advantages when it comes to progression. Having a flask last two hours instead of one doesn’t make a raid encounter any easier. Having repairs cost a little less and getting a little more ore from mining only puts a little more money in your pocket, not leapfrog that guild who’s three levels lower.

I think the interesting question now is where Blizzard takes the guild advancement system from here. Will they open up leveling down the road so we can go to 30 or 35? Will they eventually lower the cap for lower-level guilds so they can catch up faster? Are there other obvious perks to offer? It’s one of those rare things that turn out pretty well on the first try, and I’m curious to see how it evolves down the road.