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Avair

Designing a Real Guild Bank...

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One thing I'm sure nearly every guild deals with is the guild bank. It's an essential tool that we use to manage guild level resources, whether its Elementium Ore, random blue drops, Scarabs/Idols or just repair money. Unfortunately, there is no in game respresentation of a guild bank. The typical way it gets implemented is having another guild paid for account, or have an alt on one of the officers accounts.

No more account sharing

There are a host of issues with account sharing, most notably that blizzard doesn't really want to you to do it. It opens the possibly of accounts getting hacked, Guild vaults getting cleaned out, pretty much with no accountablity at all. Blizzard has created assets that a guild is typically managing, but requires violating game rules to manage in a satisfactory way.

Give us real guild bank tools.

I think its high time that Blizzard gave us real tools to manage a guild. Other games have done this very well, most notablly (from my perspective) Eve, which allowed for very fine grained control over who can access the guild vault, what they could access, etc.

So what kinds of features would guild leaders/officers/members want to see out of a guild vault? Anyway, here's my list of features, please add your own.

Features of a Guild Vault

* In game access by multiple characters: Officers (or members with access rights) should be able to add and remove items and money from the bank. It should be just another option from the bankers in all the major cities.

* Larger storage space: The total number of slots should be larger than a normal bank. More spots equals less bank alts running around.

* Activity Logging: The cornerstone of accountablity is knowing who took what and when. All additions to and removals from the bank should be logged. Officers with sufficient rights should be able to look at the log to see where things are coming from/going to. If maintaining the log would be too much storage space, there should at a minimum be mails triggered to all officers when items or gold is removed from the bank.

* Configurable Access rights: Ideally, you could have fairly grainual access permisions for different membership levels. Officers should be able to grant permissions to different ranks: General Permissions might include:

** View Guild vault contents (typically for rank/file members)

** Donate money to guild vault

** Withdraw money from guild vault

** Take items from guild vault

** Request items from guild vault (see below)

** Approve/Deny requests

* Vault Mail Box: Members should be able to mail items to the guild vault directly, which officers could decide to take and put into the vault, sell on the AH and post the money into the guild vault directly, or return to the sender. Would make managing guild consumables quite a bit easier.

* Request items: (Nice to have) Members who can see the vault contents, could file requiesition requests for items stored in the vault. An officer can easily approve/deny the request, which would automatically mail the item to that indiviudal.

So that's my first pass on essential and nice to have features for a guild vault. What do you folks think? Not sure we will see this anytime soon in game, but it would sure streamline guild management quite a bit.

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* Request items: (Nice to have) Members who can see the vault contents, could file requiesition requests for items stored in the vault. An officer can easily approve/deny the request, which would automatically mail the item to that indiviudal.

That feature would be one of the single most useful additions to the game that blizzard could ever make. Even more so if this was done whileviewing the guild bank by accessing a right-click pop-up menu, and not requiring some sort of mailbox system.

Heck, make it a real time transfer - if an officer is on that has sufficient rights to authorize withdrawls, he gets a pop up approval window allowing him to allow, or deny with a short comment explaining why. If allowed the item is immediately given to the player in question.

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Granular organizational tools for defining "bags" of "stuff". I'd like to be able to define a bag, and title it, as the Idol Bag, and have it stick all that stuff into it. I'm ok with having to do the initial work to set it up correctly, but I'd really like it to store it's own attributes so that it is identical when viewed from different accounts.

Posting auctions directly from the guild mailbox would also be a huge time saver.

As a tangental comment - the auction house data that many many many of us use mods to collect could very easily be collected server side and would have some wonderful implications for this. =P

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I wouldn't want everyone out there to have defaulted access to average prices on every Auction. Thats how the smart people find deals.

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After having my guild bank destroyed and pawned off by either a keylogger or someone Id love to see something done. But as far as I can tell this really woouldnt solve this issue but create more of a problem. Instead of 1 person having control over the bank now. Say 5 have access to it, leaving it even more vulnerable. Now if anyone of those 5 people's account get taken over the bank can be stripped clean.

Still trying to recover our bank from what we think was a keylogger not to mention another guildy just lost his account and had everything DE'd or destroyed. :(

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You being the guild leader would put people you trust in charge, unless you can't trust them... then you shouldn't let them be in charge of it now should you.

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One possible security measure would be to implement a multiple approval requirement for withdrawals. It's very unlikely that two different officers with bank privileges would be hacked by the same person at the same time, yet it should be reasonably simple for a guild to arrange for two officers to log on at roughly the same time to deal with legitimate banking requests.

Furthermore, if an officer is acting suspiciously it should be possible for any other guild officer to lock down all their access to the bank contents.

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Lets also not forget that Blizzard could love this idea, since it could potentially be a rather large money sink for Guilds that wish to have a Guild Bank - charging exorbiant costs like 10k gold to open a guild bank, 1k per additional amount of slots, etc, etc?

It would have to be quite large if they did decide to do such a thing - and sorely needed at this point :[

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I thought the EQ2 guild bank system was very good, it brought most of the features that people were looking for in a guild bank in.

Must admit I was very disappointed that WoW doesn't have anything remotely resembliing an organised guild bank, in some respect the guild interface as a whole is a real disappointment.

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There is a definate need for a guild bank system in WoW. Massive storage, multiple, fine tuneable levels of access and control and the ability to see who took what and when.

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Actually I'm pretty sure this is something Blizzard indeed has thought of, and thought better of.

Now, I'm going to set myself in the role as a game designer who's just been given the task to evaluate the feasibility of implementing a fully functional guild bank / vault system in a game like this.

Obviously your first thought is "it's a great idea, encourages guilds to cooperate, no reason not to implement it!". But as you keep pondering a few points start making themselves apparent. First and foremost, of course, in huge online games like this - everything that can be exploited in any way will be, of that you can rest assured. Since a guild bank system is no different from a real bank in the fact that someone else is effectively handling and keepsaking your resources, the system has to be foolproof.

Now, the first step towards foolproofness would of course be to handle a lot of it, if not all, serverside. This is going to add to total server load. Even so, what could you come up with that makes sure a corrupted guild leader / officer does not just empty a guild bank and take off with 25k gold? Do you make all the movements dependant on more than one person acknowledging? It's still only people, basically this might lower the possibility but it's still going to happen. Are you ready to handle the extra log requirements as a result of this, and the extra load on game support to restore stolen items?

Basically I can see why you wouldn't implement such a system just based on the possible exploitations it brings with it. Of course, this is bad news for those of us who are actually thrustworthy and would benefit from the simplicity of having a built-in system to help in our daily guild-resources-handling routines, but still the possibility to set up a working bank / vault system is in the game as it is.

So as a game designer I would say; do not make an explicit system for this, instead make sure it's feasible that players who wish to create one can do so.

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Now, the first step towards foolproofness would of course be to handle a lot of it, if not all, serverside. This is going to add to total server load. Even so, what could you come up with that makes sure a corrupted guild leader / officer does not just empty a guild bank and take off with 25k gold? Do you make all the movements dependant on more than one person acknowledging? It's still only people, basically this might lower the possibility but it's still going to happen. Are you ready to handle the extra log requirements as a result of this, and the extra load on game support to restore stolen items?

I really don't see the point here. I don't think there's any need for Blizzard to protect guilds from its own leadership in regards to the guilds assets. A guild leader that wants to run away with all the money can do it regardless of what kind of system you put in. As a vault officer I'd be more than happy if they gave me 50 slot guild bank bags, more bag slots and an interface accessible by all officers. And for the love of God no more items like the Voodoo Dolls from ZG.

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I really don't see the point here. I don't think there's any need for Blizzard to protect guilds from its own leadership in regards to the guilds assets. A guild leader that wants to run away with all the money can do it regardless of what kind of system you put in.

Well, that's exactly the point. The system in itself would be very easily misusable. Whether most guilds would ever need any protection structures is another matter.

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A lack of a proper gbank system has always annoyed me when guilds have disbanded and certain gleaders have taken it as the green light to take the cash. I mean, does anyone else get REALLY annoyed that there are people on your server with 10s of 1000s of gold because they were the GM of some MC/ZG guild that disbanded (and they kept the guild bank?). 40-100+ people worked hard to get the items in question but because some guy managed to convince some people to click accept, when a guild goes under, he gets a big pay day.

The current system of "I'll make a bag alt and just mail me it" relies too much on trust and the reliability of one person - surely in a game like this, there should be some support for a guild bank structure. Transactions should be transparent (log of who and what has received each deposit/withdrawal) and "loot -> guild bank" should be an option for a master looter. Hell, there should even be support for a guild democracy structure to allow you to re-assess the leadership every 30 days or so.

Maybe Blizzard should actually define a policy on guild bank distribution. If a guild folds, perhaps all items should automatically be transferred (after 48 hours) to the Auction House with the proceeds distributed to the member accounts?

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Possible corruption is always present; however, it is moreso present today as guild assets are stored on an individuals account and thus there is no enforcable accountability. At least with an in-game guild bank system, one may sucessfully lay forth the argument that the assets do not belong to any sole individual (in terms of putting it towards a GM query). However, right now, problems are rampant.

One of my previous guilds had a rather incompetent guild leader who, when things started getting rough, decided to suddenly disband the guild and make off with tons of assets and gold. I found out later that he used our guild bank to negotiate his acceptance into a "higher" guild. Our current guild spreads our assets across several officer accounts and this certainly works better; our loss after one of our MT's got keylogged was substantial but far from crippling.

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Heh, I brought this up on the R&D forums and General and got a general response of 'lol alts work just fine noob.' Our guild bank got cleaned out by an unknown party a while ago and Blizzard wouldn't help because we were account sharing in order to manage the damn thing. I'm not at all confident that Blizzard cares a whit about this, even though they really should.

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Heh, I brought this up on the R&D forums and General and got a general response of 'lol alts work just fine noob.'

Did you expected an intelligent respose from that place?

It would be nice to have guild bank tools, but I don't see it happening in the near future.

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Maybe Blizzard should actually define a policy on guild bank distribution. If a guild folds, perhaps all items should automatically be transferred (after 48 hours) to the Auction House with the proceeds distributed to the member accounts?

I don't see that ever happening. Gold isn't hard to get, although it does get tedious collecting it.

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A lack of a proper gbank system has always annoyed me when guilds have disbanded and certain gleaders have taken it as the green light to take the cash. I mean, does anyone else get REALLY annoyed that there are people on your server with 10s of 1000s of gold because they were the GM of some MC/ZG guild that disbanded (and they kept the guild bank?). 40-100+ people worked hard to get the items in question but because some guy managed to convince some people to click accept, when a guild goes under, he gets a big pay day.

The current system of "I'll make a bag alt and just mail me it" relies too much on trust and the reliability of one person - surely in a game like this, there should be some support for a guild bank structure. Transactions should be transparent (log of who and what has received each deposit/withdrawal) and "loot -> guild bank" should be an option for a master looter. Hell, there should even be support for a guild democracy structure to allow you to re-assess the leadership every 30 days or so.

Maybe Blizzard should actually define a policy on guild bank distribution. If a guild folds, perhaps all items should automatically be transferred (after 48 hours) to the Auction House with the proceeds distributed to the member accounts?

Or you can boot all the scrubs from the guild first, then split the loot, then disband the guild.

See, I found a clever method around your overly controlling scheme!

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See, I found a clever method around your overly controlling scheme!

Or Blizzard could define a policy about such behaviour.

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Heck, make it a real time transfer - if an officer is on that has sufficient rights to authorize withdrawls, he gets a pop up approval window allowing him to allow, or deny with a short comment explaining why. If allowed the item is immediately given to the player in question.

They wouldnt do this, it would break the limitation on potions/buffs. Theres a reason pots only stack in 5's.

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They wouldnt do this, it would break the limitation on potions/buffs. Theres a reason pots only stack in 5's.

I don't see how it would break the limitations on how many buffs one can have. What it would actually do is work around inventory space, as you could use the guild bank as a general extension of people's inventory.

Therefore, if people request stuff from the guild bank, it shouldn't just pop up in their inventory, but be automatically mailed to them, with the usual restrictions that apply to mails that are sent with items attached.

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There would have to be some limit on what guilds could open a 'Guild Vault', a certain size of guild for example. Otherwise you could simple make your own guild, get some level 1's to sign your charter, and hey presto, you have a massive amount more bank space than was intended for the average player. Ofcourse putting a huge gold price on such a Vault would be one way of checking it, but seeing as gold can be farmed or bought by one person, some sort of size limit would be more effective.

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It's fun to design on the level of complexity here, but if Blizzard ever does implement something like this, I can guarantee it'd be on a simple level -- straightforward and easy to use. All I'd like to see is the following:

1) Create a communal guild bank. Allow gold to be deposited as well as items.

2) Start with 100 slots, and allow the GM to upgrade the guild bank by purchasing additional blocks of 40 or so.

3) When the GM is setting rank permissions, alongside the ability to invite or to see/use Officer chat, he would be able to specify Deposit, View, and Withdraw permissions for each of the ranks.

4) For added security, the way you have to type "DELETE" to junk a blue or better, let the guildmaster set a password that has to be typed in order to access the guild bank, once per access session. (If you really want security here, make it a virtual keypad that pops up.) Now the guild is only vulnerable to betrayal from within, rather than one random officer getting keylogged.

That's it. All the other features are nice, but the above is all we need. #1-#3 are really just the essentials, and #4 obviously has significant practical advantages.

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I agree with Gurg that they'll keep it fairly simple.

I know others have suggested immediate access but Blizzard seems to kind of hate expanding (and I assume, adding new) realtime storage like banks and bags but doesn't seem to mind us floating loads of junk around between our mules via the mail system (raise your hand if you have 50+ items floating between 2-3 mules at any given time *raises hand*). I'm guessing this has to do with their database setup. So I wouldn't be at all surprised that any guild bank system they put in would work somewhat off of the mail system so it can operate at a lower priority than individual banks and bags.

And I think that would be ok. Afterall, most transactions to/from current guild alts are through the mail system anyway.

One additional requirement I'd like to see though would be transaction reports. Not only would that help with accountability issues, it would probably give guilds a method to script up DKP credit for bank contributions and such.

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