The Guild Bank

I can think of few more annoying duties within a guild than being the guild’s banker (or one of them). And yet, it too can be a place that is devastating to the guild, not least due to ’embezzlement’. Let’s take some time to examine what the bank is, can be, and risks, shall we?

At bottom, the guild bank is a matter of trust. Basically, members of the guild send stuff (money or goods) to the bank, and hope that the use of this stuff will be done in a manner that benefits the guild as a whole. It is a slow-motion version of the Loot issues, with extra-special burdens. hmmm, I’m getting ahead of myself.

A guild bank is a player – usually an alt – with whom members of the guild exchange mats, goods, and money. The theory is that by compiling these, individual members will be able to have advanced gear earlier, and their possession of this gear will allow them to be significantly more effective in instances and battles which in turn makes more “good stuff” drop faster — and the cycle feeds back on itself in a positive fashion.

The first hurdle to overcome is selection of the banker. Until Blizzard implements Guild Banks (originally discussed for 2.2, it’s now on the plans for 2.3) the person must be absolutely trusted by at least the guild leadership if not the guild. Consider that ONLY this person knows what is in the bank, that ONLY this person can withdraw, that only two people (of whom this person is one) know what was sent for deposit (and in a disagreement, only the banker can see what’s there)… If the player disappears, the guild loses access. If the player decides he’s tired of the guild, the guild loses access – unless he forwards the bank’s contents to someone else. If the player decides he absolutely HAS TO HAVE ‘those’ contents of the bank, there is nothing anyone can do about it – in fact, they can’t KNOW it’s happened. It is this that causes most guilds to see the banker be the guildmaster’s alt – if you trust the GM for loot, trust for bank is rather obvious.

I’ll point out that there are addons that will allow the contents of the bank to be posted. This helps immensely in the discussion of contents of the bank. It is not, however, a “perfect” solution.

Digression – as noted 2.3 is (as of this time) going to allow a guild bank. The guild master will be able to set permissions on adding, viewing, and withdrawing from various tabs based on criteria – at this time the only one I’ve heard is rank, but there may be more. I will recommend at this time that if this is true, guilds allow all guild members to view both contents and logs (deposits and withdrawals) regardless of withdrawal and deposit permissions. Yes, it creates the opportunity for “why him and not me” (guild drama), but it beats the heck out of RUMORS of “him and not us”. End of this particular digression…

The second major burden is the decision of what is deposited and withdrawn – who, how much, why, all that sort of thing.

If left vague, you will inevitably encounter someone wanting to deposit hundreds of low-level mats, and then wanting to exchange those for rare drops or mats. On the other hand, explicit rules of balance inevitably require exceptions and corrections. If not “I didn’t think of that” there will always be the changes due to the next patch. My two cents is that detailing at least the withdrawal rules (for example: GM decides, every week, based on requests and needs of the guild), and preferably the deposit rules (only these mats OR xx money per week OR…, you get the idea), and then having to discuss and grant exceptions will cause less difficulty in the guild over the long term than vague verbal guidance.

I’ll state my preferences, but want to caveat by noting two critical points. First – if it’s not fun, don’t do it. Of course if you’re running a guild you’re more likely to find this fun (or at least necessary so as to maximize your guild fun), but the rule still applies. Second, the following can’t be construed as advice but only as my personal recommendations.

1)  Deposits:  Accept only Gold, mats that are hard to get OR of which lots and lots are needed for the items you’re expecting to have crafted for the guild, and items that can be specifically targeted – as in, “This will go to a TANK.”  Note that this may require a bit of research on the part of the banker – how many times are you going to allow drawing for spellthread for your healers, anyway?

2) Mandatory Deposits: Yes.  Now this can be in several flavors: a tax, certain drops (for example, on guild runs all BOP not needed is sharded and goes to the ban), a regular fee (that can possibly be met by mats or designated crafted items), all varied by rank –  the variations are plentiful.  But require everyone to deposit some.  In the long run this will significantly reduce the guild drama about ‘guild leeches’.

3) Withdrawals: clear rules on “why”, at least, even if it’s “for the benefit of the guild”.  Preferably, also rules on limits and requirements for deposit and withdrawal.  Anyone wanting (for example) 200 silk to grind tailoring had better be pretty clear why and how it’s going to benefit the guild – though it still requires the guild leader/banker to say yes or no.

4) Withdrawals:  Make them Public.  That is, if tailoringfool gets his 200 silk, the withdrawal is posted somewhere public so everyone knows he got it.  It will not stop the drama over ‘favoritism’.  It will, however, do two useful things.  First, it reduces favoritism through public embarrassment.  Second, it reduces “rumors” which often exaggerate the situation.  Adding the “why” that was approved is icing on the cake.

5) Withdrawals: make it a guild officer decision instead of a unilateral Guild Leader decision.  Once more, this reduces the basis for allegations of favoritism.

6) Public (or rather guild-wide) awareness of bank contents.  There are a lot of addons that will publish the guild bank’s contents, all with various bells and whistles and weaknesses.  I won’t recommend any of them at this time as almost all accomplish the base requirement.  There are actually two reasons for this.  First, it helps the issue of accountability.  Second, it reduces one of the major downers for the guild banker – “Do we have any XXX in the bank?”

The guild bank isn’t a guild requirement, but it’s a common feature.   If you’ll give it more than a nod of recognition, you can make it a better tool for the guild while reducing the pain the banker experiences.

~ by Kirk on October 22, 2007.

7 Responses to “The Guild Bank”

  1. Excellent post, very informative. I’d also suggest that every guild leader and/or officer (interested or not) hop over to the PTR, create a guild, dump all of their bank contents into the guild bank, play with the settings, learn how to administrate the bank,and see who the first person is to ninja all of their stuff. 🙂

  2. My guid is still on Kara so we’re obviously not all that big. We used to have a bank on the GM’s alt, but it got hacked and we never got it going again. We just haven’t felt the need for it. Can you maybe talk about why you should have a guild bank?

  3. Great job as always Kirk!

  4. ObiChad, Guild banks are purely optional, and the reasons why are buried in the long post above. To extract:

    The theory is that by compiling these, individual members will be able to have advanced gear earlier, and their possession of this gear will allow them to be significantly more effective in instances and battles which in turn makes more “good stuff” drop faster — and the cycle feeds back on itself in a positive fashion.

    Let’s take a couple of examples. You’re a PVP (Arena and BG twink) guild. You send your mains (the arena guys) to farm the twink sites – say, farming SFK for Shadowfang and the Assassin’s blade (both BoE). They drop (after a while), but all the alts that can use it are still level 10. (Hey, bear with me, ok?) So you stick them in the bank till the characters that get them are of the appropriate level.

    You’ve decided that the guild will provide mats for spellsurge on all the level 70 caster’s weapons. You accept and hold mats, or any items that can disenchant for the mats, till enchanter and member are available at the same time.

    These aren’t the only possibilities, just examples. And nothing – NOTHING – says a guild has to have a bank. It’s just another tool some might find useful.

  5. You have a habit of posting things that are particularly poiant in my life… just yesterday we were trying to nail down rules for enchanting mats from the guild bank. One member only asked for the Void Cyrstals for his Mongoose and has asked for a second set of Voids for his off-hand (Rogue that tops the dmg meters a lot), another member (off-tank) has asked for all the mats for his Kings Defender. We have the mats for both requests, but still don’t know what to do. We don’t want to give the one Rogue the mats for a second when our other Rogue still doesn’t have the first (and he needs it, just hasn’t asked) and don’t know if we should give the off-tank all the mats… I’m rambly now so I’m goiing to close this wall of text 🙂 My point is that you seem to always have something to say about what’s going on in my mind!

  6. @ Galadria,

    Heh, no fun, and thank you. For an additional two cents of my thoughts – recall a few posts ago I recommended tying DKP to the bank as well. Same points pool for drops, getting raid slots, bank… And positive points for readiness to participate, bank contributions, etc. Your situation is an example of one of my reasons for recommending it. (Doesn’t help much with the upcoming rogue’s needs, but it’s something of a help.) It’s also the reason I suggest weekly, oh, let’s call them guild bazaars, where the whole guild gathers for an hour or so SOLELY to do enchants and craftings and bank purchases and all that sort of thing. That helps with, well, your other rogue – “Oh, wow, I DO need that. Bidding on void crystal….” (It also lets the officers Strongly Hint “ahem, I said, do you WANT THIS enchant….?”)

  7. Awesome article, and definitely some points I am bringing up with other officers for our guild bank. I linked your post for them to read and for us to discuss. The allowing all users to view logs would be an awesome idea.

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