Membership of guilds is changing forever in BfA

Battle for Azeroth launches in just over 2 months, and with it will come, as is the norm with any new expansion, many changes to game systems, classes and new locations.

One of the biggest changes coming in BfA is perhaps one that has flown under the radar the most in Alpha & Beta, one that has the potential to fundamentally change the social fabric of the game for a significant portion of the player base – the very fabric of Guilds and guild membership.

First of all, let’s ask ourselves the most basic question: What IS a guild in World of Warcraft? A collection of like-minded players? A social convention? A glorified chat channel? A raiding crew? Players that like to play together on a daily basis? A name above your character’s head?

In fact guilds, as you’ve probably surmised yourself, are all of the above. They can be many things to many different people, and yet others will not choose to participate in them, seeing them as too restrictive and a source of social anxiety and pain that they’ve had previous experience with in the past.

Functionally, an in-game guild in WoW is a collection of several things working in conjunction:

  • Chat channels
  • In-game roster
  • In-game calendar
  • Guild Bank
  • Guild Name above your character’s head
  • Joint Achievements

With BfA those things continue to be in place, and work as they always have. However the new expansion brings with it one major new social addition: Communities.

The Guild v2.0

As you can see, with the new Guild & Communities interface (J key by default) you have the regular Guild stuff there, but just below that is the interface for the Communities feature.

So what is a “Community” in Battle for Azeroth?

Remember the collection of things in-game that define a guild?

Well this is what’s planned to be the list for a Community in BfA:

  • Chat channels
  • In-game roster
  • In-game calendar

All of the social parts of what makes a guild a “collective” is also being implemented in Communities.

Chat Channels:

Chat channels for Communities are largely implemented and running. Channels can be added as tabs in the regular chat box, or appear as another added channel in an existing tab as above. Channels can also be coloured per any other channel:

As you can see, this is where the Short Name that was defined upon the Community’s creation comes into play, as well as in the chat tab (/4 above).

In-game Roster:

The in-game Roster for Communities is also currently implemented and looks much like the same window used for Guild rosters. Members can be added, removed and promoted/demoted to/from moderator status here as well. Player notes can also be added so that multiple alts can be flagged as belonging to a main user (text only, no functionality – exactly like Guild notes).

The in-game Community calendar functionality isn’t as yet implemented, but it will allow you to carry out organising in-game activities as most guilds tend to do at the moment for getting raid sign-ups etc.

At the moment Guilds still have exclusive ownership of:

  • Guild Bank
  • Guild name above your character’s head
  • Joint Achievements

However, I imagine that, Guild Banks aside, the other two guild-exclusive options will probably transition to Communities eventually. Perhaps setting a Community as your primary will replace that as your Guild name above your character’s head? And I imagine Community achievements won’t be terribly hard to implement either.

One of the biggest things about Communities though?

Cross-realm membership.

That means that if you have mates on another server, but have felt compelled to stick on your current server because that’s where your guild is based, then communities give you an option to stay in contact with them through cross-server community chat channels.

It also means that if you don’t raid at Mythic level, then full proper raiding schedules can be organised via communities, meaning a larger pool of potential players, and a higher likelihood of getting raids going.

One caveat though: They are not Cross-Factional!

What now for Guilds?

So where does this change leave guilds and being a member of them going forwards?

Depending on your point of view? Either no change or their complete and utter destruction.

In terms of being in a guild, nothing will actually change. Everything that is in place for guild membership at the moment will continue on in exactly the same form. Nothing about Communities will change anything at all about that.

However, it does mean that becoming a member of a guild in order to have people to chat to, to raid with, to run dungeons (of any variety) with, and to generally feel a part of a collective and not so alone? Not necessary now.

If you’re not bothered about Guild Banks, Guild Achievements or having a guild name above your head, then Communities will be there for you.

Welcome to the future of social interaction in World of Warcraft!


The header image is a current bug in BfA Beta. Character copy is active, and Hati, who should be gone with the disabled artifacts, is still appearing and usable in combat as a third pet. The second pet is summoned via the Animal Companion level 15 talent, which is meant to serve as a replacement for Hati for those BM hunters who preferred using a 2nd pet in Legion.

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