Let’s speculate about the next patch to WoW… the 5.2 mystery. We know some of what’s coming and I don’t need to list it all here – it’s available elsewhere in abundance – but the other day Ghostcrawler, aka developer Greg Street, coyly teased the players about a ‘thing’ that might or might not be coming. A thing to rival LFD or LFR in terms of game-changing.

Suddenly the posting fraternity are thrown into a frenzy wondering about what this little tease might mean. Fact is, it might mean nothing. Or it might mean something immense. At present, we just don’t know. Mr Street, whose patience borders on the saintly, might just be trolling for a laugh. Personally I wouldn’t blame him.

On the plus side, what I would wish this ‘thing’ to be is player/guild housing. Musing about it, and in the light of Mists not offering guild advancement, I had this sublime fantasy. A future patch would bring in the ability to level your guild via its hall or castle. You start off with a basic building and then level it, as we levelled our guilds through Cata. Activities guildies take part in could help build the guild accommodation. It needn’t be the sole privilege of big guilds, just that smaller guilds – as it is now in game – would take longer to level. I don’t think guild halls should be the privilege of level 25 guilds. Just a new avenue of levelling. Another thought came to me, remembering original Guild Wars, of the different cultural flavours of guild halls that were available in that game. Think on it. We could choose a guild home in Arathi and build a castle like Stromgarde. We could elect to build our guild home in Elven territory  and get something Darnassian in flavour. In Horde territory we could build an iron fortress in Orc vein, something more tribal for Tauren and Trolls. In Pandaria we’d get the architecture relevant to that zone and so on. Starting off with a basic home, guilds could build on that through all the guild activities available to us. I think this would be a fantastic way to progress guilds beyond 25. Augmentations could include guild crafting stations, vendors, bank, and so on.

It’s been said that Blizzard developers keep an eye on what other MMOs are doing and in Rift, for example, player housing has really taken off, with competitions to see which is the most creative. We’ve seen a gentle nudge towards player housing with our farms in Valley of the Four Winds, which we have been led to believe will include a hearth in 5.2 so our farm can be our inn… player housing by any other name, lacking only the customisation. Guild housing could just take this further.

One thing I really dislike is what I’ve seen from players wanting to go retro. Please, why? They want your characters to be scaled down to all previous content, so that nothing is soloable again. Really, why? ‘Oh we like things difficult.’ So unless you can find interested guildies to do 40 man MC again, rather than do it on your own, good luck. Are these people mad? If I’m farming any old instance/raid for mounts/pets, do I really want to find suddenly I need a stack of people with me again? For the gods’ sake, masochists, get real. This is not going to happen.

Then we have the ‘get rid of flying mounts’ brigade. I won’t go into the multiple arguments against this Luddite stance, other than the most potent: ‘I bought a flying mount off the Blizzard store or from the Trading Card Game. Now it’s ruined. Money back please.’ OK, Luddites, that isn’t going to happen, is it?

In my view there is nothing at all to be gained by going backwards. We might not love everything Blizzard does to further the game, but on the whole what they do is good rather than  bad.

Guild housing…let me dream. J