Friday, September 5, 2008

If you take a walk, we will tax your feet

WoW Insider raises an interesting subject: Guild taxes.  I've often thought about that myself, or something like it, to provide repair money for raiders.

Right now, in our guild, we have a repair fund in the guild bank, thanks to Blizz integrating that into the game. Money comes from many sources, mostly people donating 100 gold here and there, or so. However, it is unreliable and puts an undue strain on the finances of someone - who I suspect is our GM.

The concept of Guild Tax is that for every gold you earn, a few silvers are put into the guild pot. The theory is that everyone will raid, and thus everyone will eventually benefit.

There are, however, a few problems with this.
  • Non-raiders will not benefit. Every guild - short of the hard core raiders - will have one or more characters that pursue PvP or Arena or other non-raiding interests. Is it fair that they pay into the pot for something that does not benefit them?
  • Raiders should be able to, anyway. What business do you have going into Kara if you don't have the cash to pay your repair bills? All a guild tax will do here is reward people for bad habits. If you don't have repair cash on hand, you should hit up Money Island for cash prior to raid day.
  • All sorts of bad habits are enabled. Raiders will rely on the guild coffers for repairs, will probably demand it for Heroics, too. GMs gone bad will be tempted to dip into the guild till for that epic flyer. Raiding guilds will be tempted to expand raiding days from 3/week to 4, or 4 to 5, or 6 to 7, because they don't have to take time to replenish. And so on.
  • The United States Legislature. Need I say more?
  • One more excuse for guild drama. Need I say more on that, either?

The string of reasons why this is a Bad Idea is long and distinguished, and I am only touching on the high points.

On the other hand, there are several reasons why it is a good idea, as well, but the most compelling to me is that it gives guilds that wish for it a means to raise cash for guild functions. Those that do not like it can move on. If the guild officers are OK with that, then more power to them.

Obstacles there are aplenty, but the biggest one that I see is that there is no accountability or transparency built into the system. Right now you have to really work to find out who's using guild funds for anything, for example. And you'd need to be able to see that, as well as income amounts, for it to be fair.

Overall: I would not use it, and I think the reasoning is valid, but I will allow that there may be situations where it would work. However, complete and reliable accountability needs to be part of the package, or we're all doomed.