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I've seen guild banks in Wow, or Dofus, and other MMO games.

In the guild I've been a part of, we mostly used the bank as storage; resources stored that end up not being used are wasted. Sometimes there is a free share policy, but there is always that one guy who will take stuff he does not really need and sells it.

This led me to wonder what is the original purpose of a guild bank, what do players like to use it for, and how can a game help them do it?

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They are usually supposed to be a feature which makes it easier for players to collaborate and work as a team by giving them a convenient way to share resources with each other.

Why players would want to do this is very game-specific. But a possible option could be to allow some members of the guild to focus on acquiring resources which are then consumed by the other players. They could ask the other players how much they need and then send them those resources manually through the game's trade system. But it would be more convenient if they just dump their resources into a common storage so the others can take as much as they need.

The risk of people abusing such a system for their own gain by taking more than they need and sell it to players outside of the guild for their personal profit is a social problem. Trying to find a technical solution to a social problem rarely works. The players are responsible to make sure they only recruit people they trust. But if you feel that you should add some tools for people to detect and prevent this kind of social problems, then you could try this in your game:

  • Make sure that the guild members can see who took what from the guild storage and when. So when stuff keeps disappearing, they at least have the option to sanction members who abuse their privilege.
  • Implement a permission system for guilds where they can decide which members get access to the guild bank. This enables guilds to restrict access for new members until they have earned their trust.
  • Enhance that permission system to allow setting quotas and/or support multiple guild banks. That way guilds can decide who gets access to what kind of resources.
  • If you notice that the guild bank gets used for purposes its not supposed to be used for (like a temporary buffer for overproduction the players can't store in their private storage), make sure the players have more appropriate ways to deal with that problem which are at least as cheap and convenient as abusing the guild bank.
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The purpose of a guild bank (or similar shared-storage feature), is generally some combination of

  • convenience for players or
  • to provide an incentive to engage with the guild or equivalent social features of a game.

Where an individual game falls on those axes is largely up to the whims of the individual game design, and of course you can implement it however and for whatever reasons you want in your own game.

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