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ZDKP: Cataclysm, Behind the Scenes

While I have retired from regular gameplay in 2008, I still manage the technical systems of <Goon Squad>, one of the top three World of Warcraft Mega-Guilds (1000+ members) in the US. The Cataclysm expansion set changes how guilds work in the game and has resulted in some interesting software challenges to successfully manage them.

Some History

Historically guild management systems built into the game have allowed unlimited members but would stop functioning usefully after 500 characters. As such, Goon Squad, and other mega-guilds have had to develop out of game workarounds to manage and organize large numbers of players. ZDKP was built originally in 2006 for the first expansion set to unify the hodge podge of different systems used during the classic game. More on its history is available

The Cataclysm expansion brought new challenges to the mega-guilds of Warcraft. Starting early in November, guild size was capped at 600 characters in preparation for an expansion of the role of guilds in the game beyond a shared chat channel and guild bank. Now guild members would be able to work to improve the guild itself, with cooperation between guild members producing additional resources and exclusive rewards not available to lower ranked guilds. After a few weeks of gathering feedback, Blizzard raised the cap to 1000 characters, still well below <Goon Squad>'s roster at the time of about 4000 characters.

ZDKP: Cataclysm

Goon Squad has had many tough decisions to make as a part of this, the final conclusion being that it had to split into a network of smaller guilds. ZDKP has been significantly reworked in order to provide the administrative structure for a handful of guild leaders to organize and maintain a coherent community split across five networked guilds. What is new?

Character Management

ZDKP Character Manager

The largest changes in ZDKP has been the expansion of the character management system. Previously, ZDKP stored only characters who used the event signup system and only as a convenience cache so that players did not have to re-enter character information for every event.

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