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How to Run a Successful Guild

Yenx

 

By Themistoklis ?Yenx? Pantazakos


Table of Contents


1 ? The Basics
2 ? Recruitment
3 ? Guild Drama
4 ? Punishment
5 ? Leading a Raid
6 ? Summing Up

Introduction

Guilds are unarguably the backbone of the World of Warcraft experience. They play a big role in all activities, both Player versus Environment (PvE) and Player versus Player (PvP) activities. But what makes some guilds more successful than others? What keeps some guilds together and going, while others disband prematurely? This article is going to try and answer these questions and give some useful tips about how to maintain a steady and healthy guild.

Creating a Guild ? For beginners

Before we can go into details about a guild, we need to create it first. What all is entailed in creating a guild? I would like to keep the very basics of guild creation to just one paragraph since information on creating a guild are beyond the scope of this article. Apart from a signed guild Guild Charter, you need a tabard. It is my belief that the following tools are also mandatory for a strong guild:

A Ventrilo/Teamspeak server.
http://www.ventrilo.org
http://www.goteamspeak.com/

A website with a functional design:
http://riseandshine.cjb.net/
http://insurgence-guild.com
http://www.veneratio-guild.com

Most hardcore guilds? websites tend to have many pertinent data areas, including guild news/updates and so on as well as info about Raids and DKP.

Helpful sites:
http://www.eqdkp.com
http://www.guildhosting.com
http://www.havenguilds.com

Note: Do NOT be put off by the hard work of creating a guild. One thing you should know that will most definitely occur is player attrition. Things such as players leaving for high-end raiding guilds or due to having little faith in new and small guilds so do not expect them to be devoted. Finally, many people just join small guilds ?just to have somebody to talk with? which is also a reason for early departures. DO NOT let those incidents bring you down! WoW history is full of examples of guilds that went through periods of immense difficulty and still made it to the top.

Recruitment

From my personal experience, there are two areas of recruitment that could be troublesome. Either you recruit with little or no criteria for joining, or on the flip side, standards are too high leading to low recruitment numbers and possibly leading to low guild morale or even disbandment. Apparently, the first one is much more common. It is important to maintain a standard of characteristics and qualities a player must posses in order to be able to join your guild?s ranks, but do not overdo it. Especially in the beginning pay more attention on the person?s attitude rather than on their items and equipment (i.e. you wouldn?t necessarily want somebody with a ?Friends come and go, epics are soulbound!? mentality in your guild just because they have good items). It goes without saying that as your guild expands and grows, expectations standards will rise. My recommendation for a good foundation is to start a heavy influx of low level players that are enthusiastic about the When players ?grow? with the guild, they will develop loyalty and good will the guild as a whole. It is this loyalty that you are looking for and will allow you to reach the major high-end instances as a guild.

That said, several psychological studies have indicated that if people have a hard time getting into one group (e.g. your guild) they are less likely to leave so keep that in mind.

Note (For established guilds, basically major ones with very high standards):Bear in mind that with the emergence of Pay-to-Transfer option, guild recruitment will become a cross server endeavor. This means that high-end guilds will get many more applications and have an easier time maintaining their hardcore status. So, if you are in charge of such a guild, with sky-high standards, DO NOT accept people just because you find none fitting. The above mentioned option will come as an answer to your prayers sometime soon!

Guild Drama

Guild drama and conflicts within the guild are one of the basic reasons for the beginning of the end. People stop having a good time and the atmosphere is suddenly ?not what it used to be?. Arguments can take place that split the guild into two (or more) sub-groups. All arguing with the others and pushing their own agendas. It is very important to prevent this, and to address the problem as soon as any dissention begins to rise. Make sure that you investigate each ?conflict? case and haveyou?re your members talk with each other, DO NOT ignore these issues as it will just pile up for later. As a general rule keep everything in the guild at a high level of transparency in order to maintain a healthy status. If, after extensive dialogue, some people refuse to stop being a problem for the guild?s welfare, then you may have to follow up with punishment (we will look at that later). In any case, listen to what sides have to say, while refraining from taking an official position as the guild?s leadership. It is better if problems are solved between players with you just acting as a mediator.

Guild master and officers: Make sure that the officers and the guild master always present themselves as if they have the same opinion as far as guild matters are concerned. Even if some disagree with something, everyone must present a unified front. This is VERY important as it gives the image of a mature, steady guild that won?t falter because of leadership problems. Make sure any differences of opinions are resolved in the officers? chat/forums.

Punishment

When should you punish a player, and what should be the punishment? The answer to the first question is really simple, very rarely. Try talking with problematic players and explain in logical terms why what they are doing is not acceptable. It is good practice to not come off as offensive of insulting. Always speak with the individuals one on one, in private. People tend to get defensive if you talk about something they have done in public and are generally less willing to admit faults or mistakes.

What happens if that doesn?t solve the problem? Try giving one two warnings, and as a last resort, you kick them. Give the troublesome player a day or two to address the issue. Give them some time to think the matter over and calm down, then talk with them. If they are still unwilling to address the situation or make reparations, then you may have to further escalate the situation.

Why should you kick a player?

1) As above mentioned, when you are beyond the point where you can settle things with talking. I don?t think that needs any further explanation.

2) Inactivity is another reason for removing members. If players disappear without giving any indication as to why, or when they will return, it is probably a good idea to remove them from the guild. Of course this does not include inactivity because of holidays/exams and so on. If it is known in advance and is for a valid reason, inactivity is bearable.

3) Various reasons (I.E.: Ninjalooting, going in rants at general channels and so on).

Generally speaking, refrain from kicking a player when possible. It is a destabilizing event that can lead to guild unrest and lowered guild morale.

Leading a raid

Leading a raid is an experience that will heavily draw upon and enrich your leadership skills. Leading raids can be very challenging, as well as fun and rewarding. However, it is amazingly hard, and requires a lot of skill, nerves and preparation. Here are some tips to help you:

Preparation

Come well prepared. If practical experience is not possible, at least theoretically prepare yourself by thoroughly studying instance guides. It is very important for the raid leader to be confident and knowledgeable.

Attitude

Do not get mad and swear in Ventrilo/Teamspeak. Organizing 39 others and trying to get them to correctly do something is hard, but you should remember that everyone is there voluntarily. Swearing like a madman will not help anything and neither will whining about things going unexpectedly. Once again I will mention TALKING as a first resort and swearing as a last. Talk with players, explain to them what they did was wrong and tell them how to do it right. Tell class leaders to keep an eye on their players and encourage everyone to pay attention in order to decrease the risk of failure.

Being serious

All WoW players have come across situations in Ventrilo/Teamspeak/Raid/guild chat where players are yelling or telling jokes or generally having fun in quite a ?ridiculous? (sic) way. Now, of course you can have fun, that?s why you are playing the game, but don?t overdo it. Do not spam caps and don?t swear too much. Keep things under control. As a guild leader, it is important to convey a sense of seriousness and ability to lead the guild in a steadfast fashion.

Conclusion

Summing up I would like to tell everyone that has read this guide that guilds (and leading them) are a wonderful thing. The experience can provide you with lots and lots fun. Nevertheless, 60-70 different personalities of non-professionals in the same group are an immense challenge in and of itself and thus you need to plan and make your moves with wisdom and intelligence, especially when in a leading position. Have fun and good luck!

Yours,

Themistoklis ?Yenx? Pantazakos for WarcraftRealms.com

And for their help and feedback:

Michael Nerusai (?)

Karl Bryn

Skyfire says:
August 7,2006 at 23:44
Lern2format, Rollie.

Copy and paste that to Word or another program first, fix it up, then post.

>_<
Yenx says:
August 8,2006 at 4:54
Skyfire you mean it has grammar issues?
WyriHaximus says:
August 8,2006 at 6:17
No he means the loads of white spaces Yenx :). Reads alot easyer at a high resolution ;).
Rollie says:
August 8,2006 at 9:36
Actually it is due to the way that phpbb formats the entered code. It is adding extra breaks that shouldn't be there.

I may need to rethink the way I go about this as going through phpbb might not work as well as I had hoped for this type of thing.

EDIT: There, better now, but I had to go through and remove any line feeds in the message to keep any extra breaks from being inserted.
Yenx says:
August 8,2006 at 12:54
Will anyone comment on the actual essence of the article please :P?
xpolockx says:
August 8,2006 at 15:28
The content is very good, Yenx. You did a great job of targetting the issues that a guild master faces. There's a misappropriated word or two in there (i.e. "of" instead of "or"), but I understood what you meant just fine. You get an A from me. :P
Skyfire says:
August 9,2006 at 12:39
Might want to add something about Loot-distribution, the kinds there are, and the pros/cons of each.

Otherwise, looks good to me :)
Yenx says:
August 9,2006 at 12:53
I had thought about that but it's really something standard, CP, ML etc that I don't think needs mentioning.
xpolockx says:
August 10,2006 at 0:44
[quote:bdb2925dce="Yenx"]I had thought about that but it's really something standard, CP, ML etc that I don't think needs mentioning.[/quote:bdb2925dce]

I think he meant different forms of DKP or RLP that guilds use, since most endgame raid guilds use that kind of system to pass out loot. That would be a very good addition for guild masters interested in starting raiding with their guild. :)
Bomani says:
September 15,2006 at 10:22
I'd be interested in some disussion on actual leadership structure within a guild ie. a GM and a bunch of Class Leaders, a Council of Officers overseeing everything, Council of Officer overseeing Class Leaders. etc. etc for a mid-size PvE heavy guild.
Rollie says:
September 15,2006 at 10:57
I guess the question is, what do you mean by mid-size? It's a relative term that could mean totally different things depending on who you talk to.

In my experiences, I have been most happy with a figurehead guild leader, an elected council of officers who actually run things, appointed (by the officers) class leaders who help with inter class issues and who are first point of contact for typical issues fielded. They then can also escalate things to the officers as needed.

That has been the set up in a fairly smooth running guild that I've been a part of for going on 6 years now. Guild size is typically around 100 active members.
Bomani says:
September 15,2006 at 14:5
Thnx Rollie. "Mid-size" was referring to 80-100 active members.

Curious, in regards to WoW, there'd be 8 class leaders. How many officers typically? Do the officers do "double duty" as class leaders (where needed) and raid leaders? Does your raid leader corp come from Officer ranks, the Class leaders, is seperate from both or a combination of both?

Thank you again for commenting.
Rollie says:
September 15,2006 at 14:40
In my particular circumstance, raid leaders were nearly always officers. Officers have pulled double duty as CL's from time to time, but it is encouraged that CL's be separate from officers. Also, for larger classes, it is not uncommon to have 2 CL's instead of only 1.

As for typical number of officers, usually between 5 - 8 active players, active being very important for that position.
oiseaux says:
September 15,2006 at 23:56
I just started my own guild with my husband after being in several guilds over a few characters. All of the things in your article are great. I decided to start my own guild because I have not been in a guild that can figure out how to run a guild properly. haha

At this point, my guild is tiny and only have a handful of people who play actively. I think most guild leaders and officers need to understand and acknowledge what they want out of the guild. SOOO many times I have been in a guild where they 'say' they want one thing, but then end up doing another completely different. That is a very bad weakness where they cannot even stick to their word or are swayed by 1-2 members. Changing the direction of a guild is fine, but it should not be without the consent of the majority or even 80% of the guild members agreeing.

Having a guild full of real life friends is also a cause for concern. If one of the real life friends get upset and leave, you can almost guarantee all of the friends will leave the guild. I have seen this in every guild I have been in. Sure it is great to invite people's friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc but most of those group applications tend to cause drama in the end. Having more than 1 or 2 real life friends as officers also causes problems. This gives the friends a lot of power in the guild and can cause favoritism. If you join a guild where all of your officers are real life friends, WATCH OUT. This is a situation you should just stand clear from in my experience.

If your guild is going to do raiding, state that in the beginning. DO NOT pretend that you aren't a raiding guild if in the end that is what you want. Once again, I have been in guilds who state over and over that "we aren't a raiding guild". haha Then a few epics drop and they begin raiding 6 days a week and wonder why members are leaving and morale is low. Set up a DKP, loot system at the beginning. Don't even step foot into MC without one because that way people know what to expect and understand the commitment in order to get an epic.

That's just a little bit of a rant from me haha. Can you tell I have been in some really horrible guilds.... :shock: :?

EDIT: I broke 100 posts! WOO. (That is truly an accomplishment for me-I guess I am a mini-troll)
Skyfire says:
September 16,2006 at 0:40
Lern2troll.

That is all.

;)

And he passes Hybuir for 2nd all-time poster! Down with the impostor!
xpolockx says:
September 16,2006 at 16:55
In order for a guild to work well it takes a LOT of dedication out of the officer team. There's nothing wrong with having RL friends and family in the guild as long as everyone respects the opinions of each other when disagreements happen. My guild recently had 5-6 members of our raiding team leave because they were all RL friends and it was sad, but we just filled their spots and moved on (good thing about having a large guild, haha.) I can see how that would be pretty devastating to a small core guild though. I wouldn't say don't invite RL friends though, as I wouldn't play this game without them. It's what keeps me playing.

It's true that it can definitely cause a LOT of unneeded stress when people play favorites - hence why that dkp/loot system has to be set in stone when you start, with more than just one person in charge of the dkp so if anything looks fishy someone will notice. With only one person in charge of the loot system and no one watching him/her, it's sort of like being the banker in monopoly - a lot of temptation to cheat or be bribed and no one really watching you. Not to say that all loot masters or dkp recorders are corrupt, just that it is prudent to be careful. A lot of it comes down to the GM and officer team; if the core of the guild is solid, the rest will fall in line.

It's also good to have a guild charter that states exactly what the guild is about, including all rules and raid/loot policies. This charter of course is not easily changed. My guild requires all applicants to read and sign the guild rules - breaking the rules is grounds for dismissal from the guild (not that we have an itchy /gkick trigger finger, except when it comes to ninja looting... but it's so they cant use the excuse "well I didn't know.")

Raiding is what makes or breaks most guilds, and in most cases it's ultimately what breaks them. It can be a stressful activity, trying to coordinate 40+ people in a fair way. I've said it before - if you can raid with people that you trust who are out for the good of the guild and not just how much epic loot they can get, you'll have a much better time raiding, and it can be fun and exhilarating when you get bosses down for the first time. On the other hand, if everyone is just out to get all the loot first, raiding will be miserable.

On a totally different note, I just realized I'm past 100 posts too. Weird, I didn't even notice :P
oiseaux says:
September 17,2006 at 2:13
Oh don't get me wrong. I invite people's friends and stuff into the guild, but giving them all a lot of power in the guild is usually not a good thing. If 1 gets upset then you have lost some of your most valuable people (perhaps even officers) in the guild. I have also seen some people's friends not in line with the guilds attitude. They just join the guild "Because so and so is here and I am his friend". Bringing in people who don't even know or understand what the guild is about is bad. Then if you bring attention to the fact that his friend is causing trouble or whatnot, you have now lost 2 members and not just 1. Do you see where I am getting at?

The guild I was just in would invite ANYone and EVERYone despite their past, which is horrible horrible. Someone would 'sponsor' them in saying that they knew them, but that was never the case. There would be about 10-15 new people in a few days. UGH...I hate guilds that do that.

Friends can really add to a guild, but they can also drag one down too especially if they are in a clique. Just have to pick and choose who you invite.
chunk6969 says:
February 15,2007 at 6:37
looks pretty good to me :lol:
Kibazu says:
March 17,2007 at 9:26
chunk6969, nerf your avatar please. It's abusively wide :?
Babs says:
March 17,2007 at 13:33
I could make my siggy as my avatar too :D
Aquaris says:
January 16,2009 at 5:20
I obsoletely agree with you Rollie, and that is how my guild Keystone Masons, on Blade's Edge server is run. We are a casual guild that put respect beyond everything else. I do everything you have said, so I must be doing something right considering I created our guild system just from experience and problems in the past. At our max we have had over 400 toons, and just recently decided to start kicking inactive toons, but also have a forum for players to post if they are gonna be gone, to keep from either being demoted or kicked out for inactivity.

Not to long ago, there was a big exodus from our guild, and was a deeply embedded conspiracy, that had about maybe 1/3 of the active players leave. It was for the reason of not having enough transparency in the guild, and many were despoilers behind my back even though my door was always open for suggestions, complaints and problems, and I was quick to address all of them. It comes down to that this group behind the scenes formed their own cliche, and started excluding other players in the guild. I saw it coming, but was afraid to say or do anything, that I might be seen as over controlling. So I did nothing. It seemed the main person who instigated this waited for the right time to leave so she could have a bunch of other players and officers leave with her and start her own guild, without doing all the hard work of doing it from scratch. It is one thing for a member to be unhappy and wants to leave, and I always ask for them to talk to me, to not burn their bridges and remain allied friends for pugging. We have had people leave, and that is ok, that is their choice. But for someone to so selfishly, and meanly take almost half the guild with her, is just downright evil.

Due this big problem, some rules were changed, such as there will be no private conversations in Ventrilo, unless there is an officer in that room doing official guild business, and I am to be advised of all those conversations, because it is guild business and I need to know. Also people are only allowed to be in other rooms if they are currently questing, doing an instance, or raid, and once they are done, they have to come back up to general chat room, so as not to exclude anyone.

This had happened before with many people having private conversations leaving other people out, and would become quiet if someone they did not want in to hear what they were talking about. Out of respect I would not go into the rooms. Now I put in the rules that Officers are allowed to at any time without permission to visit rooms to check up, without being a disturbance if they are doing questing, an instance or raiding. So far it has worked well.

It is a hard thing being a GM of a large guild, and many times it seems people either hate you or love you. I take all the blame for what the guild and Officers decide, and have to be the bad guy and enforce these rules. Many times I am reluctant to be a GM because as they say, it can be lonely at the top and not all that fun. I did it, cause I have been in other guilds, and that was just so much nonsense going on, that I felt forced in forming my own guild, and keep all the kiddie stuff out, the swearing, sexual harassment, etc. I felt at the time, if it needed to be done right I had to do it, so I did. We have a clean guild, no swearing period, and put respect as our number one rule that all other rules go under.

If you have any advice on my hurt feelings specially of that mass exodus and how they have gone out of their way to put our guild down and its members, how is the best way to handle it. I ignore them, and tell my guildies to ignore them, but some of them they harass, and some of those have left our guild thinking I was a bad GM because of disgruntled ex-members, or they said. "I have nothing against you, but I do not want to be harassed anymore just for being in this guild."

This is a lot longer than I planned on writing and was supposed to be just on cliches lol. And I know, and make sure that our members go out of their way to quest, help, do instances with everyone, wether they are a friend or not.
judgethor says:
February 22,2009 at 22:33
Very good article. Ive been running Team Judge with my wife Nephratari for some time now.

And you touched on alot of good things.

We are very upfront with folks that we are laid back, play for fun, and raid casually. That way they know we arent uber elite about anything we do.. :)

As a general rule of thumb we get some great folks added to the guild, but it takes 20 to get 4, ya know... But we have a ton of fun in ventrilo and on the forums.

I allow all levels and classes in, and give everyone a chance. The bank ninjas find their way out quickly, because they dont have immediate access. The folks that are just hoping our 80's will powerlevel them all the time, also go bye bye quickly. So then we are left with some good solid folks that are fun to game with.

Again good article. Would you be adverse to that being reprinted on my site, with created given to you and link back to your site?


[url=http://www.judgeguild.com]http://www.judgeguild.com[/url]


Lemme know.


Thor
Rollie says:
February 23,2009 at 9:28
Not a problem at all!
cow194234 says:
June 10,2009 at 16:18
Guilds can be a tricky thing to run, it's a lot more easier to just be involved and go with the flow then trying to not only organize raids, but organize your members to do much of anything.

Luckily for me, my guild has a core of about 10 people who are all real life friends or knows someone who knows another person in real life. This makes the new 10 man content easy to plow through, but when it comes to 25 mans, we still suffer from what we suffered from in B.C. Just not being able to find good world of warcraft players who want to raid, and can understand to stay out of the fire.
silken says:
September 25,2009 at 6:26
I think you did a good job on your guide. In my case I became a GM without having the advantage of a guide to refer to for help but I can certainly see a lot of what I've had to deal with in what you're saying and luckily I think I made pretty good decisions for the most part on my own. However I wish I had had something like this to start with. ;)

silken

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