2.14.2011

Running a Guild for Dummies

Throughout this guide I will be using The Guild Leader’s Handbook by Scott F. Andrews, writer for WoWInsider’s guild column, “Officer’s Quarters” as a reference.

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since it released and I’ve also played various other MMOs prior to WoW, so I have quite an extensive amount of experience relating to the leadership and conduct of guilds, clans, and other forms of organized play. While this guide has been written based on World of Warcraft ideology, feel free to use it as it applies to your individual situation.

While I have worked very hard to compile this guide, please keep in mind that it is only a general overview of being a guild leader and lacks specificity. My intent was for you to take knowledge from this guide and for you to use it as a reference, connecting this information to that of specific events in the game world with a general outlook.

Also please keep in mind that this guide has been prepared subjectively and has been written because I feel that you may benefit from my thoughts, experiences, and overall opinion on how a guild can be run successfully. You may disagree on some points and I encourage such thought because that allows you to prepare a thorough analysis of certain aspects of running your guild.


A New Beginning
Creating a guild can be difficult. There are so many things you should be thinking about when you’re starting a guild. You should be thinking beyond the name – what do you want your guild to be about? What kind of overall personality should your guild have? What is the foundation you will be setting for your guild? Do you want to create a guild full of elitist pro-gamers, or would you rather have a helpful, loyal group of slower-progressing individuals with less free time on their hands? Think about what you want your guild to represent.

Create a guild based on your desires. What kind of a guild do you want to be in? PvE or PvP? Don’t bother with creating a leveling guild if you’re interested in raiding and not guiding anyone through the levels – you’ll be wasting your own time. I’m going to be up front with you, if you want to build a guild exclusively for max-level raiders, you’re going to have a hard time recruiting as a level 23. As a leader, you need to set an example for others to follow, starting with your recruitment specifications. If you want to create a casual leveling guild, you’ll have an easier time if you’re either leveling yourself or willing to help others level (or both, being the ideal combination).
Large or Small?

Also keep in mind how big you want your guild to be. Not everyone wants to be in a huge guild full of gossip, cliques, and drama along with a plethora of crafters, raiders, and experienced players, then again not everyone wants to be in a small guild with less resources either. There are pros and cons to each, and at this point you just need to decide what works best for you and go from there. With more people, you will spend more time managing the guild as whole and organizing events that will keep everyone on their toes – this should be taken into consideration if time is an issue for you. If you own a copy of The Guild Leader’s Handbook and you’d like to see a visual of the advantages and drawbacks of large and small guilds, refer to Table 1-1 Advantages and drawbacks of Large Guilds and Table 1-2 Advantages and drawbacks of small guilds on page 31 as well as the Guild Identity Flowchart on page 56.

Naming Your Guild

Once you’ve given some thought to what you want your guild to represent, the name should come easier to you. You want your guild name to accurately define your guild in a general way. Try to keep your guild name concise and to the point; names like “Midget Gnome Kings of Stormwind” (if that even fits in the name prompt window) lack meaning and are a turnoff for potential recruits. Just the same, try to refrain from names that are too vague or too specific, such as “Stormwind Knights,” “Epic,” or “Raiders.” Work on finding that middle ground; some good guild names include “Work Harder,” “On The Farm,” and “Show Gnomercy.” Try to refrain from names that can have a double meaning, such as “Game Over” – who’s the game over for: them or you?

Guild Policies


Now that you’ve conceptualized your guild’s overall personality and you’ve come up with a guild name, work on the ground rules. You want your job as a moderator and a leader to be as simple as possible, and you can accomplish this by setting ground rules that cover everything. One thing I’ve learned as a guild leader is that you don’t want to be too specific here – if you’re too specific, people will skip around and end up not reading the more important stuff. Be broad and still to the point; a basic outline will be sufficient. One thing you should be sure to let everyone know here is that they should leave their drama at the log in screen – sometimes it’s necessary to clear the air about things, but when it gets out of hand you may watch dozens of members leave your guild if you don’t handle the situation quickly and effectively.

Promotion Process


After you’ve created a basic outline of guild policies, outline how your promotion process works. One thing that irks me about many guilds is that their promotion process is often completely random. You want your promotion process to be a tool of thanks to members you want to recognize and appreciate for their contribution to your guild. If you’re a leveling guild, perhaps you’ll decide to base ranks purely on level, or if you’re a raiding guild, perhaps you’ll base the ranks on gear score – from personal experience, this type of system annoys many loyal, helpful members, so I encourage you to create a system based on how helpful people are instead. However, you don’t want to get nitty-gritty here either. I’ve based my rank system on points which a member accumulates by helping other members; a sort of reputation system if you will, and it didn’t work because it became overly-complicated to the members. Spreadsheets shouldn’t really be required for promotions, and if you do use them, calculation formulas should not be needed!

Function Over Novelty


You can create a guild website for your guild now or wait until later. Perhaps you don’t have the means to create one and you’ll need to enlist a willing member instead. Whatever the case, just keep in mind that many accomplished gamers will require their guild-to-be to have a guild website where information is posted in an organized way, which is perfectly understandable. Just the same, you can choose to acquire a voice chat server (preferably on Ventrilo or TeamSpeak) or put it off until later. Voice chat is really only necessary for raiding guilds trying to take down bosses in complicated raid encounters; one can get through a leveling dungeon quite easily without voice chat. If money is an issue, look for a free guild webhost, such as GuildZilla  orWowStead, just the same you may also be able to secure yourself a free channel on a fellow friend’s Ventrilo server. Money shouldn’t keep you from running a guild (unless it keeps you from paying for your WoW subscription, that’s different), so don’t feel bad about putting a little donation box on your free website that allows members to toss a few bucks in for whatever cause they so desire (consider including a dropdown with options that they can choose to support, ex. Ventrilo, raider has financial struggles – pay for their month of WoW, etc.).

Running Your Guild
Now that you’ve created your guild, you’ll need to start recruiting. If you want a larger leveling guild, perhaps you will go through broad recruitment to pick up as many members as possible. If you’re looking to build a smaller guild, you will want to take careful consideration as to who gets in your guild. One thing’s for sure: you definitely want to steer clear of the selfish “I will ninja everything” personality types. When you announce recruitment in the appropriate “Looking For Guild” channel, be sure to specify exactly what your guild is about – if you’re PvE or PvP, leveling or raiding, casual or hardcore, large or small, be sure to say so in your recruitment message – you don’t want anyone to walk in feeling half blind, otherwise they’ll more than likely be the first ones out the door.

Applications

Eventually (or initially, whichever you prefer), you may want to create an application process. Try to make your application rather simple to navigate through but also require that initial effort – get applicants to read through your guild’s mission statement and/or rules by asking them a question about a specific part. Find out enough about this person through the application that will allow you to make a judgment on rather or not they would be a good match for your guild. Be sure to follow up with the applicant to let them know if they have been accepted, declined, or if you want to have a group run with them to find out more about them.

Officers


You’ll need to find officers. Officers are essential because they provide your members with a feeling of support and prevent them from feeling oppressed by an all-too-powerful tyrant dictator who does nothing except make unilateral decisions that have backlash on the rest of their members. In finding officers, look for quality members who represent the values that you’ve molded your guild after. An officer is an authoritative figure in your guild and should be looked up to, so if they’re the one breaking all of your rules, they’re probably not a good candidate for the position. Be sure you get to know them before promoting them – making every founding member an officer after just randomly inviting them to get your charter filled up is probably one of the worst things you can do as a guild leader.

Discuss!

Talk to your guild members. Nothing’s worse than an empty, inactive guild chat channel. What a waste of a channel! When members start talking about things, the shy ones start chipping in here and there and eventually you have a budding bounty of conversational people who actually care about each other, thus providing them loyalty to your guild. A guild channel full of bashing and thrashing with bitingly sarcastic and venomous monster-members is equally as terrible, and you should ensure that this type of madness is cut to the quick at the point it starts to erupt. Sometimes you may be forced to remove a member or two, but always take careful consideration when you have to do this and try to talk to them about what’s going on.

Loyalty Is a Necessity Among Members


Loyalty is extremely important. Without loyalty, members will up and leave your guild at the drop of a pin without so much as saying good-bye, or by saying good bye they will go on a mad rant in which you and your cherished members will be caught in the crossfire. Besides initiating and carrying out some meaningful conversations, you can also show appreciation to your members by recognizing them for their efforts and using the promotion process you’ve previously created.

Care Packages

Everyone needs to be recognized at some point, and one great way to recognize your members and provide them with more loyalty for your guild are “care packages,” if you can afford to provide them. Care packages are gifts that you can choose to send your members for various reasons to acknowledge them. I used to send my members a veteran’s package every six months which included a bounty of consumables and a nice little thank you note (via the in-game mail system) for which they were extremely appreciative. I also used to mail our new members bags, as it gets extremely annoying as a newbie to the server to be without bags to hold everything. This wasn’t the best idea because these members ended up getting lazy for the most part and expecting the guild to afford everything they dreamed of, so it is my recommendation that if you’ve decided to create a leveling guild, that you reserve the bag handouts for contests or members that have been active in your guild. Also, I used to mail out retiring packages to members who quit the guild on good terms. These retiring packages contained about a week’s supply of consumables to tide our former members over for a little while so they would have a smoother transition into their new guild. Often that very consideration brought members back with a new appreciation for our guild later down the road.

Be Server-Wide

Finally, build a good reputation between your guild and your server. Encourage members to do things to help out the server and work with others in the community to spread the word about your guild. A great way to handle this sort of thing is to see if you can help manage a sticky on your realm’s forums, for which people will be extremely grateful and they’ll get to know you as an organized guild leader and contributor to the server.

15 comments:

  1. there's too much work into this

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  2. Nice Post as the founding member of a new guild, Farmacom, I enjoyed it alot. The care packages are a great idea. I think I am going to add them into my guild. Maybe as people advance in level, say evey 10, you get some items to help you along for the next 10. Sort of a your doing great keep it up boost.

    Keep up the good work...
    http://mmofarm.blogspot.com/

    Brimbane Out

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  3. I have to just say, I'm impressed with the work you did on the header, the font looks just like the wow font! awesome guide too, made some great points. WoW is such an addicting game, quit playing a year ago but might have to get back into it again haha

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  4. Nice information. More people should read this before they open up a guild. Would certainly keep the quality up.

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  5. If only some of the clans I've been in the past had used your guild. Definitely gonna emphasize the part on creating a gossip free one.

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  6. I think I'll just join guilds rather than make them.

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  7. This would prevent a lot of crappy guilds from starting, if only they would read it.

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  8. Looks like sound advice, but I don't think i'm the type for creating guilds.
    Followed.

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  9. Ahahah, great guide! It's not easy to run a guild.

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  10. I cant be bothered to join or make a guild. Too much drama and bitching.

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  11. Thanks! Excellent guide! Only got to skim through it - short on time. But I can't wait to give it a full read tomorrow.

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  12. I have ran a guild before and it is high up keep stuff.

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