Successfully managing a casual raiding Guild.

I’ve been playing RPG’s for as long as I can remember, starting at the Roguelikes such as Nethack and Caverns of Zoarre, moving through Ultima 4,5,6, etc (not Online sadly) and eventually maturing to the big boys, the MMO’s. I’ve been a guildmaster in World of Warcraft for 4 years and before that I was a guildmaster in Guildwars. Before I moved to MMO’s I was even a clan leader in Counterstrike. So I’ve got a fair amount of leadership years below the belt.

In World of Warcraft specifically, my guild has gone through quite a few phases. We started out as a casual raiding/PVP guild back in vanilla days after some guild politics broke my brother’s faith in guildmastering, causing him to disband his short-lived but very successful guild. We picked up a few key players from his guild and started growing under the ideals of becoming a friendly family-type guild. The players that move from his guild are still the core of today’s guild, so his choice was a good one from the start. We recruited heavily and attempted to do some raiding in the closing months of vanilla. This turned out to be a blessing, because while most of the guilds were taking a break, we were pushing 3-4 raids a week (in a casual, half-pug way of course). People who were bored simply had to do a /who Molten Core to find us, and our numbers grew.

This gave us a huge boost when Burning Crusade hit, with guys in shiny gear leveling fast, drawing more interest. Suddenly we weren’t a casual guild anymore. We had level requirements, then gear and experience requirements. We were still only doing 2-3 raids a week but we were progressing through Kara, SSC, TK, etc. Come Burning Crusade and we were one of the first guilds in Naxx. We got Horde first (on our server) on Archavon and got Horde third on Kel’thuzad in 25man Naxx. This caused a bit of a burnout for me and I took a break. I returned 4 months later to a guild in tatters, but within hours of me logging in people were flocking back to the guild. Now we’re a middle-of-the-field raiding guild with an extremely casual outlook.

None of this would have been possible, especially not the swarm of people returning to the guild, if it wasn’t for the fact that people actually enjoy being in the guild. The beauty of the family guild is that people build such a strong bond that they would rather be in that big, lumbering,cuddly family guild than a lean,mean T9-10 farming guild. There are of course the exceptions, but the norm outweighs the exception. In my experience, the following points are key to having a successful casual guild, and once you have a firm following, turning a nothing guild into a name your server respects is easy.

  • Be friendly. Yes this is obvious, but you’d be surprised at how easy this can go wrong. Advertising yourself as a friendly/family guild and then shouting expletives when someone misses a firebomb for the first time in his life is contradictory and will be noticed, to your detriment.
  • Get rid of the morons.     Idiots in the guild will make others unhappy, and unhappy guildies will look somewhere else for a home. Rather keep your current members happy and kick that awesomely geared tank that does nothing more than insult everyone or causes massive discomfort in guildchat. Your family is set in it’s ways and disruptions can cause mass-leaves, which is far worse than keeping that one person. Also when you invite a new recruit, first impressions count. Getting invited to a guild where there’s massive bickering is not going to inspire hope in the new recruit.
  • Specify your guild type and goals. Recruit as honestly as possible. Tell the applicant what your playing style, progression and general guild life is like. Telling a guy that you’re a 25man farming guild when you’re actually still just building up to casual 10man will get you the wrong applicant for the short run and a quitter in the long run. Telling him the truth will 1. Make him not apply or 2. Make him aware that he’ll be part of a growing guild with big plans for the future, if he;’ll be patient enough to help in the process. This also means you need to set reachable goals. Be modest and build slow. You can always adjust your goals higher as you progress. If you want to go to the top RIGHT NOW, you’re reading the wrong blog.
  • Have a decent core of good friends. This is probably the hardest part, but by this time you’ve played WoW (or whatever MMO you prefer) for a while now, so you should have a decent friendslist or even real-life friends. Use this core as your officer/raid base, but only if they’re reliable. My best officers are the ones that helped my brother start his guild 5 years ago. We’ve played together so much we know everything about each other and the guild.
  • Communication.     Talk to your guildies. Bait the quiet ones into being more social. Get an active forum going. Interaction and communication is one of the most important keys to the family guild. If someone feels left out, he’ll go someplace else. Try to get to know a bit about each of your members, and have regular chats with them. I generally have a good whisperfest with a new recruit. It gives me insight to his playstyle, usually more than what a test raid does. Allow and encourage guildchat talks and even gentle arguments, but remember to keep it under control. If someone steps out of line, remember point 2, but also take into account the social bonds that form between certain members in your guild. Which brings me to a sub-point: Watch for cliques forming in your guild. They can be both beneficial and detrimental. A group that instances together all day long is going to be better in a raid situation than people that never play together. But a clique that starts getting secretive or suddenly refuses to raid with the rest of the guild is up to something. Keep an eye on the friendship strings and try to incorporate a representative of as many of them in your officer/confidant-base. This can be very hard in a large guild, but failing to notice this in a small guild, where every player is valuable, could mean your once-successful 10man group is dead overnight.

There’s a lot more to it, but the rewards to having a casual guild that everyone loves are amazing. You really do have an online family that will do almost anything to help you see your combined goals in your MMO of choice. I hope this helps potential guildmasters out there, and if you’re an existing guildmaster, leave your comments.

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4 Comments on “Successfully managing a casual raiding Guild.”

  1. Dristan Says:

    Now dat was a good write. And i noticed mah self in da pic! But i aint whining? Did ya photoshop it? Anyways this way of running a guild has made mah time in wow very fun. Moar writings would be nice to have.

  2. Stabs Says:

    Good luck with the blogging and nice to see another former Legio player here.

    I played as Scal/Pansy in Legio. I’ve stopped playing WoW though and won’t be back until Cataclysm.

    That certainly doesn’t stop me reading about it – I’ve added you to my blog roll and look forward to future posts. It’s looking very good so far.

    • b0bbly Says:

      Wow you’ve been busy since Legio from what I’ve been seeing on your blog. I guess my view is a bit narrow as I’ve pretty much stuck to one MMO (with the occasional dabble in some free-to-plays and a dip in LOTRO and City of Heroes.)
      I remember Scal, your priest. Are you leveling any of your old chars in cata or do you have another current 80?
      Anyways, added you to my blogroll too and liked what I saw so far on your side.

  3. ArtectDrier Says:

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian


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