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Being a Guild Leader vs Follower

Discussion in 'Guilds, Circles and Warparties General' started by Carebear Commander, Jul 30, 2013.

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What has been your role in a guild(s)?

  1. Leader

    55.4%
  2. Officer

    65.2%
  3. Member

    47.3%
  4. Guilds suck!

    4.5%
  5. Other

    2.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Kasern

    Kasern Cupcake

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    I do prefer to be a member over a leader, that all said. Often the effort involved in running a guild, even a small one, isn't worth the effort or the time it takes from your life. It has become easier over the years, as games have become more casual, content easier to access for more players, but anyone who says it's not a second job is fooling themselves or is one of those casual leaders.

    Over the years I've taken to sharing the guild leadership with two others, as a triumvirate. Sometimes we all do everything, other times (like with WildStar) we have split the responsibility, i.e. PvE leader, PvP leader, logistics leader. Either way though, it's not one leader and two officers following the leader's goals, it is three equal leaders sharing the same goals and taking up the slack for whoever is starting to feel the stress or needs to disappear for RL stuff for a bit.

    There is nothing in RL or gaming that would ever make me go back to being a solo leader though. I'd give up guilds entirely before being forced into that again, lol.
    Xalon likes this.
  2. Xalon

    Xalon Cupcake-About-Town

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    +The fee for website and Vent is a huge money hole after years...

    I haven't run a guild btw just what I know about it.
  3. Smedly

    Smedly Cupcake

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    I have always tended to lead guilds... :inlove:

    Back in the day when I was like ...12 or something, on my first MMO, I used to love Role-playing and so I made loads of different guilds that suited what my character was doing, and since then I kind of got into the habit of guild leading...

    I then (when I was much older) broke away from my semi-hardcore raiding guild to make my own hardcore one with friends and we ended up becoming the 2nd best guild on the server! (note - it wasn't a great server :p) but now since we all kind of left WoW it floats around top 10-ish.

    But knowing me, i'll end up being an officer or a Guild Leader somewhere :coffee:
  4. Sycamore

    Sycamore New Cupcake

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    I usually hold an officer position. It doesn't demand as much time as being a guild leader and it gives more responsibility than a regular member.
  5. Kasern

    Kasern Cupcake

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    I don't mind shouldering the website and voip fee. Someone has to do it and at least if it's me then it's all in my control.
  6. Exiled

    Exiled New Cupcake

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    Not always though....places like my community where we ask for donations from the membership (donations....not fees) have thrived and we have never paid anything out of pocket that we didn't want to in the first place. The way we see it is, if the members are happy here than they can choose help us stay afloat =D
  7. Lesh

    Lesh Cupcake

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    I agree that setting up a guild is a lot of work, especially if you don't already have a core group. An established guild shouldn't require so much attention. Some people may prefer to micromanage and want to be into every single aspect and they usually cripple their own guilds to be in functional with out their presence.
  8. Anstalt

    Anstalt Cupcake-About-Town

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    My RL boss gave me an excellent quote:

    "The best leaders are the ones who don't want to be"

    Basically, the best leaders in the world don't really want to be leaders but they simply don't know any other way! They don't want the power or the responsibility yet they feel the need to lead because they feel no-one else is doing a good enough job.

    That is certainly how I came to be a raid leader and eventual guild leader of Divine Retribution in LOTRO, WAR and SW:TOR.

    When I started in LotRO at launch, I was a noob. I'd played SWG for 9 months when it was released but quit when I went to uni (game was blocked in halls of residence). So, I started lotro really not knowing much about MMOs but was a member of DR as my real boss was the guild leader. It took me maybe 3 months elapsed time to reach the cap and with some tutoring from experienced guildies, I started raiding.

    However, it immediately became clear that our existing raid leaders were rubbish. For some reason they were trying to lead raids using chat alone! Even as a noob I could see that trying to lead 24 people through a highly complex boss using only text-chat was a bad idea. As our lack of success continued, people started leaving and our alliance broke up and we essentially stopped raiding. Our raid leaders quit (one left the game, the other left the guild) and so I realised that the only way for me to continue raiding with my friends was to step up and start recruiting and leading myself.

    So, without really knowing what I was doing, I got our raid team back up to scratch ready for the upcoming release of a new raid, The Rift of Nurz Ghashu. What followed was probably the best 6 months of my MMO history! We raided three times a week with a great bunch of people and had a lot of success. We were 7th on our server to clear the raid which doesn't sound like much, but for a new raid leader on a competitive server I was extremely proud!

    From that starting point, I went on to start a new DR guild in WAR (no1 else wanted to start the guild so I had to), then when it became apparent that WAR was lacking I came back to LOTRO where I was immediately made guild leader (didn't want it, but old guild leader had gotten too stressed without me around to help out). When I eventually got bored with lotro I dropped down to just being a raid leader. When SW:TOR was released, I left to start a guild there, again not because I wanted to lead but because no-one else was willing to.


    There are a lot of stresses to being a guild leader so it is important that you really think hard before doing it and really try to define what sort of guild you want to be. Goals are important, as are social policies, leadership team etc. I'll try to outline some of the things that I went through as a new guild leader:

    1) Define what sort of guild you want to be.

    With Divine Retribution, we defined ourselves as being semi-hardcore. We wanted to be a guild that supported all playstyles as that is important for diversity and long term health of the guild. However, at endgame our attitude may be defined as "hardcore playstyle on a casual timeframe". We've always had some extremely talented players who love to min-max, myself included, but we all enjoyed a variety of activities. So, when we raided, we approached it as if we were hardcore, but we didn't want to raid every day as we all enjoyed alts / craftng / pvp. So, we limited ourself to 3 nights a week for raiding. We also decided to focus on PvE as that is where our experience lay and we enjoyed the social side of raiding.

    2) Decide what sort of size guild you want to be

    This may be a result of circumstance more than anything but it is nice to have a goal to aim for. My goal has usually been to aim for a core group of endgame raiders that is 25%-50% larger than the raid size, then as many casuals as possible. So, in LotRO, most raids were 12 man so I usually aimed at having 15-18 "good" raiders in the guild, then a load of casuals. This kept the guild small enough to be very social and friendly whilst large enough to always be able to raid. As the core raiders left the game/guild, we'd replace them with up and coming casual members or we'd recruit.

    3) Sort Out Loot Rules

    It is my experience that in a guild that raids, 95% of all drama is related to loot so it is best to sort out how you want to handle it in advance. I've tried DKP, suicide kings, roll/pass and "common sense". They all have advantages and disadvantages but the ultimate goal is fairness. In my guild, we settled on a DKP/SK hybrid where you earn DKP for raiding, but when you win an item you lose all your DKP, i.e. you suicide. This rewards dedicated raiders but also means that new raiders start getting loot very quickly because the DKP table moves rapidly. When I started our TOR guild I tried to go with common sense as I hate loot rules, so I just wanted to hand the loot to the people that most benefited and/or most deserved it. However, within weeks there were arguements and threats so we had to go back to dkp :S

    4) Decide how you want to deal with "problem" people

    Guild rules should sort out the obviously bad people, but you need a method for dealing with people who don't break guild rules but are still a drain on the guild.

    An example: in SW:TOR, we had (and still have!) a player who is just absolutely terrible. He's been playing since release, has leveled almost all classes and he wants to raid. However, he is a moron. His DPS is half what it should be, he can't tank for <REDACTED>, he heals the wrong people, he doesn't avoid AoE...he is a liability. However, despite 15-20hours of 1to1 tutoring from experienced raiders in the guild, he still just can't do it. Worse, he blames other people for his own mistakes and won't acknowledge that he is the problem. We all know that if we bring him to a challenging raid, we'll fail.

    I am really bad at confrontation and being "tactful" so I'm not good at dealing with these people directly and it is a problem I've had running guilds since I started. The only way to deal with people like him is to implement a "core raider" list. Essentially, within my guilds I set minimum targets for my raiders. If they can reach these targets then they are welcome to join us on progression raids or difficult raids. If they can't reach those targets then they can only come on the easier raids or they have to wait until it is on farm.

    This is a little too-hardcore for my liking but to be honest, since implementing our core raid list during the Mirkwood expansion of LotRO, our raiding progression has sped up loads and most people are much happier. What would be better is if our recruitment process was better so that we weeded out people like this in advance, but that is something I never got round to sorting plus people always make it through the cracks!

    5) Sort out your leadership team

    You can run a guild single handedly if you want but it is better to have help and delegate. This is another aspect of leading which I've never really mastered. Whilst I am happy to delegate and I have defined roles for my officers, I find it really hard to find officers who will actually do their job! A lot of people will say they want to be officers but mostly they just want the elevated status and access to officer chat/forums, they don't actually want to help. Anyways, in a perfect guild my leadership team looks like the following:
    • Leader
    • Raid Leader
    • Recruitment Officer
    • Social Events Officer
    • PvP Officer
    I have toyed with having class leaders in the past but they aren't really needed in small and medium sized guilds. What tends to happen is the best players of a class become known anyway and so guild members naturally ask the right people for advice. As guild leader, you need to delegate to your officers but you will also need to do all the tasks as well.

    6) Social Cohesion a.k.a. Manage the Cliques!

    Gaming is a pasttime and people naturally have more fun when they hang out with their friends. Within a guild, this means that cliques form. There is nothing you can do to stop it because it is human nature! Hell, even as leader you will have your own clique which will probably include the whole officer team! However, it is key that you, as the leader, try to get the cliques interacting with each other. As leader, most people in the guild should trust and respect you and so when you form a group you should be in the unique position of having different people from different cliques wanting to come. Make sure that, on a regular basis, you form groups using members from different cliques within the guild. Over time, those people in your random groups become friends which then breaks down barriers between cliques. Eventually, people from different cliques will feel comfortable enough to form groups of their own outside of their immediate friendship group.

    The ultimate goal is to reach a point where if anyone in the guild asks for a group, everyone who is free volunteers. It takes time and energy to achieve but when it works you end up with a fantastic guild where everyone feels welcome and groups are formed easily. This compares to some guilds which are basically just a collection of strangers who use the guild as an extra LFG chat channel.

    7) Set Personal Goals and Maintain Personal Fun

    Running a guild takes a lot of time and energy to do right so it is likely that you will burn out. I've certainly reached the point in the past where 99% of my ingame time was spent doing stuff I didn't enjoy. That is a very bad balance situation. You need to maintain personal enjoyment of the game otherwise you will end up a grumpy and ineffective guild leader.

    What this means is setting up a guild with your personal interests in mind, but also having the courage to step back and say "I'm not enjoying this, so I'm going to do something else tonight". In LotRO and WAR this was easy for me: I enjoyed raiding in lotro and world pvp in WAR and so I focused the guilds on those activities. That meant that the process of leading ultimately led to me achieving my personal goals so everyone stayed happy. In SW:TOR, I got it wrong. I set up the guild there as a raiding guild but because raiding was so trivially easy I got no enjoyment out of it. Thus, for a while, I ended up logging in most days and ended up raiding / farming instances despite getting no personal enjoyment out of it. After a while I had had enough, so I stepped down as guild leader and focused most of my time on PvP and only did PvE when we were missing a raid leader or the core team needed me. To be honest, I was still essentially the guild leader as I made all important decisions, but simply stepping back from the activity I didn't enjoy and focusing on what I did enjoy made me better at leading the guild.

    8) Make Decisions, even if they are wrong

    Ultimately, guild members will look to you to make decisions. You need to be comfortable making the decision, even if you don't know the right answer. Like all leaders, you are going to make mistakes but the important point is to be willing to make that mistake! Most people are sheep, you need to be the shepherd. For example, with loot rules, there is no correct choice so don't procrastinate, just choose the one you think will be best and see what happens. Same with choosing boss tactics. There are probably loads of ways to kill a boss but it is important that the raid leader makes the decision and communicates that decision effectively. You may be wrong, but you wont know until you try and you can always try something else later.




    This post has become a lot longer than I imagined but after 6 years of leading in one form or another I have a lot of experience and have made enough mistakes to be worth sharing! I'm still rubbish at dealing with problem people and I don't really enjoy leading but I prefer leading myself to having someone less able doing the leading! I wish everyone good luck in finding a guild with good leadership or if you are leading yourself I hope you do it well and enjoy the ride!
  9. Xzi [HoB]

    Xzi [HoB] New Cupcake

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    I've been a Guild Leader for 5 years (same guild), although at certain times others have taken over the active leadership roles as RL responsibilities have prevented me from keeping on top of things as much as I would have liked.

    However, I have always kept a close eye on things even when away from a particular game the guild has been participating in. I think it's important that guilds can keep things in perspective and sometimes a view from outside the chaos can be the most helpful.

    We've been a competitive guild in 4 MMOs and I'd say our success has been down to building a solid team of officers and having a leadership structure with balance. By success I primarily mean the fact we're still a tight-knit guild with strong attendance and performance after 5 years and multiple game switches.

    Despite our intentions to always be a high performing guild the officer group isn't entirely made of 'Hardcore' gamers who put in 50 hours a week online and rage at every slip-up. We have some of those, but we make sure we have enough cooler heads (dare I also say older heads!) with a more holistic view to help temper that unrelenting drive into constructive thoughts which can help the guild develop without alienating members. As with most things it's about having the right people for the various tasks that need doing.

    So that's leaders and officer... but of course it's the members who are the most important part of any guild. Making sure they are happy and motivated is absolutely key to ensuring you can perform in any game. Of course you get the odd bad-egg who's either just a wrong fit for the guild or rubs people the wrong way (personality clashes are the bane of all GMs existence), I've always found that sensitivity and honesty are the way to deal with such occurrences... never make a big scene, rather pull the individual(s) out into a private channel and chat through the issue. If it can be resolved great, if not they usually understand they have to leave.

    As you can probably guess by my wall of text, I really love heading up the team that leads our guild and it's a role I'm immensely proud of. The good times certainly outweigh the small (and it is a surprising small) amount of drama faced along the way.

    It's not certain that as a guild we will move to Wildstar but if we do it will be an exciting time to be a guild leader and one I wouldn't pass up for anything!
    Thesoundsofsophistry likes this.
  10. Sealdorie

    Sealdorie New Cupcake

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    "The Best leaders are also the best followers" - unknown to me, but it has been something I firmly believe.

    I became a guild leader purely by coincidence, as the person I started the guild with left shortly after creating it and I felt obligated to the people who had joined. 10 years later and I'm still leading it (albeit not hard core anymore ). I wanted to help people, and I was good at organizing. I do HR for a living now as I discovered over the years that I am also quite good at speaking to people, and motivating them.

    I've learned a lot about myself, leading, and people in general over the years. When I first started I was in college, and had a ton of time to devote to what needed to be done to run a successful guild. As time went on a core group of people formed, and the strict rules and atmosphere softened to a more casual pace. We ran events three times a week, geared up, and had fun. Now, 10 years later, we are a casual group of friends that play games together. I lack the time to dedicate to everything that is necessary to provide a proper guild experience for my friends, and because of this I am choosing to retire leadership once Wildstar is released.

    So now I shall choose "member" because I wish to be a part of something, but not a part of the headache that comes with leading it.
  11. Inukeu

    Inukeu Well-Known Cupcake

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    In my last major guild Leviathian in WoW I was a casual guild member at first then I became a guild officer then a raid member/leader but i've never been a guild leader I prefer to just help people rather then lead them if that makes sense being a leader seems like a lot of work and im simply too lazy but I dont mind helping people develop there char, get gear, understand there class mechanics, helping people in raids, keeping the guild under control etc etc
  12. deathtotherepublic

    deathtotherepublic Cupcake

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    I have enjoy being a guild leader for many reasons. 1) I really enjoy grinding out all of the info, latest releases, and massive amounts of game play to help out my guildies understand the game better and lead better. 2) I run our guild in a very open, social, and friendly maner. I believe I should run our guild like I run my company. 3) I enjoy being a leader and being a guy that people can come to and talk to about anything 24/7

    I feel that there is a role for everyone in a guild and anyone that is willing to setup and want to take a leading role in their guild then they should get a shot. I find that being supportive to all of the member base is more important than being an <REDACTED> telling people what to do.
  13. xShinji

    xShinji New Cupcake

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    Officer or member for me, Im too lazy to lead :p

    But wanna contribute as much as I can for the guild at least.


    Im kind of interested to be raid leader thou.
  14. Angelo Frack

    Angelo Frack New Cupcake

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    Usually its just how the person is in real life. If they are a leader in their social life then they will be the same in the game.
  15. Yule

    Yule Cupcake

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    This. So much this.
  16. DemosthenesHPW

    DemosthenesHPW New Cupcake

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    I was a Heal Team Leader for two different guilds in WoW, one during the 40 man era, one during the start of 25 man into most of the way through WotLK before the guild started breaking up and we stuck exclusively to 10 mans and achievement hunting for the tougher fights in WotLK stuff (still love Fluffy the Rusted Protodrake). I could see MAYBE doing that in 20 man raids, but you couldn't pay me enough to do it again in 40 mans. I got the team going, we progressed, but it was terribad compared to 20 and 10 man raiding before I got tapped to be Heal Leader again in the new guild and there it was certainly better (helped to also be in a better guild where people knew and learned fights), but it's still tiring, and I suspect if anything, I'll stick to five mans, maybe some raiding on the low end with a casual guild. But, really without the nice balance of 10 man raids, I doubt I'll do more than that. WoW's decision to do that while adding the achievements and such to up the difficulty was not made in a vacuum... and I suspect we'll see some movement in that direction before too terribly long in Wildstar.
  17. Latt

    Latt New Cupcake

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    I believe that either you or your boss must have misquoted. People who don't want to be leaders make the worst leaders. Why would they do a good job at the position when they have no interest in being a leader. I bet people who don't want to be leader but are leaders aren't even happy at their position. If you aren't happy with what you do, why would you want to get better at it? If you aren't happy being a leader, if you aren't motivated to becoming a better leader, if you don't want the job in the first place, there is little chance that this person could be a good leader let alone one of the best.

    What I think you meant, especially from your next paragraph and story, is that the best leaders are the reluctant ones that step forward only when it becomes obvious to them that they are the best for the job.

    I would also argue that there are also other ways of becoming a good leader (training, experience, personality, etc.) and that some of the best also want to be in leadership roles but that is another topic. just my 2 pennies :)
  18. Eurlin

    Eurlin New Cupcake

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    When I first started in MMOs I never wanted to have any responsibilities I just wanted to do things. I usually would get promoted in every guild I was in though because I was extremely active and I loved to talk. People trusted me and wanted to play with me. I ended up being a leader for a guild when others left, and it really is a bit of work. The reward of being able to help everyone who's putting faith in you is a big payout though. I truly just love to help people enjoy their time on a game. I never lead after that game, but I did join a new guild (My current one) and they love my activeness, and willingness to get <REDACTED> done for people. No crying, no whining, we just do it until it's done right. I became an officer from the first MMO due to others having to take a break for real life (one had a baby, another had surgery) with them, but I became an "official" officer around the 3rd one. I still have the ability to do what I do, but the beautiful thing about being an officer now is that this guild works with us. We don't pull drama around, there's no stress, we kick butt and have fun. Being an officer now is like a privilege because we can be so proud of the playerbase we have.
  19. Cananh

    Cananh Cupcake

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    I've happily been a follower in several guilds and turned down offers to be officer'ised in some, though wore that hat in one to help with recruitment. I don't feel the need to lead.

    The single reason I would choose to lead a guild is to create something unique rp-wise. I'm handy with websites so that's easier for me to do than most. I have an idea for WS which I think is super cool. But I'm not going to put much effort into a website (though I have the domain name safely tucked away) or any into recruiting until I'm sure I'm going to buy the game.

    I've made that mistake with other pre-launch MMOs which seemed amazing but disappointed on a grand scale. So I'll wait until I've had an opportunity to play WS before going down this road. Fingers are crossed for a beta key.
  20. Cananh

    Cananh Cupcake

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    I agree with Anstalt. And no it's definitely not a misquote.

    It's a well known problem with positions of power - they necessarily attract people who should never be let near them. People who like to control and dominate. People who enjoy huring others. Research shows that eg. many CEOs aren't terribly smart. What they are more often is people with psychopathic personality traits. There's similar research for politicians showing a strong correlation with their having been bullies in their youth.

    I had a boss once who spent six months carefully cultivating a relationship with my friend and housemate because that friend had witnessed another staff member in the organisation do something very bad to me. That was a big problem for them. So six months on when the memory was less fresh and more amenable to manipulation she convinced my friend of a whopping lie. Said friend then kicked me out of her home. That boss then swiftly rose to the second most senior position in the organisation.

    That's what leadership is about in the real world.

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