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The Opinion: Running a guild.

Discussion in 'Guilds, Circles and Warparties General' started by Avenged, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. Avenged

    Avenged Cupcake-About-Town

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    I. Preface

    To start this is opinion, but in a worst case scenario I hope that we can at least get a really good discussion now about the benefits of running a healthy guild. While this community is still small, I think it will help a lot long term in making the game attractive to people when they are interested in this game. A lot of the things that I think are highly effective or correct may not work for you, and just know that it is ok, and what this is really going to be about are the basic needs to keep you and your members more happy over the course of the game. I also hope it helps you new ambitious guild leaders in effectively creating something that will last for years to come.

    II. The basic needs

    There are many thing a guild should have in order to stay functional, and though most of them are obvious I find that they are often times not used to their full potential.

    1. A guild website. - This should be your main form of communication, as well as your outreach to a community that should be foaming at the mouth to join you. An effective guild web page is not just a home for your guild, but will be your most effective recruitment tool, and also a place to hold discussions within the community as a whole.

    2. A guild communication tool - Ventrilo, Mumble, Teamspeak, etc. will be your direct form of communication. Where as your webpage will be the place where you go to learn more about what is going on with the guild. Your in game voice tools will be used to direct members in raids, organize parties on the fly, and just be yourselves in general. If you have never run your own before then I will recommend mumble, as the costs for higher player amounts tends to be lower and the voice quality is generally good. As a personal recommendation I prefer ventrilo as it tends to be more widely used, and will be less of an issue on the off chances that you have to pick up a pug for a group etc. Also as 40 man raiding and pvp are going to be a focus in this particular game, I would look at a 50 or 100 man setting.

    3. A clear guild charter - Not just a generic set of goals like - We are a PVPVE guild that does everything and we are focusing on helping each other out. When you get into the next phase which is recruitment, it is very important that you, and the people that will be potentially joining you are completely and utterly on the same page. Some specifics you may want to add are; A clear message on what you expect from members, a listing of the times when people are required to be on for events, your policies on webpage activity, and your rules on loot, vent/mumble, etc. This stops the revolving door that guilds experience when they are new which benefits both you, and your respective recruits in the long run.

    4. Recruitment - A standardized and predictable way that you will bring new members into your fold. You may be a casual guild, and if that is the case then you can probably ignore a lot of these suggestions in general from this entire thread, but if you are a guild that wants to operate with a more urgent sense of order, then one of the most important things to do is to make sure that the way that you recruit new members stays consistent throughout. We will go later into some effective ways to handle the trial process later, but again the main thing you want to remember is to always be consistent. This helps to make everyone in the guild feel like they are on a level playing field which is important in the long run.

    5. Delegation of Power - I know a lot of people do not like to talk about it in this manner, but what people need to realize is that sometimes even the nicest, and well intentioned people can change when put into positions/ranks above other people in games. Being a guild leader can be a really empowering position, and it is important that before anything else you can be level headed when the situation demands. My personal preference is generally to have 1-2 officers that are generally the type of people I would want in my own position if I was not here IE. they think and act in a way similar to me, and above all that they are respected in the guild the same way I am. After this I generally choose Class mentors / Advisers that are your coaches. Where as I would give unique powers generally to officers that more closely resembled my own, the advisers would be people with infinite amounts of patience that understand their classes very well. They would be a trusted resource in the recruitment process, and the people pushing to better themselves and the people they work with in their classes. While who you choose for a CA can be based on a combination of things, I will give a bit of advice for those looking for new officers, or looking to promote people to the position. The people that tend to ask for power, are the people most likely to abuse it. Again I would try to model it after someone who reminds you of yourself over the person going over the top to become an officer.

    6. System of Reward - Like with recruitment the main thing that you want to focus on is that this is consistent. If you have a relatively small guild and you know the same people will be coming day in and day out then you could do something extremely simple, like use the loot roles that the game provides. For larger guilds though you will want to use a system that is as fair as possible for the environment you are trying to provide, and above all else that people understand how it works before they are fully accepted into your guild. Loot drama is one of the largest things to plague guilds in MMO's and you will find that in a lot of the top guilds it is one of their least concerns. The better you are at communicating where your guild stands, the better off you will be on this subject.

    7. Coaching - As a guild leader you want people to know that your officers, and class advisers opinions do matter, and in the end this will make your life a lot easier. Turn your leadership team into coaches. The most important rules to teach them is that for one: You should not be teaching people how to play their classes, and secondly that they should be able to help with reasonable requests. Unreasonable requests would be someone asking you exactly what to do at all times, and asking what gear they should have in every slot. These types of conversations should be happening in your forums as your members work together to theory craft the best possible scenarios for their classes. When someone is struggling with a particular mechanic, they should know that they have a place to get a valid response, which would not be L2P. Conversely you do not want your officers, or class advisers going out of their way to "teach them how it is done". This will often times be taken negatively, and that is not the goal of improving people. Create an environment where people want to come to your community for help.

    8. The hard decisions - I have said this before the in Reddit WoW forums but it is very true. It is harder to remover a great person from guild or raids that does not perform up to par with everyone else, then it is to remove a cancer that is best at their class. In my opinion when people are not up to par with the raid team then they can be offered a social slot in the guild, but to be perfectly honest it is better to remove them in the guild long term. You will have to deal with a lot of people in game that end up not working out with your guild for various reasons, and even great people can harbor contempt for the guild after being demoted, or removed from raids. Some of the decisions you will have to make can not be sympathetic because they should be for the greater good of the guild. Because I say this though, I also hope that you do not take these types of decisions lightly. Preferably there should be no one but your officers, maybe CA if it is a performance issue, and the person involved in the loop whatsoever. Above all you do not want members at each others throats over performance, or attitude, and it is your job to make sure that your team is seen as such as the only people that involve themselves with it. A good formal way of showing the guild your personal thoughts afterwards will be brought up when I talk more about recruitment and website set up.
    Kidney, Tiberius, Rumze and 6 others like this.
  2. Avenged

    Avenged Cupcake-About-Town

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    Advanced thoughts and theories.

    I. Recruitment

    The best scenario I was ever involved with in recruitment involved a double tiered membership. Trials and Members. We did not create separate ranks for members and raiders, as we either had people that raided, or we had people that could no longer raid for personal reasons, and they became socials. I am going to give you an example of my favorite system for the trial process that I have ever been involved in.

    1. Step one is the Application. The applications are placed in a separate forum that only members, officers, and you can view. This application becomes an open forum for members to post on. If no one has dirty laundry, and the application really matches what your guild charter is looking for then you should invite that person in for an interview with whichever officers, and maybe a class adviser they would be working with in a private voice channel.

    2. The interview. It can be very basic. The big thing that you want to make sure of is that the person was not just phoning it in with the application. I tend to go more in depth about their playtime, and some times we will even talk about real life. You really want to make sure that what you are asking from them in game is genuinely not going to interfere with this persons lifestyle, because if it does then a lot of people have wasted their time with the applicant. As this is a new game you can ask about their past history with games and guilds. I would say if they list more then a few guilds in a short period of time that you go into some of the generic hiring questions, like: Why did you leave your last guild? or What was something awesome that one of your past guilds did? If they are the type of player that just tries out a lot of games, I am probably not going to want to invest my time in that person. If you guys confer and the interview was what you wanted to hear then, you can move to the trial process.

    3. When a member gets moved into the trial position their application is removed, and moved to an area of your forums where the applicant no longer has access to view it. All members can view it, and as a guild you begin the discussion on how this person contributes, and fits into the guild. I would say a trial period should last for 3 weeks. At the end of the 3 weeks of trialing you will require members to vote on the member. 2/3 vote for and they are in the guild. If the member receives a 50/50 vote then extend their trial for another 3 weeks, and if they can not achieve 2/3 again, then let them know that they did not receive the votes. Your trials should be given access to whatever content you are doing currently, because you want to test them in the environment that you are working on. In one of my past guilds these applications would get up to 100 posts on them from the guild. This is an incredible way to garner relationships with new members in guilds, as not only will the new recruit want to help themselves out by getting to know everyone in guild, but it also empowers your members to go out of their way to get to know new people in guild as well since they are part of the decision on who joins. If a new member makes it through this process, then not only have you guys decided that this person is good enough for your raids, but was also able to make a good impression on the majority of your members which is win/win.
    Darkace, Rumze and Malisent like this.
  3. Avenged

    Avenged Cupcake-About-Town

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    Website Set up.

    I will not go into too much detail about this because there are several effective ways to do this, but I will bring up a couple of nice things that will help you with overall web traffic to your site.

    1. Leave an open forum in your general settings. A place where people that are interested in your guild can join, a place where your enemies can talk smack, and just general server discussions. Remember you want your site to be a destination. Make it look welcoming, even if the bulk is inside your members only forums. I would also recommend a trade forum on the outside. Got some rare drops the other guilds want? You can drive a lot of traffic onto your website by letting people know what you want as a guild (sticky) and also let people use it as a looking for or selling tool as well.

    2. Internally in your forums you will want a private forum that only you and your officers can view. You will want another forum where you can communicate with just your advisers. After this you will want open forums that everyone can view. I would suggest: 1 forum for each class, 1 forum for current content raiding strategies. Usually start each thread with the boss you are currently working on, and let members post strats, and generally discuss. Post another forum for current guild needs via donations etc. I believe donations should have a static value of reward in systems like DKP, or EPGP but should be a considerably smaller amount then what they could earn weekly in a raid. Also cap the amounts that people can earn weekly on this. Another forum would be great for organizing smaller dungeon teams, arenas, etc. Give your members a way to organize themselves that involves themselves on the webpage. A final forum can be opened for people that want to purchase things from your guild bank.

    3. Make the main link for your loot system internal on your webpage, and require log in. This will create an environment where your raiders and members are logging into your webpage daily to see where they stand in guild. By offering items and trades for guild only items as well, you can assure that you will have a lot higher turnout in web activity then if you just give everything up through vent. This increased activity will bring more people into their individual forums as well, because they will be seeing new things posted all the time hopefully.
    Rumze, Malisent and Mizpah like this.
  4. Mizpah

    Mizpah Cupcake-About-Town

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    Firstly, I must add that I think this is a great post by Avenged - many people don't seem to realise that to run a guild well, (much like a company run well) you need process, communication and structure. If you then couple that with both direction and purpose, you then have both the 'what to do' and the 'how to do it' -- with all of those elements in play you have the opportunity to actually succeed.

    Id like to offer my own perspective (as a guild leader of Enigma since 2005) on the topic. Whereas both myself and Avenged will have our own styles they are not prescriptive in any way. Different guilds with a differing ethos will attract differing players - this for the community as a whole can only be a good thing.

    Lets start with the structure Avenged set out above:

    Basic Needs

    Website

    The guild website is indeed increasingly critical in an MMO, the tools and facilities available to you will be dictated by either using a commercial service, or the skills of the members involved in the guild, and the effort they expend.

    I would suggest that at a minimum your guild website achieves the following:

    • Describes your guild
    • Provides a point of contact, both in-game & via email
    • Encourages both questions, positive and negative feedback where needed
    • Provides a private area for member communications (typically a forum)
    • Provides a means to initiate recruitment
    • Shows your roster
    It is worth noting that in my experience 'better' players (by this I fuse social and communication abilities with effort and player skill - there is a definite relationship) will take the time to research your guild. They will look at the effort put into running the community. They will want to understand how they can benefit -- and how they can contribute. Getting your website to reflect your guild correctly is a huge part (but not the only part) or representing your guild in the right way.

    Things you may want to do (if available to you)
    • Showcase your recent achievements
    • Provides information to members (next raid, last drops, next guild meeting, a reminder of chat details etc)
    • Paints a clear picture of the expectations you have for members
    • Provide commentary and information to the community, PR for your guild and its opinions
    • Act as an out of game social hub for your membership, designed to bring your community closer together.
    Other nice to have's depends on the information available, and its source. A dynamic roster that reflects in game ranks and changes. DKP if you use it. Server Status. Sync with a smartphone or a responsive design that works on a phone. Guild emails. Recruitment Status (i.e. we need more tank, and no healers etc). Character 'paperdolls' and armoury type information. A game news-feed, and patch notes. The list can be endless!

    We have been fortunate to have a number of developers and graphics guys in the guild, so we always built a completely custom solution for recruitment, communications, and website functions. if anyone would like elaboration on anything website, just ask!

    Some of the how to use your website elements are cultural to your guild. For example, in Enigma's case here are (some) of our wrinkles:

    **

    We publicly show application details - i.e. 'name' has applied to guild as a 'tank' on 'date'. We place a status next to this, that ranges from pending, to success, to 'unsuccessful at this time' We let other guild leaders know about this list - and we make sure applications know this.

    Why ? We seek to foster good guild relationships. The when foo has actually stolen from the guild bank, we tend to find out. We also tend to get a good reference when the player has the social skills to leave a guild for valid reasons without burning bridges. As always we take our own view, and accept that the information we get may be biased, and get a feel for ho other guilds interact over time.

    **

    We have a system within the website for keeping notes on a player over time - good and bad. The if someone leaves us due to work commitments, we make a note - then if they reapply a year later, we can be accurate about them - was that a good tank, or the one that insulted somebody and ragequit ? It can be hard to be sure three years down the line!

    **

    We make sure we have the same login (single sign on) to access forums, chat, DKP, profile and all website functions. We keep game and website ranks, alongside our roster in sync automatically - and with our voice server (TS3). This *really* helps with ongoing admin.

    **

    We don't hide from negative feedback. The single biggest asset of Enigma in any game, is our reputation. Its something hard won over time - but can be damaged rapidly. Thus, behaving in such a way in game as to damage our reputation is one of the most serious offence's a player can commit. Thus we want to know if anyone has issues with our members! The guild leadership however needs to recognise at all times that just because there is a complaint, it may not be valid. Discretion and experience is required to handle these issues! Over time the community learns to trust the guilds reactions and stance both to any complaints and to any player. This protects all parties - it helps to maintain our reputation in a game, attract the type of member's that we want, and give a real deterrent to act in a negative way towards the guild. It used to be a fact, that if you were kicked from Enigma (a very rare event mind) you would not get into another good guild on the server, no matter how geared you were!

    Everything in the above paragraph was facilitated by the way we communicated openly on our website with the community, and used it as a PR tool to 'sell' the guild.

    I could go on, but hopefully this shows just some of the possibilities for a guild website!!

    <still editing!>

    Voice Communications

    Voice communicationss are vital. For Enigma this statement does not just reflect a need to communicate in a Raid or PvP setting, but a key belief that conversation and voice is a key part of the social glue that makes up the guild.

    As such:

    We require people to have a microphone, and be prepared to use it to communicate - whilst not for everyone, it a basic tenant of our community.

    If you are in game, wherever possible, we expect you to be on voice. We know that sometimes you can't talk (its 4.00am kids sleeping etc), but with headphones on you can still interact, know what's happening, and type back if needed.

    Over time, voice conversation breaks down barriers, turns us into a group of solid friends and greatly enhances both our stability as a guild, our cohesiveness as a team and our (strong) sense of community. If you were in Enigma and just relying on guild chat, you would miss a great number of the requests for dungeons, the conversation etc.

    Whereas this can be overwhelming, we have a structure of rooms on TS3 for groups, areas and activities, including a quiet / listening to music room.

    Finally we also have a music bot that is 'member powered', this can lead to much hilarity. Ever seen what happens when Monty Python is played mid 'farm' raid ? It actually kills tanks!! (true story!).

    Voice is a fun and relaxed place - even when raiding, however to enable that discipline is required. We have a guild rule about the word 'Channel' if its used it means instant silence, its typical usage is to give a on the fly raid instruction or similar without confusion. Once this is engrained and effective it allows for a relaxed environment and a great deal of freedom.

    Guild Charter

    This is for us, an overview of key guild tenants, rules and expectations. If someone applying to the guild, does not really understand you, how can they know that they are in the right place *for them* ?

    It also has to be a two way contract of expectations. Sure you want players to be amazing, communicate, do loads of DPS or farm mats. But what will you do for these (amazing) players ? Why should they join <your guild here> ?

    You really (in my view) don't want players to apply simply due to your raid progression it's not a recipe for long term health without drama. If you don't provide a deeper and more meaningful basis for selecting your guild, what else are people actually looking at ?

    As an example, for Enigma in Wildstar I will be including something like the following (it will probably all be reworded many times before I open Wildstar Enigma recruitment!):

    <start extract>
    Enigma is a passionate gaming community, that aims to be a great place to be to achieve all your in game goals.
    To ensure that we can meet that goal for the benefit of all, we have some core tenants that we will expect all members to fulfill:

    • To be 18 or older, and mature. Many Enigma members are in their 30's+
    • To have an appropriate standard of spoken English - we are very international, but communicate in English as the guild language.
    • To be respectful of all guild members irrespective of background, creed, age or gender.
    • To be happy to use voice chat whenever possible in game.
    • To support the health of the guild, the wider community and the game. Activities such as gold buying will not be tolerated in our ranks.
    • To recognise that you are representing the guild if you join, and us such that creates certain expectations, alongside certain benefits.
    • We will always promise to listen to any opinion, but may not promise to agree with yours.
    • We will provide you with a drama free, social and progressive environment from which to enjoy every aspect of the game.
    • We promise to be fair to all members, not driven by cliques or politics.
    • We promise to help you be all that you can be in the game!
    PRO BONUS DOLUS PRO PALMA EGO!
    (rough translation: 'for the good of the guild, before the glory of self')

    <end extract>

    Recruitment

    Recruitment is one of the hardest things to (in my opinion) get right for new guilds and guild leaders. How do you balance the desire to grow, with getting in the right players that your guild needs ? How do you identify the players that you should invite that are 'good' for the health of your guild, and those that are toxic, that do your guild harm ? (yes they do exist).

    Your needs will be different if a levelling guild, a progression raiding guild, a social hybrid guild, a pvp guild a RP guild etcetera.

    The first step is identifying the type(s) of players you are after. A good exercise for the officer team is for each person involved in recruitment to independently write a paragraph describing the characteristics of the players you want to recruit.

    Then sit down (virtually or otherwise) and compare. Are there common trends ? If not your first task is get those involved on the same page, otherwise your recruitment is unlikely to be effective.

    Now put yourself in a player mindset. Lets say you have all of the attributes listed under your paragraph of the 'ideal guild member'. If so why would you join <your guild here> ?

    If you cant find convincing reasons, how will you get the people you want, to want to join you ?

    You also need to think about how you will find these people, they may not all be beating a path to your door - a quick tip, posting on a forum thread for recruitment is not generally the most effective mechanic.

    I can recommend:
    • Communicating positively in the community - it helps people find you.
    • If you advertise 'in game' do so consistently, but do not spam! I personally find a short, intelligent 'pitch' a maximum of once an hour acceptable. Consistency is better than frequency.
    • Run 'pug' raids and groups. Get people onto your vent. Demonstrate your raid leadership and community - give people a taste of what they could find by joining you.
    • Help people. A little help in a game goes a long long way.
    • Remain approachable, whatever your progression in the game.
    • Assign a team to help with recruitment, don't place it all on one persons shoulders. Have those people undertake identified tasks, and as a group report back!
    Be prepared to think out of the box. As another example, Enigma recruit on attitude over ability. We often look for, or come across players who come across well, maybe just by being new and asking intelligent questions. Maybe its the guild-less tank who bothers to 'gem and enchant' because he thinks he should for the sake of his pug group.

    Some of our very best raiders started off as new players who wanted to learn - an attitude is harder to teach than player mechanics and theory-craft. It might not be that these new players hit the raid roster on day one. But when they are ready, they are already an embedded part of our community.

    We will always go out of our way to help those who want to be helped (and in the process have become pretty adept at identifying free-loaders). Wildstar on launch will have many new players - if you don't have a plan for recruitment, you have planned not to have the players you need.

    I have touched on some of our recruitment mechanics already in the website section, however I would also suggest:

    Always respond to all applications, even if its a 'sorry no'. Always do so respectfully, people don't like No's!

    Set a policy for feedback and stick to it - we choose to tell people (privately) why they are not being accepted, but whatever you do treat everybody equally. If you let someone know why they are not being accepted (there may just be no space in class 'X'), you may have future options.

    They may come back in six months with the missing experience, a change in attitude or on a different character. If you tell someone that they are not a cultural fit, and you don't find there (example) expectations and language towards other players acceptable, then you save yourself from reprocessing that application again later (probably! - its true some people will just never get it - we had a player caught out lying on an application over raid experience. Over time he made 8 separate further applications. The answer was still no).

    BTW, its not foolproof, but I recommend saving IP's with applications, and having a system to flag two applications from the same IP, even if the dates are a year apart! Also, archive your applications for later comparison...)

    Research people(s) applications. If an applicant lists a guild history, try to check it out. Google is your friend. Very few people have a perfect guild history, I look for truth and honesty in an app, and a good definition of the person and what they want. I also ask open questions that encourage more than one word answers.

    Finally by design, an Enigma application will take effort. A player who cant find the time to make that effort, is unlikely to demonstrate the expected effort level once in the guild!

    Other Basic Needs

    I agree with the some of the principles in Power / Reward / Coaching / Decisions (from the OP's post structure), but I personally think they are a function of the guild ethos and management style - something that will be driven by the individuals involved, the guild aims and it's needs.

    As such, these are also 'basic needs' but more detailed topics (yes really!) but as I am now closing in on 3000 words already, these will have to wait for a future instalment:

    Additional Basic Needs

    Structure
    Community 'Outreach'
    Ethos

    Advanced Topics

    <lots more>

    So to anyone still reading, see you in another post, another day - I will link it here once its been created....

    Let the debate kick off, feel free to ask any questions here or IRC, I am sure Avenged will also be monitoring this thread closely!
    Kidney, Firmitas, Caimie and 2 others like this.
  5. Malisent

    Malisent Cupcake-About-Town

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    Great post!

    Just a quick personal opinion on the above. I actually don't like voting. Even if leadership clearly lays out all information and are very direct about everything, some members in the guild will not always fully understand or hold true to the original vision. On top of that, some of the most vocal may be people who do not have interest in contributing as leadership.


    I am not a fan of democracy when it comes to guild management, as when I join a guild, I joined based on what was presented to me, not what some portion of members may decide they want. I've seen many times groups in a guild politicking to get votes to have things changed their way. I prefer to have a solid leadership team working together to make decisions and changes in the best interests of the guild.

    I also don't like applications to be viewed by the whole guild, but rather, have new folks write a separate, short introductory post. If leadership does a solid interview, the things discussed that culminated in the decision to give a new member a trial are often not reflected in the application. I've seen some really good people ripped apart because guildies get very close knit and snark at applications... the new person still feels like an outsider to them.

    For that same reason, for raiders, I like to see a 1-2 week trial with no part of the gear/loot system to make sure they are competent. Then another 3-6 weeks where they can get gear (but perhaps not something like a legendary, for example), but are still under trial to make sure they 'fit'. People are nervous and don't act like themselves at first, they often act nicer than they are or perform poorly due to nerves or learning the encounters a new way. If they start rubbing guildies the wrong way.. your leadership will certainly hear about it during this latter period.. and if they made a bad initial impression, they may overcome it after settling in.

    Anyway, that part just stuck out for me, and just thought I'd throw out some alternatives :)
  6. Avenged

    Avenged Cupcake-About-Town

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    It is definitely not a popular choice. I have been a member of Harm on and off for 9 years and it was in no means a democracy. Actually a lot of the other things in my post are more in tune with Addictions commonly used term, "Too many chiefs, not enough Indians." which is why I favor a very small amount of officers compared to many guilds. The democratic vote for membership actually came from a WoW top 100 guild I played in and it was amazing. When I joined the guild, I had never gone out of my way so much to learn about everyone in the guild in such a short period of time. It made me feel as a new trial that I needed to go out of my way to foster relationships, and that is the kind of experience I would want to create for any new members interested in a guild I was leading.
    Malisent likes this.
  7. Malisent

    Malisent Cupcake-About-Town

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    VERY much agree with you there!

    I have seen it work on a few occasions too! Especially if you have the right people. I guess as you were sort of writing a 'how-to' guide, I got to thinking that for folks new to running guilds, democracy for many new leaders seems an obvious choice... and then very rapidly becomes a huge political disaster. It's actually very hard to implement correctly. With a new game with so many variables, I think even harder.
  8. Avenged

    Avenged Cupcake-About-Town

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    Yah that is defintely true. The recruitment process would be better pointed towards a well defined guild, but then again, if you are recruiting well, then your members should be making the same decisions you would =)
    Malisent likes this.
  9. Malisent

    Malisent Cupcake-About-Town

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    Having recruited a 25-man guild in WoW from scratch in an established game (meaning no unknown variables - we knew how we wanted to handle raids and loot already), even with exhaustive interviews and 4 officers involved in every screening, it's still pretty darn tough to get 30-35 folks on the same page (not to mention the 50-60 you'd need here). Sometimes people just hear what they want to hear :p That becomes much easier of course, after you've settled in, culled the malcontents, and are recruiting into a solid base of folks who may not always agree with you, but do trust you. Ultimately I think a democracy (or partial) is something you CAN have, but even for experienced leadership, imo it's hard to start with.

    Anyway, I didn't mean to derail, as I really, really agree with your perspective and am amazed at the time you took on this post. I so much believe that organization, proper recruitment, solid communication and a small team of cohesive leaders are vital to successful guilds.
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  10. Avenged

    Avenged Cupcake-About-Town

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    I want the contributions, so feel free to keep them coming. You can't really teach a person how to run an effective guild, because not all personalities are truly compatible with it in the end. This entire thread will hopefully become laden with people, who have tidbits that might help out people going at it!
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  11. Cassp

    Cassp Cupcake

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    I absolutely on agree on your point that for the best guilds loot is a minor issue, In my guild on SWTOR when we got new raiders I would give a speech about how the new people will not be getting loot for a long while, if you expected to join this guild to get loot you will be severely disappointed (We killed all content, so loot was flowing fine). I felt it was like a military reprogram, getting to think kill boss kill boss kill boss, rather then get loot get loot get loot.

    Also I made a great deal of effort for people to be in mumble, I think it's the number one bonding tool ever made ever for guilds, you get the excuses like "oh I don't have a mic" or "I don't like talking" which I immediately reply with "Nobody F****** cares, get in mumble." when you have 8 members online on a random day with 12 people in mumble, you know you've succeeded.

    For me the biggest problem is going to be recruitment from launch day to your first 40 man raid, getting 40 competent people on a new game is going to be a nightmare, I know half the guys we pick up are going to be half stupid and it's going to drive me crazy being recruitment and raidlead, oh and I know veteran members are going laugh their asses off just like the last time I had to go through the fat trimming stage.
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  12. Avenged

    Avenged Cupcake-About-Town

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    You can go about this many ways. Your best course of action would be to get into the mode that you will know your operating at by first deciding the major facts. When will I be running raids, what do I actually want from members, and then come up with whatever selling points you have to present to the community that is looking for guilds prior to launch. Technically I could probably recruit 40 people before the game even started. It really just depends on your drive and motivation. A good guild leader does not infinite amounts of time on their hands, but they are extremely motivated.
  13. Lyas Tyrell

    Lyas Tyrell Cupcake-About-Town

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    I've run guilds in WoW, Rift, and SWTOR. My SWTOR guild was a raiding guild that did very well.

    One thing I had a few officers that formed what I referred to as "The Council" which was the leadership of the guild. Everything was voted on, majority ruled and that's how we enacted policies, disciplined people, decided what to do that week etc etc.

    We also had 2 monthly meetings. The first was called the Closed Council Meeting, in which only council members could attend, and we talked on vent about what had happened in the last month and our direction and goals for the next month.

    Then the next week we had the Open Council Meeting. Which all members of the guild were allowed to sit in on and weigh in on and voice their opinions and talk and vote manage guild business.

    It was very effective. In this way we were able to really connect with all our members and get a sense of what people were looking for from the guild, from the game and in general. The schedule was great and we all had tons of good times.
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  14. Mizpah

    Mizpah Cupcake-About-Town

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    As we have added 12 posts to the thread whilst I have been editing in post content, I have realised its probably more of a small novella as opposed to a post.

    Anyhow part one is now complete, and is the second post in this thread for anyone in this thread who has missed it!

    [Warning: Its long!]

    I also have to add, that the general standard of advice in this thread from posters like Lyas, Cassp and others is in my opinion very high compared to other gaming forums I have been part of.

    I strongly suggest people looking to run guilds for the first time, really read into it all, ask questions and decide which points you can take and evolve into something suitable for your guild.
  15. Maldwyn

    Maldwyn Cupcake

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    From my experience, the number one thing guilds tend to get wrong is the "clear" part of the advice above (A clear guild charter). I cringe every time I go to a web site and see things like, "We are a family guild" or "We are semi-hardcore". Those statements are without meaning...or to be more precise, they have so many different meanings to so many different people that it's impossible to determine what the writer of the charter meant unless it's explained fully (in which case the initial statement was unnecessary).

    For those of us who still remember our English writing courses in high school or college, it's "show, don't tell". Show me what you want with examples, be as clear and precise as possible. Nothing slows a guild down more than recruiting the wrong people, and nothing makes recruiting the wrong people more likely than not being extremely specific in what you want.
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  16. Malisent

    Malisent Cupcake-About-Town

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    For me this is less about using voice chat, and more about setting communication expectations. I've been in several high-end guilds that required voice chat for raiding and pvp, but outside of that, many people didn't use it unless something required teamwork. Folks were just as close-knit as in the guilds I was in that primarily used voice chat. Personally, I talk at work all day, and don't like constantly having to keep up a conversation while trying to farm or quest. I prefer guild chat which allows me to communicate at my leisure.

    Hell, in my last leadership role, my fellow officers were great friends, and I didn't want to sit and chat with them all the time. Our members sat on the forums all day long from work computers and phones on our forum chatbox (like IM for everyone) and chatted about all sorts of stuff, before hopping in-game and continuing it. Like Cassp did with Mumble, we warned folks coming in that they had to use forums daily and participate in strat discussions, or they simply would not raid with us.

    The key is setting expectations up-front. If I want everyone to be regularly active on voice comm outside of raids, I need to make it clear from the get go that it's a priority and part of what it means to be active in the guild. If I prefer solid communication built up through forums and guild chat, I need to let people know that I expect it. If I want a combo, I make sure they know that's what our leadership views as necessary communication. As long as you, as a leadership team, are clear what is expected, you can have all sorts of communication that works exceptionally well to bring folks together and feel like a team.

    I love running with a Council and voting.. especially with an even number where your Council really has to work through issues, as there is no tie-breaker. Your idea of the Open Council Meeting really rocks... if I ever run a guild again.. I'm snagging that!
  17. Avenged

    Avenged Cupcake-About-Town

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    This is actually another point I wanted to touch on as well, but I kind of cut myself short because I was enjoying the banter in this thread. One of the things that I think is very important of the guild is that it allows members to set up their bubbles when they want. I have been in a guild where everyone incessantly just asks everyone to be in a VOIP at all times and it really is very annoying. As long as people understand that the expectation is that they need to be in VOIP during group activities then I think that is a good thing. The last thing you want is someone in Guild chat trying to police everyone into doing things outside of guild times. It is bad enough already that all my officers have my phone number so I get texted when needed. Let people enjoy their time in game, and let them put their serious faces on when we are doing things as a guild.
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  18. Maldwyn

    Maldwyn Cupcake

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    By the way - much of this advice would translate to a guide for looking for a guild, which IMO also should be written. It's just as important to be fully aware of what you want and don't want and to communicate it to prospective guilds as it is for guild leadership to do it...recruiting success is a two way street!
  19. Mizpah

    Mizpah Cupcake-About-Town

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    As you will know from the post, I personally view voice comms as critical. Not only for teamwork led events (i.e. Raiding), but also for helping to build community.

    We all really 'know' each other as people in the guild. We have been through the trials and tribulations of several years together. One of my proudest highlights of Enigma to date was a get together that was planned last year - we had people from 11 countries in my front room as a result :)

    I am not saying that's impossible without steady voice communications, but I do personally believe it to be harder to achieve.

    However the points on communicating expectations up front is very valid - I would hate to see that 'lost' in ant debate over the 'best' way to do things.

    For those of you who will plan to be on voice socially as well as when in an event, I recommend a clear policy on how rooms are used, and have a quiet room as well!
  20. Honoracy

    Honoracy Cupcake-About-Town

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    Really in depth post! You put a lot of time into this I can tell. Really useful information! If I ever want to run a guild or am in a officer position I will definitely reference back to this.

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