So you want to start a guild…

Recently, Matticus (of World of Matticus) asked some GM bloggers for advice that we would give to a new GM looking to start a guild.  As a GM who recently left a guild and started my own – and being someone with much to say on many topics, I could not limit to one comment.  So I turned it into this blog post and let Matticus choose the comment that helped fill out his blog best.

Here are some things that I feel are important and that I would pass along to someone looking to start a new guild.

Officers. Obviously, as in my case, I am the most qualified person to make decisions and will run the guild as a dictatorship.  🙂  That being said, you need people that think you are listening to their suggestions anyway.

Who will these yes-men be?  Sometimes it may be obvious as your RL BFF, spouse, that dude you have run with since Vanilla, or maybe someone you’ve met fairly recently.  Start with a small officer core and take time to work through at least the main start-up issues with these people.  You may even want to get the guild up and running a bit before expanding the leadership.

Be aware that not everyone – even your BFF – is cut out for guild leadership – and that may not be apparent until you are in the thick of things.  Be sure that the officers are people that can work through disagreements.  If you and your spouse have conflicts with both of you running in the same raid, leading a guild together may magnify that. Real life relationships are more important than a game – don’t forget it.  Oh, you thought this would be all peaches & cream?  Only if your dictatorship is structured well.

Communication.  Rarely will you and all of your guild members be online at the same time.  Actually, you can probably make that “never.”  So how do you make sure everyone knows what is going on?

Guild Website.  There are numerous free guild hosting sites, like out there that will provide everything you need in a “cookie cutter” type format.  If you are tech savvy and want to break out of the box, most of these sites offer some form of premium service that will allow you to modify the way your site looks or let you use a custom domain.

Ventrilo/Mumble/Teamspeak.  Whatever service you plan on using, get it set up right away – even if it is only for a small number of users to start.  As soon as you are GM, you will be bombarded with people trying to get your attention.  All at the same time.  Every day.   Forget about actually playing WoW.  Just kidding!

Typing in chat is time-consuming and easily misinterpreted.  And if you have more than one conversation going at the same time, there are going to be mistells.   /r “OMG, Eugene, I made out with Jethro’s GF at the movies last night, I couldn’t keep her off of me!”   [wsp from Jethro] “This isn’t Eugene, you .”

You can also have quick, impromptu or even scheduled meetings on vent.  Set up a vent channel for yourself, too.  Hang out in it when you are on.  That way you are available for anyone that needs something.  At the very least you can have a cool channel with your name on it.

Leadership.  Actual day to day, raid to raid leadership can be time consuming.  In some cases it can even  be physically and/or emotionally exhausting.  Sleep?  Hmm, that sounds like a concept I was familiar with at some point.

Rules & Expectations.  Be sure to post a clear description of your guild and any expectations that you have. This includes details about guild rules, raid rules, loot rules, etc.   Interpretation:  Make rules, shove them down peoples’ throats.

Have your guild members “sign/acknowledge” that they have read, understand, and agree to the rules.  Issues that arise can be fairly easily resolved this way.  Sure many people are going to sign without actually reading them.  If a person is breaking guild rules and their only response/excuse is that they didn’t really read the rules, is this really someone you want in your guild?

Evaluating Players.  Telling someone that they are not performing up to expectations can be rough.  You want your guild to succeed, but some people may not be at that stage.  How can you let them know and help them through it, without coming across like a ?  Start off with a clearly defined set of minimum requirements for raiding.  You should actually have two sets of criteria here – one objective and one subjective.

The objective list will be one that the player can refer to, see exactly where they stand, and what they need to do to meet the minimum.  This can include things such as gear item level, passing the WoW Armory Character Audit, and/or meeting some level of experience such as achieving Cataclysm Dungeon Hero.

The subjective list should also be something that the player can refer to, but it may be less obvious to them where they stand (hopefully not in the fire!).  This is where things can get dicey.  Some people can take constructive criticism and some cannot.  Keep the criticism constructive and work together actively for a solution.

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate.  You don’t have to do this alone.  Remember those yes-men I talked about?  Use them.  They are just hanging out at the Stormwind fountain panhandling anyway.

Assign each officer a specific class(es) and/or role(s) for which they will be responsible.  Have them watch how the individuals in those groups are doing and identify anything that needs to be addressed.   This does not mean that these officers need to be experts in the classes/specs.  Once an issue is identified, the officer(s) can discuss to figure out a solution.

This also provides guild members with a first line of communication, especially for those players who may not say anything at all because they are unsure of who to talk to.

In General.   Remember that the guild is not just a group of players.  It is also a group of people, each with their own wants and needs.  If you remember that, then you can be like me and have the:

Best. Guild. Ever.

Everyone at Force of Impact will agree with that.  Seriously, they will.  They know not to piss off a Druid/Shaman/Pally – we can do nasty to you!

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