Tired of all the drama your guild produces, late raid times, rude guild mates who have friends in high places so they won’t get kicked? Have you been playing around with the idea of branching off from your guild in favor of starting your own?
I hear you.
I’ve been there before as well and was completely overwhelmed by the result. To quote a guild mate: “I run guilds like I sex women: really badly and when it’s all over I apologize and cry a lil bit.”-Unheilig
So I went off to interview a few guild masters and officers who managed over the years to keep the guild together that started as a mere 5 players who signed the charter to a community of players that became friends beyond the game and remain so long after their subscription ended.
Guild Master: Loresh-Sanguine Sunrise-Wyrmwrest Accord-Horde
The Geek Lyfe: What advice do you have for those poor souls looking to start a guild?
Loresh: SUCK IT UP, SISTER. haha No. Well, maybe, I would definitely say that starting
up a guild is a pretty thankless task. You have to pour your time and gold into it. Until you have a solid foundation of awesome people, it’s going to suck a little.
TGL: Any advice on how to get through the suck?
L: It’s harder now that there aren’t any clearly-defined borders between realms, factions, etc. I would still say that you should beat your face against trade chat though, and try to get to know people on your server.
Guild Officer: Nurdz-Pie-Farstriders-Alliance
TGL: What about Raid Drama?
Nurdz: I was an officer in PIE after Loves and Mambo decided to have kids or something of that sort. We had a core group of 10 people or so that would raid several times a week with a few stragglers here and there.
The biggest issue you will deal with is the drama. With a smaller guild that had to not let people in on raids (due to the amount of signups or what was required) you had a lot of that. Some people saying, “don’t let them in, they’re terrible,” or “I don’t want to heal this week, I always heal, let me bring my dps”. As the GM or an officer, this is where you step in. You try to be the good guy, but in all honesty, it doesn’t always work. You do what is best for the guild at that point. If somebody wants to bring an ult, they better know the fights and be geared to not die in 10 seconds.
Guild Officer: Unheilig-Pie-Farstriders-Alliance
Unheilig: I remember on a very early Magtheridon attempt a guy who shall not be named once got mad at me because he went incommunicado AFK like 10 minutes before invite time and stayed AFK for like a half hour, only to message me once I’d taken an alternate so the 24 people wating on him could start pulling, like 10 minutes after we started. He was irate that I didn’t wait for him, since I should have obviously known he was on the can.
Being a guild officer meant being blamed for another grown man’s poops.
Guild Officer: Gilliuos-Pie-Farstriders-Alliance
Gilliuos: Be super clear about your guild rules and loot system and what type of guild you are. Alot of drama started with people in a family style guild wanting more… or people in a hardcore raiding guild wanting it to be more of a family. Be firm, but consistent and FAIR in all decisions. Clear and open communication are key.
The best hardcore guild I was in had a very clear and understandable set of rules. The better “family style” guilds I was literally was a just a bunch of friends…and on that note the best “Roleplaying” guilds I was in was mainly a group of people that were friends or became friends that never broke character.
Most important thing is to always have your guildies back. From instancing to grouping up, raiding, advice, and at times being honest with them.
Guild Master: Loves-Pie-Farstriders-Alliance
TGL: How do you avoid Guild Drama?
Loves: Don’t try to do it all. There are going to be people that you can’t please, and if you do what is best for the majority, you’re going to succeed. If there are members that are consistently unsatisfied, don’t hesitate to encourage them to find somewhere that might be a better fit for them. Everyone playing the game should be happy, but don’t make it your personal responsibility to make sure that happens for everyone.
TGL: Advice on how to run a guild?
Loves: Keep “rules” simple. There’s no need for complicated rules and loot systems if the people you choose to be part of the gang are good to one another. Our “don’t be a dick” loot policy was pretty awesome after we abandoned Ni Karma. If you’re choosing the right people to join, you don’t need a bunch of strict rules. Everyone looks out for everyone else, and everyone understands that when the riches are spread out, the whole guild is successful.
Consistency. If you play favorites with folks, you’re going to look like an ass, and people are going to notice. Undercurrents of discontent will eventually result in people leaving the guild. Make friends and form close relationships, but when it comes to public decisions, be as impartial as you can.
Try not to let stress of guild management bleed over into your real life. When things got tough for our guild, it was a real shock to my system, because I’d literally put hundreds of hours into my life, real sweat, and real tears (no blood, thank goodness) into making it the best online gaming community that folks could ask for. When we had to endure that coup, it was a really rough week for me. I cried, a lot. I felt like I’d wasted a lot of good years. We came out on the other side of it stronger than ever, but I still wish I hadn’t gotten so consumed with it to begin with.
Make sure your officers all present a united front on all major guild decisions. We always encouraged discourse and debate in officer chat, but once we all came to a majority decision (even if there were officers that disagreed), we all presented unified resolve in public discussions.
Have fun and love your guildies. Don’t let the politics of things get in the way of your enjoyment of the game.
Guild Master: Mambo-Pie-Farstriders-Alliance
Mambo: I do have some suggestions, as a matter of fact. Over-communicate your policies and rules. Like Loves said, keep the rules simple. Make it clear what the culture of the guild is through example. Don’t be a dick.
For us, it was to remember that the game should be fun. Anything that resulted in un-fun was discouraged and avoided. Any policies that wasted people’s time were discarded.
Don’t tolerate assholes. Show them the door. At the same time, have your people’s backs. Go to the mat for your guild-mates every chance you get. It came up a lot on a PVP server.
Listen to your people and endeavor to give them what they need. Change is welcome, but don’t react impulsively. A guild is a big ship that doesn’t react well to sudden change.
Don’t try and do everything yourself. Delegate. Finding people we trusted enough to make officers was easy, Pie was full of them. However, I don’t think it’s that easy for every guild.
So many platitudes and cliches hold true and it boils down to “build it and they will come.” If you do it right, you’ll have amazing people knocking on your door and settling in. I KNOW that Pie did it right, as clearly evidenced by the fantastic group of people that it brought together.