WoW Classic Guild Guide - Leadership as a GM
Setting up your own guild in Azeroth on either side, Alliance or Horde is a blessing and a curse at the same time. It's a wonderful experience, just like creating your own business or sports team. You gather strong and competent players to stand by your side, slowly developing trust and chemistry within the ranks of the team. And as you experience new pieces of content together, finish raids and dungeons together, setting up ambushes, and murdering enemy faction members, you will create this wonderful bond between a group of people with one simple goal. To make a name for themselves and their guild while having an amazing journey in Old School Vanilla WoW Classic. Author of this guide has led his successful guild on retail WoW and private servers (WotLK expansion patch) for 4 straight years. So stay with us for a longer time if you want to build a guild with a great reputation, with players that will live through contributing to the guild.
But there are some hardships that you will experience, as a leader, or as a member. There's lots of commitment involved. Lots of hard decisions, that will never be black and white. You will need to become a socialized monster, especially as a leader to command respect and gather players who have the same goal as you, and who are willing to give it all to pursue that common goal. It will be hard. Some people you like will become inactive and disinterested after some time. Some of them will leave just like that, and some - you will have to cut loose for the greater good.
If you are strong and resilient enough to form up a guild, and go through those hardships to ensure the success and happiness of you and your guild members - there's a long way to go. But with enough will, and thanks to reading this specific premoium guide posted right here on the blog - you have a chance to launch into some great heights. In the end - every piece of pain and hardship will be worth it.
Before you Form Up a Guild - Leadership
Most guilds, especially new ones without a large starting playerbase, the ones who invite anyone into their ranks - they die out. And they die out quickly. Not only because of incompetence, or inviting players who are not going for the same gameplay as your guild. Sometimes it's your expectations that will ruin the guild even before you form it up. You should know what you are actually getting into:
Presence - Good host is a good thing to have early on. As a Guild Leader you will have to look into everything in the beginning, and then, if you do not want to give the mantle to someone else - you will have to stay active. As the time goes on you will select someone to be your right hand, officer, or general. You will assign guild members to various roles later on, but in the beginning - it's you that will slowly create the foundations of a healthy guild.
Recruitment, Interviews, Applications - If you have a small group of trusted friends in your guild - that is absolutely perfect. But a time comes when a guild has to expand. Then it will be up to you to look for human additions. You can advertise yourself everywhere, and if your guild is somewhat recognizable, you will get some applications. Picking the right candidate to join your cause will be crucial. Top guilds will go through thousands of new applications and hundreds of interviews. And while the scale of your new guild is not comparable to top-end guilds like Method, it will be hard.
Resolving Conflicts - As a Leader you are the man of the house. The head of a family, sometimes supported by a small group of trusted people. There will be many players with different temperaments, conflicts within the guild are inevitable. Sometimes you will have to be the one to resolve them, and sometimes it might be unpleasant for all three sides. Maybe everything will be fine. Maybe you will become an absolute douchebag, and guild members will grow to hate you. Sometimes you will have to cut members loose. And some may start leaving because of that. Don't be rash, be fair and logical, and everything should be fine.
Proper Integration - In-game chat is not the best place to communicate with each other. If you want to get serious as a guild you will have to set up your own Discord/Teamspeak/Forum. Voice chat will be mandatory for proper communication during any raid or Open World situation. All members should also have a place in which they can get to know each other. The best way to do that is to create at least two mediums - Voice Server, and a Forum. Meaning that setting up a Discord + Official Guild Website + Forum will be a good idea further down the line.
Making Hard Decisions - Being a Leader is all about making decisions, sometimes hard ones. Sometimes someone will disagree. Sometimes they will leave over your decisions. Whether it comes to guild's new directives, or requirements. And the most stressful thing about this - every decision, right or wrong - in the end you will have to take the responsibility. This might be the hardest part.
Leading - before you give the mantle to somebody who's more competent, or before setting up your important officers who will do some tasks for you - you will have to lead your men. Leading is fun as long as things go right. If they go wrong, you will be the one to blame. Maybe you made a wrong call during a raid, you promoted someone incompetent to be an officer, or you kicked someone who was a very important member to many other players in your guild, and a wave of layoffs followed after that. Leading is not easy. It's fighting for your principles and taking responsibilities not only for your actions, but for actions of those under you. Actions of those who look up to you. It's not easy, but when things start to get better, it's the most rewarding feeling.
This might seem overwhelming. And surely it is. While some of those will sooner or later be delegated to your officers - you will always have to say, do, or command something in the right direction, as the one who has the last word.
Running a guild is not for everyone. If you don't feel like you will put up to the test - try out joining a guild, to see how it operates and how everyone will react to different styles of leadership. If you want to lead, you will have to learn how to follow.
Setting the Stage for a New Guild
Every great thing starts with a simple question: "Why?" An answer to it will create the foundation of what is or isn't to come. The answer will dictate the purpose and the outcome of this guild-leading journey. This is the most important question out there is. Starting with one purpose, one goal, will bring players of the same interest in. There are organisations and groups that manage to inspire folks just because of their purpose. This question is a part of the golden circle, which allows those organisations to prosper and change the environment around them. There are three questions: "Why?", "How?", and "What?".
You know what you want to do. You want to create a guild to reach some places, to feel that glorious feeling of being the best of the best, and to have fun in WoW Classic. Some will know the answer to the question: "How?". Well, you set everything up, gather people of same interest, designate and order your officers, and do "guild stuff".
But knowing the answer to the most important question - "Why?" will inspire others and yourself, to give their lives to the cause or a common belief. If you manage to answer all of those, and implement this idea into your Guild, then you are setting yourself and your followers on a path to greatness. And in the end it won't come without hard work.
What Type of Guild Should you Create?
Each guild should have a purpose of its existence. Some are purely abstract, but you should know about a few main ones that will dictate how other players see your group, and how your guild members see each other.
Social Guild - These types of guilds focus mainly on creating a platform in which people can just have fun together, without a designated kind of play. They will spend some time on leveling, raiding, or tearing through dungeons. It's most likely the easiest type of guild to actually lead, as that type of guilds doesn't really need any leaders. They just need friends.
RP Guild - They mainly exist on RP servers, but they will very so often show up on PvP realms. Members of those guilds will often just have fun roleplaying certain characters, sometimes avoiding out-of-game correlation to their interactions. They are not in the game. They are living and breathing inhabitants of the World of Classic WoW. They will set up various role-playing events, sometimes rather unconventional, to purely have fun developing their characters and meeting others who do the same thing.
Leveling Guild - These were created to give players a good platform to find members for their party, or to find someone who is experienced enough to lead them through levels. Usually pretty large when it comes to community as many members want to level up quickly and efficiently.
PvP Guild - From this one, things will start to get very serious when it comes to leadership during battle scenarios and structure. These guilds will focus on PvP content, arena, battleground, Open World PvP, basically killing those of different faction or association. And right here, the structure becomes very important. Guild Master has to promote their most trusted Officers to lead some players in groups. Without a proper composition and right players this type of guild will never succeed. You will need members who are experienced enough to teach others by setting an example. Complemented by training sessions, so everyone know how to play their roles properly in PvP, so you can always count on your ally standing near you, on your left.
Raiding Guild - The most hardcore type of guild. The amount of pressure in top raiding guilds is absolutely immense, and the amount of leadership needed to set everything up properly is sometimes ridiculous. Discipline and commitment is what will keep a hardcore raiding guild alive and glorious. Of course, there are casual raiding guilds as well.
However, the same principles apply when it comes to gameplay. Raids need a lot of research, planning, teamwork, and individuals who have one designated role, and they know how to fulfill it. Sometimes mistake of one person can end up with a wipe. This is the most stressful area of leadership in Classic WoW. And it becomes stressful for everyone, when leadership starts to fail.
Of course these guilds are not always static. Some guilds will focus on Raiding and on PvP experience. Some guilds will start out as PvP Guilds, to then change into a RP + Raiding Guild. Sometimes it's a natural course of action, sometimes, the outcome of a wrong decision that makes most members leave. You will have to associate with one or two of these guild types.
Let your name be your advocate
Setting up a proper name for your guild doesn't seem like an important thing. But it is very important. Make your guild name funny, serious, or edgy. It's your choice. But how people treat you and how your guild presents itself will not only depend on your ratings, or what you all believe in. It will depend on your name as well. A name of the guild should describe what your future members are getting into.
A bunch of edgelords will go for "Flaming Dragon", nerds will go for "insertfancylatinword", and geniuses and manly men will go for "insertJoJoreference". What do you want to represent? It's your choice. But make sure that your serious guild has a serious nickname that is easy to type in, pronounce, and easy to find, if someone want to send you an application or find your guild on the list. And don't name your guild something that you might regret in the future. It will make your guild experience less pleasant. For everyone. You don't want to have something embarrassing over your head every time you hop on WoW Classic.
In the end - general rule of thumb is: "If you want obnoxious players in your guild, make an obnoxious name".
This is a very important aspect of guild creation that will give your community some kind of identity and direction. Of course naturally as people join in and your Guild becomes ready for more and more WoW Classic Content - those policies will evolve. Ask yourself some important questions, and answers to them will become your set of values.
Why? How? What? - You already know what this means. Many will join you not because of what you do. They will join you for why you do it. Why this guild exists? Is there some kind of purpose or message? Is there something that this guild wants to change? Do you want to send this message by RP, Raiding, or PvPing? And in the end - how it manifests itself? Will your guild express itself because of its wonderful community, or the crazy things members do during various scenarios?
- Rules and Responsibilities - Everyone should know what they are getting into. What kind of guild you are, what actions are tolerated and which are restricted? What the guild will expect from individuals, and will the guild cut its members some slack if things go wrong, or if someone wants to take a few weeks off?
- Expected Behaviour - Make sure everyone know what they represent. The guild can manifest itself through name and policies, but if its members are not going to represent it in a way it should be represented, then the entire look and feel of the guild will change. If you want to represent certain virtues like honor, justice, and pride, having players that are disrespectful, toxic, and they BM a lot is not a good idea. People might know your goals and beliefs, but if you manifest something entirely different - you will be judged not by your imaginary virtues, but for your actions.
- Loot Distribution - A very important aspect of a raid guild. There's no system when it comes to loot distribution that is absolutely perfect. Every guild can solve this differently. In some cases the Council will decide who gets the item, but there's a large potential for disputes, arguments and hate. Sometimes rolls will decide who gets the drop, but there's a lot of RNG involved. Sometimes gaining DKP points and spending them is the best idea. And sometimes players will opt for a list of members, and if someone gets an item - they are placed at the bottom of the list, and others have the priority for a long time (this is called Suicide Kings). But to make everything fair and kind of perfect - each guild should go with a mixture of ways.
Establish all of your goals, and communicate them to all of your officers, and then, to each individual member. If they can represent those policies and values as a one living and breathing super-organism your guild will succeed. Guild will become one, when every member of the Guild has the same goal. It's in your power to get your people through to your goals, and make them their own.
A lot of differences in guilds are caused by one thing, and one thing only - when people that are joining in have different expectations of what the guild represents. What the guild is per se. If everyone focuses on one goal - finding that perfect common ground - everyone will work together towards greatness.
Just make sure not to set these strict rules in the beginning of the guild. If you go all out immediately with rules, some weekly reports requirements, and expectations that are too high you will scare everyone off. Imagine creating a guild with 15 active players, that have been in the guild for a week or so, and you are already bashing some expectations over their heads that will require them to put multiple hours every week to fight for something that will become something, but at the moment - isn't.
Early on - establish which parts of WoW Classic you want to focus on as a guild, and what you WILL expand upon when the guild becomes more serious. Show your guild members a healthy and steady direction, and slowly expand rules and expectations that will help you get to these greater heights.
Guild Charter Recruitment
Before you go and create a guild you should gather up some folks willing to join. You need 10 signatures to finalize the creation of your guild. You basically have to recruit people before your guild is formed up.
The best way to do this is to gather up a group of trusted friends from your environment. Friends from school or work (though work might be a very bad idea) who play Classic WoW same as you and want to commit to greater things.
But let's say that you don't have friends who play WoW, and you basically have to get to know 9 strangers who will be eager to join your guild, just because they believe in what you believe. How to find them? Asking on global chat might not be exactly what you want . It's best to have some common experiences with others before you invite them to your guild. Maybe some random guy saved you from enemies just like that? Maybe you met someone in queue to an epic monster fight? Maybe you are questing with one guy and you have fun with each other?
It's a good idea to bring players like that into your guild. Befriend them, befriend others, let your friends befriend random strangers, who might become allies in the future. Be nice, compassionate, helpful, and reliable, and you will surely find volunteers who would love to join your cause of slaying those pansies from enemy faction. For a good goal is a common goal.
Sometimes money will talk, and players will sign the Guild Charter for some gold, to leave immediately. However - this won't work in a long-term. Those who will join in will see less than 10 members, maybe one or two of them will be online, and they will most likely leave immediately as nothing is going on in the guild. Have some players who are 100% going to join your guild BEFORE you create it, and your player-count will slowly increase, granted your members are active and welcoming. Silence on the chat is a no-no as members want to be a part of something greater than themselves.
How to Find Potential WoW Classic Guild Members
There's no community, no society, no guild without people. To find them you will have to go out there, especially in the beginning, as the time goes on and you get more popular as a Guild - people will find you and apply on their own. But when you are just starting out - you are most likely on your own, sniping people that log in into the game like a true hunter, to get them into your pack.
The most important thing is - you have to find people willing to give something from themselves, who not only want to be a part of the guild, but to do things for it, to let it prosper. How to find them? Here's how.
Friends and Family
The most reliable people to have when you are just starting out your guild. Doesn't matter if they are RL friends, or just players you met in other games. You will want to have them close, and you have to be open for others to join your group. It will be very easy for you to fall into an exclusion trap. Where good friends meet, a random guy or gal (gals have it easier when it comes to these scenarios) will rarely find their place in that group. Everyone else knows each other, newcomers don't know any of you, meaning that they will get unease at some point.
At some point however you will have to treat yourselves differently, especially during Loot Distribution phase, or when gathering players for a Raid. Don't let your friendship get in the way of treating everyone in your guild fairly. Others will see that, and soon the time can come when you end your guild just like it started. With a bunch of RL friends only. So be careful with that.
People You Helped or People Who Helped You
There are lots of players you meet in WoW Classic. It's a MMORPG after all. There are multiple scenarios in which you will form some kind of bonds with others. Whether you met them in the beginning, and helped them with some quests, or they helped you level up in some areas, or maybe they escorted you through the dangerous area so you could go past stronger mobs to reach a transport ship? These people might become friends, and later - maybe guild members, sometimes even officers.
It's hard to use this without looking obnoxious and desperate on your own realm. You can always announce yourself on the Trade Chat every now and then. But you shouldn't rely on this way of acquiring members. You will rarely find someone who will be a valuable asset to your guild that way. People are looking for trades and profit there, and this is how they will treat your guild - like a market with free lot every now and then. Is that what you want your guild to be? Loot bag? We guess not.
This will mainly happen when you are going through dungeons. Also during raids but those will happen on a higher level when you are splitting your guild and pick-ups 50/50.
You can meet valuable people on 5-men content of this game, during dungeons. You can always ask them if they want to join your guild if they seem competent and friendly. And if you go through some dungeons, they might ask you, if you are currently recruiting.
It will become easier if you have a full raiding team. Sometimes it might be a good idea to organize 50/50 PuGs, when half of the troops are your guild members, and the other half are random people. You can again offer an invite to a guild, or they will ask you themselves.
Representation and Convenience
We've talked about Guild Name and the purpose of the guild. But there are certain things, some called features, that will make your guild more attractive.
Character Guild Bank
Guild Bank is a major convenience that is mandatory for healthy item and gear flow in the guild. However there is no Guild Bank feature in Classic WoW at all. There's a solution to this problem. A Mule Character.
Mule character works just like a Guild Bank. It's a player’s character that will accept items from guild members to hold them on an alt character, and give them out when asked. It's a position that requires responsibility, reliability, and trust. Very often this role will fall on someone who has been in a guild for a very long time. Sometimes on a Guild Leader (especially in the beginning) or the most trusted person in the entire guild. Most of the time someone from the roster of real life friends of the Guild's council of some sort.
There are people out there who will stay in a guild for a month or two just to rip everyone off (it happened in WoW, and in other games as well, EVE Online for example). Choosing the right person will be hard if every member of the guild was found in the game, and not from real life friendships with a Guild Leader (Guild Leader and Guild Master means the same). Save yourself from theft and find someone who you would trust with your life. Otherwise you're up for disappointment.
Discord or Teamspeak
Any reliable voice communication software will be useful, even outdated Skype or Ventrillo would. But Discord and Teamspeak are two most convenient ones from the roster of most likely hundreds of .exe devices.
This will be mandatory for a few reasons. By creating a guild you are creating a community. Community doesn't exist without its members. And community will fail, when they don't know or trust each other. If you give people this type of media it allows them to get to know each other, form friendships, bonds, sometimes even long-term relationships that end up with a marriage and happy life. And most importantly, it gives everyone a feeling of belonging to a small society where everyone can feel wanted and liked. Conflicts will come and go, but if people get to meet someone who represent the same principles as them, guild will prosper.
Another thing - teamwork and communication. We covered friendships and bonds, people knowing and trusting each other. But each guild needs some form of communication when there are lots of things happening in regards to PvP or PvE. You should try to do a hard boss where one mistake of a single Healer or Tank can end up in a wipe, without a proper communication tool, without a raid leader shouting commands and guiding people through dire hours. I dare you. To do everything efficiently without doing some harm to your guild members you will need Teamspeak or Discord. Without that, you are whack, you are trash, and your guild is basically dead, just because Steve didn't know what Marc with a "c" wanted to call during one singular scenario, when something had suddenly gone wrong.
English Website or Forum
It might be a good idea to set up an official website or forum for a guild if you want to get 100% serious about Classic WoW. And same as communication device - there are a few reasons why you should do that for your guild.
Guild members should know what and when happens inside a guild. This is why it's important to have a place in which people can see what the guild's council or Guild Master is planning. Setting up a forum is a perfect way to keep everyone well-informed and updated on any future occurrences. Not only that, some guild members will be able to organize their own events, forming new bonds, reaching achievements and spending some time in the game having fun. They can also comment on certain things, creating discussions and informing the rest of the members about some events happening now or in the future, even when they don't have time to talk on Discord with everyone.
After reaching a certain popularity, when applications and whispers are flowing in at an alarming rate - it might be a good idea to show yourself to the world through a website. This will not serve as a representation of your guild, this gives other players a platform on which they can apply to your guild. It ensures a stable growth of the guild. And if people are motivated enough to close the game, and apply to your guild through an external website, just to have a chance to play with you - you sir (or ma'am), have just created a huge name for yourself, your guild, and Guild has a potential to grow more than ever.
Spread the Responsibilities
Keeping every task for yourself as a Guild Leader is stressful. It's easy to get overwhelmed with everything. Every Guild Leader will sooner or later burn out. Some faster, some slower, but they always do. Nothing lasts forever. An for sure it won't last forever in a video game. This is why it's important to have trusted people who will take responsibility for some tasks. This will greatly reduce the amount of weight that you feel on your shoulders due to leading a guild.
As the time progresses you will promote more and more members to Officers so a guild can handle everything that stands in its way to greatness. It's a simple pre-requisite Let's shine some light on the basic ones that are quite mandatory:
Bank Officer/Mule - Someone who will handle the self-made Guild Bank in a form of a mule character.Sadly, it can't be done semi-automatically like in other expansions.This person will be responsible for taking in items, and giving them out to others. Characters with either teleports or quick movement will be the best fot this role. Just make sure that this character is mobile at all times, or at least when its needed. It's required that this character will also be at high enough lvl, so they can get to the harder zones by themselves if needed.
Recruitment Officer - This guy will take responsibility of accepting or rejecting applications, setting up meetings and interviews with potential members of the guild. Very important guy to have, and it's best if that person has a good contact with a Guild Master, unless Recruitment Officer knows what the guild needs at the moment.
Raid Coordinator Officer - This person will set up raids, and let everyone know about them. They will also designate roles to various members, as some raids will have limited character slots. These guys should be experienced in raiding and teamcomp setups. Without this guy - your raids will be inconsistent, and not really lucrative.
Event Coordinator Officer - Something interesting happens in the Classic World of Warcraft servers? Or you WANT something interesting to happen? Create events or join official ones created by Blizzard. Or just organize Dungeon Runs at specific times. This is what this person will do. Set up events to have some fun and let people know about them or to announce some in-game events to players who don't pay attention to the official site of WoW Classic.
Website Officer - Responsible for managing the website and its content. Will most likely cooperate heavily with Coordinators, especially when it comes to Events, Raids, and sometimes - Recruitment.
DKP Officer - Dragon Killing Points. Imaginary points that are given to players for taking part in guild activities, that they can spend to get various items from raids when they drop. Person on this position will take care of tracking and updating the DKP list. Very important aspect of guild's life that can be the cause of many arguments. This position requires a high level of responsibility and reliability. Officer also has to be fair and have a good memory.
Group Officer - Let's say your guild is going to join a huge fight. There are over 100 members in your guild and you can't possibly lead all of them successfully. You could try, but it would be inefficient for the most part. This is important to choose a few officers who will lead some groups from your guild. You will talk directly to them, and they will command their small squads, or large platoons. They are there to work as a link that will spread on every other brother and sister in the guild.
Role Leader Officer - This type of Officer will mainly exist in Guilds specialized in Raiding or PvP. These people will take care of players that fulfill a certain role in fights. There should be officers looking over certain roles to keep everyone in check. If a healer has a problem or needs some kind of advice he goes to the Role Officer. If there's a new initiate willing to play as a Tank in your guild, person assigned to the officer role will check that player out to see if they fit in the guild. These guys should be experts at their roles, so they can always give some feedback to their subordinates, to make them effective on the battlefield. In general, any class, Priest, Rogue, Hunter, Mage, Warlock, Shaman, Paladin, all classes really, even groups like dps, will be able to count on these Officers.
Raid Leader - main role in the Raid Guild. If you choose to be that person - you will be in a lot of stress. No time to tab out, change music, race to the fridge to grab some food, check facebook, nothing. It's like preparing for a quest with a great reward in the end, but you have huge potential to waste 2-3 hours of your night and fail anyway. There's a lot of tactics and research involved, and you have to remember basically everything there is to a raid after you either experience it, or read about it. Make sure you have enough free time in your days to prepare. You are supposed to make call-outs, order people where they have to stand, who to attack, and sometimes even which skills they should and should not use. If anything goes down the drain, you will be the one responsible, unless someone didn't do something that you asked them to do. And even then it can be your fault, cause you weren't direct enough. In the end it is your decisions and knowledge that will decide, if a few hours of raiding was a waste of time. After some time they won't even congratulate for successful raids, and some condemn you due to your failures if they happen. It can be stressful at times, even during beta release. It will be very stressful as a Warrior main tank, due to reduced visibility especially in fights against some bosses, so if melee tank has a hard time - having a Priest that has a clear overlook on the battlefield can be invaluable, as the speed of their commands can be quite faster due to the overlook in every situation, as long as their ads (addons) don't cover too much screen.
Each raiding guild has three important roles. And those need to be filled in as soon as possible. For a healthy growth you will need a Guild Master, a Raid Leader, and a Recruitment Officer. It is very important to make sure that these roles are managed by different people. It requires a lot of responsibility and skills to manage the role efficiently. It can, and it will be hard to do for one person.
Guild Leader should be the main voice in the guild most of the time, every piece of intel from the entire guild will go through officers straight to the GM, so they can handle the inside and the outside parts of guild management, like talking to other Guild Leaders, setting up alliances etc.
Raid Leader will organize raids if there's no Raid Coordinator rank. They will make sure that everyone knows their role, special lessons and theory-crafting, making most of the calls.
Recruitment Officer is in theory the most important role, as without a proper group of people, raiding, PvP sessions, and even the sheer existence of the guild won't have a point. It's basically a job in Human Resources and Recruitment.
Managing the Crowd
Very important topic inside and outside of the game - how to create good relations with, and between your people.
You will need to learn how to manage the players that play in your guild. Things listed here will be applicable for any kind of guild (we will focus on a raiding guild). You could also use them in real life scenarios out of the game, for your coworkers, subordinates, and even friends and closest family. Let's learn together how to manage your subordinates!
Nobody is Perfect
You've chosen your Guild Tabard, a name that fits the nature of your Guild and decided on what you believe in. You also have a pack of people who were eager to join you in your WoW Classic journey. You've just gave birth to a community.
In the best case scenario a community is a group of people that believe in the same goals, values, representing similar virtues, and working for the good of everyone. A place where everybody besides Officers and Guild Master feels equal. However - this will never happen, it's just not in our human nature.
Many will join the guild. In an ideal situation you would get loyal friends who just want to work for the guild and its members. But due to the nature of every single individual member of your guild there will be lots of situations in which people will be frustrated, toxic, obnoxious, and some other sorts of things. One thing is certain - disputes and arguments will happen no matter how hard you try to avoid them.
Sometimes bad things will happen. Somebody didn't get an item from a raid, as you designated that piece of gear to the other person. Maybe you will exclude one person from a certain raid and they will be upset? Or maybe you have that one guy in your guild that feels entitled and is toxic for the community, despite being one of the best raiders in your guild? How could you solve it, or prevent it altogether? Just stick with us.
Tutoring and How to Make Your Members Happy
As the guild grows, so should members of the team. Sometimes leaving people in their own worlds, allowing them to do things they are most comfortable with is good. Sometimes pointing them in the right direction for the good of the guild will be mandatory. As long as you want to make your community a little bit more recognizable and serious.
This is a perfect job for those who already act as Role Leader Officers as they are good at their roles, and they can show the ins-and-outs of their playstyle, that will best suit the guild in PvE or PvP encounters. If any guild member falls behind - it's important that you allow them to improve through lessons and practice. Laying people off just because they under-perform is not only bad for you, it makes other members feel less safe.
By kicking out people who are playing worse that the norm without giving them proper tools and chance to improve you are basically saying to your guild members, that anyone who doesn't perform at a level that your guild expects they will be left out in the field. This is a toxic and stressful environment in which teammates are less happy, they are less likely to take risks, or make good plays, and are more prone towards making mistakes. Which will make them even more stressed, and eventually - people will start leaving your guild, as they are feeling miserable.
It will be up to you, and your closest Leading Officers to step in, and ask someone who is under-performing one simple question: "What's going on?". People who are under-performing usually have never had a proper tutoring, they are not prepared to fulfill designated role, or they might have some personal problems that they can't deal with at the moment.
It will be your job to ask, listen, and care for your members, especially if you are the Guild Master. Don't force your people to go past 100% of their strength. Make them happy, allow them to feel safe and secure. Let them see your vision, and you will get happy guild members who stretch their limits far beyond their capabilities, just because they want to serve this guild under your command. Guild is a family, not a selective party of mercenaries. People should not submit, but contribute willingly instead. Never forget about that.
A time will come when you will have to get even more serious. Evaluating members is complicated, as each member will need a short review, officers will have to pay attention to their subordinates and see what parts of their gameplay are yet to be improved. When should you start doing it, how to do it, and how to handle a few types of players? After reading through this section, you will know.
You should start doing some member evaluations before the first selection. You've got a guild, many people joined through applications, many random players were added just to get some players into the guild. But sooner or later - first selection has to happen. This is the first step that will clean out your ranks and allow your guild to grow under one banner. Every member should know about the requirements from the start. Inform them about an incoming selection and what is expected of them. Offer them help, and give them time to fulfill the requirements. Be as clear as you can in your expectations, and warn your friends that those who do not reach an expected level of play, or they don't even work to try and improve - will be dismissed from the guild.
It's a fair situation and if you handle it properly, guild members won't feel stressed at all. You stated your expectations that will allow your guild to improve and grow beyond measure. You've shown them how each of them can improve. You gave them a lot of time to acquire certain skills and gear. You even offered some help if someone has any problems with reaching goals, and needs some tutoring, or some extra time. You've done everything right to give everyone a chance. And if they ignore those expectations there's literally no point in keeping them in your guild, as they don't treat this seriously enough to fulfill their duties of being a valuable member of a little self-made society.
Keeping Track of Newbies
Second instance of evaluating your members. This will apply to initiates that join you after the first selection. Depending on what your guild is focusing on (we will mainly talk about PvP and PvE Raiding) you will look for certain things, and you will approach your members differently. Initiates should be evaluated frequently, so both you and your initiates don't waste too much time. Initiates should be implemented deeper into the guild in a span of 4-8 weeks, or after a few Raids or longer PvP sessions if you want to end up with competent people.
Observe rookies and list things that they are best at, and some things that they can improve. Inform them, send them to those from your guild who can help them in those things (Role Officers most of the time), and observe again. Evaluate them at least once a week, and if you are heavily focused on Raiding - after almost each raid. See if they keep excelling at their main role, and if they improve on statistics, and removing their mistakes after each evaluation. If they do - keep them in your ranks. If they don't - it will be up to you to decide if you want to give them some more time, or get rid of them.
Keeping Track of Long-Term Members
Nobody is perfect, and even if someone is already the best - there's always a large room for improvement. This is why it will be important to check how everybody is doing every now and then. Not only to see what has to improve or what has to change, but to update them on the direction in which a guild will move or is already moving. Since loyal members have been in the guild for a few months and their performance met your expectations - it's important to keep track on how they improve that, or if they improve that at all.
It might be a good idea to keep their statuses updated. Check on them once a month, or every 5-8 weeks, keep track of their skills and improvements. Look out for those who differentiate from others. Those who are weaker - talk to them, ask them if they need anything to make them better at the game, set up tutoring sessions, allow them to improve. Those who are better - let them know how they are doing. Say that you are very satisfied with their performance, and that they should keep going with what they are doing.
For those who are really standing out in a good way - you should consider promoting certain players to better positions. Ask them if they are interested in promotion. Promotion has its benefits, but there are also some responsibilities involved . Don't force them on players, allow them to choose whether they want to change their position in the guild.
You don't have to do everything by yourself. Role Leads should be the ones giving a written feedback on other members' performance. It will take a lot of time and effort to do this efficiently. GM and Role Leader Officers will have to look at their people during any guild scenarios. They should learn to see their strengths and weaknesses and to remember them for each member of the guild. If your Guild grows larger and larger your officers will have tens of members to evaluate each 1-2 months. It will take a lot of time to do everything, as each individual will be different, but it's an activity that pushes the entire guild in the right direction.
Cutting People Loose
Sometimes you will have an uneasy individual who makes the guild experience less pleasant. There are various reasons to allow them to stay in the guild. And there are even more reasons to end the partnership with them, removing them completely from your life.
Players that are too weak in comparison to other players - they should be kept in the guild. As mentioned before - kicking them out will be a major red flag for anyone that has a feeling that they are under-performing. Give them every chance to improve. Sometimes they will be too weak just because of the lack of gear, sometimes, because they don't know how to play their role properly. Lead them. Set practice sessions with masters of their roles. Develop these weaker players so they can become legit members of your guild. And who knows, maybe one day they will be the ones to teach others how to play this game properly?
Those who break the rules and ignore you when you call them out on it multiple times - just send them off. They might be great at their job, but if they are affecting others negatively, you have to cut them loose. For a multiple reasons. While even strict rules change and evolve over the lifespan of a guild - they somewhat control others by setting up an example that GM and other Officers can display too. Kicking them out will be also good in the long run for the entire guild. This sends out a message - no matter who you are and how good you are at your job. If you ignore rules and you refuse to change the attitude towards them you are out. It prevents similar things from happening in the future.
Same thing for the ones that are taking their side. If they decide to follow toxic, annoying and disobeying guild member instead of you, there is no place for them in your guild. You’re doing them favor giving them an opportunity to form their brand new, toxic and annoying guild. This may be great way to get rid off all missing links from your guild chain.
The same thing about obnoxious, entitled, and disrespectful members. Sometimes it might be hard to ignore their cliques, as some will still be influenced by their attitude. They might create some additional arguments and disputes within the ranks of your guild. If they affect your men too much in a negative way - they should be gone. You can help other people achieve better results gameplay and strategy-wise, but an obnoxious person will stay obnoxious.
Guild Roles and How it Affects Players
Roles you should consider adding into your Guild:
Guild Master - speaks for itself
Officers - Raid Leader, Recruitment Officer, Event Officer, Website Officer - so everyone know who to ask for help when something happens
Raider - those who want to participate in raids
Social - those who are there for community. Also for people who got in here because of your members. Someone's girlfriend of boyfriend, close Real Life friends, and family, as long as they don't fit in any other brackets or aren't good enough for them
Initiates - those who have just joined in, and need some kind of evaluation to check if they will fit in the guild from a raiding and/or social perspective.
It is important to setup some roles in the guild, so everyone knows who should they ask for help if anything happens. But how many roles besides those basic ones like officers, guild master, raid leader, bank mule, recruitment officers - should exist in your group? Let's look at it from a psychological standpoint.
Giving people a certain goal and a reward is important. But it will be mandatory to show them a good perspective. Put two men on the foot of the mountain with a certain goal on top. One person will see the mountain. The other - will see the goal. Guess which person will want to work hard. Make sure that your guild friends are closer to the second type of a person, so they can expect a reward when good things happen thanks to them. Sometimes it will be a better role in the guild, sometimes a promotion to an officer position, and sometimes - more DKP points. But it's a dangerous territory, as this can take a dark turn, and become a case of favoritism that other people will see. And that - will make other players feel excluded, becoming resentful and bitter.
This is why you should never give certain tags to anyone outside of the most important roles that you will have to distinct. This is crucial if you want to keep your people feel that they are being treated fairly. Tag roles like Guild Master, sub-GM, most important officers (raid, recruitment, mule, event).
Then you should tag members based on their involvement in the guild. Some will be raiders, some will be there for social purposes, and you should also have an initiate role for those who have joined and they don't have a legit group assigned to them yet. And the most important thing - do not make any additional roles in between those most important brackets.
The reason for this is that it will create many disputes within the guild that will make the environment very toxic. For example you set up two roles instead of one - "Super Raider", and "Raider". While it gives some people a sense of improvement and higher status - it creates difficult situations. A Raider notices that they are far better than a Super Raider, and they demand a promotion, and if they won't get it - sooner or later people will start talking. This person has to be degraded, this has to be promoted, and we don't what this guy is doing at this position. It's better for you to avoid those problems, than to try and fix them.
Let members Speak Their Minds
Remember one of the first paragraphs in this section - "Nobody is Perfect"? It applies to you as well. As a Guild Master you will have a large room for errors. And sometimes you will make mistakes that will affect everyone around you.
Some will notice these errors but they will stay silent in fear that you might react hostile towards them. Because who are they to act in such a way towards a mighty Guild Master of a great guild? It's your job to make sure that they don't see anything wrong in speaking their mind to a higher ranking officer or GM in the guild.
Give everyone the power of voice. Let everyone know that they have every right to speak up when something happens. They might not be right sometimes, neither are you. Sometimes you will just have to take a deep breath and ask your closest officers, or anyone from the guild a simple question - "Could I handle this situation better?". It will be important as a Guild Master to listen to your subordinates, so you can set a good example, and continue in maintaining the best environment for your people.
Allowing even those who are ranked very low in guilds ranks to speak up will have a huge impact on how the guild is seen, both from the inside and the outside. It will make your men feel safe, secure, and they know that if anything wrong happens to them - they can say it, and you can all have an open discussion about it. It's a healthy environment and everyone will benefit from it. Just make sure that people aren't becoming entitled and obnoxious, as some may show their true colors when they gain some power.
Creating a successful Guild, and being a good Guild Master is hard. You can read a thousand guides and view hundreds of images, forums, millions of posts, even find another article on this and still fail miserably. You will have to go through a lot of stress and uncertainties before you get to the main reward - creating a healthy community in which players are happy, and they are willing to help each other. A place where you don't call other guild members, coworkers or players, but brothers and sisters. A place in which people in a moment of crisis, spent and exhausted, will dig deep into themselves to find the will and energy to help those beside them and work for the greater good of the Guild.
There are lots of hard decisions coming your way. And sometimes the best decision will be the hardest one. But as long as your decisions are consistent and fair, and you stay true to yourself and virtues that your guild should represent - people will want you to lead them, and they will give it all for the sake of Guild's greatness. And of course in the end - it's all about having fun while being a part of something greater than yourself, and sharing that feeling with others. Share our guide so you can have competent guilds to compete with! And with that knowledge in your hands - you can be a complete and content Guild Master. Report back to us with some feedback. Good luck, future Leader!