Saturday, March 20, 2010

Jed's Top 10 tips for Guild Leaders

Well the other day I mentioned that I had been both raid and guild leader since I created my guild the second day that the Ursin server was launched. (Stupid people not signing my charter keeping me from being open for business the first day!) Ursin was opened for character creation on July 22, 2005, which means that my guild has been around for almost 5 years now.(woo hoo) In that time we've been raiding, we have raided in Molten Core, Onyxia, Karazhan, Gruul, Naxxramas, and finally Icecrown Citadel, with a few other random raids in between. We've had our ups and downs and have held together, in part because I am too stubborn to give up as well as the fact that I strive to create a fun atmosphere for people to play the game in.

Would I consider myself an expert in leading a guild? I would loudly answer NO! But I think I could offer a few tips for anyone looking to start a guild or even someone who is currently leading a guild. So without further ado, here are 10 tips that all guild leaders should know, I'll list them out and after the break I'll go into more depth for each tip:

1. Have a clear goal
2. Be confident
3. Don't be afraid to be picky
4. Be fair
5. Be patient
6. Delegation is your friend
7. Know your limits
8. Study up
9. Be willing to change
10. Relax



1. Have a clear goal
Before you make a guild you should know what type of guild you want to have. Do you want to focus on PvP or would you rather make an RP guild? Do you want to be a hardcore raiding guild or would you like to be a social guild that raids every now and then? This is something that you will need to ask yourself because once you commit to making a guild you will need to get people and those people will want to know what the guilds plans are. The choice is ultimately up to you so be sure to pick something that that you like doing. If you hate raiding but love to RP PvP then that's what you should make your guild into. Honestly whatever choice you make, you will find at least a few people who are also into the same thing. Choosing a guild focus does NOT lock you into doing that for as long as your guild exists. Yes, you can always change your guild focus later but be aware that you may lose some members if you do.

2. Be confident
You've chosen to make a guild and are now recruiting for members, time to be confident! You can do this! When asked about your guild, don't be afraid to share as much info as possible about your guild. No one wants to join a guild that will disappear tomorrow. No one wants to join a guild whose leader is timid and shy. You're in charge now, be confident! As the guild leader of a new guild, people will judge your guild by your behavior.

3. Don't be afraid to be picky
You've created a guild and are confident that it will succeed, now you've got to fill the guild with awesome members to achieve your goals. You should probably have some sort of criteria for possible members. Being a mass spam invite guild may get you a lot of members fast but they might not be the kind of players that you want. If you are focused on endgame raiding, inviting level 10 characters may not be the best idea. Personally I am a fan of having a guild application process, someone interested in the guild fills out an app and then talks to an officer before going on a trial run to gauge both the character and the person playing the character. I feel that if someone actually wants to join my guild, they can take a few minutes of their time to fill out a fast application to join.

The application does not have to have more than a few questions but the questions that you do have should cover what your guild is about. If you're a PvP guild, maybe you can ask about what battlegrounds they prefer or what role they like to play in a pre-made.(for example: can they be a solid anchor?) If your guild is endgame oriented, you can ask what raiding experience the applicant has. If you decide that you don't want to have an application for whatever reason, you should have some sort of criteria for prospective members. If someone whispers you with an interest in joining your guild, you can always ask them interview questions along the lines of application questions.

4. Be fair
This one is important because no one wants to join a guild with a leader who is on a power trip or who openly shows favoritism in guild. Treat everyone equally and your members will feel content that you are a trust worthy gm. While it's great to be a favorite of the leader, it sucks to not be. Your actions can and will cause guild drama so keep that in mind when you do things. If you only run with a certain group of people, the other members will feel left out and will start to look elsewhere for a guild that can make them fit in. You will not be able to please all of your members all the time but you do your best to please most of them.

Being fair is also important when it comes to raiding.(If your guild is raid oriented) If week after week one person keeps winning loot, you can always ask that person if they could pass on some pieces so that your other raiders can get some loot. Or you can set a limit on gear for each run so that loot can hopefully be spread out amongst all your raiders. Having one super uber geared person is great but it's ultimately better for your guild to have several well geared people. Set up whatever loot rules you want but make sure that they are fair.

5. Be patient
As a guild leader, patience is going to be a good friend to you. You guild is not going to go from one member to 200 well geared and knowledgeable members in a day. Everything takes time. If you don't have the patience to build up a guild then being a guild leader may not be the job for you. As a guild leader you have the final say in guild matters, including raid days, loot systems, member rules, and recruitment policies. Chances are that you are going to get a few people who will question you on everything. You just have to have patience when addressing these people. Some of them just want to clarify things to put themselves at ease and some will do it just to annoy. It isn't easy to figure out which is which.

As a guild leader I know that nothing happens instantly when it comes to guild matters, whether it’s recruiting, gearing, or any other guild activity. Guild members may not know what your plan is or what you are even doing. It's your job to display that you have a vision and that you are actively moving the guild towards that vision. If you are seen to be doing nothing then your members may lose faith.

6. Delegation is your friend
No man is an island. Just because you are the leader doesn't mean that you have to it alone. Find some members who have the same goals as you do, determine if they are trust worthy and if they are then promote them to officer. You don't need more than a handful of officers. Figure out what areas that you need assistance with and make those officer positions. I think that generally a guild will need 3 mandatory officer positions: recruitment officer, raid officer, and a tech officer. The recruitment and raid positions are self explanatory and the tech officer would be in charge of running your site(if you have one)or running your vent(if you have one). After these positions are filled you can decide whether you want class specific officers or general officers or officers in charge of eating pie. It's your guild and you can decide who does what.

7. Know your limits
You are only one person and there is only so much that you can do. Don't overextend yourself trying to do everything for the guild. Remember to take some time for yourself to PvP or run randoms or even just farm for stuff. You should dedicate a large part of your time to guild to help it grow but you shouldn't dedicate all your time to it. You should also not set event times at times where you have to rush everything just to make it on time. You set the pace of the guild, so set a schedule that does not require everyone to be online every minute of every second. Set a time limit to raids so that you don't spend 7 hours doing nothing but raiding.

8. Study up
From personal experience, guild members tend to expect you to know a lot about the game, whether it’s because you are a source of authority or because you have shown some intelligence regarding something they mentioned. You don't have spend all your time studying up on every class and spec but you should make a habit of reading a few wow blogs(such as this one :-)) or reading one of the many wow info sites like MMO-Champion or WoW.com to keep informed about what is going on in the game. If you are your guilds raid leader then you should definitely be reading up on both the boss fight your guild is working on and the next few. If you are struggling on downing Festergut then reading up on the Sindragosa fight may be aiming a little too high. Knowledge is power and knowing is half the battle after all.

9. Be willing to change
Keep in mind that the game is a constantly changing thing and as such a rule you made regarding gear or raids may no longer be valid. You should review your rules and policies every so often to make sure that everything is still contemporary and up to date. If you are the raid leader and your raid strategy isn't working, feel free to solicit ideas from your raid members. Sometimes a raider can come up with a new idea that works and helps your progress. Be ready to adapt and change if you want to survive and prosper.

10. Relax
Most important tip I have for guild leaders. Relax and remember that at the end of the day, it is just a game. If you are getting increasingly stressed out as a guild leader, take a step back and identify what it is exactly that is stressing you out. If it's being both raid and guild leader then get an officer to replace you as raid leader. If it is guild drama that is stressing you, then meet with your officers and figure out a solution to reduce that. Ultimately if you find that you can't even enjoy the game because of guild related issues, you may need to decide if the guild is heading to where you want it to and if it isn't then what can you do to guide it to where it needs to be.


Well that's my top 10 tips for guild leaders. I've learned some of these lessons the hard way and some of the lessons I got lucky and learned them second hand from other guilds. Are these the only tips that I have for other guild leaders? Not by a long shot but these were tips that I thought were more important than the others.

I hope everyone enjoys these tips as I worked on this guide for a week, well a week in between midterms and studying...and playing WoW of course.

1 comment:

  1. Another great post!

    This is probably the best information you've written so far. Not many people would be able to tell you about guild leading (as there just isn't that many successful guild leaders) and as such you'd be hard pressed to find this kind of information on the internet.

    Even though I've never been a guild leader or guild officer myself (and probably won't anytime soon due to school) I still find relevance in this post. Through working backwards you can see ways in which one could be a better guildie and help their guild leader out.

    P.S. I like the new layout; it's simple and easy to read, and doesn't detract from the actual content with too much stuff everywhere.

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