Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monsterbaby's guide to run a successful guild

It is very often I come across people, blaming Blizzard for the destruction of guilds - claiming it is their fault it is impossible to run a guild!

Honestly, I am dead tired of people blaming Blizzard of people's own incapability to run a guild. What Blizzard brought to the table in Cataclysm, has helped Guild Masters to run guilds - and guilds have never been easier to run than they are now! - Claiming otherwise, without ever leading a vanilla/tbc guild successfully is ignorant!

I have been single-handed leading an independent guild, on my alt, as an experiment to look into this whole "perk issue". By independent, the guild does not have any officers, none of my friends, buddies or guildies from my main in it - except for one, but I will get back to that.

I will now explain in detail, what sort of observations I have done in that guild, and what I have experienced in the past, to share to you guys. So you have a chance to find out, whether you can lead a successful guild or not.

My experience as a Guild Master:

Leading the best Warcraft III Reign of Chaos clan in EU 2004-2005
Leading Druids of the Beast 2005- Present

I would consider myself a skilled GM - I have not only been able to run a guild for longer than a third of my own lifetime. But I have also been featured in various magazines, podcasts and received a sponsorship for my guild in the past.

All this has been achieved single-handed. I only had an officer once, who helped out a lot in 2008-2009.

I have experienced a lot of guilds fall, including my own, which went through an insanely rough time in 2009. but learning from this - I have managed to run the guild even better, than I ever did in the past, and it has never been as successful as it is now.

This area, is in general what interests me the most, in this game - therefore I have done major observations of Guild Masters when I played my alts - in a different guild than my own.

Is Guild levels and Perks ruining guilds in World of Warcraft?

The short answer is - no.
Creating a functional guild now a days, is a lot easier than it was in the past. Why?
The Guild tools and features brought to WOW in Cataclysm have been a great help to run a guild!

The guild automatically offers treats and bonuses. In the past, this relied only on the Guild Masters, to motivate and reward the guild members. Of course you still have to do this, but in a much less extend as before.

Key pointers for a successful guild:

  • The members are not running the guild for you - you run the guild for the members
  • Effort and planning 
  • Good attitude spreads as well as bad - keep it good!
  • Be specific about your guild
  • Put your guild's needs ahead of your own needs. 
  • Motivation
  • Make people feel appreciated
  • A good atmosphere
  • A good image
  • Your guild is not running itself
  • Don't quit (even if it turned bad, and you've lost half your members overnight, don't quit!)
Why guilds are easier to run now a days, than previously:
  • Members automatically gain benefits from being part of a guild
  • Members are easier to motivate due to achievements / level
  • You have a lot more raid/event-management tools
  • Easier to gear up
  • Raids are a lot smaller ( In Vanilla TBC: 20, 25, 40)
  • Raid Finder
  • Easier to get a good setup (a lot of classes share abilities such as time warp, heroism, bloodlust)
The people who often complain about it being hard, are probably not putting the effort into it, or putting their own needs above the guild. I have many times seen people complain about this, yet their guild has failed to do a single Dungeon Challenge, while my petty level 7 test guild with 35 members already got the 50-Guild-challenge achievement!

Be specific!

What sort of guild are you running?

Bad example: "A casual-semi-hardcore raiding guild, plus pvp and arrengements - socials are welcome too" type of guild.

If the Guild Master does not know what sort of guild he/she is running, then who does?

The best way to get members, is by being specific about what sort of guild you are, and what your goals are.
Sure, you leave out a group of people being specific, but lets be realistic - you cannot have all players on a server in one and same guild.

The more specific you are, the easier it is for your guild to appeal to people, to join it.

Most people searching for guilds have preferences - so you have to match those preferences. No one who wants to do a lot of pvp, wants to be in a raiding guild, neither does a hardcore wants to be in a casual guild.

My test-guild guild is unknown and does not have any sort of reputation on the server. Due to the fact I barely have time to play, I made it into a level guild with its qualities within having a good atmosphere, and people being able to be social while playing. This helped me finding members.

Another quality of the test guild is, that the members get the rewards from the dungeon challenges.

I use this recruitment message, which appeals to the type of player I want in my guild, as well as adding a carrot to increase peoples interest reading the recruitment, and eventually joining.

"Guild Perks is recruiting people interested in a leveling guild for perks, and to build  up a social atmosphere. Cashflow, guildbank and challenge rewards are  devided among all our guildmembers. /w me for info. We have all bonus XP perks and more!"

People decline my guild due to its level! (Does not apply to Cashflow guilds)

If people are declining your guild, due to its low level. Do not bother to have them in your guild to begin with.  If people would only join your guild due to its perks, they would not contribute to your guild in any way, or be within the qualities you seek of your guild members. You guild won't progress, without the right members.

Avoid getting people in your guild, you are unsure of. If you do not feel they will match your idea of the guild,  give them a trial or decline them. There is absolutely nothing wrong about being picky!
It is much better having less members, who fit into your guild, than having a lot of mixed people, who each want to do different things: Achievements, farming, pvp, pve etc.

In the end, it will cause a huge drama - and no guild wants drama.

How do I gain level and get members to join my guild?

When you have found out, what sort of guild you wish to run - you need a strong recruitment text that explains the essential elements of your guild, and what values and goals you have. Basically a recruitment message that is interesting.
Do not bother writing a url or what level your guild has (Unless you are a Zerg/Money guild - but I will get back to that later). If people find your recruitment interesting - they will ask for your level, url and progression later.

A great way of getting quick level and members is to do Dungeon-Challenges. You have a great advantage if you have a buddy in your guild, who can help you - such as I have with my test guild.

Basically when you are two, you need one more person for a Dungeon Challenge. Challenges bring a great deal of XP to the guild, as well as building on your guild achievements )ex: dungeons, challenge achievements, etc) As well as you have an arena buddy, you can farm together with, to get those sweet numbers of XP rolling in.

Here's the catch!
To trick members to join your guild - you ask in general chat if anyone wants to make some gold 125-500g (or more depending on the level) to join for a Dungeon Challenge. This is extremely powerful at low level, since people are standing in line to join a dungeon to get XP + gold. It's win-win! I have yet not seen others using this gig to get people in - but I can tell you - it works!

(you basically reward them with the gold from the dungeon challenge)

In this way, you get members to join your guild - and if you have a good atmosphere in your guild already, making sure they feel appreciated, despite they "just" joined for Dungeon Challenges, they will most likely stay, based on my experience at low level - even if it is just you 3 guys online!

Don't tire people begging them to do more. If they only wish to do one - it is to your advantage, because then you can get another member in, to join for another dungeon challenge.

Another way to get members is to pug. If you have a handful of people, don't be afraid to make a raid - it does not matter if it is outdated content as long as you and your guildies can prove yourself from the best side possible. Be nice, let people feel welcome!

Here's the catch!
Prioritize guildless people above anything else. Communicate and chat in the raid chat - make the puggers feel as if they are actually part of your raid and your guild even. Always remember to pay your puggers afterwards, in comparison to their effort. It makes them feel appreciated.
Not only do you get a raid done, even if you do not have enough people for a guild raid - but the puggers, might even have so much fun, they want to join your guild afterwards!

If the members you have gotten in to your guild, proves to be douche bags, or not really what you wanted - you can easily remove them afterwards - after all they did "just" join, for a Dungeon Challenge.

How to keep members (Does not apply to Cashflow guilds)

The last thing you want, is a flow of members joining and leaving
So making sure you keep the members you have, is essential.
The most important thing is to make people feel appreciated - make sure people get a warm greeting when they come online, get an achievement etc.
There is no better way to keep members in a guild, than having members bond with each other and being social. People are way more likely to stay, if they also like the people in the guild.

  • Keep a chat going - get to know your members
  • Keep people motivated. 
  • Let people feel they are part of the guild
  • Be honest to your members
  • Let people know, if your guild is having a bad time - no shame in that! 

Keep making raids - even if you fail getting enough people for them - pug the rest. Who knows, the puggers might be nice!

Get realm reputation

Make sure your server knows who you are - not by spamming guild recruitment every 5min or less in Trade, but by showing off a good attitude.
Good attitude gives a lot more credits from people, than showing off, in heroic gear.

A good realm reputation is essential, for a hardcore raiding or pvp guild!

A good image is worth gold. So keep it good. You do not want any members ninja looting in dungeons or being douche bags towards others. Reputation will follow your guild and you as a guild master.

Members will always reflect their guild master. If you are a douche, members are most likely to become it as well. But if you show a good attitude and overview, the members are most likely to do the same.

Do not be afraid of kicking people who is damaging your image. If you keep a person in the guild, that no one really likes on the server, people will not only think a bit worse of your guild, but it will also influence your guild, by increasing a crappy attitude.

How much time do I need to put into my guild?

It all depends on the effort you put into it. Obviously the more time you have, and the more effort you put into it, the quicker your guild will progress. Of course some members won't stay for too long, if you do not progress - so stay active and make sure your members know you are there.

It also depends on what sort of guild you are running. A hardcore PVE and a hardcore RBG guild takes more effort, organizing and planning - but it is still very doable with a full time job, as long as you have your priorities right!

When I began leading my guild, age 16.  I had all the time in the world - which was definitely needed in Vanilla and later on in TBC.
Now a days I barely have time to play - and I am usually only online during raid times twice a week, and perhaps once or twice during weekends. I cannot do all-nighters anymore - but it is not needed for me, since I have a 7 year old foundation. However this was not a possibility 2 years ago! I can thank Blizzard for the perks, level and achievements to keep my guildies occupied, while I am working my arms off IRL.

I got to level 25 my guild is running okay - now what?
Even though you are at level 25, you have to run the guild, the exact same way as before - besides you do not need to recruit people - in order to do challenges.

Keep everything in mind, and learn from your mistakes!

  • Continue keeping your guild and goals specific
  • Avoid any sort of drama - especially loot drama
  • Have as few, but specific rules as possible
  • Continue motivating your members to do Dungeon Challenges and achievements
  • Continue to be strict on letting people in your guild - make sure they know exactly what they go into.
  • Continue to reach your goals
  • Expand until you have everything you need - do not overbook your guild, having members you don't really need. 

My recommendations: 

Stay cool - be honest - planning ahead and put in some effort!

Only use external sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Websites etc as little as possible. You want as much going on in-game as possible.

If you get a website - do not have essential information there, besides for people who wish to apply and join.
Make it into a showcase, with pictures, boss kills and progress.

Get a voice-chat from the start:

Find a ventrilo, teamspeak or mumble channel you can use! There's no better way bonding with your guild members at 4am chatting the night away!

Screenshots and videos! - Make screenshots/videos of big moments! You will love it, your members will love it - and it is a visual proof to new members.

Good luck - I hope some of this clarified on some parts or will give you the motivation or what it takes to run a guild successfully. I have done it - you might fail - but then blame yourself and the lack of effort, before you start screaming at Blizzard or me for that matter.

Feel free to contact me, for any sort of advice through my Twitter: @Monsterdruid

Okay - and not to forget the loot horny. (I know this will piss a lot of people off, but I have the feeling a lot of  people only want a guild for its perks - and especially cash flow.)

I want to run a successful Cahflow guild!!!

A Zerg/Farm/Cashflow guild, is my least favorite type of guild. They exist, and the same rules apply as normal guilds. You still have to be very specific running a cashflow guild. Obviously, this should not be too clear to your guild members.

As any other guild, you need the members to feel appreciated. You need to open up for repairs, since running a successful cashflow guild is not free - as some might think.  When members join - write the date they join in officer note - and let it be visible.
Order your ranks according to these - and extend the gold reward along with the ranks. That will motivate to let people stay for longer.

You basically need as many members as you can get - first priority is getting high level! (Use some of the recruitment catches as I posted earlier) As soon as you get level 6 - you can begin headhunt low levels, who just started a character. Do not spam invite, however whisper people, asking if they want the XP bonus - perhaps add a carrot, such as rewards along the way.

Try motivate people around same level to do dungeon challenges. Not only does it bring income, but it also generates a lot of XP. Do give them a good cut of the gold reward - if not all of it.

Later on, when you get a lot of members, set up raids if it is in your interest - however it is not a must.

Keep members joining the guild, and keep a close eye on when they join - people are likely to leave a lot, but you must constantly invite people who are interested in the perks.

Be active! You can have the guild on your alt when it hits a higher level - but you need to be active and online frequently.

Don't be afraid to kick people! - If people spam in your guild chat or makes it a hell for other members, let them out. They will scare other players off, so you will lose more income, than kicking a single player!

Here's the catch!
To run it successfully, you need to get profit, while the guild members still feel appreciated is to cover up the profit.
You basically have to milk the guild bank. The biggest mistake you can do is, to have 0 gold repairs, and loot everything once a week. You do not only use the guild repairs to motivate people - but you also use it to cover up the gold log. Make sure you only take a small amount of gold each time. You do not want members to see you are too much of a greedy bastard!

Do not start looting until you have several 100 of members and a fairly high level! You can appear as "the good guy" and throwing stuff you don't need yourself into the guild bank - some members find a joy in taking trash from the guild bank. Let them do so, as long as they bring in XP and gold!

1 comment:

  1. I saw someone commenting on your guide at eu.battle.net that if they needed to read this they probably wouldn't fit the leadership role. I don't know that guy but hes own logic fucks him all over.

    Reading your guide is just like a biograph about a person who has done something and succeed. Those people who usually read books like that are people who let them inspire by others and they might become founders themself.

    I've been a guild leader aswell as you, started at age 17. Somehow I've always through all my years managed to run my guild smoothly.
    All the way untill I became a sailor working 4 weeks on/4 weeks off.

    My guild members left for both a dramareason, and they wanted more. My guildmembers went from semi-casual to hardcore within 2 years. I left my first guild and joined the second one where most of my members went.

    This was a hardcore guild doing all kinds of raids we had never stepped into.
    Within 2 weeks, I become a Senior Officer in that guild, and after 3 months they gave me leadership. Thanks to the great officers who was managing that guild before I joined, they had gotten tired. Some of them quit the game. The remaining officers asked if I would be a Guild Leader as I used to be. In the beginning I refused, due to my work. But after some thinking I accepted, because all the officers techincally worked as a guild leaders, they just didn't want to have the status nor the role.

    To run that guild which I did for the next 2 years, wouldn't have been possible without my Officers. They handled Reqruits, Raiding, Events & helping out guildies.
    I ended up become a icon in that particular game (I've never played WoW, you're guide fits for other games aswell) and a legend for running a guild that smoothly for 2 years, where I had 4 weeks of inactivity in a row, each 4 weeks :P

    My success is hidden behind all my great officers. I don't know how often officers are used in WoW tho.

    Ah yes, the main reason I've ended up looking at your guide. I have now quit my gaming life in that rpg I used to play. But a friend of my asked for Guild Leader tips. I wasn't sure on how to write down my own behavior and logic thinking. You however has hit the nail spot on. I'll copy some of your text and change it to the other game.

    Thanks for the help MonsterBaby :-)