Build Your Own Guild Part 2: Rules of the Game

Build Your Own Guild Part 2: Rules of the Game

In this second installment of the Build your Own Guild series, I am going to teach you how to establish the rules and policies that will help your new raiding guild run itself. Well, that’s an exaggeration. However, without a clear set of rules, your guild will always be rudderless. Before one person signs that charter, you need to lay down the law in black and white. The post outlines the three types of policy that you should establish before your guild even zones into its first instance. The following tips assume that you will have a guild website (after all, we play an internet-based game, right?). These documents and policies need to be the core content of that website when it first goes up.

1. Guild Charter

In Part One, I encouraged you to meditate on your goals and desires for your new guild. Now you must put pencil to paper and share your vision with your members. In my opinion, the more the guild expects to accomplish in terms of raiding, the more important your mission statement is.

Your charter should answer the following questions:

a. What is the guild’s goal?
b. What is the guild’s attitude?
c. What is most important to us?

I’ll quote for you one of my favorite passages from my guild’s charter. It really shows who we are as an organization:

“We value kindness, fair play, and respect for others over loot or in-game success. Our policies work toward ensuring a positive environment in which everyone can enjoy the fruits of our labor.”

I welcome you all to read the entire charter and even use it as a model, but I will warn you that it’s out of date. Since the original charter creation, we’ve decided that we’re a real raiding guild after all. The long road between Gruul and Illidan changed us as an organization. I should take my own advice and adjust the language to our current practices!

You don’t have to create your charter from scratch. Many guilds make their websites accessible to all, and if a guild is recruiting, sometimes you can even create a user account and view their policies. I recommend doing a bit of snooping around–find guilds you admire and know are successful, and copy what they do. The tone of your charter should suit the mood of your guild. My own guild operates in a rather serious mode. If you prefer a raucous, no holds-barred environment, use irony and humor when you write that charter. For an excellent example in this mode, I’ll direct you towards the hilarious charter of a guild named Dread Lobster, as quoted by fellow druish blogger Runyarusco. I laughed so hard, I (almost) wanted to join.

2. Code of Conduct

Even the most laid-back guilds have certain expectations for their members’ behavior, and you ought to explain them either in the charter itself or in an appendix. Collateral Damage sets a very high standard, and unlike many guilds, we restrict profanity (well, in guild chat anyway) and chastise members severely if they disrespect one another. If you want your members to act in a certain way, let them know from the very beginning. That way, if you need to g-kick someone for a behavioral issue, you cannot be accused of unfairness. On the flip side, if you want to foster an open environment where insults and un-PC jokes fly thick and fast, let prospective members know that.

3. Conditions for Membership / Raider Status

If your guild intends to raid seriously, you need to have some means by which you determine who gets to raid and who does not. This type of policy will not seem important to a start-up guild that can barely scrape together enough tanks and healers for an introductory instance, but as you start to have success, you will have to deal with over-crowding. My guild chose not to put in a Raider Status from the beginning, and I have always regretted it. We have always walked the razor’s edge between being inclusive and optimizing rosters, and I know it’s cost our raid leader hours of frustration and worry.

Raiding guilds typically fill their scheduled weekly raids according to one of two successful models.

Model A

Everyone who is a regular member of the guild is a raider, and a Raider Rank would be redundant. The guild is small and does not recruit beyond the minimum number it needs to do the raid content.

Model B

The guild has members who raid and members who do not. These “casual” members may be friends and family of raiders, or they may be longtime members who have had a change in status. When you have two such different constituencies, it is only natural that at some point, one or more of your “casual” members will want to raid. At that point, the concept of Raider Status comes into play. Raider Status can typically be earned through attendance and performance, and it comes with the privilege of being on more raid rosters. It should also be possible to lose Raider Status through consistent poor attendance, bad behavior, or sloppy play.

Given a choice, I would go with Model B. From a management standpoint, it is more difficult to handle a larger, more complex guild roster, but you have a better chance of running all your raids. With Model A, if two of your players go on vacation, your raid is toast. Collateral Damage has a large number of members, and we have been able to run all of our scheduled raids this summer except for the one the Sunday before Labor Day. That’s a pretty awesome ratio considering the rash of expansionitis that’s been going around.

If you DO set strict conditions for membership or Raider Status, you need to define these specifically. Your attendance policy should require not only a percentage, but also tell how often that percentage will be re-calculated. For example, you might require 75% attendance over any two-month period. That allows your players to go out of town every once in a while. Moreover, never be vague about your raid preparation requirements. Instead of just saying “come prepared,” do as Catal, our raid leader does and spell it out in no uncertain terms:

What you should bring:

– A good attitude – We’re going to wipe… a lot.
– PvP trinket and PvP/Stam gear – The focus will be on survivability.
– 2 flasks of your choice.
– Lots of health/mana pots.
– Lots of reagents for buffing.
– Have decursive loaded if you will be responsible for dispelling Grip of the Legion (curse).

This set of requirements applies to our attempts on Archimonde this week. Every raid sign up comes with one of these, and you may find it useful to have a general set that would apply to every raid.


Phew! Now you have three basic documents that your members will be able to refer to when they have questions about how the guild is run. Believe me, they will hold you to what you say, so always keep your policies up-to-date. For Collateral Damage, things didn’t turn out according to our first design, but they worked out all right nonetheless. However, I should /pinch myself for not updating the charter. These documents are a contract between you and your members and it is in your best interest as guild leader to hold up your end.

For next time, we’ll be looking at the fourth and arguably most important policy that a new guild needs to have in place: the Loot System. You must choose a system early, because the first thing most recruits will ask is how your guild handles loot. Next Wednesday’s post will outline all the sordid details of loot distribution, and I’ll tell you some choice horror stories of loot QQ, I promise.

If you still haven’t satisfied your appetite for information on guild managment, I’ll refer you to Auzara at Chick GM, who is the guru of guild-mastery and all related issues. I always find it beneficial to take into account multiple perspectives on important topics.

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  1. Syd,

    I agree establishing clear goals, objectives, and acceptable behavior are a must to have a successful guild. I would add conditions for leadership for your officers and raid leaders as well. Officers and raid leaders need to fully agree with everything above and need to have a good working relationship with you as the leader. That does not mean you have to see eye to eye on everything, just be able to come to terms. Mutiney’s are generally led by the second in command.

  2. @bearcat –Don’t worry–stay tuned for a separate post on managing relationships among guild officers. This is sort of a specialty of mine, as I play in a guild with no true GM, only a set of officers who are all equals. There’s a good reason this is a 12–or possibly even more–part series.

  3. Liked and enjoyed the post.

    Also agrees with “Syd” above. That saves me some writing.

    Hmm, I’m one of those close to second in command as well. And being that I spent several years as a sailor to on the high seas. I guess I’m a salty dog as sailors say.

    Galohearts last blog post..WotLK Beta: Almost There..

  4. Very nice. I just don’t have the time and mindset to run a guild myself, but this will help give lots of insight :]

    1. My guild is actually quite contrary to their guild charter.. our charter is a gigantic looming multi-post, page-stretching affair that makes the entire guild seem very serious and restricted. However I guess things have changed since the charter was written, or something, because ingame we’re extremely laid-back and we all consider ourselves casual raiders.

    3. Our guild uses a combination of both models. We have TWO guilds, the main raiding guild and a ‘Jr’ guild for alts and socials. There’s only about 40 people at most in the main guild. When raid invites go out, the people in the main guild get priority and then an officer logs over to an alt to see if any eligible 70s in the alt guild are online. While this makes guild chat less effective we’ve made a custom channel for everyone to chat in.. and don’t forget vent! It’s been working very well and also has the added benefit of making the guild tag of the main guild more precious.

    I look forward to the continuation of this series 😀 guilds and guild drama have long been a shadow on my WoW-life <.<

  5. I guess my guild must be an exception to the norm in that we don’t have a specific guild charter yet have a strong group of committed members who are all of a similar mindset. I like to think it has a lot to do with getting rid of people who aren’t a ‘fit’ very quickly and a strong group of leaders.

    Jezraels last blog post..In your face Archimonde!!

  6. I’ve been on both sides of the fence from a GM standpoint: Leading a guild with no specific charter, and no one that has a specific charter.

    In that order as well. And the former made me want to do the latter. We found great importance to using the charter to keep our hands from being tied, due to vast difference-of-opinion of how things should be run among the casual officership. The first guild was a casual leveling and eventually kara guild that got a taste for 25 mans. Then the guild built small divisions within it, and since we had no goals, we met an impass, and eventual disband. Some wanted 10’s, some wanted 25’s, some wanted us to gear all their alts first, and some wouldn’t come once they got the loot they needed. It all led us to the point where we decided to have a concise document that outlined our goals, and our expectations (albeit, mostly common sense stuff).

    I’ve seen a surprising amount of guilds on our server that have nothing like this, and it boggles my mind. Its either buried in a confusing forum thread, or its not available to the public, but ours is posted on our front page, so anyone interested in joining has an opportunity to see what we’re about without ever needing to talk with us. We even make all apps read it as well, and encourage our guildies to continually read it.

    Among all the decisions made in creating our guild, I believe that drafting a charter was by far the most beneficial. For the weeks of work that went into it, the dividends have paid off for months of raiding and getting the most out of what many consider ‘scrubby’ players, and will continue to do so (I believe) well into WotLK.

    Good stuff! Lovin’ this series!

    snostreblas last blog post..Fraps isn’t all fun and games..

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