Build Your Own Guild Part 6: Scheduling

Build Your Own Guild Part 6: Scheduling

It seems obvious, right? Every guild has to have events. If you have no events scheduled, then your guild isn’t really an organization, is it? It’s more of a dis-organization, if you will.

While all guilds have events, their success with scheduling and filling these events varies widely. This post is all about organization. After all, the main reason that most of you members were looking for a guild in the first place is that they wanted other people to schedule their leisure time activities for them. You, as guild master, will be providing a useful service to members through your events calendar.

The following suggestions are some common-sense tips that will help you keep your rosters full and your guild members happy.

1. Keep A Consistent Raid Schedule

Let me give you a real-life example of the pain and suffering that can occur if weekly schedules don’t stay consistent. I live in a historic district, and I get a flyer every month telling me which days the city will pick up garbage. This month, there are two Friday pickups, a Monday pickup, and a Wednesday pickup. Now, what are the chances that I’ll put out the garbage on the wrong day at least once? I’d say close to 100%. In addition, since the Monday pickup follows a Friday pickup, I just won’t have much garbage to share with the city–but believe me, by the Wednesday after that, it will be a different story. The same thing can happen if you don’t raid on the same days every week. Your members will get too much–or too little–of the raiding goodness that they all love.

If your guild is a raiding guild, the schedule needs to show that raiding is your first priority. My guild raids Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, which seems typical of guilds that raid for a moderate number of hours. More hardcore guilds often raid Monday-Thursday and leave their weekends free, or at worst, clean up an end boss on the weekend. Remember that any guild has to give its players time off. I’ve seen guild schedules that essentially say “we expect you to be on every night, and we’ll go raid something.” With that more chaotic model, you risk either 1)raiding 6 days a week or 2) never raiding at all. Either one will lead your guild on a quick stroll down the Path of Anguish.

As for the hours you choose, Collateral Damage found it helpful to poll our members about their schedules. We have some west coast players and some east coast players with small children to put to bed, so we’ve ended up raiding more of a west coast-type schedule, with a start time at 10:30 EST. For an east coast guild, more typical hours might be 7:30-11:00 EST. Make sure you plan carefully before you slap hours up on the schedule. Everyone will have to make compromises in order to stick to the raid schedule, and the earlier you can determine it, the better you can communicate this schedule to recruits.

2. Use Your Guild Website for Scheduling

Even though WoW is about to implement an in-game calendar, I urge you to use your guild’s forums to schedule events. The reasoning is twofold. First, signing up for or reading about raid events will draw your player base to your website every week. Once they are there, it’s easy to participate in discussions or use the forums to ask questions or share ideas. You want an active website! It’s a sign that your guild is healthy. In addition, if you schedule on the website, you will have an easier time taking attendance in the long run. Even if people don’t sign up for events, you will know exactly when and where all of your events took place.

3. Make Rosters Ahead of Time

This piece of advice is fairly controversial. Most hardcore raiding guilds simply expect their members to attend every raid, and they fill the roster and bench only when people arrive for that day’s event. I advise you to plan ahead. I’ve watched many other guilds cancel events during this period of expansionitis because their members simply did not show up. If you roster ahead of time, people will also know when it is their turn to sit the bench, and you will have a written record of their presence on the pine pony. This way, if someone complains that she always sits bench, you will be able to evaluate that statement accurately by going over past rosters. If you absolutely don’t want to make rosters, I urge you to create forum topics for events anyway and have people reply ONLY IF they cannot make a raid. This practice will let you know whether you have to cancel a bit ahead of the event.

4. Let Members Schedule Fun Events

As the guild master, you cannot expect to everything yourself. Either some tasks will be done badly, or you’ll get burnt out on guild management in short order. I suggest that you and your officers take control of all progression raid scheduling, but that you allow members to schedule 5-mans, PvP, holiday events, or nostalgia runs to old content. Many players will do this very enthusiastically–encourage them, and support these events with your participation. It is helpful if the GM isn’t in control of everything. Sometimes it’s nice just to play along and let someone else be in charge.

5. Think Ahead

You will have to do some week-to-week planning based on your raid’s weekly successes and failures, but you should always have a master plan. Share your vision with your guild. Periodically, Collateral Damage’s officers throw “raid progress” on our weekly meeting agenda. We tend to sketch out 4-6 weeks at a time and try to come to some agreement as to our immediate goals. Then–and this is important–one of the officers shares this vision with the guild through a forum post. My experience is that when you put it out there in writing, it shows strength and confidence to your members. For example, our raid leader posted in May that we’d be standing on Illidan’s dead body by the end of the summer, and guess what? We did it. I’m not sure we would have without a clear sense of purpose.

6. Beware of Breaks

Burnout does happen in raiding guilds, and at some point, either you, one of your officers, or some of your members will suggest that the guild take a break from raiding. I have seen breaks backfire many times. My former guild, Random Acts, used to take breaks from Karazhan pretty regularly, and even when notices were posted on the website, people worried that a break meant that a guild meltdown was imminent. My suggestion is to have some events every week even during dry times. For example, Collateral Damage has scheduled our first Naxx 25 raid for the first week of January, but that doesn’t mean there will be no events between the Wrath release date and that time. We plan to schedule events every week on our regular raid nights. We’ll do group quests and 5 and 10 man dungeons, and maybe even go back to Sunwell if we’re feeling the itch to raid. Our players badly need a break from raiding, and most of them want a long chunk of time to enjoy leveling and spending the holidays with their families, but the guild isn’t just going to be sitting idle. For the benefit of those members who need a break while the guild is still raiding, I suggest putting in an attendance requirement that is less than 100%. That will let people safely take a day off here and there with no dire consequences, either for themselves or the guild. In turn, you should recruit until your guild can comfortably run its raids if a few players are absent.

Conclusions:

The health of a guild can be judged by the quality of its organization. I’ve seen guilds full of great players flounder and bleed members because they just couldn’t schedule properly. My guild, on the other hand, has used its great scheduling skills to outlast many other guilds on the server. I’m sure that we’ve climbed the ranks not just because we’re good players but also because we’re consistent. That kind of stability can only come from the top down, so it’s up to you, the GM, to make sure things are done right.

Error, no group ID set! Check your syntax!

Comments

  1. Yup, I gotta say that I disagree with you completely on Rostering. It leads to more attendance problems than the “expect them to show up” approach because inevitable someone on your roster doesn’t show up and then the others don’t either cause they think they’re not getting in.

    My advice is “expect them to show up” + have a thread where regulars can indicate when they won’t be around. Ultimately, if you don’t have the numbers then you need to recruit.

    Veneretios last blog post..The Druid Complex

  2. I Don't heal says:

    Gotta agree with Veneretio here. The best way to do things is to set raid times, and arrange your raid once people show up. Be sure to give people someplace to announce/inform you ahead of time of absences/lateness etc., and either reward people who bother to do so, or punish those who don’t – my last guild considered announced absences to be as good as attendance for maintaining Core status (higher loot priority to those w/ 75%+ attendance) up to 3/month. It worked.

  3. @Veneratio:

    I can only speak from my own experience, but rostering works for us. We’ve been able to run every one of our scheduled raids all summer–but maybe this is because we also award our bench attendance points and reinforce their participation.

    It might also work for us because our members aren’t hardcore gamers and are probably older than your average raider–maybe they’re used to scheduling things formally.

  4. As a second plus, when people see that a roster hasn’t filled, often they will sign up on the last day. This has helped us fill some unpopular raids, like early Hyjal.

  5. Having played in loose and more structured guilds I can say hands-down I prefer knowing ahead of time if I’m rostered. Showing up and hoping is like going to the movies on opening night sans ticket — maybe you’re good to go, but maybe they’re sold out (but please enjoy your other choice, a fine showpiece exploring an over-indulgence of emotional tendencies).

    Moreover, if I know I’m not needed I can make other plans and skip out completely.

    Also, I think we need to start calling bench “the pine pony.”

  6. Still loving this series. I think it would be cool if you had a ‘landing page’ where all of the pieces of this series are linked from, or putting links to all the other ones in each post, in case you join the readership of this series late.

    Our guild has never rostered our raids, and we’ve had both great success and great failures from it. We have no attendance rules either, so it gets interesting sometimes.

    I think a lot of this largely depends on the raiding base you have. Our raiding base would completely ignore a sign up process (or the website altogether), but due to consistant scheduling, everyone knows to show up on Thursday and Monday, and it has worked pretty well for us. We designed our guild around that Raider base. The main idea is that you have to cater to the kind of guild you want to be running. All of that stuff should be set up in your guild charter. If you’re pushing hard for progression and consistant teams, a more strict scheduling process should definitely accompany it. If you’re really casual about attendance, etc, just make the days consistant, and spread the word. That’s the beauty of starting your guild. You have the chance to surround yourself with the types of Raiders you want. The importance of a solid scheduling process is definitely key. I think that’s the point Syd is trying to make. How you go about it is defined by you, and your officership, and should be added to your charter.

    snostreblas last blog post..Snostrebla – A Shaman Am I (mostly)

  7. @snostrebla: Don’t worry. When she finishes this, I’ll collect them along with some extras or other reads and compile them into one page.

    Might even turn it into an E-Book.

  8. Yay Matticus!

    He has the technical know-how. I just write stuff 🙂

  9. sexy!

    snostreblas last blog post..Snostrebla – A Shaman Am I (mostly)

  10. My raid uses the raid ninja tool and has a requirement that people sign up for the weekend raid (we raid 25 mans once a week) by end of day Tuesday. We also have a forum thread for people to post in if they won’t be able to make a raid. Advance notice is great. We set the roster on the day before the raid.So far this has worked well for us. We haven’t missed a scheduled raid in a loooong time.

    Jezraels last blog post..Brewfest! Hic!

Speak Your Mind

*