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I welcome you all to read the entire charter and even use it as a model, but I will warn you that it’s out of date.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.

Conclusions

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.

Build Your Own Guild From the Ground Up: Part 1

Build Your Own Guild From the Ground Up: Part 1


With Wrath of the Lich King on the horizon, quite a few ambitious players will be looking for new and better guilds. An expansion is a logical time for a guild roster shakeup, and the enterprising raider knows that the best time to look for a new guild is right now. For an excellent guide to finding a new raiding guild, see Bellwether’s four-part series on the topic.

This series of posts has a different purpose. In this multipart series, I will show prospective Guild Masters how to build a new organization from zero. Installments in the series will come out twice every week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Read on to find out how can you take a bunch of n00bs who don’t know jack about being in a raiding guild and turn them into a well-oiled tier gear-acquiring machine.

Wait, do I really want to be a Guild Master?

Before I tell you how to go about building the guild of your dreams, there are questions that you, the prospective GM, must ask yourself.

1. What kind of guild do I want to be in?

Now is the time for soul-searching. For me, the answer was easy. I wanted to be in a guild that was kind, respectful, helpful, and, at the same time, extremely good at raiding. My personal criteria for the perfect guild were unusual–I wanted a bona fide raiding guild, but I also wanted a supportive environment to learn in. I wasn’t good enough to join one of the top guilds on the server, so I also needed a place that would take someone whose skills hadn’t fully developed yet. The best answer, for me, was to join with others in forming a new guild.

Think about your own wants and needs. How much do you play? What kind of hours do you want to put in raiding? How much say do you want to have in guild decisions? What kind of attitude do you want your guild to have? When you’re designing from zero, you can control all of these factors.

2. How much work can I put in?

If you’re going to be a GM, or even an officer, you need to have free time that you’re willing to dedicate to the daily business of running a guild. At the ground level, you may spend 15 hours a week wearing your GM hat. Charter and rules development, recruiting, and organizing your initial raids will take more time than you think. If you don’t want to put in the time, the job of Guild Master might not be right for you.

3. Do I know people who can help me?

There may be successful guilds out there that are founded on the charisma of one strong leader, but I don’t know any. If you’re going to be a GM, you need to learn to share power. Auzara of ChickGM made a post on this very topic that gets to the very heart of the matter. If your guild is to have a chance of survival, more than one person must be involved in the decision-making. My guild doesn’t even have a true GM. We have a group of officers with equal voting power who trade off the figurehead title once a month.

Choose your officers carefully. Your best friends will not necessarily make the best officers. Find calm, rational, smart people with some free time and a lot of enthusiasm for your guild project. Meet with them weekly, and let them have a vote on guild policy issues. If you are not planning to lead raids yourself, make sure your Raid Leader is an officer. Other than the GM, this is the person with the most power in your guild. He or she will also have to deal with complaints from members on a day-to-day basis, and it is much easier to field these from a position of authority.

4. Why do I want to be a GM?

Before you rush out to buy that Guild Charter, make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons. For me personally, I wanted the satisfaction of seeing my guild run the correct way. I wanted to have a measure of control over how things were run, because I thought that I could help us avoid the classic pitfalls of raiding guilds. I believed that if my fellow officers and I put in fair policies, we could see new content without being disrespectful of each other or squabbling over loot. I didn’t want anyone to have to grow a “thick skin” in order to raid with us. In short, I wanted my guild tag to be one that members would display with pride.

There are many bad reasons to want the GM position. The first of these is guilt–if you’re only picking up the GM tag because you feel that no one else will do it, you won’t be happy long term. The second of these is pride. Let’s face it, there’s a little ego in everything, and that’s all right. However, you must ask yourself if you’re really doing this for bragging rights, for loot, or for the sheer joy of having power over others. If things go wrong in your guild, being a GM won’t feel so good. In fact, you’ll start to feel like a piece of flypaper as the QQ gets stuck all over you. According to Machiavelli, it may be better to be feared than to be loved, but in the context of WoW, there’s no real reason to fear a GM. If you’re on a power trip, your members can always leave, sometimes taking the contents of the guild bank with them.

Conclusions

If you’ve gone through these questions, and you still want to run your own guild, stay tuned for the next installment in the series, in which I explain how to develop a set of essential rules and policies for your new guild.