What Keeps a Guild Together?

This is my weekend question to you.

Doesn’t matter what the size or purpose of the guild is. But what factors do you think contributes to the longevity of an organization? I wish I had a sample size of GMs or Officers I could talk to. I’ve always wanted to know what that one key ingredient was.

Is it progression related? Or is it based on the people within? Does it have to do with the standards or policies set out by the leaders?

While it’s foolish to expect guilds to last forever, that doesn’t mean that you can’t at least study and find out how to weather your guild through tough ordeals. 

What do you think keeps a guild together?

About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

7 comments
snack_road
snack_road

What keeps a guild together isn't just "good leadership" (it helps) or "dedication to a single cause" (again, it helps) and it's not entirely unlike a relationship because it exactly is a relationship. Nobody has an obligation to stay together for any reason, because if you're there for purples, well, any port in a storm will do. If you're there for one or two people, you find yourself not wanting to be there when those one or two people aren't there.

A guild pulls together, and stays together, because there's a familiarity, there's a connection that pulls everyone to stay. It's a lot of things. It's good leadership. It's similar goals. It's a relationship. It's a sense of humor, it's being on the same pages, it's being in the same book. It's when you can't imagine being any other place because any other place you could be is only going to make you sad you aren't among the same familiar faces.

What keeps a guild together, from my experience, is people having faith that they never fight their battles alone.

mataoka
mataoka

The obvious answer is leadership, but I think it has more of a nuance than that, more akin to what keeps a friendship or a marriage together. It's understanding that there will be times of discontinuity and personal squabbles, but overall, the old tried-and-true values of love, respect, and above all else, a sense of humor go a long way. Managing expectations is true in any relationship, and that comes from clear communication. Easy to say, but tough to do, as most things.

Inoshiro
Inoshiro

Other posters have hit the nail on the head as far as the concepts are concerned, so I'll just add to this with two terms I think are apt:

1. Conceptual Integrity - Defining what the guild is and is not, what it's goals are, and being clear and faithful to this vision.

2. Leadership - You need strong, honest leaders who act as interpreters and custodians of the vision of the guild, who are well positioned to do so because they understand the vision and buy into it.

The guild I am in at present has been raiding since Karazahn and was founded on the clear vision of a small scale (13 members) 10-man raiding guild who aim to clear all HC content on a 3-day a week schedule. 

Our ethos of respectful raiding emphasises maturity, personal responsibility and good comradeship. The culture of the guild is strong and stable, despite many members hanging up their raiding boots over the years.

winnah
winnah

all the other posts so far express a good amount of the key things to keep a guild together. coming out of an unfortunate situation with our guild leaders i cant stress enough how important it is for the members to have confidence in the people in positions of power. as one of the biggest APB guilds on the server i am on, a big part of building that is having players that know that when stuff hits the fan they have someone to go to that can fix whatever issue that comes up. once you loose that trust from your players its really hard to get it back. 

jamesfx13
jamesfx13

Delivering your member's expectations. 

And confidence in the guild. 

Each member has a bank of generosity. When that's cashed out, you lose members. This causes ripples. Sometimes "crumbles". 

The trick is to make each member feel valued, talk to them and manage their concerns. A great mental shift I used to employ was turning them from being discontent into helping become a part of the solution. "How can we fix X or Y". 

You needed to know what people were thinking as much as plan ahead. People need to see effort. If things go wrong, you need to show them what you're doing to fix it and be seen doing it. 

Some  of this is covered  by recruiting players with the "right personality" - players who stayed to the end with a nother guild are probably quite loyal - but that's no guarantee. Off the top of my head - more INTP/ENTP/ISTP/ESTP than INTJ. 

Part of this is encouraging a team spirit. Cliques are the enemy of guilds. In WotLK, we'd not let them form - they end up turning into "this group of people are alright - everyone else is letting us down". Anything we could do to build confidence within the guild - from pushing for WoL rankings during farm to highlighting good play. I'm a bit full of shit sometimes but I could get people excited. 

One thing that was probably counter productive was how I demonised people who left the guild. Never had a problem with them but sometimes I'd throw in little embellishments like "they wanted me to kick person X" or ascribe some selfish motives. Wasn't real - was just about creating an atmosphere. Oh! The speech. 

"It's easy to be part of a good guild when things are going well. But Sam leaving the moment something goes wrong tells us what sort of person he really is. Leaving when you're needed the most... some people are here to ride along on this guild's achievements. Some of you are prepared to make this guild great.".

2-3 years on. I talk to Sam all the time. It was just... a thing. War is peace....

Finally... credit to our  rivals... I'm glad they were full of trolls because it made things so easy for us to keep people motivated. 

The above was exhausting. 

kurnmogh
kurnmogh

Well, I may now be retired, but this is a great question. I think the answer differs based on what the purpose of the guild is.

That said, in the broadest terms, I think what keeps a guild together is a stable leadership that is willing and able to communicate expectations and requirements as needed.

To be more specific, communicating expectations and requirements can be anything from ilvl requirements, raid dates, addon requirements, even requirements on how you're allowed to speak to others in the guild, or even while a member of the guild (no trolling trade, for example). I think a lot of guilds fall down on the whole communication bit a LOT and I further think that leads to problems in achieving the common goals.

Here's a hypothetical example: A raiding guild (more casual than hardcore, but will get through some heroics) at the start of the expansion.

- The guild's leadership decides it'll take them about three weeks to get to 90 and what they think is appropriately geared for normal MSV.

- Leadership does not communicate this timeline to the guild. All it would take is something like "hey guys, be ready in three weeks! If you have any problems getting to this level of readiness, let us know!"

- The lack of communication means that the more advanced people (who dinged 90 in under 48 hours) get restless and may jump ship. It also means that the less-advanced people (who took their sweet time) may be removed from their raid team when they're not ready three weeks in, EVEN THOUGH the leadership never said specifically "hey, be ready by this date".

- The lack of people, period, means a lack of progress and a lack of progress means the ability to recruit goes right out the window.

Just by not communicating adequately, the guild has shot themselves in the foot. The leadership gets frustrated and tired from trying to recruit people who never even apply and they question why on earth they want to even be an officer and then they jump ship because all they want to do is RAID, FFS!

My dime's worth.

(GO HABS!)

Shanthi
Shanthi

Good, level-headed leadership that keeps their guild in steady progress toward the goal that the guild is organized around (whether that's raid progression, PvP, role-playing or anything else). Part of this is good organization and planning and part of it is active and smart recruiting that consistently infuses the guild with the "right kind" of people for the guild...personality fits and people oriented on the same goal that the guild is.

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