Learning from the past- what would a guild i founded look like?

Now, i (hopefully) won’t do that- i’m quite fickle, very casual and leading a guild didn’t work out for me in the past. Nonetheless, this has always been and still is a very large part of MMORPGs for me- guilds. I’m of the opinion that, being in a guild, if you don’t like anything you should take action and do something- suggest improvements to your officers, give feedback (i’ve found, as a guild leader, that getting feedback is both essential and rare, so i’m quite sure your guild leader/officers will appreciate it), plan guild activities and/or, if it really doesn’t work out, leave the guild.

To raise the chances that i don’t make the mistake of founding a guild again, i’ll try and post some thoughts in this regard here. For today, i’ll concentrate on stuff that i feel went wrong in earlier incarnations of guilds i (co-)lead.

It would be international

I always feel like missing out in german guilds- to be sure, there is some activity on german servers from time to time, but the main action takes place elsewhere. RP, community events, other bloggers- they’re all happening on different servers, unfortunately mostly on northamerican regional servers, which can be troublesome in regards to ping and/or timezone-differences.

Still, i think i’d make it international, this time. First of all, it raises the chances to find players who are like-minded, since usually, the community on these servers tend to be bigger as well as better organized. Second, it’s more interesting. I’m around germans all the time and one of the beauties of the internet, even if we tend to forget this nowadays because the internet is so common by now, is that we can stay in contact/befriend/get to know people from all over the world.

It would be invite-only

In every guild i lead, i tried to strike a balance between growth and being “tight-knit”. It never works out. First of all, i don’t really like forum applications- in my opinion, they don’t do much to get to know the person who’s applying, i’ve very rarely seen someone decline an application (and by myself, i only did it once)…in my opinion, forum applications are a waste of everyone’s time.

Also, if you go into a newly-released game, it doesn’t help to attract members in this way, because no matter how many you recruit, in my experience about 80% won’t stay longer than three months- in the game, not in the guild. And then you’ll have 100 members and 10 of them are online at any given time. Not exactly tight-knit, and not exactly active, either.

So i’d give members the option to invite people directly- since i’m also not a friend of giving this option to officers only (after a few months, you’ll have trouble to find an officer online). But i’ve also seen members inviting other people very….often- so i guess there’d need to be some kind of “soft-cap” to player invitations. One idea that has always been in the back of my mind would be to inject some kind of “mentoring” system- one incarnation would be that a member can only mentor one recruit at a time and would have to wait for “his/her” recruit to become a full member before recruiting another one.

This should help in keeping the roster both active and clear.

There’d be no voice chat

Seriously. I’d like to have an active guild chat and i can’t imagine typing being such a huge hindrance- also, it would help in making the guild have less cliques around. In dungeons, i’m of the opinion that it shouldn’t be necessary- strategies can be worked on via chat, or, if need be, in the forums. Voice chat is not necessary, and it shouldn’t be.

There’d be ranks

In a guild i’d lead, there’d be ranks inside the guild- i’d be the guild leader (oh heavens, no!), there’d be officers with appointed functions in the guild/game, like, for instance, a social/RP officer, the mentor’s mentor (kind of the “recruitment officer”), the progression officer, the crafting and economy officer. Of course, there’d be a need for people who are willing to take on these areas and would also have to be quite knowledgeable as well as “active” in terms of forum usage (for guides/assistance, something like that) and events.

I’d also like to have a veteran rank- some people don’t like to rise some members above others, but really, if there’s one member who’s in the guild a long time, is active and helpful in the forums, organizes events and provides feedback to the leadership- why shouldn’t this member be “better ranked” than a player who’s “tagging along” only?

For active mentors, i think, there’d need to be another rank, disabling the ability to invite new recruits. One would hope, of course, that this shouldn’t be necessary, but in my experience, it is. People tend to forget that they’re “not allowed” to do something or they just ignore it- yes, this happened in two of the guilds i lead.

Then, there’d be recruits and members, of course.

Drama free

And there’s only one solution to provide this- if someone has a personal problem with someone else, if there’s trouble in regards to loot or anything at all, and these people don’t find a solution by themselves (and maybe the social officer as objective party) and start to involve the leadership and/or other members in any way, you’ve got to get rid of both people. In my experience, people that cause drama will always do so, no matter the circumstances.

Eventful

I’ve found that casual players are not a very homogenuous group- someone might label himself casual and still play 3 to 4 hours a day and he or her labels himself casual just because he/she doesn’t hurry/care for a wipe/care for loot. Others label themselves casual because of time restrictions or for a lack of will to commit to something.

Anyway, i found casual players to level wildly different in MMORPGs- some of them will reach the level cap in two weeks, others never. To provide an environment for these people to be happy in the guild, know the other members and do something together, there’d need to be organized events, like a monthly guild meeting, a regular levelling group, a crafter’s fair and so on. There should be at least 2 level-agnostic events every month, and they can’t be organized by the same people every time, so one would have to look carefully who to recruit.

It wouldn’t recruit everybody

This is one of the hardest parts in leading a guild, in my opinion. It’s very tough to tell someone that maybe they should look for a better fitting guild- but still, guild leaders/recruitment officers who care for the social fabric of their guild would do well to do just that. I know how hard it is, because people tend to take it personal- it kind of is, but there’s nothing wrong with finding out that it just doesn’t fit- it shouldn’t be viewed as some kind of devaluation of the person who is declined, chances are there really is a better fit for someone who doesn’t really fit into the current guild.

See, i couldn’t do this on so many levels- it’s still nice to think/write about it.

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