Friday, January 25, 2008

What People Fail to Realize About Guilds and their Leaders

First off, let me just state that this is by no means intended as some sort of attack on my guild's membership. I love Prophecy. . . hell, I wouldn't have stayed as long as I did as the GM if I didn't. Some of this may be inspired by my experiences leading Prophecy, but most of it is more generic, and spans all the guilds in all the games I've played. I just wanted to make public some of the things I think to myself when the fecal matter meets the rotary air circulation device.

  • Guild leaders pay the same 15 bucks a month you do: Believe it or not, Guildmasters dont get paid 6-figure incomes to fulfil their role. In fact, they pay just as much for the privelege of logging in each day as you do. You are not one of their customers, and as such you shouldn't expect 24x7 service from them, even if they're logged in. Hell, even the people who ARE paid to moderate the game have response times ranging from bad to abysmal!

  • There is no such thing as a degree in guild leadership: There isn't even so much as a brochure handed out to the new guys. At most, we have an online community to draw from for ideas on how to best lead our guild members, though more often than not, the stories you find online only deal with what NOT to do. Don't expect your leaders to have the magical formula that makes everything run perfectly. I assure you, if it existed, somebody WOULD be making that 6-figure income selling it!

  • Guild leaders are not psychic: Last time I looked, guilds had leaders with names like Surania, Cheetara, or Killerets. Rarely will you find Kreskin, Geller, or Cleo in the upper ranks. What this means is, if you have a problem with something going on in the guild, and its not being addressed, thats probably because the folks in charge don't actually know about your problem. Voice your concerns, and dont be surprised if it takes a few tries to actually get the problem addressed, as your voice is one among many.

  • Guild leaders are not peer mediators: Often times, when somebody has an issue directly related to their interactions with a fellow guild member, their first reaction is to bring up their issues with the guild leader. And while sometimes that may be an appropriate first step (Usually when the problem is something like sexual harassment or general asshattery), small interpersonal problems should NOT require a third party to be settled. Have a problem with the shadow priest playing favorites when he makes groups for the daily heroic? Talk to HIM about it! Upset because that cute shamaness you've had your eyes on is now dating your best friend? Thats nice, you expect me to do what, exactly? You handle your personal problems, and leave the Guildmaster to deal with the problems that affect the guild as a whole.

  • The stress of leadership grows exponentially with guild size: Small guilds, like what Prophecy started out as, are relatively easy to lead. Everybody knows everybody else pretty well, and everybody can have a say in guild affairs. Raiding-sized guilds, on the other hand, keep Bristol-Myers Squibb in business. Thus, the larger your guild is, the more stressed out you can count on your guild leaders being. Try to be understanding if they occasionally get snippy, reclusive, or whatever, because sometimes it takes a lot of effort just to log in to a guild full of people who need you.

  • Its just a game: This one is for my fellow leaders. If the mere idea of logging in gives you a migraine, don't. If this is you, cancel your account before you give yourself a heart attack. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to start taking WoW too seriously, and to actually stress yourself out over it. You're paying 15 bucks a month to have fun, not to have a second career.

In conclusion, I'd just like to give a big round of applause for my comrades-at-arms from all guilds. I know all too well what running a guild entails, and I wouldn't wish it on anybody!


Kobay said...

Nice place you've got here...

Regarding your post, well done. I was GM for a small guild (under 50 members) for a while and what a pain.

If I may make a suggestion to someone out there thinking of starting up a new guild: Get your ducks in a row before you recruit. Get your officers together and decide everything from Ranks to loot distribution to how the guild bank will work. It's much easier than trying to solve problems on the fly.

Eleanor said...

Hi there :) Found your blog from Blog Azeroth, and thought I'd check it out.

And I've gotta say, regarding the post, right on. I'm a guild leader for a raiding guild - we've been together for years now, so they're inclined to cut me more slack than a guild made up of people who are only there for the progression, but it's still a damn tough job and all too many people don't think about what's involved in the leadership jobs.

Spacewarrior said...

This is a good post. I wish I had the opportunity stopped to read it before making a series of rash moves. Unfortunately it didn't exist before I misbehaved. Now I'll save it as a reminder to myself to keep my cool and count to ten before doing anything if my mood isn't good.

Cheers, Surabear.

SuraBear said...

For the record, Eri, this post, while somewhat spurred on by last week's events, is not directed at you. I wish you the best, and we'll see if some officer hearts dont soften with time. Wouldn't be the first time.

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