Having a Plan — How Guilds Stay Together

For some reason, I thought I’d be helpful and suggest another topic over at Blog Azeroth.  Turns out, it was the only one this week, and I also chose to ask a question that was a *tad* bit too big (not like I’m verbose, nu uh, not me).  Make sure to check other submissions and support your blogging community!

Guilds come and go — this is pretty much an accepted fact of WoW life; however, some guilds… don’t go.  They survive, thrive, and keep on doing what the love best — from casual to hardcore.

How do they do it?

Vision

Every guild needs 10 signatures to get started.  However, there’s one guy and gal who goes and buys the charter and wrangles up all those signatures.  Sometimes it’s a base of friends that gets you started, sometimes, its a slow process of talking to folks in starter zones, trade chat, whispers and everyone in between.

It really doesn’t matter how you get your start — what IS important is what direction you’ve decided to take your guild.  There are a multitude of options between leveling, instances, raids, casual and hardcore, and only you can know what kind of guild you want to manage.  The important thing is to know what type of guild you want, and make sure that happens.

In any size guild, a guild charter is an important way to convey your guild message.  While rules may not be your thing, having a firm framework of what your guild is, what it stands for, and what you plan to do with it make sure that you attract and screen the proper applicants for your guild.

Leadership

Once you’ve gotten those sigs and you have the all-important tag over your head, it’s time to recruit… or is it?  If you have a vision, you’ll already know the answer to this question.  Either way, you will need some kind of leadership plan — even if you have only 10 members.  What if you go on vacation?  Need a break from the game?  Hell, have a weekend party when someone decides to go all crazy with the withdrawals from the bank!  You need a backup even if you are running a very small guild.

If you plan on running a larger guild, it is important to screen early applicants for leadership qualities and get them installed.  Personally, I believe 3-5 officers is the magic number — some guilds have less or more depending on the number of members, and the lenience on absences.  If your guild goal is to raid, but not require attendance, you will need more members (and likely more officers!).

Recruit

Unless you are and plan to remain a small friends and family guild, then recruiting will be a part of life.  Everyone likes seeing more than 1 online — there is a venue for everything, so don’t think you won’t find like-minded people to enjoy the game with!

The single best way to recruit people to your guild is word of mouth.  You cannot, ever, ever beat this.  Whether running dungeons or roleplaying at your favorite inn, it never hurts to speak about how much you love your guild!  Whether people are looking or not, they will remember.

It is also a good idea to have a guild website (even casual guilds — applicants like to see what the guild is about).  Getting listed on the Realm Forum is also a good idea — most servers have a stickied thread listing the guilds on the server, progression, roleplaying bent (on RP servers) and its a good place to pick up some extra people.  Services like Lookingforguild can also keep your guild on people’s radar when they are in the process of seeking a new home.

Unless you are seeking quantity over quality, Trade channel is probably not going to be your friend.  Some guilds are successful recruiting in this manner.  If you do use it, do so sparingly, and with great caution.  Sometimes it is possible to find a diamond in the rough.

There are times where you will want or need to slow recruitment down to a crawl.  When you do so, make sure that you still treat applicants with dignity and respect — they will remember, and when you really need to fill some gaps it may be possible to pick up a good applicant that you didn’t have room for at the time.

Keeping the Dream Alive

Accept that you are going to lose members.  Chances are, it is not a personal decision, and comes down to players having changing needs and wants in game and out.  Be prepared!  For the most part, steady recruitment will help fill in the holes.

However, whatever you do — do not change the focus of your guild to please your members.  Repeat that.  And again.

Guilds that make it for the long-haul have a vision, a dream, and stick to it. Changing the overall philosophy or goals of your guild will eventually lead it downhill.  You may lose members because you are not willing to change, but you will lose many more if you try to meet the ever-changing needs of every member of your guild.  It is not possible!

I have a need, you have a guild

I honestly believe that there is a guild for everyone.  Maybe not all the time, maybe not on the same server or faction; however, if you can dream up a reason for a group of people to spend their evenings and weekends together, be it a raid group, a roleplaying group, or just people who like zany and fun guild names, then there is a reason for a guild!

Make your guild last for the long haul — make a plan, find people to support you, and don’t change a thing!

Post-note: I apologize for the long delay from my intended post time.  Special thanks to Ophelie and Jaedia who tackled my too-big post before I did!  Guild week has been more successful than I thought it would be — if anyone is interested in case-studies and/or a more focused look at anything I covered this week, drop me a line by comment or e-mail.

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