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 Post subject: 5 Tips for a Long Lived Guild
New postPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:07 pm 
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I recently read the article on WoWInsider "All guilds are are dust in the wind" and it firmed up my desire to polish off my 5 Tips for a Long Lived Guild as a rebuttal. This is sort of a play on the "X Tips for a Long and Happy Marriage" articles I've read.


-=-=-


I've been a guild officer or leader in some fashion or another for almost a couple years, which in terms of WoW Guild Lifespans, is near forever. While I respect the truths of the recent article, "All guild are are dust in the wind", I take a more loyalty centric point of view – where you may come together for a set of goals, but the friendships you develop through guild are more valuable than the goals that brought you together (to a point).

With this in mind, I put together this list of 5 general tips for people who want to help make a long lived guild.



GQuit? Never. Hide on alts? Often.

Most guilds tend to have an initiate period. Use this as the courtship period – find out if you really want membership with this group. Odds are good, they're weighing you in this period too, so while it's important to be yourself, you should also realize you're the stranger entering into a group of people that have been together for who knows how long. Simply put, behave nicely, respectfully and try to learn the ropes before you start rocking the boat.

As you're coming towards the end of that courtship though, be thinking about the guild long term. If you want become a member, go into it with the mindset that "/gquit is not an option". Thinking this way makes you treat your membership like it is – a commitment to your guild mates. You're also more likely to try to work things out and help people out because you're in it together "until my subscription doth end". If you need a little selfish time, that's a great way to work on alts – I always have one under slow but steady progress somewhere.

Of course, there may be things you can't control ("Oh look, the GL hit /gdisband while I was offline") or should never put up with – such as abusive (racist, sexist, w/e) behavior that you wouldn't take from a sibling. Learn the lines of friendly razzing or joking trash talk: they vary by guild mate – your druid officer might not mind the jokes about him being an OOMKin, but perhaps that priest is really, really defensive at this point about being Disc spec'd.

The other really good reason you might have for leaving a guild is that you joined for particular reasons (their PVP focus, for example). If the guild changes their focus (see #3), then that is also a fine time to review your alternatives.

But, if you're coming into a guild like "I'm not leaving until you guys kick me – we can work everything out that comes up", odds are good it's true.



Little things may get to you – be bigger about them

Even if you're in a guild of about 5 people, that's 3 people more than a normal relationship has. So, when your guild of 85 friends has a big blowout over something that lasts a few days, don't be surprised. If there are folks you think aren't good (at their game play, this isn't a piece on morals) or that you just can't get along with, but a lot of folks seem to like, don't sweat it. Learn to be the bigger person where you need to be, and peace will come.

Some things may end up frustrating the hell out of you – like the one old guy who constantly is going on about how the liberal media is ruining the country or the younger son of an officer who thinks 'lol' is a fine substitute for a period, but odds are good there are 5 people not saying anything back either. It's harmless – you don't need to fight about it. Remember some sage words about words: "You are the master of your words until they are spoken, then they are the master of you. Choose your words carefully."



However, keep the air clear

The guild leader of your primarily PVE focused guild suddenly decides that 4 night a week are PVP nights, which is a dramatic change from where things have been going… and did he ask you about it? Probably not. If he's a decent guild leader, then it's not just because he really wants that Gladiator Headpiece, folks in the guild have been asking for the change. If your guild has a forums, it's possible that dialog took place there and you didn't spot it 'in time' before the change. Or perhaps the GL had a group of folks propose something that sounded like such a good idea, he didn't raise it for discussion.

Well, chime in! And by chime in, I don't mean a 483 line forum post that only says "WTF?????????" or posts about "all the hard work you've done for the guild". Just be to the point: "Hey, I've noticed we're going more PVP than PVE and that's not what I'm about. Is this a permanent change? Is this just something a group of people put together that's not official? I'd still like to be working on Heroics those nights." I was given the advice long ago – if you're going to be mad, know exactly what you're mad about. Find out more before you get irate.

When you do have an ongoing constructive dialog like that, but things still aren't to your liking, then maybe it's time to try out that guild your buddy has been trying to get you into.



A guild is a group, so never stop grouping

If you're spending over 50% of your in game time playing with folks who aren't in your guild and another 30-40% soloing, then you not spending very much game time with your guildmates. If most of the folks in the guild are doing the same thing, it doesn't bode well.

Try to coordinate – setup at least 1 night a week most (don't aim for all!) folks can spend time online together and do something. It doesn't need to be productive, it just needs to be something you'd mostly like to do. You might go revisit some of the old world content, work on alts together, or even just go rep farming. Make whatever you do low pressure, something you can spend time together and chat about easily. If you have TeamSpeak or Ventrilo, that's even better.

Remember, no bonding can happen when you're apart.



Guild is a four letter word spelled G-I-V-E

I've frequently said that a guild life is a relationship much like any relationship, only you have about 40x more folks than a usual. Some of the advocates of long lasting marriages describe the give and take as 'Most people think marriage is 50/50. It's not. It's 60/40. You give 60. You take 40. And that goes for both of you.'

Guild life is no different – be prepared to give more to it than you get. When everyone (or nearly everyone) does that, things flow much better for everyone. It's going to be tough to keep that in mind, especially when it comes to hard-to get gear or getting into a small group. For example, it might be really hard as a priest to see that druid win the amazing +healing gear, but if they win it, be happy for them – they'll help you get yours. It also might be really hard when your guild starts into Karazhan and you're #11 out of the 10 keyed folks, but hang back, let those 10 get Attumen on farm and ask to be swapped in on occasion for that boss fight.

If you're lucky, your guild leader understands how this needs to operate and will help weed out the greedy folks who are a detriment to the whole. Greed is a disease (as as an officer of mine puts it, "Loot is evil") – when someone loses something to a greedy player, they're slightly more likely to become greedy back. Stop the spread quickly, if it all possible.

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 Post subject:
New postPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:15 pm 
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And a random thing I posted ages back on the realm forums that was semi-related I just didn't want to lose. Keeping it here on our public forums is a fine place.

Izrail wrote:
Q u o t e:
My question is this though, why do you have to apply to be a part of a guild? Especially if you are advertising yourself as a casual guild ( I can understand the hardcore guilds wanting applications filled out more because they are, well, annally retentive like that). I consider myself a casual gamer, but filling out an application to get in a guild doesn't seem very casual to me.



OK, here's the reasoning, because honestly, I thought about the whole application vs interview vs "invite just because you asked coherently" thing for a good month or four before we technically 'opened' to public invitations. We ran as friend invites only for a few months when we formed up from a previous guild.

One critical understanding to state now and elaborate on later is: "casual" does not necessarily mean "we'll take anyone". A "casual" guild may still have a particular set of expectations of the type of guild members they want to have, it just might not be based on progression, level, gear, or other factors. Bearing that in mind...


Personally, I think interviewing is actually the best method as far as getting both sides to develop a feel for the other. Interviews are a two way street - the person looking to join is also getting to know the person who's interviewing them. You get nuances that you wouldn't get any other way, things you *can't* get from any application, no matter how well designed and filled out.

But, there's the cost of interviewing: Someone has to take the time to do it who has authority and the skills to do it. Depending on your guild setup, you may have a sole person tackling that task, whether a GL or a 'Recruiting officer'; or you may have a team of officers who are responsible to talk to potential new folks.

Again, ups and downs. A sole person is going to end up spending a lot of time talking to people if they have to interview. They also potentially have to type a lot of info over and over again or setup macros (but really, you want a macro speech from a GL about their guild?). That sole person has to also be highly available, meaning they need to be both in-game a lot and also free enough to talk (ie not MH for a 25 man doing new content).

A team is another set of difficulties - you have to ensure the team is conveying all the right information relatively consistently. If you have a set of requirements and expectations of good members, you also have to try and make sure that the appointed team is gathering the quality of people you expect or not abusing the power of the Invite.

The interviewee also is potentially getting a LOT of information they may not be able to readily absorb into mind in that first discussion.

The bottom line is that interviewing is pretty rockin, but it can tax the people who are trying to play.


Then there is the application notion. It's a simple concept - you want to gather some basic facts from people who want to be a part of your guild. This can range from people just having to put their name in a tiny lil box on your home page, or a full blown Flash interactive application screening process. Problem is, you don't generally get personality from a form, so if that's a factor in what you're after, tough luck.

But, the upside is that it takes no time at all for ANY member of a guild to say, "Oh cool, you want to join up? Hit up our app online at...". No possible information loss or misinformation. The application page could have key facts about your guild that you want people to know. You can also use that as a set of notes for 'people to watch for, invite team'.


Finally, there are folks I've seen operate as "everyone can invite, go nuts!". You quickly collect a lot of people, and some of them will be good. You also get a lot of terrible people. You have to hope that the good people are willing to wait out the not-so-good people. I've never run anything operating like this, so I can't talk on this much.

Quote:
Q u o t e:
Some of my friends in my current guild that have been playing games like WoW since Ultima Online, told me its to weed out whinny 9 year olds, but on our last server before we transfered over I saw guilds who required people to apply to get in, torn apart by !@!!s that can fill out an application.


This is a very valid point - if you setup an application, but just take everyone anyway, why not just open invite powers to everybody? I hear that.

You have to have some sort of follow-up to applications - either a quick interview to fill in those missing elements you can't capture in forms, some sort of Initiation type period, or both. Your good members, knowing you'll do these things, will wait out the new folks who might be !@!!s with more grace.

Remember also that an Initiate type period is a double-sided test drive. The guild needs to know if they want the new person, but it's a period for the new person to decide if the guild is what they thought it was. Both sides should not be afraid to say "Hey dude, look, this just isn't working. Cya!"


Now that's all the general stuff, the theories and philosophy. Lemme talk a smidge about what we do and why here in TDH land.

I tell everyone to go to our website to join unless they're have an IRL friend in the guild already. I don't even link people straight to the application. When you go to our website, you'll see a nice big button "I'm not a member" on the front page - this walks the browser through a few of the basics about the guild before they get to the application. Why? I want someone who learns the details of our guild and goes "Oh heck yeah!" - someone who doesn't want to know about they guild they're applying to I can do without. Also, our guild heavily uses our website - forums, etc - so this is a sure-fire way that NOBODY should be able to claim "I've never been to our website".

The application we have up mainly asks character basics, why someone wants to join, and how they heard about us - plus a couple of quick questions to make sure they know SOMETHING about the guild.

Once someone's applied, usually I'll talk to them personally, but if I don't catch up with someon in the first couple days, my officers know to get inviting. The application data gets popped into an officer forum where it helps us make sure we don't miss folks.

Finally, they're in our guild as an initiate. We have some other requirements that they need to meet in the first month, but once they do that, they're one of my crew, a member. I'll kick an initiate if I must based on not being a good fit, but a member gets more respect and more working with if there is a problem.


Why do I go to all this length? We're a bunch of elitist jerks. Or we're a group of friends who want people who fit into our group in some fashion or another. The two are similar statements, really. So, we're 'casual', but that doesn't mean we necessarily want everyone. We even decided to cap our guild size to encourage that style of friendship. That's why you'll rarely see me doing a 'Calling all people' recruiting post. You'll also only see me saying 'there are lots of good guilds on this server, feel free to see if ours is want you're after' - I don't presume it IS for everyone.



So, that was longer than I necessarily set out for it to be, kudos for having read this far.

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 Post subject:
New postPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:37 am 
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Well put oh Leader O' Mine.

I shall follow you any....OOO Shiny!!!!!

That's why I love this place. It's a family, and I'm home. (A large disfunctional family....one needing therapy). I love you guys. You make this fun.

8)

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New postPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 7:42 am 
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Grnash, you always say exactly what i want to say but i believe something else should be said .. .. :-}

i have always enjoyed post with the thoughts and knowledge you put in them. in a way i actually learn something almost always. you guys are truly amazing, ALL of YOU 8)

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 Post subject:
New postPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:45 am 
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I like to keep it honest, real, and simple. (Any more complicated and I tend to forget what I did to get there). See that makes no sense. I play the game for the people and the experiences, not just to level. You guys make it special, and something I will continue to do. I will probably play this game as long as you guys are here to have me. That's because friends are the best thing to have in life, and I have more than I can fathom right here.

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 Post subject:
New postPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:47 am 
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i need a tissue .. .

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 Post subject:
New postPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:28 pm 
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Not only can he thread jack, he can do it with heart.

That was a good read, and all of it very true. Keep being you, guild.

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 Post subject:
New postPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:16 am 
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yeah Grnash has that certain quality needed for putting *jack* into threads. then again there are a few that he adds a little bit of *Rainha* and BOOM goes the Dynamite :twisted:

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 Post subject:
New postPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:03 pm 
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Please re-read the first post.

Thank you.


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 Post subject:
New postPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:16 pm 
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yeah, after 5 months, a re-fresher is always needed. still a great read :wink:

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