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Guild Building Ideas Please

myrrhbear's Avatar

06.29.2012 , 11:30 AM | #1
HI. I'm working on developing ideas for how to structure and build a new guild.

Over several years of playing MMOs, and a number of different guilds/kinships, I have had lots of opportunity to see what seems to help make a community strong and happy, and what seems to cause harm. You come across all sorts of abuses of power or authority; unjust ways of enforcing rules; often a lack of defined rules to begin with; different standards and repercussions for those with different degrees of authority; unilateral decisions; poor management of conflict, etc...

I'd very much like to hear from people what they have learned, in terms of how to address any or all of the above issues, or others they've seen come up, and what seems to work, and not work for them. One thing I wonder about in particular is what is a fair and constructive way to handle breaches in conduct; especially ways to respond other than /kicked.

Feel free to post your guild's rules here, and /or charter, and anything else you think is relevant to learning to build an online community that is friendly, and fair, and which has mature ways of responding to the inevitable interpersonal challenges etc...
Who's scruffy looking?

corvuscorvus's Avatar

06.29.2012 , 11:52 AM | #2
You're welcome to swing by our forums to look at our policies, and other information in the General section:
(pardon our mess; we're in the middle of revising those to reflect the new reality of being a multi-title community.)

You can also check out the article that featured us on June 20th; I go over some of what you're asking:
Major Snarl, Commando Trooper, ID# BR549-DNOB07, reporting for duty SIR!! <The Incredibles> The Bastion-US

Scorpienne's Avatar

06.29.2012 , 02:31 PM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by myrrhbear View Post
I'd very much like to hear from people what they have learned.
Okay, so I'm a environmental consultant IRL, and I'll tell you something... I run my guild kinda the same way my office works. Stay focussed and professional. Communicate clearly. Have appropriate expectations.

Figure out *what* you want to do, and then do it. If you don't know where you're going, you have no chance of getting there, so pick a goal and move towards it. Frequent dramatic RP. Excellence in endgame raiding. High ranked PvP. Hanging out in open world PvP areas and runing people's day. Light RP. Themed guild RP (all Jedi guild with Jedi RP, for instance). Socialize. Meet IRL. Support one particular sociopolitical group (LGBT guild, Latin guild, religious based guild). All of these things (and more) are good. Just pick one or two and keep that in mind.

Only accept good people. You can find people to do the job, that's easy. Finding people who can do the job and don't make you and each other crazy, that's hard. The *best* way to deal with behavior problems is to not have them. The best way to not have behavior problems is to recruit good people. My primary goal behind recruiting is NOT to get the highest level characters or the ones with the best gear or the ones with the most experience or ability. My goal with new recruits is that I am looking for people that I *want* to be trapped in a flashpoint with at 1 am, even if I'm tired. People I *want* to spend 16 hours questing with them on Taris. Go for "nice" people and you can train them to be "good" and you can grind for gear with time.

Communicate clearly and professionally. My job has an absentee policy, so does my guild. My job has a behavior policy, so does my guild. My job has professional resources in easily accessible locations telling me what my company expects from me, so does my guild.

Lead gently and clearly. Some will disagree with me on this point, and that's cool - we each do things differently and there are different paths to success. In my experience, gamers do not respond well to command-and-control leadership styles. If you ORDER a gamer to do something and to DO WHAT I TELL YOU that gamer is likely to do the exact opposite (scientists are also kinda like this). So, in my opinion, you're better off asking people nicely to do things, with the appropriate pleases and thank yous than ordering them to do something. You're better off leading by example than by yelling at people. However, you can't ask them to read your mind! If you politely and clearly ask people to do things *using your words*, they're more than likely to oblige you. You also can't micromanage gamers 1) life's too short and 2) they don't like it. Every character is a unique snowflake and that's the cool thing about these kinda games.

Don't take yourself too seriously. There are a lot of guilds out there called House Herpaderp, or the Cult of Herpaderp, or Herpaderp's Raiders, or the Order of Herpaderp where Herpaderp is the the guild leader's character or legacy or username. In my opinion and experience (your mileage may vary) that leads to a cult of personality where the guild is about the guildleader. My philosophy is that the GL and officers are being altruistic and volunteering to do what is needed to support the guild and enhance people's gameplay. The guild is here to serve the players. Other guilds are run the completely opposite way and they are fabulously successful, so this is more of a choice of style. One way is not inherently better than the other. However, if you at least KNOW what kind of guild you want to run and communicate that clearly to people who want to join, then it's all good.

Grow more leaders. You might burn out. Your officers might burn out. Or get kidnapped by aliens. Or move to Antartica. Or decide to go on a six-month religious pilgrimage. Or you or your partner might get pregnant with sextuplets. All of these things will wreck you as a GL. Therefore, you must constantly grow more leaders. Encourage and train the regular Joes of your guild to lead events, lead raids, lead ops groups. Teach them the ropes of the game *and* how to manage people and assess recruits. They might be *horrible* at first, but stick with it and teach them to lead. It makes them more invested in your guild, it lightens the load on you and your officers, and it gives you more capable hands to rely on when needed.

Simplify where possible. Ironic coming from a wall of text! Make sure you have TL;DR summaries and use your headlines to make it easy on your people. You'll notice if you only read the bold white headlines, you get most of what I'm trying to say. My guild has only 3 rules, be nice, be here, be active. We're pretty proud of the fact that we can sum up the important things about the guild in 6 words.

A lot of your original problems such as "abuses of power or authority; unjust ways of enforcing rules; ...a lack of defined rules to begin with; different standards and repercussions for those with different degrees of authority; unilateral decisions; poor management of conflict" are the result of poor leadership. Some people are great players, nice people, skilled PvPers, charismatic, fun to be around, or have awesome characters, but just don't lead well. If you don't lead well, or don't have time, then don't run a guild. If you're in a guild and the leadership is bad, and you don't like it, then leave. I'm not sure how to deal with those horrors, other than to steer clear of them.

You mentioned about looking for a "fair and constructive way to handle breaches in conduct". How does your job handle breaches in conduct? Or your school? Or your church or basketball team? There are a lot of models and there's a lot of room between ignoring problems and /gkick. Part of it depends on severity and intent and the response of the person with the problem.

External behavior problems are terrfying. You do *not* want to get the reputation of being a guild full of jerks. That will ruin your guild. About three days after launch, one of my guild members was extremely rude to members of another guild, in public, while they were recording a video of their guild killing a world boss. Fortunately, the other GL knew me and came to me and asked what was up. I asked my guildie what her side of the story was. She was angry and irrational and unapologetic. I asked her to leave. Another time one of my guildies accidentally messed something up for another guild, and came squealing to me to try to find this other guild and appologize. The moral of the story here is that we all make mistakes. We are human and imperfect and we screw up. If you own up your mistake and apologise like an adult, then good people are generally willing to cut you some slack.

Internal behavior problems are a little more manageable, but require work, patience, and tact. If someone is being malicious or underhanded, then they're out. Life is too short and my game hours are too few to deal with these people. If you have people that are not liked or not trusted in your guild then they shouldn't *be* in your guild. It's like why my boss trusts my expense reports - if he didn't trust me, he should fire me and hire someone he does trust. Another problem occurs if someone is well-meaning but is annoying. For instance, that guy that is always telling other people how to play their characters. He's trying to help, but man, does it make people crazy. Or the guy who swears too much in Mumble. Or the guy that is late to everything and makes people wait on him. At that point, I do like my office does. It's a verbal warning to stop it (accompanied by helpful tips on how to stop it), a written warning to stop it (accompanied by a person to work with you to help you stop it), and then a boot. Usually, most of these folks are stunned to learn that they are annoying, and they try really hard to stop doing that thing, whatever it was.

For what it's worth, if you're looking for how the Thirteenth Legion rolls...

Expected Behavior and Code of Conduct

Etiquette and Looting

Role Playing in SWTOR - Some guidelines and advice

Character and Usernames in Star Wars The Old Republic

How to find a guild (beyond just my guild, but thoughts on how people find guilds)

Some advice on recruiting for your guild.