Alright, so today we want to examine another aspect of creating and managing a guild, the guild bank. This is probably the single biggest pain I have as a guild leader. Why? Glad you asked, it is simply because it takes time to keep the bank organized and it takes an even greater amount of time to monitor the bank to make sure members are not abusing the bank. So here are a couple things I have learned that may or may not assist you.
1. If you take from the bank, then give to the bank.
This is my biggest pet peave. I am probably more strict on this particular rule than anything else for my guild simply because I purchased all of the guild tabs using my funds, funded the guild bank originally with funds, and placed a ton of materials, equipment, and consumables in there. For a long time I took it as an insult when individuals would take from the bank and never return anything to the bank. So my recemendation here is to quickly confront the individual and ask them politely to return the items or replace them with something of equal value. Make sure to state equal value, otherwise you will be overloaded on linnen bandages.
2. Do not place your own inventory in the bank.
When you establish the bank, do not be the only person to contribute, otherwise just like I did, you will take everything personal. Make a guild effort. That is one mistake I wish I could go back and undo. I wish I would have made the creation of the guild bank the responsibility of the guild, but I was too eager and took it upon myself and placed a lot of higher priced items in there believing that members would not abuse the structure or rules of the bank. This will just help save you aggrevation.
3. Remember to set restrictions on your ranks ability to use the bank.
Under your guild management options, do not forget to go in and establish what ranks have access. One thing we use to do was restrict certain tabs from lower ranked members. As they stayed with the guild and became more reliable they would increase in rank and be able to access the other tabs. We have since changed this structure. All new members do not receive access. Now as the members progress in rank they simply earn the ability to withdraw an extra stack and a little more gold. This helps keep safe the contents of the bank and quickly allows you to spot someone who is just draining items and not replenishing anything.
4. Do not make exceptions for anyone, including yourself.
It is important to hold the rules of your bank no matter what. Do not expect to yell at someone for withdrawing items from the guild bank, if you are doing the same and also not replacing those items. It is important to lead by example (a lesson I am sure by now you have learned).
5. Limit the amount of repair bills the guild bank will recover.
The quickest way to drain a guild bank is by allowing members to repair on the tab of the guild bank. I quickly learned this one and adjusted the amount of gold that could be withdrawn/used to repair. If you have a raid that goes bad and have ten people take 20 gold for repairs, that is a little over the top. I have set the limit for the majority of our ranks at 5 gold. This allows them enough gold to repair for simple things such as questing or doing dailies.
6. Monitor the money and inventory logs.
It is important that when you have a guild bank you keep a close eye on the logs that are made available to you. These will let you see what activity is occurring and who may or may not be a repeat offender. The worst thing is to pay no attention and end up finding that member X has slowly been draining the guild bank and that you did not catch it because you are a self sufficient person.
Again, these are just some simple things to do to ensure that your guild continues to grow and become successful. If you are a smaller group of individuals, then you will have no worries. If you are a larger guild, then you may consider selecting an officer to assist with the management of the guild bank. There are multiple ways to handle the banks, but do make sure to monitor the bank because unfortunately people are not always honest and some may see no wrong in constantly taking, but never contributing.
Alright, so by now we have managed to name our guild, figure out how we want to structure the guild, and managed to figure out how many officers we need. Seems like we are heading in the right direction right? Wait, if the officers are to lead someone, then I guess that means that we need more people in the guild! So how in the world do we recruit? That is a great question, which really has a multitude of answers. I think the way to approach it will depend on what your long term goals for the guild are. Are you going for the laidback approach? Are you going to be hardcore raiding? Do you aspire to be the most hated PVP guild?
There is a lot of things to consider when thinking about recruiting members. Those are just some of the questions that you will need to answer. Hopefully by this point of your guild development, some of those answers will already be known. A good majority of those should have been answered when the guild was created. At least if you put some thought into it. For the sake of the series, we are going to assume that you have been developing your guild and answering these questions all along. So now let's look at some ideas for recruitment. I am going to take them in no particular order, as the "different strokes for different folks" mentality applies here.
1. Spam the trade channel!
I absolutely dispise this method. I hate when I am sitting in a major city trying to list auctions or whatever, and all I see is some person spamming:
" is looking for new members. We are a laid back guild with tabard, 3 bank tabs, and a website. If you want to join a laid back guild then we are right for you! Pst me!"
" is currently recruiting for 25 man raids. Must be geared and know the fights. Scrubs need not apply."
This stuff just drives me up the wall. It is annoying, I would rather see the horrible murloc references or other attempts at humor than this. I always wonder what kind of people do these guilds recruit? I imagine, that they end up getting the people who just jump from one guild to the next. Sure they come in all excited and talking a big game, but then something "upsets" them and they jump to the next guild who is currently spamming the channels. Needless to say, at this point, I will not allow my guild to do this. I just think you do not get great members by the endless spam on trade channel.
2. Recruit your friends!
I am a huge supporter of those who recruit their friends (both in-game and real life). I think it does a couple things for both the players and the guild. For the players, it puts someone in the guild who you know that you can rely on for help. I think back to how MAS started and it grew from a bunch of friends who played. Those friends recruited friends and it continue to grow using this method. For the guild, it gives a sense of family. I always laugh about my guild being a disfunctional family, but in truth, there is a sense of closeness in the guild, even with the newer members who have come in later. I think that when you recruite friends it works out all the way around and the benefits are there for everyone. I definitely mark this as a win-win situation. We must though accept that, eventually, we will run out of friends to recruit. So while this method is great, it will likely not get you running 25 man content.
3. The random recruit from trade channel!
Alright, I have seen several members join our guild simply because they were spamming on the trade channel that they were looking for a guild. To be honest, most of those members left the guild as soon as they saw spamming that they were looking for well geared members. I still allow our guild to recruit those people who are looking for a guild and we attempt to gear them and help them see the content that they want to, but I am very hesitant in relying on them to be in the guild for the long hall. Once again, I am not in favor of this method, but I am not opposed to it either.
This is a scary one. When two guild merge, more often than not, it seems that they never tend to stay a strong guild for very long. I think the main reason you see this happen is that there is one guild which will usually be sustainable and growing and one guild that will be showing some cracks in its foundation. The cracks are typically hidden from the stronger guild and unless the leadership asks the right questions, they take on some serious issues. Other times you get some good people but there are too strong of wills between the two guilds and personalities clash resulting in solid members from both guild leaving and in the end, the guild has no more members than it started out with. The rarest case is the two guilds merge successfully and the guild continues on as a solid group of players. I would say that this is a viable option, but guild leadership must be very careful and thorough in the questions that they ask to the other guilds leadership. After all, you want it to be a good fit for all parties involved.
5. Recruitment through PUGs!
If you have read my blogs for a while, you will probably caught the underlying hint that I dispise PUGs; however, in the event of recruiting, a PUG is a great way to gain new members. You get the inside scoop on how these individuals play and carry theirselves in a group. This is my favorite way to gain new members. So far, this has been a great experience for our guild. Some of the best players that we have gained, has come through the method of recruiting out of a PUG. I would definitely consider this and promote it for your members to look for potential recruits from the groups they run with.
In closing , these five methods are the basic options you have for recruiting. All of them can help you to increase your guild members, but keep in mind that you want to get quality people in your guild. Definitely do not be afraid to ask new members questions and get a feel for them. Sometimes it may be better to pass on someone than get a rotten egg to stink up your guild.
One of the first things I found, as the guild grew, was that I needed assistance with the day to day running of the guild. The thing I was unsure of was exactly how and who to promote to officer positions. When the guild was originally established the officers were my friends that I worked with, but when the guild started growing, some of those same individuals no longer played and there was other members who were highly active. This left me with a great questions.
How many officers do I need?
The first thing you learn, when running a guild, is that even though people are playing a game, they tend to play at different levels of intensity. So the very first thing you have to do is decide how many officers do you need? This can be accomplished through a couple simple questions.
What type of guild are you desiring? PVP or PVE?
If you are going for PVP then you will want to appoint officers who will embody that aspect of your guild and also help in the organization of whatever type of PVP you plan to participate in. If you are big into battlegrounds, then looking at an officer to organize battleground groups and also keep track of participation would be a good thing. If you plan to do world PVP as well, such as raiding enemy towns, then you may want an officer who will take this responsibility on for you as well. Let's say that the guild grows and you want to organize arena teams, then why not have an officer who has the sole responsibility of arranging members based on skill and equipment? So there are three officer positions that you can have.
If you prefer to become a PVE guild then taylor your officers to those needs. Most guilds that raid will establish a raid leader. This is a pretty important position to establish as this officer will be responsible for several things such as selecting members for raids, checking gear for those members who wish to go, organizing and scheduling raids, and also learning the raids and knowing the strategies that prove successful. (On a side note, this officer may wish to have raid assistants who will help with these areas.) If you have a leveling guild, then perhaps having an officer who coordinates instance runs could be a useful tool.
The most important part of having officers is to make sure they are doing something and that they contribute to the guild rather than hurt your guild. If you have an officer in charge of instances but you see members constantly requesting runs, perhaps you will need to have a side bar with the officer to inquire why there is nothing scheduled? Those are not fun conversations for anyone, but if you have a goal you must hold your officers accountable. This also led me to ask another question.
Who deserves to be an officer?
This is even a harder question to answer than how many officers do we need? The trick to this is look at your guild roster. Ask yourself this question. If I needed help to do this task, who would step up? That then will give you your answer for basic things. The problem you run into here is going to be that what if you have a level 80 and level 65 who you feel would both equally do the job, then what do you do? Flip a coin! No, that would not really be beneficial. May be funny, but definitely will not help you out. If this situation arises, ask yourself what the officer position will be in charge of. If you are trying to fill a raid leader position, then how can a 65 perform this job when the vast majority of the raids are going to be 70 or higher? That answers that question, by default the 80 would be the right choice for the officer. However, what if it was something like an officer in charge of organizing instance runs? There is a lot of content that a 65 could have knowledge of. This would be a decision then based on who has more experience with the game.
So great, now we have officers! What the hell do I (the guild leader) do?
Well, just sit back and relax. Have a drink and watch the growth! Yeah right, that is not going to be the case. Dealing with your officers is even more difficult than just selecting them. You have to set goals for the officers to achieve. The trick is the fact that this game is voluntary, so how do you motivate someone to meet a goal? Well, the approach I have taken is trying to get the officers to set their own goals. The success rate at this point is somewhat horrible. Sure we have had officers do some things, but it is amazing how much more complaining they do rather than actually working to improve whatever area they are in charge of. So what do we do in a situation like this? We reevaluate how to motivate these officers. Remember that each person is different and what makes them tick is also different. So try different approaches. Some officers may just need you to step in and tell them what the goal is. Other officers may be just lazy. This then becomes a more serious issue that you will need to deal with at a later time. Some officers may just need you to step in and give them the "encouragement speach" to help motivate them. Whatever the situation is, you will ultimately still be the guild leader and have to monitor these officers and make sure that they do their job.
What happens if my officers just do not do the job?
Well, if it appears you have a glory hound who simply wants to have a title, but do no work whatsoever, then you will need to deal with this officer in a manner that will not self destruct your guild. Remember that even though the officer may not be working out great, you do not want to hurt the relationship with someone who was a great member of the guild, but a lackluster performer as an officer. So how do you accomplish this? I always prefer a straight forward approach. Many people in my guild refer to me as being an ass about stuff, but in reality I am very honest and open. I dispise any sort of guild drama and will cut it at the root of the cause, so the last thing I want to do is create some sort of drama by just doing a demotion and moving on. Well, that is all good you are thinking, but you didn't answer the question, what do we do? It is simple really.........COMMUNICATE.
Get the officer off on a one-on-one chat and ask them if there is something that is preventing them from doing their job. A lot of times people may not know what the hell they are suppose to do and do not want to ask out of fear of being rediculed for not knowing. Actually, this has proven true 99.9% of the time I have had to speak with my officers. What about the other 0.1% of the time? Well, that usually falls back to someone being lazy or just not caring about the position. For those rare occassions, I simply state what the position should be doing and ask if they are going to start doing this. If they respond positive to the satisfaction of what I am looking for, then I will give them some ideas on what to do and give them a timeframe to get this done. However, if they give a flip answer or seem to not care then I will explain the thought process behind my decision to demote them and after coming to an understanding (notice I said understanding, not agreance) I will then proceed to demote them and repost the position.
Okay, you said post, what do you mean by this?
Well, that is a great question, but we will answer this in a later post. It is definitely worthy of a deeper look. So we have so far seen the reason why my guild was founded, we have learned about the thought process behind naming a guild and the importance of it, we have seen that putting together a ranking structure is a good idea, and now we have added in some answers on selecting officers. Tomorrow we will answer the question regarding "posting" for positions as well as other information.
So yesterday we did a quick post on naming a guild. I honestly believe that naming a guild is such an important aspect and mentioned briefly that the rank of our guilds are based on business models. So how does that look? Well, let me show you:
Chairman - Guild Leader
Executive Board - Top ranking officers such as Raid Leader for example
Recruiter - Alts of the Chairman and the Executive Board
Group Lead - Officers in charge of class development
Division Lead - Assistants to the ranking officers. Sometimes given special assignments.
Team Lead - Alts of the Group Lead and Division Lead
CSS* - Senior members who show up and participate
Help Desk - Members who have been in guild for a while and demonstrated loyalty to guild
Associate - Member in good standing
New Hire - New recruit
So, how do you personalize the rank structure? That is a tough question, but if you put the time in to name your guild, then use that information to help select your rank structure.
One thing you want to keep in mind also when creating your rank structure is that you do not want to have too many ranks. While there are a lot of ranks for MAS, we have a larger group of members now and the structure works well to help maintain order within the guild. So another aspect is to ask how many ranks do you need? If you are starting out from scratch you probably would only need three to four ranks. I say this simply because it is very difficult to track who is performing within the guild and who deserves a rank promotion. If you only have ten to twenty people, a large bulky rank system may discourage those members and scare them away, yet you want to have a rank or two to use for promotions.
If you take a close look at those ranks listed above you will notice three of them are pretty useless. I say useless since as a new recruit you will not have a rank and often times guilds will not give you full priviledges until you meet certain requirements. The Recruiter and Team Lead ranks for MAS simply are a way to ensure that our officers are not holding multiple positions. Those ranks do not even have the abilities of the actual officer ranks. They simply let the rest of the guild know what level of officers are on and available. Even the Division Lead rank is limitted in its use, but it is there for those senior members who need to feel like there is room for promotion. So the real ranks are Associate, Help Desk, CSS, Group Lead, and Executive Board. So let's look at those particular ranks and their purpose.
Just about all of our members make it to the rank of Associate. For our guild we simply request members to register at our forums for this rank. Thus we ensure guild members know where to find the information of what is going on in the guild. The rank also grants access to the guild bank. Help Desk rank is for those members who have been with us for a while and have been loyal to the guild. This rank also gives those members a little more ability to withdraw from the guild bank as well. The CSS position is a little less common as it usually is held for members who show up and support the guild. These are veteran members who know what is expected and behave accordingly. The Group Lead is an officer position that carries a lot of responsibility in that we look for those individuals to help their class develop. This is not an easy thing but these officers take pride in knowing the ins and outs of their classes. The Executive Board is the right hand of the Chairman. They each have a wide range of responsibilities and are held accountable to achieving their goals.
So you can see that the rank structure used for MAS is somewhat large, but has specific purposes. So the first thing is to make your rank structure line up with the name of your guild. Then you want to find the right number of guild ranks. Keep in mind that you can go back and add additional ranks into the structure as your guild grows. MAS did not start out with the full range of ranks, but was held to just a couple. As the guild grew, so too did the structure. The thing is consistancy. You want to maintain a consistancy with everything that you do within the guild. This instills a sense of guild members feeling in the know of who to seek out for assistance and also maintains order for your guild. If you wrap it all together to line up with the name of the guild, it just makes things seem that much smoother.
*CSS - Client Satisfaction Specialist (I always have new members ask, so figured I would answer it here.)
Alright, so perhaps you did not start a guild with a group of friends from your work and therefor you do not have any clue what to name your guild. So what do you do? I honestly hate when I see stupid guild names that are cheap ripoffs of other guild names or movies. I think a guild name should be clever. For example, I saw one person who had a Tauren Druid named Skim in a guild called Milk. While I do not picture there having been a large amount of members in that guild, it was original and worked for that person.
On a more serious note, the name of your guild is going to be something you are stuck with unless you want to get a bunch of people to sign another charter and go through the process of changing over for the sake of a name. So what I would suggest is pick a name that sets the tone for what you will be about. For instance, my guilds are named Mass Affluent Slayers and First Bank of Silvermoon. Let's look at the Mass Affluent Slayers first.
The guild started as a joke. None of us planned on it being anything special. It was simply a place to go to and have a good time. We did, however, debate on the name and chose the Mass Affluent because of the function of our business, but the Slayers we chose because the majority of us loved the PVP aspect of playing WoW. So we combined those two ideas and created Mass Affluent Slayers. In retrospect, the First Bank of Silvermoon was created as a way to get more bank tabs at a cheaper cost. I simply explained what I was wanting to accomplish and selected the officers to offer up one alt to sign the charter and we created a guild soley for the purpose of storing materials and equipment at a cheaper price. I took it one step further and moved all my auction house characters there as well. Thus the name First Bank of Silvermoon represented what we needed to achieve with this particular guild.
There is more to the name of the guild though than just a purpose. We built the whole idea of our ranks around the thought of the guilds being based on business models. So again, the name of the guild will play an even bigger role in deciding other aspects of the guild as well. So in closing, I cannot tell you what to name your guild, but do keep in mind that the guild will represent you and your friends and that if someone asks why you named a guild something, then the answer will have some meaning to it other than "it was cool at the time".
Alright, I have been debating on doing a series about guild structure and maintenance for some time. I honestly was going to ignore the topic because it is so subjective, but then I started thinking about it a little more and decided that there is some good information that I can pass on as someone who created a guild and then had to figure out what the hell I was suppose to do with the guild. So for the next few days I am going to cover a variety of topics from simple structure to how to motivate people to achieve a common goal for the guild. There is a lot of information and I would encourage anyone who has ever had a question about why a decision was or was not made to read this series. Perhaps you will gain some insight into the thought processes that guild leadership has to go through.
I do want to give my background and the information for the founding of my guild as an introduction of sorts. It has been a long couple of years to be honest. I started playing World of Warcraft, a short time before Burning Crusade came out. I had a lot of experience from EQ and FF MMORPG series. At the time that I started playing I was working for a large financial company in a group that dealt with individuals who earned $100,000 per year, or better known as the Mass Affluent segment of the financial industry. At the time I was just a common customer service associate that dealt with a wide array of issues and concerns. I had made friends with a couple of guys who every day came in to work laughing about a game they all played. I would sit there and listen and laugh some with them, but tried my hardest to avoid jumping back into playing another online game. Well, time wore me down and I bought into the game and loved every second of it.
My coworkers/friends got me into their guild, which at the time was a decent sized guild that was pretty active. I leveled my Paladin (the first character on their server) and was enjoying life in the game. Well, as I started to progress into the mid forties, I had recruited other people at work to play the game. We had actually become quite large subgroup in the guild and we often would joke about creating a guild for our alts where we could laugh about things from work and more personal stuff that the other guild members might not get. Well, I took it on myself to get the guild charter and establish the guild. It was a great little place to go and laugh and talk.
I honestly do not know the time frame of when the guild was established, but I would say that it has been around for about two years now. At any rate, one day I logged onto the main guild and noticed that there were a lot of new members. That particular guild had merged with another guild in hopes of growing numbers to run the content from Burning Crusade, at least I guess this as there was no real communication about this to me (maybe to other more active members). A short while later there was yet another merger. This one seemed to be a little rough and all members who did not have a certain level were kicked from the guild. My Paladin was high enough to where I was left but several of my friends had been kicked and a lot of my alts. I got together with the core of the players and we decided to just move our mains into the "joke" guild until we decided what to do.
Well, to be honest we just decided to stay in Mass Affluent Slayers and make the most of the guild. During this time we recruited a couple people here and there. It was mostly people we knew or had ran content with for a long time. We probably had maybe ten or twelve people who were on and off during that time frame. A little over a year ago my wife decided she wanted to play because she found it interesting. I hesitantly got her an account and she created herself a Paladin as well. She was a regular recruiter. She brought in several great members who in turn brought in several great members. It was during this time frame that we saw a lot of growth. We had people who transfered characters from other servers to our server just to play with their friends because they enjoyed the guild as a whole.
This of course is a good situation but also put me in a great state of not having the first clue of what to do with this guild that started as a joke, but was now becoming something of a serious guild. We had members who were well geared, knew the content, had experience in both PVP and PVE, and we had a solid group of people.
What the hell had I created?
And this is where the series will kick off at. See everyone tomorrow!
Why in the hell are there Dranai Death Knights?
From a historic perspective, the Dranai arrived after the whole Arthas event and were not present during the turning of the Death Knights. Further support for my question is that when you do the questlines for the Death Knight, it is set in the past.
Sure for the gameplay standpoint, you want people to be able to create characters that they want to play but come on, some sort of explanation would be good. Did the space gypsies send scouts to Azeroth and they were turned because they gave up hope and became broken?
Well, that is all that I had in my mind today. Pretty random but I believe it does deserve some sort of answer.