Guilds

Bronzebeard Horde-Side Guilds That Raid

While researching how other guilds on my server go about their application process, I made a point of checking out what the guilds above and below us on guildprogress asked of their applicants. As a result, I came up with a good list of guilds that raid, which I present for you here.

  • Sassafrass
    Consistently the most progressed guild horde-side. Their News page sports a screenshot of their heroic-25 Twin Valks kill.
  • Denied
    A solid #2 on the ToC-25 achievements. However, there has been lots of guild attrition lately, with a number of their members joining other casual raiding guilds on the server.
  • Ascendance
    Third on the ToC-25 progression list, but their homepage features a screenie of their Algalon kill, taken 3-weeks ago. Grats!
  • Ressurection
  • Relentless Few
  • More Chaos
  • Ominous
  • Inevitable
This list is a work in progress and will be added to as I find more guild website links. Interesting to note people talk a lot about how horde-side BB doesn't have a lot going on. But all of these guilds are ones ranked higher than our casual guild that raids. So it seems to me that although we don't have a bunch of guilds slugging it out for world firsts, folks are still keeping busy here.


Nothing Revives the Fun Like a Retro Raid

shadow priest in Al'ar's rom in Tempest Keep

If you had asked me a year ago if I'd like to go spend a few hours knocking back Lady Vashj and Kael, I would have told you to go die in a fire. Benn there. Done that. Never wanted to see it again on my druid.

But a year's absence makes the heart grow fonder for the BC instances. Somehow spurred on by our weekly For the Horde! runs momentum, we found ourselves itching for some retro raid action on a night when our 25-man composition wasn't right for working on the keepers in Ulduar. So, instead, we decided SSC and TK were due a visit.

It was fun to get to see these instances and soak up the ambiance. During all my at level forays to these raids, I healed on my druid, so my view of them was only the bits that peaked out from behind the 25 little health bars I fixated on. Who knew that TK actually had some nice music before those 4 packs of doom?

Now,  at 80, those trash packs that used to cause wipes were easily mind seared down as our paladin tanked them all. Lady Vashj was an easy one shot, while Lurker killed a good chunk of the raid since we didn't bother to clear all the trash and fought him with the nasty fish still in the water.

Kael, on the other hand, was a piece of funny business. You see, he's a loquacious fellow, and we tried to rush him along. And he didn't like it. He turned into a big ghosty stalker and followed raid members around in his room, taunting us with out inability to get past his bugged state. So, we had some folks kill themselves and summon us all outside so we could reset him and start over.

Our second time through, we took it easy on him, doing about half as much damage. We picked up those legendary weapons and marveled at how the stats for the ones we carry around now dwarf them. We killed him nice and slow, letting him give us his monologues. Big dress-up dork that I am, I was excited to get the tier chest token, which I turned in for the pretty Shroud of the Avatar robe. Now *that's* a pretty dress up outfit.

There's been talk of doing some more (guildies have recently done the AQs, Black Temple, and Mount Hyjal recently) and I'm in. It's nice to get to revisit some of this formerly challenging content in a fun and relaxed raid with many folks who've never gotten to see it before. A great way to spend a weekend day.


The Guild Application: Your Opportunity to Make a Good -- or Mediocre -- First Impression

Our guild is a casual guild that's made raiding progression. We have a good number of folks running around our server under our tag with reasonably shiny gear. And thus, we get a good number of unsolicited applications from people who don't know anyone in the guild. This has recently ranged anywhere from a couple to up to seven in any given week.

The original application was pretty general. And to be frank-- people did not take a lot of time answering questions like "What do you know about our guild? What do you bring with you if you join the guild." So, in light of most of the recent applicants wanting to raid, we revised the application to include more relevant questions in that vein, designed to actually helps us get to know the applicants a little better.

So far, it's been a mixed bag. We had an applicant answer the question regarding what raid content they'd completed with "..." Because we do coddle our applicants, asking them to complete questions they skip, for instance, instead of just rejecting incomplete applications, I replied that I would like to see an answer to that question since they were applying for end game raiding. The applicant, after that and another question, puffed up his chest, telling us it's "not like this was a job interview or something."

But that's where you're wrong, dear applicants. It is in fact a lot like a job application, or a first date even. When you don't take the time to complete our application, you're like a guy showing up for a date without having run a brush through his hair, wrinkled shirt half-tucked in who then hits me up for change for the parking meter. As someone who doesn't know you already, you come across as unprepared, not especially interested in making a good first impression, and sloppy. I suspect you might stand in red circles on the ground or run into clouds or accidentally pull the boss 3-times while we are buffing.

When people do not know you, you are your application. We can't peer inside your brain to see how funny you are and what a great player you've been so far. Your application is you making cocktail party small talk with the guild. And if you're not interested enough in us to do that, why would we want to invite you in to stay a while?

Yes, I do understand that not everyone is a master conversationalist. But if you can type well enough to play the game -- and to find a guild website -- you should be able to give filling out an application a good 10 minutes of your time. Because as the annoying slogan goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Be sure to make the most of it.

Further Reading on the Guild Application Process in this Blog


Care and Feeding of Your Guild Volunteers

Regardless if your guild calls them officers, council members, or suckers, all guilds have one special group of individuals in common -- volunteers. That's right. The guild leader? Volunteer. That officer you complain to after a rough night of raiding? Volunteer. Correctly identifying the folks who raise their hands to help make your guild a better place as volunteers is the first step towards keeping them -- and your guild -- happy.

To make sure we are starting from a common definition, Wikipedia defines Volunteering as the practice of people working on behalf of others without being motivated by financial or material gain. Volunteering generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life.Yes, there are power-mad individuals whose quest for an O slot was more about wielding the power of the gkick, but hopefully those folks are few and far between. I still like to think that most guild volunteers are motivated by pride in their guild and wanting to give back.

With that in mind, how can you ensure your well of volunteer spirit doesn't dry up?

Role Definition

One of the biggest reasons that a volunteer -- in WoW or in a RL capacity-- walks away from a volunteer opportunity is that the reality of how they are spending their time doesn't match up with what they thought the role was going to be like. This is often due to the volunteer not having a clear idea of what the role is for which they are volunteering, or what your expectations are as to what they will specifically be doing. If you are onboarding a new volunteer for a role you previously filled, then you should already have a good idea of what the role entails, and should be able to share that with the person prior to their committing to taking it on.

If your guild is taking on new volunteer roles, you have two ways to proceed:

  1. Brainstorm with your officer team upfront and come up with a solid draft of what you are looking for someone to do prior to soliciting folks to take on the role or;
  2. Come up with the general category and recruit folks who are willing to work through the definition process.

Having been a volunteer in both such situations, option 1 is probably the least painful route to go. This way, it's clear what you need from them. If you decide you'd rather allow an enthusiastic guildie the opportunity to help define their role, make sure you and your officer team are ready for non-emotionally, objectively evaluating new ideas. Because bringing in a new person to the mix is bound to introduce new ideas. And if you shoot down all your new recruit's ideas in one fell swoop, you are left with a deflated balloon where your formerly psyched guildie was standing.

Volunteer Recognition

No one wants to think their volunteering has gone unnoticed or unappreciated. No, I don't mean  you should be handing out superlative praise every time a volunteer logs on to ensure they feel appreciated. But it can be easy and motivating to work recognition into your guild's every day activities. For instance, when setting down a feast for the raid, thanking the individual who donated it. This seems like such a small and obvious gesture, but as a long-time raider who has handed out a ton of buff food over the years, I have to say it's less common than you might think.

Another form of recognition comes in the form of guild ranks. My guild, for instance, has a rank reserved for guild crafters. To be considered, you must have maxed out your profession's level, and applied for the position after attaining a small tenure in the guild.Those folks receive priority on rare pattern drops from raids, and agree to craft all items for guildies (with guildies supplying mats) without charging a crafting fee. It makes it easy for guildies to know whom to go to for crafting, while also recognizing folks for maximizing a profession and making time to share it with the guild.

Ongoing Evaluation

Have you ever had a job that you really liked, but after a while (be it a few months or a few years) it lost its zing? And you no longer put in 100%? You started to show up late, leave early, spend all day on twitter... until eventually you either left or they informed you your services were no longer needed? That apathy happens with guild volunteers too, and just like in the workplace, it can demotivate everyone around them.

No I am not advocating an annual review with 360 degree feedback from the guild. However, someone -- be it the guild leader or another officer -- does need to be taking notice of when a volunteer is getting burnt out or not living up to their role's expectations. When that situation has been identified, you have a few options:

  • Talk to the volunteer to find out what's up. Are they bored with the role or is something IRL interfering with their ability to keep up?
  • If they're bored, is there another role they'd like to take on?
  • If RL is getting in the way, consider giving them a "Sabbatical" -- giving their role to another volunteer for a predefined amount of time to give them some breathing room.
  • If it's volunteering in general that they are tired of, thank them graciously for their time, and look to the guild for a new volunteer to take their place
Keeping on top of these three basic volunteer management and motivation activities won't ensure a lack of drama in your guild but it should help you keep your volunteer ranks full of happy, enthusiastic guildies, helping make your guild a great place to play.


We're Not Friends

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"We're not friends. We're just online acquaintances."

This phrase, spat out over Vent in a mad GM rage, was one of the first hard lessons I learned playing WoW. It came from the mouth of the GM of what had been a fun friends and family guild that had some success with 10 man BC raiding, but was at loggerheads over an elephant in the room that went by the name of Our Main Tank Who Is Terrible But Since She is a Girl Our GM Has a Sort of Crush On We All Have to Compensate For It. For brevity, let's just call her Bad Tank. And in case you think I am being harsh, said tank could not stance dance (even after we all showed her how to do so via macro) so I did not get a Nightbane kill in Kara until I changed guilds. But I digress.

Our GM put us all in our place the night he flipped out. He made it clear that our roles in his life, as far as he was concerned, were interchangeable/replaceable cogs that allowed him to complete heroics and facilitate raiding. We would do as we were told or we could gtfo. We were not to confuse ourselves with having such an exalted status as that of friend. He did not give a crap about our opinions or feelings unless they were along the lines of how great a GM he was. And in this specific instance, he cared more about not hurting Bad Tank's feelings by replacing her with a more able tank on that fight than he cared about frustrating the rest of the guild. He lost three of his most competent raiders, but he was happier that way. Well, until Bad Tank stopped playing a week later to go horde with her new boyfriend. Cough.

His venomous assertion that we guildies were not his friends took me by surprise, to be frank. After our months of raiding together, hearing his tales of woe both job and girl related, I had started to think of him as a friend, not just some avatar I visited at my convenience when I wanted some new loot. Yes, I'd had fallings out with friends IRL before, but I'd never had someone say to me "we're not friends" with an undercurrent of superiority and arrogance.

The big lesson here of course is my perception of reality does not equal your or anyone else's perception of the same situation or place in time. And until someone gets a BFF tattoo with your name on it or mails you a gaily wrapped dragonling as a present, don't make any assumptions about your relationships with other people. Like my mom's smart ass boyfriend always said "You know what happens when you assume, right? You make an Ass out of U and Me." I have to remind myself of this unpleasant experience whenever the "but I thought we were friends..." phrase pops into my head in light of an interaction gone awry.

The crappy thing about this particular lesson is I've had to repeat it more than once, because it just never sinks in for me. I'm hard-headed and soft-hearted that way. If only the armory had a friend stat or achievement so you could more accurately gauge your friend faction with your online acquaintances. Maybe they'll add that to the guild functionality in the expansion.

;)

Until then, I'll keep on fighting the good fight, and keep on treating as friends the folks who make my online experience a fun way to spend my time. And as for those that turn out not to be friends after all? Well that is what ignore's for, and I've got a full 25 free spots I can fill, with 25 more after 3.3. You can't be on the same page with everyone all the time. All you can do is be true to yourself.

cheers.

You Can't Fix Everything, But It's Still Good of You to Try

Since the beginning of my WoW time, nearly 4 years ago now, I have recognized that I am never content to be a player who logs on, piddles around doing something for themselves for a half hour then logs off. I want to be part of the action. Part of contributing to making the guild a more fun and successful place. In short, I'm a player who gives a damn.

And sometimes, I wish I weren't that player.

Why? Because in my grass-is-always-greener scenario, I imagine how freeing it must be to selfishly evaluate every raiding opportunity from a "what's in it for me?" standpoint. To loot whatever you can equip (others needing an upgrade more than you do or having worked for it longer be damned.) How easy it is to never look at a process that's not going so well and think "I could help fix that." To be a happy grazing guild member, asking with faux innocence what the guild is going to do with the runed orbs in the gbank that you've noticed languishing there.

But try as I might, I am never that person.

Instead, I often raise my hand to help, usually with tasks raiding / recruitment/ profession related since that's where I have the most experience to offer. I've done class leading in multiple guilds, and framed recruitment strategies as well. The latter is a personal favorite since I did it IRL for a 5,000-member non profit for several years and understand what it takes to recruit and motivate volunteers to give their time and effort for the good of a greater whole. 

I don't volunteer IRL or in WoW to see my name in lights or to have folks toady to smooch my butt. I make these efforts because I find it to be very much personally rewarding to spend my time in a manner that creates something positive that is larger than myself -- be that an experience or an organization. I like to apply what I have learned from the game and IRL and help make a difference.

Sometimes, the passion I have around these topics has ruffled some feathers. But any organization that wants to do things they way they've always done them and that views a person raising their hand to help as them being pushy and not knowing their place is an organization in which I am a square peg being jammed into a round hole.

Good leaders are not afraid of change, and recognize the value of having passionate, enthusiastic helpers. I look for those types of organizations for my RL work and my WoW guilds. And I have successfully found them more times than not. But that hasn't been due to luck -- it's been to doing the self-reflection to recognize that is what I want in order to be happy, and being willing to take a leap of faith and to be willing, when necessary, to fold my cards and walk away.

Life is far too short to be unhappy. Or bored. Or wistfully dreaming about things working out differently.  And thus, I keep at it. Proposing new ideas, and trying to keep things moving in the right direction whenever I can. And not-so-secretly-hoping to see more folks get fired up and do the same.


Friday Five: Five Must-Dos When Starting to Recruit for Raids

  1. Set one or two raiders as the owners of the process. You don't want to have a sea of well-intended raid members spamming trade and every other general channel with a variety of messages about what your guild is looking for.
  2. Define what roles you are looking to fill. It's good to always include the clause that exceptional raiders of any spec are always welcome, but be clear as to what buffs/proficiencies your raid team actually needs to add.
  3. Communicate your requirements. Include your raiding times, the content you are clearing, and the minimum gear and player statistics you are looking for in your recruitment posts. Insert a question into your raider application that prompts applicants to show they understand those minimums and have evaluated themselves and do meet them.
  4. Create a plan and stick to it. Have your recruiters decide upon how often they will be posting recruitment listings, to where, and who is responsible. If the recruiter(s) can't keep the listing updated to reflect your guild's current needs and current progress, give the job to someone who can and will do so.
  5. Give the applicant the opportunity to shine. If you have a well constructed raid application, it should give the applicant the opportunity to show off some personality, while determining if they are a good fit for the guild and the raiding team. Avoid generic or too broad questions -- more often than not, applicants give stock non-answers if questions are not very specific.

These are all things I am keeping in mind on a personal level. Tryn and I have been given this assignment in support of our raid team, and are having a great time defining our recruitment goals and getting our plan together. Expect to hear more on this soon.

I love to learn through others' experiences as well, so if you have had particularly effective recruitment or evaluation strategies (or app'd to guilds who DIDN'T have this process down), please do share your stories in the comments.


Taking Attendance: Raid Signup Etiquette 101

Whenever a guild has a few raid instance on farm, it seems counter-intuitive, but inevitably happens-- raid attendance issues flair up. Raids that had folks offering up bribes to get into can't fill. Half a raid team no shows. Backups can't be spotted online by even the sharpest-eyed raid leader. But those fair-weather raiders should know that like an elephant, the raid leader never forgets the serial flakers or the altoholic naggers. So don't be one of them!

I'll give folks the benefit of the doubt. I've seen enough "it's only a game -- why so serious?" comments in forums over the years to realize some folks are just clueless as to how their behavior affects the other 9/24 people who sign up and show up for a raid ready to go. Thus, some food for thought.

Mains>Alts

You should be signing up for regular raids on your main. If your raid has a shortage of healers, for example, and have an alt who can comeptantly fill that role and who can meet the requirements, your raid leader may ask you to bring that character instead, in order to make the run happen.

Unless a run is flagged as an alt run, you should not be signing up your alt for it. Often, a raider whose main has gotten all the gear upgrades they wanted from the highest level raid currently on farm will start whining abut wanting to bring their alt. Or even pushing to have their alt be their new main. Please do not think your raid leaders and fellow raiders are idiots. This transparent behavior can turn even the mildest-mannered guildie into a seething flamebot.

If you really do want to switch raiding mains, keep these rules of thumb in mind:

  • Expansion time is an ideal time to make a main change. Often guilds have turnover around expansions which can leave specific classes and roles lacking.
  • If you do get permission to change your main, you should not expect they will be plugged into the raids you previously attended on the character you geared out if they do not fill the same roles or have the same level of gear.

Respect the Sanctity of the Signup

If you sign up for a raid and are slotted to attend, it is a reasonable expectation for your raid team to expect you to honor that signup. That said, if an emergency comes up, just let someone know (forum post, email, IM, twitter, carrier pigeon) so your raid team is not sitting around waiting 15-30 minutes wondering if/when you are going to show up. That's plain vanilla courtesy.

Things that do not constitute an emergency:

  • I need to go to the store to buy beer/cookies for the wife/new tires bb in 10 min
  • I went on a raid earlier today and got the piece of loot I wanted from tonight's raid so I am not going to bother to come
  • I got a better offer for another raid on a different toon so I am flaking
  • I am pouting about a comment someone made in the forums so I am taking my toys and going home

If your alt gets saved to a current raid the guild is running, that's fine. But if your main gets saved to one of the raids we are running, that you signed up for, people are going to be mad at you. Why? Because now your RL has to scramble to replace you. Once a roster is posted, those not included often make other plans, which can make it hard to fill that raid you signed up for.

When in Doubt, Sit it Out

When in doubt about whether or not you will be able to attend, don't sign up for a raid so folks won't plan on your helping to make it happen.This is the most basic DBAD rule there is in raiding. If you happen to be able to attend and a slot is still available -- great! If not, you don't have a raid team full of folks sticking pins into your avatar's voodoo doll. We call that a win-win.

Raid Start Time is not a Good AFK Time

At the raid start time, it is reasonably expected that you will be:

  • at the raid instance door waiting for an invitation
  • repaired and with repair money for the evening
  • prepared to stay until raid's end, or have notified a raid leader already that you need to leave at a specific time (bonus points for having a fill-in lined up for when you leave)
  • in possession of several hours worth of reagents for any buffs you may reasonably be expected to provide

Accepting a raid invitation then needing 10 min AFK to go eat dinner, or walk the dog, or go buy cigarettes is not usually met with enthusiasm. This may seem obvious, gentle reader, but these are true life examples from raids past.

No raid is a Herculean effort on the part of any one member. It is a true team effort. And to be successful, it requires everyone put forth their best efforts, understand your raid's expectations, and be aware of how their actions affect the rest of the team.

Happy raiding.


Addressing Growing Pains Before You Need a Splint

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With all the progress our casual guild has made over the past few months, it was inevitable we would have some growing pains. If you've ever been a part of a guild that was slowly but surely progressing into uncharted territory raiding-wise you've probably been through something similar:

  • Raid team has first half of raid on farm; previously disinterested guildies start signing up for farm night
  • A surge of new guild applicants all wanting to raid
  • As you near the final raid boss, the core raiding team members whom made the progress possible finds themselves losing rolls on major upgrades -- or on raid spots for that matter -- to folks who have attended one raid in three months
  • Forums drama ensues

A guild that lacks strong leadership or vision often crumbles in the midst of these sort of growing pains. Luckily for us, our thoughtful and inclusive officer team talked out these frustrations, and allowed us all as a guild to transform our vision of the guild's approach to end game raiding.

The officers, after taking in guild discussion, came back to the forums with proposals -- not mandates-- that they received additional feedback on. A primary issue they addressed was we were leaning heavily upon three guildies for all our raid leading and strategy. In addition to burning them ut, it gave some less frequent raiders a sense they could show up, go through the motions, loot, and profit. We needed more raiding team involvement in making the raids happen and to thus lead to better engagement (and ultimately, have a strong end game raid team ready for Icecrown Citadel, and to be fielding a strong 25 man raid of some sort in house.)

Not All Raiders Are Created Equal

The first major task that was undertaken was to evaluate the raiding performance of all our frequent raiders over the past few months. From that evaluation, we came up with 2 separate lists of raiders -- those ready for hard modes and the top tier of raiding instances, and those better suited for Ulduar and our "farm" raiding. These two lists also came with updated performance standards, which I am sharing here as I realize how much time it took to get a good SWAG going for them (and in some cases, we are still trying to nail down the numbers).

  • Trial of the Crusader/25
    Tanks: Uncrittable, Armor TBD, Health TBD
    Heals: 2400 Bonus Healing (unbuffed), 400 Mana Regen (while casting).
    DPS: 3000 dps
  • Trial of the Crusader/10
    Tanks: Uncrittable, Armor 24k, Health 31k (unbuffed)
    Heals: 2300 Bonus Healing (unbuffed), 400 Mana Regen (while casting).
    DPS: 2500 dps
  •  Ulduar
    Tanks: Uncrittable, Armor 23k, Health 28k (unbuffed)
    Heals: 2000 Bonus Healing (unbuffed), 250 Mana Regen (while casting).
    DPS: Day1: 2200 dps. Day 2: 2400 dps.

These numbers seem pretty readily attainable for anyone willing to put in the time. My newly faction-transferred elemental/resto shaman, who sat in some Naxx gear, unplayed, since January, is Ulduar ready after a few weeks of badges and ToC 5-man drops. And with her totems down she meets the ToC 10 healing minimums, which means that is within reach soon as well, were she to have been my raiding toon.

Get a Job

The second major component of our raiding revamp was to actively solicit more raid member involvement in planning and running the raids. Our initial list of proposed roles for the two tiers of raiding included:

  • Raid Scheduler
  • Raid Strategist
  • Raid Reporting
  • Raid Role Captain (i.e. Heal Lead, Tank Lead, DPS Lead)
  • Raid Recruiter
  • Loot Master
  • Raid Leaders

The final component of our changes is the introduction in the end game raids of EPGP points accrual and loot bidding. Taking into account compensating those heading into uncharted territory for a night of wiping, and making it less frequently possible that an occasional raider would attend a raid and scoop up the one item for which a core raider had been waiting.

Our approach isn't a cure-all for these issues, and won't work in a guild with officers whose sense of self-worth is tied to wielding their power over the raids. But for our passionate, engaged raiders, it's going to be a welcome change. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.


Rank and File: What Kind of Officer Ranks Does a Guild Need?

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Officer Ranks -- what do they mean in your guild? What should they mean? These two questions have been top of mind for me over the past week as our guild has been discussing a need for new ranks that reflect the hard work folks put in to make our raids successful, and to empower some of the new volunteer positions that are proposed to be filled. But it's clear even with the limited discussion thus far around ranks, that not everyone is in favor of adding a rank of officers to the mix with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

Given my past experiences with progression raiding, I found that to be surprising. When you have raid members who go above and beyond in fulfilling raid assistant roles, if they do not have an official rank that gives them some sort of authority, they are put in the position too many of us are put in at work -- trying to persuade others over whom we have no real influence to see things our way. And that can have limited success.

In my most progression-focused guild, in vanilla, we probably had what seemed like too many officers. There was the GL, the class officers, the raid officers,, and guild crafters for each profession. Additionally the main raid and the secondary raid had their own guild bank alts. But then again, that guild fronted 1 progression raid, 2-3 MC raids per week, 2 Ony runs per week, and often had 100+ members logged on at any one point over the weekend. They needed the officers just to keep things moving smoothly from an administrative perspective. The RL didn't want to be scheduling the 5-6 druids each week in addition to everything else he was doing.

I've been a class leader, in charge of picking druids for raids and coaching them on gear and their rotations. I've been the guild enchanter, tapped to DE (and usually ML) in every raid for 2 years. I've been a plain old Officer, in charge of recruiting ad raid readiness. And I've been an enforcer in a recurring ad hoc raid, inviting folks, helping keep things moving, and doling out potty break time.

Throughout my 4 years of playing WoW, has my Officer title affected how I play, or how much energy I put into improving myself and helping my guild? No. However, when I have worked my tushy off for my guild, and have just been expected to do so and seen Officers whose official duties seem to extend only to chatting in O, inviting people to the guild and shooting down any new idea brought to the officer council because it wasn't their own, that *has* made me unhappy, and even caused me to /gquit. 

Then there was the guild that had class officers and a swath of general officers. The class officers included a tree druid who outgeared me and healed, I kid you not, 50% of what I did as an officially (per armory) hybrid spec druid. A few months after I joined, they announced they were consolidating officers since the 25-man raid size didn't merit having so many officers. That's great, right? Except that it meant is the GL kept all his buddy officers and cut the rest of the slate free. And the really bad tree? She got to stay. Cronyism is the way of the world, including in guild officer politics, but it's still a disappointment no matter how you slice it.

So what's the right balance between enough officers and not enough? Should officers have clearly defined roles and responsibilities or just be responsible for broad governance? What's worked the best for your guild?


Creating a Guild Application With Some Oomph

In my almost 4 years of playing WoW, I’ve had occasion to read a number of applications that had widely varying degrees of success in providing folks with a picture of who I am and what I am looking for in a guild. Too few of the applications got to many of the core considerations that help a guild – an guild members—determine what makes a good fit. But all it takes is a little bit of reflection and a few minutes of editing to give your guild application a makeover to help it better present what the guild is looking for while helping screen for guildies who are a good fit.

The Basics

At a minimum, an application should always include:

  • What is your main character’s name, class, spec and level? Nip future drama in the bud by having a permanent record of what role the applicant said they wanted to fill as well as who their main character is.
  • What are your professions and their level? A max level character without any professions trained smells like eBay. If the professions are confusing (tailoring on a plat wearer) or far from completion, it merits a follow-up to determine why (i.e. do they lack follow-through, they are confused about armor proficiencies, etc.)
  • Please provide your armory link. Yes, you could go search for it yourself. This is one of those ease of the reviewer questions that also gets to the applicant’s ability and willingess to follow instructions and do a little something extra for the officers.
  • Why are you leaving/why did you leave your last guild? People almost always lie on this question, or at least soften up their reasons, but there is usually a kernel of truth to it. If you know anyone in their most recent guild, send a tell to inquire about this person.
  • Who do you know in the Guild? Follow-up with those named to see if they personally endorse the application.
  • If you don’t know anyone in the guild, what is prompting your application? This question goes beyond tracking whether your guild forum or Live Journal or WoW Insider recruitment posts are working. If someone noticed your nicely geared 80s hovering at Krasus’ Landing on your drakes and app’d because they want to get them some, you may want to consider that motive and how it fits in with your guild environment.
  • What is your RL age? Or, are you over the age of 18/21? I personally hate the "how old are you" question, but some variation of it is good to see if the applicant is in the same age bracket as your other players, or if your guild has an adults only policy, to see that they are (or at least are pretending) to be old enough to join.

Applicant’s Personal Play Style and Expectations

  • What level of content have you completed on your main character (i.e. highest level raid, heroics, etc.)? Always good to see how they describe their playing background, and to see how it stacks up to their armory. Ask me about the applicant who said they had done "all the raids" and "knew all the bosses."
  • What is your level of interest in running heroics? 10-man raids? 25-man raids? And which instances? You want to see an interest level in line with their experience, i.e. not a brand new 80 without heroics wanting in on ToC.
  • In general, describe your perfect day of playing WoW. How would you ideally spend 8 hours of playtime? A getting to know you question to ferret out if their interests lie in instancing, PvP, alts or what have you.
  • What are you looking for a guild to provide you with? If the answer is free repairs, free enchants, and T9 and that's not how your guild rolls, at least you found out now. Setting expectations on what the guild will do for its members is crucial at the applciation stage.
  • What skills, accomplishments or other assets would you bring to the guild if invited? This is their chance to strut their stuff and share their strengths and experience with the guild.

Your Guild’s Raiding and/or Grouping Expectations

  • For our raids, we have minimum requirements you must meet before being invited. Those minimums are here [link]. Do you meet our minimums for the content in which you are interested in participating? If not, how do you plan to gear up to meet them? If someone is a new 80, and wanting to raid ToC 10, unless they are a missing link you are motivated to gear up in Ulduar to fill that spot, you'd like to see a realistic gearing up plan, involving badges and a serious heroic grind to get them.
  • We require the following mods and tools for our raids [list]. Is there any reason you would not be able to use them? This question is to identify the stubborn, those who will never be on Vent, and the folks who have 2fps in a raid.
  • Our raiding days are YYYDAY StartTime-EndTime. How often do you think you would ideally be able to attend at those days/times? Don't hide away this information -- let folks evaluate at the application stage if your raid days and times will work for them or not.
  • We use the Suicide Kings/DKP/Loot Council/Roll distribution system for loot in our raids and 1 epic/1blue/Roll in groups. Would you agree to abide by that? You rarely see loot rules on the application but a lot of loot drama happens from new recruits who don't like the loot system and seem to have not known what they were getting into.

Guild Flavor

Most of the guild applications I've seen excel in the flavor questions. What I like about them is it makes it pretty easy for me to see if a guild is a place I'd fit in well. For instance, if the application asks about the weirdest pace I've had sex, and that is question #1 on the application, well, it's probably not the place for me.

Since I don't know your guild, I can't give you sample questions, but I can give you some ideas on where to start:

  • If most of your guildies share some other commonality or interest, ask about it
  • If there is a running joke in your guild that involves an either/or/would you rather, put it in the application
  • Have a question that has to do with your guild's name
  • Do you have any infamous current or past members? Have a question on them to

If you build a strong guild application, that reflects what you and your guild are looking for in new members, you greatly increase your chances of recruiting members who are a good fit -- and who stick.

Other Guild Management Entries in this Blog


Friday Five: Five Easy Ways to Give Back to Your Guild

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At the end of a busy week, it's easy to veg out at the computer playing baby alts or farming for pets. All worthwhile pursuits, mind you. But you could also just as easily take that chill out time and use it for the common good. Here are some ideas for ways to give back to your guild that can keep on giving:

  1. Make a list of all the rare patterns you have, including links out to the materials required for crafting them, and post it on your guild forums. 
  2. Clean out the excess fish/meat from your bank and use up some of the Dalaran Spices you've been hoarding and donate the resulting feasts and specialty foods to the guild bank.
  3. Drop your raid leader or GM a note to let them know you appreciate their time and efforts. You would be surprised how infrequently they receive a thank you rather than a wall of whining in their mailbox.
  4. Put your crafting professions to use and add some items to the guild bank: craft netherweave bags, gems, less expensive but still viable enchants, glyphs, or whatever common item you can make that folks need on an ongoing basis.
  5. Take some alts on a run through a lowbie instance. Leveling sucks! Be an alt's hero for the day by taking 15 minutes to run them through SFK/VC (or going on a regular Northrend dungeon run for that matter). This good karma may even come back to you some day.
What are some other ways you've given back to your guild?

10 Ways to Lose Friends and Annoy Guildies via Your Guild Forums

  1. Make frequent posts along the lines of: "You have to see this movie" and "click this link". At least 50% of the time it should lead to something NSFW.
  2. Never read anyone else's posts. Especially not before posting a link to several days old news and asking everyone what they think.
  3. Every time you can't connect to WoW, make a post. Be sure to also delete your WTF and WDB folders too while you're at it.
  4. When in doubt, disagree. Especially if you don't have any first-hand knowledge on the topic at hand. It's so much fun playing Devil's advocate.
  5. Repost strategy from Tank Spot, and class discussions/theorycrafting from Elitist Jerks without attribution. Nobody knows about those sites so it will totally make you seem so much more knowledgeable about the game.
  6. Ding 80 and immediately post a list of the gear you want and a sign up list for all the runs you need folks to tank/heal for you to obtain them. Bonus points if you schedule all the runs over the next 48 hours.
  7. Complain about your guild not being inclusive enough on their progression runs into a new instance. After the guild starts swapping everyone in/out to be more inclusive, complain about your guild's lack of progression. Rinse and repeat.
  8. Whenever another guildie posts a squee about attaining an in-game goal, comment about how lame that achievement is; alternatively, post about how you did it 3 years ago and it was so hard doing so barefoot, uphill and in the snow.
  9. Post revealing pictures of yourself in the "tell us about yourself" thread. Bonus points for linking to a live webcam.
  10. When you get in a disagreement with someone, screenshot the conversation, artfully cutting out the places where you acted like a douchebag, and post it to the forums, and proceed to engage in name calling. Officers especially love this. Be sure to use extra exclamation points!!!

BONUS TIP: If you lose a roll in a raid, be sure to post a post-mortum on why you really deserved said item and how it was unfair the other person got the item, and vaguely allude to /gquitting or not playing any more.

*-*-*-*

Yes, most of us have committed at least one of the above guild forum faux pas at one point or another. And usually guildies will forgive you. But if you are stepping in it by doing 1 or more of the above on a recurring basis, you may be that guy/girl that makes their guildies groan whenever they see your name in the posted by column. But you can reform yourself by taking 3 small steps:

  • Read your guild forums at least once per week. And skim through the posts prior to posting anything that involves the next Patch, Blizzard announcements, or data mined content.
  • Before you hit the submit button, read your comment out loud. Does it make logical sense? Are words spelled correctly?
  • Be honest: if someone wrote your comment in reply to something you posted, would you tell them to go frakk themselves? If so, save it for twitter or your blog or a snarky comment to a friend.
Happy Friday!


Pride

If you don't have pride in your guild, then why would you stay?

If you feel you are so much better than everyone else, then why don't you go?

Do you want a safe haven, where you can take as much as you want (from the gbank, help leveling alts, etc.) without anyone expecting you to give back?

The people in the guild who do give a damn will not stand idly by as you slam our guild's good name in a global chat channel as a means of inflating your own sense of self.

Shit talking happens. But to shit talk your own guild, in a channel that contains a bunch of them? Priceless. Simply, priceless.

I do hope you have the good sense to apologize to the guildies whom you offended. If not, have a nice day and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.


Time Off for Bad Behavior

I-stalks5 Tonight I witnessed absolutely the silliest /gquit I've seen in my 3 1/2 years of playing.

A healer in our 10 man Naxx run logged off in the middle of the raid. After a minute, she logged back on and /gquit. What was her reason? Because the run had wiped on the eyestalks.

Um, what?

No, the run did not wipe repeatedly on the eyestalks. They somehow wiped once.And this person.../gquit over it.

I have three small words for this person should I ever see her again: Grow. Up. Already.

Shit happens.

I can only imagine how such a person behaves IRL when someone in her life doesn't perform perfectly.

Ours is a fun and friendly guild. In the end, all you can truly say is good riddance, and goodnight.

(super cute GIF courtesy of [info]oftwominds)


Additional Points to Consider Before Changing Guilds

It’s amazing to me how many folks change guilds without doing the easiest, and possibly the most essential pre-guilding step: visiting their potential new guild's website. Hell, I have been in multiple guilds where the bulk of the members never registered with the website, or they visited it once to app and never went back. Don’t be that person!!

A quick trip to the guild website is a must for a variety of reasons:
1. It will have their events calendar and raiding schedule, and often their progression notes.
2. If it is a raiding guild, it will usually have their DKP rules or loot policy.
3. The posts viewable to the public will give you an overview of how the guild wants to portray itself to the server at large. If the site is raunchy and notes that having a good sense of humor is important, and you’re offended just reading their application, it’s probably not going to work out.

Continue reading "Additional Points to Consider Before Changing Guilds" »


Choosing the Right Guild – Pros/Cons to Consider Before Making the Leap

I've drafted a purely subjective pros/cons list, based entirely on my own personal experiences within these three types of guilds. As a disclaimer, I am a M-F, 40+ hour per week employed person, and have  both been a regular old member, a raider, and a raid class an guild officer. My experiences are not your experiences so your mileage may vary.

Continue reading "Choosing the Right Guild – Pros/Cons to Consider Before Making the Leap" »


My WoW State of the Union

In the three years I’ve been playing World of Warcraft, I’ve gone from a friends and family guild, to a casual raiding guild, to a hardcore raiding guild, back to a casual raiding guild, and, ultimately, back to a friends and family guild pre-Wrath, after getting burn-out from our casual raiding guild turning into 4-5 nights per week of raiding, led by an unpleasant/childish/manipulative raid leader who cowed the guild officers into turning a blind eye to his behavior in the name of progression above all else. Whew. Deep breath after that bear of a sentence.

And now, with two 80s decked out in the best crafted gear possible, plus heroic and some faction rewards gear…I am working on a third 80. And I’m itching to raid again.

Our casual guild was able to clear Kara each week, so we’d hoped that momentum would carry through into Wrath, so we could progress slowly through Wrath 10-man content with a group of fun, friendly folks. But that is not what happened, unfortunately.

The friend who joined the guild with us hit 80 first, followed by myself and my significant other. After a month, we had 2 other 80s in the guild, for five total. By the New Year, we had a couple of 78s, another 80, and my SO and I had our second 80s. You can see where this is headed.

Overall, there was a lack of concentrated guild interest in working on leveling to 80 and doing heroics. Raiding was not even a distant twinkle in most members’ eyes. And thus the other two folks who had leveled to 80 around the same time as us left to join established raiding guilds.

This puts my SO and I in the position of deciding what our next steps are. Do we stick it out indefinitely with the friends and family guild, leveling our other two 70s a piece to 80? Or do we leave with one or more characters for a casual raiding guild? Or is it the right time to commit to our horde characters?

Clearly, a Pros/Cons list is in order. And as bad luck would have it…our DSL provider has killed our Internet connection, which means I have a lot of time to think about it.