Our Eitrigg wing is Horde. We are not looking to make nice with the local dryad guild, we crush our enemies, see them flee before us and listen for the lamentation of their women, or cows, or whatever.
So lets run through a how we are structured here and some rules.
- We are a democracy. We have a leader (Master), and a group of Knights. They run things. However, the officers and guild leader, will defer all major decisions to the guild and vote on things when necessary. Our aim is to involve the membership as much as possible while still maintaining a firm hold on the rules and environment of the guild.
- I don't know your family but mine doesn't include orcs in real life. By that I mean we are here to help each other succeed at World of Warcraft, not play yachtzee on a rainy night. I like you, but keep your gene pool to yourself. Some Clarity: Try and keep your real life problems on your side of the keyboard. Most of us are here to have fun, escape from life's pressing issues. While we all have issues, guild chat might not be the best place to get advice, but we are not hard asses either. We understand your a person over there (except Sin - he might be a Borg) and no one will take that for granted.
- While we are all adults and some "adult" content is acceptable in guild chat, be reasonable about it. Basically if you would not say something to co-workers, then it might not be appropriate for guild chat. Sexual harassment, racial slurs and abusive behavior has no place here.
- Don't be an ass. Sounds simple but I cannot stress this enough. Keep your drama to yourself.
- Knights are promoted to the position because they can be trusted, not by accident. They are expected to be fair and to not react without understanding the situation.
- If you don't like the way things work petition to change it. If you don't understand why something is the way it is, ask. If you can't change it and don't like it, then accept it or leave.
- If you have an issue with a member, a raid, loot, whatever, deal with the appropriate person. Do not wily nilly go complaining to every member. It doesn't help you and makes you look silly.
- We do not gouge members. By the same token you are not required to help a fellow member unless you said you would. Asking to have your costs covered is reasonable.
- Listen to loot rules. If you mess up over and over you will be looking for a new guild. While we are not trying to be hard asses, continued stupidity is not tolerated.
- Helping other members should be it's own reward. If you get your loot from an instance you should help 2 others do the same. A strong guild is in your best interest. These things are noticed and duly rewarded.
- Do not demand people help you. No one has to help you. If they do it is out of the kindness of their hearts or because they have a strong sense of community. You might feel your need is special, but probably no one else does. Be polite, prepared and state your need clearly and you will likely be helped.
- If you want help with an instance or quest, then be ready for it. Do whatever you need to before asking. Don't waste the time and efforts of those who gather to help you. By the same token if you make the effort to get to the point where you need help and ask, people will realize you are serious and help is even more likely to come your way.
- Knights: Officer channel doesn't exist. See the next item.
- Issues are not resolved through back room dealings. We are a transparent organization with nothing to hide from other members. This means everything that cannot be resolved in tells/pm's etc.
- If you are the one getting tells from an Officer, then you should listen.
- As needed we will have "court." This means we will post an agenda of topics, and a meeting will take place either in game or on Ventrilo. This is a public meeting. Issues such as member complaints, rank changes, guild policy and any other relevant business will be covered. All are invited, but you better petition ahead of time, as there is no guarantee we will listen to new business.
- Knights are promoted by request of a current Knight or at the whim of the Master. Unanimous approval of all current Knights is requires. Knights should never make up more than 10% ~ 15% of the current active population (meaning Main Characters).
Fundementals of GuildcraftEdit
Note: this is borrowed but is as close to an ideal as possible. I use this as my guide. I have re-written it to meet my style a bit but 99% of it is from Awi'tch of Ni.
Probably the largest element of running a successful guild, and something we will spend the most time at is dealing with the people. It is imperative that you strive to make sure that people feel heard and important. There are lots of ways to do this. Be sure and talk to people. Watch for signs of unhappy people. Take the time to congratulate someone on even a small personal victory. Remember someone's daughter's name or birthday. Read the forums and get to know what your members are about.
Additional things, such as title systems and incentives for participation also work great. Never forget to say thank you when someone makes a contribution to the guild. The guild is for them and they should be for the guild. This relationship should always be encouraged.
Under this category also comes dealing with problem people, and people who are only in the guild for what it can do for them. There is a certain type of player that joins a guild solely for the benefits they can reap for being a part of it, but is unwilling to contribute in any way. Some of these players are fine; they sit in the background, attending quests, etc. Others of them are more demanding yet will not offer any long-term loyalty in exchange for your efforts. Don't waste your time trying to make the latter type of player happy. In the end they have no loyalty to you or the guild and will go wherever it suits them at the time. They are definitely not worth agonizing over.
I probably have a different definition of what kind of structure is required for a successful guild than is shared by many. We should strive to appeal to independent, mature players. It is assumed that we are all adults and should not require long lists of rules, guidelines, or complicated hierarchies (which are separatist and pretentious). Most of our rules are in fact social guidelines. We should never allow members to feel that some players are somehow more important or above anyone else. This is why in our title system does not imply class/hierarchy differences, but instead is proportional to the level of service they do for the guild and how they present themselves to their colleagues. Anyone should be able to be important. We should allow members to feel empowered to make a real difference in regards to their gaming and guild experience.
This works in practice only to the extent in which the guild is composed of like-minded individuals. A lot of people don't respond well to this level of empowerment - they want someone to lead. This is largely due to a lack of confidence rather than a lack of ability or (I hope) laziness. Many people like structure, and younger members may really need it. While a committee management system is an excellent route, there should always be one person who can make final decisions when necessary, and their word goes. Again, the committee type setup is to encourage leadership, member participation, and a sense of empowerment. At some point in a game, all leaders get tired, burnt out, or just busy with real life. It is good to have members that feel and are capable of taking over when you need a break or have just had enough.
The role of AltruismEdit
Ideally, every single player who behaves selflessly to help out the guild should be recognized, but we should also have a strong sense of service and duty, and we should contribute in a sense of true altruism - without expectations of reward. This has been critical to establishing the traditionally strong support system we have had in our guild chapters. Members should always strive to give as much as they can, and no contribution is too small. A substantial effort to thank players who do help is also imperative.
One caveat to this, is that there are givers and takers in the world. Most givers don't like to take, and feel frustrated when the only folks who will take things they want to give are the taker types who don't contribute anything else to the guild. Therefore, while charging a guild-member for anything is frowned upon, we instead should encourage a system of discounted rates for guild members rather than outright gifting things to people. In SWG, we had both a vendor from which procedes went to guild expenses, and discounted rates direct from merchants for guild members. This made the givers feel good about taking, and made sure no one got a free ride.
Crisis management - Keeping the drama downEdit
The single most destructive force I have seen at work in a guild is dramatics. In general, it's folks responding to an issue very emotionally or dramatically on the forums. (E.g. The message of the day hasn't changed for a week, the sky is falling and the guild leaders are in a secret clique/cult!) People don't realize exactly how powerfully the way in which they communicate things effects others. There is a difference between the above parenthetical statement and: "You know, the MOTD hasn't changed in a week. I really think we should make a better effort to make sure it gets changed more often." Doom saying and whining have a terrible effect on the morale of the group, and most of the time result in the person posting being taken less seriously. Avoid it. When people tell you you are repressing their right to bitch - tell them they are welcome to bitch in another guild. There is a difference between constructive criticism and people who just like to complain. As a leader, learn the difference. Don't pander to people who will never be happy - you'll just be bitter about it later. And fear not, the rest of the group thinks they are crazy too.
A closely related topic to this category is not taking guild issues too seriously. Let's get real - we're playing a game. Yes, we want our guild to be well respected. Yes, we want our members to be happy. But, do we really want things to be as complicated as real life? Perhaps this might be a good way for younger people to play at adult relationships and roles, but as adults can you honestly say you want to go spend all your in-game time going to meetings and playing politics? Many of us have done it. My guess is you don't enjoy this. We should never succumb to dramatics or subject myself to server politics without a truely compelling reason. It's not fun, and it leads to hard feelings and burnout.
It's a thankless jobEdit
Even though certain people will thank you over and over for what you do, that's what you're going to feel like, a lot. The crazy thing about being a guild leader or an officer is that no matter what your best intentions are, no matter how good of a job you do, no matter how much people say they love you when you are around, no matter how empowered you try and make them; people see you as living for them and have utterly no clue that you have a life and that this is just a game. I guess if you are doing a really good job, that's understandable. However, after giving until it hurts, it hurts even more when they get angry and scream that everything is falling apart because you get busy with real life and don't log in for a couple of days.
Who knows why people will have so little faith in you despite your donation of your free time towards a larger guild effort rather than your own selfish endeavors. I wish I could. I can only hope that folks read this and get this from it: It's a game. What really happens if your 'leaders' are not around? Try taking some personal responsibility and a proactive approach and be grateful that such wonderful people who don't owe you anything want to donate their time dealing with issues that are sometimes a lot less than fun to make your gaming experience more fun. What they give you is a great gift.
Remember that before you cry wolf and cause a disruption to something they have worked very hard to organize and hold together. They need love too, and they need your help! In addition, guild leaders and officers; remember the thanks you do get, be it outright or subtle when something like this occurs, and be sure to recognize and thank the many folks who will help and contribute to the group!