Starting your own guild: part II

(If you haven’t read part I, you may want to do so first.)

So you’ve decided to try your hand at being a guild master — congratulations!  Here are some simple tips that should help you get your new guild off the ground and running smoothly:

1. Spend more than 30 seconds picking out your new guild’s name

You don’t need to agonize over finding the perfect tag, but remember that your guild’s name is what others will form their first impression around.  Misspellings and typos aren’t going to leave a good impression, and you should try to avoid violating Blizzard’s terms-of-service, too.

Also, make sure that your name is conducive to the audience that you’re trying to attract.  If your goal is to attract mature adult players, then you probably don’t want to name your guild “Knightz of Legolazz”.

2. Be smart about advertising your guild

Spamming the trade channel with “Knightz of Legolazz is now accepting memberz — have gbank and tabard!!” isn’t going to get you anywhere except onto a bunch of peoples’ /ignore lists.  In fact, it is probably best if you avoid advertising your guild in-game at all.

The best place to start is probably right on the Blizzard forums for your specific realm.  Make sure that your post is well-written, free from typos, and contains all of the relevant information about your new guild.  At minimum, you should tell people what sets you apart from other guilds (this goes back to finding your niche, which I discussed in part I), what your gaming schedule is, what you’re looking for, and how people can get in touch with you.  Don’t post a wall of text, or people won’t read it, but make sure you do get all of the important information in there.

If you believe that you can attract people from beyond your own realm, Blizzard also has a general guild recruitment forum (one for alliance, and one for horde).  If you have more specific needs, there are likely other options available to you.  For example, if you’re an experienced WoW veteran, and you’ve decided to try your hand at putting together a world class hardcore raiding guild, you’ll probably want to advertise in the Elitist Jerks /LFGuild forum to maximize your exposure to top talent.

3. Be selective about who you accept

It’s exciting when you start to get inquiries about joining your guild, but don’t be too quick to accept just anyone.  You should establish some sort of interview process to make sure that applicants are a good fit before extending them an invitation.  There is no need to ask people for their life story, but you should make an effort to find out if an applicant’s general philosophy is going to work well within your guild.  At the same time, you should make sure that applicants’ expectations about membership in your guild are set accordingly.

In my experience, the most important thing about an applicant is their personality.  You may find that a new applicant is exactly the kind of superstar tank that you need — and that they’re geared to the teeth, to boot — but if you don’t get the sense that they’re going to get along well with you or other existing members of your guild, you should consider passing on them.

4. Make sure that you and your members can stay in touch outside the game

I won’t go so far as to say that a guild website is absolutely required in order to have a successful guild — but it’s pretty close.  If your guild involves any kind of scheduled activity, then you really need a way for people to stay on top of what’s going on without logging into WoW and asking somebody.  Life is unpredictable, and the shaman that today says she can absolutely make tomorrow night’s 7PM raid might end up stuck at the office working late tomorrow due to circumstances outside of her control.  Unless she has a method to get in touch with somebody from the guild that doesn’t involve logging into WoW, the rest of the raid is going to end up wondering where she is as 7PM comes and goes.

Web hosting is pretty cheap these days.  There are a lot of options to get up and running with a pre-built guild website quickly and cheaply.  Your site doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to allow for easy out-of-game communication via forums or some other method.  If you’re looking for something cheap and easy, GuildPortal seems to be highly recommended, although I have not used them myself.

If a website is absolutely not an option, then consider setting up an email list, or making use of a social networking site to keep in touch outside of the game.  Just have something.

5. Make sure that your guild’s rules are clear, and that they apply to everyone

This one is a big deal.  Nothing breeds discontent quicker than unfairness, whether it is perceived or real.  You don’t need a ton of guild rules (in fact, I’d recommend against having a ton of rules!), but unless you enjoy complete anarchy, you’ll need to address a few areas.  At minimum, you should probably have some sort of clear policy on loot, attendance, and how raid spots are assigned (if you’re running a raiding guild).  It is in your best interest to keep these rules posted somewhere that is visible to all of your members (on your website, for example).

Make sure that your rules are as fair as possible, and enforce them when necessary.  And remember that the rules apply to you, too!

6. Set realistic goals, and communicate them

One of the easiest things you can do to avoid disappointment and/or frustration among your members is to clearly communicate the guild’s current goals from time to time.  For example, if your guild is currently struggling to down a specific boss, but you believe that you’re making progress and you intend to keep at it until the boss goes down — you should say so as early as possible, lest others assume that you’re moving on to something else.  Learn to do this often, and you’ll avoid situations where half of your group assumed that they were going to do A, and is now disappointed to find out that they’re doing B at the last minute.

Do make sure that your goals are realistic, though.  For example, if you’re going to continue to push for a specific boss that your guild has been having trouble with, make sure that you really are making progress and people aren’t getting burned out.  Being able to judge this comes with experience; when in doubt don’t risk the sanity of your members by repeatedly throwing them at an encounter that they have no hope of beating.

7. Have fun!

Don’t forget that ultimately, you’re playing a game.  There may come a point where you decide that the stress of running a guild is ruining your enjoyment of it.  If that happens, don’t be afraid to re-assess what you’re doing and make changes.  After all, there isn’t much point if you’re not having fun, right?

Comments are closed.