Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Be George Clooney, Not Gordon Ramsay

George Clooney and Gordon Ramsay are polar opposites of one another. The former is considered a cool, calm and collected personality who is in full control of his life - George's affairs are always in order. Mr Ramsay, on the other hand, is often perceived to be an irate megalomaniac bent on keeping his employees in line by shouting at them. A lot. These two celebrities are a massive success at what they both do, despite having very different methods at going about their business.



Throughout Leading A Guild's (I'm never sure if I should italicise that or not) short life I've always encouraged you all to be like old George. No, don't star in a hit film where you play a gangster and round up a group to carry out a heist. I mean you should act like he presents himself: This means you should remain rational and focused at all times. Be emotionally impartial, but not apathetic. When you maintain this relaxed state you'll find your members follow suit. That's called setting an example and ensures you don't end up on YouTube in the form of a raging raid manager who picked Ventrillo as his or her platform to go crackers on.

The concept behind performing in this way is a simple one: Shouting at other players may get them to perform a little more effectively, but it'll cause them to disrespect you. Be thought of as a smooth-talking alpha that shapes the world around him as you please - a real-life Chuck Bass, if you will.

After all, who likes the little man who loses his rag at the drop of a hat? Fill in your answer here: _____________________________ (10 marks)

...



Done?

If you answered 'no one', then you're incorrect.

The right answer is 'idiots'. Like attracts like so obviously hot-headed, moron tyrants lead small-minded, immature brats into battle. You may naturally be a very laid-back person but constantly find yourself screaming at raiders to do better because they don't obey you unless your voice is above 90 decibels. Then they shout back and, before you know it, there's a whole hunk of drama to deal with. Months pass and you're finally seen crying on the cobbled streets of Stormwind - battered, bruised and, if you've taken some of my advice too far, broke.

This isn't your fault.

Alright, it partially is because everything that happens to the guild is your direct responsibility. However, there's always a chance you'll accidentally recruit a bunch of bloody arseholes that don't reflect on your true leadership style at all. You'll think shouting at these problematic tossers will actually work. You'll be wrong. The only true solution to these living, breathing, walking, screaming causes of drama and issues is to boot them out. The chances are you won't have the opportunity to have these troublesome individuals to repent for their behaviour and realise the error of their ways. Eradicating these folks from the guild will help you and your members retain their focus and destroy any negativity.

I think Ramsay's always crazy because he's surrounded by incompetents during every day of his working life. That's why he's doomed to look like a raging fool forever; because his colleagues are idiots trying to work in a high-pressure environment. Don't be tempted into being Gordon.



Just keep it cool, mon. Like Clooney.

To summarise:

  • Go watch Men Who Stare At Goats or something.


[I got dah rele kewl pix from here, here and here!]

Are You An Administrator Or Leader?

Are you up on British politics, reader? Of course you are! Who can ignore it? The British successfully demonstrate everything that is right and wrong with a free democracy on a daily basis. However, I won't be talking about expenses scandals or right-wing extremists getting TV air-time today. Instead, I want to focus on the people making big decisions and how that applies to guild leading.

Tony Blair is the former Prime Minister who now makes a very good living both as a motivational speaker and, ironically, a United Nations Peace Ambassador. Gordon Brown is the incumbent Prime Minister and served under Blair as Chancellor for the duration of Labour's time in power. Despite Blair not having an ultra-political background (especially when compared to those of similar standing in the Conservatives - the opposing party) he has enjoyed an unprecedented rise to power. Prior to gaining influence in the Labour Party, it's obvious that he exhibited true leadership qualities. It goes beyond simply being charismatic; Blair had, and still retains, the capacity to be persuasive and calm in the face of danger - a quality that even Star Trek says is important in authority figures. They are all also attributes I try to get you to emulate. I don't care if you think Blair's a complete twat; he's gotten away with taking an entire nation to war on nothing but spin and rhetoric. That's an amazing feat which makes the fact he appointed Brown as his successor even more remarkable - in a bad way.



The Scot is almost the polar opposite of Blair. He's portrayed as inarticulate, incompetent and moody by almost every press establishment and newsroom commentator. He's constantly snarling and looking downright unhappy. I'd be pissed off too if I caused a recession, but this bloke truly is King Pessimist. By not setting a good example for the country people are beginning to despise him. Gordon isn't a leader and, as such, has failed to sufficiently rally support behind his party. Labour will tap out at the next election.



So how is any of this relevant to guilds on your favourite MMO? Well in Britain, Brown is the natural administrator and Blair is the obvious leader. When they occupied these designated roles the government ran like Usain Bolt. Brown managed affairs but Blair was cabinet's mouthpiece. This combination worked for an entire decade so maybe it's worth reflecting on your own organisation in the same way.

Are you a leader or administrator? Blair or Brown? Kirk or Spock? Robin Hood or Friar Tuck? Do you like to pull the puppet strings from the back seat, or take charge from the front? It's pretty easy to tell if your guild runs by your will or the rules your faux bureaucracy has implemented. If the former is the case, then you're a leader. If the latter is the case, then you're an administrator. Simple.



The truth is that it doesn't matter if you're one or the other, but I will say this: Always have appropriate counterpart and make sure it's someone you get along with. Just as House has Wilson, a loud, free-speaking leader needs an administrator to keep him or her grounded. Conversely, the anal administrator requires a wildcard to think outside of the box.

The presence of this balance of personalities ensures your bigger team of officers runs smoothly. The important thing is to appoint a deputy that you trust and have patience for. Someone that contests your authority at every turn is someone you don't need. However, by having your own little administrator or natural leader you'll find both of you figure out unique solutions to the guild's issues.

In summary:
  • You may think yourself a true leader, but don't be scared to reflect on your true character.

  • Recruiting a counterpart is a risk and try to get someone you've known for more than ten minutes.

  • If you get the balance right, you can expect to rule for a thousand years (or until your subscription ends).

[I got the pictures from here, here and here.]

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Class Leading

This month's second article comes from the awesome Dom Sacco from Leet Games Blog and I've done an article for him in return. I hardly touch upon class leading with LAG and fortunately Dom covers the subject really well. It's mainly aimed at World of Warcraft players but there's words of wisdom here for everyone. Over to Dom!

This is my story as a rogue, Bluestreak, who from Day One as a guild class leader strived to manage his rogues into the best damn group of assassins on the server. Was it easy? Not in the slightest. Was it fun? Hell yes. I thought I’d provide my top five tips for ensuring your guild’s character classes are performing to the best of their ability:



1. Divide To Conquer

If your guild doesn’t have class leaders, middle-management, officers or whatever else you want to call them, why not?

You should seriously be considering breaking your guild up into separate segments, in order to unify and strengthen it even more. The most successful guild I was a part of did.

The Northern Terror was a fantastic group of people on the EU Thunderhorn server, who weren’t necessarily the most skilled, but had courage and charisma. It started out as a social guild which eventually wanted to take a dip into the pool of raiding. At first they could barely doggy-paddle. But they soon swam.

And the trick was great leading, good preparation and structure. It was as simple as that.

I strongly advise you assign one person as a class leader for each character class in your guild, or at least for a trial period. Choose wisely – the most skilled shouldn’t necessarily be the leader. Can they organise a raid? Do they have good communication skills? Are they friendly and enthusiastic?

Once you’ve selected someone, ensure they create a private text-based chat channel for the other members in their class, for example “Rogues Channel” – and ask them to read this guide!



2. Keep Your Friends Close…

Being a class leader isn’t easy. As Bluestreak I was required to micro-manage raids, research new techniques and get along with everyone. The latter is the part that people generally find the most difficult.

What I found more frustrating was the fact that I had to co-operate and teach rogues who wouldn’t usually get a second glance from me. But these people had been hand-picked by the guild leader, so I respected their decision and did my best to manage them.

Be lenient. It’s easier said than done, but if you can find a way to connect with those who agitate the hell out of you, do it. It’ll pay off in the long run, reap rewards and impress your guild leader. Really get to know those who you don’t get along with, make amends and turn to your closest in-game friends for advice if things get hairy.

Work closely with the other class-leaders and maintain a decent in-game relationship with them. The Paladin leader grew to get along with my rogues and I very well (and guess who got the majority of bonus heals in raids?).

3. Know Your Enemy

Never enter a raid you don’t know anything about. Ever.

Even if you get a random invite (from your own guild or another) and you have the chance of phat loot in exchange for class-leading, turn it down. As you probably know, reputation online can be easily tarnished and so you’ll want to know what you’re doing first.

Research the bosses, the mobs and the area until you know it like the back of your hand. Find out exactly what your class is supposed to be doing – what strategies, when, where and how. Then you will need to relay this to your team. Find whatever works best for you – as long as it works. This can be pulling them into a private room in Ventrillo, sending an in-game mail, an external e-mail, whispers, or whatever.

Only then can you lead a section of your guild’s raid team into battle. By all means try new tricks once you’ve mastered a raid, but don’t try too many new things on your first few play-throughs. You could let your guild down and give your class a bad name at the same time. Not a good combination, I can tell you that from experience.

You can setup macros for certain boss fights or download mods (make sure they’re legal) to send out important reminders in boss fights. For example, “Vanish now!” appears in Rogues Chat and a loud noise is made when Onyxia lands from the sky.



4. Get Equipped

This is probably the single most important aspect of class-leading you must get right: Letting your team know exactly what they’ll need to bring to a raid.

Of course you’ll need repair money, any essential quest items, minimum-spec gear and their word that they’ll be there for the required time. What can be more important however are consumables and extra items, which can make the difference between a wipe and a stylish boss defeat.

My old band of rogues were required to bring ten maximum health potions, a bag full of thistle tea and any other speed-increasing, armour-increasing and health-increasing items. It’ll be up to your guildies to get these themselves (if you don’t have a shared bank system), and you should reward them or punish them appropriately.

If they forget one health potion, that might be OK. But if they don’t bring any for three raids in a row, that’s a problem. I may sound like I’m being petty but the little things can make a huge difference in raiding.

5. Offer Bonuses

It’s not too corrupt to offer a few gold here and there to your best players, as a reward for downing a new boss or topping the damage metres (within reason, as long as they played fair and didn’t jeopardize the raid group).

If you’re a true guild-player you’ll be happy to progress as a team – and if that means offering prizes – so be it.

I used to give 5 gold to any rogues left standing after downing a boss we’d never fought before. It worked like a charm and got the team competitively working together.

Bonuses don’t just come in the form of items and in-game money however. Take your team into an instance or dungeon and see how far you can get. Try it again in a week’s time and you might get a little further. Only do it after a successful raid, as a reward.

Join multiplayer fights together or sneak into an enemy faction’s city and see what damage you can do. Have fun together – this helps build your team’s rapport and boosts their skills.



Finally…

Don’t forget to be nice. Remember you’re representing your entire class to the guild, and other external guilds too. Play well and you’ll keep your guild happy, enjoy the game more and impress others too.

I hope you found this guide useful – please leave your comments to let us know what you thought!

Good luck and raid hard.

Dom Sacco is the editor of Leet Games Blog: a website full of the latest videogame stories, reviews, features, tips and funny stuff! It’s also updated daily.

[Images provided by Dom! They all belong to their respective owners, as always.]

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Alliances

It's always great to be part of something big. There's nothing better than banding together with a bunch of other fellows to accomplish a common goal. Beating down bosses side-by-side with your guildies is certainly an exhilarating experience that's almost without equal. There's a reason why players voluntarily put themselves through blood, sweat and tears every raid night and it doesn't just come down to 'phat loot'. The feeling of comradeship that most successful players gain from running instances is the nearest to true friendship many MMOers will feel during their whole young adult life.


Unfortunately there are some players out there that have never come close to that level of bliss in their entire raiding career. In 99.9% of cases, this is due to them being holed up in guilds that don't have the capacity to raid. This may be down to several things, ranging from peeps not possessing the right gear, to members that are willing to raid simply flaking out. I've iterated many solutions to these issues before, whether it be letting folks acquire equipment independently to growing inner-guild relationships. However, it could take a long time for these factors to come together. Your guild may not be up to raiding standard for months.

Alliances offer a quick work-around and allow you to potentially begin raiding immediately. Even if you're a high-performance organisation already, alliances permit you to get 4-5 of your best players and combine them with the greatest from 2-3 other guilds. This allows all of you to try out content that none of you may have never seen otherwise. Hopefully you can understand the importance of good alliances - no matter where your raid guild falls on the hierarchy. They're ridiculously easy to facilitate and sustain so long as everyone enjoys themselves.


Starting an alliance is not hard. Begin by identifying guilds that are in a similar position to your own. Providing you're not an arsehole, you'll already have a good pool of friends to pick from. Even though that really well-geared dude who you hang around with in Dalaran's sewers isn't a guild leader, there's a good chance he'll introduce you to his friend who is. Don't be afraid to network and ask for introductions. Once you know some powerful people well enough, you can go ahead and send them an in-game letter. This just needs to be a 50-word proposal about the benefits of an alliance and how it would work. Ask if they're interested and then wait. So long as you articulate your argument appropriately and haven't gone after the best guild on the server, you'll find people will take a risk on an alliance. Then you only need to create a separate chat channel and decide on the alliance's terms. If you've run raids before, then most of the concepts will remain the same. There's just an extra element of coordinating your timetable to theirs and starting up a joint TeamSpeak. That's all you really need.


Drama will probably be the most difficult thing you'll have to deal with. Always try to remain emotionally detached from anything that could upset the links between your guilds. Don't be afraid to sit down with a fellow leader and work things out on an executive level. Don't dish out discipline on their troops without talking it through with their superiors first. They might not read LAG and may be very attached to the drama. Keep yourself dissociated and handle disruptions professionally. Alliances can provide guilds with a huge step up onto the raiding ladder. Don't let egotistical individuals get in the way of that. Isolate problem-causing people and deal with them or keep them away from activities involving allies.

To summarise:

  • Starting an alliance takes good networking and not much else.

  • Treat allied raids like you would normal raids. Schedule and run them the same. Getting nervous or apprehensive will result in poor performance.

  • Deal with drama professionally and impersonally.


[Now where I got my madd pixx from! Here, here and here.]

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Danger Of Folks Going Solo

So the beloved WoW blogger Greedy Goblin wrote a post at the end of last month talking about how players don't really need to join a decent guild to get gear any more. Instead, it could be beneficial for many folks to simply /gquit and start PuGing (Pick-up Grouping) with others, so long as everyone in these so-called 'independent' raids play competently.

I totally agree with him.


Moreover, this is a prime time for guild leaders to start reconsidering their position in the WoW community. Do you call your fine establishment a 'raiding guild' but are still stuck in Naxxramas? Then you're not a raiding guild. You are a social guild that holds the odd expedition into a glorified heroic dungeon. That may sound a little harsh, but I can guarantee it's exactly what your members are thinking.

How is any of this relevant?

Instances are getting easier. If you're running nine other people through Naxx' every night while cracking the whip and screaming down your mic on TeamSpeak, people are going to start quitting. No one has to put up with that sort of crap when they can go solo, join a PuG and make more personal progress in one night than your guild did in weeks. Unless you're raiding Ulduar, lay off pressuring your subordinates into doing better. Give them the freedom to join other groups if the opportunity comes up. Hell, if members are getting badges then they're getting better gear - gear that can be used to further your guild's advancement.

Always be aware of changing attitudes and shift your guild's direction accordingly. I know role-playing guilds have started raiding now because it's so easy. If you're all, 'OMG GUYIZ THATS THE FRIFTENNNTH BILLION THYME WE'VE WIPPED ON SPIDER QUARTER IM GONNA KILL YOU ALL AND EAT YOUR BRAINS AND SHIT THEM OUT AND SEND THEM TO YR MOMMA!' then people aren't going to stand for it. Obviously your class-combination composition is off and it's your job (or your raid leader's) to fix it. Acting like giant arachnids (or sentient fungi, or uber-charged Deathknights etcetera) are the biggest deal in the world is just going to lose you friends, especially as there's PuGs clearing this sort of content while half the raiders are stoned.

As I've said many times before, folks will stick around even if your raiding isn't up to scratch, so long as they hold a social attachment to the guild. However, if there's no emotional investment there (probably down to you being a raging douchebag) then your members will do what any sane person would: They'll add all the buddies they have in the guild to their friends list and quit. Blizzard has empowered the individual with the addition of badges and us guild leaders no longer hold influence over peeps because we offer fair loot distribution and regular raiding. We must offer a deeper and more fulfilling experience. At the very least, keep /gchat clean of idiocy and spam so members can raid in peace on their own.

In summary:
  • People are now more willing to raid solo more than ever.

  • Stop pushing for results if you haven't got any for a long time and give members the freedom to go off and do their own thang.

  • Once people have badge loot, then consider taking on Ulduar as a guild.


[No real image credits this week; I screen-grabbed from GG's blog.]

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Sense In Humour

The more observant ones of you will have noticed that I've recently updated my 'Introduction' post to include a 'good humour agreement'. It basically says that anything on this blog isn't meant to be directly offensive to anyone. Readers of Leading A Guild should have realised that while I'm serious about the issues I talk about, it doesn't mean I can't deal with them in an amusing and ultimately pragmatic fashion. This philosophy can also be applied to actually leading a guild, as I prefer to lead through level-headedness coupled with a (virtual) smile, rather than use absurdly strict rules. This might seem a little contradictory to what I've said before, but lording over the guild while your members enjoy themselves is different from demanding absolute authority. I try to encourage the former and despise the latter, but can you still lead a guild when your members only take you semi-seriously?


It's all about knowing when to joke around and when to buckle down and do some work. The guy who spends all day telling jokes in Ventrillo is never going to get his guild to progress as far as the leader who opts for a healthy balance between implementing rules and letting members do want they like. Although telling jokes all day may seem like a good way to get guildies to like you, the lack of proper productivity will actually cause you to lose respect in their eyes. Of course if you lead a social guild then none of that really matters, as people join up mainly to be entertained anyway. However, if you're a raiding pioneer, then being too comical at the wrong moments will simply leave you being perceived as the 'clown' to your men and women. I've never seen a clown kill the Lich King, although they may be able to by the time Cataclysm rolls around.


Even simply being pleasant may lead to your downfall under certain circumstances. Failure to punish a rebel or push on with a raid run at the right time can spell disaster for your guild. In these situations you'll find that the outcome is more down to luck than a pre-determined set of variables. You may think 'if I /gkick this guy he's going to go off and spread crap about me', or 'if I call for another go on this boss people will rage quit if we wipe'. Sometimes you just have to make a decision and then put your guild into the hands of fate. If you make consistent choices in line with the guild's overall goal and can justify them, it's likely no one will argue with you. Conversely, if the guy you wish to punish hasn't properly violated your established rules, or you're making a social guild raid until 1AM - then expect for your members to express discontent. Tapping into what people expect of you will make things run a lot more smoothly and you'll know whether to play the good or bad guy in these instances. I can't go ahead and tell you to be 50% arsehole and 50% nice guy, because some occasions will call for you to be more of one than the other.


I will say one thing though: Let the conditions you find the guild faced with dictate your mood, not the other way around. It is acceptable to be angry with your members if people have been taking more than they've been giving to the guild bank. It's not acceptable to be angry with your members if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. Allowing your own hormones to run the guild is a very primitive and unwise action to take and within a week you'll be branded as a fickle monster who no one will want as their master.

In summary:
  • Writing blog posts at 4AM is not a good idea.

  • Having a sense of humour is a good thing, but being the guild clown is not so good.

  • Don't be afraid to be the arsehole, if people are clearly deserving it.

[Image credits go to these guys for the Hitler picture, these guys for the clown shoes and this site for the fairly unrelated 'nice guy' pic.]

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Attachments, Part Two

In the past I've made a big point out of getting attached to your guild members. Rather, you need them to get emotionally invested in your cause. When done correctly, your guildmates will stand by you during the toughest times. Still, as the leader you are expected to uphold a high standard of self-respect. It's your responsibility to exercise a degree of control over your own feelings. That means you shouldn't allow for your own vision to be clouded, even when some of your members are vying for your attention. Once your guild becomes popular you may easily be overwhelmed by the admiration members will bestow upon you. Appreciate any gratitude they display but don't get carried away. The worst case scenario would be if you start favouring some members more than others because they suck up to you the most. Your judgement should never be impaired in this way.


There have been instances in the past where guild leaders have lost all sense of reality and fallen in love with their members. It's expected that you become somewhat parental regarding your guild, but there's always one or two folks who take it too far. Remember ages ago when I made a fairly poor analogy about how having the desire to lead is like having schizophrenia? Well the chances are that some of your realm's guild masters are truly insane. A recent WoW.com article has demonstrated this perfectly. In it, an anonymous guild leader is identified as being bloody crazy. No, they're not egotistical or a loot whore - they just demand certain members add her on Facebook and reply to her status updates and wall posts. Constantly.


The idea here is (essentially) a good one. Getting to know members outside of the game through social networking sites is a similar aim that forums try to connote. Unfortunately it seems this can be easily abused if your guild master happens to be attention-deprived. Don't get carried away with interacting with your recruits on a personal level. It's invasive and remember that you're all there for a higher purpose than to establish a glorified dating agency. Of course it's more acceptable for social guilds to do, but raiding progress guilds should opt for a good dungeon run over lovey-dovey time.

In summary:
  • Getting members attached to the leader is good.

  • Reciprocating that respect is also good, to a point.

  • Don't Facebook-stalk your members!


[Image credits go to WoW.com and here.]

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Age Issue

Its not uncommon to see high-end guilds only recruiting people aged 18 and over. Why is this? Well the general consensus within the community currently is that kids are more likely to misbehave. This is especially true on the Internet, as they enjoy a level of anonymity that is only found online. Furthermore, it's reasonable to claim you don't want guild members alt-tabbing in the middle of raids to watch Thomas The Tank Engine episodes. Even grouping casually with youngsters can be a pain, as demonstrated in this WoW.com article.


Is demonising younger players right? Possibly. Although I provide a steadfast opinion on many of the subjects covered in this blog, this one is fairly controversial. No right-minded guild leader wants to be branded as an arrogant ageist, but what can we do when most teenagers (and younger people too) act like idiots? Things are further complicated if your guild isn't doing too well. There will be occasions where employing an age limit seems like a brilliant idea. What better way to attract smart, reliable and like-minded members? There are many things you may have overlooked when considering this policy, the foremost being that you're dealing with adults. With any luck these ladies and gentlemen will already have loves and lives of their own. They may be willing to join your guild, but that doesn't mean they'll have time to raid. More problems may arise if you play on a server with low population, as it's likely older, more capable players will have already been snatched up by those establishments which have been around for quite a while.


Ageism is a form of prejudice. It may only take common sense to justify why, but some people view an age restriction policy in a negative light. Try not to shout about how great it is from the rooftops otherwise you may warrant some strange looks. Also try to bare in mind that these people grow up. I began playing WoW 4 years ago. Despite being in many late teens, I was a stubborn little twat. At the time I was a competent strategist and able player, but unfortunately I was too silly to improve myself in more productive ways. Thankfully I was taken under the wing of an intelligent and likeable guild leader who spelt out the way to behave appropriately. It was his guidance that I became a decent leader in my own right. I was 17 at the time; if his guild had followed an 18+ policy I would have never been taught all this great information by my impromptu tutor and you would have never had the opportunity to read this blog.


Many of you have a natural flair for teaching so consider not alienating younger players and instead take them along for your amazing adventures so they can learn from you. It takes a lot of patience but why are you leading a guild if you can't afford to put in a little time and effort into developing a potentially awesome friendship?


Some argue that it's our duty as guild leaders to aid those who need it. However, if you're a progress guild, then its definitely acceptable that you don't want to waste time chasing after annoying children. Just don't go yelling about how stupid you think younger people are - they could be potential members in the future.

In summary:
  • Only you can decide if your guild is ready for an age limit.

  • If you're a small and ineffective guild already, then recruiting youngsters could be a good direction.

  • Just remember to screen folks rigorously if you're a serious guild.


[Image credits go to this site, these guys, here and heeeeere!]

Monday, 31 August 2009

The Importance Of Forums

In truth, this topic should be entitled 'The Importance(?) Of Forums'. I've said from the very beginning that guild forums are not necessary. When you and your officers are dedicating 100% of your time running activities in-game, then why should you want to stretch yourselves even further and have to moderate a board as well? Furthermore, if your members are enjoying playing the game, then they have no real reason to spend their time trawling around pointless subjects or posting raid strategies, boss loot and similar information which is easily found on World of Raids. I've always been of the opinion that forums are a waste of time to set up and even just getting people to window out and register can be a pain in the arse.


A guild forum/website can be of some use though. For instance, I was recently playing a riveting Versus game of Left 4 Dead with some strangers. Following the match the opposite team were impressed at my natural skill and invited me to join their clan. I told them I'd consider it and went off to kill some more zombies. Hours passed and I found myself half bored to death while simply browsing the 'net. Then the website address of the clan I was playing with earlier popped into my head and I decided to check them out. Thanks to their great, professional-looking site I was tempted into submitting an application.

But what if they never had their own website? I would have never given their little offer to join up a second thought. If you're one of those guys who doesn't like to recruit directly then simply forwarding people to a well-made website is possibly the best thing you can do to encourage them to join up. A summary of your goals and accomplishments presented in the right format will bring legions of promising new folks into your ranks.


Fellow blogger and avid WoW fan Larísa also recently made a claim that a guild forum is a great way to check up and see if your guild is 'healthy'. She argues that a decline in activity on a forum is a very negative thing and should be treated quickly. While the post admits that many guilds function well without a forum, it's silly for a raiding guild not to have one. On the contrary, I believe that with the advent of in-game tools such as the Guild Calendar, guilds can run pretty smoothly without having to talk things through constantly via a forum. If you think discussing strategies is a necessity, then set aside an evening to talk things through with your raiders on /g or on Ventrillo. Granted, having a forum does make things run a lot smoother and can reflect the social atmosphere of your guild quite well. Conversely, I've known many guilds that have progressed straight through Ulduar and beyond without a piece of external communication (aside from TeamSpeak) between them.


Yep, forums can serve as another useful platform for people to bond. Who doesn't like looking at the real life pictures of people you play with, especially if they're hot? Websites have always proved to be a useful recruitment tool too and they let you brandish your guild's achievements at people passing by. Just remember the other side of the argument: Forums are also another way for drama to spawn and must be moderated fairly frequently. In addition, why are people posting on a forum when THEY COULD BE FARMING FOR FLASK MATS FFFFFFFF!!!?!??!?!!?!

In summary:
  • This isn't 2004. You don't necessarily need a forum to co-ordinate your guild effort any more.

  • However, they can be a great, subtle recruiting tool and they easily let you see if people are getting along well.

  • Moderation is key in many ways. Make sure no one is stirring crap and causing drama and ensure that people spend more time actually in the game.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

On The Gear Myth

I've been reading a lot of the Greedy Goblin recently. It's a fantastic World of Warcraft blog run by a certain popular writer. From what I can decipher, the site started out as a money-making guide but has developed into a place to highlight the social faux pas most WoW players carry out on a daily basis.


A recent reoccurring topic is that of gear. Our new friend Mr Goblin believes that gear is overrated. For months I've told you that gear is important but attitude should always take priority. Gevlon's successful 10-man run on Ulduar with nothing but blues and buffs furthers my own argument. Gear (or lack thereof) has become the root of a psychological mindfuck since Wrath was released. It's possible to take on Naxxramas in level 80 greens but no raid leader in their right mind would let you try it. Why not?

Well if you ask any of these raiders, they'll claim being under-equipped will drag the entire team down. This isn't necessarily true. The first time I ran Naxx' successfully I was barely able to complete heroics. This isn't Burning Crusade and the top loot is simply no longer required to participate in raids. Instead, good gear represents something. It says you're willing to commit time and effort into attaining the very best for your character. To some it's a big, glowing sign which points at your head and reads 'I AM NOT A SLACKER!'. The same goes for achievements and how they symbolise experience. However, both of these aspects have workarounds for the cunning, from linking weapons you see from /inspecting in Dalaran to utilising crafty addons. Many people should have realised these methods of evaluation are downright outdated. It's laziness on the part of a group or guild recruiter to simply demand links to stuff and not think beyond that. This ridiculous trend continues and unfortunately will do so into the next expansion.


Gear is a paradox. Person A may be undergeared for the instance but they'll try twice as hard to compensate for that. Person B may be overgeared and believes the dungeon or raid is below their skill level. They don't try as hard as Person A and therefore risk undermining the entire run. How many people do you know who believe themselves to be competently geared and yet can't even clear Old Kingdom on heroic mode? Compare this with Gevlon's successful Ulduar group where everyone was undergeared by 50% but put in 150% effort.

I'm not saying one highly-publicised example of overcoming the odds reflects the playerbase at large. Only a fool would suggest we all rush out and take on instances wearing absurdly bad armour. At the end of the day gear matters because it allows you and I to make more mistakes. When I tank I like to give the healers a safety net by having a large pool of HP. If they miss an opportunity to top-up my health there's less chance I'm going to be one-shotted. This is simple logic and remains the key reason why all of us should still appreciate gear. It's just important to bare in mind that owning epics isn't the be-all and end-all of raiding. As guild leaders it's our imperative to remember that skill is always going to be more important than seeking out idiots with achievements.


In summary:
  • Don't underestimate the skill of your players.

  • Better to bring along the guy with skill and passion than the bloke with apathy and gear.

  • A combination of a great attitude and good gear is what you should aim for.


[Image props go to both the Greedy Goblin and Ixobelle!]

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Relationships

No man is an island. Well, some are. These... 'special' individuals are indeed islands like the one from Lost; they're insanely complex and a bitch to understand. Many leaders follow a Jack Sheppard mindset – they're happy to walk amongst the members of their guild, but are quick to establish that they're better. Leaders naturally believe they're more competent and successful at what they do, whatever they do, wherever they do it. This is great because people like that generate a lot of self-belief by themselves that allows them to easily overcome criticism.


This trait can also have a negative impact on the way you run your joint. Failure to take the right precautions will cause you to stroll around like you've got a stick up your arse within a few weeks. Having an ego defence mechanism or two in place isn't a bad thing, but it's very easy to get carried away. Without careful discipline of your personality, you'll potentially develop a God complex and will begin to view your members as vastly inferior to yourself. In many ways, you'll become Lost's island – unpredictable to the extent of being batshit insane. Being aloof is good, but not when you find yourself distanced from everyone else. The majority of this blog has been about creating connections and relations with your members. You never want them to stop relating to you. Forget about how quickly you can kill a certain boss, how many honour points you can accumulate or what events you hold. Satisfying your members and getting them to relate to you is what matters. This is the foundation of any good guild. It explains why, as the article on attachment states, people stick with you even during a downturn. It doesn't matter if you're raiding five nights a week; you'll still have bad days where members will be inclined to rage quit if there's not enough emotional investment there.


Have you got a partner? I don't care if it's a man, woman or even your cat. Chances are that they play WoW (or whatever MMO you're on) already. Drafting them into your guild works well in a lot of ways. Not only do you get to show your lover what great leadership skills you have, but you're also actively conveying alpha status to your other members. However, beware of your sweetheart demanding special privileges just because you're in a romantic relationship. It's all very well to prove your humanity by having your love join up, but if you give them unwarranted attention you're just showing how inferior you believe everyone else to be.

The first guild I ever joined got it right. It was led by a Norwegian bloke and a set of ambitious officers. His woman was one of the deputies, but she certainly deserved the position. The two of them worked off each other superbly, while taking ideas from their subordinates too. The whole establishment ran like a well-oiled machine for the best part of 7 months. Don't forget that just because those guys were able to work the dynamics of their relationship into the guild, it doesn't mean you'll be able to emulate such success. It doesn't matter if your girl (or boy) is good in the bedroom; that doesn't mean they'll make a good leader. The same applies to the mates you've brought in from outside the game. I don't give a rat's arse if they're superb at Halo - they may be utterly shit with people.


Don't give people you know positions of power just for the sake of it. Make it very clear that you trust them, but that doesn't mean that 99 other people in the guild will automatically too. So long as these lines are drawn, there should be no love lost for anyone.

In summary:
  • No man is an island. You and your members do well to remember this.

  • Don't go ego trippin'.

  • Some guilds led by lovers can work really successfully. Others fail miserably. Decide what works best for you, and don't turn out like the couple from China Miéville's The Scar.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Keeping Positive

Yes folks, its another internalisation post today. Don't moan; how are you supposed to be a good guild leader if you don't act like one? Don't worry though, I accept we all have lives to lead, so I'll keep it short as possible.

I accept that many of you will be positive thinkers already. When you start a guild, you realise that you're going to surround yourself with hundreds of strangers every day. Despite the huge potential for things to go wrong, the vast majority of guild leaders have an optimistic attitude, for at least the first few days. This is known as the 'Honeymoon Period'. No matter how many guilds you've been in or lead in the past, starting a new one is always an exciting prospect. Unless you're a boring twat bent on repeating the mistakes of the past, then every new guild will be initially good because it's new. While there's lots of potential for things to effectively fuck up, there's also potential for things to go right. This high energy stems from your own fresh positivism. It's retaining that atmosphere which is the difficult part and failure to do so is what causes problems. Hopefully this article will be helpful in demonstrating some ways of how to avoid issues ever occurring after the Honeymoon Period ends.

See, the album is called 'Stay Positive'.
  1. Positive reinforcement.

Promote people who show optimism and make sure your inner circle of officers share your vision to the letter. Rewarding those who dedicate themselves to the guild's future, whether it be with gold, attention or rank, is a great way to form a power base. This way you are insuring that anyone who does speak negatively against you without good reason is pushed aside. I know a few people who are stuck in crap guilds but are afraid to speak out and inform the leadership just how shit their establishment is. Why? Because everyone else has been successfully conditioned into maintaining a ridiculously positive mindset no matter what. They've seen, first hand, that people who disrupt the peace are punished. Remember that your real power over members may deteriorate over time (hey, you need them to fill raid groups!), but they can still be duped into believing you're as strong as ever. This isn't really immoral, but it is definitely down to you presenting a good, congruent image at first. Rewarding those who you like means they'll defend your honour and the guild, even when things are going badly or you're not even around.

  1. Don't make promises you can't keep.

I know it seems an obvious point to make, but really. Consistency is key when trying to make a new set of people trust you, and not following through with what you say is a way to get disliked easily. We all snigger when we see new guilds recruiting people on the premise they'll be getting a bank soon. These types of promises appear trivial at face value, but at least the majority of such guilds fulfil them. Compare this to some of the overly ambitious idiots who claim that their guild will be the best by 2010. Which are you more likely to believe and trust? I've seen folks promise their members stuff which was basically unachievable at the time. Then, as you may expect, their members proceeded to call them out on such bullshit. This leads to a silly 'Boy Who Cried Wolf' scenario where the leader keeps promising more and more stuff in a vain effort that it will somehow buy back the loyalty of their troops. It doesn't work. In these situations, it's best to admit your mistake (either privately or publicly) and move on. A realistic guild leader won' make idiotic goals in the first place. Stop believing that just because you talk big, the guild will become big. It doesn't just work like that.

  1. Don't stop believing.

No, I don't want to take the midnight train to anyywheeere. I do want you all to realise that people are more likely to believe your ideas if you already do. I've come up with some strange ideas in the past, but because my frame of mind was so strong, others went along with it. People can tell whether you're truly passionate about something, or just in it for the loot – even on the Internet. This is not permission to mouth off about how your guild is the greatest ever, and remember that modest, realistic aims will do you a heap of good. Keep your own emotions high, but bare in mind that if you start talking the talk, then walk the walk.

Get it? Journey? 'Don't Stop Believing'? Anyone!?

Think big, but don't go shouting about how good your guild is at first. People tend to be more impressed by your achievements when you're humble about them. Likewise, remember your priorities. What's good about perfecting a flashy website when you could be motivating and recruiting people in-game? What good is a forum and thorough manifesto if there's no one interested in reading them? Perhaps the easiest way to keep a good thing going is simply to do the first things first, and worry about all the details later. Plough on through any rough patches, and keep your chin held high.

In summary:

  • Positive energy will be the thing that motivates all your members until you start producing results – whether they be in the form of loot, battleground wins or RP events.

  • Optimists should be praised.

  • Don't make idiotic, out-of-reach promises.

  • Keep your priorities relevant.

[IMG CRZ GO 2: 'Dese folks and here.]

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Directorships Work

This chapter will focus on why guilds lead by cliques and councils are destined to fail.

Do you know that the mental illness schizophrenia occurs in one out of a hundred people? Wherever you go in the world, the median will be approximately the same. Evolutionary psychopathologists reason that, back when we were still living in tribes, the ideal group size would be around one hundred people and there would be typically one individual with schizophrenic-like symptoms. For example, he or she would hear voices from an unseen deity, or claim to have battled demons that everyone else has failed to spot. Therefore, this 'special' person would be naturally promoted to leadership status to command the group. Nowadays, taking orders from such a nutter seems to be the completely wrong idea, but we can borrow some of these elements and apply it to our own guild-leading strategies. After all, this was a very effective group model that allowed our species to survive for millions of years, so why can't we use it today?

Just like being on Ventrillo, eh?

I understand that you're (probably) not schizophrenic. Supposing that you charged around Dalaran proclaiming that you'd been hearing voices from God/Ra/The Smoke Monster/Yogg-Saron, I'd assume that you were crazy and you'd never gain my respect. As we all know, the one who attempts to act the most in control via extreme measures is the guy who is the least in command. Insisting that you're the avatar for some divine being (which would have worked in tribal times) will just be condemned as insane on a videogame. Instead, you must become a god. Everyone has more respect for the guy who is well-geared and possesses a number of impressive achievements than one in bad equips and no titles. I've covered the importance of personal character development in other chapters, but it is key when leading a guild on your own. You may have more wit and ambition than the next guild master, but people are more likely to believe you if you have proof. True schizophrenics really do believe the demented stuff that is apparently happening to them is absolutely real, and you must approach managing your guild with a similar amount of conviction and commitment – even if you have to go 'prove' your divinity through fairly useless trinkets.


Leading a guild by yourself can seem like a very intimidating prospect. Still, if you have followed my tips so far, then life will have already been made easier for you. I'm not suggesting you install a dictatorship, either. Your members should follow your lead due to them having a large amount of respect for you, not because you're forcing them to. This is not the army, nor is your guild supposed to be a beacon of discipline on an otherwise chaotic server. You are a group of people that have come together for a common purpose. While members will tolerate a lot in order to get their hands on epics, everyone has their limits. Bossing people around due to your leadership status alone and making up flimsy, idiotic rules to boost your own ego is a sure way to be branded as an arsehole. For guilds that don't even have the tantalising treat of good gear to wave in the faces of their members, keeping them in line will seem like a huge task. However, if you've read the other posts on this blog, then sustaining membership shouldn't be a problem.

So, why go it alone? I'm not saying that you should totally wander off and do your own thing completely and treat everyone in ranks below as scum. I actually highly recommend that you have an array of officers willing to support you but at the end of the day, it is you who takes the responsibility for the well-being of your guildies. In council-based leadership systems, every decision takes time and must be approved by the majority. Even then the final result may be ridiculous, and not appropriate to the circumstances or context of the incident that initiated the decision-making process. A guild lead by a tightly-knit group can be more corrupt than one run by a single player. A hard-lining, lone trooper who is abusing his authority will quickly lose power and either be overthrown by his sub-ordinates, or will inadvertently make them all quit. A group of such disliked characters will have an easier time staying in power, due to their ability to collectively pressure people into doing things their way. No one wants to be in that sort of situation. Ruling by committee is ineffective and promotes an elitist circle, whereas ruling alone allows for flexibility and openness between everyone.

Er... I'm not sure if this is proving my point or going against it.

The main problem with leading a guild as a council is the diffusion of responsibility that comes with more people accepting a powerful role. Initially, this may seem to be beneficial, especially when managing a large guild. Simultaneously, the lack of a single spokesperson to take the blame when something goes wrong (or credit when something goes right) is idiotic. Unless the people you are leading your guild with are all very mature, competent and sane without having outrageously large egos, then when something does go wrong, people will begin to point the finger at each other. This ranges from when an incident occurs during a raid, to when you can't even get a group together in the first place. Drama breaks out and before you know it, one of the council has left the guild. Alternatively, they take 'executive action' to enforce their own demands, resulting in them becoming the true leader and highlighting how stupid the whole council idea was to begin with. Unfortunately, the organisation is used to a more 'democratic' approach to leadership, and despite the new model being far more efficient, members tend to leave in their droves due to the unexpected change.

The other issue is that no one answers to anyone else. You're basically giving up all your power to six or seven people who may not work together very well at all. 'Shush!' I hear you scream, 'they're all working for the good of the guild!'. Yes, they are. The whole concept of a guild is abstract, though. For instance, say you're in a raiding guild. Now, are you simply there to gain purple items? Is raiding with like-minded people a way for you to socialise easier? Which is more important? What you interpret as the overall, final goal for the guild may be completely different to someone else's perception, especially if you don't have a firm cause outlined to begin with. This usually wouldn't be a problem if there's only one person in charge; they shape the direction of the guild how they wish. Now imagine a tonne of people insisting that their frame of mind is the best for the guild. A lot of the ideas will overlap, but essentially a lot of the time differences will occur when it comes to reaching goals. You want to get your hands on some pretty good gear? One council member may suggest raiding five nights a week, but another may only insist on one. Compromise is essential here, but given the average size of a player's ego, it is likely that reaching an agreement that truly satisfies everyone will be impossible.

Is your current management model as useless as this kid? If so, its time to change!

Be aware that a one-leader policy will never please everyone, either. Still, by actively asking for suggestions from time to time (preferably taking the pre-emptive before your guild becomes dissatisfied) you can still appease the people while exercising your own influence. People will still leave when they realise that they don't want the same things the rest of the guild do from the game, but it is up to your recruitment system to make your intentions clear from the get-go. Taking polite suggestions from subordinates is a lot easier than outright declining the idea of an equal (as what would happen in a council situation) and a lot less harmful to their ego.


Despite the presence of the tips above, I've still seen the single-person leader system being abused. Raid guilds are certainly guilty of this. There are thousands of guilds out there that follow the above guidelines to the letter, but are seen renown for elitism. Why is this? Surely if you have the gear, a powerful cause and a fair and just leader, then you're set to go? But even when a guild is well-established you must stay focused. It is easy to slip into Stalinism, especially if you lose the respect of your followers (by getting too close to them, letting them overtake you with gear, etc.). You must be at the top of your game because lashing out at members who rise above their position will only make you look weaker. A lot of raid guilds believe that gear is equatable to status so highly that they go as far as to make 'officers have priority over loot' rules. Certainly the higher ranks will look better, but at a cost to them being just. In this example, respect for the leader moulds itself into another form. Not fear (which comes with making ridiculous rules and trying to enforce all of them), but members will simply become bitter and begin to loathe the leader.

To help avoid your guild turning into a fascist state, I've devised these three guidelines:
  1. Don't be a dick.

If you're a twat and simply too rude to your members, then they will outright /gquit without warning. You should not be bothered by the occasional random /gquitter, but when they start leaving in their droves, then consider your own tact to be the cause. An intimidating guild leader is an unapproachable one, and even if there's something in your guild that is causing people to leave other than your own character (say, the activities of another or a whispering campaign), no one will want to speak to you about it if you're an arsehole. Work on respect, rather than getting them to fear you.

  1. Keep rules simple.

Assuming you have any special rules at all. Ideally, terms and conditions should be never placed on a website or guild information tab. You should be recruiting people that naturally fit to your manifesto and have each new member undergo a simple screening test before joining. If you're recruiting on a large scale, then just ask people if they're active, and tell them personally, upon signing up, that you expect them to be social in guild chat. Even if you aim to attract very specific, skilled players, you should still aim not to over-complicate things. Supposing these players are really as skilled and mature as their application makes out, then surely they shouldn't need to be explicitly told not to spam public channels, and to keep swearing to a minimum, etc.. It should go without saying. When you find yourself kicking a lot of people, due to them breaking a lot of rules, then you're either recruiting the wrong sort of player, or you have too many pedantic rules.

  1. Set aside time to manage all aspects of your guild.

When you don't have the time to thoroughly run your guild, then I recommend simply joining another and naturally climbing their rankings. However, you should be secure enough in your position of power to maintain control even if you only spend an hour a day online. In the situation that you can only get in-game for a short time every day, have your officers send you a report on the main activities that have taken place (if any) and check your logs (both the guild one, accessed through the 'Guild Information' from the main guild list, and the bank).

Check your logs! Wait, what?

I'm not saying that you should have to run a guild all by yourself. I will argue, however, that officers should merely enforce your will, not create one of their own to challenge your power. This is why you must promote your very best and most trusted friends into high ranks. They must be totally loyal to your cause and methods. Say you promote someone to a high position who comes equipped with a hidden agenda, you can guarantee that the guild will spiral into madness at some point or another. By the time you start your guild, you should have already thought of a strong purpose, and set of rules that everyone can abide by. Assuming these are solid, then you should rarely have to consult a fellow player for advice, or ask for help. Remember that guilds run by councils are not democracies at all, but rather just collections of self-elected individuals who are too insecure and incompetent to rule alone.

To summarise:

  • Leading a guild by yourself is a daunting task, but can be extremely efficient when compared to the alternatives.

  • Be committed to your vision and get others to associate your personal success at gaining titles with that of the guild's future.

  • People should respect you, not fear you.

  • Let officers have their say, but do not be afraid to give them a slap on the wrist, should they pursue too much power.

  • Don't be a dick.

  • Keep rules simple.

  • Time manage.

  • Officers should always do your bidding, not their own. Giving someone so much power also naturally grants them a level of freedom. Make sure they don't take advantage of that.

  • Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Share it with your officers, but make sure you're still the one calling the shots.


[Here be da credit for da images, mon. Here. 'Ere. 'Ere. 'Ere. 'Ere. 'Ere.]

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Professionalism

You are not a rock star.

Until your guild is the best in the world, you have no right to act like you are God's gift to WoW or whatever MMO you choose to play. In fact, if it was the best in the world, you would have certainly realised that there are better things to worry about than how big everyone thinks your e-penis is. Having an ego made of glass is not productive. Neither can you start crying when your guild doesn't follow you to the ends of the Earth/Azeroth/New Eden simply because you demanded them to. Believing that people should respect you without giving them a real reason to first is selfish, unrealistic and immature. Displaying such characteristics will only attract idiots to your guild. No one wants that.

There will be a time when you can snap your fingers and your entire online member-base will come running. Expecting such behaviour off the bat, however, is foolish. Dealing with people online is a lot different to managing them in the real world. There's a reason why popular retail brands have terrible conversion rates when it comes to Internet sales. There's a reason why Downing Street ban people from making comments on all their videos on YouTube. People are not harder to deal with online, but definitely different. On our planet, people are motivated by factors such as money and self-gain. Companies keep their employees in-check by providing these elements, in return for productivity. What are you offering people if not money? Initially, nothing. With nothing to restrain people, they go crazy. Consumers won't buy from brands online if they're less expensive in the shops and self-proclaimed political pundits will take full advantage of anonymity and will say exactly what they feel about the government, so long as they don't show their face or real name.

Would you be able to get half a million signatures from people off the street? No, because the everyman in real life is a coward, or would simply think you're nuts. Online, however...

There's a point to all this. You can't simply pay people gold in order to get their loyalty. Believe me; I've tried. Even relying on epic gear to keep players in the guild will not be enough sometimes. What happens when summer hits, and people start to go on holiday? If you have no other hold over them, then the people who stay around to play will look elsewhere for raiding fulfilment. By the time the rest of the guild returns from sunning themselves in different parts of the world, there won't be enough members left to continue raiding. Well-run guilds take measures to negate such downturn, like recruiting excessively before summer, or officially declaring raiding over until September. However, at the end of the day, you're going to have to use innovative techniques to get people to stick by you. Being in a guild is never perfect for one hundred percent of the time. It's part of your job to keep people by your side, even when things are looking shitty. This is an art.

It starts with being professional. A lot of people say that you shouldn't treat leading a guild like a job, and be as casual as you want with members. I'm not saying act like an emotionless psychopath. You'll find that I recommend communicating and bonding with your guild on a very regular basis. Simultaneously, you must work hard to remain aloof from any drama that may personally affect you. Getting involved with things on a private level just so you can satisfy your bleeding heart doesn't help anything. If you're angsty, go make a blog or listen to My Chemical Romance. Lashing out just because someone has attacked you or one of your friends will do nothing but worsen your own reputation. When people start seeing you as a crazy megalomaniac who will do anything to protect his or her ego, you're screwed.

I'll apply this to a specific example: About a year ago I was leading a rather successful WoW guild on Defias Brotherhood, EU. In the space of a month we'd accumulated over one hundred and fifty members and had really some good vibes going on. One day, one of the founders decided to quit, with her last words in the chat being, 'I don't think much to this guild TBH'. Then she left, for no apparent reason. This particular female never really said anything much and only turned up to the occasional raid. All the same, when she bailed so abruptly with such a vague explanation it made me angry. 'Why!? Why!?' I'd ask. 'Why did you just leave!? If you don't explain yourself, then we can't find out what's wrong with the guild!' She ignored me and I never got to the bottom of why she quit. It infuriated me, though.

Arguments can occur over anything and everything at any time. Stay cool and keep indifferent.

As a result, I came off as an incompetent, out-of-control arsehole and made my guild look bad as a result. I shouldn't have cared that much, but I did and my clinginess led to me being silly. I'm not saying never care when someone quits, but if you don't get a response, then it doesn't matter. Always opt to cut your losses and save face over pursuing a pointless line of enquiry. Frequent open discussions with your guild should highlight any issues your members have. Running after members who have just quit is not going to get you any answers, which means trying to talk things through with them only spawns confusion and frustration.

The key thing to all this is staying laid back. Do not care about petty incidents. As Erik Von Markovik says in The Mystery Method, 'keep telling yourself that it doesn't matter. Soon enough, you'll start believing that nothing is ever 'a big deal''. Whilst TMM deals with picking up women, some of the content covers coping with rejection, too. Managing such behaviour is a key trait of staying in control, as you'll find yourself facing situations revolving around different types of rejection daily. Just tell yourself that it's not a big deal, and it won't be.

This is Mystery. He may look a bit weird, but fits a typical 'guild leader' archetype. Not only is he highly successful with women, but is also able to command legions of men, too. He has a calm, laid back personality which subtly requests respect, rather than demand it without earning first.

Professionalism is a form of damage control. If someone pisses you off, the last thing to do is act like an amateur and react negatively. Cool off, admit that something has gone wrong, and move on. Getting hung up on insignificant people is never the right way to go about things. If someone is pissing you off in your guild, then kick them. Offer a brief explanation before or after you boot them out if you wish, but stay calm. I'm all for people letting their own personality shine through, but if you're a hot-headed moron who accuses everyone else of being wrong and blows your top every time someone says something against you, then guild leading is not, and will never be, your forte. We all have our bad days sometimes, but that should never lead you to taking out your anger on others at the slightest provocation. A good leader knows when to go outside and get some perspective, and when to sit down to do their duty.

Staying cool and dealing with drama will allow you to disarm any situation. Ideally you don't want to kick everyone who starts causing trouble, but you really shouldn't be recruiting such immature idiots anyway. Performing in such a way will not necessarily guarantee that people will fall in love with your guild, but it will certainly buy you some respect and encourage them to act in a similar way. In later chapters, I'll discuss how you can get people to come to you with their problems before they even consider leaving, but for now keeping a clear head and an ego that actually reflects your position in the world will help massively.

If this strange clan can hold together in Dalaran's Underbelly, so can your guild. Just take it easy and keep to the right mindset.

This is all about setting an example. Having a positive-yet-realist attitude will allow others to follow suit. Keeping your nose clean and your allies happy will encourage your members to reprise such sentiments. On the flip side, don't go cybering in Goldshire or lashing out at random guildies. Not only is being caught out on such occasions embarrassing to you, but you're also giving your members permission to do similar things that could be harmful to your guild's reputation.

To summarise:
  • Rise above petty people.

  • Don't act like you're the leader of Ensidia; you're probably not and your guild is most likely still wiping in Naxx. It's fine to have ambition, but that doesn't mean you should act like a dick.

  • Don't act like you're a fifteen year-old who hasn't got more pressing issues in his life than crying over people who insult him online.

  • Know how to stay in control of your own emotions. When you're easily angered, it's difficult to diffuse other people's anger.

  • Respect for you is going to be one of the key motivators for people to stay in your guild for the long haul. Managing member affairs successfully is a great way for you to gain respect.

  • Set a good example.

[Image credit goes purely to myself and Wikipedia today!]