Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Tools Of The Trade

Before you begin leading a guild there are some tools and attributes I highly recommend you possess: Courage, motivation and passion are always important, but this chapter is more focused towards stuff like mods and even the in-game interface that will help you on the way to becoming the Ullteemaet Geeld Mastah!11

As you may have already realised, this chapter isn't all that serious or important. Blizzard have done a grand job at implementing a wide range of interface options and add-ons to help guild masters. Little things like Message of the Day and the Calendar can go a long way when used effectively. These other applications listed below will probably give you only a slight increase in efficiency, but sometimes that little extra can go a long way.

Deadly Boss Mods are a great example of getting a big result out of a small thing. Do you really need to know the exact number of seconds before your battleground starts? No, because you should always be prepared to fight. Likewise, any idiot with an ounce of competence can see who turns into an ice block on the Sapphiron fight without it having to be yelled in your face. To me, DBM users have always appeared to be a bit on the slack or lazy side. I use it myself, especially when I can't be arsed sustaining constantly high levels of energy when tanking for a PuG. So while there may be a feeling that this set of mods makes everything a little easy, there's really no reason not to use DBM. After all, what's the harm in having something that makes raiding (and some aspects of PVP) easier? Just note that observant, focused folks shouldn't need it as much as the idiots. As a guild leader, you wouldn't normally brand yourself as someone who needs such help from a mod, but remember that half your time in raids will be spent running through tactics, dealing with drama and delegating loot. Anything that makes the actual fighting aspect easier should be welcomed, as it allows you to focus on more pressing matters. Mods such as this are built to take the strain off those with pea-sized brains, or players who are just distracted. Don't be like I was. Don't snub DBM off without trying it out; you may find it makes life a lot easier for you.

Auctioneer (and its many, many accessories) is also a good mod to consider. Basically, it scans your server's auction house, finds the median price for all the items on it and then makes suggestions for what you should do with your own goods. Usually this involves putting junk up for only slightly more than you'd vendor them for, but extra money is extra money! It's dough you can put back into the guild. Whether it's dumping it in the bank, or giving it out to specific needy individuals, having money will naturally empower you and people are more likely to respect you if possess more cash than the average guild master. This is a bit of an over-simplification and it's likely people will only suck up to you in vain hopes of getting their own grubby hands on some of your fortune. All the same, Auctioneer is a very useful mod, especially considering how dynamic most server economies can be. Auctioneer always you to keep up with the competition, and is vital if you want to sell stuff on a regular basis.

Recount is often used by overly self-conscious DPSers to make sure they're not doing less damage than the bloody tank. Even if they're performing badly, it allows them to form a pre-emptive excuse as to why. These range from blaming it on their talent build to server lag. This doesn't mean that an intelligent guild leader can't make effective use of it, though. Recount doesn't only measure overall damage output of the raid, but also tracks average damage per second. This allows you to see who inflicts constantly high amount of pain upon their enemies, and who feels they can just nuke on the main bosses and then retire. I'm against party or raid leaders singling out people low on the meter and shouting at them to step up their game, but you should observe which members are falling behind and aim to gear them up, or force them to respecc appropriately. Furthermore, Recount is a great way of measuring the success of other classes. Stuff like overhealing and interrupts made are also tracked. This means if you keep wiping on certain bosses and don't know why, this mod can help you see where the raid is going wrong.

If any of you feel like I've missed out any essential add-ons, then feel free to plug them in the comments. In my next article, I intend to detail how guild leaders can rely on in-game resources to make their lives a little easier.

To summarise:

  • Deadly Boss Mods can make raiding on the whole a lot easier and allows you to multitask.

  • Auctioneer can make you rich, providing its used well.

  • Recount provides quantifiable evidence as to who is slacking, and who is playing well.

All the mods and screenshots here are properties of their creators.

Friday, 3 April 2009


Recruiting is easy. Provided you follow one of the many recommended techniques in my article and use your own skills effectively, the people that you want to join should come flooding in. It's a simple process and this explains why the shittest guild on your server is still able to get members. The most difficult task you’ll face with new recruits is trying to get them to form an attachment to the guild. When people have a connection to a cause they feel strongly about, or a group of people who are worth caring for, they are more likely to contribute and fight for that particular set of ideas. Attachment has been used as a technique to secure bonds between people for thousands of years, and still applies to family units today – right from birth. One of the key ideas behind a child establishing such a connection with a mother is that the former can provide for the latter during her old age. With the advent of retirement homes, this relationship has really turned into a one-way street, namely with the mother caring for the child during the early years of its life, without any real return later on.

Should you expect some sort of material payback from members once a connection has been established? That’s up to how you feel. Depending on how nice they are, you may receive gifts of gold and a selection of valuable items. Then again, most members will do nothing more to show their appreciation than occasionally speak in guild chat and show up for raids or other events. You must understand that, although you’ll try to create positive feelings between everyone in the guild, all members will react differently. Some people will perceive themselves worth more than they actually are, and consider simply logging on each day to be a privilege to you. Others will see being in the guild as a great pleasure, freely giving up their time and gold at any opportunity to help you out. Usually, if people have not had to go through some sort of application process, they’ll act the first way. Consider that you’ll get stubborn or more willing people no matter where you go. Even if you’re in the strictest and elitist guild on the server, be assured that there’s likely to be a few kind-hearted souls in there, but also some people who will turn up just for raiding. People like to think they’re unique and display behaviour that hopefully make us believe that they are. Despite this, there are still some strategies you can apply to get everyone involved and rooting for the guild.

Not sure what this picture has to do with anything, but I thought LAG needed some more sex.

The first step is getting members to relate to you. When they join, it’s likely they’ll have just been forced into a new community they know nothing about. Their only friends in this brave, new world will either be their referees and friends already in the guild, or you. Building a connection immediately is essential, as it's within the first few days of joining that they’ll build their impression of the guild, and decide if they wish to stay or not. If you are not clear on the goals of your guild when initially recruiting, it is likely that new members will find themselves joining under incorrect perceptions. When finding that they want something from the game that you can’t offer as a guild, they will quit regardless of how deep the connection you build with them is. Prevent this from running by the main points of your guild’s overall plan to any new members.

'Right folks, we attack Durotar from here, here and here.'
'Sir, that's a picture of England and France.'

Don’t be afraid to approach people individually. This attribute will prove it's worth when it comes to actually applying the following steps, but always bear in mind that it’s better to approach people separately, in private, than within full view of everyone else. Not everyone is as confident as yourself and bringing unnecessary attention to people who don’t really like it will annoy them. Discretion is always important. Whether you’re disciplining someone, or giving them praise, there is no reason to make it a huge thing that involves all of guild chat. Certainly, it’s one thing to make an example out of a situation, but it;s another to go through the process every time someone pisses you off, or does the opposite. Embarrassing someone in front of the guild, no matter what the reason, will bring negative results.

Making large gestures of love to all new guildies may seem like a good idea, but sometimes a more subtle approach is needed. Try some of the following strategies and see how they work out for you.

  1. Send them gifts.

When someone is performing well in a guild, or simply seems to have settled down well, it's good to send them gifts. Don't shower them like they're the son of God, but sometimes an appropriate, charming item in the mail will really cheer them up. Yeah, they can probably use the guild bank to draw something out at their convenience, but giving them something directly with no need for any implied repayment helps reach out and connect with good members.

  1. Cut down on ‘grats’ spam.

Initially, wishing someone congratulations when they level or gain an achievement will seem like a great way to promote positivity. Too much can cause the opposite effect, however. Some people don't like to be embarrassed by people commenting on every little thing they achieve and others may find it annoying that someone is praised for reaching level 10 on their alt. You may not totally condemn such behaviour, but I'd definitely promote cutting down on it.

  1. Don’t be afraid to make nicknames.

Avoid patronising nicknames, like calling someone of a low-level 'n00bie' or 'lower' or something. For your officers, maybe even branch out into calling them based off their playing style, personality and class. 'Snake' would fit really well with someone who is sly and manipulative, or just likes Metal Gear Solid. 'Lion' for a natural leader who displays loyalty to the guild, or they may even just have bushy hair. You can read as far into this as you wish. In the end, giving nicknames make you seem playful and helps your members simply like you more. Just draw a line if people start calling each other negative names with no real explanation.

Remember that the ultimate goal of all this is to build up an open, community atmosphere from the word 'go', without having to reduce yourselves to team-building activities (a la Severance). I encourage you to try all of the techniques listed, but sometimes a member will simply not catch on and invest themselves back into the guild. I guess the best you can hope for in this situation, is that they eventually change their minds over time and fall in love with the guild naturally. Just bare in mind Eleanor Roosevelt's famous line, 'Don't spend major time with minor people'. Learn to judge if people can be bribed into being committed to your guild and leave them alone if they can't.

The final tip in this section is about what you should be feeling. Although a good guild leader will go to just about any lengths to get their members friendly with one another, it is important he or she never becomes too attached to one particular individual. Think of this mindset as the 'Nursing Home Manager' complex. Pretend you're actually running a centre for the very elderly or terminally ill. Yes, make their time as thoroughly enjoyable and comfortable as possible, but always remember that they can be taken away at any moment, either through their own choice or powers beyond their control. You should always mourn the passing of an officer or active member (and even ask them why they left), but learn to simply not worry if a randomer leaves and refuses to comment on exactly why. Sometimes people are just arseholes. Do worry if people begin leaving in their droves. You should actively seek out the problem and find a solution immediately if this occurs.

Never react in a way that could potentially harm the reputation of your guild further. If you take some time to gather your thoughts and approach the leaver with respect and compassion, its worth the delay. However, if your blood just boils in the time between them leaving and you questioning them, then I encourage you to make any post-guild conversation as brief as possible, or don't have one at all. Sometimes it's better to simply let go than to satisfy your curiosity. Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things.

To summarise:

  • Creating some sort of relationship with all guild members is essential if your guild hopes to survive in the long run.

  • Approaching people to get them involved on a personal level is more effective than constantly broadcasting the need to communicate with each other in guild chat.

  • Shitty gifts are better than no gifts!

  • Shitty nicknames are not better than no nicknames!

  • Pointless 'grats' spam is not really that productive.

  • Have your members be attached to you, but remember the 'Nursing Home Complex'; they could be taken away at any time.

  • As we've seen in the 'Professionalism' article, being indifferent is better than being a flaming ball of rage.

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