Saturday, 6 June 2009


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!]

No comments:

Post a Comment