Saturday, 18 July 2009


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 MiĆ©ville'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.]