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 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 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 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!]